Scotty, Old School “Pump Fixer” Let’s face it, without without Scotty, the Enterprise was a just a tired old boat on a TV set. Scotty made it “go.”
Human activity is quite boring, if you take time to reflect: making money requires spending money. A machine that sucks money in and then pumps it out inevitably will become unbalanced. Fixing the pump, or at least attempting do so, necessarily creates a tired plot in drama and film.
A journey begins with warnings of disaster: an old tub of a boat is the sole available vehicle. Like all boats, it leaks; success is keeping the bilge pump pumping enough of the accumulation of incoming water back out into the river or sea to meet the critical limits dictated by the physics of buoyancy. There is a character whose task is to intervene; some guy who is otherwise ignored, until the pump fails, pops his greasy head out of the hold, proclaims the “fix” to be impossible, but of course, he succeeds through experience and ingenuity and the script. This mini drama of man’s machinery vs. the universe of relentless physical forces is the “theme” of our species.
Scotty, the “old school fixer” character was replaced by the Magic Witch who used the power of “empathy” to override the power of physics. This marks a turn away (at least in the U.S.) from physical reality and acceptance of psychology as the “designated fixer” of human (default) defective behavior. This reflects the resurgence of fundamentalist religion in the U.S.
There is another mandatory character: the idiot Top Male who jeopardizes other lives with unthinking demands and decisions. Inexperienced, no skills, self-centered. The struggle between native knowledge and domination by social class and wealth is as old as human mythology. The crew seethe with resentment, the Idiot wrecks projects and plans.
How incredibly boring: the allure of the journey is forgotten. Fixing the pump becomes the journey; throwing the Idiot overboard, an option. It becomes clear that the Idiot is irrelevant: fixing the pump is vital.
I nominate the “Pump Fixer” for the true hero of mankind’s journey, but we’re running out of Pump Fixers while Idiots have multiplied. The ratio of number of humans / number of pump fixers has shrunk to an unsustainable low. We’re betting 7 billion human lives and thousands of years of civilization on the egos at the apex of the pyramid.
The same old plot, but at this stage, where will we find a “fixer” who can renew resources, produce fresh water, remove millions of tons of plastic debris from land and ocean, safely dispose of nuclear and other toxic wastes (and not create more), replace manufactured “food” that is devoid nutrition with “real” food, renew soil fertility, stave off epidemics poised to conquer mankind (again), and wean ourselves off addiction to violence and war as the “fix” that keeps the “old leaky and sinking tubs” of governments and economies afloat, temporarily.
Humans today live in physical and social structures that were in vogue at the time of the building of the pyramids. We’re letting “gadgets” re-organize archaic ideas and habits. That’s all. The old tired drama is still playing.
Spock: The desperate hope that by isolating and jettisoning “the reactive” mind, humans will avoid the cycle of violence we so obviously enjoy and even find necessary to fulfilling the destiny of Homo sapiens.