Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

Strange Ethics?

Posted: May 23, 2022 by Ty in Spirituality
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A long weekend to hopefully renew, a week showing (the first in many months) of a revitalized Wally West Flash run, so the public library for what used to be called “four colour” fix it is. King, Gerards and Shaner’s Strange Adventures collection. I am a fan of Tom King’s writing style, so even though, I am not even minute fan of Adam Strange, this was on the list of curious reads. To catch you up dear reader, Adam Strange is a man of two worlds, due to zeta beams, he is taken for times from Earth to Rann, on Rann he has a wife and child (daughter). I would soliquie more on the stories of Adam Strange, but these basics are pretty much all I know, he has been a sci-fi super hero since about the Silver Age me thinks, and there has been some good stories I have read in the Hawkman-Hawkworld-Hawkgirl-Hawkwoman mythos (Rann-Thannagar War???), but really not one I think of.

This story opens up as an old war hero, sharing his thoughts on fighting of a Pykkt (alien horde, alledgedly evil) invasion of Rann, and now back on earth, having written his memoir and is in the bookstore-talk show circuit. Because really, who doesn’t like an intergalactic war hero? Allegations surface of nefarious, possible war crimes surface, a murder mystery ensues, and we dive into an investigation if the hero is what he attests to be or is simply trying to put a spin on his own devilishness.

Throw in the complexity of the Pykkt now looking to invade earth, and asking, will the super heroes do what Adam had to do to stop the invasion of Rann?

And why is Mr. Terrific focusing his investigation of Adam Strange on the inscription to Strange’s memoir for his daugther that was lost in the invasion…

But enough spoiler fodder, for sometimes reading Tom King, is like a Shalaman movie, and the twists are the fun, but what formed in my mind is a reapproach exploration of ethics in crisis…can one go biblical? Possibly, thinking of concepts of Adam, Ancient Aliens, or even simply looking into the David Story or maybe the Maccabees, but that would take a bit longer, and have a few more spoilers involved.

Yet, exploring ethical decision making would not, for it lays out a lens. A first year ethics course (within your faith background, or philosophy department) will lay out, all the different ways to approach–absolute, positive, natural, etc.

What I want to touch on, is how one makes decisions within the scope of human services and for that there can be some simple steps to see if there is an ethical dilemma at play:

  1. What does the law say? Criminal law, is contextual to where you are existing–whatever happened on Rann cannot be judged by Earth laws…or can it?
  2. Is it simply unethical– there is a code from a professional association you are a part of that stipulates what ethical conduct is, and in black and white it has been broken. Is it untehtical, if Adam Strange is an active member of the Justice League, to take a life, even in war?
  3. Then there is the dilemma. The not cearly black and white answered in the first two. Within the scope of these, sometimes time can be working against the porfessional in maing the decision, sadly, but let’s assume this is a perfect time placement scenario, what steps after realizing something is hinky can one take?

Step 1: What do the policies and procedures of where you work say? (does not mean these are fully ethical, just gathering information).

Step 2: What does any ethical guides you adhere to stipulate? (this can be professional or other belief systems).

Step 3: Objectively what are the facts of the situation.

Step 4: Engage the first steps in discussion with teammates and/or a supervisor

Stepf 5: Arrive at a decision. Establish the rationale for the choice of this as the solution (this is key, if you are working contrary to policy or procedure or in the gray area, being able to explain why aids your growth, but also worst case scenario if you lose your job, you are able to find a place that better aligns with who you are).

Step 6: Inact the decision.

Step 7: Afterwards, debrief, did it work? Is there changes in procedures? What was the objective outcome.

Sidenote: Sometimes I will here from professionals not wanting and/or refusing to follow through on their duty to report for fear of losing therapeutic rapport. This is bullocks, in these hard reporting decisions, rapport can be strengthened by working/supporting the client to be a part of the disclosure or lead in the disclosure.

As you jump into Strange Adventures gather the clues, and explore the layers of ethical dilemmas at play, the resolutions, and walk through Step 7 with them (as well as the other steps to see where you would go).


