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"Charting (un)known possibilities of existence"

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Title:
"Charting (un)known possibilities of existence" issues of interrelatedness in Star Trek : the next generation
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Issues of interrelatedness in Star Trek: the next generation
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Shirley, Rebecca S
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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v, 131 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Star trek, the next generation (Television program) ( lcsh )
Star trek, the next generation (Television program) ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 124-131).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, English
General Note:
Department of English
Statement of Responsibility:
by Rebecca S. Shirley.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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34628420 ( OCLC )
ocm34628420
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LD1190.L54 1995m .S55 ( lcc )

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Full Text
"CHARTING (UN)KNOWN POSSIBILITIES OF EXISTENCE"
ISSUES OF INTERRELATEDNESS IN
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
by
Rebecca S. Shirley
B.A., University of Texas, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
English
1995


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Rebecca S. Shirley
has been approved
by
Susan Linville

i&j9S
Date


Shirley, Rebecca S. (M.A. English)
"Charting (Un)Known Possibilities of Existence": Exploring Issues of
Interrelatedness in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Thesis directed by Professor Kent Casper
ABSTRACT
In the age of the information superhighway, cyberspace, artificial
intelligence, and bioengineering, dystopic visions of the technological
future overwhelmingly outnumber visions of positive utopias. Yet among
these prophesies of repressed humanity stands at least one notable
exception a humanistic outlook of the future is reflected in the texts of
Star Trek, and nowhere is its optimistic standpoint more evident than in
the series Star Trek: The Next Generation fSTNGV STNG's belief in the
future of humanity stems from its ability to reflect a world in which
consciousness of human value coexists with consciousness of
technology. The idealistic vision of STNG relies primarily on two
elements: its underlying advocacy of a theory of interrelatedness which
promotes compassion and empathy among all peoples, and its romance
narrative format. These two characteristics are in some ways
complementary, for both concern issues of identity, but in other ways, the
romance structure of STNG reflects hierarchical social constructs which
directly conflict with the deconstructive outlook of the theory of
interrelatedness. The orientation of these social constructs is reflected in
in


STNG's portrayal of the figurehead of humanity as a white, Euro-
American man (Patrick Stewart).
STNG is not simply a romance, however. It employs elements of
realism as well, which contribute to its ability to translate into symbolic
representations of contemporary culture. Its optimistic vision of the future
is not, therefore, solely dependent on the wish-fulfillment characteristics
of its romance structure. Rather, it is also linked to contemporary cultural
theory based on quantum physics and systems science. STNG draws on
the theory of interrelatedness to take characteristics of present day
technological society and weave them into a humanistic outlook of the
future, in which humanity is not repressed by the current proliferation of
technology, but is instead furthered by it.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
Kent Casper
IV


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION .........................1
2. BALANCING THE BORG....................39
3. MORE THAN DATA........................68
4. FRANKENSTEIN, DATA, INTERRELATEDNESS,
AND THE FEMININE....................98
5. THE FATE OF HUMANITY:
ALL GOOD THINGS.......................112
WORKS CITED ....................................124
v


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
In the age of the information superhighway, cyberspace, artificial
intelligence, and bioengineering, dystopic visions of the technological
future overwhelmingly outnumber visions of positive utopias.
Contemporary science fiction texts, which are cultural representations of
our social relations as they are shaped by technological modes of being-
in-the-world, continually portray futuristic worlds marked by an increase
in speed and solipsism, and a breakdown in morality and personal
relationships, as can be witnessed by the science fiction films released
during the summer of 1995. Johnny Mnemonic. Judge Dredd. and even
Batman Forever depict futuristic, technological, and amoral societies, in
which what little humanity remains is embodied by the white male title
character. Yet among these prophesies of repressed humanity stands at
least one notable exception a humanistic outlook of the future is
epitomized by the texts of Star Trek, and nowhere is its optimistic
standpoint more evident than in the series Star Trek: The Next
Generation fSTNGI.
Star Trek: The Next Generation's belief in the future of humanity
stems from its ability to reflect a world in which consciousness of human
value coexists with consciousness of technology. The idealistic vision of
1


STNG relies primarily on two elements: its underlying advocacy of a
theory of interrelatedness which promotes compassion and empathy
among all peoples, and its romance narrative format. These two
characteristics are in some ways complementary, for both concern issues
of identity, but in other ways, the romance structure of STNG reflects
hierarchical social constructs which directly conflict with the
deconstructive tendencies of the theory of interrelatedness. These social
constructs are reflected in STNG's (like the films mentioned above)
portrayal of the figurehead of humanity as a white, Euro-American man
(Patrick Stewart).
STNG is not simply a romance, however. It employs elements of
realism as well, which contribute to its ability to translate into symbolic
representations of contemporary culture. Its optimistic vision of the future
is not, therefore, solely dependent on the wish-fulfillment characteristics
of its romance structure. Rather, it is also linked to contemporary cultural
theory based on quantum physics and systems science. STNG draws on
the theory of interrelatedness to take characteristics of present day
technological society and weave them into a humanistic outlook of the
future, in which humanity is not repressed by the current proliferation of
technology, but is instead furthered by it.
2


Theoretical Background
In his work The Reconstruction of Philosophy. John Dewey, one of
America's most influential philosophers, discusses recent developments
in science and philosophy. Although originally written in 1928 and
rewritten in 1948, the work provides a basis for understanding the
changes in these disciplines. In his treatise, Dewey outlines how natural
science has for the past century depended upon the assumption of fixity;
for example, the immutability of atoms or the lack of interdependence of
space and time. According to Dewey, the great systems of Western
philosophy also took this assumption of fixity as the foundation of their
structures. As their central purpose, Western philosophies sought to
designate something "taken to be fixed, immutable, and therefore out of
time, that is eternal. In being also something conceived to be universal
or all-inclusive, this eternal being was taken to be above and beyond all
variations of space" (Dewey 12). Philosophy thus searched for the
immutable and the ultimate, for truths which would transcend temporal
and spatial flux.
Continuing his survey of the recent history of philosophy and
science, Dewey states,
As the uses of the new science proved beneficial in many practical
affairs, the new physical and physiological science was tolerated
with the understanding that it dealt with lower, material concerns
and refrained from entering the higher spiritual 'realm' of Being.
This settlement by the device of division gave rise to the dualisms
which have been the chief concern of modern philosophy.
(Dewey 12)
3


Although Dewey does not specify what time periods he intends in his
references to "new" science and "modern" philosophy, he is sketching
the division between science and religion caused in the seventeenth
century by materialist science's assumptions of fixity which necessarily
excluded all phenomena outside of the physical. This division created
what Dewey refers to as an "impassable gulf' between the material world
of science and the spiritual world of morals the "natural subjectmatter
[sic] of science" and the "extra if not supra natural subjectmatter of
morals" (Dewey 13). Yet something then occurred to challenge this
division:
Into this state of affairs in natural science as well as in moral
standards and principles, there recently entered the discovery that
natural science is forced by its own development to abandon the
assumption of fixity and to recognize that what is actually universal
is process... the most revolutionary discovery yet made.
(Dewey 12)
The discovery that Dewey is referring to is the theory of relativity and
quantum physics. These discoveries in physics reveal that the very act of
observation affects phenomena, and the location of the observer affects
observation. The implications of this for materialist science is pointed out
by Frederick Turner, a noted historian:
The chief challenge to materialism was the disappearance of the
atom as atomic or irreducible, and the consequent dissolution of
matter into event, relation, and information. One of the advantages
of materialism was that the further one reduced the complex and
ambiguous behavior of the apparent world in the direction of
simple atomic events, the more concrete and unambiguous it
seemed to get. But one more reduction, one last simplification,
spoiled everything. Suddenly the world, as it was revealed by
4


quantum physics, had become ambiguous again; and far from
offering an escape from the relativism of human perception, the
pursuit of material explanations had now totally implicated the
observer in the behavior of reality. (Turner 152)
Quantum theory thus asserts that the distinction between how we know
and what we know, statement and referent, meaning and object, has
begun to break down (Turner 145). Suddenly the world is open, infinite,
"indefinitely variegated," and "so far reaching and multiplex that it cannot
be summed up and grasped in one formula" (Dewey 12). The only things
which can be asserted as universals are change and interdependency.
In The Reconstruction of Philosophy. Dewey asserts that the new
discoveries in science revolutionize philosophy as well. His
"reconstructive" philosophy is based on a new structure of philosophy
freed from its immutable or ultimate ends, and his philosophical ideas are
the forerunners of present day deconstructive and postmodern theories,
which challenge all previous philosophies based on fixity in the same
way that quantum physics challenges previous scientific methods based
on fixity.
Although the term postmodernism is highly problematic,
representing diverse thinkers and modes of thought too numerous and
complex to be adequately discussed here, I think it is safe to say that one
of the main forces behind this movement is the desire to deconstruct and
problematize the structures of theoretical discourse. As Edmund Smyth
outlines in Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction, postmodernism
deconstructs the relationship between language and meaning, meaning
5


and people, meaning and the world, and finally people themselves and
their place in the world (Smyth 119). According to postmodern theory,
perspective is inherently influenced by "positionality," or location, which
leads to a recognition of the diversity and irreducibility of voices and
interests. Postmodernism thus undermines all theories premised on a
single, fixed worldview. With regards to scientific theories,
postmodernism particularly deconstructs materialist standpoints which
assert single, concrete explanations of the workings of the universe.
David Ray Griffin, Joanna Macy, Matthew Fox, Frederick Turner
and several other philosophers base their ideas on the deconstructive
trends of postmodern theory supported by quantum science, and draw on
previous American philosophers like Dewey, Henry James, and Alfred
North Whitehead. Although each thinker explores different aspects of the
new concept of the world represented by relativity and quantum theory,
the underlying idea which connects them is the assertion that all things
and aspects of experience are interrelated and interdependent.
According to this theory of interrelatedness, identity is defined in terms of
relations, internal and external, within a universal "web" or system. No
thing or perspective is separate or distinct; every perspective and aspect
of experience is interdependent. These ideas pertain not only to
quantum physics but to systems science as well. According to Griffin,
"We are interconnected in a system in which whatever happens to any
part of the system reverberates in small or large ways throughout the
6


system" (Griffin 1). These thinkers base their cosmology on the scientific
discoveries of quantum physics and systems science, but they extend the
idea of interrelatedness to areas such as ecology, feminism, and religion.
An example of interconnectedness in ecology, for instance, is
equating protecting one tree in a rain forest with protecting yourself.
Recognizing that the tree provides oxygen which sustains the
atmospheric balance necessary to support life for the entire planetary
system means recognizing one example of the tree's relation to yourself.
This awareness can lead to a shift in identity for example, John Seed,
director of the Rain Forest Information Center in Australia relates his
identity to those of the trees he protects: "I try to remember that it's not
me, John Seed, trying to protect the rain forest. Rather, I am part of the
rain forest protecting myself, I am that part of the rain forest recently
emerged into human thinking" (qtd. in Macy 37). This example
illuminates how, for many theorists of interrelatedness, sense of self
involves the mystical as well as the pragmatic. Identity is not simply
located or defined by physicality, but by something psychical in addition,
and both psychically and physically, individual identities are interrelated.
As evident in the above example, no clear boundaries exist
between individual perspective and larger perspective, according to the
theory of interconnectedness. But this does not mean that the relevance
of individual perspective is lost. According to Joanna Macy, a
"constructive postmodernist,"
7


Systems Theory helps us see that the larger identification of which
we speak does not involve an eclipse of the distinctiveness of
one's individual experience. Natural and cognitive systems self-
heterogeneity. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand.
(Macy 41).
Systems theory and interrelatedness rely on a balance between
individual perspective and "community" perspective. This balance is
achieved not only by acknowledging distinctions, but also by
deconstructing them, so that perspective can only be defined in terms of
relations. Another necessary element of interrelatedness is change and
growth, which is only accomplished through maintaining heterogeneity.
These ideas are ambiguous, but the theorists who accept
interrelatedness see ambiguity as inherent in the concept of the world
revealed by systems science and quantum physics.
An example of the balance between community and individual
perspective can be seen in the case of John Seed who, in accepting
interrelatedness, chooses to define himself in relation to the rain forest he
protects. By relating to the rain forest, he relates to its (and thus his)
place within the ecological system of Australia, and the ecological system
of the planet, and, ultimately, the ecological system of the universe. Yet
his individual perspective is still able to be differentiated. His desire to
have legislation passed, for example, is distinctive to his individual
perspective and relevant in influencing the system, in this case, to what
extent the Australian rain forest is protected or destroyed.
8


According to theorists of interrelatedness, many of the problems of
present society are due to "the delusion that our sense of self is so
separate and fragile that we must delineate and defend its boundaries,
that it is so aloof that we can be immune to what we do to other beings"
(Macy 39). Concepts of interconnectedness, evident in hermeticism and
organicism, historically preceded the concept of a separate self, which
gained prominence during the Age of Reason in the 18th century and
has flourished ever since. This idea of a separate self, according to
present day theorists of interrelatedness, is the root of consumerism,
social injustices like racism and sexism, and disregard for the state of the
environment. The fixed structures premised on the notion of a separate
self for example, self/other, or man/nature -- are not only wrong in that
they miss most of reality, but also in the fact that they have been used to
further oppressive, appropriative systems, namely, the dominant, white,
patriarchal, Eurocentric structures of power. The fixed structures and
distinctions which limit identity are the ideas that quantum physics,
systems theory, and the theory of interrelatedness challenge.
In many ways, the theory of interrelatedness is tied to previous
liberal humanist traditions which sought to free identity from the restraints
of fixed structures. In particular, interrelatedness seems to draw on the
transcendentalist movement, based primarily on the writings of Ralph
Waldo Emerson, heavily influenced the American philosopher and
psychologist William James, whom some theorists of interrelatedness list
9


as a founder. James' ideas concerning a philosophy which would join
empiricism and spiritualism are at the basis of theorists' extension of
interrelatedness to pragmatic and moral applications, leading to a "new
unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions" (Griffin vii).
These same ideas stem from James' readings of Romantic thinkers such
as Wordsworth and Emerson (Kaplan and Katsaros14).
Indeed, when closely examined, the essential ideas of
interrelatedness can be traced to Emerson and his "transcendental"
philosophy. Emerson believes, as do advocates of interrelatedness, that
many aspects of experience cannot be defined in terms of the senses.
He sought to "transcend" the boundaries of materialism, such as the
distinction between matter and spirit and man and nature, which is
evident from his famous passage in "Nature": "Uplifted into infinite space,
-- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; the
/
currents of the Universal Being circulate through me." The idea of a
universe with divinity in all things follows advocates of interrelatedness'
emphasis on the ethics involved in all aspects of experience.
The notion of integration and differentiation of perspective also
harks back to Emerson, who believes in the existence of an oversoul,
which is composed of the individual soul and the world soul. Emerson
describes the oversoul as a tapestry, similar to the "interconnected web"
metaphor of theorists of interrelatedness like Griffin and Fox. Katsaros, a
historian of American Romanticism, explains Emerson's ideas on the
10


oversoul: "Man [sic] fulfills his role in the cosmic unity by heeding and
acting on the promptings of his individual soul. Since the world soul
which is one with the individual soul represents ultimate freedom and
creativity, each individual has the capacity to record his intuitions free
from the artificialities of mechanical and stilted rules" (Kaplan and
Katsaros 16). Emerson thus seeks to deconstruct boundaries and fixed
structuring of identity through an assertion of interconnectedness.
Freedom from absolutes, for Emerson, like theorists of interrelatedness,
implies a growth principle.
One difference between transcendentalism and the theory of
interconnectedness, though, is the attitude towards materialistic science.
In their emphasis on spontaneity, intuition, and emotion over logic and
restraint, Emerson often seem to reject the value of empiricism and
material science. By contrast, interrelatedness seeks to maintain the
relevance of materialism, but calls on it as a witness of its own limited
ability in revealing aspects of experience. According to Charles Jencks,
a postmodern theorist, interrelatedness refuses to give materialist
science based on fixity and its technology their "previously pre-eminent
place. Their explanations of the universe, society, and nature still have
relevance, but a limited one" (Jencks 11). Thus, according to the theory
of interrelatedness, materialism can help reveal some "truths" of the
universe, but only when it denies fixed limits.
11


Statement of Purpose
Science fiction texts are particularly well suited to express aspects
of postmodern theory, for they represent a genre in which art and science
converge, challenging the distinction between the scientific and the ideal
in their very format. Star Trek: The Next Generation is one such text. It
combines a consciousness of human value with a consciousness of
science, and it does so through an assertion of interrelatedness.
Much of the mass appeal of the show (it is the most widely viewed
science fiction series in television history) is thought to be due to its
utopic vision of the future, but as Katarina G. Boyd indicates in her
dissertation on cyborgs, the "grounds of its utopian appeal have not been
adequately investigated" (Boyd 1). Throughout this thesis, I will examine
the "meliorist" attitude of STNG (its belief that conditions may always be
bettered) and the source of that belief an underlying acceptance of the
theory of interrelatedness. I will explore how STNG's narrative structure,
which employs many elements of romance, contributes to its ability to
create a utopic vision, although compromising some of the complexity
and ambiguity inherent in the theory of interrelatedness.
In particular, I will analyze STNG's emphasis on compassion and
empathy, illustrating how the series attempts to value these traditionally
feminine values and in what ways it fails. I will also investigate how
STNG deconstructs some fixed boundaries of identity (such as that
between matter and spirit) while maintaining others (such as relegating
12


women and people of color to the position of "other"), and examine how
these characteristics connect STNG with other liberal humanist traditions
transcendentalism, as revealed in STNG's incorporation of
Emersonian ideals and imagery, and present day humanist scientists, as
demonstrated in STNG's portrayal of Data. I will analyze other
characteristics of the series which reflect a belief in interrelatedness,
such as its attempts to assert heterarchical structures of power, its
struggle to balance individual perspective with community perspective,
and its related assertion of the necessity of both heterogeneity and
homogeneity.
I will also illustrate STNG's viewpoint on materialism, illuminating
the ways in which the series attacks the fixity of materialist thinking as
oppressive and inadequate while still granting materialism a place in
revealing the workings of the universe, and illustrate how the series
advocates the philosophy of interrelatedness as essential to the survival
of humanity. I will examine not only the ways in which STNG succeeds in
embodying interrelatedness, but also where it fails and why. For this
critique of its failures, I will look to deconstructive feminist criticism and
examine the ways in which STNG's format as a romance narrative
contributes to its inability to complete its project of creating an ideal world
based on interrelatedness.
13


Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Case for Interrelatedness
Underlying the policies and actions of the crew of the starship
Enterprise is a belief in interrelatedness, which affects the moral fabric of
the STNG series. The crew members possess an acute awareness of
their interactions with and influence on other beings, expressed in their
"Prime Directive," which prohibits interfering with other cultures' progress
and values. The directive is meant to protect other cultures from any
potentially negative effects of contact with the Enterprise, and
demonstrates a respect for and a valuing of other cultures and their
beliefs. Other examples of the Enterprise's concern for its effect on other
beings are profuse: in "Galaxy's Child," the crew are saddened at the
accidental killing of an alien life form; when they realize that the creature
was pregnant, they perform a type of cesarean section to save the
unborn child. When they discover in "Force of Nature" that their warp
engines can distort space, they set strict warp limits in an attempt to
prevent the phenomena from occurring. In "First Contact," when they
discover that their arrival on Malcoria III is premature and that the
Malcorians are not ready to accept that they are not alone in space, the
Enterprise bows out quietly.
The concern that the Enterprise shows for other beings is due to
the compassion which comes with an understanding of interrelatedness.
According to theorists like Griffin and Fox, in recognizing the
interrelatedness of all things, you recognize not only the importance of
14


your perspective and its potential influence, as the Enterprise clearly
does, but you realize your connection with all other aspects of the
system. This awareness of interconnection enables a level of
understanding which promotes empathy and compassion. The idea of
interrelatedness, then, extends not only to pragmatic application in
politics or science but to moral application and spirituality as well.
Matthew Fox outlines the moral application of interrelatedness in
his article "A Mystical Cosmology: Towards a Postmodern Spirituality":
"True spirituality is about power. It is about developing the powers of
creativity, justice, and compassion in all persons" (Fox 17). According to
Fox, in accepting the cosmology of interrelatedness, an individual also
accepts the ethical responsibility attached to that cosmology. This ethical
awareness, which Fox labels "spirituality," focuses on compassion and
the notions of creativity and justice based on compassion.
Compassion is the central "power" of the policies and actions of
the Enterprise crew. They leap to the aid of any culture in need -
arranging diplomatic meetings, offering medical supplies and other
resources, helping with any technological problems, and protecting the
cultures from natural disasters or intruders. They often use their science
and technology for compassionate reasons. Dewey states:
When physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, contribute to the
detection of concrete human woes and to the development of
plans for remedying them and relieving the human estate, they
become moral. Natural science loses its divorce from humanity; it
becomes humanistic in quality. (Dewey 138-39)
15


According to Dewey, consciousness of human value should coexist with
all scientific discoveries and should be considered in the implications
and goals of technology. When this occurs, as it does on board the
Enterprise, science and technology become "humanistic in quality." The
Enterprise's science and technology is used to not only aid humans,
though, but all individuals. In "Galaxy's Child," the crew use their lasers
to perform the cesarean section to free the unborn child from its dead
mother; in "Deja Q," they try various technological tactics to keep the
Bre'el IV moon from crashing into the planet; in "Encounter at Farpoint,"
they use energy beams to free a captured creature; and medical
researchers and teams concentrate their efforts on helping any injured or
sick they encounter, using their advanced devices to do so.
Although they respect the beliefs and values of other cultures, the
crew of the Enterprise also strive to protect justice within their own
culture. For example, in "The Drumhead," Picard fights the unjust
persecution of a crewman by a prejudiced investigator despite placing
his own career in jeopardy. In 'The Measure of a Man," Picard similarly
defends Data against unfair treatment (this scene will be discussed in
detail later). When other cultures interfere in the affairs of the Federation,
the crew of the Enterprise feel justified in defending their ideas of justice
to them, particularly in the case of the omnipotent character Q. In
"Encounter at Farpoint," Q prevents the crew from continuing their
mission, judging them to be a savage, childlike race. Picard balks at this
16


judgment, claiming it is unfair treatment, and Data maintains that no
person or culture can be made to answer for the crimes of their
forebearers. The Enterprise crew's notions of justice are thus not based
on fixed standards of judgment (except when the crew lapses in its
adherence to the ideals of interrelatedness, which will be addressed
later).
These ideas concerning justice are again addressed by Dewey,
who believes that science and morality can be integrated further by
rendering "the methods and conclusions of natural science serviceable
for moral theory and practice. All that is needed is the acceptance of the
view that moral subjectmatter is also spatially and temporally qualified"
(Dewey 13). This idea of morality as spatially and temporally qualified
has several implications. Since there are no longer fixed standards
whereby to judge morality, no previous principles or decisions can be
wholly relied upon to justify a course of action. In the case of STNG.
Picard analyzes every situation individually, and does not always follow
the Prime Directive. The directive of non-interference, which is meant to
provide respect for other cultures and the workings of universal systems,
is often disobeyed in the name of compassion, after Picard has weighed
the consequences and details of the situation. Nor can any individual or
group be judged by a fixed result, according to Dewey, but only by the
direction in which they are moving. Picard argues this point in
"Encounter at Farpoint" as he defends against Q's accusations that
17


humanity is savage by pointing to "human progress." Finally, Dewey
says, every situation involving morals is of equal importance (Dewey
140). In the episode 'The Quality of Life," the equality of ethical situations
is depicted by Data's refusal to sacrifice one life form, although it is
mechanical, for another, even though that other life form is human -- his
friends and fellow crew members.
Yet the decision-making process of the Enterprise crew reveals a
flaw in STNG's advocacy of interrelatedness. Picard arrives at his
decisions by consulting with his officers Riker, the first officer; Worf, the
security officer; Troi, the ship's counselor; Lieutenant Commander Data;
Crusher, the medical officer; and La Forge, the chief engineer. The
officers discuss the situation as they sit around an oval table. Picard sits
at the head of the table, surrounded by his predominantly male officers
and Crusher and Troi, who occupy the mid to lower end of the table away
from Picard. This arrangement is indicative of the power structure of the
Enterprise: most of the decisions are made by the male officers, and
Picard has the final decision. The crew members generally agree on a
course of action, but when they do not, Picard's decision usually
coincides with the beliefs of Riker and Data, the two other white, Euro-
American males of the group, as evident in the Borg episodes. This
process reflects how STNG is not able to do for women and people of
color what it tries to do for other species and cultures with its Prime
Directive assert the relatedness of and the heterarchical importance of
18


each perspective. Even when STNG does address issues of colonialism,
racism, and sexism, the issues are focalized through Picard, which is
also apparent in the Borg episodes.
Many advocates of interrelatedness believe that the very survival
of life on this planet depends upon overcoming concepts of the world
which ignore the moral implications of technology. These morally
bankrupt theories represent a huge threat to humanity, according to
theorists like Robert Nadeau, a humanist scientist and artificial
intelligence engineer, due to the potential consequences of
technological advances in areas like artificial intelligence,
bioengineering, and nuclear science. In his treatise on the ethical
implications of artificial intelligence Mind. Machines, and Human
Consciousness. Nadeau states, "If we are to avoid a tragedy in human
affairs, we must begin to exercise our philosophical and moral
imaginations in ways that lead to a: very different understanding of the
nature of technological progress and the goals it is intended to serve"
(Nadeau 166). Advocates of interrelatedness align themselves with
liberal humanists like Nadeau in their emphasis on the ultimate value of
life in all its forms and the necessity of considering that value in
evaluating the goals and implications of technology. Dewey, in 1948,
could already see the necessity of bringing together the goals of
technology and the value of human life:
When the consciousness of science is fully impregnated with the
consciousness of human value, the greatest dualism which now
19


weighs humanity down, the split between the material, the
mechanical, the scientific and the moral and the ideal will be
destroyed. Human forces that now waver because of this division
will be unified and reinforced. (Dewey 139)
STNG attempts to offer paradigms for the unification and reinforcement of
the spiritual and the material, morality and science. The crew of the
Enterprise use their science and technology to further their ideas
concerning compassion, creativity, and justice. Although they sometimes
fail in their intended goals, due to conflicts with other cultures' morality or
inadequate technology, their consciousness of human value (and the
value of other beings) encourages science and technology to serve
humanity (humankind and humaneness), rather than destroy it.
Romance and Realism in STNG
In his work on the structure of romance, The Secular Scripture.
Northrop Frye, the noted structuralist and myth critic, points out:
It is quite true that if there is no sense that the mythological
universe is a human creation, man [sic] can never get free of
servile anxieties, never surpass himself, in Nietzsche's phrase.
But if there is no sense that it is also something uncreated,
something coming from elsewhere, man remains a Narcissus
staring at his own reflection, equally unable to surpass himself.
Somehow or other, the created scripture and the revealed
scripture have to keep fighting each other like Jacob and the
angel, and it is through the maintaining of this struggle, the
suspension of belief between the spiritually real and the humanly
imaginative, that our own mental evolution grows. (Frye 60-61)
STNG creates a mythological universe which attempts to get at these
ideas, to construct a vision of the universe relating human creativity to
20


something larger than that creativity. This relationship is demonstrated
most clearly in the final episode of STNG. In "All Good Things ..."
Picard realizes another interconnection between space and time by
witnessing and examining a temporal/spatial anomaly, but due to the
special characteristics of such an anomaly, evidence also exists that
Picard created the anomaly precisely by opening his mind to its
possibility. In this episode, Picard's "mental evolution grows": he opens
his mind to new possibilities, through struggling to understand the
relationship between his own creativity and something beyond it, the
"uncreated."
After outlining the struggle in creating a mythological universe,
Frye goes on to say that the "one principle" that we have "to go on with" is
one which the world of romance reminds us of: "that we are not awake
when we have abolished the dream world: we are awake only when we
have reabsorbed it again" (Frye 61). The boundaries Frye asserts that
romance blurs, between dream and reality, identity and illusion, are
precisely the boundaries of the "humanly imaginative" and the "spiritually
real" with which the mythological universe struggles. It is thus quite
appropriate that STNG. which is concerned with the relationship between
these concepts, employs elements of romance to do so. In "All Good
Things . ," the blurred distinctions between waking and dreaming are
depicted in Picard's confusion at the surreal quality of being propelled
from one time period to the next, and the dreamlike quality of the
21


courtroom from the 21st century which he is also transported to. The
blurring between waking and dreaming is reinforced by the fact that
Picard begins and ends his adventure in pajamas.
According to Frye, romance narratives are an upward journey
towards regained identity; they thus represent an evolution of identity.
This important theme of romance is perhaps the key reason why STNG's
structure often follows characteristics of romance narrative. The premise
of the show is a quest a quest by the members of the starship
Enterprise to "seek out new life and new civilizations" and "boldly go
where no one has gone before." This quest is an exploration of identity,
not only of the nature of other aspects of the universe and its cultures, but
also of the personal identity of the crew members as well. Coming to a
more complete understanding of identity occurs through the crew's
realization of a greater understanding of interconnectedness, between
members of the crew and between members of the crew and members of
other species they encounter. This aspect of interrelatedness is perhaps
best exemplified by the episode "The Chase," in which Klingons,
Romulans, Cardassians, and humans discover their common ancestry.
This discovery causes at least Picard and the Romulan captain to
reevaluate their previous beliefs about identity. The Romulan captain,
quite out of character, actually admits to Picard, "It would seem we are
not so different after all."
22




romance that STNG employs and which
bic, ideal world, is that of wish-fulfillment, which
i
i
ons given of "present day" earth of the 24th
Zone," Picard explains that 24th century humans
i
[, want, and the need for possessions," leaving
i
allenge of "improving" and "enriching"
ription of an ideal world is tied to what Frye calls
:
3d past" (Frye 178). He explains,
of the possible or future or ideal constitutes the
/element in romance. Thus, the recreation of
> us into a present where past and future are
h a union of past and future in a present vision of a
pastoral, paradisal, and radically simplified form of life obviously
takes on a new kind of urgency in an age of pollution and energy
crisis, and helps to explain why romance seems so contemporary
a form of literary experience. (Frye 179)
The desire for simplicity implicated in the wish-fulfillment element of
romance narrative is representative of Emerson and theorists of
interrelatedness. In promoting an idea of a universal web of
interconnections, these theorists tend to stress the "oneness" of identity.
The result is that identity and reality are simplified, rather than variegated.
Although this simplification is quite appealing to a society bombarded
with technological advances and mass-communication that seem to
make life exceedingly sophisticated, complicated, and ambiguous (even
more so than in the 1970's "age of pollution and energy crisis"), it ignores


the complicated intricacies of such a society and thus falls into the
category of wish-fulfillment.
STNG draws on this desire for simplicity. Although life on board
the Enterprise is complex at times, especially when the crew must learn
to relate to a new culture, for the most part, life is "radically simplified."
The crew do not have monetary or serious health concerns, and the
Enterprise is remarkably free of interpersonal conflict. People seem to
live without the daily problems which trouble present day humans, and
are left unhindered to explore their interests, which they do generally in
harmonious fashion. Utopic worlds, like that of the Enterprise, as Frye
points out, are very appealing to contemporary audiences, and STNG's
popularity certainly reflects this.
The wish-fulfillment element of romance narrative is related to
romance's assertion of moral polarizing, and this does occur in STNG.
The crew of the Enterprise are "good"; collectively, they are honest,
compassionate, and reasonable. They are also "stylized" to an extent, as
characters are in romance, reflecting certain stereotypes: the innocent,
wise-beyond-his-years child (Wesley), the resolute warrior (Worf), the
"knight in shining armor" (Riker). The stylizing attributes and moral
composition of the characters help audiences readily identify with them.
The enemies of the Enterprise generally possess stylized characteristics
as well the cold, insectlike Borg, for example, we quickly recognize as
"bad."
24


