Star Trek And The RAND Corporation
When Star Trek was first produced, The RAND Corporation was under contract to the United States Air Force and other foreign organizations to research pro-social values and ways to make the world a better place. In fact, by the time Star Trek’s first episode aired on Sept 8, 1966, RAND employees had already been involved with the show’s development for years. Without RAND, Star Trek might never have birthed such a long list of futuristic concepts.
Going forward, every future Star Trek series and movie would benefit from the secret pipeline of ideas that continued to flow between NASA’s research scientists and the writers and producers of everything Trek.
RAND researcher Harvey Lynn worked tirelessly with series creator Gene Roddenberry to construct vital technological concepts and pro-humanity ideologies that not only became part of the fabric of Star Trek but also became the foundation for what might become known as “intergalactic socialism.”
During the years leading up to its launch and within every script, Roddenberry was committed to humanism and authenticity, and Lynn provided all the fodder to make that possible. While RAND corporation may or may not have been directly involved, there is no doubt that Lynn was deeply infused in RAND’s research pursuits and had an indelible influence on the formation of Star Trek.
In a series of letters between Lynn and Roddenberry, Gene once declared, “Any point you feel strongly about, please feel free to continue arguing.” This symbiotic relationship not only produced some of the best television in history, but it created a precedent for how research organizations and governments might influence the future of humanity through narrative.
RAND and Star Trek share a common belief: society should continuously seek to research and develop technologies that improve the human condition. If predictive programming in movies is a reality, let’s hope the “good guys” are winning. And by good guys, I mean women. Truly, that’s who will save the world.
“All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’ So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
— Peter Finch as character Howard Beale, in the movie “Network”