Gene Roddenberry on combating “hog-ism”

Monday, May 14, 2007

7:30 a.m. I immediately started reading The Return of Lanny Budd last night. Well, I am not liable to read the (nonexistent) 12th volume! Star Trek and Lanny Budd. Strange combination. Nearly nothing of my habitual mental world can be translated to others. The richness of it is invisible and certainly intangible.

All right, my friends, I am ready and willing. My batteries seem to be charged most early in the morning as soon as I am not sleepy but before emerging into “normal” life. So tell me the next step in talking about hog-ism.

You heard it, making coffee, but thought of it as a “stray thought” of your own. Stray thoughts? Why should be no-accident rule apply only to externals and not to internals?

All right, I concede that point. So talk about it.

There are several points to be considered together:

  • Quality in the external life of the individuals in the community
  • Individual interest as actually community interest seen out of context
  • Dissatisfaction – unnecessary dissatisfaction – in what is possible within community

All this as a parallel to what we have been saying of your internal lives.

We do not apologize for the fact that this is not clear to you. If it were clear at first sight, how new could it be?

Just as when Rita and Frank were doing sessions and she would say, “this seems to contradict something you said previously” – and we would then provide context for both statements, resolving the seeming contradiction in providing new clarity, so now. We want to show you individualism and collectivism in the light of newly seen context.

That was a little awkward. Am I losing the beam or are you in need of some coffee over there?

You will find, if you look back (or forward!) that when you are prospectively grasping very abstract statements, the process takes so much of your attention that grammar itself suffers, let alone metaphor.

Interesting. Okay, I get the idea: New context for our social ideas will produce a new point of view in the way that doing a Copernican shift will rearrange our ideas of ourselves and past lives, etc.

It might be better to put it this way: As you learn that you are not so much an individual but a transient collection of threads – or rather, that such a collection is what it means to be an individual – your view of your life changes. Your possibilities expand, and certain mysteries resolve. You can communicate with what you had thought of as “past” lives; you can access infinite knowledge; you can change your past, present and future. The “superhuman” abilities promised you by scriptures are right there in front of you, or rather, the ignition key is now in your hands.

Similarly, society seen as if it were an individual.

This is very difficult work for you.

Yes – so many threads you are wanting to weave and I can scarcely stay up with you, let alone weave them.

You need other tools – like the glass bead game [a reference to a novel by Herman Hesse] — to make the handling of abstractions easier and more skilled.

It’s true and I have often felt it. The only thing I know to do is to keep it as simple as I can, sentence by sentence, and hope that you won’t forget where we are going, for if I try to hold it, I get lost. I get overwhelmed. Which thing to say first? How to make so complex a sentence that it will hold the various elements in relationship – and yet still be readable?

This is why so much “channeled” material comes out in the pompous, inflated language of the subconscious: it is beyond the ability of the interpreter to both render faithfully and translate into more normal language. It is one of your qualifications, that you are good with language, somewhat picky about it as a conveyor of meaning, free enough concerning structure to allow yourself to do what is needed, and above all determined to say it so that it may be understood. Getting these qualities in a medium means forfeiting other valuable but contradictory qualities. Hence, specialization.

All right. I suppose that is why I didn’t get a Ph.D. in something, or a Masters in English.

One reason among many. It was also important that you not acquire enough respectability that you might fear to do what would result in your losing that respectability.

Actually, I can see that. All right, when we come back, we’ll take another crack at getting what you want to tell me. But I think it will go best if –

Oh! Oh! As you said: No stray thoughts. That’s why earlier you planted the seed in my mind about talking to Gene Roddenberry! It will come best via an individual, and hence one who had thought about it. And I have been watching Star Trek movies including the “making of” stuff they include in the DVDs –

I’ll give you this. You guys are pretty clever. All right, after I recharge my batteries doing other things, I will be very pleased to talk to Gene Roddenberry about all this.

You understand,

Yes, you don’t need to say it. What he will say here, from his present perspective, isn’t necessarily what he would say if he were still here in a single-life perspective. Since I don’t know anything about him except that he had the original Star Trek ideas (or got them from Wesley Bateman, if that is what happened) – I won’t even worry about conforming story to perception. Hopefully it will be easier, but in any case – we’ll see.

(12:15) Gene Roddenberry, are you there? Or here, however we should look at it?

There is a magnetizing, a polarization, of like-vibrational souls that seem to be a group when viewed from a certain focus. When viewed from a different focus, the like-vibrational teams will be partly or entirely different. No one is only one thing. To make that clearer, a baseball team is seen from a baseball-oriented focus. The members of that same team will not necessarily sort out in any predictable way when considered from ownership of one brand of car, or coverage by one kind of life insurance, or they might be sorted by political belief or ideology, or taste in art, or in wine, or in women. A very simple concept here: Everybody has different handles, different vibrational signatures, that respond to different focuses. So, you experience me as part of a “team” that includes Franklin Roosevelt and Claude Bowers. Is this because we are a natural team, a sort of soul-family? Only in a given context. Claude Bowers is not necessarily interested in science fiction or television, or Abraham Lincoln. So, yes, I am here – for you, in this context. And I am “here” for others in different contexts. And this is true for all.

