Posts Tagged ‘Bio-ethics’

X-marks the question?

Posted: September 3, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Ah ethics, bio-ethics. Anyone who has dived into a helping profession, human services, science, medicine or even religious studies knows the conundrums. There has been many times all these fields have been proven to be on the wrong side of history in regards to the human condition, and the full personhood (Imageo Dei for us of the Christian persuasion). The Star Trek series touched on the dark outcome of the practice of Eugenics, with the Eugenics War, the original Episode, Space Seed, and Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. Eugenics is the nasty practice the world believed in that gave rise to Naziism and their final solutions for LGBT folks, Jewish, Roma, multiple births and persons with disabilities (13 million). The thrust of the storyline within Star Trek is how the perfection was corrupted, and that the diversity of the world was loss. It was within our diversity that victory was held, and the old concepts of breeding to purity was blown out of space over the Genesis planet.

Yet, it still rears its ugly head today. This concept of racial superiority has sadly still stuck around, and we see the 2-3% of the People’s Party of Canada base attempting a resurgence, and Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada not wanting to call it out for fear of losing his base. Yet, there is something as insidious, within the work towards full inclusion. Through the way we have crafted our world, chasing the funding dollars, and trying to get on the “agenda” for personhood to be noticed– we have created a stratification within those seen as vulnerable. That further breaks down the voice.

It all starts to come down to the chaos theory purported in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and the echoing question of just because we could, no one stopped to ask if we should?

How does this fit in?

Simple, like Star Trek (and many other series), Marvel’s X-Men have told a social-political justice story of the battle for equality and inclusion. In the 1960’s it was a very thinly veiled commentary on the rights movements of African Americans, though one could have the Mutants used for any group that has had to fight to be recognized as full persons- Indigenous, Women, etc. In the later decades they became stand ins for the societal debate of LGBTTQ2+ and Persons with Disabilities. No more jarringly so that Joss Whedon and John Cassady’s opening story arc of Astonishing X-men: Gifted (single issues, graphic novel, motion comic) that I found the novelization of by Peter David in the book section of Dollarama (who can turn down a $4 Peter David adventure?).

What is Gifted?

It is an ethical question that has been put forward multiple times in the debate of conversion therapy, seclusion rooms, eugenics, and put forward in disability studies classrooms and queer theology–

If there was a pill you could take to “cure” you, would you?

Dr. Kativa Rao now has that cure pill for Mutants. The questions begin to be asked:

  1. Who decides on use? The individual? The family? The government?
  2. Would it ever be forced upon someone?
  3. Is Mutation an illness or a part of how you are? (Now men, remember in genetics, we are the broken x-chromosome-that is we are the mutation).

The magic pill question of ethics, not in the crux of 4 colour worlds. Pointing out that the drive to discover the genetic map for anything is the drive to erase or eradicate. So, what does that mean for our scientific world within the scope of should and could?

It is a unique time, as we are the mutants in the story. We have so divided the human family based around labels and codes, that each and everyone of us some day could be asked the “cure question” for what we are seen as not “typical”. The tension of the story being when two founding members stood on different sides of the divide on using the Cure (Beast & Cyclops), but like with any genetic research what foundation of horrors is the cure built upon?

These words by Peter David in the book, are deeply about personhood:

The X-Men had always been symbols of what people could accomplish when they were forced to adjust to strange, new abilities. Bit if there was a new reality where mutants din’t have to adjust…

…why should they be forced to?

Symbols were all well and good, but all the X-Men were–all they really were–were examples of what mutants could be if the chose to live their lives as mutants. Rather than allow themselves to be beaten down by society, mutants could band together and create a world where they lived in solidarity with each other and drew strength from that. A strength that would enable them to survive long enough for society to realize that mutants were simply different, not enemies. (p.249).

And that is the crux, my son is a super hero, I have gone through my own journey of recovery and rebirth. Would it have been easy to simply take a “cure” and be “normal”? Possibly, but in that moment of “cure” we have lost the beauty of who we are, and the journey we are one…a journey to be. And in being but one piece in the beautiful mosaic that is the world.

That is the true cure, removing the stigma from our own selves, the apprehension and fear of the different, and embracing our neighbours and finally, realizing and knowing, we are in this together.

 


The United Federation of Planets was founded by Andorians, Humans, Vulcans, Tellarites, and Rigellians. During the novel series Typhon Pact, Andor was hit by a plague that threatened the very survival of a species. Dr. Bashir (from those who liked Deep Space Nine) broke orders and found a cure (hence left in exile and lost in his own traumas on Cardassia now under the leadership of his friend, Garak).

Image result for star trek titan movieThat was the broad strokes. The cure though did not solve the problem of Andor moving forward from where they were. Or the fear that led them to create tenuous to no relationship with the Federation, or to answer what next?

A world and an institution trapped in a new existence and attempting to run their own strategies through what to do. The value: Life.

This is where Michael A. Martin’s Star Trek: Titan’s Fallen Gods. The USS Titan was the ship introduced in 2002’s movie, Star Trek Nemesis where Captain Picard officiated the wedding of his First Officer, William Riker, and ship’s Counsellor, Deanna Troi on Enterprise E. The Titan was the ship they were transferring to for Riker to become a captain.

It is the most diverse ship in the Federation, think Canada (or if you live in Canada, NE Calgary) in space. How does this tie into the meta story? Simple, within the crew is 7 Andorians. Andor’s government announces an edict that all citizens are to return home to ensure the survival of their species. See, it is not just simple math of male plus female can make a baby. For Andorians there are four genders involved in a bonding to produce a viable offspring. Hence, that they need to ensure all are back on deck for this.

The challenge is, what if you do not want to return home? What if you see yourself as a Federation citizen not a citizen of Andor?

This is the conundrum, as the Federation responds they would repatriate, in essence strip rights and citizenship and were sending a ship to take the 7 crew members. In the gap time, Andor sent a battle ship to remove by force if necessary.

Captain Riker, is left with his own core values, about free will, choice, and efficacy… and decides that it is up to each crew member to decide, not a forced choice putting him at odds.

First ethical conundrum comes up:

1) You are an Andorian crew member, what do you choose?

2) You are the captain of the Federation ship coming to rendezvous with Titan, what’s your decision?

3) Andorian commander, what do you do?

Finally, Riker, how strong is your resolve?

It is the same as having a personal or corporate mission or vision. Core values create it, and flow through to create the lens opportunities and decisions are placed through to come to decisions. It is a test to truly understand what core values are, for missions, plans and programs may change (same as careers) but core values usually hold good ground.

The second ethical conundrum. A simple request to meet each Crew member on the Andorian ship to interview. Attempts at kidnapping thwarted. But something is hinky with the Transporter. For Trekkies we all know Tom Riker came about due to a transporter accident that split Riker in two, creating two distinct people…guess what the Andorians had figured out to re-patriate those that did not want to come home?

Is it ethical?

What rights does the “new” transporter individual have?

Would you have fought?

Kidnapped?

Used the transporter to create new life?

The could/should question at the fore front of the Jurassic Park book and movies series, is good within the concept of Chaos Theory and whether or not things should happen just because we can. Have we extrapolated the full ethical impact before acting. What is driving decisions? Time? Fear? Power? Money?

In this quandary of a subplot, what would you do as any of the players? Where do your core values take you in life? How does it relate to how you are living now, and the decisions you make each day?