Great Morning Beloved!!
The Tao of Star Trek
Why are we discussing Star Trek and its many versions still? Dr. Johanna Vanderpol says it this way: “Star Trek explores what it’s like to be human. It creates a positive vision of humanity. It explores what it means to honor and respect another person.”
This week we enter Deep Space 9, a space station situated in front of a worm whole, in an effort to keep it open to all and not in the hands of some nefarious group of profit minded world citizens.
The Federation of Planets oversees the station, with a range of support personnel from various worlds as members of the maintaining force. It’s an interesting mix of peoples and creatures, many very different than our world inhabitants.
One of those is a Trill, a creature that must live within a host. The Trill lives for centuries as long as its host doesn’t do anything that would harm it. When the host is about to die, a new host is found. And thus, the host has access to all the memories of its Trill over centuries.
In the episode titled, “Equilibrium,” the current host of the Trill named Dax is having hallucinations about a mysterious cloaked figure wearing a mask. A check-up reveals that the connection between Dax and Jadzia, it’s humanoid host, is growing weaker. Commander Sisko and Doctor Bashir return with Jadzia Dax to the planet, Trill to find out from the host doctors what is going on.
There they uncover a conspiracy to conceal that Dax had at one time been placed in an unstable host, that eventually had a breakdown and committed murder. Not only has the Commission in charge tried to suppress the memory of the murderous host, but the entire establishment has tried to wipe the entire incident out of its history. They were willing to let Jadzia AND Dax die rather than face the truth.
Maybe it’s true, we’re only as sick as our secrets….
Captain Sisko and Dr. Bashir fight for Dax’s right to remember and integrate the memories of that past lifetime. And in a beautiful scene, Jadzia literally embraces the memories of the past host, and is restored to balance and wholeness once again.
Very reminiscent of the Start Trek episode two weeks ago with the 2 Captain Kirks. Again, we see how our shadow side must be incorporated for good health and well-being.
Jadzia Dax states: “If you want to know who you are, it’s important to know who you’ve been.”
Think about that for a minute…..
There is an interesting use of masks in this episode, and Dax’s journey to resurfacing the past begins with the taking off the mask of the character in her hallucination.
My friend Laurie has a wonderful play about all the masks we use to hide behind through our various encounters through life and often, through a single day! Think about the masks you wear throughout your day…
This is a Lesson on the masks we wear, but also on the rights of ‘other’ forms of life…be it animals, insects (what is the purpose of mosquitoes?) and plants, or a Trill named Dax.
And how about the lives of those we consider ‘other’? Different from US…different skin, different beliefs, different loves, different language and customs?
All the Star Trek incarnations look at life and its many variations and the shows and movies give us a chance to consider what we consider ‘life’ and how we react and respond to life that is ‘different.’
And in Science Fiction and Fantasy, you really can’t get much ‘different than what we see on screen and read in print.
A Trill that must live within a Host. How about Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy…pretty much looks and acts like a talking tree.
And there WERE talking (and walking) trees in The Lord of the Ring trilogy!
In Star Trek: Voyager, we get a glimpse of what it is like to be prey to a species that is taught from birth to be hunters. Their whole life is predicated on finding challenging ‘prey’…and in the episodes “Hunter’ and “Prey”, two of Voyager’s crew are captured by a race whose culture is based upon the thrill of the hunt.
Here we get to experience through the characters of Tuvok and Seven of Nine what it’s like to be prey and then treated like animals trussed up ready for slaughter.
Eventually, Captain Janeway must determine how to save her crew and still show compassion and lenience to this ‘different race.
And it gives a look at what it might feel like if we were stalked by something that considered us prey…. not a comfortable feeling.
In another episode involving a different life form, some members of the crew are suffering from extreme unexplained medical problems.
After several crew members are seen in various stages of these unexplained symptoms from aging by decades to headaches to sexual attraction and many more, the Doctor detects a microscopic tag on one of the DNA cells responding to nearby signals in the ship. They find out that Voyager has been invaded by a mysterious species cloaked so they inflict these symptoms undetected.
These intruders have implanted invisible devices recording their findings as if the crew were subjects in a series of experiments.
This episode explores, from a third-party perspective and views the events in a manner similar to the medical experiments we humans perform on lab rats or other animals. And this entity has the ability to silence those that come close to the truth giving us a taste of the animals’ situation who have no voice.
How does that feel? Uncomfortable?
When the experiments are discovered, the Captain wishes to fight back she is warned that the ‘intruders’ are in control and if she resists, the crew will be exterminated.
The alien callously responds that their experiments are for medical research and could be of benefit to everyone in the galaxy. The alien leader draws parallels to research done by humans on living rodents and primates.
But in exchange for their ‘service’, the lead researcher agrees to share whatever data they gather with the Federation.
Of course, Captain Janeway finds a way to give the aliens a taste of their own medicine by conducting an experiment of her own, which forced them to leave.
Now, think, how did you feel about what science does to unaware animals as you were hearing about this episode? Maybe made you think, if you haven’t already let those thoughts enter your consciousness, about what is often done in the name of science.….and remember too, this is 1997.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was nicknamed The Big Bird of the Galaxy as his philosophy about the use of animals changed over the years to the point that he was leaning toward vegetarianism.
He is quoted as saying, “I look forward to the day when we would have our juicy T-bone without having to kill the animal.”
That day came on Star Trek with the ‘replicator’ – a magical device that would produce whatever item you wished for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack by just asking for it.
I could use one of those.
There are many other stories in the Star Trek vault that led us to think about what we were doing to our co-inhabitants on earth. And, how we treat ‘others’. We have mentioned ‘others’ many times already this year, during this series and during the ‘Ten Words’ series, especially.
It took Unity several years before they allowed African Americans to stay at Unity Village…an act the leaders regretted to this day.
But the Fillmore’s were vegetarian and offered the first vegetarian restaurant of their time in Kansas City. When you go to the Village dining room today, many offerings are vegetarian, sometimes more vegetarian than not.
They had a farm for years at Unity Village that was organic, again, unusual for their time.
Eventually the Unity family placed their beliefs in line with their actions. They promote vegetarian meals but leave it open to their guests. Everyone is welcome on campus at Unity Village and I know of no Unity churches or Centers that are not open and accepting congregations.
Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
Jesus reminded us to love our enemies. And what IS an enemy? The dictionary states: one that is antagonistic to another; especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent; something harmful or deadly.
Do we have to have enemies? Of course not.
Abraham Lincoln asked, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
Of course, we do!
Can you think of someone who you had an adversary relationship with only to now call them your friend or at least be able to be pleasant with them? People you didn’t know well or at all and now can call them acquaintance in the very least.
“That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love your enemies. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So, love your enemies.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results. Gandhi
We are reminded what we learned in the beginning of this series from Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator, “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins to not just tolerate but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in lifeforms.”
It’s simply a spiritual principle, we are all created equal by our Creator, God.
I saw this on FB this week and wanted to share it with you….
“Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot.
For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart.
And it is there that we must do our work.” Marianne Williamson