Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stephen Fry on Star Trek

Από το Stephen Fry Live At The Sydney Opera House, του 2010, όπου πάνω στην κουβέντα, ο συμπαθής international treasure εξηγεί μέσα σ' ένα δίλεπτο ολόκληρη τη "Γέννηση της τραγωδίας" του Νίτσε και την κοτσάρει στο Σταρ Τρεκ.

"Most of human history and art can be expressed in Star Trek plots. It's true. Just to go on a slight side-thing, the finals of my Cambridge degree was on the subject of Nietzsche and tragedy, and I mostly wrote about Star Trek. And I have to tell you, I got a very good degree.

It's partly because (just in case you wanted to write an essay about Nietzsche and Star Trek), Nietzsche argued that all tragedy was based on an opposition between the Apollonian and the Dionysiac instincts, in ancient Greece and in particular Greek tragedies. In other words, the Dionysiac instinct was for wine and revel and feasting, the id as you might say it, the animal part of us. And against that was the Apollonian: harmonic, logic, reason, rhetoric. And that the Greek civilization was playing out in front of itself the story of its own beginnings, from blood feuds and trials and tribal wars and appetite and sexual lust and animal instincts, to this extraordinary thing of logic and reason that it founded: Aristotle and the philisophers and music and Pythagoras and everything else. And the two were constantly at war. As they are in all of us, of course, which is why tragedy is so fantastic a medium.

And oddly enough, that's what most Star Trek stories are about. You have the Captain in the middle, who is trying to balance both his humanity and his reason. And on his left shoulder, in the original Star Trek, you have the appetitive, physical Dr McCoy. And on his right shoulder you have Spock, who is all reason. And they are both flawed, because they don't balance the two, and they're at war with each other, Bones is always having a go at Spock. And Kirk is in the middle, representing the perfect solution.

And not only that, the planets they visit usually make the mistake of being either over-ordered and over-reasonable and over-logical (so they kill those who descend, and they do it calmly and reasonably), and they have to learn to be a bit human. "You! Will! Learn! To! Be! Human!" Or, they are just a savage race that needs reason and order. So, anyway, that's why Star Trek is incredibly important."

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