from TIME Magazine, April 18, 1988 inside front cover Special Advertising Section A Letter

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from TIME Magazine, April 18, 1988 inside front cover Special Advertising Section A Letter To The Next Generation From Gene Roddenberry the creator of STAR TREK Text copyright (c) 1988 by Gene Roddenberry and shamelessly reprinted here without permission. I suspect Gene won't mind, given the context. "Good wishes from a television dramatist who lived a hundred years before your time. I create science fiction tales set in your 21st century and beyond for television and movie audiences. These are tales which reflect the affection and optimism I have for the human creature. I welcome this opportunity to share my perspectives with you. "For many living now, today is a time of fear and even despair. Some believe that life has become too complex for us. Or too artificial. Or that this era's nuclear missles, its waves of hysterical nationalism and quarreling superstitions, perhaps mean a violent end for the human creature, as soon as the close of our present century. "I believe the complete opposite to be true. The present tumult in our world is the natural and understandable result of a vigorous intelligence moving out of the savagery of our life form's childhood. Instead of humanity's demise, our era seems to be filled with evidence that we were meant to survive and evolve much further. "For example, a recent flood of remarkable human happenings includes a primal invention as revolutionary as the discovery of fire, the wheel, and language. We call it the COMPUTER, an astonishing device which handles information at near-light speed and in ways suggests humanity has been gifted with the perfect servant. Next, largely because of the computer, we have begun to recognize that the human brain is an equally astonishing device whose TEN BILLION or so neurons appear to interconnect into a potential of TRILLIONS of thought patterns. Rather than being unable to handle the complexities of today, the combination of computer and brain appears to be doubling human knowledge every six or seven years, leading us toward knowledge and ability our ancestors would have considered godlike. "Which means that the human future is not for the fainthearted. The most dramatic happening in our era has been our first efforts to move out from our home planet. Our first moon visits are remarkably similar to the early sailing craft that visited the American New World. Bold children both! Those early sea voyagers found a wilderness as forbidding to them as the moon's landscape seemed to us much later on. "I find it equally remarkable that, so far, no other intelligent life-forms seem to exist on those other worlds overhead. In fact, everything about our sun and its planets proclaims 'RESERVED FOR HUMANITY.' What a lovely educational arrangement for the offspring of our fertile Earth-egg planet! Having left childhood behind as we move out from our home planet, humanity is ready for the stretching and learning of adolescence. "What better place to evolve into adulthood than in our own solar system? There exists, out in our own 'backyard', an incredible treasure house of eight other planets, plus dozens of moons and other raw material--plus the almost inexhaustible energy of our hydrogen furnace sun with which to shape those materials to our needs. "All of which makes it interesting that the galaxy's other stars are, for now, inconceivably distant. Even traveling at light speed, most range from thousands to millions of years away. In its own way, this fact is as heartening as the apparent absence of other intelligent life on the worlds circling our own star. If our universe is a gigantic life- and intelligence-creating machine as some believe, what better way of protecting life forms than a system of natural laws which protects them from one another until they become adult and capable of understanding the master plan? "One obstacle to adulthood needs to be solved immediately: We must learn not just to accept differences between ourselves and our ideas, but to enthusiastically welcome and enjoy them. Diversity contains as many treasures as those waiting for us on other worlds. We will find it impossible to fear diversity and to enter the future at the same time. "If the future is not for the fainthearted, it is even more certainly not for the cowardly. One of the saddest spectacles of our time is to watch the leaders of Earth's nations meeting together clumsily and embarrassedly exchanging slogans containing grains of friendship and understanding, yet fearful that this might constitute some awful blasphemy. Those who insist theirs is the only correct government or economic system deserve the same contempt as those who insist that they have the only true God. As I began by saying, I am a television dramatist who lived many years before your time, and I realize that the human future will be infinitely more complex than anything I am able to imagine. I hope, however, that by your time some small truths will be found in the rough sketch of tomorrow that I offer here. If not, at least you may find this a pleasant and entertaining tale." /s/ Gene Roddenberry Explanatory Note: "In 'Open Forum' sponsored by Volkswagen prominent figures in American culture pass on their ideas and views to those who'll inherit the


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