It could be a rant, but truly at this point it is an earnest question. Born, raised and continue living in Alberta seen and read about many social conservatives (out of Christendom and other religions) politicians and governments within my province, and the base rock for Federal. Yet at this time of C-tine, the question is in my mind, how is it possible (even with some rust on the buckle), that Canada’s bible belt equivalent province struggles so much with love thy neigbour?

34¬†But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.¬†35¬†Then one of them,¬†a lawyer, asked¬†Him a question,¬†testing Him, and saying,¬†36¬†‚ÄúTeacher, which¬†is¬†the great commandment in the law?‚ÄĚ

37¬†Jesus said to him,¬†‚Äú‚ÄėYou shall love the¬†Lord¬†your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.‚Äô¬†38¬†This is¬†the¬†first and great commandment.¬†39¬†And¬†the¬†second¬†is¬†like it:¬†‚ÄėYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.‚Äô¬†40¬†On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.‚ÄĚ

-Gospel of Matthew 22:34-40 (New King James Version)

To love our neighbour as we love ourselves and love God. I have written many times unpacking this passage in different ways, so I am not going to deep on that now. Yet, here we are as a province with pandering to anti-mask/anti-vax/anti-science bases, over-dramatized to downright untrue stories from our governance around issues, and basically a sentiment began from our Premier and shared by many that those who are dying (now 500+) are past their best before date or had co-morbidities so it is all good (those of low human capital, a favourite term of our current provincial government).

Which raises many questions on the humanity of the religious who claim freedoms in our province? For it was not the call to the individual, but to the communal freedom, love and belonging.

Let’s re-humanize our statistics, have the releases signed not to share age, region, gender and they had co-morbidities, but rather, age, region and name. I mean, how many even know what co-morbidity is? They believe it is a death sentence to begin with, no these are two or more occurring chronic (ongoing) conditions? Do you know someone with two conditions? Mental, physical or neurological health? High blood pressure? Depression? Anxiety? Cystic Fibrosis? MS (that we lead Canada in)? Cancer? How about those covid 20 that you can’t shake? Epilepsy? PTSD? OCD? Substance Abuse/use disorder? Carpal Tunnel? The list goes on an on…

The term coupled with age, is used to de-humanize the disease and reduce severity so the base is appeased. It is like the 1991 Star Trek The Next Generation episode, “Half-Life” (S.4,Ep.22) that created an ethical discussion at the time in my school, but also with parents. The crux is Timicin (played wonderfully by David Ogden Stiers), whose species at age 65 end their own lives as “their time is up” or “they are past their best before date”. In the episode this becomes a debate as he develops an intimate relationship with Betazed Ambassador, Lwaxana Troi (mother of Ship Counsellor Deanna Troi), and it ensues about quality of life, purpose and belonging. I encourage you to have a virtual watch party with friends outside your household, and watch within your household to discuss the key points of this with our current situation. As this can create a different lens to look at how we view life and death, and what matters. But this is not the only challenge facing us, in those hard conversations we need to have around the dinner (or communion) table.

The other, with current restrictions announced due to lack of concern for anyone outside your own skin (Alberta’s public health emergency restrictions can be found here) in an attempt to bend the curve back down, find out trackable data (as we have 85%+ cases on traceable) over the next three weeks. Has led to much llama dramas on line. Some throwing shade about religious organizations allowed to stay open at 1/3 capacity, and why on businesses, most being about big box vs small businesses closing open (conflating restrictions of other provinces with our own). Are these restrictions perfect? No, but even though I do not support that the UCP has the moral or ethical right to governance (ongoing criminal investigations), I will follow through for care for my family and neighbour.

What is saddening and maddening is the many religious sharing posts about Alberta being 70 years rat free so don’t become one on your neighbours now, or don’t snitch. Like the stereotypical “snitches get stitches” . Seriously, when did we as grown ass adults begin acting like pre-adolescents enamoured with faux hip hop culture?