Yet STNG also creates morally ambiguous characters, the clearest
example of which is the omnipotent character Q. Q does not easily fit into
a category of "good" or bad." Although he is arrogant, mischievous, and
vengeful, he often acts out of concern for members of the Enterprise. Q,
who is perhaps the most improbable of all the characters in STNG. is
also the most realistic, for he questions morality and possesses
conflicting desires. His moral ambiguity and insecurity, which would
seem more probable characteristics of a less superior being than one
who possesses omnipotence, reveals STNG's incorporation of realism
as well as romance.
According to Frye, in romance, the external events take
precedence over the characters. STNG at times focuses on external
events, modifying character's behavior to fit the events as in the Borg
episodes, and at other times, the characters are the point of focus, and
the events are modified to fit the characters, as in the episode "Data's
Day." STNG's use of televisual techniques demonstrate these differing
points of focus. The series draws on the electronic immediacy of the
television image to enforce audience identification. When the characters
are the point of focus, STNG employs many close-up shots, which, as
Tony Wilson, a critic of visual communication, points out, "engages the
viewer in a direct verbal and visual address" (Wilson 35). This technique
is evident throughout the episode "Data's Day," which is almost
exclusively composed of mid-shots and close-ups. By contrast, in
25


episodes like "The Best of Both Worlds," wider, distancing shots (like that
of the external Borg ship or of the Enterprise flying into a nebula) intermit
with the close-ups and mid-shots.
Perhaps the largest point of tension in labeling STNG simply a
romance narrative is the series' topical references and allegorical
tendencies. According to Frye, romance is "antirepresentational," but this
is not the case with STNG. The symbolism of STNG easily extends to
"nonliterary affinities," into the life around it which the text reflects (Frye
59). This "symbolic spread" occurs throughout the series. For example,
in "The Outcast," the bisexual J'naii's persecution of people who possess
a single sexual preference is a thin disguise for the series' statement
about sexual prejudice in present society, and in "Symbiosis," the
Ornarans' chemical dependency on a substance provided by the
Brekkans easily translates into a treatise on contemporary drug issues.
As critics like Sobchack note, science fiction is invariably about the
present, but the present is represented indirectly, cordoned off by the
text's placement in the distant future.
STNG attempts to get a message across and perform a social
function, rather than explore issues in their complexity. In an effort to
make the "morals" of its episodes more palatable to a larger audience,
STNG employs romance techniques, which, as Frye outlines, are
appealing to contemporary audiences. These techniques sometimes suit
its underlying thematics of interrelatedness, but not always. The typing of
26


the characters, the moral polarizing, and reductionism which occurs at
times (and which helps clarify the messages of the episodes)
undermines the very notion of ambiguity inherent in interrelatedness.
The fixity which occurs in romance formulas is particularly evident in
STNG's treatment of women characters.
Although each member of the crew should represent a mixture of
the traditionally feminine qualities of interdependence (compassion,
empathy, intuition) as well as traditionally masculine characteristics (such
as reason, discipline, diligence) in order to properly portray the
interrelatedness of these aspects of experience, the socially constructed
stereotypes that STNG engages in undermines the very idea of this
interconnectedness. In particular, the women characters in STNG are
stereotyped. This typing of the female characters causes STNG to
essentialize the feminine values promoted by interrelatedness,
designating compassion, empathy, and intuition as innate for women.
The three recurring women characters, Deanna Troi, Beverly Crusher,
and Guinan, are all securely within traditionally feminine fields. Troi, the
ship's counselor and an empath, stretches the concept of female intuition
and empathy to a new level. Crusher is the nurturing doctor who,
although possessing the sole power of being able to relieve the captain
of duty, does not possess any more "command" power than Troi. Guinan
is the bartender/wise woman to whom the crew turns for guidance. She
is a rather androgynous figure, not visibly "feminine" as Troi with her
27


large breasts and low cut uniform or Crusher with her striking make-up
and long unrestrained red hair. Although she is thus given more
complexity and uniqueness than the other two main female characters,
she represents the spiritual superiority and supportiveness traditionally
associated with women.
Romance. Adventure, and Postmodern Representation
STNG's incorporation of realism allows it to delve into more
contemporary aspects of actuality. Its mythological universe, for
example, is premised upon cosmologies of interconnectedness based on
quantum physics and systems theory. Yet its romance elements, in
particular the simplification of ideas and characters, combines with the
series' television adventure format in rejecting the ambiguous,
fragmented, deconstructive characteristics of much of "postmodern"
(contemporary) science fiction.
In her critical analysis of science fiction film Screening Space.
Vivian Sobchack outlines how "Science fiction has always taken as its
distinctive generic task the cognitive mapping and poetic figuration of
social relations as they are constituted and changed by technological
modes of being-in-the-world" (Sobchack 224). STNG in this respect is
no exception. The proliferation of electronic technology in our present
culture is reflected in the crew of the starship Enterprise's complete
dependence upon technology. The ship's computer controls life support,
28


gravity, replication of food and every other necessity, and provides the
very means for their exploration of space. Yet what is different from
Sobchack's analysis of what she terms "postfuturist" texts (science fiction
texts from the 1980's to the present) is how the relationship between
humans and technology is portrayed. Instead of following contemporary
trends in science fiction, outlined by Sobchack in her final chapter, STNG
draws on traditional forms of narrative representation, accommodating
them to contemporary themes and debates.
STNG follows a television adventure series formula meant to
appeal to a popular audience. The primary characteristic of the
adventure format is movement, which, in the case of STNG. is provided in
the central premise of the crew of the Enterprise's exploration of space.
As Horace Newcomb points out in his work TV: The Most Popular Art, the
problems that arise in television adventures are "solved in terms of the
values embodied in the central characters. Values that determine the
outcome of various encounters are directly related to the attitudes that
motivate the movement of the characters in the first place" (Newcomb
139). In STNG. the crew of the Enterprise are motivated in their
exploration of space by the desire to understand themselves and the
universe to a greater extent; by continually expressing empathy and
compassion for other life forms, they come to understand the motivations
of those life forms and inevitably find a solution to the dilemma
presented.
29


As Newcomb also points out, when a problem arises in an
adventure series, the first reaction of the characters "is to rely on
essentially technological methods. It becomes apparent, however, that
such situations are incapable of rectifying the situation, and human
abilities, common sense, and human emotions bring about the
correction" (157). These characteristics are evident in 'The Best of Both
Worlds" episodes, in which the Enterprise's defense capabilities fail to
deter the Borg ship, forcing Riker and Shelby to use their own ingenuity
in creating a plan to save the day. In their reliance on human ability,
adventure series thus promote a consciousness of human
resourcefulness.
Television adventures, according to Newcomb, also typically
mirror the problems of our own world. STNG examines cultural issues
through the interaction of a mixed cast of crew members, who represent
different ages, races, sexes, and (to some degree) personalities, and
through the suggestion that other cultures the Enterprise crew
encounters are similar to earth's. These characteristics allow STNG's
plots to treat problems of the human social condition. This
representational quality, associated with realism, is further reinforced by
STNG's reliance on functional probability the science and technology
represented on STNG are based on available knowledge provided by
physicists.
30


The traditional adventure series formula that STNG employs to
make its series readily accessible conflicts with what Sobchack outlines
as contemporary trends in science fiction. According to Frederic
Jameson and as outlined by Sobchack, the two major themes that inform
and dominate contemporary science fiction are an "inverted
millenarianism" and "aesthetic populism." Inverted millenarianism
replaces premonitions of the future with an inherent disbelief in the
future, with the sense of "the end of this or that" (qtd. in Sobchack 251).
Aesthetic populism embraces and incorporates a pastiche of "shlock and
kitsch." The dominant themes of inverted millenarianism and aesthetic
populism find articulation in what can be identified, according to
Jameson, as a "postmodern" aesthetic, whose features include "a new
depthlessness," "a consequent weakening of historicity," and "a
schizophrenic" structuring (251).
Inverted millenarianism and weakened historicity are manifested,
according to Sobchack, in the visual "trashing" of futurist technology and
the "decorative and/or narrative conflation of the past and present with
the future" (Sobchack 247). Yet instead of the overwhelming sense that
everything is used (the classic example is the cluttered bombardment
mise-en-scene in Blade Runner), the Enterprise of STNG like that of
the 1960's Star Trek series and like the ship in Vovaaer. the sequel
looks and feels "new." From its brightly colored user-friendly consoles
and state-of-the-art armchairs to its smooth, clean contours and spotless
31


carpets, everything within and without feels comforting and new. This
depiction reflects the Star Trek series' reliance on an optimistic belief in
new possibilities for the future. Every idea has not been exhausted, as
Jameson's analysis indicates; instead, the future is full of potential, and
new ideas and forms of representation are out there, waiting to be
discovered.
Inverted millenarianism does appear to an extent in STNG. but it is
displaced onto non-Federation cultures. For example, the Ferengi, who
are the capitalists of the universe, reflect Jameson's "postmodern"
aesthetic (also referred to as the "cultural logic of late capitalism"); they
possess junkyards of decommissioned or disabled starships whose parts
they wish to sell for considerable profit; thus, their culture is linked to
wasted technology. The trashing of technology is also projected onto the
Borg, whose ship not only resembles a microchip, but also a hunk of
metal "trash compacted" into a cube. The displacement and projection of
Jameson's postmodern aesthetic onto other cultures enforces the
coherent perspective of STNG for example, the "wrong" policies
(inverted millenarianism, disbelief in the future) are placed onto the Borg,
who are dichotomously positioned against the "right" policies ("new"
technology, belief in the future) of the Enterprise.
STNG does not adhere to Jameson's notion of aesthetic populism
either. It is not a pastiche of unrelated accumulations in structure or
visuals. Although it incorporates elements of drama, action thriller,
32


psychodrama, and science fiction, STNG always conservatively
maintains its status as a quest narrative in which the explorers all join
together in upholding set principles which are best exemplified in their
leader (in this case Captain Jean-Luc Picard, around whom the narrative
viewpoint typically falls). At times the series uses the plot device of the
holodeck to experiment with other forms of narrative, such as detective
novels and westerns, but these subtexts are always kept separate from
the larger framework of the narrative, which is represented also by the
holodeck's isolation from the rest of the ship.
Instead of presenting a collection of fragmented images in the way
that MTV and its postmodern aesthetic does, STNG provides a
coherence dependent upon formulaic devices and one controlling
viewpoint. The point of view presented by the camera reflects an
"objective" position and thus conflicts to an extent with the range of
perspectives which the Enterprise represents, creating a tension
between STNG's advocacy of heterarchy and maintenance of dominant
perspective. The coherence of viewpoint is further emphasized by the
camera work in STNG's refusal to draw attention to itself. Unlike the
camera work in MTV, STNG's attention to camera position and editing is
focused on creating an unproblematic, "normal," or "transparent"
presentation of reality (Wilson 111).
Another reason for STNG's reflection of more traditional forms of
representation than contemporary science fiction is that many of its
33


narrative concepts are throwbacks to the original series Star Trek. In the
1960's, when Star Trek began, the American dream of the wanderer as
hero re-emerged. As Newcomb illuminates, individuals in the 1960's
found adventure in searching and experiencing, rejecting "the
admonition to settle and build" (Newcomb 141). Such individuals could
thus relate to Captain Kirk, who sacrificed the comfort and security of a
family and home to experience the wonders (and women) of the
universe. The reawakening of the Romantic desire to search and wander
is also represented in STNG.
In the first episode of the series, "Encounter at Farpoint," we are
introduced to imagery which announces this dominant theme in STNG.
The starship Enterprise makes its first entrance, and the external
appearance of the ship reveals a great deal about the philosophy of the
people inside. The Enterprise's warp core is a horizontal, oval shape
whose blackness blends with surrounding space. Its eye-like
characteristics are emphasized by the blue outline of an oval within the
oval, suggesting a pupil. Many shots in the episode show the ship from
the front or side, with the warp core "eye" in view, gracefully wandering
through space. This image is strikingly reminiscent of Emerson's famous
passage in "Nature": "Uplifted into infinite space,-all mean egotism
vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; the currents of the Universal
Being circulate through me." The "transparent eyeball" of the ship's warp
34


core rides the warp fields it creates, which circulate around the ship. The
Enterprise thus physically embodies Emerson's metaphor.
The attitude of receptive discovery is also represented in the
curving, almost organic shape of the Enterprise, which seems not to
impose on the universe but to flow through space unintrusively, as if fitted
naturally to its environment. In this respect, the physical depiction of the
Enterprise demonstrates Emerson's "transcendence" of clear distinctions
between humans and nature.
Indeed, the philosophy of the Federation of United Planets, which
created the starship and whose principles are exemplified by the
Enterprise crew, is similar to that of the transcendentalists, as illustrated
particularly by their Prime Directive, which advocates "non-interference"
with other cultures. This idea is suited to the transcendentalist
transparent eyeball metaphor of exploring the world in an attitude of
reception rather than judgment; this attitude stems from Emerson's
"transcendence" (similar to interrelatedness theory's deconstruction) of
boundaries, which divide "self' from "other" and allow such acts of
judgment. Star Fleet's Prime Directive calls on the crew of the Enterprise
to accept the beliefs, values, and worldviews of the cultures it encounters
and not interfere with, judge, or colonize those civilization's cultures.
In the 1960's, when Star Trek began, an awareness of the evils of
colonialism was heightened due primarily to American involvement in
Vietnam. Ethical issues concerning colonialism and war are depicted in
35


episodes of the original series. STNG continues this tradition of
anticolonialism in its advocacy of non-interference; the Enterprise crew
seek to learn about and from other cultures, focusing on their own
relatedness to them rather than on the distinctions between them.
The injustices of colonialist enterprises are also evident in this first
episode. In "Encounter at Farpoint," an omniscient being "Q" refuses to
allow the Enterprise to travel into the outer reaches of space because he
(Q manifests himself in the form of a white man) claims that humans are a
"dangerous, child race." Q's attitude is thus representative of Europeans
who justified conquering and destroying other races by claiming that
those races were "savages." As Q illustrates his claim of humanity's
savagery with examples of 1950's ideological propaganda ("Let's put an
end to the Commies") and claims that humans murdered each other in
the name of religion or to procure natural resources, it becomes clear that
he is attacking humanity's colonialist attitudes while incorporating them
himself. Picard realizes this and is outraged by Q's judgment. He states
that humans have progressed beyond their savagery and beyond the
very act of judgment that allowed that savagery. As Q concludes his
accusations, he states, "And reaching deep space, humans of course
found enemies to fight out there, too. Same old story all over again."
Picard challenges, "No. The same old story is the one we're meeting
right now. Self-righteous life forms who are eager, not to learn, but to
prosecute, to judge anything they don't understand or can't tolerate."
36


Picard claims that humanity has progressed beyond its oppressive,
colonialist judgments, but that Q has not. As will be discussed later, this
assertion is only partially correct.
The Enterprise's specific mission during this episode is to discover
the mystery of Farpoint Station. Q claims that he will reserve judgment
on humanity until after this mission, which will be a test of "mankind's"
progress. Ultimately, what the crew discover during this mission is that
the station is actually a creature capable of converting energy into matter
who is being held against its will by the Bandi. The Enterprise frees the
creature by feeding it energy, and the creature escapes into space to
meet its mate. The two creatures resemble giant jellyfish, but as the
camera follows them as they wander together into outer space, their
forms resemble two eyeballs, or more specifically, two eyeballs with long
legs. This image is again reminiscent of imagery of the
transcendentalists, although this time the similarity is to a popular
caricature of Emerson's transparent eyeball sketched by his
contemporary Christopher Cranch, in which an eyeball with two long,
skinny legs walks the earth.
The imagery of the creatures symbolizes the Enterprise's mission,
which is echoed in Q's taunt: "Really, no idea what it represents? The
meaning of that vessel [the creature's mate] is as plain as the nose on
your ugly primate faces." The meaning is perhaps not quite that plain, for
humans can see their noses but not their own two eyes, which is
37


symbolically what the creatures represent. Their specific significance is
precisely the same as that of the external appearance of the Enterprise.
promoting exploration in an attitude of reception.
The image of the eye in this episode thus sets up the overall vision
of the creators of STNG which, while incorporating concepts from a
previous time, does not regress to the past but instead embraces the
future, as illustrated in Picard's final declaration in this introductory
episode: "Let's see what's out there." As April Selley points out in her
article 'Transcendentalism in Star Trek: The Next Generation." this
declaration is also reminiscent of Emerson, for, according to Selley, in
the desire to search and wander, Emerson emphasizes the need to
"always look to the future rather than the past" (Selley 34).
38


CHAPTER TWO
BALANCING THE BORG
STNG's incorporation of transcendental ideals is particularly
suited to the present day, for just like Emerson, STNG seeks to explode
the limited perspective of a materialist concept of the world in which all
aspects of life are reduced to mechanical categories. In Emerson's time,
the industrial revolution was bringing the idea of the world-as-machine to
the forefront. Now, with the advent of artificial intelligence and the
proliferation of electronic technology, these ideas are even more
pervasive, especially with regard to the concept of human-as-machine.
STNG seems to recognize many of the same fears as Emerson, in
particular the potentially dehumanizing aspects of technology inherent in
mechanistic outlooks, and seeks to combat them in much the same way,
by focusing on "nonmechanical" aspects of humanity which must be
preserved and valued such as freedom, self-determination, intuition,
spontaneity of thought, and ethical awareness.
Homogenization. Mechanism, and the Bora
In her book Screening Space. Sobchack outlines postmodern,
present day culture as "a culture that has become increasingly mediated,
decentered, and dispersed at the same time it has become
39


increasingly homogenized, replicated, and unified in the proliferation of
electronic technology" (Sobchack 44). These ideas, related to systems
theory, illustrate the relationship between differentiation of perspective
(usually thought of in terms of individual perspective) and integration of
perspective (usually thought of in terms of community perspective), and
technology's role in furthering each. In the Borg episodes, STNG's
writers advocate the necessity of a culture to allow for differentiation of
perspective as well as integration. The homogenizing characteristics
pertaining to community perspective in these episodes are connected
with materialist or mechanist thinking, demonstrating that the fixed
structuring of identity which occurs in mechanist thinking can restrict
heterogeneity and individual perspective.
The largest threat posed to the Federation are the Borg, a race of
cybernetic organisms ("cyborgs"). These cyborgs are not creatures of
"transgressed boundaries" or of "permanently partial identities and
contradictory standpoints" as Donna Haraway defines cyborgs in her
deconstructive postmodernist feminist text Simians. Cvboras. and
Women (Haraway 154). Rather, STNG's Borg represent an authoritarian
culture in which identity is completely defined by society. The foundation
of the Borg culture and society is technology, and STNG's depiction of
the Borg emphasizes the homogenizing characteristics arising from this
proliferation of technology (as opposed to the decentering characteristics
of technology, focused on by Haraway). The homogenizing effect of their
40


mass absorption of technology is evident from the Borg's physical
appearance; they all have basically the same outer circuitry, are greyish
white and bald, and about the same height. The dimensions of all of their
ships are the same as well.
The Borg's technological superiority to the Federation due to their
massive absorption of technology into their culture is emphasized in the
"The Best of Both Worlds" episodes. The opening scene of part one of
the episode reveals four men of the Federation surveying a scene of utter
destruction; an entire planetary community has been destroyed to the
point that nothing except a deep crater remains. As we find out soon
after, this complete decimation has been caused by the Borg, and is
representative of their mode of destruction; it is reminiscent of the
methods of patriarchal colonization: conquer and destroy. The Borg, like
Q, are thus also representative of colonialist enterprises. The fact that the
Borg pose the largest threat to the Federation reveals the emphasis
STNG places on the evils of colonialist attitudes.
These characteristics of the Borg are related to the idea of
"dominant culture" as defined by Jim Collins in Uncommon Cultures.
According to Collins, the dominant culture, controlled by white, upper
middle class men, dictated world perspective in the age prior to the
revolutionary discoveries (previously mentioned) which deconstruct the
assumption of fixity. Everything was viewed through this dominant
perspective, whether consciously or not. Similarly, the only Borg we see
41


are white and male (although supposedly there are female Borg, as we
know from "Q Who"). Their policy, to assimilate cultures in order to
advance their own technology, controls every member and every action
of their race -- it is firmly implanted into them by a root command function
of their consciousness. This single dominating perspective allows for no
other viewpoint and thus places more importance on the group than the
individual. This devaluing of the individual is further demonstrated by the
fact that the Borg have no names, only designations; their identity is
solely based on their function in the collective. The Borg are also racist,
in the sense that they believe all other races to be inferior and worthy
only of destruction or assimilation. This idea is perhaps reinforced by
their portrayal as a purely white race. The fixed structured identity of the
Borg is thus associated with oppressive, white, masculine culture.
Their ability to fix boundaries allows the Borg to separate "man"
from "nature," which in turn permits them to manipulate and attempt to
control nature. This attitude is evident in their physical appearance --
Borg babies are born human (or at least humanoid), as we discover in "Q
Who," but the Borg insert circuitry into their human tissues to enhance
their physical and mental abilities, until their human features and
qualities are overwhelmed by the artificial gadgetry. The Borg become
mostly machine, with only one eye and half a face of humanness
showing; they are unnaturally white by human standards; and their
42


mechanized bodies move very awkwardly, bending strangely when hit by
phasers. They appear disconnected from their natural human qualities.
The distance from and manipulation of nature by the Borg
contrasts with the attitude of the Enterprise, which does not recognize
rigid boundaries between humans and nature. This contrast is reflected
in the different appearances of the Federation and Borg ships. Instead of
the curving, fluent shape of the Enterprise, the Borg ship is square, a
shape which does not occur naturally, and actually resembles a
microchip. These characteristics emphasize the Borg's mechanist
attitude towards technology; they distance themselves from their natural
environment and refuse to recognize their relatedness with it. This
attitude leads them to value the artificial and the manufactured over the
natural. The artificiality of the Borg perhaps emphasizes Emerson's idea
that fixed structures and "rules" are "artificial" and "stilted." The Borg ship
also resembles a prison with its steel, gridlike interior, its lack of windows
with which to view the outer world, and the absence of anything organic
within it. The prison-like qualities of the Borg ship suggest the
restraining, constricting nature of their reductionist thinking.
The Borg culture's conformity and homogenization are also
represented in the ship's internal structure, which is completely linear.
All of the ship's features look the same, with redundant power sources
and distributing nodes. The facelessness and dehumanizing qualities of
the Borg's technology is epitomized by the square within a square within
43


a square endless tunnel circuitry (which contrasts with the circle within a
circle, organic feel of the Enterprise's warp core) and disembodied
"collective" voice which Picard is "faced" with after his capture.
The Borg accept the view of the world-as-machine and "man"-as-
machine, evident in their attitude towards technology. As reflected in
their physical appearance and that of their ship, their science is not
humanistic. Instead, in the words of William James, it "is identified with a
certain fixed belief the belief that the hidden order or nature is
mechanical exclusively, and that non-mechanical categories are
irrational ways of conceiving and explaining even such things as human
life" (qtd. in Ford 106). This description of materialist science pertains to
the Borg and their rejection of "nonmechanical categories" in explaining
any aspect of life, even human life.
After Picard is captured by the Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds,"
the Borg tell him that they will add the biological and technological
distinctiveness of human culture to their own. (The Borg's human
characteristics are thus distinct from those of human culture based on
earth.) Although the Borg describe this process as assimilating human
culture, they ignore the aspects of human culture which do not fall into
mechanical categories. When Picard points this out by declaring that it is
impossible for human culture to be assimilated by the Borg because it
would mean denying the very foundations of that culture, the Borg state
unequivocally that these nonmechanical foundations are irrelevant:
44


freedom is "irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. Death is
irrelevant." These aspects of human life which are denied by mechanist
science are emphasized by STNG. for it is precisely freedom and self-
determination which allow the Federation to defeat the Borg: Riker and
Shelby demonstrate freedom and spontaneity of thought by going
against Star Fleet policy and devising a plan to save Picard, who in turn
demonstrates self-determination in his efforts to resist the implanted Borg
circuitry and communicate a plan to the Enterprise crew which they use
to destroy the Borg ship.
Specifics: "The Best of Both Worlds"
The Borg's attitude that the individual does not matter is
demonstrated during the "away mission" headed by Commander Shelby.
Although a few officers transport over to the Borg ship, the Borg ignore
them and allow them to walk freely around the ship. They do not
perceive a small group of individuals as a threat or even worthy of
attention. Yet seeming to contradict this policy, the Borg actually kidnap
one individual, Captain Picard. They explain that this is so he can act as
spokesperson for them when they assimilate Earth and the entire human
race. Why they should need a spokesperson is not made clear, and
does not seem consistent with their other characteristics, but it does
make for a terrific plot device. Picard is captured and undergoes a type
of rape. As we see his body laid vertical on a slab, completely prostrate,
45


a large needle-like device penetrates his skull, apparently to adjust the
circuitry which is being inserted into his brain. As this rape of his mind is
occurring, the screen fades to black and white and we see a tear escape
from Picard's eye. His knowledge and experience are taken from him
and assimilated into the Borg entity. We are clearly meant to see and
feel that this is a physical embodiment of materialist technology's
potential rape of valuable aspects of humanity.
The screen turning from color to black and white demonstrates
another aspect of the Borg culture, their ability to perceive everything as
black and white advanced technology is good, inferior technological
cultures are bad; freedom, self-determination, and even death are
irrelevant and not even considered. The limitedness of their viewpoint is
visually represented by the stark black and white, which contrasts with
the range of perspectives represented by the Enterprise and reflected in
the bright colors of their uniforms and computer consoles.
The crew of the Enterprise do manage to recover Picard in the
second part of this episode, by incorporating what is to the Borg
"incorrect strategy" -- they risk the entire crew to save one individual, the
captain. Once Picard is back on the ship, the task becomes how to
separate him from the Borg, or the man from the machine. Data attempts
to communicate with the captain through the Borg biochip implants but
fails. He is unable to separate the nonmechanical aspects of the man
from the mechanical aspects of the machine, perhaps because he
46


himself is so inextricably a blend of the two. Picard is able to separate
his humanness from the machine, though, demonstrating that even
though technology and humanity may coexist, for the crew of the
Enterprise who reject mechanism, technology and humanity are able to
be differentiated, as well as integrated.
The Enterprise's ultimate victory over the Borg again reveals the
importance of distinctiveness and the ability to differentiate individual
perspective. Although the Borg do not value individual members of their
race, they should, because they cannot exile, or cut off, one of them from
the collective consciousness except by extricating certain circuits. Data
thus manages to access the Borg collective consciousness through
Picard, who tells Data to plant a sleep command into the Borg
consciousness. This command sends them all into regeneration mode,
and their ship self-destructs after recognizing the malfunction. Thus, it is
the Borg's failure to place importance on the individual, their inability to
adapt, and their lack of spontaneous thought which cause their downfall.
The "correct" philosophy (that of the Enterprise^ which values the
individual as well as the community is further emphasized for us in the
last scene of the episode. Picard in his "ready room" picks up his usual
beverage, "Earl Grey, hot," and then suddenly sets it down and peers out
of his office window, an oblong, narrow window which allows us to see
his entire figure as we look in from the viewpoint of outer space. We see
one man, contrasted with all the vastness of space, and yet we recognize
47


that his perspective, his experience, is incredibly important. He has lived
through a rape which stripped his humanity and made him a party to the
destruction of a large part of his race; in the process, he glimpsed a
potential future for "mankind"; yet he was able to retain his knowledge of
the value of human life in all its aspects (including but not limited to its
mechanical aspects), and thereby saved humanity.
From the perspective of the spectator, Picard's choice of tea can
also contextualize the Borg's colonialism in relationship to Europe's.
Earl Grey is of course a popular tea in Great Britain, which is where
Patrick Stewart, who plays Picard, is from. Stewart's British background
is apparent to audiences due to his mannerisms and accent, which retain
the influence of his training in Shakespearean theater. Earl Grey tea is
from India and Sri Lanka; thus, the association of Stewart with Earl Grey
is a reminder of Britain's colonization of India. Historically, the white,
European men have been the agents rather than the victims of
imperialism and colonialism. It is thus highly ironic that STNG focalizes
Picard as a victim.
Analyzing the Dichotomy
As illustrated in 'The Best of Both Worlds" episodes, STNG asserts
that if mechanistic viewpoints reduce human beings to machines which
are strictly predictable in their behavior, thus denying individual free will
and spontaneity as represented by the Borg, then the decentering
48


qualities of present day postmodern culture which emphasize the ability
to differentiate perspective can provide the balance necessary to imagine
an STNG future in which consciousness of human value and individual
perspective are integrated with consciousness of technology.
The Enterprise is not representative of only the decentering
aspects of culture and technology, though. Instead, it is an integration of
homogenizing/dominant culture and heterogenizing/decentering of
culture. The Federation is a unified, hierarchical organization with rules
and regulations; at its core is a set policy, a moral code which everyone
on the ship must adhere to. However, this policy is one of "non-
interference," which respects the system of values of every race they
encounter. Thus, the root of the Enterprise crew's homogeneity and
community perspective, adherence to the Prime Directive, advocates an
acceptance of heterogeneity and differentiation of perspective. Macy's
statement that "Integration and differentiation go hand in hand" is
illustrated in STNG not only by this policy, but also by the diversity of
species and cultures who join together in adhering to this policy and
forming the Federation community of the Enterprise (Macy 41). The crew
of the Enterprise, in contrast to the Borg, do not seek to colonize races,
nature, or women.
The Borg are a mixture of homogenizing and heterogenizing
characteristics as well; they are to some extent creatures of "transgressed
boundaries" for they do not possess a notion of a separate, distinct self.
49


They are internally unified through a "collective consciousness" which
allows them to hear the thoughts of all the other Borg. They cannot
separate themselves from this consciousness, and it is unclear to what
degree they are able to distinguish their individual thoughts from those of
the collective. The Borg, who are mostly computers, thus represent
systems theory and interrelatedness in certain ways, for they do work
together as a system. If a part of their ship malfunctions, for example, the
proper parts of the Borg system (the designated Borg) immediately fix it.
The notion of a distinct self is one of the basic premises for
mechanist or materialist thinking. The ability to make an absolute
distinction between yourself and things or persons outside of yourself is
the basis for creating the fixed boundaries of mechanist, materialist
science and its concept of the world. Yet the Borg, although they are
mechanists, do not possess this notion of a distinct self. What they
possess instead is the notion of a closed system. They recognize
everything outside of their collective consciousness as non-Borg and
seek to assimilate it. They thus attempt to bring every other aspect of the
world into their closed system.
This assimilation would seem to represent a degree of openness
for the Borg system, due to their incorporation of new information and
knowledge, but this is not apparent in STNG's portrayal of the Borg.
Instead, the closed aspects of the Borg system are stressed, which is
evident in their dominant characteristics of homogeneity and conformity,
50


a homogeneity and conformity which they impose on other cultures; the
Borg offer only two options to the races they encounter: assimilation or
destruction. Although assimilation would seem to enable a certain level
of heterogeneity, STNG stresses that it is only the mechanical aspects of
these cultures which the Borg assimilate, aspects which can supposedly
be made to conform to the closedness of the Borg system.
Although the Borg present an interesting combination of closed
and open systems, these issues are not problematized in STNG. The
Borg's function as a collective and their policy of assimilation are instead
simply depicted in terms of the overwhelming conformity and
homogenization of their mechanist attitudes. STNG. as a romance, aims
to avoid problematic issues. The potential heterogenizing or decentering
effect of assimilating the biological distinctiveness of many cultures is
ignored, as demonstrated by STNG's depiction of all the Borg as human
in appearance.
Instead, STNG's portrayal of the Federation and the Borg
becomes dichotomous. As Douglas Kellner points out in his article
"Technophobia," technological cultures like the Borg are often depicted
as "mechanical as opposed to spontaneous, regulated as opposed to
free, equalizing as opposed to promoting individual distinction,
democratic leveling as opposed to hierarchy derived from individual
superiority," which is precisely what occurs in "The Best of Both Worlds"
(Kellner 31). The Borg and the Enterprise represent the "best" of each
51


sides of these opposites, the strongest representation of each in the
universe, as suggested by the title of the episodes.
This dichotomous patterning is a romantic device. As Northrop
Frye asserts, "Heroes and villains exist primarily to symbolize a contrast
between two worlds ... a world associated with happiness, security, and
peace . and a world of exciting adventures, but adventures which
involve separation, loneliness, and pain ... the demonic or night world"
(Frye 53). The plot of these episodes also involves a typical romance
structure: the hero loses his identity, but regains it by the end of the story,
becoming wiser in the process Picard becomes "Locutus of Borg," but
manages to shed his Borg identification, while coming to many
realizations in the process, as depicted by his reflective stance during the
final shot of the episode.
The parallel pattern of the Enterprise and the Borg ship contributes
to the clarity of the episodes message: the qualities of spontaneity,
individual importance, and liberty allow the Enterprise to defeat the Borg,
thus promoting these characteristics as invaluable to a culture which
seeks to retain a consciousness of the value of nonmechanical
categories of human life in the face of a technological revolution. Yet the
oversimplification of the portrayal of the Federation and the Borg causes
STNG to lose a certain correspondence with the ordinary world of
experience. It is hard to accept, for example, that the Borg's advanced
52


programming is so closed that it cannot adapt to a simple malfunction like
incorrectly entering a regenerative mode.
Although it is the decentering trends and the differentiation of
perspective which are emphasized in the glorification of the individual
that occurs in "The Best of Both Worlds," the need for unifying trends is
also apparent, as the crew must work together in their strategies for
defeating the Borg. STNG stresses the importance of a heterogeneous
community instead of a totalitarian collective. The need for unification is
represented in these episodes in the subtext of Riker and Shelby's
conflicting personalities. Their tension is ultimately resolved during the
Enterprise's last battle with the Borg.
The need for balance between integration and differentiation,
between individual perspective and community perspective, is thus
depicted in STNG in the need to balance individualism and social
cohesion. Henri Bergson, a French philosopher and contemporary of
Dewey, is particularly illuminating in this discussion for he relates these
qualities to biological evolution, of instinct and intuition.
Bergson states that evolution has resulted in two culminating
achievements: the societies of ants and bees which are "dominated by
instinct" and human societies which are "directed by intelligence" (qtd. in
Gunter 146). The instincts of insects are "limited in scope, stereotyped,
and are the source of automatic behavior" (qtd. in Gunter 145). "An
instinctive being [although Bergson contends that it experiences some
53


form of awareness] does not reflect, and cannot conceive of, its own good
apart from that of its community" (qtd. in Gunter 145). All of these
attributes are characteristic of the Borg, who often seem to respond on
automatic pilot, acting predictably to each situation. For example,
whenever the Borg encounter a member of another race, they
immediately drone, "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile." They
also seem to blindly follow orders; when the away team burns out a
distributing node on the Borg ship, three Borg jolt out of their
regeneration mode and plod stiffly, looking straight ahead in a blind
gaze, to the damaged node. The Borg's status as "instinctive" beings is
also reinforced by Gene Roddenberry's original conception of the Borg
as an insect race (Nemecek 86).
In contrast to this, an "intelligent being," such as a human, can
reflect, and this reflective awareness (which is also associated with moral
awareness) Bergson labels "intuition." The intelligent creature can
discover that it can pursue its own good separately. Thus, while the
instinctive ant will always defend the ant hill even if it means his own
death, the intelligent human may not, and this human capacity for egoism
can be socially catastrophic.
Bergson sees the need, therefore, for something to balance
individualism and social cohesion, and he believes that the answer is
religion. He is not referring to previous types of religion, but a new "open,
dynamic" religion. Previous types of religion, according to Bergson,
54


created social cohesion through social pressures, providing order
through establishment of a "closed" society, which he believes inevitably
leads to conflict in its demand for conformity. Open, dynamic religion, on
the other hand, calls on people to rise "above the divisions between
nations and classes, above egoisms personal or collective" and realize
their universal connection within the "web of life" (qtd. in Griffin 149). His
idea is thus based on the necessity of people to give up their notion of a
separate, distinct self and recognize interrelatedness.
This religion, which is actually simply a belief and not an appeal
for a new spiritual institution, calls for sympathy and acceptance of all
forms of life, and is part of what Bergson believes to be a new step in
evolutionary progress. This belief is the basis for the ideas of theorists
who see certain moral values as inherent in the idea of interrelatedness,
particularly the values of compassion and empathy. STNG accepts these
values, as demonstrated in their concern for other beings and their effect
on other beings.
In accordance with Bergson's ideas, the crew of the Enterprise
who accept the "open religion" of interrelatedness, represent an
evolution of humanity; they represent a culture which has evolved
beyond the moral and scientific ideas of the present day and age. Their
symbolic evolution is evident in many episodes, beginning with the first
episode "Encounter at Farpoint," in which Picard asserts that 24th century
humans have progressed beyond the days, four centuries ago, when
55


they were a "dangerous, child race," slaughtering millions in arguments
"over how to divide the resources" of their world. Picard declares that
even then humans were making rapid progress, though. If he is correct,
then perhaps it is because deconstructive trends that rejected
assumptions of fixity have made issues of interrelatedness more
conceivable and acceptable.
In the later episodes involving the Borg, the need to balance
individualism and social cohesion without resorting to closed systems of
thought is stressed, and the achievement of this balance is represented
as reflecting a higher level of evolutionary development. In "I, Borg," a
single Borg "boy" is rescued from a crash site and brought aboard the
Enterprise. Although this rescue is originally carried out for humanitarian
reasons, Picard initiates a plan to use the Borg to destroy his race. His
plan is to insert a virus into the boy's programming, which would then be
transferred to the entire collective when he interfaced with the collective
consciousness. Since the Borg do not possess the individuality required
to separate themselves from the collective consciousness or the danger,
every member of their race would be affected and each ship would self-
destruct after recognizing the malfunction, as the Borg ship in "The Best
of Both Worlds Pt. 2" did.
Picard justifies this apparent genocide by appealing to his
"instinct" for survival, and ignoring his reflective awareness. He explains,
"We are faced with an enemy who are determined to destroy us. We
56


have no hope of negotiating a peace. Unless that changes, we are
justified in doing anything we can to survive." Picard thus regresses; his
reasoning relies solely on instinct and not intuition. He acts according to
a previous stage of evolution, the stage the Borg are in. He ignores the
moral perspective of interrelatedness that mandates a concern for other
life-forms, and acceptance of the idea that their well-being is tied to his
own.
Yet, surprisingly, while this regression on Picard's part is
occurring, the young Borg is evolving. Through interaction with the
Enterprise crew and his forced acceptance of his solitary status, the Borg
boy, named "Hugh" by Crusher and La Forge at his request, gains a
sense of self and comes to recognize the importance of individuality. It is
relevant that Crusher and La Forge name him, because they represent
two groups that have historically been denied their own identity by
dominant, white, male cultures women and people of color.
In a striking reversal of roles, Picard confronts Hugh as if he
(Picard) were a Borg, both in the sense that his thinking is "instinctive"
and amoral, and in the sense that he addresses Hugh as if he were still
Locutus, his Borg persona. Picard finds that Hugh is more than he
expected he is a "fully formed individual" and this realization makes
Picard understand that he himself has been acting as less than one: "To
use him in this manner would be no better than the enemy we seek to
destroy." Picard also recognizes that instead of destroying this
57


