Today is First Contact Day – But Is The Price Too High?
For those of you who are not as big of Star Trek Geeks as I am, Today is First contact Day. Well today 50 years from now. It is the day that the Vulcan’s first take enough of and interest in us to make first alien contact, and thus begins the Star Trek time line. The real time line not the one you see in the new Star Trek Movies.
But my question is, is the price to get there too high. According to the Star Trek time line in order for us to get to First Contact day we have to go through world war 3. According to Memory Alpha in 2053 (Only 40 years from now): World War III ends with a nuclear holocaust resulting in the deaths of some six hundred million Humans. Earth begins its long journey towards recovery.
A nuclear holocaust. Before the Borg came along, that was (and I might say that writing about future events makes getting your verbs right a little difficult) and still is today, our biggest fear. And Really 600 million dead. Let’s assume that the population of the Earth does not change much in the next 40 years that is 8% of the population dying a horrible death. 8% sounds like a pretty low number that is almost 1 in 10 so look around you and think of the ten people closest to you and think of one of them being dead. The World’s Government in collapse. Sickness poverty would be rampant. Pseudo governments and Warlords would take over much of the world. With most technology destroyed by the EM from the bombs, everything would have to be done by hand, and no doubt that means the rise of slavery. Ten years of horrible living conditions. People living, working and dying in refugee camps all around the world.
Ten years of that. Seems like a pretty high price.
But is it too high of a price. Did it take us being Bombed (by ourselves) back to the stone age to accept the help of an alien visitor? I ask this last question based on every other movie where visitors came from outer space, no matter their intentions, it never really turned out well for them, or us.
One of the things that make Star Trek great was Rodenberry’s vision of a future where things were pretty ok. I won’t say that life was great and we all lived in a Utopian society (because there is always a distopia to the utopia), but the world is a much better place for having had first contact. It is not all sunshine and roses but it is a lot better. That is what makes Star Trek not just another end of the world story.
The question remains, was the price of 600 Million dead, 10 years or horrible conditions and countless dead in those conditions and the long slow climb out of that, to let’s say the later half of Kirk life (Star Trek II-ish time) before we get to the “happy times” that Star Trek promises. Is that too much? or is it just what is required?
I personally think the answer is no. It is not too much to pay. Will I feel differently when the bombs are raining down? Will I think that there was a better way when people all around be a dying of radiation sickness, starvation, dysentery, and a host of other illnesses? Probably. When you live through a horrible time like that, you always wonder at the cost. But the one thing about Star Trek is that it really gives you hope for the future. To know that Humanity might really have a fighting chance to live beyond our world, beyond our solar system, beyond the Alpha Quadrant is pretty darn exciting, even if it means that we have some hard roads to hoe between now and then.
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