Posts Tagged ‘Borg’


hiveSeems a rather stark choice in life. Braga and Matalas lay out this stark choice in their 2013 Star Trek the Next Generation mini-series collection The Hive lays this choice out.  For a former philosophy major (yes one of my 7 undergraduate majors before finally graduating, I will not disclose how many schools but 5-6 would not be a bad guess) I love these debates.

It was like my ethics final paper where an angel and demon play a poker game over Superman’s soul (shortly after his “death”), to illustrate positive and natural law. This is another dichotomy story line that involves Captain Picard’s old nemesis, the Borg Queen. Picking up the themes from the 2-parter, Best of Both Worlds and the second cinematic movie, First Contact. Set on Enterprise-E, after Voyager’s return. Picard is once more hearing the call of the Hive Mind. Now he is hatching a plan with Seven of Nine.

There is fun temporal acrobatics, a feisty lieutenant that believes once a Borg always a Borg. Wonder how she feels serving under Captain Picard, formerly Locutus?

Then it comes down from 500 years in a fully assimilated future. A Hail Mary from Data, a pathway to save the future…

and terminate the Borg threat permanently.

So here are questions to ponder.

  1. Is it truly a zero sum game?
  2. Do you commit one genocide of trillions to halt another genocide of multi-trillions?
  3. Do you try to save any of the Borg? or is the Lieutenant correct, once a Borg, always a Borg. Which leads into the final question to ponder:
  4. Can someone authentically change or heal from who they were? How do you know? How do they know?

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The first cliff hanger of the Summer of 1990 (end of Season 3, beginning of Season 4), Best of Both Worlds, on par when Dallas did who shot JR… When Riker ordered “Fire” on the Borg ship with the newly assimilated Locutus (Jean-Luc Picard) on the view screen…cut to black. From June to September it was a long wait and with the introduction of Commander Shelby grade 7 me had to ponder was this the way to make Riker the captain?

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                As cliff hangers go, it was well written. Yet these two parts, recently re-released on blu-ray as a feature length, set the stage to question. The Borg are Star Trek’s version of Cybermen-Daleks mixed together. Where Cybermen state upgrade, and Daleks state exterminate, the Borg inform species and individuals “you will be assimilated resistance is futile.”   They are a species that have created huge storylines (think I,Borg, where Hugh was discussed as having conscience or to be used as a bio-weapon to wipe them out. Or for Voyager fans, 7 of 9’s pursuit of her humanity once more).

Like good sci-fi though, it is more than just an invasion story with the Borg en-route to sector 001 (earth). It is the story of belonging, and what brings us to belong. It is the story of stripping away all the masks we need to function in our different roles of life, to be what we are truly meant to be. Nothing more relevant than the battle within Picard to return from being part of the Borg collective (assert his identity). The Borg are an allegory for cults or fanatical-extremist groups that remove one’s identity and ability to think outside of group think completely. Picard was assimilated- yet the Borg erred, much like the Cult leader who believes to groom a successor, the Queen desired a King and let some identity remain to bring an enemy low. Identity and name, not number were used.

This struggle was seen from the other side of the spectrum of extremes. Where Starfleet struggled with the idea of First Officer that refused to advance. Even in a world where money had been done away within the Federation planets, it seemed to stump people why Riker would keep turning down ships of his own to remain on the Enterprise. Not just a ship, but a community, a family, where he belonged, shared common stories and experiences. Others saw him as standing still while others shot past, yet here he was living the adventure of a lifetime.

Where the Borg had Locutus to challenge the extremist of collectivism, Riker was challenging the Federation’s extreme of individualism within the militarized wing of the Federation.

A duality presented to understand that in the middle outside of the bounds of extremes. A place where the Federation was a shining light, where peace existed, where one was truly free to pursue passions over survival. This is the ethos that drove Star Trek in the hearts of many others…a utopian future where there is still struggle, but where one could be who they are and the collective good was looked out for.

