The Inner Herald: The Value of Proclaiming a Message in a Relative Society

"Lover of the Light" — Mumford & Sons

“Lover of the Light” — Mumford & Sons

“Seize the time, Meribor.  Live now.  Make now always the most precious time.  Now will never come again”
—Picard in The Inner Light

You may wonder why I constantly reference Star Trek.  While I can get at the depth of its universe and how revolutionary it was in both the world of science fiction and television itself, it comes down to two things:  it’s my childhood and this style of writing doesn’t exist anymore.

I grew up in a generation where shows focused heavily on the message.  The television shows I watched always had a moral in every other episode, be it secular or sacred.  Digimon to friendship; Touched By An Angel to Christianity; Star Trek to social issues; etc.  It does make sense, after all: these shows either came from a tradition or a generation where people proclaimed a message in all art-forms to embetter the next generation.

And it worked.

Many of my core values were reinforced through television shows and movies I watched.  “Arthur’s Family Vacation,” reinforced the value of adapting to situations.  The Snowman (1982) taught not only the beauty of having an imaginative mind, but cherishing friends while they’re still here.  Batman Beyond’s “Shriek” strengthened the foundation of valuing the past.  As a child, I may have just enjoyed the action scenes and disregarded the message of the story, but subconciously, these shows and movies would set root to who I became later.  To clarify, my learning ground wasn’t television but life itself—these shows merely reinforced key ideas in my impressionable child mind, as eloquently stated by Jon Stewart in his interview with J.J. Abrams about Star Trek:

“At the time you watch it on the surface, and it was goofy […] Then you’d turn around and be like ‘Racism is wrong.’  You didn’t know why!  But like Kirk made love to a green woman, and you’re like ‘we should live together in peace!’”

This is the era I grew up with, and it’s slowly fading away.  Instead of messages, we get character analysis.  Instead of messages, we focus solely on plot line.  Instead of messages, the budget is allocated toward special effects.  That’s not to say these things aren’t good, and—even more important—not to say that the shows of my era did not focus on such areas. However, there is a severe decline of good messages being placed in recent films and shows.

It does make me wonder what the next generation’s foundation will be built upon as good morals flee from the media scene—but that’s another story for another time.  Directors choose to focus more on the character and theme because that’s the generation we live in.  People are tired of others shoving messages down their throats.  People don’t like being intruded with other people’s thoughts and beliefs.  We enjoy having our views and not dealing with conflict.  All this is more-or-less understandable, and so it makes sense why we would have stories about characters—the stories they live are theirs, not a universal truth throughout all of humanity.

But I believe that among all these relative truths, there are some that are quite universal.  The words Picard says to his daughter in “The Inner Light”—the words listed in the epigraph—ring true no matter what century or nation you live in:  time is precious, for now will never come again.  “Hope is a good thing—maybe the best of things—and no good thing ever dies” —Andy DuFresne, The Shawshank Redemption.  I could list at least hundreds of quotes that is not bound by time or space, but applies throughout all of humanity.

We need not be afraid of sending out our ideas. If we are blessed with a message, we ought to write it out boldly so that others may run with it like a herald, proclaiming good news.  Granted, we should also be considerate of others, using tact as we formulate our words.  This all said, our generation should not be paralysed at the face of spreading news.  We may be individuals with different backgrounds and limited understanding of the world around us, but some messages are worth sharing to the whole world.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon's Posts

Share Your Thoughts