This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You Become Who You Wish to Be

I’m dating myself here. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was delighted to find after school a television channel that showed reruns of the original Star Trek series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Yeah, they were cheesy, but to a young girl they were “fascinating.” Along with books and Star Wars, these were my first initiation into ideas of bending reality and alternate worlds. A few years later I was excited to watch Star Trek: Next Generation. This was objectively a better series, with more complex characters and occasionally a truly mind-twisting premise. The cardboard walls and Christmas tree lights were gone. Yes, maybe the Next Generation episodes were sometimes silly, but as in the first series, full of optimism and derring do.

I love to contrast the characters of Spock and Data from the two series. Spock is a Vulcan – a humanoid who prizes logic and rationality more than anything. Spock never showed emotion, at least until the actor complained and the writers built in a half-human side and a few episodes in which he could deliver a larger emotional range.

Data, on the other hand, is the quintessential Pinocchio: an android built by Dr. Noonian Soong who is incapable of experiencing emotion, although he desperately pursues this aim. Among other things Data learns painting, plays poker, and adopts a cat (Spot), but never quite gets it.

Interestingly, I think of Spock as less human-like than Data. Spock, who is human but wishes to be unemotional, is perceived as unemotional. Data, who is without emotions but “desires” to become human, is perceived as human -- although the crew never forget that he is an android, they always interact with him in a human-like way.

Of course, this perception on my part, as the audience, might be due to skillful acting and writing that imbues a limited character with greater depth. But assuming that this is a true observation, I’ve often pondered why this might be. I think it comes down to this: the characters are perceived, not as who they are or even who they see themselves as, but who they desire to be.

This is a powerful thought.

Who are you aiming to be? What do you wish to accomplish? More than many other factors, these goals will define who you are.


  1. A couple years ago I bought all three seasons of TOS on DVD, and my family watched every single episode, in sequence, over the course of that summer. One episode per day. I recall that "Star Trek summer" with fondness. It brought back many fond memories of youth in the '60s.

    After seeing one episode, my pre-teen daughter was hooked. That gave me joy. Compared with all the garbage sitcoms on TV these days, Star Trek (TOS)really portrayed some _very_ good messages.

    OTOH, TNG went for political correctness. After hearing "...to boldly go where no ONE has gone before" I was really disappointed. Not by the split infinitive. Out of respect for TOS, this sentence is not something that should have been tampered with. Also, I am by no means a sexist, but I get enough political correctness at work; I don't also need it in my entertainment. Immediately turned it off and never watched a single episode of that.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I loved the first series. It embodied the optimism and sense of unlimited options of the 60s generation. (Not that I'm a fan of flower children values, but find it interesting to reflect how their "love, peace, and togetherness" of the 60s morphed into an increased isolation in the 70s).

    OK, yeah, The Next Generation is politically correct. But it's still a fabulous series! The acting, especially by Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), is quite good. Most of the ideas were fairly pedestrian but a few really knocked the ball out of the park.

    Both series are good for different reasons. But I'm unabashed to say I love both. They lost me with Deep Space Nine -- hated it. Now, Stargate is another cool series...