Or as I shared on Facebook today:

“It’s not about not “snitching” on your neighbours at the holidays for the social gathering, that is being gaslit like in an abusive relationship. Seriously, it is about our neighbours having enough care and respect to follow the rules so we do not have to call 311 to have a healthy AHS that can respond to our current pandemic, epidemic, emerging epidemic, and outbreak. But hey, let’s continue giving those that can’t follow rules a pass.”

And as one friend pointed out, how easily we compartmentalize and pick and choose what we will call in our neighbour on. Noise complaints? Speeding? Parking? Loud or at large animals? Not shovelling snow? Think about what happens to our society, if we do not hold one another accountable?

This doesn’t even go deep into the neighbourhood watch to prevent crime, which if my neighbours do not have discernment and care with these how can I trust them if my car is being stolen or house being prowled? Starting to see how the “not my problem” begins to flow?

This is not even with jumping on the not mandatory vaccine discussion the Premier opened up to pander to his slipping away base. Which, I am sure my stance on that will lose even more “Facebook friends” but for those able to take the vaccine (any vaccine) it is a care of neighbour, why my kids both got the HPV one.

As I sit, having wrestled with the new restrictions, and lowering our house into more of a shut down (my one kids cohort with her best friend has come to an end, I miss their giggles and joy and it has only been one day), we are here because of a provincial quorums of adults that refused to adult. As I watch the video feed of the 200 person “freedom march” -anti-mask rally in Calgary this morning, I do hope that they are all levied the $1000 fines to send a strong message. Reading in the paper that due to lack of corporate care at CF Chinook yesterday in limiting to 25% capacity city police had to be used to evacuate people and I know these restrictions are supposed to be re-looked at on Dec. 15.

Where I am at now?

Christmas is different this year. Looking like my household, as we find new joys, way to share love, and know we are doing this, because many may not see us as “believers” or “Christian enough”, but I can honestly tell you it is about following through on love of neighbour.

The question for our “Bible Belt” is do you get it?

Because I am tired of your Pharisee ways.

Lucky 13

Posted: October 9, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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Image result for doctor who season 11A Doctor Who, a familiar friend for thought provocation, much like Star Trek. The 13th Incarnation is, well, brilliant. I was not to fond of the 12th, found him a might to serious, but with the end of Twice Upon a Time, with her plummeting to earth…a whole new era opened up. Yes, I realize I am late to the party if you will, but that is what happens when one does not have cable, and only uses free streaming services plus Netflix so they rely on the Public Library.

The latest season is classic science fiction adventure (and timey whimey stuff). The Doctor and her three companions tackle quite a few good topics, that if one is looking for creating conversation around civics it is definitely a good tea club.

In¬†Punjab Demon they travel back to 1947 for Yas’ family and end up at the demarcation of India and Pakistan (its creation) to separate the Hindu and Muslim populations. What a conversation starter around colonialism, religion, labeling, segregation, and violence. Or look to¬†Arachnids in UK that has a billionaire American hotel mogul setting his sights on a run against Trump in 2020, and is using his real estate to cover up other nefarious dealings. Exploring capitalism, international commerce, the should-could of science, and what/how we depose of the remnants of toxicity.¬†Kerblam explores a galaxy like Amazon delivery service, terrorism, how the young become radicalized, and the role of automation vs organics in business and what it means… with a simple innocuous message in a packing slip of a Fez “Help Me” and the discovery that nothing is safe, no matter how fun to pop to lower stress.

Image result for city on the edge of forever quotesYet, I would say their¬†City of the Edge of Forever moment comes in¬†Rosa. For the astute Trekkie, they know this original Star Trek episode saw Kirk & Spock going back in time to 1930’s America to rescue Dr. McCoy who has a manic episode. The tragedy of course, being in having to let Edith Keller, the local social justice warrior die…for if she did not, Hitler would win. An inversion of the classic time travel trope of “if you could go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby would you?” an unpacking of the ripples of minor things in the grand scheme.