In case one forgets the dangers of extremism, there is stories like this that show all pieces of the political spectrum even in Utopia could create extremism. Today we must remember in the traditional political-religious spectrums there is extremism that has nothing to do with the core of the movements:

There are those in our world who watched Star Trek Deep Space Nine and believed the Cardassians to be the heroes of the Bajoran occupation, and Ferengi to be the moral compass of the universe.

Conservatives to facists to Neo-Nazis. Liberals to Communists to Stalinists (note how Stalinists and Neo-Nazis connect on the same hatred points—extremism creates weird bedfellows). Religiously seen in Islam to Al-Qaeda to ISIS, Christianity to IRA/Religious Right/PRO-LIFE Terror groups to the KKK.

But what is missed, is the joining floor, like the United Federation of Planets (our struggling version, the United Nations—religiously the Parliament of World Religions, World Council of Churches) where core values come through, common ground is found. Where individuals do not have to become assimilation spouting/doing automatons or climbing Jacob’s ladder to higher points of self-grandeur, whether warranted, but may not be what resonates for true vocation or readiness.

It is the moment Mary of Nazareth attempted to show us at the Wedding at Cana where she broke societal norms for hospitality, shattered patriarchy, and pushed her Son to be part of miracle to show the world…that things come in many different forms.

It is the challenge that history tells us moving into the before season of Easter Lent that builds to Palm Sunday, Jesus entry into Jerusalem. A day where Caesar would flex his might against the extremists of the Empire and force assimilation by having legions march in Jerusalem. It was also a time when the drive to climb the ladder kept families in power on their toes to constantly stay alive. Where the drive for power had one put aside family, friendship, belonging, and anything else that may be claimed to value to ensure the climbing up of the ladder. How the Herod family played all sides, how the religious authorities sold out their own belief systems to maintain power.

All this… and then you have the Riker/Locutus moment. Jesus, the peasant carpenter (labourer), born a bastard, raised in a small town where everyone knew Joseph wasn’t his Daddy (imagine the bullying) …rumours of the madness of Mary claiming God’s son, yet the whispers of gossip mill about the passing through Roman soldiers that had used her, and why Joseph was able to secure her. Shock that he stayed and had not turned her out quietly or stoned her.

Yet here he was, coming into the city at high holy time. A rabble of followers from the lower classes, those in the halls of power that may be curious only visiting by night to literally save their own necks.

While stallions and weapons were on the other side of town, flexing military might, entering along an entrance lined with crucified “terrorists”, “zealots” and “messiahs” with the power bases cheering.

Here was Brother Jesus, holding to his core beliefs of belonging, family, community, inclusion, hope, joy, faith, peace and L-O-V-E. Simply entering in such a fashion to shake the foundations and begin the ripple of what it meant to be neighbour. No more show, no more cognitive dissonance. Simply be. Simply do.

Are you ready for your Locutus/Riker moment?

Your donkey ride?

Are you ready to find your core?

 


The answer is…

NEITHER

As much as I would like to sit here and say that the Conservative or fundamentalist Christianities were dying and at death’s door…they are not.

Nor can one stipulate that the liberal branches are.

This is the sticky point as some will say, surely you jest writer, just look at the numbers of people leaving in droves, the building sell off, congregation closings…except that is the traditional-conservative-fundamentalit structures that the new inclusive Christianities are stepping out of.

You see, the buildings may go away, traditional style congregations and positions may fade… yet there is a movement of faithful through works, through devotion to fellowship and through syncronicity of faith, holy stories and called to vocation and learnings… that are not quantifiable by any stretch of the imagination.

So unfortunately to the screaming headlines, and butts in pew counters out there, neither of broad tents of the Christianities will go away… why?

Like all other forms of spirituality, ideology, and religion… each of the veins of Christianities draws different individuals into the Holy Mystery.

The question shouldn’t be who the winner will be…

The question needs to be… how do we work together to create the just reign of God here on Earth that Christ called us too in the Gospels?