At the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the caption appears on screen in a blaze of hope: “The human adventure is just beginning.” The message is that the human adventure is the conquest of space and the expansion of the human spirit.

Yes. The human adventure certainly concerns the betterment of ourselves as a species, including growing out of our planetary cradle – because if we can survive to escape our nursery, then we will be well on our way to bettering ourselves.

But I think there’s more to the human adventure, things we can and should be working on right now, and things that certainly involve the betterment of ourselves, and that is the perfecting of our society.

Much as the founding fathers of America spoke of forming a more perfect union, with the full acknowledgment that we can never attain perfection, but that we should always be striving toward that ideal, we should set our eyes on the perfection of society as the means of the salvation of the human race.

I believe, with every fiber of my being, that the human adventure can and must include the perfection of our civilization, and that means, in practical terms, the eradication of poverty, the elimination of ignorance, the extermination of war, the strengthening of society’s stability, the feeding of every hungry person, the healing of every illness, the comforting of every sad soul, and the ever-growing realization that WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

Mark Vonnegut, the son of Kurt Vonnegut, once said, “We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”

You know, that’s a real fine place to start the human adventure. And what if there were a religion that could grab hold of the imagination, the yearning, the dream of every human being on earth, and it held as its only dogma, its only truth, “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”?

If there is nothing else, that acknowledgment, that realization, should be the starting gun, the first chapter of the continuing story of our human adventure.