So¬†Rosa brings the Doctor, Yas, Ryan and Graham to 1955 Montgomery, Alabama. The modern 21st Century ethic back in 1950’s segregated America. Ryan and Yas face the full brunt of the era with Ryan being African-British, and Yas being Pakistani-British (or Mexican as the yokels dub her). They refer to them to the Doctor and Graham (Ryan’s grandpa), as mongrels that are illegal to harbour in the white motels (so they sneak them in). Their is the unpacking of reactions to meeting Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. as a time criminal has come back in time to stop “them from rising above their station” as he tells Ryan. Yet, he is unable to kill due to his sentence, so he must orchestrate slight nudges to try to stop Rosa’s sit in.

What would you do as Team Tardis?

How do you ensure systematic racism happens, so that the dismantling can begin? That is working to have all the pieces together so Rosa Parks can take the seat she was entitled to as a human being?

Within the episode, the team becomes part of the story, and to ensure history unfolds as it should, Graham must stay so that overflow is needed for whites? How are you feeling as Graham who specifically states “but I don’t want to stay”?

The nudge, the slight changes of nefariousness, as we begin to understand the simple steps that started to change our world. Steps that we are regressing back from, and must hold to…stop the regression. It begins by talking history. It begins by discussing history unsanitized- scars and all, so we see the full ramifications of situations on people of the time, and how we view it so we can unpack it to understand and ensure it does not happen again. We continue to build forward for a better world.

Image result for city on the edge of forever quotes


X-marks the question?

Posted: September 3, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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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?


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?

Star Trek is always at its best when posing tough questions to answer. Star Trek Deep Space Nine was a series that tackled politics, religion, bio-ethics, and war quite in your face. It wrestled with grieving, PTSD, mental health, and shell shock. It showed the stark contrasts needed for Truth and Reconciliation for the Bajoran people and their planet when the Cardassian occupation ended, and the Federation led by then Commander Benjamin Sisko came to the formerly Cardassian space station Terok Nor (renamed Deep Space Nine) to aid the healing and rebuilding process.

Sisko who would become the Emissary in the Bajoran religion. The wormhole that opened between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants that the Bajoran people saw as the Celestial Temple in their faith, and the shape shifting aliens existing within as their Prophets. But I digress from my theological geek ways, to focus on another tale that is tackled well within Deep Space Nine.

David R. George III (2017) The Long Mirage brings forward an intriguing question. Especially with the rise of hate filled populism thinly veiled in religious language today in our world. The original DS( has been destroyed and replaced with a shiny new Federation station. A Bajoran Federation officer is now Captain, Ro Laren, and she is sweet on Quark (the Ferengi Ambassador, former barkeep on DS9 and hub of creative financial opportunities). They are searching for a missing patron of the station.  Kira Nerys, former first officer, is now on a spiritual quest that has taken her through time and space literally at the will of the Prophets. She has seen and learned things that may be a benefit to some factions in new Bajor.

What as a believer do you do with what you have learned? She is caught between the Federation rules of silence on time travel, her religions free will on disclosure, and those who want to use the faith of the people as a political tool.

Then Quark and Ro find Morn (the patron) and he is caught with illegal holograph technology…. Why?

Vic Fontaine.

Image result for vic fontaineTrapped in a program buffer since the original station was destroyed. The holodeck program has had some glitches, and Easter Eggs that have put Fontaine’s life at risk. So what you say, hit reset and carry on. Only Fontaine’s 1940’s era Vegas casino and act has been a place of community building, healing, and sanctuary for many on DS9. Quark’s nephew, Nog, when as a cadet lost a leg in the Dominion War lost himself in the world and Fontaine became his therapist to work through the PTSD and Shell Shock.

The core question raised throughout the caper narrative,

is one as old as time,

What makes a friend? A member of the family?

And the core question, is Fontaine a sentient being (person) or not?

Enjoy the read, and wrestling through the questions.

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?

hive 2

Why? Well why not (and last I checked it was my blog lol). Anyways it is also a way to explore some issues in lifespan development we may not want to touch upon. It relates to a three arc novel (unofficial trilogy) by Kirsten Beyer in the Star Trek: Voyage book series. That being Protectors (2014), Acts of Contrition (2014), and Atonement (2015). I will attempt my best to not reveal any spoilers in the action, as it is quite a fun read through all three books in the adventures of Starship Voyager with Captain Chakotay at the helm, and Vice Admiral Janeway (recently returned from the dead) in charge of the Full Circle Fleet back in the Delta Quadrant.

