In the last post I wrote about how one of Joss Whedon’s favorite narratives is that of a scrappy band working together to avert an Apocalypse. I said that I wished he would venture forth beyond the Apocalypse and imagine adventures on the other side.

It occurred to me that Firefly started in that direction.  It was set 500 years in the future. We are told the Earth was “used up” and humans had moved out into the galaxy.

When it first aired, I dug it. It had lots of potential. And I knew that Joss’s shows need time to really get going, so I was looking forward to it becoming even better. That said, I was also disappointed. What was awesome were Joss’s usual interesting, quirky characters, the almost poetic dialogue, and the masterful storytelling. The setting, however, I found less believable than Buffy or Angel. It seemed like a tired old vision of the Future. I am seriously bugged by Sci Fi which is basically just the 20th Century with flying cars, space ships, laser guns , and robots. At the end of the first and only (half) season and in the film, “Serenity” the “future” started to get interesting. Alas.

I believe it was Daniel Quinn, author of “Ishmael,” who said, “I’ve only made one prediction about the future, and that is if humans are still around 100 years from now, they will live very differently and think very differently than we do now.”

The “think very differently” part is what is so hard to imagine. Just like a medieval person couldn’t really imagine the way a modern person thinks and sees the world, its impossible from our level of consciousness to imagine the future consciousness. (Unless we have had some peak experiences, spiritual experiences, or psychedelic experiences.) The characters in Firefly were really just contemporary folks projected 500 years into the future.

I think that Joss got it partially right. He focused on the existential freedom on the other side of The Big Birth. His vision of outer space with infinite worlds to explore is an image of nearly limitless freedom and opportunity for creativity and exploration. But, there is more than bigger freedom on the other side. There is a a much bigger way of thinking, of seeing, and loving. Basically, what would the global community be like if a billion people were as evolved as the Dalai Lama? What if that kind of consciousness, that kind of compassion was the norm? Think of all those scientists, businessmen, leaders, teachers, engineers, parents, etc., operating from that level of consciousness? That’s the Sci Fi series I want to see.

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