Star Trek‘s George Takei celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday today, and the actor reflected upon his life while looking ahead to the future.
The actor is spending his birthday trying to do something worthwhile. “I’m literally up in the air flying from Los Angeles to Toronto to speak at a fundraiser for the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre,” said Takei. “So I am celebrating my seventy-fifth birthday in the way that I’ve spent most of my life: raising funds for good causes.”
Takei has the misfortune to share his day and month of birth with one of modern history’s worst villains. “I have a lot to atone for,” he said. “It’s also Hitler’s birthday. I share that birthday with the blackest villain in history. I had a friend that used to call me on my birthday to wish me Happy Adolf Day, but she stopped that after Columbine — they were celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday. So I was born on a very unhappy, historically dark day. If only my mother could have held me a little longer or pushed me out a little bit earlier, I would have been able to avoid that. But I have to be particularly good in this life in order to make up for that villain of history.”
Humans can also be villainous, and Takei explained the challenge and importance of not giving in to darker impulses to which humanity is prone. “We are still the human animal,” he said. “When we were savages, the two things that we had that made us succeed as a being were our creative minds and our aggressive quality. Our creative mind provided us with the idea of creating tools and weapons, sharpening a stick and making it into a spear. Our killer instincts helped us get our food and protect our kind. Our mind kept developing and coming up with new tools and weapons, but our killer instincts didn’t change. We kept developing without the killer instinct becoming more intelligent. So here we are with weaponry that can annihilate civilizations.
“We’ve now advanced to the point from the ’60s Civil Rights movement to where we now have an African-American President. But we still have something like the Trayvon Martin case, where an African-American, particularly a male, is born a suspect. We have this law that protects this kind of behavior motivated by the killer instinct. We are faced with the dilemma of our creative minds providing us with these weapons, without progressing equally in the diplomatic, problem-solving way. That’s the big challenge of our time and our future generation.”
Takei’s most recent project, The Allegiance Musical, the “story of love, war and heroism set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II,” will have its pre-Broadway premiere beginning September 19 at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego.
TrekToday wishes Mr. Takei a very happy birthday.