Revelations on Unity, Freedom, Loyalty, Truth, and Community
In this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, two problems confront the Enterprise crew. First, important data is stolen and given to the Romulans, and second, an explosion occurs in the engineering room. These incidents put the crew on edge. With that, a challenge arises in this story: Will they give into the angst of the situation or will they be able to proceed with sound judgment and reason?
In the preliminary stages of the investigation, they interview a Klingon scientist who was visiting on a “scientific exchange program.” When the interview begins, underlying racial tensions begins to show. The Klingon says, “You accuse me because I am a Klingon!” but the counselor responds with “our chief security officer is Klingon. That has nothing to do with it.” Later the Klingon scientist accuses Worf, the chief security officer, of being disloyal to the Klingons. So with the racial aspects, the theme of who and what should a person be loyal to arises.
Soon after that, a retired admiral named Norah Satie (played by the lovely Jean Simmons) enters the story. Her position in Starfleet is to discover conspiracies. While she seems to be fair-minded when she comes on board, the crew begins to discover an overly suspicious streak in Satie.
In an interesting conversation with Worf that could be analogous to today’s problems with Manichaeism, she discovers that information from the Enterprise was “carried in the blood stream.” Worf suggests that the information was probably carried without their knowledge, while she believes the information was carried intentionally. This foreshadows an insinuation that a person’s beliefs are carried through the blood and that certain traditions from those beliefs are a problem. She says, “the body itself becomes a conveyor of top secret files.” Her suspicions, then, begin to focus on the body or the heritable traits of a person as a problem.
About half way through the story, the Klingon admits that he stole the information because he believes that the Klingons are becoming weak like humans, but he says he did not cause the explosion. At about this time, Geordi and Data tell the captain and Satie that the explosion was caused by a “defective casing” on the dilithium chamber. Captain Picard believes that the case is solved, but Satie is not convinced. She believes that a conspirator is still on board.
Meanwhile, she tells the captain how she grew up learning how to debate from her dad. She seems very proud to have won many debates throughout her life, a sophisticated orator. She also alludes to a problem she has with working with others, finding it a difficult concept to have a partner, an equal. In other words, her elitism begins to spill out in front of the captain. While she is talking to the captain, Satie’s assistant begins to put pressure on Worf, who already has been judged disloyal by another Klingon. But rather than using an insult, he uses flattery coupled with an insinuation that Worf might not have been trustworthy enough to be a part of the Starfleet investigation. Worf’s first inclination is to prove his loyalty to Starfleet by continuing the investigation, even though the captain believes the case is over.
Underlying racial tensions reappear in the story when Satie and her assistants continue the investigation that looks more like an interrogation than an interview at this time. They bring a nervous medical tech in for his first interview. Because he seems so nervous, they bring him in for questioning a second time, but with several additional pressures.
First, all people of the ship can come watch the interrogation. SPOT LIGHT! Second, they begin to prod the doctor whom he works for to “name names!” Then, they lie about the explosion in the engineering room, telling the young man that it was sabotage even though Data and Geordi had discovered it was not. After that, they begin digging into his heritage, his traditions, his history, and he confesses that his grandfather was a Romulan. Thus, Satie’s team seeks a certain end–to find a conspiracy and the conspirators–and will use any means to prove that end.
In reaction to this interrogation, the captain begins to rise even stronger as the voice of reason. He realizes what Satie’s team is doing and he does not like it. He tells Worf, “the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think.” What Worf sees as a crime–his Romulan heritage from his grandfather, the captain sees as innocent. What Worf sees as an admission of guilt–silence, the captain sees as something else. He says, “we can’t infer his guilt because he didn’t respond.” Satie, meanwhile, accuses the captain of being naive. Then, she boasts of her loyalty to the United Federation of Planets. At last, she begins to turn her suspicions on everybody, bringing the entire ship under investigation, because the captain continues to ask questions and insert reason into their “conspiracy theory.”
The spot light turns onto the captain, who is brought in for interrogation. He says that he is “deeply concerned at what is happening here.” He says, “Have we become so fearful? Have we become so cowardly that we must extinguish a man because he carries the blood of an enemy?” or because he has “innocent associations” with a guilty party? Being the voice of reason, the captains shows that he is willing to protect the medical tech. Satie, on the hand, does not like to hear what the captain has to say because she has no concern for the person. She just wants to prove herself as right.
