Friday, September 24, 2004

Is There in Truth No Beauty?

Star Trek was an inspiring bit of television. (Note: If you have to use letters like TOS to identify which Star Trek I'm discussing then you probably missed it) Why bring this up? Well Lileks ubergeeked himself today with his Bleats column and went on about the music of Star Trek. It's classic Lileks and worth the read. What was most inspiring about it wasn't the technology or the music, it was the human relationships portrayed. Star Trek was about friendship, duty and exploring the unknown together. We all are doing that and we all have relationships which mirrored Star Trek's. Most of us have had the "Janice Rand" moment with a fellow employee. That awkward tension when mutual personal attraction must be downplayed due to professionalism. Whether she be a subordinate or superior is irrelevant. Most of us have friends who have done something for us, made a sacrifice of some sort at some time. The Kirk-Spock-Bones triangle is one of friendship. The laughter and human emotions were the real soundtrack to Star Trek. Successful TV shows and films play emotion. Human emotion can be influenced by music-various frequency wave forms which trigger various responses. Suspense, drama, longing, sadness, joy, triumph, fear & love all can be triggered by wave forms of the proper frequency and wave length. Filmmakers exploit human emotion to sell product. Star Trek's success had less to do with science fiction and more to do with the successful portrayal of human emotions.

It is for this reason that subsequent reincarnations of Star Trek never lived up to the original series (if you disagree...leave NOW--this blog is targeting a different audience!) and why emphasis on special effects or thousands of dollars in ridiculous prosthetics can't replace the realistic portrayal of a good, honest emotion.

People like to read things where they can feel the humanity of the writer. Good writers can convey some of their humanity through their writings and trigger emotional response. The shared disgust of the peaceful Organians by Kirk and his Klingon rival is an emotional appeal. Yes, the peaceful Organians, who had evolved far beyond physical anatomies, were compelling to contemplate, but the story is the human reaction to this unknown and unfathomable people and their pacifist response to all violence. When Kirk fights the Gorn it is not about the battle between alien races, but rather the show is a string of emotions: curiosity, then fear and finally the realization that all things wish to survive. A successful story conveys and triggers emotions.

A good blog conveys useful or entertaining information. If Lileks is the somewhat over-emotional Bones, I'm the analytical and seemingly aloof Spock. Appealing to reason over emotions, because in the end it is the reason which governs the emotional response and assigns varying values to them. Love, inspiration, caring and joy are more desirable than hate, jealousy, fear or the competitive drive to prove superiority.

Analyzing one's emotions and mastering them seems insane to some. However, replacing hate with love and depression with joy is not done haphazardly or left to chance. One does not learn quantum chemistry by awaiting for events to share this wisdom unto you or somehow plop it into your lap and the same is true for your emotional well being. One has to work for it, analyze it and adjust one's actions and refine one's thinking. Each person needs to become their own psychologist and analyze their own responses to their life.

At this moment, the title from the episode, Is there in truth, no beauty?, should have greater meaning, for beauty is created by truth. What's more, to appreciate the greatest beauty requires truth. Think about it.

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