"dangerous, child race" (for there are many parallels in this episode
between Picard's treatment of the Borg and Q's judgment of humanity),
he should attempt to help it evolve, although his motives are not entirely
benevolent: "The sense of individuality which he has gained with us
might be transmitted through the entire Borg collective, every one of the
Borg being given the opportunity to experience the feelings of singularity.
And perhaps that's the most pernicious program of all, knowledge of
self." Picard thus relates the individualism of the Enterprise as
"pernicious" to totalitarian collectives, perhaps again stating the political
outlook of the West -- if given a taste of democracy, totalitarian collectives
will fall, as they did in the former U.S.S.R.
The results of this acquisition of knowledge of self for the Borg are
shown in a later two part episode entitled "Descent." In the first part of
this episode, we find that Hugh's sense of individuality was indeed
passed into the collective, but rather than adapting their social cohesion
to this new sense of individuality, they suffered a societal breakdown.
This occurrence emphasizes the importance of an open belief system as
opposed to a closed one, for the Borg used their mechanistic collective
viewpoint as a point of cohesion; yet, this viewpoint did not allow for
differing perspectives, and thus could not withstand the sudden
nonconformity of its members' voices.
We find in the second part of the episode that the Borg's desire for
a dominant, authoritative structure to replace the previous one is taken
58


advantage of by Data's evil twin brother Lore, who becomes their leader.
Lore provides a new collective viewpoint which is similar to the old one in
that both are mechanistic. He proposes that the Borg become completely
artificial life forms, thus rejecting all nonmechanical aspects of life. As he
tells Picard in an encounter at the start of the episode, biological
organisms are obsolete and will be replaced by his race of artificial life
forms. These claims are significant because they represent the present
outlook of several artificial intelligence (or Al) theorists, who believe that
humans will be replaced in the evolutionary dhain by artificial life forms.
(These ideas will be addressed in the following chapter.) Lore tries to
replace one mechanistic viewpoint with another to provide social
cohesion, but this approach fails for the same reason that the first one
did: it needs complete conformity to provide cohesion. Hugh and a band
of rebel Borg who refuse to accept Lore's plans help the Enterprise crew
defeat him.
We are not given a clear indication of what will become of the
Borg, but there is hope, as Hugh, who demonstrates leadership abilities
during the second part of this episode, recognizes the need for social
cohesion, but not from a closed system which demands conformity. He
prophesies that they will achieve a balance of integration and
differentiation: "Perhaps in time we will learn to function as individuals
and work together as a group." The Borg's ability to achieve this balance
is thus portrayed as a progressive development for their race.
59


The Best of Whose World? Problematizina the Federation
The combination of heterogenizing and homogenizing of culture
represented by the Enterprise does not always adhere to the balance
asserted in interrelatedness and systems theory. The Federation, like the
Borg, possess qualities of a dominant culture. White men dominate the
hierarchical power structure of the Enterprise, and patriarchal notions of
gender stereotyping occur in the characters, positioning the men as
"subjects" and the women as "objects," as illustrated in the Borg
episodes.
The "male gaze" is illustrated in The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1,
when Admiral Hanson tells Picard to keep an eye on Commander
Shelby, an expert on the Borg and an attractive woman. He admires her
intellectually, but he also admires her physically, which suggests a dual
meaning of the phrase "keep an eye on her." Picard recognizes that the
Admiral is "quite taken with her," and in response, the Admiral replies,
"Just an old man's fantasies." Thus, despite Shelby's achievements as a
Star Fleet officer, she is still relegated to the position of object, sex object,
in Hanson's view. How Shelby is treated during the entire episode
demonstrates further sexist attitudes within the Federation. Although she
is depicted as strong-willed and intelligent, Riker, the second in
command, describes her condescendingly in a scene with the chief
engineer as "a full head of steam."
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In the Borg episodes, the women characters, as particularly
demonstrated by Crusher and Guinan, also represent the traditional
stereotyped qualities associated with nurturing sensitivity, intuition,
compassion, and the ethical responsibility which stems from these
qualities. Although these qualities are positive ones and reflect an
understanding of interrelatedness, the fact that these qualities are
assigned to the women in particular creates gender distinctions,
distinctions which are supposed to be deconstructed by the very theory of
interrelatedness.
In I, Borg, Beverly Crusher finds the injured adolescent Borg and
for humanitarian reason decides to save his life. Her maternal,
nurturing instincts lead her to act in his best interest before weighing the
consequences. In a debate with the other officers over what to do with
the newly acquired Borg, Crusher reminds the crew that they are
forgetting their ethical and emotional perspectives and treating the Borg
from a mechanist standpoint. As the other officers discuss inserting a
virus into the Borg that might cause a total systems failure for the Borg
collective, she insists they look at it from a more personal perspective:
Crusher: What exactly is total systems failure?
Data: The Borg are extremely computer dependent. A systems
failure will destroy them.
Crusher: I just think we should be clear on that. Were talking
about annihilating an entire race.
Crusher never loses touch with her ethical perspective and compassion
in the way that other members of the crew do in this episode.
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In "The Best of Both Worlds," Guinan plays the part of the wise
counselor who reminds the crew of certain aspects of their underlying
beliefs (as Crusher does in "The Quality of Life"). In an encounter with
Picard, she states that as long as one human being is alive, then
humanity and the human spirit will prevail. The second time she gives
advice to Riker, advising him to let go of the memory of Picard (who has
by this point been Borgified) so that he may properly fulfill his new role
as captain. Guinan's advice represents her insight into the philosophy of
the Enterprise, which both Picard and Riker need reminding of: the value
of the individual perspective and the importance of social cohesion. Her
advice reflects the need for balance between these, inherent in the belief
in interconnectedness.
Guinan plays the role of the wise counselor again in I, Borg," but
her position at first is strangely at odds with Beverly Crusher. Rather than
recognizing the Borg as a person, she refers to it as a thing." Her
hostility stems from the Borgs attack on her people which led to their
near annihilation. Although this hatred is similar to Picard's and
represents a loss of the "feminine" compassionate perspective, the fact
that Guinan is acting out of character is emphasized during a scene with
La Forge. Her role as wise woman is to be accepting and open-minded,
a fact which the engineer reminds her of. He tells her to just listen to the
Borg, remarking, That is what you do best, isnt it?
62


In order to counteract the sexism of the traditional gender roles,
the writers of STNG do place women in positions of power (although not
command) over Riker in the Borg episodes. For example, at one point
after Picard has been kidnapped, Deanna Troi reminds Riker that it is his
place to stay on the bridge rather than lead an away mission. During this
scene, three main women characters of the episode, Crusher, Troi, and
Shelby, occupy the bridge. Troi's reminder forces Riker to order Shelby
to lead the away mission, and he later makes her second in command of
the ship, thus effectively giving his old position to her and sharing
command with a woman.
Yet these role reversals seem mere tokens, as the men continue to
make the big decisions; the stereotypes still predominate. Picard and
Riker, a Frenchman and a Canadian respectively, represent the
orientation of the Enterprise's philosophy. The values stressed by the
Enterprise in the Borg episodes -- self-determination, liberty, individuality
- are precisely the values of Euro-American society. Although the
Federation is not racist to the extent of the Borg (who are whiter than
white), the Enterprise does possess aspects of a colonialist viewpoint.
STNG's outlook that cultures who are not Eurocentric (in other words,
white, intellectual, and cultured, as many races and species in STNG are
depicted) are ethically inferior is evident in the series' treatment of Worf,
who is played by an African-American actor.
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The Klingon culture is portrayed as less civilized than the
Federation's Eurocentric culture. The Klingons are depicted as quick to
fight, savage when they do, and sexually aggressive particularly the
females. These characteristics, as Ella Shohat and Robert Stam point
out in Unthinking Eurocentrism, are typical of Eurocentric
characterization of African cultures as "wild beasts" (Shohat and Stam
137).
This characterization of the Klingons is a throwback to their
depiction in the original series. The anticolonial attitudes of Star Trek did
not extend to the Klingons then, nor do they now. In the midst of the Cold
War political climate of the 1960's, the Russians were still primarily
viewed as savage and evil (in accordance with the views expressed in
Q's recital of World War II U.S. military propaganda in "Encounter at
Farpoint"). By Star Trek visionary Gene Roddenberry's admission, the
Klingons were meant to be identified in some respects with the Soviets,
leading the parallel positioning of the Federation and Klingons in the
original series to be identified with the dualistic opposition of the U.S.
and U.S.S.R. In the 24th century, Klingons have allied with the
Federation (representing the detente and alliance of the U.S. and
Russia), and the Borg replace the Klingons in the dichotomous
positioning with the Federation, reflecting the still prevalent American
fear of the socialistic nature of the collective. Yet the Klingons, although
allies, are still portrayed as a primitive culture, less morally progressive
64


and thus ethically inferior to the Federation, which is evident in Worf s
struggles between his desire to be a good Klingon warrior and the ethics
of Star Fleet.
Worf s aggressive, warrior instincts continually lose out to Star
Fleet's ideas of compassion. In "Redemption Pt. 2," Worf refuses to kill a
Klingon boy, even though he is ordered to by the High Council, because
his Star Fleet ethics cause him to feel sympathy for the boy and to sense
that killing him is unjust. Similarly, in the appropriately entitled "Ethics,"
Worf chooses to have a spine implant after he is injured rather than kill
himself in Klingon tradition. He makes his decision (after pressure from
Troi) out of consideration for his son. The Klingons' ideas of morality, for
example, the honor of dying in battle or by ritual, are outweighed by Star
Fleets morality, which labels suicide cowardly and irresponsible.
By asserting its ideas of compassion as superior, STNG falls into
the trap of traditional Eurocentric thinking by refusing to acknowledge the
relevance of moral perspectives which lie beyond its own white, male,
European perspective. It thus participates in the same colonizing of
women and people of color that the Prime Directive is meant to guard
against.
Eve. Bora: I. Bora: Cvbora
As with the Enterprise's warp core and "male gaze," the image of
the eye also serves as a symbol for the Borg and their philosophy. In the
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episode The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1Picard is turned into a Borg and
is fitted with a red light that shines next to his right eye, which has been
covered with circuitry. This red light is a penetrating beam which makes
even the television viewer uncomfortable as we see the Borgified Picard
on the viewscreen during the episode. The red light annoys the vision of
those watching, and thus serves to distance the subject from the object,
as in a microscope or the flashlight in Metropolis. This distancing
perspective is what allows the Borg to manipulate their environment,
rather than accepting it and recognizihg their role within it. The one eye
which is covered with circuitry represents the limited scope of the
reductionism associated with mechanistic viewpoints.
However, in the episode I, Borg, we come to see a member of the
Borg collective as an individual, and this Borg is not fitted with such a
light, although one of his eyes is covered with circuitry. Instead of the
penetrating red light, we see one large dark eye, which makes us
associate depth, vulnerability, and a childlike quality with him. As the
characters come to know the Borg and he becomes less a member of
the collective and more of an individual, we see more close-ups of
Hughs face, a technique that emphasizes his humanness.
At the end of the episode, La Forge remains with Hugh at the site
of the crashed ship to say goodbye. This pairing is significant for both
men are types of cyborgs. Both of La Forge's eyes are hidden, covered
by a VISOR, an electronic device which enables him to see, yet we know
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that La Forge does not represent a "blind" perspective. The technology
which covers his human biological eyes does not represent a limited
perspective. He has two eyes behind that visor, and he has both
individual and community perspectives. Similarly, we now realize that
Hugh has another eye, too, behind his circuitry. As he looks over at La
Forge as he is being beamed back to his ship, we recognize that both
eyes are functioning; he has gained an individual perspective in addition
to his Borg community perspective.
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CHAPTER THREE
MORE THAN DATA
The Borg's mechanist approach to systems science leads them to
view the universe in terms of systems of information. In "The Best of Both
Worlds" and subsequent episodes involving the Borg, this viewpoint is
depicted as oppressive in its restrictions on identity and as missing most
of reality in its denial of nonmechanicai aspects of life. These ideas are
treated in more depth in STNG's characterization of Data, the android
who wants to be human.
In Mind. Machines, and Human Consciousness. Robert Nadeau
separates the debate over artificial intelligence into two camps: the
scientist/engineers (including the majority of artificial intelligence
theorists) who believe that "improved scientific understanding of
dynamics of evolution forces us to conclude that consciousness must
evolve into a higher form of expression" than human, and the
humanists/social scientists who believe that human consciousness is "a
priori truth" and an "ultimate value" (Nadeau 4). Throughout his book,
Nadeau argues that in order to protect and preserve the ultimate value of
human life and consciousness in the technological future, a dialogue
between the two sides must begin.
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STNG accomplishes such a dialogue by addressing the Al debate
in a unique way. Instead of emphasizing the potential machine-like
qualities of humans, which is a mechanist approach (in Nadeau's
division, the scientist/engineers), the writers of STNG emphasize the
potential human-like qualities of machines. STNG portrays Data as a
mixture of mechanical and nonmechanical aspects, and, in so doing,
does not align itself solely with either the mechanists or humanists.
STNG agrees with the scientist/engineers on at least three points:
(1) that progress in neuroscience can lead to a mapping of the human
brain (2) that the human brain can be reconstructed artificially and (3)
that the artificial brain can possess consciousness. According to the
theory of interrelatedness, materialist science can be helpful in
illuminating truths when it denies fixed limits in this instance, STNG
proposes that scientist/engineers are correct in their belief that a
computer can become conscious. Yet the scientist/engineers' related
fixed assumption that the universe is simply an information processing
system is limiting and incomplete.
Cybernetics and computer science contribute to the idea of the
universe as systems of information, but, according to advocates of
interrelatedness, there is more to be gained from systems science than
this reductionist interpretation of reality. Systems science, when freed
from its sole application to material goals and materialist assumptions of
fixity, can be applied to more than systems of information it can lead to
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a larger worldview, known as systems theory. According to Macy, when
applied on a more holistic level, systems theory can be interpreted as
revealing how every aspect of life and experience is an interconnected
web of mutual relationships and interdependencies; in other words, it
reveals the theory of interrelatedness. In its deconstruction of
boundaries, dualisms, and limits, interrelatedness acknowledges the
value of all perspectives -- the value of empirical data as well as the
value of ethics, intuition, and emotion -- thereby bringing the mechanists
and humanists into a realm where dialogue is possible. STNG
illuminates these ideas in its treatment of Data, particularly in 'The
Measure of a Man."
In this episode, Picard must argue that Data is sentient to keep him
from being ruled as the property of Star Fleet. In order to do this, he must
suggest that Data is conscious. The entire episode revolves around the
question of whether Data is "a man" and what makes him "a man," as
suggested by the title. In order to prove that Data is "a man" and is
conscious, Picard (and the writers) continually suggest that there are
ineffable qualities to consciousness and experience. The distinctions
between matter and spirit, and nonsensory perception and sense-data,
are blurred. Data, a completely artificial life form, is portrayed as
possessing nonsensory and "spiritual" aspects, qualities which cannot be
completely defined by mechanist science. The theme of the episode
seems to be the mechanical versus the nonmechanical, or sense-data
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versus nonsensory aspects of experience, and clearly what is implied in
the text is that the nonmechanical and nonsensory aspects are as
important as "objective knowledge" in answering the question of Data's,
and our own, humanity.
According to some advocates of interrelatedness, the two
"fundamental flaws" of mechanism and other philosophies based on
assumptions of fixity are "an ontology based on a materialistic doctrine of .
nature and an epistemology based on a sensationist doctrine of
perception" (Griffin 3). These two ideas are closely related. Empiricism
leads to the belief that every experience can be explained through data
collected from the senses. Locating truth solely in terms of objective facts
based on data which can be "proven" by the senses is the foundation for
mechanist outlooks.
In contrast to this type of thinking, theorists of interrelatedness
such as James and Whitehead believe that perception is not limited to
sensory perception, but also involves "prehension" or "nonsensory
perception." Nonsensory perception is a way of apprehending an
experience directly, without the mediation of the senses. This type of
perception is termed clairvoyance or telepathy when it rises from
unconscious to conscious perception, but is more often associated with
intuition (Troi thus embodies nonsensory perception most clearly).
Nonsensory perception is not part of what empiricists would deem the
"understandable" realm of the senses and sense-data.
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Prehension, a type of nonsensory perception, is connected to the
view that all things are interrelated, as illustrated particularly by Alfred
North Whitehead, who believes, "Each event is a unification of many
prehensions, and each prehension is the taking in of causal influences
from previous events. Prehension is indeed simply the reverse side of
causal influence, and is therefore synonymously called 'perception in the
mode of causal efficacy'"(qtd. in Griffin 7). According to theorists like
Whitehead, all things possess experience in the form of prehension and
are thereby interconnected. These theories deconstruct distinctions
between matter and spirit.
James and Whitehead cite memory as an example of how
empiricism fails to explain perception adequately. Whitehead points out
that the empiricists who explain memory as "merely associating some
present sense-data with some previous sense-data" do not actually
explain memory; they presuppose it: "For unless one remembers past
experiences, one cannot associate present sensations with past ones"
(qtd. in Cobb 95). According to James, in memory, one experiences past
facts directly in a way that is even more fundamental than what is given
through the senses.
The idea that memory and experience entail aspects of
experience beyond sense data is also explored in "The Measure of a
Man." The episode begins with a poker game played by five members of
the crew, including Data. Commander Riker bluffs Data and wins the
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hand. Data is baffled: "It makes very little sense to bet when you cannot
win." Riker rightfully points out that he did win and by instinct, a form of
perception not based on sense-data. As Data recalls the events of the
game later in a discussion with Commander Maddox, he states that the
game bore little resemblance to all the rules that he had studied. Data
delivers this analogy as an introduction to his point, the main point of the
episode, that he himself is more than his mechanical components.
The plot revolves around Maddox's desire to dismantle Data in an
effort to understand how his positronic brain works. Although Maddox
claims that he will download all the information contained in Data's brain
into the Star Bases computer for storage, Data believes that the essence
of his experience will be lost. He surmises, 'There is an ineffable quality
to memory which I do not believe can survive your experiment." Data
thus states that his experience possesses elements which cannot be
explained in mechanical terms, or "captured" by mechanical processes.
Data's ideas concerning the "ineffable quality" of memory are very
similar to Whitehead and James' ideas concerning nonsensory
perceptions and memory. If memory were simply a collection of sense-
data, then downloading would be acceptable to Data. Yet he is not
concerned about losing the "bare facts of the events" -- he believes they
can be downloaded because he accepts sense-data as a product of
mechanical activities. Instead, he is afraid that the nonsensory aspects of
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perception, the aspects which are not "understandable from an empirical
standpoint, will be lost.
A hearing is called to decide Data's status whether he is a
person or property. Appropriately, in consideration of Nadeaus outline
of the Al debate, the prosecution argues for the physical (or mechanical)
aspects of what makes us human and the defense argues for the
nonmechanical properties (or properties beyond the domain of sense
data), yet the prosecution's perspective differs from that of the
scientist/engineers as does the defenses perspective differ from that of
the humanist/social scientists. STNG employs a dialogue between the
two camps by deconstructing the distinctions between their perspectives.
During the hearing, Riker and Maddox, arguing for the
prosecution, stick to Datas physical properties, focusing on his
technological components and his physical and mental capabilities.
Riker even detaches Datas arm and switches him off for a dramatic
finale. Yet Picard knows Data is more than a collection of circuits. As he
tells Guinan during a recess, Data has proved his value "In ways I cannot
even begin to calculate." His value lies beyond (but includes) his
physical capabilities, and thus lies beyond quantifiable values. Picard
understands that Data is more than just data. He possesses, as Emerson
would say, an immeasurable mind, one that cannot be explained solely
in terms of materialist science.
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Picard begins his defense by explaining that the physical
differences between Data and humans are irrelevant. Interestingly, his
argument follows that of mechanist artificial intelligence theorists,
although he uses their argument for different reasons:
Commander Riker has demonstrated that Data is a machine. Do
we deny that? No, it is irrelevant. We too are machines, just
machines of a different type. Commander Riker has reminded us
that Lieutenant Commander Data was created by a human. Do
we deny that? No, again it is not relevant. Children are created
from the building blocks of their parents DNA. Are they property?
Picard does not deny the mechanist argument that humans (and
machines) are information processing systems and thus mechanical in
some respects. Instead, he argues that that is not all we (or Data) are.
He thus incorporates the mechanist perspective into his philosophy but
goes beyond it, by also incorporating nonmechanical aspects of life in
this case, emotion and ethics -- as demonstrated in his ensuing
arguments.
Picard turns the focus to Data's own personal perspective. He
begins this strategy by asking Data why he packed the things he did after
his recent resignation from Star Fleet, beginning with his medals. He
queries, "What logical purpose do they serve?" Data replies, "I do not
know, sir. I suppose none. I just wanted them. Is that vanity?" Data
appears like a child, curious and genuine. The directors depict him in
this way because we are meant to identify with him as a developing
human. During parts of this scene, the camera is positioned behind
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Data. We see the courtroom from his point of view, placed behind a
small table facing the judge, who sits upright at a larger table with her
hands folded. The scene is reminiscent of a child in a schoolroom, right
down to the lunch box containing Datas personal belongings. Since
we, as the human audience, look through Data's eyes, we at times
connect Data's point of view with our own human point of view. Data's
identification as human is further emphasized by the fact that a human
actor, devoid of any external gadgetry, portrays him.
Next, Picard questions Data about why he packed the hologram of
Tasha Yar, the woman with whom he had a romantic and sexual
relationship. Data is hesitant, and his discomfort at revealing their
intimacy seems quite human. His reaction, at the very least, is anything
but mechanical. The camera often focuses on close-ups of Datas face
during the entire courtroom scene to capture his facial expressions.
When questioned in this instance about Tasha Yar, Data frowns and
appears embarrassed. Although he is not supposed to have emotions,
Picard tries to bring out Data's qualities which resemble his emotional
perspective.
Picard then demands that Maddox prove that he (Picard) is
sentient and Data is not. The three criteria for sentience that Maddox
gives are intelligence, self-awareness, and consciousness. Maddox
concedes that Data is intelligent, and Picard alleges that Data is self-
aware by questioning him about the hearing. Data uses phrases which
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reflect his perception of himself as an individual, such as "my life," "my
rights," and "my status." Picard then demands of Maddox:
Picard: What is Data? What is he?
Maddox: A machine.
Picard: Is he? Are you sure?
Maddox: Yes.
Picard: Because you see he's met two of your three criteria for
sentience so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the
smallest degree. What is he then? I don't know. Do you? Well,
that's the question you have to answer.
This is the question that we have to answer. What does it mean to be
human, who decides, and how do we measure it? No one in the
courtroom answers Picard's challenge, which suggests that perhaps no
one truly knows how to address this question. The inability of anyone to
answer is a critical point during the hearing for it disproves the
materialists' standpoint consciousness, which is accepted even by the
mechanists as an aspect of experience and a criteria for being human, is
not clearly definable in terms of systems of information, or able to be
proven with sense-data. Mechanical categories thus cannot encompass
or explain consciousness and therefore fall short as methods of
measurement in determining what it means to be human.
Picard's next move in the hearing is to focus on another aspect of
human experience not covered by mechanist perspectives morality.
After proposing that a race of Datas will someday be created, he queries,
"Won't we be judged by how we treat that race?" Although who will
judge is unclear, this statement is a reminder to the courtroom audience
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that there are moral implications involved in their treatment of Data. As
members of Star Fleet, whose policies reflect an acceptance of the
ethical responsibility inherent in interrelatedness, the courtroom
audience must be aware of their effect on other beings, in this case, Data.
As Picard realizes, how the Federation treats Data will reverberate
throughout the system: "It will reach far beyond this courtroom and this
one android." Picard also recognizes that if ethical responsibility is
ignored, as it is by certain mechanist scientists, it can lead to injustices
like slavery.
Overtones of slavery are emphasized during a scene in which
Guinan, played by an African American actress (Whoopi Goldberg),
discusses with Picard the possibility of using replicated Datas as "whole
generations of disposable people." He realizes, 'You're talking about
slavery ... that's the truth that we have obscured behind the comfortable
easy euphemism property, but that's not the issue at all, is it?" The
issue is not only that Data may be treated as a slave, but why the
Federation (and "mankind") may treat him as a slave. By focusing on a
persons physical state as his or her identity, as in the case traditionally of
women or people of color (both of which conditions Goldberg
represents), we look at them as objects, physical objects, distinct from
ourselves. This viewpoint is representative of thinking associated with
assumptions of fixity; the fixed boundaries of such thinking distances "I"
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from "other," thus allowing the "I" to manipulate, appropriate, and oppress
the "other," as is the case with sexism, racism, and mechanism.
According to social deconstructionists and advocates of
interrelatedness, accepting this reductionist thinking not only limits the
identity of the "other" (in this case, Data) but limits the identity of the "self'
as well. In accepting mechanist thinking, we define ourselves and our
value as we define the value of an object. This definition of humanity in
essence makes a human replaceable by an object, in this case, a
machine. Again, STNG employs an interesting combination of the
humanists and scientists arguments, for in arguing against this definition
of humanity, Picard does not take the typical tack of the humanists/social
scientists. He is not arguing for the value of human consciousness
against that of artificial consciousness. Instead, he is expanding the
definition of a "man" to possibly include artificial life forms, yet without
suggesting that humans may be replaced by them. He thus combines
consciousness of science with consciousness of human value.
Picard's conversation with Guinan illuminates the injustices of
fixing identity within restrictive structures, yet it is Data's identity that is
denied by these structures. In other words, like Picard in 'The Best of
Both Worlds," a white, European male is portrayed as the victim of
colonizing attitudes. Although this role reversal could be interpreted as a
sort of penance, STNG's placement of white, European men as
prosecutor and agent of mechanist (and thereby colonizing) attitudes, as
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victim of these attitudes, and as defender of the victim reveals that, for
STNG. identity is primarily a white, European, male quest. This idea is
further reinforced by the fact that Data, played by a white European man,
is supposed to actually represent an Asian background (and is thus gold
colored), as Roddenberry's original cast call states (Nemecek 13).
What Data Believes
In her ruling at the hearing, Captain Philippa Louvois raises
another issue in the debate over Data's identity: "Does Data have a
soul? She states, "This case has dealt with metaphysics, with questions
best left to saints and philosophers." The case does deal with
metaphysical questions precisely because STNG accepts aspects of
experience beyond the physical, material, or mechanical. When making
her decision, Captain Louvois declares that she has to give Data the
freedom to explore the question of whether he has a soul for himself.
The reason she "has to" do this is because she is a representative of Star
Fleet and its policies, which accept "metaphysical" aspects of experience.
Data, who also accepts Star Fleets philosophy, does explore
"metaphysical" aspects of himself, not only in this episode, but throughout
the STNG series. His interests in his own nonmechanical or nonmaterial
qualities are revealed earlier in The Measure of a Man. In a discussion
with Commander Maddox, Data explains,
This is not ego or vanity, [again we have the notion of Data's ego
or self] but when Dr. Soong created me, he added to the
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substance of the universe. If by your experiments I am destroyed,
something unique, something wonderful will be lost. I cannot
permit that. I must protect his dream.
This statement not only suggests that Data has spiritual beliefs, but also
that he believes he has a soul. Data earlier admitted that he was not
concerned with the bare facts of memory and knowledge being
destroyed by Maddox's experiment because he knows they can be
successfully downloaded. Thus, it must be his "ineffable qualities" which
he believes can be destroyed and which he believes are unique,
wonderful, and add to the substance of the universe.
Data's assertion that his spirit is unique echoes Nadeaus
assertion that any artificial consciousness must necessarily be different
than that of human in its relation to and interconnection with the cosmos.
Another noted humanist artificial intelligence theorist, Joseph
Weizenbaum, also states that Computers and men are not species of the
same genus (qtd. in Nadeau 151). Weizenbaum and Nadeau argue this
to support their claim that even if computers can become conscious, their
consciousness is still inherently different from and cannot replace human
consciousness. STNG accepts these claims Data is different from
humans; he fills a different niche in the web of relationships. The idea of
interdependence relies on the idea that one part of the universe cannot
simply be replaced by another. If one part is destroyed, as Data alludes
to in his conversation with Maddox, then the impact reverberates
throughout the entire system.
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Weizenbaum also asserts that there are things beyond the power
of science to comprehend, which reveals his alliance with theorists of
interrelatedness' assertion that materialist arguments can tell part of the
truth, but not the whole truth (qtd. in Nadeau 151). Yet Nadeau, who
would seem to agree since he, too, is a humanist artificial intelligence
theorist, makes a claim which does not reflect this idea and which STNG
does not fully accept; he asserts that any alternative consciousness must
be an artifact of human making and artificial since it cannot/has not
participated in natural evolution.
From a materialist standpoint, Data is a cultural artifact. He is a
creation of human genius; he is programmed by a human; and he
accepts human culture so wholly that he actually wants to become
human. Yet Data is not simply a product of human culture; as Picard
points out in "Birthright Pt. 1," Data is also "a culture of one." Data blurs
the distinctions between humanist and mechanist thinking he is a
cultural artifact and his own culture at the same time; he is technically
artificial but is interconnected within the web of life; he is a combination of
mechanical and nonmechanical qualities. He represents a dialogue
between mechanist and humanist standpoints.
Data's belief that he is more than mechanical qualities is again
demonstrated in the episode "Rightful Heir." He admits to Worf that he
had "what could be considered a crisis of the spirit" when he was told by
the Star Fleet officers who first activated him that he was "an android,
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nothing more than a sophisticated machine with human form." This
presented a dilemma for him:
I realized that if I were simply a machine, I could never be anything
else. I could never grow beyond my programming. I found that
difficult to accept, so I chose to believe that I was a person, that I
had the potential to be more than a collection of circuits and
subprocessors. It is a belief which I still hold.
Data does not accept that he is just systems of information. Instead, he
believes that he has a "spirit." Both of these ideas are linked to the image
of circuits and subprocessors. Mechanists like the Borg, who simply see
circuits and subprocessors in terms of systems of information, reduce
every aspect of life to a mechanical one, but Star Fleet applies systems
theory to nonmechanical categories and nonmaterial aspects of
experience. Data's decision to join Star Fleet could be due in part to his
belief in his own nonmaterial, ineffable qualities.
Data's exploration of existential questions is further depicted in the
episode "The Quality of Life." Here, he questions Dr. Crusher about the
definition of life: "I am curious as to what transpired between the moment
when I was nothing more than an assemblage of part in Dr. Soong's lab
and the next moment when I became alive. What is it that endowed me
with life?" Crusher connects this question with one asked by her own
son when he was little, again linking Data with a child and developing
human. She then responds, "Scientists and philosophers have been
grappling with that question for centuries without coming to any
conclusion." Crusher's statement suggests that there are no fixed
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answers. Rather, she asserts that it is the struggle to find that answer, not
the answer itself, which is important: "That's what helps to define our
place in the universe:" Data accepts this statement by the doctor, and in
so doing, he accepts the growth principle of interrelatedness and
systems theory.
This idea of growth is inherited from the transcendentalists. Their
assertion of freedom from absolutes is similar to deconstructionism, as
revealed by Emerson's association with Montaigne, a critic of colonialism
and a proto-deconstructionist. In "Montaigne; or the Skeptic," Emerson
pays homage to the spirit of open inquiry that he finds in Montaigne's
essays like "On Experience," in which Montaigne declares, "There is no
end to our investigations. No generous spirit stays within itself. If it does
not advance and push forward, it is only half alive. Its pursuits have no
bounds or rules; its food is wonder, search, and ambiguity" (qtd. in
Goodman 53). The Enterprise crew accept the search, wonder, and
ambiguity of existence, and so does Data. His desire to search and strive
is apparent in the episode "Data's Day." At the end of this episode, Data
declares:
If being human is not simply a matter of being born flesh and
blood, if it is instead a way of thinking, of acting, of feeling, then I
am hopeful that one day I will discover my own humanity. Until
then, I will continue learning, changing, growing, and trying to
become more than what I am.
This quotation sounds remarkably like Montaigne. It not only reflects the
idea of striving to become more than what you are, but also the idea that
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human experience is a combination of matter and spirit, material and
nonmaterial qualities. This deconstruction of the distinction between
matter and spirit that Data represents enables him to combine morality
with science, consciousness of science with consciousness of human
value.
As revealed by his desire to be more than what he is, Data, like
Picard and other (male) members of the Enterprise crew, is on a quest for
identity. His specific quest is to discover what it means to be human, a
quest which he follows throughout the SiTNG series. In The Offspring,
he pursues the human desire to procreate; in The Outrageous Okona,
he explores the concept of humor; in In Theory, he attempts a romantic
relationship; and he even tries to master the human art of small talk in
Starship Mine.
Datas characterization reveals other elements of romance
narrative as well. STNGs moral polarizing shows through very clearly
in Data, who is the epitome of goodness he is considerate, honest,
nonjudgmental, unselfish, and caring. As he states in Datas Day,
There are still many human emotions that I do not fully comprehend --
anger, hatred, revenge but I am not mystified by the desire to be loved
or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand. Data, by
his own admission, does not possess a dark side. His resulting lack of
moral complexity makes him appear innocent, naive, and too good to be
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human. The only instances in which Data exhibits negative traits are
when he is not in control of himself, as in Descent and Phantasms.
Data's simplistic portrayal as purely good takes away a certain
amount of credence for his character. (Although his exploration of
identity still warrants a great deal more credibility than the flat, female
characters.) Although his desire to become human makes for fascinating
explorations of issues in the question of what it means to be human, this
desire is not problematized or given a realistic level of complexity. For
example, in The Offspring, Datas created android child asks him why
he still tries to be human if he knows he cannot possess emotions: What
purpose does it serve except to remind you that you are incomplete?
Data replies, I have asked myself that many times as I have struggled to
be more human until I realized it is the struggle itself that is most
important. We must strive to be more than what we are, Lol. It does not
matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own
rewards. Although Data here states that he has often questioned his
desire to be human, we never see his uncertainty or an examination of
the root of his desires. Instead, we only hear wise, confident responses
like this one, in which he iterates again his acceptance of the value of
striving.
Data seems to easily accept the positive aspects of human life
(friendship and love) and not understand the darker aspects (anger,
hatred, and revenge) which makes his perspective on humanity limited.
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His desire to be human is thus problematic, for he does not fully
understand the implications of that quest.
STNG creates a flip side to Data's character in the stereotypical
evil twin character of Lore, who is also played by Brent Spiner. Lore is a
doppelganger for Data, and is thus every bit as morally polarized as
Data. In contrast to Data, Lore does not understand love and friendship,
but does understand anger, hatred, and revenge. He possesses
emotions and is thus technically closer to human than Data, yet his
portrayal as entirely dark and evil causes Data to be more closely linked
to humanity, since humanity, represented by the crew of the Enterprise, is
depicted as overwhelmingly "good."
Lore's desire to exact revenge on humans is given the same level
of superficial treatment as Data's desire to be human. His motivations
are mentioned briefly in "Brothers," in which Dr. Soong reveals that Lore
(like Frankenstein's monster) was rejected by human villagers who were
afraid of him. Lore's motivations do not warrant further attention because
his function within the romance narrative structure of STNG is to simply
represent the other side of the formula, the villain to Data's "hero."
Lore's role as villain and antithesis to Data is analogous to the Borg's
role as villain and antithesis to the Federation. The similarity between
Lore and the Borg's characteristic function is reinforced by their joining
forces in Descent.
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The Quality of Life: Measuring a Man vs. Measuring a Human
Data's acceptance of interrelatedness is demonstrated during
"The Quality of Life," as is his belief in the importance of nonsensory data.
After speaking with Dr. Crusher, Data refuses to allow the crew to
sacrifice machines known as Exo-Comps to save Picard and La Forge
because he believes that the Exo-Comps are alive. He rejects the idea
that only sense-data can reveal the truth, for although experiments on the
Exo-Comps failed to positively prove that they possess instinct for
survival, Data still believes that they are alive. He directly disobeys
Hiker's command, which is a court martial offense, explaining that he is
"acting on [his] own personal beliefs." Riker retorts, 'You're risking an
awful lot on a belief," and Data replies that he has often seen humans
base their judgment on intuition rather than reason. He states, "Maybe I
have insights into other machines which humans lack."
His belief in the heterarchical importance of all life forms is
implicated in another statement during his conversation with Riker: "I
have considered the ramifications of my actions, and I do not believe it is
justified to sacrifice one life form for another." After the Captain and La
Forge are rescued, Data explains to Picard his feelings of moral
obligation: "When my status as a living being was in question [in "The
Measure of a Man"], you fought to protect my rights. The Exo-comps had
no such advocate. If I had not acted on their behalf, they would have
been destroyed. I could not allow that to happen." Picard admiringly
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responds, "Of course you couldn't. It was the most human decision
you've ever made."
Picard's statement is striking for two reasons. First, it is significant
that Picard equates Data's demonstration of ethics based on
interrelatedness and its advocacy of compassion with being human.
These ideas are similar to those of Robert Inchausti, a theologian and
advocate of interrelatedness, who states that the first lesson of a
postmodern spirituality is that the real self is a moral self. Inchausti
explains that the moral self is not a "birthright or a natural outgrowth of
education or conditioning" (or programming in Data's case); "it is an
individual accomplishment requiring risk and creative suffering"
(Inchausti 126). Data, in recognizing the importance of the Exo-Comps in
the web of life, rises above the narrow concerns of the individual, risking
a court martial and his career, to adhere to the broader concerns of the
entire interconnected system. He thus demonstrates Bergson's notion of
"open religion," or compassion for all other beings. As previously
outlined, this notion of compassion, according to Bergson and other
theorists of interrelatedness, represents a process of evolution,
suggesting perhaps another reason for Picard's labeling of Data's
actions as "human."
Secondly, Picard's statement is notable for it reflects that Data is
portrayed as "human" in a way in which female characters as a rule are
not. Data possesses mechanical and nonmechanical properties,
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masculine and feminine traits, unlike the female characters, who are not
given the same depth. Crusher, Troi, and Guinan represent traditionally
feminine qualities. Shelby and Louvois, by contrast, are removed from
these traits and portrayed in an unfavorable light. These characters
almost always react mechanically, responding strictly as their stereotype
dictates. Yet Data, who is an artificial life form, is able to explore more
complex issues of identity throughout the STNG series; his identity not
only merits the subplot treatment it is given in episodes like this one, but
is also the focus of entire episodes like in "Data's Day" and 'The
Measure of a Man."
In "The Measure of a Man," in keeping with Picard's recognition of
the oppressiveness of fixed structuring of identity, the writers do attempt
to balance the traditionally masculine and feminine attributes between
male and female characters. The traits of nurturing, such as sympathy,
empathy, and intuition, which are linked to the female characters in the
Borg episodes are represented more particularly by the male characters
in "The Measure of a Man": La Forge expresses sympathy with Data in
the unfairness of his situation, Picard champions Data's cause because
he feels compassion for Data, and Riker points out the importance of
intuition during the poker game at the start of the episode.
In an interesting switch from the Borg episodes in which the
women primarily were tied to the compassionate perspective, here the
woman judge Captain Louvois is more closely linked to the mechanist
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perspective. As Picard notes at the beginning of the episode, she is
more concerned with "the adversarial process than the truth." In other
words, she revels in the system rather than the spirit of the system. In
keeping with her materialist attitude, she does not recognize Data as a
man and views him merely as a machine. She threatens to rule
summarily that he is a "toaster" if Riker and Picard will not act as
attorneys in the case. In contrast to the Borg episodes, it is the men (Data
and Picard) who convince the woman (Louvois) that she is missing the
compassionate perspective of the situation.
Yet Louvois' character is portrayed in a largely unfavorable light.
Although Picard loses sight of his "feminine" perspective Of compassion
in "I, Borg," and is depicted as wrong for doing so, the audience at least
identifies with his motives he was "raped" by the Borg and made a
victim of colonizing attitudes. Yet Louvois is given no such motivation;
she is simply a representative of the Federation's military bureaucracy.
Unlike Picard, she is portrayed as inflexible and quite antagonistic.
This antagonistic characterization appears in many of STNG's
strong-willed female characters and hinders audience identification with
them, particularly since we are led to identify with the central characters
from week to week, who are at odds with these women. This situation is
apparent in 'The Measure of a Man," in which Picard battles with Louvois
and ultimately convinces her that she is wrong, and in "The Best of Both
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Worlds," in which Shelby's aggressiveness and ambition (both of which
characteristics Louvois also demonstrates) cause conflict with Riker.
There is one notable exception to STNG's characterization of
strong women as antagonistic and unreasonable, though. In "Ensign Ro"
(the only title in STNG comprised solely of a recurring female character's
name), the title character is portrayed as somewhat antagonistic, but she
is given motivation and possesses a vulnerability not evident in Shelby
or Louvois. The audience is led to identify with her perspective, despite
the fact that she is initially shunned by the Enterprise crew, because we
are given insight into her situation. She has a strong allegiance to her
Bajoran heritage and an equally strong hatred of the Cardassians, who
tortured her father to death in front of her eyes when she was a child. Her
feelings towards Star Fleet, who have a peace treaty with the
Cardassians, are thus problematic. She refuses to compromise any part
of her identity as a Bajoran patriot, which is apparent in her directing the
crew to call her by her first name in Bajoran custom and in her
persuading Picard to allow her to wear a Bajoran earring even though it
does not meet standard uniform requirements.
Ro's character is thus a strong example of STNG's reflection of
interrelatedness, for she represents an interesting mixture of individual
and collective perspectives. She is not representative of the American
individualist, hero ethic in the way that Picard is, yet she does retain a
uniqueness and boldness of perspective, separating her ideas from
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those of the Federation and from those of her fellow Bajoran rebels.
Although she is typical of her culture, representing the point of view of
Bajoran refugees, she is not a conformist member of a collective as the
Borg, or even Louvois, are. Instead, her distinctiveness is integrated with
her cultural experience. She represents a dialogic, a tapestry of
perspectives, precisely what advocates of interrelatedness assert (as
well as Emerson) and what STNG attempts to do with its incorporation of
multicultural perspectives.
As Rick Berman, co-producer of STNG. reveals in an interview
with Larry Nemecek, 'The other characters in the cast are relatively
homogenous; some might even say bland. So we wanted a character
with the strength and dignity of a Star Fleet officer, but with a troubled
past, an edge" (Nemecek 177). Ro's character does not submit to the
moral polarizing and character typing that occurs with the other female
members of the crew, which is apparent in her abrupt refusal to allow
Crusher and Troi to join her in a drink. She also at first rejects Guinan,
but when Guinan forces her presence on Ro and demonstrates strong
opinions of her own, Ro comes to realize that they have quite a bit in
common.
Guinan asserts her own viewpoint that individual perspective is
relevant in her first conversation with Ro. She states, "Truth is in the eye
of the beholder." When Ro replies, "I thought that was beauty," Guinan
responds, 'Truth, beauty, it works for a lot of things." Guinan thus
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understands the importance of positionality and of each person's unique
cultural perspective, precisely what Ro asserts. Guinan's partial freedom,
illustrated here, from the homogenizing characteristics that occur in the
characters of the Enterprise crew is reinforced by the fact that she is the
only woman character who is not under Federation or Picard's orders.
Unfortunately, the reason that most of the characters of STNG are
homogenous is that the format apparently cannot stretch to
accommodate well rounded female characters. Ro, like Shelby, is
relegated to the role of sex object in subsequent episodes. In
"Conundrum," the crew's amnesia provides a convenient excuse for
Riker and Ro to sleep together, and when Ro makes her final
appearance towards the end of the series, Picard's interest in her is also
given a sexual dimension as she must pretend to be his lover in order to
pass on some information to him in a bar. Guinan's character returns to
her wise woman stereotype, demonstrating little of the uniqueness and
complexity that she has when paired with Ro.
The Eves Have It Again
As with the Borg episodes, in The Measure of a Man the image of
the eye is used as a thematic symbol. In this episode, the image of the
eye is used to denote the difference between how we see with our
biological eyes (sensory) and how we "see" with our inner perception
(nonsensory).
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After becoming aware of Maddox's intentions, Picard meets with
Data in his ready room. Picard explains that he understands Data's
interests but must also think of Star Fleet's interests. He is considering
the good of the whole over the good of the individual, and Data makes
him see why: "It is precisely because I am not human." Picard has
always maintained that the good of the individual must be balanced with
the good of the whole, but Data exposes Picards bias. He considers an
individual who is biologically human as more valuable than an individual
who is an artificial life form, which is a reductionist way of thinking and
out of character with Picard's adherence to interrelatedness. This
hierarchical way of thinking is connected with mechanist science's
assertions of distinctions, which, as demonstrated by the Borg, is
associated with the good of the whole at the expense of the good of the
individual precisely what Picard is considering.
As Data points out using an eye analogy, this bias is materialistic
in that it gives more emphasis to the mechanical than the nonmechanical
aspects of a person. He asks Picard why Star Fleet does not require all
officers to receive cybernetic implants if Lieutenant La Forge's eyes are
superior to human biological eyes. Picard cannot answer. In response
to Picards silence, Data replies, I see. He uses the term to suggest that
he perceives the meaning of Picards silence. Datas ability to use
inner perception contrasts with Picards avoidance of it in this instance.
With this analogy, Data reveals that Picard's definition of human in
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Full Text