There are some ethical questions that arise within the series, it would not be Star Trek without it.

In no particular order we have to deal with Admiral Paris’ widow challenging Tom Paris (first officer of Voyager) and B’ellana Torres (Voyager Chief Engineer) for custody of their child, siting them as unfit to be parents. It is a balance of battle between family dynamics, hurt, fear of the unknown, grief reactions, and what family believes is best for a child.

Follow that with the parallel that there is a plague attacking Federation worlds, and a mysterious wing of Starfleet Medical has “recruited” or “captured” the non-Borg ala Axum and Seven of Nine to mine them for a cure. Raising the question of medical ethics, and what price is life to be saved? How much of one’s own humanity– ethics– morals can one let slip away to achieve a goal, and what exactly is the goal of the medical facility? Is it to treat a plague or create a weapon?

The challenge of going from crisis to crisis.

What is love? As Chakotay and Janeway continue growing their relationship.

What is the definition of family? What does it mean to support family? How far would you go to save a family member?

In the midst of all that, Mrs. Janeway (Katherine’s mother) makes a comment that I believe is very astute for us in this day and age, as we journey through Lent to reflect upon. She points out that Janeway was educated not in the streamed schools for Starfleet academy, even though her parents knew that was her destiny. Their goal was to give her as broad an education as possible through the public system so that she could be exposed to many interests, activities and knowledge.

Stop and reflect on that. As our public education system continues to move to more specialized schools. As parents have over programmed children that during the Polar Vortex in Calgary recently parents were freakin’ out on Facebook because they had already done all these activities with their kids and had no idea what to do next. Before a child leaves elementary school we want them to know their future.

Then we sit and wonder why the rise in anxiety and mental health issues within children. We have to read experts saying to allow kids to be bored. The rise of social media and the ability for anyone to publish an opinion that others will quote as fact. Algorithms that eventually keep you in an echo chamber online. We have a history and knowledge of humanity at our finger tips, but are unable to process because learning is no longer an endeavour to simply learn, and critically think.

What if we paused and realized there is time for specialization of expertise later in life. That as one ages and grows a passion for learning and hobbies needs to be nurtured and developed. How to fill boredness with creativity and interests is not done through scheduling and programming, it is done through being present in life and connecting with a child, with another human being.

As the mentors of the present generation, we need to allow growth and understanding, exploration and learning. It is about discovery. It is about passion. It is about knowing who your child is, but being a rounded person able to human, means not just streamlining to specific interests for “job prospects” but to become a fully enriched human being with a passion for life long learning.

What else happens when you have that innate curiousity cultivated?

You are able to think outside yourself, your own self-interest and selfishness. As such you are able to have empathy, compassion and love for others. The question then is changed from, how does this effect you…to a better one as to how this creates a loving community (world ) of belonging for all?

A courageous safe space.



If you are involved in the medical or scientific world there is always a question that must resonate with your work. How much of our knowledge has come from unethical practices? Human experimentation with thinks like Milgram’s prison experiment, or Nazi experiments on those the Third Reich viewed as deficient- persons with disabilities, LGBTTQ2+, mentally ill, multiple births (twins, triplets, etc, as it gave the experimenter a control subject).

This is the ethical dillema Star Trek: Voyager explored in their Season 5 episode, “Nothing Human“. A hazardous first contact as an errand of mercy creates a unique and dual life threatening situation. Rescuing a species they cannot understand the language of, that is injured, flies its vessels through secretions. The cytoplasmic life form in a panic to save its life in sick bay it attaches itself to Lt. B’Elanna Torres, integrating itself into her system. The Doctor is stumped on how to separate them. Working with Ensign Kim, he creates another emergency holograph medical officer, this one an expert in exo-biology, a Dr. Crell Moset. A Cardassian. Torres refuses treatment by this hologram as he is Cardassian, Ensign Tobin, a Bajoran when he realizes who it is points out that this man was not a hero saving lives during the occupation as Cardassia had celebrated the doctor. Rather, he performed torturous experiments on those he saw as deficient to save those he saw as worthy within the occupied.

