In a beloved episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a cyberneticist arrives on the starship Enterprise with the intention of dismantling Data, the android, for scientific discovery and for the goal of creating more androids like him. Data would not survive this, and when he tries to give up his commission as an officer so they cannot order him to submit, Data is told he is not human and cannot make that decision for himself. He is a machine. A thing. A unit to be poked and prodded on command. There is no value to his life, according to the cyberneticist. As a result, a hearing is held, testimony given, and one of the iconic Captain Jean Luc Picard summations gives us food for thought:
“Your honor, the courtroom is a crucible; in it, we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a purer product: the truth, for all time. Now sooner or later, this man – or others like him – will succeed in replicating Commander Data. The decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of people we are; what he is destined to be. It will reach far beyond this courtroom and this one android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom: expanding them for some, savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him [Commander Data] – and all who will come after him – to servitude and slavery? Your honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life: well, there it sits! Waiting.“
I am waiting too, tired of inhumane behavior and the way that politics, religion and human beings feel free to sanction prejudice, racism, division, and ostracism with verbal hate and rules that prevent some people from living a happy life and laws that defy democracy. This Star Trek episode resonates greatly today, reflective of how mankind has treated one another, sometimes as if people are not human or worthy of living a normal life.
That type of behavior and resulting actions do not make any country great. It creates a community that is divided and weak. Love, kindness, diversity and acceptance are signs of strength, signs of a state or country that is not just fixated on selfish personal rights, but on the rights of all citizens, no matter who they are or their personal lifestyles.
My Christianity teaches me to love others without exception, but that seems to have been tossed aside or held for ransom by those who believe it’s okay to be judge, jury and persecutor. They use and abuse their religion to justify bad behavior. Christians that either verbally or through social media spread hateful ideology about persons of color, differing religious or sexual orientation, opposing political beliefs, or any other reason…well, they are hiding behind a blackened cross and self-righteous beliefs.
On that note, the United States has allowed a foul-minded Christianity to invade politics and that has become dangerous for so many people. Laws that don’t allow the teaching of actual African-American history or prohibits same-sex marriage and rights, do not really reflect the teachings of Jesus. He taught his followers to treat one another with kindness and respect, rather than to look at people as inhumane. One thing that makes me crazy is when people of faith point fingers and call others “sinners.” Ummm…excuse me, but we are all sinners. As a people, humans know how to lie, cheat on taxes and spouses, swear a blue streak, call people names, physically and emotionally abuse others, commit crimes, etc. We are a messy bunch. But through this, we have to learn to put judgment aside and help each other, uplift each other, be kind and accepting of each other.
I try to stay positive when I publish a post, but at times, writing about these feelings help me process the current climate in the U.S. and world. Otherwise, I would continually stay angry and disappointed at those that want to dismantle human beings to the point of servitude, suffering and death.
Some would call me a liberal snowflake and perhaps I am; however, I prefer to consider myself a person of kindness, acceptance, and one who tries to love the rest of the human race. That last part is hard at times, but I keep my self-imposed promise to never hate anyone. I’m supposed to pray for our leaders and those in prominent positions, which I do on occasion, but I’d rather pray for the least of us, those that need our hearts and our help, not our judgment. Let it be known that I’m not perfect (a long way from it), but I suppose that’s a journey for all of us – to keep trying to be better humans.
I know that the world will never be perfect. We continue to fight among ourselves, start wars, and exhibit bad behavior. It’s been part of our history for thousands of years. But one day, I hope the majority of humans embrace the positive aspects of peace, love and understanding, and how that can make life joyful, less stressful and unified.
My summation: Let us not be a cyberneticist who devalues the android (or human). Let us be a Picard and fight for the happiness, liberty and freedom of life.