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"CHARTING (UN)KNOWN POSSIBILITIES OF EXISTENCE": ISSUES OF INTERRELATEDNESS IN STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION by Rebecca S. Shirley B.A., University of Texas, 1991 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts English 1995

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Rebecca S. Shirley has been approved by Susan Linville Date

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Shirley, Rebecca S. (M.A. English) "Charting (Un)Known Possibilities of Existence": Exploring Issues of Interrelatedness in Star Trek: The Next Generation Thesis directed by Professor Kent Casper ABSTRACT In the age of the information superhighway, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering, dystopic visions of the technological future overwhelmingly outnumber visions of positive utopias. Yet among these prophesies of repressed humanity stands at least one notable exception -a humanistic outlook of the future is reflected in the texts of Star Trek. and nowhere is its optimistic standpoint more evident than in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation (STNG). STNG's belief in the future of humanity stems from its ability to reflect a world in which consciousness of human value coexists with consciousness of technology. The idealistic vision of STNG relies primarily on two elements: its underlying advocacy of a theory of interrelatedness which promotes compassion and empathy among all peoples, and its romance narrative format. These two characteristics are in some ways complementary, for both concern issues of identity, but in other ways, the romance structure of STNG reflects hierarchical social constructs which directly conflict with the deconstructive outlook of the theory of interrelatedness. The orientation of these social constructs is reflected in iii

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STNG's portrayal of the figurehead of humanity as a white, Euro American man (Patrick Stewart). STNG is not simply a romance, however. It employs elements of realism as well, which contribute to its ability to translate into symbolic representations of contemporary culture. Its optimistic vision of the future is not, therefore, solely dependent on the wish-fulfillment characteristics of its romance structure. Rather, it is also linked to contemporary cultural theory based on quantum physics and systems science. STNG draws on the theory of interrelatedness to take characteristics of present day technological society and weave them into a humanistic outlook of the future, in which humanity is not repressed by the current proliferation of technology, but is instead furthered by it. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed Kent Casper iv

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CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. BALANCING THE BORG 39 3 MORE THAN DATA 68 4. FRANKENSTEIN, DATA, INTERRELATEDNESS, AND THE FEMININE . . . 98 5. THE FATE OF HUMANITY: ALL GOOD THINGS . 112 WORKS CITED 124 v

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION In the age of the information superhighway, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering, dystopic visions of the technological future overwhelmingly outnumber visions of positive utopias. Contemporary science fiction texts, which are cultural representations of our social relations as they are shaped by technological modes of being in-the-world, continually portray futuristic worlds marked by an increase in speed and solipsism, and a breakdown in morality and personal relationships, as can be witnessed by the science fiction films released during the summer of 1995. Johnny Mnemonic, Judge Dredd, and even Batman Forever depict futuristic, technological, and amoral societies, in which what little humanity remains is embodied by the white male title character. Yet among these prophesies of repressed humanity stands at least one notable exception -a humanistic outlook of the future is epitomized by the texts of Star Trek, and nowhere is its optimistic standpoint more evident than in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation (STNG). Star Trek: The Next Generation's belief in the future of humanity stems from its ability to reflect a world in which consciousness of human value coexists with consciousness of technology. The idealistic vision of 1

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STNG relies primarily on two elements: its underlying advocacy of a theory of interrelatedness which promotes compassion and empathy among all peoples, and its romance narrative format. These two characteristics are in some ways complementary, for both concern issues of identity, but in other ways, the romance structure of STNG reflects hierarchical social constructs which directly conflict with the deconstructive tendencies of the theory of interrelatedness. These social constructs are reflected in STNG's (like the films mentioned above) portrayal of the figurehead of humanity as a white, Euro-American man (Patrick Stewart). STNG is not simply a romance, however. It employs elements of realism as well, which contribute to its ability to translate into symbolic representations of contemporary culture. Its optimistic vision of the future is not, therefore, solely dependent on the wish-fulfillment characteristics of its romance structure. Rather, it is also linked to contemporary cultural theory based on quantum physics and systems science. STNG draws on the theory of interrelatedness to take characteristics of present day technological society and weave them into a humanistic outlook of the future, in which humanity is not repressed by the current proliferation of technology, but is instead furthered by it. 2

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Theoretical Background In his work The Reconstruction of Philosophy, John Dewey, one of America's most influential philosophers, discusses recent developments in science and philosophy. Although originally written in 1928 and rewritten in 1948, the work provides a basis for understanding the changes in these disciplines. In his treatise, Dewey outlines how natural science has for the past century depended upon the assumption of fixity; for example, the immutability of atoms or the lack of interdependence of space and time. According to Dewey, the great systems of Western philosophy also took this assumption of fixity as the foundation of their structures. As their central purpose, Western philosophies sought to designate something "taken to be fixed, immutable, and therefore out of time, that is eternal. In being also something conceived to be universal or all-inclusive, this eternal being was taken to be above and beyond all variations of space" (Dewey 12). Philosophy thus searched for the immutable and the ultimate, for truths which would transcend temporal and spatial flux. Continuing his survey of the recent history of philosophy and science, Dewey states, As the uses of the new science proved beneficial in many practical affairs, the new physical and physiological science was tolerated with the understanding that it dealt with lower, material concerns and refrained from entering the higher spiritual 'realm' of Being. This settlement by the device of division gave rise to the dualisms which have been the chief concern of modern philosophy. (Dewey 12) 3

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Although Dewey. does not specify what time periods he intends in his references to "new" science and "modern" philosophy, he is sketching the division between science and religion caused in the seventeenth century by materialist science's assumptions of fixity which necessarily excluded all phenomena outside of the physical. This division created what Dewey refers to as an "impassable gulf' between the material world of science and the spiritual world of morals the "natural subjectmatter [sic] of science" and the "extra-if not supranatural subjectmatter of morals" (Dewey 13). Yet something then occurred to challenge this division: Into this state of affairs in natural science as well as in moral standards and principles, there recently entered the discovery that natural science is forced by its own development to abandon the assumption of fixity and to recognize that what is actually universal is process ... the most revolutionary discovery yet made. (Dewey 12) The discovery that Dewey is referring to is the theory of relativity and quantum physics. These discoveries in physics reveal that the very act of observation affects phenomena, and the location of the observer affects observation. The implications of this for materialist science is pointed out by Frederick Turner, a noted historian: The chief challenge to materialism was the disappearance of the atom as atomic or irreducible, and the consequent dissolution of matter into event, relation, and information. One of the advantages of materialism was that the further one reduced the complex and ambiguous behavior of the apparent world in the direction of simple atomic events, the more concrete and unambiguous it seemed to get. But one more reduction, one last simplification, spoiled everything. Suddenly the world, as it was revealed by 4

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quantum physics, had become ambiguous again; and far from offering an escape from the relativism of human perception, the pursuit of material explanations had now totally implicated the observer in the behavior of reality. (Turner 152) Quantum theory thus asserts that the distinction between how we know and what we know, statement and referent, meaning and object, has begun to break down (Turner 145). Suddenly the world is open, infinite, "indefinitely variegated," and "so far reaching and multiplex that it cannot be summed up and grasped in one formula" (Dewey 12). The only things which can be asserted as universals are change and interdependency. In The Reconstruction of Philosophy, Dewey asserts that the new discoveries in science revolutionize philosophy as well. His "reconstructive" philosophy is based on a new structure of philosophy freed from its immutable or ultimate ends, and his philosophical ideas are the forerunners of present day deconstructive and postmodern theories, which challenge all previous philosophies based on fixity in the same way that quantum physics challenges previous scientific methods based on fixity. Although the term postmodernism is highly problematic, representing diverse thinkers and modes of thought too numerous and complex to be adequately discussed here, I think it is safe to say that one of the main forces behind this movement is the desire to deconstruct and problematize the structures of theoretical discourse. As Edmund Smyth outlines in Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction, postmodernism deconstructs the relationship between language and meaning, meaning 5

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and people, meaning and the world, and finally people themselves and their place in the world (Smyth 119). According to postmodem theory, perspective is inherently influenced by "positionality," or location, which leads to a recognition of the diversity and irreducibility of voices and interests. Postmodemism thus undermines all theories premised on a single, fixed worldview. With regards to scientific theories, postmodemism particularly deconstructs materialist standpoints which assert single, concrete explanations of the workings of the universe. David Ray Griffin, Joanna Macy Matthew Fox, Frederick Turner and several other philosophers base their ideas on the deconstructive trends of postmodem theory supported by quantum science, and draw on previous American philosophers like Dewey, Henry James, and Alfred North Whitehead. Although each thinker explores different aspects of the new concept of the world represented by relativity and quantum theory, the underlying idea which connects them is the assertion that all things and aspects of experience are interrelated and interdependent. According to this theory of interrelatedness, identity is defined in terms of relations, internal and external, within a universal "web" or system. No thing or perspective is separate or distinct; every perspective and aspect of experience is interdependent. These ideas pertain not only to quantum physics but to systems science as well. According to Griffin, "We are interconnected in a system in which whatever happens to any part of the system reverberates in small or large ways throughout the 6

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system" (Griffin 1 ) These thinkers base their cosmology on the scientific discoveries of quantum physics and systems science, but they extend the idea of interrelatedness to areas such as ecology, feminism, and religion. An example of interconnectedness in ecology, for instance, is equating protecting one tree in a rain forest with protecting yourself. Recognizing that the tree provides oxygen which sustains the atmospheric balance necessary to support life for the entire planetary system means recognizing one example of the tree's relation to yourself. This awareness can lead to a shift in identity-for example, John Seed, director of the Rain Forest Information Center in Australia relates his identity to those of the trees he protects: "I try to remember that it's not me, John Seed, trying to protect the rain forest. Rather, I am part of the rain forest protecting myself, I am that part of the rain forest recently emerged into human thinking" (qtd. in Macy 37). This example illuminates how, for many theorists of interrelatedness, sense of self involves the mystical as well as the pragmatic. Identity is not simply located or defined by physicality, but by something psychical in addition, and both psychically and physically, individual identities are interrelated As evident in the above example, no clear boundaries exist between individual perspective and larger perspective, according to the theory of interconnectedness. But this does not mean that the relevance of individual perspective is lost. According to Joanna Macy, a "constructive postmodernist," 7

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Systems Theory helps us see that the larger identification of which we speak does not involve an eclipse of the distinctiveness of one's individual experience. Natural and cognitive systems self heterogeneity. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. (Macy 41). Systems theory and interrelatedness rely on a balance between individual perspective and "community" perspective. This balance is achieved not only by acknowledging distinctions, but also by deconstructing them, so that perspective can only be defined in terms of relations. Another necessary element of interrelatedness is change and growth, which is only accomplished through maintaining heterogeneity. These ideas are ambiguous, but the theorists who accept interrelatedness see ambiguity as inherent in the concept of the world revealed by systems science and quantum physics. An example of the balance between community and individual perspective can be seen in the case of John Seed who, in accepting interrelatedness, chooses to define himself in relation to the rain forest he protects By relating to the rain forest, he relates to its (and thus his) place within the ecological system of Australia, and the ecological system of the planet, and ultimately, the ecological system of the universe. Yet his individual perspective is still able to be differentiated. His desire to have legislation passed, for example, is distinctive to his individual perspective and relevant in influencing the system, in this case, to what extent the Australian rain forest is protected or destroyed. 8

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According to theorists of interrelatedness, many of the problems of present society are due to "the delusion that our sense of self is so separate and fragile that we must delineate and defend its boundaries, that it is so aloof that we can be immune to what we do to other beings" (Macy 39). Concepts of interconnectedness, evident in hermeticism and organicism, historically preceded the concept of a separate self, which gained prominence during the Age of Reason in the 18th century and has flourished ever since. This idea of a separate self, according to present day theorists of interrelatedness, is the root of consumerism, social injustices like racism and sexism, and disregard for the state of the environment. The fixed structures premised on the notion of a separate self for example, self/other, or man/nature are not only wrong in that they miss most of reality, but also in the fact that they have been used to further oppressive, appropriative systems, namely, the dominant, white, patriarchal, Eurocentric structures of power. The fixed structures and distinctions which limit identity are the ideas that quantum physics, systems theory, and the theory of interrelatedness challenge. In many ways, the theory of interrelatedness is tied to previous liberal humanist traditions which sought to free identity from the restraints of fixed structures. In particular, interrelatedness seems to draw on the transcendentalist movement, based primarily on the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, heavily influenced the American philosopher and psychologist William James, whom some theorists of interrelatedness list 9

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as a founder. James' ideas concerning a philosophy which would join empiricism and spiritualism are at the basis of theorists' extension of interrelatedness to pragmatic and moral applications, leading to a "new unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions" (Griffin vii). These same ideas stem from James' readings of Romantic thinkers such as Wordsworth and Emerson (Kaplan and Katsaros14). Indeed, when closely examined, the essential ideas of interrelatedness can be traced to Emerson and his "transcendental" philosophy. Emerson believes, as do advocates of interrelatedness, that many aspects of experience cannot be defined in terms of the senses. He sought to "transcend" the boundaries of materialism, such as the distinction between matter and spirit and man and nature, which is evident from his famous passage in "Nature": "Uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me." The idea of a universe with divinity in all things follows advocates of interrelatedness' emphasis on the ethics involved in all aspects of experience. The notion of integration and differentiation of perspective also harks back to Emerson, who believes in the existence of an oversoul which is composed of the individual soul and the world soul. Emerson describes the oversoul as a tapestry, similar to the "interconnected web" metaphor of theorists of interrelatedness like Griffin and Fox. Katsaros, a historian of American Romanticism, explains Emerson's ideas on the 10

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oversoul: .. Man [sic] fulfills his role in the cosmic unity by heeding and acting on the promptings of his individual soul. Since the world soul which is one with the individual soul represents ultimate freedom and creativity, each individual has the capacity to record his intuitions free from the artificialities of mechanical and stilted rules .. (Kaplan and Katsaros 16). Emerson thus seeks to deconstruct boundaries and fixed structuring of identity through an assertion of interconnectedness. Freedom from absolutes, for Emerson, like theorists of interrelatedness, implies a growth principle. One difference between transcendentalism and the theory of interconnectedness, though, is the attitude towards materialistic science. In their emphasis on spontaneity, intuition, and emotion over logic and restraint, Emerson often seem to reject the value of empiricism and material science. By contrast, interrelatedness seeks to maintain the relevance of materialism, but calls on it as a witness of its own limited ability in revealing aspects of experience. According to Charles Jencks, a postmodern theorist, interrelatedness refuses to give materialist science based on fixity and its technology their .. previously pre-eminent place. Their explanations of the universe, society, and nature still have relevance, but a limited one .. (Jencks 11 ). Thus, according to the theory of interrelatedness, materialism can help reveal some .. truths .. of the universe, but only when it denies fixed limits. 11

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Statement of Purpose Science fiction texts are particularly well suited to express aspects of postmodem theory, for they represent a genre in which art and science converge, challenging the distinction between the scientific and the ideal in their very format. Star Trek: The Next Generation is one such text. It combines a consciousness of human value with a consciousness of science, and it does so through an assertion of interrelatedness. Much of the mass appeal of the show (it is the most widely viewed science fiction series in television history) is thought to be due to its utopic vision of the future, but as Katarina G. Boyd indicates in her dissertation on cyborgs, the "grounds of its utopian appeal have not been adequately investigated" (Boyd 1 ). Throughout this thesis, I will examine the "meliorist" attitude of STNG (its belief that conditions may always be bettered) and the source of that belief an underlying acceptance of the theory of interrelatedness. I will explore how STNG's narrative structure, which employs many elements of romance, contributes to its ability to create a utopic vision, although compromising some of the complexity and ambiguity inherent in the theory of interrelatedness. In particular, I will analyze STNG's emphasis on compassion and empathy, illustrating how the series attempts to value these traditionally feminine values and in what ways it fails. I will also investigate how STNG deconstructs some fixed boundaries of identity (such as that between matter and spirit) while maintaining others (such as relegating 12

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women and people of color to the position of "other"), and examine how these characteristics connect STNG with other liberal humanist traditions --transcendentalism, as revealed in STNG's incorporation of Emersonian ideals and imagery, and present day humanist scientists, as demonstrated in STNG's portrayal of Data. I will analyze other characteristics of the series which reflect a belief in interrelatedness, such as its attempts to assert heterarchical structures of power, its struggle to balance individual perspective with community perspective, and its related assertion of the necessity of both heterogeneity and homogeneity. I will also illustrate STNG's viewpoint on materialism, illuminating the ways in which the series attacks the fixity of materialist thinking as oppressive and inadequate while still granting materialism a place in revealing the workings of the universe, and illustrate how the series advocates the philosophy of interrelatedness as essential to the survival of humanity. I will examine not only the ways in which STNG succeeds in embodying interrelatedness, but also where it fails and why. For this critique of its failures, I will look to deconstructive feminist criticism and examine the ways in which STNG's format as a romance narrative contributes to its inability to complete its project of creating an ideal world based on interrelatedness. 13