What the lesson of the day is, can be explained easier by reference to my own goals as a producer of television shows than abstractly (as you have found).

I wanted to show real people facing real problems; specifically I wanted to create a mirror in which we in the 20th century could see ourselves by contrast. Well, by contrast to what? To mankind as it could be if shaped by a different society. It could have been done by reference to a real or imagined past, but to do it against an imagined (received?) future offered greater leeway. Everything was possible.

The seven deadly sins still exist; they exist because people exist. The infinite potential range of emotion, skill, values, creation (or creativity) exist, because they exist in people, manifested more or manifested less, and in differing directions, according to circumstance. I am saying this: Creating a future matrix in which to place the future man, we created possibilities.

Start with a man (a person, yes, but say a man). He has our same innate range of possibilities – plus the things his society makes possible and ours does not, and minus the possibilities that ours makes possible and his does not. So – he is us as we would be in those circumstances. And the viewer, feeling that identity, infers the effect of the society by seeing the motives the man has – or does not have – in any given set of circumstances (also known as, “the plot”!).

How many times did viewers see and hear that the 23rd century does not use money? Whenever they heard the statement, it left a blank spot, for it is impossible to imagine a society without money. But it is not impossible to witness people whose actions are never motivated by fear of scarcity or the desire to amass a surplus. In short, it made no impression on the conscious mind, but a relatively great impression, cumulatively, on the subconscious pattern-imaging facility.

The means of transportation might be advanced – transporters, gravity-defying cars, spaceships – and this was accepted as a commonplace. The all-powerful all-connecting computers were accepted as magic, like any other marvel. The surroundings – strange worlds, spaceships, hostile or curious or indifferent races – were accepted with a shrug, so to speak, like horses in a horse opera. What was different, what was significant, what was meaningful, was the mental and emotional world of the captain and crew. That and nothing else is what turned a three-season show into a phenomenon that the fans kept alive. They weren’t attached to fist fights and transporters and dilithium crystals. They were relating to the possibilities in themselves that they could see only mirrored in the crew. Of course this doesn’t mean they knew this, at any level. They knew only that Star Trek had become important to them and they wanted to get as close to it as they could, emotionally.

So, as I said, start with the man. Then work your way logically – where is Spock when you need him? – to the society that will produce and nurture such abilities and such a view of the world.

It sounds like I have gone a long way away from our topic, but I have not. It is just that we are approaching from an unexpected direction.

You are saying, roughly, first get an accurate idea of who you are, then work to build a society that will support what you can become and want to become.

Well – not quite that. Take your break and we can continue when you are ready.

It has only been half an hour.

Still, better to break here.

6 thoughts on “Gene Roddenberry on combating “hog-ism”

  1. Always great stuff but Rodenberry’s
    comments are particularly illuminating.
    The baseball team analogy was
    simple but effective to pick one
    example. I always have the feeling
    that what these “individuals” say is
    in character but difficult for a 3D person
    to concoct ie it resonates.


  2. Wow. What an impressive, clear, informative conversation with Mr. Rodenberry you are able to bring forth. “It will come best via an individual, and hence one who had thought about it . . . “–that really expands my notion of who we might talk to and why we would. Thank you for this.

  3. Allow me point out another ‘gem’ easily read over. Herman Hesse? Wow. This:

    You need other tools – like the glass bead game [a reference to a novel by Herman Hesse] — to make the handling of abstractions easier and more skilled.

    Frank: What does the glass bead game mean to you?

  4. This post got me captivated with changing the past. What if I could? What would I change? Would I be willing to give up who I am today by altering the path to my present? Would I be the same person?

    The concern that I would miss an important life lesson if I had a “do-over” has made this daunting … but yesterday something so blatantly obvious occurred to me that it made me chuckle. All paths are followed anyway, so in the larger scheme I’m not missing anything. Also, expanding my awareness of choices not made does not mean I lose what I have. I don’t become dumb to where I am.

    I’ve got to ponder this some more. Thanks, Frank!

  5. Mark: consider that YOU… HAVE… changed your past already at some points in your life. Can you think of instances where in your life there was guidance, but maybe that guidance came from another version of you, somewhere else in time and probabilities? It is all connected. If you understand time fully, it truly marvelous. (PS: connected is such a wrong word. How can a whole be connected?)

  6. @Mark: I wrote a blog post for you. Just look for “All is connected, but a whole does not need to be connected”. Namaste ~Hanns

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