Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Living in the Nexus...

I sat with the Grumpy Old Man and Erik this afternoon while they watched Star Trek: Generations. In this Star Trek movie Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise is consumed by an astral phenomenon call the Nexus. Within the Nexus Picard finds himself inhibiting a world of his greatest desires. The Nexus is a wave of bliss within which all the inhabitants have their dreams come true. I guess it is what people commonly belief Heaven or Nirvana would be.

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I couldn't help but muse on what my experience of the Nexus would be.

In the Nexus our family would always get along and all the boys would be kind to one another and they would listen to us. In the Nexus the weather would be sunny during the day and a constant 25 degrees with a light breeze. It would rain at night when rain was needed and the nights would be 10 degrees cool.

We'd do things as a family without stress and bickering.

The house would always be comfortably tidy (not so tidy we didn't feel we could relax, but tidy enough that I would never feel embarrass if people popped in unexpectedly).

In the Nexus I would not only have plenty of ideas for writing but I'd have the energy and space of thought to write, and I'd have an upstairs writing room with inspiring views - which for me would probably mean being able to see people going about their day outside.

Life would be like a dream in the Nexus.

Of course, in the movie, Picard soon realises that the world he is enjoying so much isn't 'real' and as hard as it is for him to leave it behind, he has to return to the messy, painful, complex world of 'real life'.

Wanting for nothing is a lovely idea, but how would we grow if we were perfect and the world around us was perfect?

As a writer, I can be an idealist, and I could - if I wanted to - create worlds where everyone was always happy and life was perfect and people were nice to each other and got along famously.

Notice, I said I could create worlds - not stories.

Stories don't exist without challenge. I could write a scene where everyone was perfect and kind and lovely and there was no pain, but for that scene to grew into a story, there would have to be challenge, threat, pain; something to drive my characters into action.

I've rediscovered this through playing Minecraft. I play Minecraft on peaceful because, quite frankly, I don't like to die and I find the adrenalin rush of creepers, zombies, skeletons and spiders a bit overstimulating (I have a very vivid imagination). However, playing on peaceful is ultimately limited because once you've built a house and a village and grown some mobs and whatnot, there is nothing to do. It all looks pretty, but it's not life, it's existence. So now I play yogbox which allows me to play on peaceful but which sets up challenges as well, and puts me within a story arc.

A rich life is messy and part of living a rich life is learning to manage the challenges and the pain, and striving for harmony.

Living in the Nexus would ultimately be dissatisfying and I suspect that was the real reason Picard left.

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