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Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Case for Interrelatedness Underlying the policies and actions of the crew of the starship Enterprise is a belief in interrelatedness, which affects the moral fabric of the STNG series. The crew members possess an acute awareness of their interactions with and influence on other beings, expressed in their "Prime Directive," which prohibits interfering with other cultures' progress and values. The directive is meant to protect other cultures from any potentially negative effects of contact with the Enterprise, and demonstrates a respect for and a valuing of other cultures and their beliefs. Other examples of the Enterprise's concern for its effect on other beings are profuse: in "Galaxy's Child," the crew are saddened at the accidental killing of an alien life form; when they realize that the creature was pregnant, they perform a type of cesarean section to save the unborn child. When they discover in "Force of Nature" that their warp engines can distort space, they set strict warp limits in an attempt to prevent the phenomena from occurring. In "First Contact," when they discover that their arrival on Malcoria Ill is premature and that the Malcorians are not ready to accept that they are not alone in space, the Enterprise bows out quietly. The concern that the Enterprise shows for other beings is due to the compassion which comes with an understanding of interrelatedness. According to theorists like Griffin and Fox, in recognizing the interrelatedness of all things, you recognize not only the importance of 14

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your perspective and its potential influence, as the Enterprjse clearly does, but you realize your connection with all other aspects of the system. This awareness of interconnection enables a level of understanding which promotes empathy and compassion. The idea of interrelatedness, then, extends not only to pragmatic application in politics or science but to moral application and spirituality as well. Matthew Fox outlines the moral application of interrelatedness in his article "A Mystical Cosmology: Towards a Postmodem Spirituality": "True spirituality is about power. It is about developing the powers of creativity, justice, and compassion in all persons" (Fox 17). According to Fox, in accepting the cosmology of interrelatedness, an individual also accepts the ethical responsibility attached to that cosmology. This ethical awareness, which Fox labels "spirituality," focuses on compassion and the notions of creativity and justice based on compassion Compassion is the central "power" of the policies and actions of the Enterprise crew. They leap to the aid of any culture in need arranging diplomatic meetings, offering medical supplies and other resources, helping with any technological problems, and protecting the cultures from natural disasters or intruders. They often use their science and technology for compassionate reasons. Dewey states: When physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, contribute to the detection of concrete human woes and to the development of plans for remedying them and relieving the human estate, they become moral. Natural science loses its divorce from humanity; it becomes humanistic in quality. (Dewey 138-39) 15

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According to Dewey, consciousness of human value should coexist with all scientific discoveries and should be considered in the implications and goals of technology. When this occurs, as it does on board the Enterprise, science and technology become "humanistic in quality." The Enterprise's science and technology is used to not only aid humans, though, but all individuals. In "Galaxy's Child," the crew use their lasers to perform the cesarean section to free the unborn child from its dead mother; in "Deja Q," they try various technological tactics to keep the Bre'eiiV moon from crashing into the planet; in "Encounter at Farpoint," they use energy beams to free a captured creature; and medical researchers and teams concentrate their efforts on helping any injured or sick they encounter, using their advanced devices to do so. Although they respect the beliefs and values of other cultures, the crew of the Enterprise also strive to protect justice within their own culture. For example, in "The Drumhead," Picard fights the unjust persecution of a crewman by a prejudiced investigator despite placing his own career in jeopardy. In ''The Measure of a Man," Picard similarly defends Data against unfair treatment (this scene will be discussed in detail later). When other cultures interfere in the affairs of the Federation, the crew of the Enterprise feel justified in defending their ideas of justice to them, particularly in the case of the omnipotent character Q. In "Encounter at Farpoint," Q prevents the crew from continuing their mission, judging them to be a savage, childlike race. Picard balks at this 16

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judgment, claiming it is unfair treatment, and Data maintains that no person or culture can be made to answer for the crimes of their forebearers. The Enterprise crew's notions of justice are thus not based on fixed standards of judgment (except when the crew lapses in its adherence to the ideals of interrelatedness, which will be addressed later). These ideas concerning justice are again addressed by Dewey, who believes that science and morality can be integrated further by rendering "the methods and conclusions of natural science serviceable for moral theory and practice. All that is needed is the acceptance of the view that moral subjectmatter is also spatially and temporally qualified" (Dewey 13). This idea of morality as spatially and temporally qualified has several implications. Since there are no longer fixed standards whereby to judge morality, no previous principles or decisions can be wholly relied upon to justify a course of action. In the case of STNG, Picard analyzes every situation individually, and does not always follow the Prime Directive. The directive of non-interference, which is meant to provide respect for other cultures and the workings of universal systems, is often disobeyed in the name of compassion, after Picard has weighed the consequences and details of the situation. Nor can any individual or group be judged by a fixed result, according to Dewey, but only by the direction in which they are moving. Picard argues this point in "Encounter at Farpoint" as he defends against Q's accusations that 17

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humanity is savage by pointing to "human progress." Finally, Dewey says, every situation involving morals is of equal importance (Dewey 140). In the episode ''The Quality of Life," the equality of ethical situations is depicted by Data's refusal to sacrifice one life form, although it is mechanical, for another, even though that other life form is human -his friends and fellow crew members. Yet the decision-making process of the Enterprise crew reveals a flaw in STNG's advocacy of interrelatedness. Picard arrives at his decisions by consulting with his officers Riker, the first officer; Wort, the security officer; Troi, the ship's counselor; Lieutenant Commander Data; Crusher, the medical officer; and La Forge, the chief engineer. The officers discuss the situation as they sit around an oval table. Picard sits at the head of the table, surrounded by his predominantly male officers and Crusher and Troi, who occupy the mid to lower end of the table away from Picard. This arrangement is indicative of the power structure of the Enterprise; most of the decisions are made by the male officers, and Picard has the final decision. The crew members generally agree on a course of action, but when they do not, Picard's decision usually coincides with the beliefs of Riker and Data, the two other white, Euro American males of the group, as evident in the Borg episodes. This process reflects how STNG is not able to do for women and people of color what it tries to do for other species and cultures with its Prime Directive assert the relatedness of and the heterarchical importance of 18

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each perspective. Even when STNG does address issues of colonialism, racism, and sexism, the issues are focalized through Picard, which is also apparent in the Borg episodes. Many advocates of interrelatedness believe that the very survival of life on this planet depends upon overcoming concepts of the world which ignore the moral implications of technology. These morally bankrupt theories represent a huge threat to humanity, according to theorists like Robert Nadeau, a humanist scientist and artificial intelligence engineer, due to the potential consequences of technological advances in areas like artificial intelligence, bioengineering, and nuclear science. In his treatise on the ethical implications of artificial intelligence Mind. Machines. and Human Consciousness, Nadeau states, .,If we are to avoid a tragedy in human affairs, we must begin to exercise our philosophical and moral imaginations in ways that lead to a: very different understanding of the nature of technological progress and the goals it is intended to serve., (Nadeau 166). Advocates of interrelatedness align themselves with liberal humanists like Nadeau in their emphasis on the ultimate value of life in all its forms and the necessity of considering that value in evaluating the goals and implications of technology. Dewey, in 1948, could already see the necessity of bringing together the goals of technology and the value of human life: When the consciousness of science is fully impregnated with the consciousness of human value, the greatest dualism which now 19

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weighs humanity down, the split between the material, the mechanical, the scientific and the moral and the ideal will be destroyed. Human forces that now waver because of this division will be unified and reinforced. (Dewey 139) STNG attempts to offer paradigms for the unification and reinforcement of the spiritual and the material, morality and science. The crew of the Enterprise use their science and technology to further their ideas concerning compassion, creativity, and justice. Although they sometimes fail in their intended goals, due to conflicts with other cultures' morality or inadequate technology, their consciousness of human value (and the value of other beings) encourages science and technology to serve humanity (humankind and humaneness), rather than destroy it. Romance and Realism in STNG In his work on the structure of romance, The Secular Scrjpture, Northrop Frye, the noted structuralist and myth critic, points out : It is quite true that if there is no sense that the mythological universe is a human creation, man [sic] can never get free of servile anxieties, never surpass himself, in Nietzsche's phrase. But if there is no sense that it is also something uncreated, something coming from elsewhere, man remains a Narcissus staring at his own reflection, equally unable to surpass himself . Somehow or other, the created scripture and the revealed scripture have to keep fighting each other like Jacob and the angel, and it is through the maintaining of this struggle, the suspension of belief between the spiritually real and the humanly imaginative, that our own mental evolution grows. (Frye 60-61) STNG creates a mythological universe which attempts to get at these ideas, to construct a vision of the universe relating human creativity to 20

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something larger than that creativity. This relationship is demonstrated most clearly in the final episode of STNG. In "All Good Things ... Picard realizes another interconnection between space and time by witnessing and examining a temporal/spatial anomaly, but due to the special characteristics of such an anomaly, evidence also exists that Picard created the anomaly precisely by opening his mind to its possibility. In this episode, Picard's "mental evolution grows": he opens his mind to new possibilities, through struggling to understand the relationship between his own creativity and something beyond it, the "uncreated." After outlining the struggle in creating a mythological universe, Frye goes on to say that the "one principle" that we have "to go on with" is one which the world of romance reminds us of: "that we are not awake when we have abolished the dream world: we are awake only when we have reabsorbed it again" (Frye 61 ). The boundaries Frye asserts that romance blurs, between dream and reality, identity and illusion, are precisely the boundaries of the "humanly imaginative" and the "spiritually real" with which the mythological universe struggles. It is thus quite appropriate that STNG, which is concerned with the relationship between these concepts, employs elements of romance to do so. In "All Good Things ... the blurred distinctions between waking and dreaming are depicted in Picard's confusion at the surreal quality of being propelled from one time period to the next, and the dreamlike quality of the 21

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courtroom from the 21st century which he is also transported to. The blurring between waking and dreaming is reinforced by the fact that Picard begins and ends his adventure in pajamas. According to Frye, romance narratives are an upward journey towards regained identity; they thus represent an evolution of identity. This important theme of romance is perhaps the key reason why STNG's structure often follows characteristics of romance narrative. The premise of the show is a quest -a quest by the members of the starship Enterprise to "seek out new life and new civilizations" and "boldly go where no one has gone before." This quest is an exploration of identity, not only of the nature of other aspects of the universe and its cultures, but also of the personal identity of the crew members as well. Coming to a more complete understanding of identity occurs through the crew's realization of a greater understanding of interconnectedness, between members of the crew and between members of the crew and members of other species they encounter. This aspect of interrelatedness is perhaps best exemplified by the episode "The Chase," in which Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and humans discover their common ancestry. This discovery causes at least Picard and the Romulan captain to reevaluate their previous beliefs about identity. The Romulan captain, quite out of character, actually admits to Picard, "It would seem we are not so different after all." 22

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I I / romance that STNG employs and which I oic, ideal world, is that of wish-fulfillment, which I bns given of "present day" earth of the 24th / zone," Picard explains that 24th century humans I [ want, and the need for possessions," leaving of "improving" and "enriching" of an ideal world is tied to what Frye calls I I ,ad past" (Frye 178). He explains, I / of the possible or future or ideal constitutes the / element in romance. Thus, the recreation of us into a present where past and future are ..... -. h a union of past and future in a present vision of a pastoral, paradisal, and radically simplified form of life obviously takes on a new kind of urgency in an age of pollution and energy crisis, and helps to explain why romance seems so contemporary a form of literary experience. (Frye 179) The desire for simplicity implicated in the wish-fulfillment element of romance narrative is representative of Emerson and theorists of interrelatedness. In promoting an idea of a universal web of interconnections, these theorists tend to stress the "oneness" of identity. The result is that identity and reality are simplified, rather than variegated. Although this simplification is quite appealing to a society bombarded with technological advances and mass-communication that seem to make life exceedingly sophisticated, complicated, and ambiguous (even more so than in the 1970's "age of pollution and energy crisis"), it ignores

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the complicated intricacies of such a society and thus falls into the category of wish-fulfillment. STNG draws on this desire for simplicity. Although life on board the Enterprise is complex at times, especially when the crew must learn to relate to a new culture, for the most part, life is "radically simplified ." The crew do not have monetary or serious health concerns, and the Entemrise is remarkably free of interpersonal conflict. People seem to live without the daily problems which trouble present day humans, and are left unhindered to explore their interests; which they do generally in harmonious fashion. Utopic worlds, like that of the Enterprise, as Frye points out, are very appealing to contemporary audiences, and STNG's popularity certainly reflects this. The wish-fulfillment element of romance narrative is related to romance's assertion of moral polarizing, and this does occur in STNG. The crew of the Enterprise are "good"; collectively, they are honest, compassionate, and reasonable. They are also "stylized" to an extent, as characters are in romance, reflecting certain stereotypes: the innocent, wise-beyond-his-years child (Wesley), the resolute warrior (Worf), the "knight in shining armor" (Riker). The stylizing attributes and moral composition of the characters help audiences readily identify with them. The enemies of the Enterprise generally possess stylized characteristics as well the cold, insectlike Borg, for example, we quickly recognize as "bad." 24

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Yet STNG also creates morally ambiguous characters the clearest example of which is the omnipotent character Q. Q does not easily fit into a category of "good" or bad." Although he is arrogant, mischievous, and vengeful, he often acts out of concern for members of the Enterprise. Q, who is perhaps the most improbable of all the characters in STNG, is also the most realistic, for he questions morality and possesses conflicting desires. His moral ambiguity and insecurity, which would seem more probable characteristics of a less superior being than one who possesses omnipotence, reveals STNG's incorporation of realism as well as romance. According to Frye, in romance, the external events take precedence over the characters. STNG at times focuses on external events, modifying characters behavior to fit the events as in the Borg episodes, and at other times, the characters are the point of focus, and the events are modified to fit the characters, as in the episode "Data's Day." STNG's use of televisual techniques demonstrate these differing points of focus. The series draws on the electronic immediacy of the television image to enforce audience identification. When the characters are the point of focus, STNG employs many close-up shots, which, as Tony Wilson, a critic of visual communication, points out, "engages the viewer in a direct verbal and visual address" (Wilson 35). This technique is evident throughout the episode "Data's Day," which is almost exclusively composed of mid-shots and close-ups. By contrast, in 25

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episodes like "The Best of Both Worlds," wider, distancing shots (like that of the external Borg ship or of the Enterprise flying into a nebula) intermit with the close-ups and mid-shots. Perhaps the largest point of tension in labeling SING simply a romance narrative is the series' topical references and allegorical tendencies. According to Frye, romance is "antirepresentational," but this is not the case with SING. The symbolism of SING easily extends to "nonliterary affinities," into the life around it which the text reflects (Frye 59). This "symbolic spread" occurs throughout the series. For example, in "The Outcast," the bisexual J'naii's persecution of people who possess a single sexual preference is a thin disguise for the series' statement about sexual prejudice in present society, and in "Symbiosis," the Ornarans' chemical dependency on a substance provided by the Brekkans easily translates into a treatise on contemporary drug issues. As critics like Sobchack note, science fiction is invariably about the present, but the present is represented indirectly, cordoned off by the text's placement in the distant future. SING attempts to get a message across and perform a social function, rather than explore issues in their complexity. In an effort to make the "morals" of its episodes more palatable to a larger audience, SING employs romance techniques, which, as Frye outlines, are appealing to contemporary audiences. These techniques sometimes suit its underlying thematics of interrelatedness, but not always. The typing of 26

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the characters, the moral polarizing, and reductionism which occurs at times (and which helps clarify the messages of the episodes) undermines the very notion of ambiguity inherent in interrelatedness. The fixity which occurs in romance formulas is particularly evident in STNG's treatment of women characters. Although each member of the crew should represent a mixture of the traditionally feminine qualities of interdependence (compassion, empathy, intuition) as well as traditionally masculine characteristics (such as reason, discipline, diligence) in order to properly portray the interrelatedness of these aspects of experience, the socially constructed stereotypes that STNG engages in undermines the very idea of this interconnectedness. In particular, the women characters in STNG are stereotyped. This typing of the female characters causes STNG to essentialize the feminine values promoted by interrelatedness, designating compassion, empathy, and intuition as innate for women. The three recurring women characters, Deanna Troi, Beverly Crusher, and Guinan, are all securely within traditionally feminine fields. Troi, the ship's counselor and an em path, stretches the concept of female intuition and empathy to a new level. Crusher is the nurturing doctor who, although possessing the sole power of being able to relieve the captain of duty, does not possess any more "command" power than Troi. Guinan is the bartender/wise woman to whom the crew turns for guidance. She is a rather androgynous figure, not visibly ''feminine" as Troi with her 27

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large breasts and low cut uniform or Crusher with her striking make-up and long unrestrained red hair Although she is thus given more complexity and uniqueness than the other two main female characters, she represents the spiritual superiority and supportiveness traditionally associated with women. Romance. Adventure and postmodern Representation STNG's incorporation of realism allows it to delve into more contemporary aspects of actuality Its mythological universe, for example, is premised upon cosmologies of interconnectedness based on quantum physics and systems theory Yet its romance elements, in particular the simplification of ideas and characters, combines with the series' television adventure format in rejecting the ambiguous, fragmented, deconstructive characteristics of much of "postmodern" (contemporary) science fiction. In her critical analysis of science fiction film Screenjng Space, Vivian Sobchack outlines how "Science fiction has always taken as its distinctive generic task the cognitive mapping and poetic figuration of social relations as they are constituted and changed by technological modes of being-in-the-world" (Sobchack 224) STNG in this respect is no exception. The proliferation of electronic technology in our present culture is reflected in the crew of the starship Enterprise's complete dependence upon technology. The ship's computer controls life support, 28

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gravity, replication of food and every other necessity, and provides the very means for their exploration of space. Yet what is different from Sobchack's analysis of what she terms "postfuturist" texts (science fiction texts from the 1980's to the present) is how the relationship between humans and technology is portrayed. Instead of following contemporary trends in science fiction, outlined by Sobchack in her final chapter, STNG draws on traditional forms of narrative representation, accommodating them to contemporary themes and debates. STNG follows a television adventure series formula meant to appeal to a popular audience. The primary characteristic of the adventure format is movement, which, in the case of STNG, is provided in the central premise of the crew of the Enterprise's exploration of space. As Horace Newcomb points out in his work TV: The Most Popular Art, the problems that arise in television adventures are "solved in terms of the values embodied in the central characters. Values that determine the outcome of various encounters are directly related to the attitudes that motivate the movement of the characters in the first place" (Newcomb 139). In STNG, the crew of the Enterprise are motivated in their exploration of space by the desire to understand themselves and the universe to a greater extent; by continually expressing empathy and compassion for other life forms, they come to understand the motivations of those life forms and inevitably find a solution to the dilemma presented. 29

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As Newcomb also points out, when a problem arises in an adventure series, the first reaction of the characters "is to rely on essentially technological methods. It becomes apparent, however, that such situations are incapable of rectifying the situation, and human abilities, common sense, and human emotions bring about the correction" (157). These characteristics are evident in ''The Best of Both Worlds" episodes, in which the Enterprise's defense capabilities fail to deter the Borg ship, forcing Riker and Shelby to use their own ingenuity in creating a plan to save the day. In their reliance on human ability, adventure series thus promote a consciousness of human resourcefulness. Television adventures, according to Newcomb, also typically mirror the problems of our own world. STNG examines cultural issues through the interaction of a mixed cast of crew members, who represent different ages, races, sexes, and (to some degree) personalities, and through the suggestion that other cultures the Enterprise crew encounters are similar to earth's. These characteristics allow STNG's plots to treat problems of the human social condition. This representational quality, associated with realism, is further reinforced by STNG's reliance on functional probability the science and technology represented on STNG are based on available knowledge provided by physicists. 30

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The traditional adventure series formula that STNG employs to make its series readily accessible conflicts with what Sobchack outlines as contemporary trends in science fiction. According to Frederic Jameson and as outlined by Sobchack the two major themes that inform and dominate contemporary science fiction are an "inverted millenarianism" and "aesthetic populism." Inverted millenarianism replaces premonitions of the future with an inherent disbelief in the future, with the sense of "the end of this or that" (qtd. in Sobchack 251 ). Aesthetic populism embraces and incorporates a pastiche of "shlock and kitsch." The dominant themes of inverted millenarianism and aesthetic populism find articulation in what can be identified, according to Jameson, as a "postmodern" aesthetic, whose features include "a new depth less ness "a consequent weakening of historicity," and "a schizophrenic" structuring (251 ). Inverted millenarianism and weakened historicity are manifested, according to Sobchack, in the visual "trashing" of futurist technology and the "decorative and/or narrative conflation of the past and present with the future" (Sobchack 247). Yet instead of the overwhelming sense that everything is used (the classic example is the cluttered bombardment mise-en scene in Blade Runner), the Enterprise of STNG -like that of the 1960's Star Trek series and like the ship in Voyager. the sequel looks andfeels "new ." From its brightly colored user-friendly consoles and state-of-the-art armchairs to its smooth, clean contours and spotless 31

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carpets, everything within and without feels comforting and new. This depiction reflects the Star Trek series' reliance on an optimistic belief in new possibilities for the future. Every idea has not been exhausted, as Jameson's analysis indicates; instead, the future is full of potential, and new ideas and forms of representation are out there, waiting to be discovered. Inverted millenarianism does appear to an extent in STNG, but it is displaced onto non-Federation cultures. For example, the Ferengi, who are the capitalists of the universe, reflect Jameson's "postmodern" aesthetic (also referred to as the "cultural logic of late capitalism"); they possess junkyards of decommissioned or disabled starships whose parts they wish to sell for considerable profit; thus, their culture is linked to wasted technology. The trashing of technology is also projected onto the Borg, whose ship not only resembles a microchip, but also a hunk of metal "trash compacted" into a cube .. The displacement and projection of Jameson's postmodern aesthetic onto other cultures enforces the coherent perspective of STNGfor example, the "wrong" policies (inverted millenarianism, disbelief in the future) are placed onto the Borg, who are dichotomously positioned against the "right" policies ("new" technology, belief in the future) of the Enterprise. STNG does not adhere to Jameson's notion of aesthetic populism either. It is not a pastiche of unrelated accumulations in structure or visuals. Although it incorporates elements of drama, action thriller, 32

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psychodrama, and science fiction, SING always conservatively maintains its status as a quest narrative in which the explorers all join together in upholding set principles which are best exemplified in their leader (in this case Captain Jean-Luc Picard, around whom the narrative viewpoint typically falls). At times the series uses the plot device of the holodeck to experiment with other forms of narrative, such as detective novels and westerns, but these subtexts are always kept separate from the larger framework of the narrative, which is represented also by the holodeck's isolation from the rest of the ship. Instead of presenting a collection of fragmented images in the way that MTV and its postmodem aesthetic does, SING provides a coherence dependent upon formulaic devices and one controlling viewpoint. The point of view presented by the camera reflects an "objective" position and thus conflicts to an extent with the range of perspectives which the Enterprise represents, creating a tension between SING's advocacy of heterarchy and maintenance of dominant perspective. The coherence of viewpoint is further emphasized by the camera work in SING's refusal to draw attention to itself. Unlike the camera work in MTV, SING's attention to camera position and editing is focused on creating an unproblematic, "normal," or "transparent" presentation of reality (Wilson 111 ). Another reason for SING's reflection of more traditional forms of representation than contemporary science fiction is that many of its 33

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narrative concepts are throwbacks to the original series Star Trek. In the 1960's, when Star Trek began, the American dream of the wanderer as hero re-emerged. As Newcomb illuminates, individuals in the 1960's found adventure in searching and experiencing, rejecting "the admonition to settle and build" (Newcomb 141 ). Such individuals could thus relate to Captain Kirk, who sacrificed the comfort and security of a family and home to experience the wonders (and women) of the universe. The reawakening of the Romantic desire to search and wander is also represented in STNG. In the first episode of the series, "Encounter at Farpoint," we are introduced to imagery which announces this dominant theme in STNG. The starship Enterprise makes its first entrance, and the external appearance of the ship reveals a great deal about the philosophy of the people inside. The Enterprise's warp core is a horizontal, oval shape whose blackness blends with surrounding space. Its eye-like characteristics are emphasized by the blue outline of an oval within the oval, suggesting a pupil. Many shots in the episode show the ship from the front or side, with the warp core "eye" in view, gracefully wandering through space. This image is strikingly reminiscent of Emerson's famous passage in "Nature": "Uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me." The "transparent eyeball" of the ship's warp 34

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core rides the warp fields it creates which circulate around the ship. The Enterprise thus physically embodies Emerson's metaphor. The attitude of receptive discovery is also represented in the curving, almost organic shape of the Enterprise, which seems not to impose on the universe but to flow through space unintrusively, as if fitted naturally to its environment.. In this respect, the physical depiction of the Enterprise demonstrates Emerson's "transcendence" of clear distinctions between humans and nature. Indeed, the philosophy of the Federation of United Planets, which created the starship and whose principles are exemplified by the Enterprise crew, is similar to that of the transcendentalists, as illustrated particularly by their Prime Directive, which advocates "non-interference" with other cultures. This idea is suited to the transcendentalist "transparent eyeball" metaphor of exploring the world in an attitude of reception rather than judgment; this attitude stems from Emerson's "transcendence" (similar to interrelatedness theory's deconstruction) of boundaries, which divide "self' from "other" and allow such acts of judgment. Star Fleet's Prime Directive calls on the crew of the Enterprise to accept the beliefs, values, and worldviews of the cultures it encounters and not interfere with judge, or colonize those civilization's cultures. In the 1960's, when Star Trek began, an awareness of the evils of colonialism was heightened due primarily to American involvement in Vietnam. Ethical issues concerning colonialism and war are depicted in 35

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episodes of the original series STNG continues this tradition of anticolonialism in its advocacy of non-interference; the Enterprise crew seek to learn about and from other cultures, focusing on their own relatedness to them rather than on the distinctions between them. The injustices of colonialist enterprises are also evident in this first episode. In "Encounter at Farpoint," an omniscient being "Q" refuses to allow the Enterprise to travel into the outer reaches of space because he (Q manifests himself in the form of a white man) claims that humans are a "dangerous, child race." Q's attitude is thus representative of Europeans who justified conquering and destroying other races by claiming that those races were "savages." As Q illustrates his claim of humanity's savagery with examples of 1950's ideological propaganda ("Let's put an end to the Commies") and claims that humans murdered each other in the name of religion or to procure natural resources, it becomes clear that he is attacking humanity's colonialist attitudes while incorporating them himself. Picard realizes this and is outraged by Q's judgment. He states that humans have progressed beyond their savagery and beyond the very act of judgment that allowed that savagery. As Q concludes his accusations, he states, "And reaching deep space, humans of course found enemies to fight out there, too. Same old story all over again." Picard challenges, "No. The same old story is the one we're meeting right now. Self-righteous life forms who are eager, not to learn, but to prosecute, to judge anything they don't understand or can't tolerate." 36

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Picard claims that humanity has progressed beyond its oppressive, colonialist judgments, but that Q has not. As will be discussed later, this assertion is only partially correct. The Enterprise's specific mission during this episode is to discover the mystery of Farpoint Station. Q claims that he will reserve judgment on humanity until after this mission, which will be a test of "mankind's" progress. Ultimately, what the crew discover during this mission is that the station is actually a creature capable of converting energy into matter who is being held against its will by the Sandi. The Enterprise frees the creature by feeding it energy, and the creature escapes into space to meet its mate. The two creatures resemble giant jellyfish, but as the camera follows them as they wander together into outer space, their forms resemble two eyeballs, or more specifically, two eyeballs with long legs. This image is again reminiscent of imagery of the transcendentalists, although this time the similarity is to a popular caricature of Emerson's transparent eyeball sketched by his contemporary Christopher Cranch, in which an eyeball with two long, skinny legs walks the earth. The imagery of the creatures symbolizes the Enterprise's mission, which is echoed in Q's taunt: "Really, no idea what it represents? The meaning of that vessel [the creature's mate] is as plain as the nose on your ugly primate faces." The meaning is perhaps not quite that plain, for humans can see their noses but not their own two eyes, which is 37

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symbolically what the creatures represent. Their specific significance is precisely the same as that of the external appearance of the Enterprise, promoting exploration in an attitude of reception. The image of the eye in this episode thus sets up the overall vision of the creators of STNG which, while incorporating concepts from a previous time, does not regress to the past but instead embraces the future, as illustrated in Picard's final declaration in this introductory episode: "Let's see what's out there." As April Selley points out in her article ''Transcendentalism in Star Trek: The Next Generation," this declaration is also reminiscent of Emerson, for, according to Selley, in the desire to search and wander, Emerson emphasizes the need to "always look to the future rather than the past" (Selley 34). 38

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CHAPTER TWO BALANCING THE BORG STNG's incorporation of transcendental ideals is particularly suited to the present day, for just like Emerson, STNG seeks to explode the limited perspective of a materialist concept of the world in which all aspects of life are reduced to mechanical categories. In Emerson's time, the industrial revolution was bringing the idea of the world-as-machine to the forefront. Now, with the advent of artificial intelligence and the proliferation of electronic technology, these ideas are even more pervasive, especially with regard to the concept of human-as-machine STNG seems to recognize many of the same fears as Emerson, in particular the potentially dehumanizing aspects of technology inherent in mechanistic outlooks, and seeks to combat them in much the same way, by focusing on "nonmechanical" aspects of humanity which must be preserved and valuedsuch as freedom, self-determination, intuition, spontaneity of thought, and ethical awareness Homogenization Mechanism, and the Borg In her book Screening Space, Sobchack outlines postmodern, present day culture as "a culture that has become increasingly mediated, decentered, and dispersed-at the same time it has become 39

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increasingly homogenized, replicated, and unified in the proliferation of electronic technology" (Sobchack 44). These ideas, related to systems theory, illustrate the relationship between differentiation of perspective (usually thought of in terms of individual perspective) and integration of perspective (usually thought of in terms of community perspective), and technology's role in furthering each. In the Borg episodes, STNG's writers advocate the necessity of a culture to allow for differentiation of perspective as well as integration. The homogenizing characteristics pertaining to community perspective iri these episodes are connected with materialist or mechanist thinking, demonstrating that the fixed structuring of identity which occurs in mechanist thinking can restrict heterogeneity and individual perspective. The largest threat posed to the Federation are the Borg, a race of cybernetic organisms ("cyborgs"). These cyborgs are not creatures of "transgressed boundaries" or of "permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints" as Donna Haraway defines cyborgs in her deconstructive postmodernist feminist text Simians. Cyborgs, and Women (Haraway 154). Rather, STNG's Borg represent an authoritarian culture in which identity is completely defined by society. The foundation of the Borg culture and society is technology, and STNG's depiction of the Borg emphasizes the homogenizing characteristics arising from this proliferation of technology (as opposed to the decentering characteristics of technology, focused on by Haraway). The homogenizing effect of their 40

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mass absorption of technology is evident from the Borg's physical appearance; they all have basically the same outer circuitry, are greyish white and bald, and about the same height. The dimensions of all of their ships are the same as well. The Borg's technological superiority to the Federation due to their massive absorption of technology into their culture is emphasized in the "The Best of Both Worlds" episodes. The opening scene of part one of the episode reveals four men of the Federation surveying a scene of utter destruction; an entire planetary community has been destroyed to the point that nothing except a deep crater remains. As we find out soon after, this complete decimation has been caused by the Borg, and is representative of their mode of destruction; it is reminiscent of the methods of patriarchal colonization: conquer and destroy. The Borg, like Q, are thus also representative of colonialist enterprises. The fact that the Borg pose the largest threat to the Federation reveals the emphasis STNG places on the evils of colonialist attitudes. These characteristics of the Borg are related to the idea of "dominant culture" as defined by Jim Collins in Uncommon Cultures. According to Collins, the dominant culture, controlled by white, upper middle class men, dictated world perspective in the age prior to the revolutionary discoveries (previously mentioned) which deconstruct the assumption of fixity. Everything was viewed through this dominant perspective, whether consciously or not. Similarly, the only Borg we see 41

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are white and male (although supposedly there are female Borg, as we know from "Q Who"). Their policy, to assimilate cultures in order to advance their own technology, controls every member and every action of their race it is firmly implanted into them by a root command function of their consciousness. This single dominating perspective allows for no other viewpoint and thus places more importance on the group than the individual. This devaluing of the individual is further demonstrated by the fact that the Borg have no names, only designations; their identity is solely based on their function in the collective. The Borg are also racist, in the sense that they believe all other races to be inferior and worthy only of destruction or assimilation. This idea is perhaps reinforced by their portrayal as a purely white race. The fixed structured identity of the Borg is thus associated with oppressive, white, masculine culture. Their ability to fix boundaries allows the Borg to separate "man" from "nature," which in turn permits them to manipulate and attempt to control nature. This attitude is evident in their physical appearance Borg babies are born human (or at least humanoid), as we discover in "Q Who," but the Borg insert circuitry into their human tissues to enhance their physical and mental abilities, until their human features and qualities are overwhelmed by the artificial gadgetry. The Borg become mostly machine, with only one eye and half a face of humanness showing; they are unnaturally white by human standards; and their 42

