As we stand now, there appear to be certain aspects of reality that, depending on the set of one's mind, provide instance for the outpouring of either joy or sorrow. Regardless of the specific reaction brought out though, it would seem that these dimensions of existence are themselves, unavoidable. The existence of suffering for instance, requires overcoming or resignation from the individual. Either a man may seek solace in the comfort of a god, or he may face the unyielding reality into which he finds himself thrust. These are matters of life, and therefore unavoidable. Even the most callous must acknowledge such things, and one might often find that the most callous of men is simply the most talented actor, and also the one most moved and paralyzed by the cries of his fellows. The terror is not lightened in the heart of the religious man, unless it were by fallacy. Given enough courage and honesty, he must admit that at the bottom, his god is the cause of every horror to which he inescapably bears witness. The man who lands at last at the point of confrontation lives a life of (happy?) defiance, and finds neither rest nor reprieve until finally the earth claims its own.
How can we scorn those who find themselves addicted to what is deemed useless and time-consuming? I speak here of that group among the populace derided as being consumed by science fiction. Therein is a very interesting breed of men and women, who are intelligent enough only to recognize that they have not the powers of intellect to personally improve the situation of humanity. And so rather than act, they seek to teach. I beg pardon here, as broad generalizations such as these are oftentimes unhelpful or somewhat dishonest. Obviously not everyone involved in the writing or consumption of what is deemed "science fiction" stands on the same intellectual platform, or uses what talent they do have toward the same ends. However, I am primarily concerned with those who are not as brilliant as say, Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov, but who are intelligent enough to believe that something must be done to positively affect the condition of mankind.
In a world divided, is it not seductive to picture humanity brought together by a common enemy emerging from the void of space? Is it not glorious to imagine a desperate triumph against impossible odds, or a victory achieved by a truly virtuous hero whose strength is such that the audience cannot help but gasp and cry out in his trying moments? Though our lives have been vastly lengthened, who could say that they don't wonder at all, if mankind could extend their lives ad infinitum by mastering at long last the enigmatic secrets of the universe? Is there anything more hopeful to the pragmatic, modern man, than that proclamation of Arthur C. Clarke, watered down to its essential nature, that the current dreams of science fiction become the scientific realities of tomorrow? It is incredibly difficult to resist the promise of such a claim, even if one suspects that it is born of the same delusional optimism of most other quasi-religious statements. In roughly two centuries man has reached beyond his own planet, is it absurd to think that in another two his accomplishments might dwarf even the dreams of our present day?
Science fiction, despite any jokes or mockings, is simply the modern cry against eternal problems that have found articulation in modernity. At best, a love expressed in popular culture might endear itself to an ever wider audience and lead to a universal love of science and the improvement upon our past accomplishments. Even at worst though, the love of science fiction provides a hope for those who need it, and cannot bring themselves to find it in similarly false narratives. Personally though, I think false hope is little use no matter the source. It may allow some to sleep at night, but in that sleep what dreams may come?