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July 20, 2005 [ More archived home pages here ]

The Final Frontier

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James "Scotty" Doohan passed away today at age 85. He played the chief engineer on the original 1960's Star Trek TV series. A strange coincidence that today marks the 36th anniversary of men landing on the Moon.

I first saw Star Trek a few weeks after its debut in 1966. My high school friend, Bob Springer invited Larry Dalke and I over to his apartment to watch it on his color console TV. I was hooked on the series from that moment on.

The series dealt with many social issues of the time. One of my favorite episodes was when two aliens who hated each other revealed the tension of race problems. Both aliens were humanoid with half their bodies white and the other half black. The basis of their hatred was the distinction of being white or black on the wrong side of the body! In my life since that time I have found some people to bear not only race hatred, but language hatred, religious hatred, cultural hatred, etc. There is no end to hatred in our world, no matter what side some people are on.

The reason I liked Star Trek so much was not for the social issues they played out, but for the way the characters aboard the Enterprise always supported each other and Captain Kirk. No truer friends could the captain have with Spock and Dr. McCoy at his side. They would sacrifice their lives to save his without question, if need be. Scotty was the same, I think, except his primary duty and loyalty was in keeping the ship in the best shape no matter what happened to it. Without a character like Scotty to watch out for the vessel that kept them all alive in space, the other crew wouldn't feel secure to perform their other duties.

While the stories were fiction and written to perpetuate the final frontier theme, we shouldn't forget that we could recognize loyalty and bonding that reflects real-life relationships in that and subsequent series. If you want to see teams that don't function well together, see the archives of Enron management meetings, or watch coverage of the governmental branches of our various institutions. If you want to see teams develop the ways to function well together then go into volunteerism. By the very nature of volunteering, people have to work together to succeed.

I myself feel a great sense of loyalty among the teams I volunteer with frequently. If there wasn't that feeling of loyalty present, I would be gone in a flash, voting with my feet. I know what great teams of loyal volunteers can do because I've been in them.

Like the Star Trek series theme of nearly 40 years ago, the final frontier begins with my very next step. Thanks "Scotty" and "Dr. McCoy" for creating the path for millions of us. May you continue to rest in peace.


The western United States is in a vast heat-wave this week. Here in San Diego it is hot and humid, very untypical for this region. I think it is a good opportunity to present the next Digital Insight presented below.

Valley of Thirst (Created in October 1999)

There are actual things we want, we desire, we crave for relief. It may be something we possessed that once was so perfect or it may be something we never experienced. It's absence is marked by the dreaded longing, increased distress, perhaps even deprivation of our Spirit. Yet we carry on seeking to quench that need--somehow. Using my own words, I quote a portion from that page's narration:

"Drink deeply and consider. We all thirst for something. Sometimes that thirst is satisfied and sometimes it is merely postponed."


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