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mechanized bodies move very awkwardly, bending strangely when hit by phasers They appear disconnected from their natural human qualities. The distance from and manipulation of nature by the Borg contrasts with the attitude of the Enterprjse, which does not recognize rigid boundaries between humans and nature. This contrast is reflected in the different appearances of the Federation and Borg ships. Instead of the curving, fluent shape of the Entemrjse, the Borg ship is square, a shape which does not occur naturally, and actually resembles a microchip These characteristics emphasize the Borg's mechanist attitude towards technology; they distance themselves from their natural environment and refuse to recognize their relatedness with it. This attitude leads them to value the artificial and the manufactured over the natural. The artificiality of the Borg perhaps emphasizes Emerson's idea that fixed structures and "rules" are "artificial" and "stilted." The Borg ship also resembles a prison with its steel, gridlike interior, its lack of windows with which to view the outer world, and the absence of anything organic within it. The prison-like qualities of the Borg ship suggest the restraining, constricting nature of their reductionist thinking The Borg culture's conformity and homogenization are also represented in the ship's internal structure, which is completely linear All of the ship's features look the same, with redundant power sources and distributing nodes The facelessness and dehumanizing qualities of the Borg's technology is epitomized by the square within a square within 43

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a square endless tunnel circuitry (which contrasts with the circle within a circle, organic feel of the Enterprise's warp core) and disembodied "collective" voice which Picard is "faced" with after his capture. The Borg accept the view of the world-as-machine and "man"-as machine, evident in their attitude towards technology. As reflected in their physical appearance and that of their ship, their science is not humanistic Instead, in the words of William James, it "is identified with a certain fixed belief the belief that the hidden order or nature is mechanical exclusively, and that non-mechanical categories are irrational ways of conceiving and explaining even such things as human life" (qtd in Ford 106). This description of materialist science pertains to the Borg and their rejection of "nonmechanical categories" in explaining any aspect of life, even human life. After Picard is captured by the Borg in ''The Best of Both Worlds," the Borg tell him that they will add the biological and technological distinctiveness of human culture to their own. (The Borg's human characteristics are thus distinct from those of human culture based on earth.) Although the Borg describe this process as assimilating human culture, they ignore the aspects of human culture which do not fall into mechanical categories. When Picard points this out by declaring that it is impossible for human culture to be assimilated by the Borg because it would mean denying the very foundations of that culture, the Borg state unequivocally that these nonmechanical foundations are irrelevant: 44

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freedom is "irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. Death is irrelevant." These aspects of human life which are denied by mechanist science are emphasized by STNG, for it is precisely freedom and self determination which allow the Federation to defeat the Borg: Riker and Shelby demonstrate freedom and spontaneity of thought by going against Star Fleet policy and devising a plan to save Picard, who in turn demonstrates self-determination in his efforts to resist the implanted Borg circuitry and communicate a plan to the Enterprise crew which they use to destroy the Borg ship. Specjfjcs: "The Best of Both Worlds" The Borg's attitude that the individual does not matter is demonstrated during the "away mission" headed by Commander Shelby. Although a few officers transport over to the Borg ship, the Borg ignore them and allow them to walk freely around the ship. They do not perceive a small group of individuals as a threat or even worthy of attention. Yet seeming to contradict this policy, the Borg actually kidnap one individual, Captain Picard. They explain that this is so he can act as spokesperson for them when they assimilate Earth and the entire human race. Why they should need a spokesperson is not made clear, and does not seem consistent with their other characteristics, but it does make for a terrific plot device. Picard is captured and undergoes a type of rape As we see his body laid vertical on a slab, completely prostrate, 45

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a large needle-like device penetrates his skull, apparently to adjust the circuitry which is being inserted into his brain. As this rape of his mind is occurring, the screen fades to black and white and we see a tear escape from Picard's eye. His knowledge and experience are taken from him and assimilated into the Borg entity. We are clearly meant to see and feel that this is a physical embodiment of materialist technology's potential rape of valuable aspects of humanity. The screen turning from color to black and white demonstrates another aspect of the Borg culture, their ability to perceive everything as black and white advanced technology is good, inferior technological cultures are bad; freedom, self-determination, and even death are irrelevant and not even considered. The limitedness of their viewpoint is visually represented by the stark black and white, which contrasts with the range of perspectives represented by the Enterprise and reflected in the bright colors of their uniforms and computer consoles. The crew of the Enterprise do manage to recover Picard in the second part of this episode, by incorporating what is to the Borg "incorrect strategy"-they risk the entire crew to save one individual, the captain. Once Picard is back on the ship, the task becomes how to separate him from the Borg, or the man from the machine. Data attempts to communicate with the captain through the Borg biochip implants but fails. He is unable to separate the nonmechanical aspects of the man from the mechanical aspects of the machine, perhaps because he 46

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himself is so inextricably a blend of the two. Picard is able to separate his humanness from the machine, though, demonstrating that even though technology and humanity may coexist, for the crew of the Enterprise who reject mechanism, technology and humanity are able to be differentiated, as well as integrated. The Enterprise's ultimate victory over the Borg again reveals the importance of distinctiveness and the ability to differentiate individual perspective. Although the Borg do not value individual members of their race, they should, because they cannot exile, or cut off, one of them from the collective consciousness except by extricating certain circuits. Data thus manages to access the Borg collective consciousness through Picard, who tells Data to plant a sleep command into the Borg consciousness. This command sends them all into regeneration mode, and their ship self-destructs after recognizing the malfunction. Thus, it is the Borg's failure to place importance on the individual, their inability to adapt, and their lack of spontaneous thought which cause their downfall. The "correct" philosophy (that of the Enterprise) which values the individual as well as the community is further emphasized for us in the last scene of the episode. Picard in his "ready room" picks up his usual beverage, "Earl Grey, hot," and then suddenly sets it down and peers out of his office window, an oblong, narrow window which allows us to see his entire figure as we look in from the viewpoint of outer space. We see one man, contrasted with all the vastness of space, and yet we recognize 47

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that his perspective, his experience, is incredibly important. He has lived through a rape which stripped his humanity and made him a party to the destruction of a large part of his race; in the process, he glimpsed a potential future for "mankind"; yet he was able to retain his knowledge of the value of human life in all its aspects (including but not limited to its mechanical aspects), and thereby saved humanity. From the perspective of the spectator, Picard's choice of tea can also contextualize the Borg's colonialism in relationship to Europe's. Earl Grey is of course a popular tea in Great Britain, which is where Patrick Stewart, who plays Picard, is from. Stewart's British background is apparent to audiences due to his mannerisms and accent, which retain the influence of his training in Shakespearean theater. Earl Grey tea is from India and Sri Lanka; thus, the association of Stewart with Earl Grey is a reminder of Britain's colonization of India. Historically, the white, European men have been the agents rather than the victims of imperialism and colonialism. It is thus highly ironic that STNG focalizes Picard as a victim. Analyzing the Dichotomy As illustrated in "The Best of Both Worlds" episodes, STNG asserts that if mechanistic viewpoints reduce human beings to machines which are strictly predictable in their behavior, thus denying individual free will and spontaneity as represented by the Borg, then the decentering 48

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qualities of present day postmodern culture which emphasize the ability to differentiate perspective can provide the balance necessary to imagine an STNG future in which consciousness of human value and individual perspective are integrated with consciousness of technology. The Enternrise is not representative of only the decentering aspects of culture and technology, though. Instead, it is an integration of homogenizing/dominant culture and heterogenizing/decentering of culture. The Federation is a unified, hierarchical organization with rules and regulations; at its core is a set policy, a moral code which everyone on the ship must adhere to. However, this policy is one of "non interference," which respects the system of values of every race they encounter. Thus, the root of the Enterprise crew's homogeneity and community perspective, adherence to the Prime Directive, advocates an acceptance of heterogeneity and differentiation of perspective. Macy's statement that "Integration and differentiation go hand in hand" is illustrated in STNG not only by this policy, but also by the diversity of species and cultures who join together in adhering to this policy and forming the Federation community of the Enterprise (Macy 41 ). The crew of the Enterprise, in contrast to the Borg, do not seek to colonize races, nature, or women. The Borg are a mixture of homogenizing and heterogenizing characteristics as well; they are to some extent creatures of ''transgressed boundaries" for they do not possess a notion of a separate, distinct self. 49

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They are internally unified through a "collective consciousness" which allows them to hear the thoughts of all the other Borg. They cannot separate themselves from this consciousness, and it is unclear to what degree they are able to distinguish their individual thoughts from those of the collective. The Borg, who are mostly computers, thus represent systems theory and interrelatedness in certain ways, for they do work together as a system. If a part of their ship malfunctions, for example, the proper parts of the Borg system (the designated Borg) immediately fix it. The notion of a distinct self is one of the basic premises for mechanist or materialist thinking. The ability to make an absolute distinction between yourself and things or persons outside of yourself is the basis for creating the fixed boundaries of mechanist, materialist science and its concept of the world. Yet the Borg, although they are mechanists, do not possess this notion of a distinct self. What they possess instead is the notion of a closed system. They recognize everything outside of their collective consciousness as non-Borg and seek to assimilate it. They thus attempt to bring every other aspect of the world into their closed system. This assimilation would seem to represent a degree of openness for the Borg system, due to their incorporation of new information and knowledge, but this is not apparent in STNG's portrayal of the Borg. Instead, the closed aspects of the Borg system are stressed, which is evident in their dominant characteristics of homogeneity and conformity, 50

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a homogeneity and conformity which they impose on other cultures; the Borg offer only two options to the races they encounter: assimilation or destruction. Although assimilation would seem to enable a certain level of heterogeneity, STNG stresses that it is only the mechanical aspects of these cultures which the Borg assimilate, aspects which can supposedly be made to conform to the closedness of the Borg system. Although the Borg present an interesting combination of closed and open systems, these issues are not problematized in STNG. The Borg's function as a collective and their policy of assimilation are instead simply depicted in terms of the overwhelming conformity and homogenization of their mechanist attitudes. STNG, as a romance, aims to avoid problematic issues. The potential heterogenizing or decentering effect of assimilating the biological distinctiveness of many cultures is ignored, as demonstrated by STNG's depiction of all the Borg as human in appearance. Instead, STNG's portrayal of the Federation and the Borg becomes dichotomous. As Douglas Kellner points out in his article ''Technophobia," technological cultures like the Borg are often depicted as "mechanical as opposed to spontaneous, regulated as opposed to free, equalizing as opposed to promoting individual distinction, democratic leveling as opposed to hierarchy derived from individual superiority," which is precisely what occurs in "The Best of Both Worlds" (Kellner 31 ). The Borg and the Enterprise represent the "best" of each 51

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sides of these opposites, the strongest representation of each in the universe, as suggested by the title of the episodes. This dichotomous patterning is a romantic device. As Northrop Frye asserts, "Heroes and villains exist primarily to symbolize a contrast between two worlds ... a world associated with happiness, security, and peace ... and a world of exciting adventures, but adventures which involve separation, loneliness, and pain ... the demonic or night world" (Frye 53). The plot of these episodes also involves a typical romance structure: the hero loses his identity, but regains it by the end of the story, becoming wiser in the process-Picard becomes "Locutus of Borg," but manages to shed his Borg identification, while coming to many realizations in the process, as depicted by his reflective stance during the final shot of the episode. The parallel pattern of the Enterprise and the Borg ship contributes to the clarity of the episodes' message: the qualities of spontaneity, individual importance, and liberty allow the Enterprise to defeat the Borg, thus promoting these characteristics as invaluable to a culture which seeks to retain a consciousness of the value of nonmechanical categories of human life in the face of a technological revolution. Yet the oversimplification of the portrayal of the Federation and the Borg causes STNG to lose a certain correspondence with the ordinary world of experience. It is hard to accept, for example, that the Borg's advanced 52

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programming is so closed that it cannot adapt to a simple malfunction like incorrectly entering a regenerative mode. Although it is the decentering trends and the differentiation of perspective which are emphasized in the glorification of the individual that occurs in "The Best of Both Worlds," the need for unifying trends is also apparent, as the crew must work together in their strategies for defeating the Borg. STNG stresses the importance of a heterogeneous community instead of a totalitarian collective. The need for unification is represented in these episodes in the subtext of Riker and Shelby's conflicting personalities. Their tension is ultimately resolved during the Enterprise's last battle with the Borg The need for balance between integration and differentiation, between individual perspective and community perspective, is thus depicted in STNG in the need to balance individualism and social cohesion. Henri Bergson, a French philosopher and contemporary of Dewey, is particularly illuminating in this discussion for he relates these qualities to biological evolution, of instinct and intuition. Bergson states that evolution has resulted in two culminating achievements: the societies of ants and bees which are "dominated by instinct" and human societies which are "directed by intelligence" ( qtd. in Gunter 146). The instincts of insects are "limited in scope, stereotyped, and are the source of automatic behavior'' (qtd. in Gunter 145). "An instinctive being (although Bergson contends that it experiences some 53

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form of awareness] does not reflect, and cannot conceive of, its own good apart from that of its community" (qtd. in Gunter 145). All of these attributes are characteristic of the Borg, who often seem to respond on automatic pilot, acting predictably to each situation. For example, whenever the Borg encounter a member of another race, they immediately drone, 'You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile." They also seem to blindly follow orders; when the away team burns out a distributing node on the Borg ship, three Borg jolt out of their regeneration mode and plod stiffly, looking straight ahead in a blind gaze, to the damaged node. The Borg's status as "instinctive" beings is also reinforced by Gene Roddenberry's original conception of the Borg as an insect race (Nemecek 86). In contrast to this, an "intelligent being," such as a human, can reflect, and this reflective awareness (which is also associated with moral awareness) Bergson labels "intuition." The intelligent creature can discover that it can pursue its own good separately. Thus, while the instinctive ant will always defend the ant hill even if it means his own death, the intelligent human may not, and this human capacity for egoism can be socially catastrophic. Bergson sees the need, therefore, for something to balance individualism and social cohesion, and he believes that the answer is religion. He is not referring to previous types of religion, but a new "open, dynamic" religion. Previous types of religion, according to Bergson, 54

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created social cohesion through social pressures, providing order through establishment of a "closed" society, which he believes inevitably leads to conflict in its demand for conformity. Open, dynamic religion, on the other hand, calls on people to rise "above the divisions between nations and classes, above egoisms personal or collective" and realize their universal connection within the "web of life" (qtd. in Griffin 149). His idea is thus based on the necessity of people to give up their notion of a separate, distinct self and recognize interrelatedness. This religion, which is actually simply a belief and not an appeal for a new spiritual institution, calls for sympathy and acceptance of all forms of life, and is part of what Bergson believes to be a new step in evolutionary progress. This belief is the basis for the ideas of theorists who see certain moral values as inherent in the idea of interrelatedness, particularly the values of compassion and empathy. STNG accepts these values, as demonstrated in their concern for other beings and their effect on other beings. In accordance with Bergson's ideas, the crew of the Enterprise who accept the "open religion" of interrelatedness, represent an evolution of humanity; they represent a culture which has evolved beyond the moral and scientific ideas of the present day and age. Their symbolic evolution is evident in many episodes, beginning with the first episode "Encounter at Farpoint," in which Picard asserts that 24th century humans have progressed beyond the days, four centuries ago, when 55

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they were a "dangerous, child race," slaughtering millions in arguments "over how to divide the resources" of their world. Picard declares that even then humans were making rapid progress, though. If he is correct, then perhaps it is because deconstructive trends that rejected assumptions of fixity have made issues of interrelatedness more conceivable and acceptable. In the later episodes involving the Borg, the need to balance individualism and social cohesion without resorting to closed systems of thought is stressed, and the achievement of this balance is represented as reflecting a higher level of evolutionary development. In "1, Borg," a single Borg "boy" is rescued from a crash site and brought aboard the Enterprise. Although this rescue is originally carried out for humanitarian reasons, Picard initiates a plan to use the Borg to destroy his race. His plan is to insert a virus into the boy's programming, which would then be transferred to the entire collective when he interfaced with the collective consciousness. Since the Borg do not possess the individuality required to separate themselves from the collective consciousness or the danger, every member of their race would be affected and each ship would self destruct after recognizing the malfunction, as the Borg ship in "The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 2" did. Picard justifies this apparent genocide by appealing to his "instinct" for survival, and ignoring his reflective awareness. He explains, "We are faced with an enemy who are determined to destroy us. We 56

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have no hope of negotiating a peace. Unless that changes, we are justified in doing anything we can to survive." Picard thus regresses; his reasoning relies solely on instinct and not intuition. He acts according to a previous stage of evolution, the stage the Borg are in. He ignores the moral perspective of interrelatedness that mandates a concern for other life-forms, and acceptance of the idea that their well-being is tied to his own. Yet, surprisingly, while this regression on Picard's part is occurring, the young Borg is evolving Through interaction with the Enterprise crew and his forced acceptance of his solitary status, the Borg boy, named "Hugh" by Crusher and La Forge at his request, gains a sense of self and comes to recognize the importance of individuality. It is relevant that Crusher and La Forge name him, because they represent two groups that have historically been denied their own identity by dominant, white, male cultures -women and people of color. In a striking reversal of roles, Picard confronts Hugh as if he (Picard) were a Borg, both in the sense that his thinking is "instinctive" and amoral, and in the sense that he addresses Hugh as if he were still Locutus, his Borg persona. Picard finds that Hugh is more than he expected he is a "fully formed individual" and this realization makes Picard understand that he himself has been acting as less than one: "To use him in this manner would be no better than the enemy we seek to destroy." Picard also recognizes that instead of destroying this 57

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"dangerous, child race" (for there are many parallels in this episode between Picard's treatment of the Borg and Q's judgment of humanity), he should attempt to help it evolve, although his motives are not entirely benevolent: "The sense of individuality which he has gained with us might be transmitted through the entire Borg collective, every one of the Borg being given the opportunity to experience the feelings of singularity. And perhaps that's the most pernicious program of all, knowledge of self." Picard thus relates the individualism of the Enterprise as "pernicious" to totalitarian collectives, perhaps again stating the political outlook of the West-if given a taste of democracy, totalitarian collectives will fall, as they did in the former U.S.S.R. The results of this acquisition of knowledge of self for the Borg are shown in a later two part episode entitled "Descent." In the first part of this episode, we find that Hugh's sense of individuality was indeed passed into the collective, but rather than adapting their social cohesion to this new sense of individuality, they suffered a societal breakdown. This occurrence emphasizes the importance of an open belief system as opposed to a closed one, for the Borg used their mechanistic collective viewpoint as a point of cohesion; yet, this viewpoint did not allow for differing perspectives, and thus could not withstand the sudden nonconformity of its members' voices. We find in the second part of the episode that the Borg's desire for a dominant, authoritative structure to replace the previous one is taken 58

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advantage of by Data's evil twin brother Lore, who becomes their leader. Lore provides a new collective viewpoint which is similar to the old one in that both are mechanistic. He proposes that the Borg become completely artificial life forms, thus rejecting all nonmechanical aspects of life. As he tells Picard in an encounter at the start of the episode, biological organisms are obsolete and will be replaced by his race of artificial life forms. These claims are significant because they represent the present outlook of several artificial intelligence (or AI) theorists, who believe that humans will be replaced in the evolutionary chain by artificial life forms. (These ideas will be addressed in the following chapter.) Lore tries to replace one mechanistic viewpoint with another to provide social cohesion, but this approach fails for the same reason that the first one did: it needs complete conformity to provide cohesion. Hugh and a band of rebel Borg who refuse to accept Lore's plans help the Enterprise crew defeat him. We are not given a clear indication of what will become of the Borg, but there is hope, as Hugh, who demonstrates leadership abilities during the second part of this episode, recognizes the need for social cohesion, but not from a closed system which demands conformity. He prophesies that they will achieve a balance of integration and differentiation: "Perhaps in time we will learn to function as individuals and work together as a group." The Borg's ability to achieve this balance is thus portrayed as a progressive development for their race. 59

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The Best of Whose World? Problematjzing the Federation The combination of heterogenizing and homogenizing of culture represented by the Enterprise does not always adhere to the balance asserted in interrelatedness and systems theory. The Federation, like the Borg, possess qualities of a dominant culture. White men dominate the hierarchical power structure of the Enterprise, and patriarchal notions of gender stereotyping occur in the characters, positioning the men as "subjects" and the women as "objects," as illustrated in the Borg episodes. The "male gaze" is illustrated in "The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1 ," when Admiral Hanson tells Picard to "keep an eye" on Commander Shelby, an expert on the Borg and an attractive woman. He admires her intellectually, but he also admires her physically, which suggests a dual meaning of the phrase "keep an eye on her." Picard recognizes that the Admiral is "quite taken with her," and in response, the Admiral replies, "Just an old man's fantasies." Thus, despite Shelby's achievements as a Star Fleet officer, she is still relegated to the position of object, sex object, in Hanson's view. How Shelby is treated during the entire episode demonstrates further sexist attitudes within the Federation. Although she is depicted as strong-willed and intelligent, Riker, the second in command, describes her condescendingly in a scene with the chief engineer as "a full head of steam." 60

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In the Borg episodes, the women characters, as particularly demonstrated by Crusher and Guinan, also represent the traditional stereotyped qualities associated with nurturing-sensitivity, intuition, compassion, and the ethical responsibility which stems from these qualities. Although these qualities are positive ones and reflect an understanding of interrelatedness, the fact that these qualities are assigned to the women in particular creates gender distinctions, distinctions which are supposed to be deconstructed by the very theory of interrelatedness. In "I, Borg," Beverly Crusher finds the injured adolescent Borg and "for humanitarian reason" decides to save his life. Her maternal, nurturing instincts lead her to act in his best interest before weighing the consequences. In a debate with the other officers over what to do with the newly acquired Borg, Crusher reminds the crew that they are forgetting their ethical and emotional perspectives and treating the Borg from a mechanist standpoint. As the other officers discuss inserting a virus into the Borg that might cause a "total systems failure" for the Borg collective, she insists they look at it from a more personal perspective: Crusher: What exactly is total systems failure? Data: The Borg are extremely computer dependent. A systems failure will destroy them. Crusher: I just think we should be clear on that. We're talking about annihilating an entire race. Crusher never loses touch with her ethical perspective and compassion in the way that other members of the crew do in this episode. 61

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In .. The Best of Both Worlds, .. Guinan plays the part of the wise counselor who reminds the crew of certain aspects of their underlying beliefs (as Crusher does in 'The Quality of Life .. ). In an encounter with Picard, she states that as long as one human being is alive, then humanity and the human spirit will prevail. The second time she gives advice to Riker, advising him to let go of the memory of Picard (who has by this point been "Borgified") so that he may properly fulfill his new role as captain. Guinan's advice represents her insight into the philosophy of the Enterprise, which both Picard and Riker need reminding of: the value of the individual perspective and the importance of social cohesion. Her advice reflects the need for balance between these, inherent in the belief in interconnectedness. Guinan plays the role of the wise counselor again in "I, Borg, .. but her position at first is strangely at odds with Beverly Crusher. Rather than recognizing the Borg as a person, she refers to it as a "thing." Her hostility stems from the Borg's attack on her people which led to their near annihilation. Although this hatred is similar to Picard's and represents a loss of the .. feminine .. compassionate perspective, the fact that Guinan is acting out of character is emphasized during a scene with La Forge. Her role as wise woman is to be accepting and open-minded, a fact which the engineer reminds her of. He tells her to "just listen" to the Borg, remarking, "That is what you do best, isn't it?" 62

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In order to counteract the sexism of the traditional gender roles, the writers of STNG do place women in positions of power (although not command) over Riker in the Borg episodes. For example, at one point after Picard has been kidnapped, Deanna Troi reminds Riker that it is his place to stay on the bridge rather than lead an away mission. During this scene, three main women characters of the episode, Crusher, Troi, and Shelby, occupy the bridge. Troi's reminder forces Riker to order Shelby to lead the away mission, and he later makes her second in command of the ship, thus effectively giving his old position to her and sharing command with a woman. Yet these role reversals seem mere tokens, as the men continue to make the big decisions; the stereotypes still predominate. Picard and Riker, a Frenchman and a Canadian respectively, represent the orientation of the Enterprise's philosophy. The values stressed by the Enterprise in the Borg episodes-self-determination, liberty, individuality are precisely the values of Euro-American society. Although the Federation is not racist to the extent of the Borg (who are whiter than white}, the Enterprise does possess aspects of a colonialist viewpoint. STNG's outlook that cultures who are not Eurocentric (in other words, white, intellectual, and cultured, as many races and species in STNG are depicted) are ethically inferior is evident in the series' treatment of Worf, who is played by an African-American actor. 63

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The Klingon culture is portrayed as less civilized than the Federation's Eurocentric culture. The Klingons are depicted as quick to fight, savage when they do, and sexually aggressive -particularly the females These characteristics, as Ella Shohat and Robert Starn point out in Unthinking Eurocentrjsm, are typical of Eurocentric characterization of African cultures as .,wild beasts., (Shohat and Starn 137). This characterization of the Klingons is a throwback to their depiction in the original series. The anticolonial attitudes of Star Trek did not extend to the Klingons then, nor do they now. In the midst of the Cold War political climate of the 1960's, the Russians were still primarily viewed as savage and evil (in accordance with the views expressed in Q's recital of World War II U .S. military propaganda in .,Encounter at Farpoint.,). By Star Trek visionary Gene Roddenberry's admission, the Klingons were meant to be identified in some respects with the Soviets, leading the parallel positioning of the Federation and Klingons in the original series to be identified with the dualistic opposition of the U.S. and U S S.R. In the 24th century, Klingons have allied with the Federation (representing the detente and alliance of the U.S. and Russia), and the Borg replace the Klingons in the dichotomous positioning with the Federation, reflecting the still prevalent American fear of the socialistic nature of the collective. Yet the Klingons, although allies, are still portrayed as a primitive culture, less morally progressive 64

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and thus ethically inferior to the Federation, which is evident in Wort's struggles between his desire to be a good Klingon warrior and the ethics of Star Fleet. Wort's aggressive, warrior instincts continually lose out to Star Fleet's ideas of compassion. In "Redemption Pt. 2," Wort refuses to kill a Klingon boy, even though he is ordered to by the High Council, because his Star Fleet ethics cause him to feel sympathy for the boy and to sense that killing him is unjust. Similarly, in the appropriately entitled "Ethics," Worf chooses to have a spine implant after he is injured rather than kill himself in Klingon tradition. He makes his decision (after pressure from Troi) out of consideration for his son. The Klingons' ideas of morality, for example, the honor of dying in battle or by ritual, are outweighed by Star Fleet's morality, which labels suicide cowardly and irresponsible. By asserting its ideas of compassion as superior, STNG falls into the trap of traditional Eurocentric thinking by refusing to acknowledge the relevance of moral perspectives which lie beyond its own white, male, European perspective. It thus participates in the same colonizing of women and people of color that the Prime Directive is meant to guard against. Eye, Borg: I. Borg: Cyborg As with the Enterprise's warp core and "male gaze," the image of the eye also serves as a symbol for the Borg and their philosophy. In the 65

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episode "The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1 ," Picard is turned into a Borg and is fitted with a red light that shines next to his right eye, which has been covered with circuitry. This red light is a penetrating beam which makes even the television viewer uncomfortable as we see the Borgified Picard on the viewscreen during the episode. The red light annoys the vision of those watching, and thus serves to distance the subject from the object, as in a microscope or the flashlight in Metropolis. This distancing perspective is what allows the Borg to manipulate their environment, rather than accepting it and recognizing their role within it. The one eye which is covered with circuitry represents the limited scope of the reductionism associated with mechanistic viewpoints. However, in the episode "1, Borg," we come to see a member of the Borg collective as an individual, and this Borg is not fitted with such a light, although one of his eyes is covered with circuitry. Instead of the penetrating red light, we see one large dark eye, which makes us associate depth, vulnerability, and a childlike quality with him As the characters come to know the Borg and he becomes less "a member of the collective" and more of an individual, we see more close-ups of Hugh's face, a technique that emphasizes his humanness. At the end of the episode, La Forge remains with Hugh at the site of the crashed ship to say goodbye. This pairing is significant for both men are types of cyborgs. Both of La Forge's eyes are hidden, covered by a VISOR, an electronic device which enables him to see, yet we know 66

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that La Forge does not represent a "blind" perspective. The technology which covers his human biological eyes does not represent a limited perspective. He has two eyes behind that visor, and he has both individual and community perspectives Similarly, we now realize that Hugh has another eye, too, behind his circuitry. As he looks over at La Forge as he is being beamed back to his ship, we recognize that both eyes are functioning; he has gained an individual perspective in addition to his Borg community perspective. 67

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CHAPTER THREE MORE THAN DATA The Borg's mechanist approach to systems science leads them to view the universe in terms of systems of information. In "The Best of Both Worlds" and subsequent episodes involving the Borg, this viewpoint is depicted as oppressive in its restrictions on identity and as missing most of reality in its denial of nonmechanicai aspects of life. These ideas are treated in more depth in STNG's characterization of Data, the android who wants to be human. In Mind, Machines, and Human Consciousness, Robert Nadeau separates the debate over artificial intelligence into two camps: the scientist/engineers (including the majority of artificial intelligence theorists) who believe that "improved scientific understanding of dynamics of evolution forces us to conclude that consciousness must evolve into a higher form of expression" than human, and the humanists/social scientists who believe that human consciousness is "a priori truth" and an "ultimate value" (Nadeau 4). Throughout his book, Nadeau argues that in order to protect and preserve the ultimate value of human life and consciousness in the technological future, a dialogue between the two sides must begin. 68

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STNG accomplishes such a dialogue by addressing the AI debate in a unique way. Instead of emphasizing the potential machine-like qualities of humans, which is a mechanist approach (in Nadeau's division, the scientisUengineers), the writers of STNG emphasize the potential human-like qualities of machines. STNG portrays Data as a mixture of mechanical and nonmechanical aspects, and, in so doing, does not align itself solely with either the mechanists or humanists. STNG agrees with the scientisUengineers on at least three points: ( 1 ) that progress in neuroscience can lead to a mapping of the human brain (2) that the human brain can be reconstructed artificially and (3) that the artificial brain can possess consciousness. According to the theory of interrelatedness, materialist science can be helpful in illuminating truths when it denies fixed limits--in this instance, STNG proposes that scientisUengineers are correct in their belief that a computer can become conscious Yet the scientisUengineers' related fixed assumption that the universe is simply an information processing system is limiting and incomplete. Cybernetics and computer science contribute to the idea of the universe as systems of information, but, according to advocates of interrelatedness, there is more to be gained from systems science than this reductionist interpretation of reality. Systems science, when freed from its sole application to material goals and materialist assumptions of fixity, can be applied to more than systems of information it can lead to 69

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a larger worldview, known as systems theory. According to Macy, when applied on a more holistic level, systems theory can be interpreted as revealing how every aspect of life and experience is an interconnected web of mutual relationships and interdependencies; in other words, it reveals the theory of interrelatedness In its deconstruction of boundaries, dualisms, and limits, interrelatedness acknowledges the value of all perspectives the value of empirical data as well as the value of ethics, intuition, and emotion thereby bringing the mechanists and humanists into a realm where dialogue is possible. STNG illuminates these ideas in its treatment of Data, particularly in ''The Measure of a Man." In this episode, Picard must argue that Data is sentient to keep him from being ruled as the property of Star Fleet. In order to do this, he must suggest that Data is conscious. The entire episode revolves around the question of whether Data is "a man" and what makes him "a man," as suggested by the title. In order to prove that Data is "a man" and is conscious, Picard (and the writers) continually suggest that there are ineffable qualities to consciousness and experience. The distinctions between matter and spirit, and nonsensory perception and sense-data, are blurred. Data, a completely artificial life form, is portrayed as possessing nonsensory and "spiritual" aspects, qualities which cannot be completely defined by mechanist science. The theme of the episode seems to be the mechanical versus the nonmechanical, or sense-data 70

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versus nonsensory aspects of experience, and clearly what is implied in the text is that the nonmechanical and nonsensory aspects are as important as .. objective knowledge .. in answering the question of Data's, and our own, humanity. According to some advocates of interrelatedness, the two "fundamental flaws" of mechanism and other philosophies based on assumptions of fixity are "an ontology based on a materialistic doctrine of nature and an epistemology based on a sensationist doctrine of perception" (Griffin 3). These two ideas are closely related. Empiricism leads to the belief that every experience can be explained through data collected from the senses. Locating truth solely in terms of objective facts based on data which can be .. proven" by the senses is the foundation for mechanist outlooks. In contrast to this type of thinking, theorists of interrelatedness such as James and Whitehead believe that perception is not limited to sensory perception, but also involves "prehension" or "nonsensory perception ." Nonsensory perception is a way of apprehending an experience directly, without the mediation of the senses. This type of perception is termed clairvoyance or telepathy when it rises from unconscious to conscious perception, but is more often associated with intuition (Troi thus embodies nonsensory perception most clearly) Nonsensory perception is not part of what empiricists would deem the "understandable" realm of the senses and sense-data. 71