The Doctor as chief medical office is left to decide to move forward with the live saving surgery for both B’Elanna and the new alien, or to follow through on B’Elanna’s wished and both will die?

What do you do with the information? The source is unethical, but it is needed in the now? Do you delete it and try to figure it out from scratch? Or do you build on what came through horrendous events so the deaths were not in vain?

That is the quandary the Doctor and Captain Janeway were left to move forward.

How would you decide? and why?

Christopher L. Bennett’s Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code (Pocket Books, 2016) raises the ethical dilemma in a pre-Prime Directive Star Trek Universe. For the non-initiated (or those who live without fun), the Prime Directive is the oft-shrugged away rule of non-interference that the United Federation of Planets abides by in pre-first contact interactions.

As this series has come together, it challenges the early Federation (Earth-Vulcans-Tellarites-Andorians) working together on how to bring their different methods, values and ethics together as they continue to explore the Universe and face challenges. Among them a capitalist AI run amok- The Ware Corporation.

We all try to live according to our principles, but we cannot control whether history will remember us as heroes or villains. Sometimes, those of us who take the boldest actions in support of our beliefs are destined to be remembered as both.

-Samuel A. Kirk, The Forgotten Enterprise (2190)

It is a technology that replaced all sentient species on its home world from the work-exploration forces, and now out in the galaxy to continue its growth requires sentient brains to survive and grow. Hence the dilemma, some stations are quite aggressive in seeking new “fuel” sources. While others are in a forced symbiosis with the Partnership. A collection of pre-warp cultures/worlds that have found a way to not be used up (die) as fuel for the Ware, but find a way to switch volunteers in and out of the system. Thus having their societies benefit from actual technology though living in constant fear of what had come before. It is on the Federation’s Radar with Captains T’Pol and Reed, due to the aggressive nature of the technology and trying to end its spread.

An ethical dilemma for the species in the Partnership would not be where they are technologically without the Ware, yet the Ware had decimated much around them, and as a result of the Partnership, had brought war from neighbouring planets. Ends and Means. Is it worth the price? What if the Federation does not stop its spread?

While the cube squeezes tightly as the Klingon Empire on the brink of civil war due to an augment disease that had created humanesque Klingons (think those from the original t.v. show) who function as privateers of the space-ways but now see their way with the Ware to conquest of their home world.

While the Matriarchal Orion Syndicate squeezes the ethical standard of the Federation more by forcing a possible hand where they must decide in propping up dictators for needed supplies or not.

There are no ideal solution.s here, Jonathan. You should’ve learned that by now. When the galaxy is falling down around you, you have to prioritize whom to save.

-Shran (p.233)

And yes, Shran and Archer’s ethical conversations continue as to what direction needs to be taken as the galaxy is on the precipice of chaos fueled by hate over hope once more. The galaxy’s struggle brought down to a family microcosm on Denobula, as Dr. Phlox’s daughter is to be wed to her second husband (of three, Denobulans are Polyamorous, in which each wife has 3 husbands, and each husband 3 wives). This daughter has stepped out of the protectionist practices of Denobula and has married a human, and now an Antarran (for the second think of a British Protestant marrying an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland in the mid-20th century). As hate attempts to disrupt wedding with a less enlightened sibling who murders her soon to be father-in-law.

The question left hanging is what is forgiveness, reconciliation and family? Do actions define an individual?

And when the roles become reversed, can mercy be found?

Yes, a few more spoilers than I like in a reflection, but it is to show what diving in to a story can raise question wise. Many outcomes are reached by surrendering what we hold to be true. And the flip is that many outcomes can be lost due to holding what we hold to be true.

For the reader, the ethical dilemma may be a trite soundbite in this day and age, but the adage is more of a reflection for each of us:

Do the ends justify the means?

Or, will the means leave lasting harmful repercussions that even if the result is good, was it worth it?