Cat Vincent has done a lot of writing about hyperreal religions, creating your own mythology and the life altering impact of fiction. He’s been detailing his personal philosophy in the Guttershaman series, begun the Mason Lang Film Club and recently had a piece on the (rather creepy) Slenderman published in Darklore magazine. All fascinating, and well worth a look, but one essay on a particular piece of Modern Mythology had a very personal resonance with me.
My impetus for writing this list lies in how closely my sense of self is tied to the my relationship with creative culture. One of the most influential, and the franchise that spent longest as my Favourite TV Show, is Star Trek (initially The Next Generation, but I’m counting the whole lot). It introduced me to science fiction as fiction of ideas (as opposed to adventures with robots and ray-guns), it nurtured my nascent love of space and science, and it occurred to me recently that I can’t actually think of any value system/moral philosophy/religion/whatever that I hold higher than Star Trek at its most optimistic.
The high hope in humanity’s potential to be peaceful, curious, well rounded and harmonious still strikes me as a Future Worth Aiming For. A Post-Scarcity society is still about the only economic system I don’t hate; and while we’re still a long way off matter replicators and universal freedom from want, at least in the internet we’re seeing the first sparks. In Star Trek, a world with all financial incentives removed still functions, people still contribute to society, and – as this list shows – there are plenty of people contributing to the Internet’s culture of Information Post-Scarcity.
In Infinite Diversity, Cat focusses on the concept of IDIC, analysing the episode “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” and completely nails the strange mixture of strengths and weaknesses: the dramatic potential squandered, the high ideals that it doesn’t always live up to. He picks apart the less laudable aspects and shows what’s admirable about the utopian core. I love works of fiction built around a strong utopian core…