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Prehension, a type of nonsensory perception, is connected to the view that all things are interrelated, as illustrated particularly by Alfred North Whitehead, who believes, "Each event is a unification of many prehensions, and each prehension is the taking in of causal influences from previous events. Prehension is indeed simply the reverse side of causal influence, and is therefore synonymously called 'perception in the mode of causal efficacy"'(qtd. in Griffin 7). According to theorists like Whitehead, all things possess experience in the form of prehension and are thereby interconnected. These theories deconstruct distinctions between matter and spirit. James and Whitehead cite memory as an example of how empiricism fails to explain perception adequately. Whitehead points out that the empiricists who explain memory as "merely associating some present sense-data with some previous sense-data" do not actually explain memory; they presuppose it: "For unless one remembers past experiences, one cannot associate present sensations with past ones" (qtd. in Cobb 95). According to James, in memory, one experiences past facts directly in a way that is even more fundamental than what is given through the senses. The idea that memory and experience entail aspects of experience beyond sense data is also explored in ''The Measure of a Man." The episode begins with a poker game played by five members of the crew, including Data. Commander Riker bluffs Data and wins the 72

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hand. Data is baffled: "It makes very little sense to bet when you cannot win." Riker rightfully points out that he did win and by instinct, a form of perception not based on sense-data. As Data recalls the events of the game later in a discussion with Commander Maddox, he states that the game bore little resemblance to all the rules that he had studied. Data delivers this analogy as an introduction to his point, the main point of the episode, that he himself is more than his mechanical components. The plot revolves around Maddox's desire to dismantle Data in an effort to understand how his positronic brain works. Although Maddox claims that he will download all the information contained in Data's brain into the Star Base's computer for storage, Data believes that the essence of his experience will be lost. He surmises, "There is an ineffable quality to memory which I do not believe can survive your experiment." Data thus states that his experience possesses elements which cannot be explained in mechanical terms, or "captured" by mechanical processes. Data's ideas concerning the "ineffable quality" of memory are very similar to Whitehead and James' ideas concerning nonsensory perceptions and memory. If memory were simply a collection of sense data, then downloading would be acceptable to Data. Yet he is not concerned about losing the "bare facts of the events" -he believes they can be downloaded because he accepts sense-data as a product of mechanical activities. Instead, he is afraid that the nonsensory aspects of 73

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perception, the aspects which are not "understandable" from an empirical standpoint, will be lost. A hearing is called to decide Data's status-whether he is a person or property. Appropriately, in consideration of Nadeau's outline of the AI debate, the prosecution argues for the physical (or mechanical) aspects of what makes us human and the defense argues for the nonmechanical properties (or properties beyond the domain of sense data), yet the prosecution's perspective differs from that of the scientisUengineers as does the defense's perspective differ from that of the humanisUsocial scientists. SING employs a dialogue between the two camps by deconstructing the distinctions between their perspectives. During the hearing, Riker and Maddox, arguing for the prosecution, stick to Data's physical properties, focusing on his technological components and his physical and mental capabilities. Riker even detaches Data's arm and switches him off for a dramatic finale Yet Picard knows Data is more than a collection of circuits. As he tells Guinan during a recess, Data has proved his value "In ways I cannot even begin to calculate." His value lies beyond (but includes) his physical capabilities, and thus lies beyond quantifiable values. Picard understands that Data is more than just data. He possesses, as Emerson would say, an "immeasurable mind," one that cannot be explained solely in terms of materialist science 74

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Picard begins his defense by explaining that the physical differences between Data and humans are irrelevant. Interestingly, his argument follows that of mechanist artificial intelligence theorists, although he uses their argument for different reasons: Commander Riker has demonstrated that Data is a machine. Do we deny that? No, it is irrelevant. We too are machines, just machines of a different type. Commander Riker has reminded us that Lieutenant Commander Data was created by a human. Do we deny that? No, again it is not relevant. Children are created from the building blocks of their parents DNA Are they property? Picard does not deny the mechanist argument that humans (and machines) are information processing systems and thus mechanical in some respects Instead, he argues that that is not all we (or Data) are. He thus incorporates the mechanist perspective into his philosophy but goes beyond it, by also incorporating nonmechanical aspects of life in this case, emotion and ethics as demonstrated in his ensuing arguments. Picard turns the focus to Data's own personal perspective. He begins this strategy by asking Data why he packed the things he did after his recent resignation from Star Fleet, beginning with his medals. He queries, "What logical purpose do they serve?" Data replies, "I do not know, sir. I suppose none. I just wanted them. Is that vanity?" Data appears like a child, curious and genuine. The directors depict him in this way because we are meant to identify with him as a developing human. During parts of this scene, the camera is positioned behind 75

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Data. We see the courtroom from his point of view, placed behind a small table facing the judge, who sits upright at a larger table with her hands folded. The scene is reminiscent of a child in a schoolroom, right down to the "lunch box" containing Data's personal belongings. Since we, as the human audience, look through Data's eyes, we at times connect Data's point of view with our own human point of view. Data's identification as human is further emphasized by the fact that a human actor, devoid of any external gadgetry, portrays him. Next, Picard questions Data about why he packed the hologram of Tasha Yar, the woman with whom he had a romantic and sexual relationship. Data is hesitant, and his discomfort at revealing their intimacy seems quite human. His reaction, at the very least, is anything but mechanical. The camera often focuses on close-ups of Data's face during the entire courtroom scene to capture his facial expressions. When questioned in this instance about Tasha Yar, Data frowns and appears embarrassed. Although he is not supposed to have emotions, Picard tries to bring out Data's qualities which resemble his emotional perspective. Picard then demands that Maddox prove that he (Picard) is sentient and Data is not. The three criteria for sentience that Maddox gives are intelligence, self-awareness, and consciousness. Maddox concedes that Data is intelligent, and Picard alleges that Data is self aware by questioning him about the hearing. Data uses phrases which 76

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reflect his perception of himself as an individual, such as "my life," "my rights," and "my status." Picard then demands of Maddox: Picard: What is Data? What is he? Maddox: A machine. Picard: Is he? Are you sure? Maddox: Yes. Picard: Because you see he's met two of your three criteria for sentience so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the smallest degree. What is he then? I don't know. Do you? Well, that's the question you have to answer. This is the question that we have to answer. What does it mean to be human, who decides, and how do we measure it? No one in the courtroom answers Picard's challenge, which suggests that perhaps no one truly knows how to address this question. The inability of anyone to answer is a critical point during the hearing for it disproves the materialists' standpoint-consciousness, which is accepted even by the mechanists as an aspect of experience and a criteria for being human, is not clearly definable in terms of systems of information, or able to be proven with sense-data. Mechanical categories thus cannot encompass or explain consciousness and therefore fall short as methods of measurement in determining what it means to be human. Picard's next move in the hearing is to focus on another aspect of human experience not covered by mechanist perspectives-morality. After proposing that a race of Datas will someday be created, he queries, "Won't we be judged by how we treat that race?" Although who will judge is unclear, this statement is a reminder to the courtroom audience 77

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that there are moral implications involved in their treatment of Data. As members of Star Fleet, whose policies reflect an acceptance of the ethical responsibility inherent in interrelatedness, the courtroom audience must be aware of their effect on other beings, in this case, Data. As Picard realizes, how the Federation treats Data will reverberate throughout the system: "It will reach far beyond this courtroom and this one android." Picard also recognizes that if ethical responsibility is ignored, as it is by certain mechanist scientists, it can lead to injustices like slavery. Overtones of slavery are emphasized during a scene in which Guinan, played by an African American actress (Whoopi Goldberg), discusses with Picard the possibility of using replicated Datas as "whole generations of disposable people." He realizes, ''You're talking about slavery ... that's the truth that we have obscured behind the comfortable easy euphemism 'property,' but that's not the issue at all, is it?" The issue is not only that Data may be treated as a slave, but why the Federation (and "mankind") may treat him as a slave. By focusing on a person's physical state as his or her identity, as in the case traditionally of women or people of color (both of which conditions Goldberg represents), we look at them as objects, physical objects, distinct from ourselves. This viewpoint is representative of thinking associated with assumptions of fixity; the fixed boundaries of such thinking distances "I" 78

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from "other," thus allowing the "I" to manipulate, appropriate, and oppress the "other," as is the case with sexism, racism, and mechanism. According to social deconstructionists and advocates of interrelatedness, accepting this reductionist thinking not only limits the identity of the "other'' (in this case, Data) but limits the identity of the "self' as well. In accepting mechanist thinking, we define ourselves and our value as we define the value of an object. This definition of humanity in essence makes a human replaceable by an object, in this case, a machine. Again, STNG employs an interesting combination of the humanists' and scientists' arguments, for in arguing against this definition of humanity, Picard does not take the typical tack of the humanists/social scientists. He is not arguing for the value of human consciousness against that of artificial consciousness. Instead, he is expanding the definition of a "man" to possibly include artificial life forms, yet without suggesting that humans may be replaced by them. He thus combines consciousness of science with consciousness of human value. Picard's conversation with Guinan illuminates the injustices of fixing identity within restrictive structures, yet it is Data's identity that is denied by these structures. In other words, like Picard in ''The Best of Both Worlds," a white, European male is portrayed as the victim of colonizing attitudes. Although this role reversal could be interpreted as a sort of penance, STNG's placement of white, European men as prosecutor and agent of mechanist (and thereby colonizing) attitudes, as 79

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victim of these attitudes, and as defender of the victim reveals that, for STNG, identity is primarily a white, European, male quest. This idea is further reinforced by the fact that Data, played by a white European man, is supposed to actually represent an Asian background (and is thus gold colored}, as Roddenberry's original cast call states (Nemecek 13) V\lhat Data Believes In her ruling at the hearing, Captain Philippa Louvois raises another issue in the debate over Datais identity: "Does Data have a soul?" She states, ''This case has dealt with metaphysics, with questions best left to saints and philosophers." The case does deal with metaphysical questions precisely because STNG accepts aspects of experience beyond the physical, material, or mechanical. When making her decision, Captain Louvois declares that she has to" give Data the freedom to explore the question of whether he has a soul for himself. The reason she "has to" do this is because she is a representative of Star Fleet and its policies, which accept "metaphysical" aspects of experience Data, who also accepts Star Fleet's philosophy, does explore "metaphysical" aspects of himself, not only in this episode, but throughout the STNG series. His interests in his own nonmechanical or nonmaterial qualities are revealed earlier in "The Measure of a Man." In a discussion with Commander Maddox, Data explains, This is not ego or vanity, [again we have the notion -of Data's ego or self] but when Dr Soong created me, he added to the 80

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substance of the universe. If by your experiments I am destroyed, something unique, something wonderful will be lost. I cannot permit that. I must protect his dream. This statement not only suggests that Data has spiritual beliefs, but also that he believes he has a soul. Data earlier admitted that he was not concerned with the bare facts of memory and knowledge being destroyed by Maddox's experiment because he knows they can be successfully downloaded. Thus, it must be his "ineffable qualities" which he believes can be destroyed and which he believes are unique, wonderful, and add to the substance of the universe. Data's assertion that his spirit is unique echoes Nadeau's assertion that any artificial consciousness must necessarily be different than that of human in its relation to and interconnection with the cosmos. Another noted humanist artificial intelligence theorist, Joseph Weizenbaum, also states that "Computers and men are not species of the same genus" (qtd. in Nadeau 151 ). Weizenbaum and Nadeau argue this to support their claim that even if computers can become conscious, their consciousness is still inherently different from and cannot replace human consciousness. STNG accepts these claims Data is different from humans; he fills a different niche in the web of relationships. The idea of interdependence relies on the idea that one part of the universe cannot simply be replaced by another. If one part is destroyed, as Data alludes to in his conversation with Maddox, then the impact reverberates throughout the entire system. 81

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Weizenbaum also asserts that there "are things beyond the power of science to comprehend," which reveats his alliance with theorists of interrelatedness' assertion that materialist arguments can tell part of the truth, but not the whole truth (qtd. in Nadeau 151). Yet Nadeau, who would seem to agree since he, too, is a humanist artificial intelligence theorist, makes a claim which does not reflect this idea and which STNG does not fully accept; he asserts that any alternative consciousness must be an "artifact of human making" and artificial since it cannoUhas not participated in natural evolution. From a materialist standpoint, Data is a cultural artifact. He is a creation of human genius; he is programmed by a human; and he accepts human culture so wholly that he actually wants to become human. Yet Data is not simply a product of human culture; as Picard points out in "Birthright Pt. 1 ,"Data is also "a culture of one." Data blurs the distinctions between humanist and mechanist thinking he is a cultural artifact and his own culture at the same time; he is technically artificial but is interconnected within the web of life; he is a combination of mechanical and nonmechanical qualities. He represents a dialogue between mechanist and humanist standpoints. Data's belief that he is more than mechanical qualities is again demonstrated in the episode "Rightful Heir." He admits to Worf that he had "what could be considered a crisis of the spirit" when he was told by the Star Fleet officers who first activated him that he was "an android, 82

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nothing more than a sophisticated machine with human form." This presented a dilemma for him: I realized that if I were simply a machine, I could never be anything else. I could never grow b.eyond my programming. I found that difficult to accept, so I chose to believe that I was a person, that I had the potential to be more than a collection of circuits and subprocessors. It is a belief which I still hold. Data does not accept that he is just systems of information. Instead, he believes that he has a "spirit." Both of these ideas are linked to the image of circuits and subprocessors. Mechanists like the Borg, who simply see circuits and subprocessors in terms of systems of information, reduce every aspect of life to a mechanical one, but Star Fleet applies systems theory to nonmechanical categories and nonmaterial aspects of experience. Data's decision to join Star Fleet could be due in part to his belief in his own nonmaterial, ineffable qualities. Data's exploration of existential questions is further depicted in the episode "The Quality of Life." Here, he questions Dr. Crusher about the definition of life: "I am curious as to what transpired between the moment when I was nothing more than an assemblage of part in Dr. Soong's lab and the next moment when I became alive. What is it that endowed me with life?" Crusher connects this question with one asked by her own son when he was little, again linking Data with a child and developing human. She then responds, "Scientists and philosophers have been grappling with that question for centuries without coming to any conclusion." Crusher's statement suggests that there are no fixed 83

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answers. Rather, she asserts that it is the struggle to find that answer, not the answer itself, which is important: "That's what helps to define our place in the universe:" Data accepts this statement by the doctor, and in so doing, he accepts the growth principle of interrelatedness and systems theory. This idea of growth is inherited from the transcendentalists Their assertion of freedom from absolutes is similar to deconstructionism, as revealed by Emerson's association with Montaigne, a critic of colonialism and a proto-deconstructionist. In "Moritaigne; or the Skeptic," Emerson pays homage to the spirit of open inquiry that he finds in Montaigne's essays like "On Experience," in which Montaigne declares, ''There is no end to our investigations No generous spirit stays within itself. If it does not advance and push forward, it is only half alive. Its pursuits have no bounds or rules; its food is wonder, search, and ambiguity" (qtd. in Goodman 53) The Enterprise crew accept the search, wonder, and ambiguity of existence, and so does Data. His desire to search and strive is apparent in the episode "Data's Day." At the end of this episode, Data declares: If being human is not simply a matter of being born flesh and blood, if it is instead a way of thinking, of acting, of feeling, then I am hopeful that one day I will discover my own humanity. Until then, I will continue learning, changing, growing, and trying to become more than what I am. This quotation sounds remarkably like Montaigne. It not only reflects the idea of striving to become more than what you are, but also the idea that 84

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human experience is a combination of matter and spirit, material and nonmaterial qualities. This deconstruction of the distinction between matter and spirit that Data represents enables him to combine morality with science, consciousness of science with consciousness of human value. As revealed by his desire to be "more than" what he is, Data, like Picard and other (male) members of the Enterprise crew, is on a quest for identity. His specific quest is to discover what it means to be human, a quest which he follows throughout the STNG series. In "The Offspring," he pursues the human desire to procreate; in "The Outrageous Okona," he explores the concept of humor; in "In Theory," he attempts a romantic relationship; and he even tries to master the human art of small talk in "Starship Mine." Data's characterization reveals other elements of romance narrative as well. STNG's "moral polarizing" shows through very clearly in Data, who is the epitome of goodness he is considerate, honest, nonjudgmental, unselfish, and caring. As he states in "Data's Day, II "There are still many human emotions that I do not fully comprehend anger, hatred, revenge but I am not mystified by the desire to be loved or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand. II Data, by his own admission, does not possess a "dark side." His resulting lack of moral complexity makes him appear innocent, naive, and too good to be 85

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human. The only instances in which Data exhibits negative traits are when he is not in control of himself, as in "Descent" and "Phantasms." Datas simplistic portrayal as "purely good" takes away a certain amount of credence for his character. (Although his exploration of identity still warrants a great deal more credibility than the flat, female characters.) Although his desire to become human makes for fascinating explorations of issues in the question of what it means to be human, this desire is not problematized or given a realistic level of complexity. For example, in "The Offspring," Data's created android "child" asks him why he still tries to be human if he knows he cannot possess emotions: "What purpose does it serve except to remind you that you are incomplete?" Data replies, "I have asked myself that many times as I have struggled to be more human until I realized it is the struggle itself that is most important. We must strive to be more than what we are, Lol. It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards." Although Data here states that he has often questioned his desire to be human, we never see his uncertainty or an examination of the root of his desires. Instead, we only hear wise, confident responses like this one, in which he iterates again his acceptance of the value of striving. Data seems to easily accept the positive aspects of human life (friendship and love) and not understand the darker aspects (anger, hatred, and revenge) which makes his perspective on humanity limited. 86

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His desire to be human is thus problematic, for he does not fully understand the implications of that quest. SING creates a flip side to Data's character in the stereotypical evil twin character of Lore, who is also played by Brent Spiner. Lore is a doppelganger for Data, and is thus every bit as morally polarized as Data. In contrast to Data, Lore does not understand love and friendship, but does understand anger, hatred, and revenge. He possesses emotions and is thus technically closer to human than Data, yet his portrayal as entirely dark and evil causes Data to be more closely linked to humanity, since humanity, represented by the crew of the Enterprise, is depicted as overwhelmingly "good." Lore's desire to exact revenge on humans is given the same level of superficial treatment as Data's desire to be human. His motivations are mentioned briefly in "Brothers," in which Dr. Soong reveals that Lore (like Frankenstein's monster) was rejected by human villagers who were afraid of him. Lore's motivations do not warrant further attention because his function within the romance narrative structure of SING is to simply represent the other side of the formula, the "villain" to Data's "hero." Lore's role as villain and antithesis to Data is analogous to the Borg's role as villain and antithesis to the Federation. The similarity between Lore and the Borg's characteristic function is reinforced by their joining forces in "Descent." 87

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The Quality of Life: Measuring a Man vs. Measuring a Human Data's acceptance of interrelatedness is demonstrated during ''The Quality of Life," as is his belief in the importance of nonsensory data. After speaking with Dr. Crusher, Data refuses to allow the crew to sacrifice machines known as Exo-Comps to save Picard and La Forge because he believes that the Exo-Comps are alive. He rejects the idea that only sense-data can reveal the truth, for although experiments on the Exo-Comps failed to positively prove that they possess instinct for survival, Data still believes that they are alive. He directly disobeys Rikers command, which is a court martial offense, explaining that he is "acting on [his] own personal beliefs." Riker retorts, 'You're risking an awful lot on a belief," and Data replies that he has often seen humans base their judgment on intuition rather than reason. He states, "Maybe I have insights into other machines which humans lack." His belief in the heterarchical importance of all life forms is implicated in another statement during his conversation with Riker: "I have considered the ramifications of my actions, and I do not believe it is justified to sacrifice one life form for another." After the Captain and La Forge are rescued, Data explains to Picard his feelings of moral obligation: "When my status as a living being was in question [in "The Measure of a Man"], you fought to protect my rights. The Exo-comps had no such advocate. If I had not acted on their behalf, they would have been destroyed. I could not allow that to happen." Picard admiringly 88

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responds, "Of course you couldn't. It was the most human decision you've ever made." Picard's statement is striking for two reasons. First, it is significant that Picard equates Data's demonstration of ethics based on interrelatedness and its advocacy of compassion with being human. These ideas are similar to those of Robert lnchausti, a theologian and advocate of interrelatedness, who states that the first lesson of a postmodern spirituality is that the real self is a moral self. lnchausti explains that the moral self is not a "birthright or a natural outgrowth of education or conditioning" (or programming in Data's case); "it is an individual accomplishment requiring risk and creative suffering" (lnchausti 126). Data, in recognizing the importance of the Exo-Comps in the web of life, rises above the narrow concerns of the individual, risking a court martial and his career, to adhere to the broader concerns of the entire interconnected system. He thus demonstrates Bergson's notion of "open religion II or compassion for all other beings. As previously outlined, this notion of compassion, according to Bergson and other theorists of interrelatedness, represents a process of evolution, suggesting perhaps another reason for Picard's labeling of Data's actions as "human 11 Secondly, Picard's statement is notable for it reflects that Data is portrayed as "human" in a way in which female characters as a rule are not. Data possesses mechanical and nonmechanical properties, 89

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masculine and feminine traits, unlike the female characters, who are not given the same depth. Crusher, Troi, and Guinan represent traditionally feminine qualities. Shelby and Louvois, by contrast, are removed from these traits and portrayed in an unfavorable light. These characters almost always react mechanically, responding strictly as their stereotype dictates. Yet Data, who is an artificial life form, is able to explore more complex issues of identity throughout the STNG series; his identity not only merits the subplot treatment it is given in episodes like this one, but is also the focus of entire episodes -like in "Data's Day" and "The Measure of a Man." In "The Measure of a Man," in keeping with Picard's recognition of the oppressiveness of fixed structuring of identity, the writers do attempt to balance the traditionally masculine and feminine attributes between male and female characters. The traits of nurturing, such as sympathy, empathy, and intuition, which are linked to the female characters in the Borg episodes are represented more particularly by the male characters in "The Measure of a Man": La Forge expresses sympathy with Data in the unfairness of his situation, Picard champions Data's cause because he feels compassion for Data, and Riker points out the importance of intuition during the poker game at the start of the episode. In an interesting switch from the Borg episodes in which the women primarily were tied to the compassionate perspective, here the woman judge Captain Louvois is more closely linked to the mechanist 90

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perspective. As Picard notes at the beginning of the episode, she is more concerned with "the adversarial process than the truth.'' In other words, she revels in the system rather than the spirit of the system. In keeping with her materialist attitude, she does not recognize Data as a man and views him merely as a machine. She threatens to rule summarily that he is a "toaster' if Riker and Picard will not act as attorneys in the case. In contrast to the Borg episodes, it is the men (Data and Picard) who convince the woman (Louvois) that she is missing the compassionate perspective of the situation. Yet Louvois' character is portrayed in a largely unfavorable light. Although Picard loses sight of his "feminine" perspective df compassion in "1, Borg," and is depicted as wrong for doing so, the audience at least identifies with his motives he was "raped" by the Borg and made a victim of colonizing attitudes. Yet Louvois is given no such motivation; she is simply a representative of the Federation's military bureaucracy. Unlike Picard, she is portrayed as inflexible and quite antagonistic. This antagonistic characterization appears in many of STNG's strong-willed female characters and hinders audience identification with them, particularly since we are led to identify with the central characters from week to week, who are at odds with these women. This situation is apparent in ''The Measure of a Man," in which Picard battles with Louvois and ultimately convinces her that she is wrong, and in "The Best of Both 91

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Worlds," in which Shelby's aggressiveness and ambition (both of which characteristics Louvois also demonstrates) cause conflict with Riker. There is one notable exception to STNG's characterization of strong women as antagonistic and unreasonable, though . In "Ensign Ro" (the only title in STNG comprised solely of a recurring female character's name), the title character is portrayed as somewhat antagonistic, but she is given motivation and possesses a vulnerability not evident in Shelby or Louvois. The audience is led to identify with her perspective, despite the fact that she is initially shunned by the Enterprise crew, because we are given insight into her situation. She has a strong allegiance to her Bajoran heritage and an equally strong hatred of the Cardassians, who tortured her father to death in front of her eyes when she was a child. Her feelings towards Star Fleet, who have a peace treaty with the Cardassians, are thus problematic. She refuses to compromise any part of her identity as a Bajoran patriot, which is apparent in her directing the crew to call her by her first name in Bajoran custom and in her persuading Picard to allow her to wear a Bajoran earring even though it does not meet standard uniform requirements. Ro's character is thus a strong example of STNG's reflection of interrelatedness, for she represents an interesting mixture of individual and collective perspectives. She is not representative of the American individualist, hero ethic in the way that Picard is, yet she does retain a uniqueness and boldness of perspective, separating her ideas from 92

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-those of the Federation and from those of her fellow Bajoran rebels. Although she is typical of her culture, representing the point of view of Bajoran refugees, she is not a conformist member of a collective as the Borg, or even Louvois, are. Instead, her distinctiveness is integrated with her cultural experience. She represents a dialogic, a tapestry of perspectives, precisely what advocates of interrelatedness assert (as well as Emerson) and what STNG attempts to do with its incorporation of multicultural perspectives. As Rick Berman, co-producer of STNG, reveals in an interview with Larry Nemecek, ''The other characters in the cast are relatively homogenous; some might even say bland. So we wanted a character with the strength and dignity of a Star Fleet officer, but with a troubled past, an edge" (Nemecek 177). Ro's character does not submit to the moral polarizing and character typing that occurs with the other female members of the crew, which is apparent in her abrupt refusal to allow Crusher and Troi to join her in a drink. She also at first rejects Guinan, but when Guinan forces her presence on Ro and demonstrates strong opinions of her own, Ro comes to realize that they have quite a bit in common. Guinan asserts her own viewpoint that individual perspective is relevant in her first conversation with Ro. She states, "Truth is in the eye of the beholder." When Ro replies, "I thought that was beauty," Guinan responds, ''Truth, beauty, it works for a lot of things." Guinan thus 93

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understands the importance of positionality and of each person's unique cultural perspective, precisely what Ro asserts. Guinan's partial freedom, illustrated here, from the homogenizing characteristics that occur in the characters of the Enterprise crew is reinforced by the fact that she is the only woman character who is not under Federation or Picard's orders. Unfortunately, the reason that most of the characters of STNG are homogenous is that the format apparently cannot stretch to accommodate well rounded female characters. Ro, like Shelby, is relegated to the role of sex object in subsequent episodes. In "Conundrum," the crew's amnesia provides a convenient excuse for Riker and Ro to sleep together, and when Ro makes her final appearance towards the end of the series, Picard's interest in her is also given a sexual dimension as she must pretend to be his lover in order to pass on some information to him in a bar. Guinan's character returns to her wise woman stereotype, demonstrating little of the uniqueness and complexity that she has when paired with Ro. The Eyes Have It Again As with the Borg episodes, in "The Measure of a Man" the image of the eye is used as a thematic symbol. In this episode, the image of the eye is used to denote the difference between how we see with our biological eyes (sensory) and how we "see" with our inner perception ( nonsensory). 94

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After becoming aware of Maddox's intentions, Picard meets with Data in his ready room. Picard explains that he understands Data's interests but must also think of Star Fleet's interests. He is considering the good of the whole over the good of the individual, and Data makes him see why: "It is precisely because I am not human." Picard has always maintained that the good of the individual must be balanced with the good of the whole, but Data exposes Picard's bias. He considers an individual who is biologically human as more valuable than an individual who is an artificial life form, which is a reductionist way of thinking and out of character with Picard's adherence to interrelatedness. This hierarchical way of thinking is connected with mechanist science's assertions of distinctions, which, as demonstrated by the Borg, is associated with the good of the whole at the expense of the good of the individual precisely what Picard is considering. As Data points out using an "eye" analogy, this bias is materialistic in that it gives more emphasis to the mechanical than the nonmechanical aspects of a person. He asks Picard why Star Fleet does not require all officers to receive cybernetic implants if Lieutenant La Forge's eyes are superior to human biological eyes. Picard cannot answer. In response to Picard's silence, Data replies, "I see." He uses the term to suggest that he "perceives" the meaning of Picard's silence. Data's ability to use inner perception contrasts with Picard's avoidance of it in this instance. With this analogy, Data reveals that Picard's definition of "human" in 95

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considering human life and consciousness as an ultimate value is based on the physical and mechanical rather than nonmechanical or material traits, and that this very definition of .. human .. necessarily excludes Data. The image of the eye appears again when Maddox comes to see Data in his quarters. He enters without ringing and Data inquires, .. Is it not customary to request permission before entering an individual's quarters?.. Data does not see himself as a different sort of "individual" than any other member of the crew, but Maddox does. He picks up a book of Data's which happens to be Shakespeare, a gift from the captain, and quotes, .. When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state... The quotation echoes the idea that Maddox and other members of Star Fleet have condemned Data to the role of computer because they are looking at him from a strictly mechanistic perspective. They cannot see past the fact that he technically is not human; their eyes do not perceive anything beyond sense-data, and they therefore cast him out of the status of .. man ... Maddox, who is a cyberneticist and thus an expert on systems science, only views systems science in terms of systems of information. His sole reliance on sensory data and mechanical categories is emphasized by the fact that he employs the eye image from a strictly physical perspective. For example, at one point he declares that replicated Datas could serve human achievement by .. acting as our hands and eyes in dangerous situations... He uses the eye image as a 96

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metaphor, but it is still connected to the physical sense of the term, not the figurative sense of "seeing" as inner perception. 97

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CHAPTER FOUR FRANKENSTEIN, DATA, INTERRELATEDNESS, AND THE FEMININE The quotation by Shakespeare which appears in "The Measure of a Man" is reminiscent of Frankenstein, the consideration of which is perhaps inevitable in looking at texts involving the artificial creation of life. In that episode, Maddox quotes Shakespeare's twenty-ninth sonnet: "When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state." This line, although a comment on Data's situation, could be a statement by the monster in Frankenstein after he is rejected by his creator. Just as the monster in Frankenstein is ostracized from society for his monstrous outer appearance, so too is Data denied access to the human community by the mechanists (represented by Maddox) because of his physical state. But the comparison between Data and Frankenstein's monster has further dimensions. Looking to some critical interpretation of Mary Shelley's text in comparison with the ideas of Gene Roddenberry, the similarity again seems notable. In Shelley's text, Frankenstein (who is representative of mechanist science) creates a monstrous being. This monster, according to Marie Mulvey Roberts, is a "testimony" to "scientific rationality unencumbered by ethical considerations" (Roberts 66). In this regard, Frankenstein can be read as declaring that scientific knowledge must be 98

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combined with morality for scientific progress to benefit humanity, which is strikingly similar to Roddenberry's comments in an address given at the Nexus conference in 1989: Isn't it fortunate that intelligent forms at our level are not capable of star travel, of only solar travel? Consider if you will VietNam [sic], Beirut, South Africa, and then consider what a terrible design this universe would be if humans, at our present childhood levels, could travel as far as the stars and begin interfering with life forms that are almost certainly there. Who/V\Ihatever designed our universe, I've got to applaud the kind of thinking that keeps the star systems so far from one another that we are unable to botch things up at our current level of development. (Roddenberry 57) In this speech, Roddenberry not only points out that colonialist attitudes still predominate, but he labels these attitudes as essentially childish. Although Roddenberry thus claims an awareness that oppressing other cultures in unethical, his own creative project refuses to fully deconstruct the boundaries of identity that oppress women and people of color. Roddenberry's belief that there is a design to keep technological progress and ethical progress in check is somewhat thus contradicted in STNG. The Enterprise has the ability to reach outer space and other life forms, but its crew still possesses aspects of humanity's "childhood levels" of morality in its refusal to fully advocate the deconstruction of boundaries inherent in its anticolonial Prime Directive. Frankenstein, which is a treatise on the injustices of man's appropriative and oppressive attitude towards female identity, is thus doubly appropriate in analyzing STNG. 99

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Hermetic Traditions, Data, and the Incorporation ofEthjcs The difference between Data and Frankenstein's monster arise from the different intentions and goals of the science represented by the creators, In her article "The Male Scientist, Man-Midwife, and Female Monster: Appropriation and Transmutation in Frankenstein," Marie Mulvey Roberts discusses the difference between ancient alchemical practices and modem science, She states, "Frankenstein's monster is the hideous progeny of the darkness of science instead of the offspring of hermetic traditions concerned with the harmony of opposites, universal correspondences, and cosmic sympathies" (Roberts 71 ), The "darkness of science" refers to mechanist science, science that "treat[s] nature as a metonym for 'the other"' and is driven by the "impulse to divide, deny, and then dominate" (71 ), Hermetic traditions' concern with "harmony of opposites, universal correspondences, and cosmic sympathies," on the other hand, is similar to the humanistic science of interrelatedness, which deconstructs the distinctions between opposites (for example, "material" science and "spiritual" morality), asserts the interdependency and interconnection of all things, and calls for compassion. Nathaniel Kaplan and Thomas Katsaros, historians who trace the origins of mysticism in their work The Origins of American Transcendentalism, list hermetic traditions as an origin for transcendentalism; these traditions also seem to have made their way into the humanistic science advocated by interrelatedness, 100

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In his book Alqeny, Jeremy Rifkin also outlines the difference between mechanist science and humanist science. He states that alchemists (representative of the hermetic tradition) believed that Nature was a "process attempting to complete itself' and that the alchemists believed their role was to help in this evolution (Rifkin 16). These beliefs reveal the process rather than product emphasis reflected in transcendentalism and interrelatedness. In contrast to the respect for nature shown by the alchemists, Rifkin believes that the computer age has taught us to think of nature as "systems of information, It and something to be programmed and controlled (23). The mechanist viewpoint of science, according to Rifkin, is thus not only a viewpoint of the past, but of the present as well. Its pervasiveness in the computer age is reflected in STNG's portrayal of the Borg and their culture's prominent incorporation of computers as mechanists. Mechanist science, as revealed by Rifkin, is thus representative not only of Victor Frankenstein, but of some contemporary scientists as well. According to Roberts, "Frankenstein's Luciferian folly of pride and failure of imagination is posited on the belief that men, basking in the illusion of the dispassionate objectivity of so-called scientific rationality, instead of relying on the workings of nature, can produce a higher form of life than that brought about by sexual reproduction and nurturing by the female" (Roberts 65). According to Nadeau, this belief is also held by mechanist AI scientists and engineers. Immersed in empirical, 101

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, impersonal,.and amoral theories, mechanist AI theorists {who are almost exclusively male, as any list of leading theorists attests) believe that they can create a being of higher intelligence and consciousness than humans. As Roberts points out in her criticism, this type of thinking not only marginalizes nature, it marginalizes the feminine as well. Roberts further associates mechanist science's lack of ethics with its denial of the feminine by commenting on a statement by F. Sherwood Taylor, who discusses the ultimate example of science divorced from consciousness of human value, the tragedy that humanist scientists like Nadeau continually point to, the atomic bomb: The material aims of the alchemists, the transmutation of metals, has now been realized by science, and the alchemical vessel is the uranium pile. Its success has had precisely the result the alchemists feared and guarded against, the placing of gigantic power in the hands of those who have not been benefited by spiritual training to receive it. (Roberts 73) Roberts comments, "Instead of blaming the lack of spiritual training for the shortcomings of science, Sherwood Taylor might have considered precisely those dangers that have been brought about by the symbolic abandonment of the alchemists' womblike alembic in which nurturing takes place, in effect, the denial of the female" (73). The qualities that Sherwood Taylor equates with spiritual training are the qualities that Roberts associates with maternal nurturing. In order for Data not to represent the catastrophe that Frankenstein's monster and the atomic bomb do, he must thus be a 102

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product of a science which does not deny the female or marginalize nature. This compassionate science has its origins in hermetic traditions, which are concerned with cooperating with nature and are based on a dynamic female principle as well as male principle, as illustrated in the science of alchemy An example of the dynamic female principle which Roberts points to is the alchemists' belief that the catalyst for the elixir of life was the Philosopher's Stone, which, according to Roberts, is an "agent for synthesizing the male and female" (Roberts 71 ). She asserts that in the alchemical tradition, the female principle is dynamic rather than passive and escapes the "dichotomous positioning with the male in which it is identified as 'the other"' (69) Data's reflection of compassionate, humanistic science is evident from his continual acts of kindness towards other beings. In "The Quality of Life," as already mentioned, he protects a mechanical life form from destruction In "Pen Pals," he convinces Picard to save a little girl trapped on a doomed planet, and his nonjudgmental nature allows him to even express sympathy with Q in "Deja Q" when other members of the crew cannot. Data also cares for his pet cat with seemingly affectionate devotion, even writing an ode to "Spot." Data's naming his cat Spot, a name typically given to dogs, reveals his ability to blur distinctions of identity. He embodies the androgyny inherent in hermetic traditions and the deconstruction of dichotomous positioning of male and female inherent in interrelatedness. 103

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Although he is male and "anatomically correct," he is not bound to gender identity in the way that humans are. As Donna Haraway elucidates, the concepts of individuation and gender formation .,depend on the plot of original unity out of which difference must be produced and enlisted in a drama of escalating domination of woman/Nature" (Haraway 151 ). Data, like Haraway's cyborgs, 11Skips the step of original unity" by never experiencing the unity of the mother/child bond, and thus is not gender oriented in the traditional Western sense, which perhaps explains one reason for his ability to escape the traditional domination of nature and woman that Haraway believes occurs in Western structuring of identity (151 ). Although Data does participate in "heterosexual" sex with Tasha Yar, it is by her desire alone and we never really see Data's sexuality or his role in the sexual relationship. He actually appears quite asexual, due to his dispassionate demeanor. His appearance is also rather androgynous: his body frame is slight and his movements lithe. His face, which is covered with make-up, appears soft. He has no facial hair, and the hair on his head is long and smoothly styled. The androgyny of all androids, including Data, is further emphasized during the episode ''The Offspring," in which Data allows his android creation to choose its own sex. Data's further connection with hermetic traditions is depicted in the imagery of his first dreams. ln-"Birthright Pt: 2," Data receives a plasma 104

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shock while working on a conduit which activates his dream programming. He dreams of his creator Dr. Soong as a young man. In the dream, Soong is striking at an anvil with a hammer, but instead of working on metal, he is constructing a bird's wing. As Dr. Soong reveals during the dream, the bird represents Data, who is thus symbolically the product of the transmutation of metals into something organic. This transmutation is reminiscent of alchemy and other types of hermetic science, suggesting that the dream could be an indication that Data is a product of these scientific traditions. Towards the end of her article, Marie Mulvey Roberts comments, ''The alienating effect of sciences that treat nature as a metonym for 'the other' stems from the impulse to divide, deny, and then dominate. In light of this we may well wonder whether Victor Frankenstein, if he had not discarded necromancy and magic [hermetic traditions] for physics and chemistry [mechanist science], would ever have produced his destructive monster'' (Roberts 72). STNG answers this question with an emphatic "no" with its portrayal of Data. Like Frankenstein's monster, Data is a male being created through unnatural means by a male scientist, yet Data is a product of humanistic science. Instead of being destruCtive, he exemplifies the qualities of interrelatedness-compassion, justice, and creativity. As previously mentioned, he demonstrates compassion, not only for his fellow crew members, but for other beings like Q and the Exo-Comps as well. In "The 105

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Quality of Life," Data illustrates his ideas of justice related to this compassion by saving the Exo-Comps because he does not believed it is "justified" to force them to sacrifice themselves for another life form Data also demonstrates creativity by writing poetry, creating another android, contributing to cybernetic journals, painting, and playing the flute. Frankenstein's inability to control his monster reveals a lesson that advocates of interrelatedness understand: humans cannot ultimately control nature. Violating a respect for nature leads to human tragedy nature will not be controlledas illustrated in Shelley's text. Advocates of interrelatedness realize that abandoning this desire to control nature means, as Rifkin explains, "sacrificing a measure of control over the future," which "fl[ies] in the face of human experience to date," but they see no other choice, especially if humanity is to be protected and preserved as an ultimate value in the technological future (Rifkin 253). Nadeau iterates the necessity of changing our attitude towards nature and technology in his treatise on artificial intelligence: "Now perhaps it is not presumptuous to warn ourselves that the concurrent emergence of computer technology and cognitive science requires an immense effort of the imagination if it is not to lead to yet another massive tragedy in human experience" (Nadeau 71 ). SING braces us for that immense effort of the philosophical imagination, not only by telling us that we must begin to think in new ways (as will be demonstrated in the next section), but by showing us what is possible if we accept a philosophy 106

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like interrelatedness which combines consciousness of human value with consciousness of science: technology (represented by Data) can expand rather than destroy humanity. Systems Theorv and Deconstruction Systems science's connection with systems theory is similar to empirical alchemy's kinship with mystical alchemy. Empirical alchemy aligns itself with empirical science because of its material and instrumental goals but mystical alchemy applies empirical alchemy to a larger philosophy. According to Kaplan and Katsaros, "the alchemists believed that the removal of imperfections from base metals was only a preliminary step to the discovery of the means to cleanse the materialistic sediment from man's spiritual soul" (Kaplan and Katsaros 144). Similarly, systems theory seeks to apply systems science's material interest in feedback loops and cybernetics to the larger concept of the interrelatedness of all things. Systems theory is also related to alchemy in that it incorporates the universal sympathies and correspondences of spiritual alchemy. In light of this, it is fitting that Picard employs an analogy from alchemy in the debate over Data's status that occurs in "The Measure of a Man." In his closing statement of the trial, Picard describes the courtroom as a "crucible in which we bum away irrelevancies until only the truth is left for all time." The irrelevancies in this case, in the question 107

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of what it means to be human, are the materialist beliefs that "being human" is simply a matter of biology and mechanical properties. Picard (as a representative of systems beliefs), continuing in the tradition of hermeticism, seeks to "cleanse the materialistic sediment" from mechanist concepts of the world. Yet Picard's statement in ''The Measure of a Man" again reveals the conflicting characteristics of SING. Although in this episode Picard recognizes the necessity of liberating identity from fixed structures, his final remarks indicate that he has not truly learned this lesson. The notion of a truth "for all time," a truth which transcends spatial and temporal qualification, specifically contradicts the very foundations of interrelatedness that undermine such assumptions of fixity. Picard's statement also suggests that this fixed truth is one that is revealed by the laws and ideas of justice of Star Fleet and the Federation. Picard thus asserts the dominance of the Federation's Eurocentric perspective by projecting its perspective as absolute and superior, ignoring the relevance of other cultural perspectives. This Eurocentric characteristic of appropriating rather than addressing other cultural perspectives is also representative of the English Romantic artists and poets of Shelley's day and age, who are well known for having incorporated attributes of female experience associated with nurturing into their poetry and self-expression (even contriving metaphorical pregnancies). According to critics, they failed to 108

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create a vehicle for female empowerment and instead upheld male creativity above all else, refusing to deconstruct the distinctions between "I" and "other" used to oppress women. Thus, their incorporation of the feminine, rather than acknowledging the full humanity of the female, sought to replace her, as Mary Shelley illuminates in her characterization of Victor Frankenstein. Deconstructive feminists argue that female identity has always been enclosed within discourses like those of the English Romantics which sought to deny, divide, and dominate it. Donna Haraway, a proponent of deconstructive postmodern feminism and a historian of science, heralds what she terms the myth of the cyborg, which refers to a futuristic world of "transgressed boundaries, lived social and body realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints" (Haraway 154). She believes breaking down the distinctions structuring the Western self, such as self/other, nature/culture, organism/machine opens up possibilities for feminists and feminine identity. Haraway claims that only by resisting fixation and representation can women find possibilities for creating identities free of oppressive or appropriative structures: "We seek not the knowledge ruled by phallogocentrism (nostalgia for the presence of the one true Word) and disembodied vision, but those ruled by partial sight and limited voice" (196). 109

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Although STNG attempts to project a theory of interrelatedness, the series often fails to follow the deconstruction of boundaries and maintenance of heterarchy inherent in that theory. Instead, it falls into the kind of hierarchical, structured thinking that deconstructionist critics attack as oppressive. The series phallogocentric .. nostalgia for the presence of the one true Word .. is revealed in Picard's belief in a .. truth for all time ... Although STNG .. practices what it preaches .. at times (for example, Picard's recognition in .. The Measure of a Man .. of the injustices involved in fixed ordering of identity), the distinctions structuring the Western self appear throughout the series, particularly with respect to STNG's treatment of its female characters. Part of the reason for STNG's social constructs lies in the limits imposed by its narrative format, both as a romance and a television adventure series. STNG's stratified, patriarchal structure is at least partially due to the writers' need to create a show that would appeal to a wide audience. Television series that appeal to popular audiences as a rule accept traditional structures of power. Romance elements, as Frye outlines, appeal to contemporary audiences, and the moral polarizing and dichotomous positioning that occurs in romance formulas are part of that appeal; audiences are expected to identify readily with idealized characters and simplified moral facts (Frye 50). Similarly, the Eurocentric focus of the text is also meant to appeal to a Eurocentric American audience. 110

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As Sobchack points out, science fiction texts map out "social relations as they are constituted and changed by technological modes of being-in-the-world" (Sobchack 224). Now, with the expansion of the Internet and other networks of mass communication, it could be argued that a redistribution of power towards a more heterarchical structure is more readily accepted by audiences (Elmer-DeWitt 1 0). This assertion could be argued by analyzing the newest Star Trek series, Voyager, which made its debut in January 1995. This series, unlike the Deep Space Nine series, reflects a similar notion of interconnectedness (and also retains the "receptive eye" warp core) to that of The Next Generation and takes steps to further the heterarchy of its underlying philosophy. The crew is notably more ethnically diverse, and, for the first time in a Star Trek series, the captain is a woman. Although hierarchy is still in place, responsibility and authority are much more widespread; the hierarchy of the Federation is challenged by the Voyager's Federation crew's alliance with the Maquis, a band of Federation rebels. This alliance occurs through the realization by both crews of their interdependence. 111

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CHAPTER FIVE THE FATE OF HUMANITY: ALL GOOD THINGS ... The tension between advocating a deconstructive theory while retaining a romance narrative construct is illustrated again in the final episode of the series "All Good Things . STNG makes its strongest statement in support of interrelatedness in this episode, but the series' dominant white male perspective and formulaic constructs are also quite apparent. In "All Good Things ... ,"Picard's journey represents a typical romantic quest for identity. He confusedly shifts through time periods, attempting to puzzle out the relationship between the three periods. Picard's adventure is thus participated in by three Picards-one in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. The goal of the quest is to end the time shifting and return to his "true" identity in the present by solving the mystery of the spatial anomaly and passing Q's test of humanity. The adventure retains a spiral structure typical of romance quests, in which the end is the beginning transformed-Picard begins and ends his adventure in the exact same point in time and space, but between these, a trial occurs which changes Picard and his viewpoints. The final episode also creates a spiral structure for the entire series, for this 112

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episode brings Picard back to the setting of the first episode on trial in a kangaroo court by Q. The show's cyclical structure is not closed, however, for as Q reveals, ''The trial never ends." We are led to believe that the crew of the Enterprise will continue in their adventures, which is reinforced by Picard's final utterance, ''The sky's the limit." There are no limits to possibility, as Picard comes to realize in this episode, and thus the crew's experiences are also "endless." Other elements of "All Good Things ... suggest stereotypes characteristic of STNG and its romance structure. For example, although the future Crusher is depicted as captain of a starship with a predominantly female crew (the symbolic representation of the ship as female is enforced by its "pregnant" appearance), it is a medical ship with not much power or influence, and has to be rescued from destruction by the "big guns" of Riker's new Enterprise. Thus, just as in "The Measure of a Man," although Picard comes to realize an aspect of interrelatedness which should further undermine his assumption of fixity (and he is the figurehead of humanity), the stereotypes still predominate, and the quest for identity is still a predominantly male quest. Yet in this episode, although focalized again through Picard, STNG reveals its clearest connection with advocates of interrelatedness. Humanist AI theorists like Nadeau and Weizenbaum, ecologists like Rifkin, systems science advocates like Macy, and advocates of interrelatedness as a whole argue that if we do not change our 113

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mechanist attitudes towards science and technology, we will meet our destruction, whether by replacing ourselves in the evolutionary niche with artificial beings, destroying the earth's resources and habitability, detonating our weapons of mass destruction, or simply losing our humaneness to the impersonal, "value-free" qualities of technology. In the last episode of the series, STNG also argues that the survival of humanity depends on this change in attitude. The character Q, who originally put humanity on trial in the first episode of the series, reappears. He states that the trial never ended, and that unless Picard can demonstrate that humans can expand their understanding of the universe, then "mankind" will be "denied existence ... The plot is thus a metaphor for the humanists and theorists of interrelatedness' argument if humans do not make a philosophical leap and come to a greater understanding of the universe (which in this context means a greater understanding of interrelatedness), then we will be destroyed by our own colonialist attitudes (represented by Q, the agent of humanity's potential destruction). The title of the episode, "All Good Things ... suggests that this leap of the philosophical imagination is possible, though. The predicate .. must come to an end" is left off, implying that humanity does not have to come to an end -the necessary change in attitude can be accomplished, as demonstrated by the episode. 114

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In his article "A Mystical Cosmology: Towards a Postmodern Spirituality," Matthew Fox points out that mechanist science "did not highlight creativity as a moral imperative or as the most important ingredient of a living cosmology. Yet that is what is required in a postmodem era, one that carries us beyond the notion that the universe is already completed or is a machine in motion" (Fox 27). STNG agrees; in "All Good Things ... "the dynamic property of evolution and the consequent need for all things to change and evolve is stressed, as is the moral imperative inherent in the notion of interrelatedness. The test that the Q put before Picard is set up as a mystery, just as Farpoint Station was, but this time the mystery involves a temporal and spatial anomaly. The particularity of the anomaly is purposeful. Interrelatedness, founded on quantum physics, asserts that every aspect of experience is temporally and spatially qualified. Picard's test is to come to a greater understanding of this concept, through unraveling the mysterious workings of the temporal and spatial anomaly. What he comes to realize is that he creates the anomaly in the future by initiating a tachion pulse, but the anomaly travels backwards, growing larger in the past, until it eventually occupies an entire section of the Milky Way and prevents the formation of life on earth. Thus, Picard comes to understand that events in the future can affect events in the past, and that time and space are interrelated. In order to solve the mystery, Picard must, as Q 115

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says, open his mind to "options [he] had never considered before," and see the universe in a completely new light. The paradox itself is just as important as .the expansion of understanding its realization represents, for it carries a broad implication of interrelatedness. The past, present, and future are connected in a relational web what happens in the future can affect the past, just as the past can affect the future and what affects time affects space and vice versa. Thus, positionality is extremely important, for temporal and spatial location affect observation, which in turn affects time and space, which affect each other, which affects observation, and so on. In "All Good Things ... "Picard must come to understand interrelatedness to an even larger extent if humanity is to survive, just as the humanists and theorists of interrelatedness assert present day humanity must do if we are to survive After coming to a more complete understanding of time, Picard decides to change the course of the present to alter what he viewed as a possible future (something he never would have considered before attaining his new perspective on time). The change that he makes is to tell the crew of what he experienced and to place himself amongst them, putting himself "on their level" instead of separating himself from them as he had before. He symbolically accomplishes this by joining the officers' poker game. These changes are meant to draw the crew closer together, to prevent them from focusing on their differences and drifting apart as he 116

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saw the potential for in his glimpse of the future. Picard, in coming to a greater understanding of interrelatedness in the macrocosm of the universe, thus comes to also understand and value interrelatedness to a greater degree in the microcosm of the Enter:prjse. Other aspects of interrelatedness also play a role in this episode. The importance of and power of the individual perspective within the relational web is emphasized as is the value of nonsensory perception. Picard's individual perspective, his achievement of a greater understanding of the universe literally saves humanity. He is able to recognize by himself what must be done to collapse the anomaly and prevent it from affecting the creation of life on earth, but in order to perform the procedure, he must convince each of the three Enterprise crews (from the past, present, and future) to risk their lives by taking the ships into the anomaly and creating static warp shells. In the present and future, he is able to provide the crews with an explanation of his reasoning, but in the past, he cannot for fear of altering the course of the other two time periods. Thus, in order to influence the crew of the "past Enterprise," he must appeal to their nonsensory perception and their intuitive trust in him, which he does by asserting his own faith in them. He tells them that he knows they are the finest crew in Star Fleet and that he implicitly trusts them with his life. This statement enables the crew to extend that faith back to him they risk their lives, and their actions 117

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enable the combined efforts of the Enterprise crews to succeed in collapsing the anomaly and save humanity and all life on earth. The writers of this episode also link compassion with humanity's ability to survive. Compassion, the "moral imperative" which the crew of the Entemrise see as inherent in the theory of interrelatedness, is what draws Q's help. Although Q often states that compassion is a human weakness, he has also admitted that it is what fascinates him about humans (and Picard, the figurehead of the Enterprise's policies of compassion, in particular). In "All Good Things ... we are reminded of these previous admissions by Q during a discussion about him which occurs during an officers meeting in the "present." Q's curiosity about compassion suggests that humans possess a level of understanding which Q does not, although he is too arrogant to admit it: Seven years ago I said we'd be watching you and we have been, hoping that your apelike race would demonstrate some growth, would give some indication that your minds had room for expansion, but what have we seen instead? You worrying about Commander Riker's career, listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble, indulging Data in his witless exploration of humanity. This statement by Q reveals the parallel constructed in this episode between humanity and Q. Although humans do not understand the physical, natural laws of interrelatedness in the way that Q does, they do possess a greater understanding of interrelatedness on an ethical level. Although Q belittles the importance of compassion, STNG's emphasis on 118

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morality clearly suggests that compassion is a superior power to the physical powers of Q, as evidenced by Picard and the crew's continual indignation at Q's actions and Riker's refusing to accept the powers of the Q for ethical reasons in "Hide and Q." The above monologue by Q also contains a subtle reference to a previous episode, "Deja Q." In this episode, Q himself indulges Data "in his witless exploration of humanity" by causing him to experience laughter. His motivation for doing so is similar to Picard's, stemming from a newfound (although limited) sense of compassion and empathy. Q's attitude towards compassion is thus not as clear-cut as his statement would suggest. The connection between the two episodes leads to another comparison. In "Deja Q," the Q continuum strip Q of his powers and render him "human" for his continual harassment of other species. When he demonstrates compassion, by committing a partially selfless act in sacrificing himself to the Calamarians to save the Enterprise, he is admitted back into the continuum. The trial of humanity in "All Good Things ... "is also a directive from the continuum, suggesting that perhaps again the continuum is hoping to provide a lesson in compassion for Q Indeed, in this final episode, Q demonstrates more compassion than he ever has. He expresses explicit interest in the fate of humanity by helping Picard save it, which he does by providing Picard with clues to the mysteries of the spatial/temporal anomaly. Thus, just as 119

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Picard and the Enterprjse make a small leap towards a greater understanding of the interrelatedness on a physical, or mechanical level, so too does Q make a small leap towards a greater understanding of interrelatedness on an ethical, nonmechanical level. STNG's portrayal of Q, an omipotent being, as imperfect reveals its belief that the universe is dynamic and that evolution is continual. These ideas, essential to the notion of interconnectedness and the dynamic, transformative implications of systems theory, are, according to lnchausti, "calls to transcend the givens of experience in order to realize certain exquisite possibilities" (lnchausti 2). This idea of the continual process of evolution is iterated by Q in tiis final, parting insight to Picard: "That's the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and charting nebulas, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." As revealed in this statement by Q, STNG's mythological universe struggles with the relationship between human creativity and something beyond that creativity. In "All Good Things ... ,"Picard creates the anomaly in the future with the tachion pulse, but he realizes the possibility of a spatial and temporal anomaly in the present, therefore suggesting that his creation of the anomaly is dependent on his realization of the possibility of such an anomaly. It is thus unclear to what degree Picard's creativity participates in the production of the anomaly and to what degree something outside of that creativity participates. The relationship between construct and actuality are implied in the 120

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relationship between human creativity and something beyond it. Frye outlines, There is a Hne of Pope's which exists in two versions: 'A might maze of walks without a plan' and 'A mighty maze, but not without a plan.' The first version recognizes the human situation; the second refers to the constructs of religion, art, and science that man throws up because he finds the recognition intolerable. Romance ... is the area where we can see most clearly that the maze without a plan and the maze not without a plan are two aspects of the same thing (Frye 31) According to Frye, "the message of all romance" is that "the story is about you" (186). Romance relies on the reader's ability to recognize these conventions as constructs, and not, therefore, necessarily representative of reality. Romance texts thus call for the reader to draw on her own experience to decide what to accept, what to question, and what to subvert. As Frye states, ''The journey towards one's own identity has a great deal to do with escaping from the alleged reality of what one is reading or looking at, and recognizing the convention behind it" (166). In light of Frye's analysis of romance, STNG's romance conventions can be viewed as complementary to the text's theme of interrelatedness. Although the stereotyped characters and the value laden hierarchical structuring can be interpreted as oppressive, appropriative, and directly contradicting with the deconstructive desires of interrelatedness, the romance constructs also enable the text to distance itself from an accurate representation of reality. As Frye points out, it is the reader who is responsible for the way a text functions, and 121

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romance, which continually blurs the lines between reality and illusion, forces an awareness of its own constructs on the reader, causing the reader to question these constructs and perhaps to even question the constructs of the reader's own social conditioning Yet STNG is not simply a romance; it also possesses representational qualities which reflect the social condition of present society. It is a television adventure series aimed at an American teenage male audience and accepts traditional power structures and does not seek to challenge the social conditioning of its audience. Its romance constructs are thus also social constructs, which undermine the antirepresentational quality of its romance format. Conclusion In "All Good Things ... Q declares that the exploration that awaits Picard and the crew of the Enterprise (and thus humanity) is "charting unknown possibilities of existence," possibilities which are represented in this episode by concepts of interrelatedness. If Q's prophecy is correct, then there is hope for humanity to deconstruct the oppressive boundaries asserted by mechanism, racism, sexism, and most other "isms" that limit identity. Q also states that "The trial never ends," and in putting Star Trek : The Next Generation to the test of humanity upon which the series is premised, it is clear that in many ways STNG fails to pass. By engaging 122

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in traditional Eurocentric positioning of identity, the series imposes limits on possibilities of existence, particularly for women and people of color. In its fixed structuring of identity, STNG illustrates the very obstacles that must be overcome if we are to create a utopic world of endless options and limitless potential. Yet STNG does allow us to dream of such a world. It attempts to envision a future for humanity in which our goal is not to dominate and control, but to understand and accept the world around us, acknowledging the interrelatedness, not just of white European men, but of all peoples, cultures, species, ideas, and aspects of experience. In "All Good Things ... STNG asserts that in order to achieve these potentialities, we must create them for ourselves, and this is by far the most important insight of the series. In order to fulfill these possibilities, we must imagine them, and in imagining them, we must, in Montaigne's words, feed on "wonder, search, and ambiguity," exploring for ourselves the unknown possibilities of existence. 123

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WORKS CITED "All Good Things ... Writ. Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 23 May 1994. ''The Best of Both Worlds." Writ. Michael Piller. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 18 June 1990. "Birthright." Writ. Brannon Braga. Dir. Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman KWGN, 22 February 1993. Boyd, Katarina G. "Cyborgs in Utopia: The Problem of Radical Difference in Star Trek: The Next Generation." Diss., University of Indiana 1995. ''The Chase." Writ. Joe Menosky and Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Jonathan Frakes. Star Trek: The Next Generation Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 26 April 1993. Cobb, John B. "Alfred North Whitehead." In Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Pjerce, James, Bernson, Whitehead, and Hartshorn. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1993. Collins, Jim. Uncommon Cultures. New York: Routledge, 1989. 124

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Connor, Steven. Postmodernist Culture. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell ltd, 1989. "Data's Day." Writ. Harold Apter and Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Robert Wiemer. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 7 January 1991. "Deja Q." Writ. Richard Danus. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 5 February 1990. "Descent." Writ. Jeri Taylor and Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Alexander Singer. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 21 April 1993. Dewey, John. The Reconstruction of Philosophy. New York: New American Library, 1950. "The Drumhead." Writ. Jeri Taylor. Dir. Jonathan Frakes. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 29 April 1991. Dunn, Thomas P. and Richard B. Erlich, eds. The Mechanical God: Machines in Science Fiction. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982. Clockwork Worlds: Mechanized Environments in Science Fiction Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983. Elmer-Dewitt, ''Welcome to Cyberspace." Time Special Edition, spring 1995, pp. 19-21. 125

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"Encounter at Farpoint." Writ. D.C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry. Dir. Corey Allen. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 28 September 1987. "Ensign Ro... Writ. T. Michael Piller Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 7 October 1991. "Ethics ... Writ. Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Chip Chalmers. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 2 March 1992 .. First Contact. .. Writ. Dennis Russell Bailey, David Bischoff, Joe Menosky, and Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 18 February 1991. "Force of Nature." Writ. Naren Shankar. Dir. Robert Lederman. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 15 November 1993 Ford, Marcus P. "William James." In Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Pierce. James. Bergson. Whitehead. and Hartshorn. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1993. Fox, Matthew "A Mystical Cosmology: Towards a Postmodem Spirituality." In Sacred Interconnections. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1990. Frye, Northrop. The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1976. 126

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"Galaxy's Child." Writ. Maurice Hurley and Thomas Kartozian. Dir Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry Prod Michael Piller and Rick Berman KWGN, 11 March 1991. Goodman, Russell B. American Philosophy and the Romantic Tradition. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990 Griffin, David Ray. "Introduction: Sacred Interconnections." In Sacred Interconnections. Albany: State U of New York P, 1990. Gunter, Pete A Y "Henri Bergson In Eoynders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy : Pierce James. Bernson Whitehead. and Hartshorn Ed David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1993. Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs. and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York : Routledge, 1991. "Hide and Q Writ. C .J. Holland and Gene Roddenberry. Dir. Cliff Bole Created by Gene Roddenberry Prod Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 23 November 1987. Hutcheon, Linda A Poetics of Postmodernism. New York and London: Routledge, 1988. "I, Borg Writ. Rene Echevarria Dir Robert Lederman. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 11 May 1992. lnchausti, Robert. The Ignorant Perfectjon of Ordjnarv people. Albany: State U of New York P, 1991. 127

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Jencks, Charles. "The Postrriodern Agenda." In The post-Modern Reader. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Kaplan, Nathaniel and Thomas Katsaros. Origins of American Transcendentalism in Philosophy and Mysticism. New Haven, CT: College and UP, Inc, 1975. Keller, Catherine. "Warriors, Women, and the Nuclear Complex: Toward a Postnuclear Postmodernity." In Sacred Interconnections. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State University of New York P, 1990. Kellner, Douglas "Technophobia." In Alien Zone: Cultural Theorv and Contemporarv Science Fiction Cinema Ed Annette Kuhn London : Verso, 1990 Landon, Brooks. The Aesthetics of Ambivalence: Rethinking Science Fjction Film in the Age of Electronjc (Relproduction. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992. Macy, Joanna. "The Ecological Self." In Sacred Interconnections. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1990. "Man of the People." Writ. Frank Abatemarco. Dir. Winrich Kolbe .S!L Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 5 October 1992. "The Measure of a Man Writ. Melinda M. Snodgrass. Dir Robert Scheerer Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman KWGN, 13 February 1989. Mellor, Anne K., ed. Romanticism and Feminism. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1988. 128

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Nadeau, Robert L. Mind, Machines, and Human Consciousness, Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1991, Nemecek, Larry, The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, New York: Simon & Schuster Inc, 1992, ''The Neutral Zone Writ Maurice Hurley, Dir, James L. Conway, .s!sL Trek: The Next Generation, Created by Gene Roddenberry, Prod, Michael Piller and Rick Berman, KWGN, 16 May 1988, Newcomb, Horace, TV: The Most Popular Art Garden City, .NY: Doubleday, 197 4, Norris, Christopher, What's Wrong with Postmodernism, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1990, "The Offspring," Writ Rene Echevarria, Dir, Jonathan Frakes, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Created by Gene Roddenberry, Prod, Michael Piller and Rick Berman, KWGN, 12 March 1990, "The Outcast" Writ Jeri Taylor, Dir, Robert Scheerer, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Created by Gene Roddenberry, Prod, Michael Piller and Rick Berman, KWGN, 16 March 1992, "The Outrageous Okona," Writ Burton Arm us, Dir, Robert Becker, .s!sL Trek: The Next Generation, Created by Gene Roddenberry, Prod, Michael Piller and Rick Berman, KWGN, 12 December 1988, "Pen Pals," Writ Melinda M, Snodgrass and Hannah Louise Shearer, Dir, Winrich Kolbe, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman, KWGN, 1 May 1989. 129

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Penley, Constance; ed .. Close Encounters: Film. Feminism. and Science Fiction. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1991. "Phantasms." Writ. Brannon Braga. Dir. Patrick Stewart. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 25 October 1993. "Q Who." Writ. Maurice Hurley Dir. Rob Bowman. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 8 May, 1989. "The Quality of Life." Writ. Naren Shankar. Dir. Jonathan Frakes. .s.tsr_ Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 16 November 1992. "Redemption." Writ. Ronald D Moore. Dir. David Carson. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 23 September 1991. Rifkin, Jeremy. Algeny: A New Word -A New World New York: Penguin, 1983. "Rightful Heir." Writ. Ronald D. Moore. Dir. Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman KWGN, 13 April 1993. Roberts, Marie Mulvey. "The Male Scientist, Man-Midwife, and Female Monster: Appropriation and Transmutation in Frankenstein In A Question of Identity. Ed. Maria Benjamin. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1993. Roddenberry, Gene. "The Shape of Tomorrow." Psychological Perspectjyes. Los Angeles: C.G. Jung Institute of LA, 1994. 130

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Selley, April. 'Transcendentalism in Star' Trek: The Next Generation." Journal of American Culture. pp.31-34. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein 1831; rpt. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 1969. Shohat, Ella and Robert Starn. Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. Smyth, Edmund J., ed. Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction. London: B.T. Bansford Ltd, 1991. Sobchack, Vivian. Screening Space: The American Science Fiction .Ei!.m. New York: Ungar, 1987. "Starship Mine." Writ. Morgan Gendel. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 29 March 1993. "Symbiosis." Writ. Robert Lewin, Richard Manning, and Hans Beimier. Dir. Win Phelps. Star Trek : The Next Generation. Created by Gene Roddenberry. Prod. Michael Piller and Rick Berman. KWGN, 18 April1988. Turner, Frederick. "Escape from Modernism: In Science, Religion, Politics, and Art." In Sacred Interconnections. Ed. David Ray Griffin. Albany: State U of New York P, 1990. Wilson, Tony. Watching Television. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993. 131