She begins to drill into the captain personally. The captain, being the voice of reason, remains calm throughout this interrogation. She reminds the panel of the nine times the captain violated the Prime Directive. She also brings up an incident with a Romulan spy who used the Enterprise for transportation. Worf stands up to defend the captain, now feeling betrayed himself, having lost sight of whom to be loyal to and for what reason for most of the episode. Then even more deeply personal, Satie begins to dig into Captain Picard’s Borg experience, his experience of losing all free-will for the sake of progress. She blames him for helping them destroy 39 ships and 11,000 people. She questions all of his “actions,” his “choices,” and his “loyalty.”
In turn, the captain in a moment of sheer brilliance uses a quote that her father had used to defend freedom in resistance to that tendency to slavery. He quotes, “For the first link of chains forged, the first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, it chains us all irrevocably.” He concludes that “the first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.” She explodes into a tyrannical rage while the captain continues to remain calm. She yells, “I’ve brought down bigger men than you, Picard!” He used the “wisdom and warning” given by her own father who had taught her to debate, and she is mad!
Case closed. Starfleet no longer supports her interrogation, but since Worf had essentially betrayed reason and subsequently the captain and all of the crew, Worf takes the time to reconcile with the captain. Worf feels guilty as he says, “I believed her. I helped her. I did not see what she was.” The captain responds that there are always those waiting for the chance to thrive who “clothe themselves in good deeds” to “camouflage” who they really are inside, “spreading fear in the name of righteousness,” not because they are right, but because they suspect that there really is no Truth in anybody. The captain, however, does believe that Truth can be seen, but he knows Truth cannot be seen if you do not respect the person first.
All men are called to the same end: God himself. There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in truth and love. Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God (CCC 1878).
The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation (CCC 1879).
A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of a society, each man is established as an “heir” and receives certain “talents” that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good (1880).
Each community is defined by its purpose and consequently obeys specific rules; but “the human person…is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions.” (CCC 1881)
Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him (CCC 1882).
Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which “a community of higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with the view of the common good.” (CCC 1883)
God has not willed to reserve to Himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in the social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence. (CCC 1884)
The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing relationships between individuals and societies. It tends towards the establishment of a true international order. (CCC 1885)
The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means to attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which make “Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.” (CCC 1887).
On the historical problem of lust in man’s heart and Matthew 5:27-28, John Paul II suggests that “Historical man always evaluates his own heart in his own way, just as he also judges his own body. So he passes from the pole of pessimism to the pole of optimism, from puritan severity to modern permissiveness….Christ’s words have been stripped of their simplicity and depth. A meaning has been conferred far removed from the one expressed in them, a meaning that even contradicts them. We have in mind here all that happened outside of Christianity under the name of Manichaeism, and that also tried to enter the ground of Christianity as regards theology itself and the ethos of the body. Manichaeism arose in the East outside the biblical environment and sprang from Mazdeistic dualism. It is well known that, in its original form, Manichaeism saw the source of evil in matter, in the body, and therefore condemned everything that is corporeal man. Since corporeity is manifested in man mainly through sex, the condemnation was extended to marriage and the conjugal life, as well as to other spheres of being and acting to which corporeity is expressed. (Theology of the Body by John Paul II 161)
The 6 aspects of the heresy of Manichaeism (a hyper-spirituality that destroys life, unity, and freedom)–
1.Manichaeism contains and brings to maturation the characteristic elements of all gnosis, that is, the dualism of two coeternal and radically opposed principles and the concept of salvation which is realized only through knowledge (gnosis) or self-understanding. In the whole Manichaean myth there is only one hero and only one situation which is always repeated: the fallen soul is imprisoned in matter and is liberated by knowledge.
2. The present historical situation is negative for man, because it is a provisional and abnormal mixture of spirit and matter, good and evil, which presupposes a prior, original state, in which the two substances were separate and independent. There are, therefore, three “Times”: initium, or the original separation; the medium, that is, the present mixture; and the finis, which consists in return to the original division, in salvation, implying a complete break between Spirit and Matter.
3. Matter is, fundamentally, concupiscence, and evil instinct for pleasure, the instinct of death, comparable, if not identical, with sexual desire, libido. It is a force that tries to attack Light; it is disorderly movement, bestial, brutal and semiconscious desire.
4. Adam and Eve were begotten by two demons; our species was born from a series of repelling acts of cannibalism and sexuality and keeps signs of this diabolical origin, which are the body, which is the animal form of the “Archons of hell” and libido, which drives man to copulate and reproduce himself, that is, to keep his luminous soul always in prison.
5. If he wants to be saved, man must try to liberate his “living self” from the flesh and from the body. Since Matter has its supreme expression in concupiscence, the capital sin lies in sexual union, which is brutality and bestiality, and makes men instruments and accomplices of Evil for procreation.
6. The elect constitute the group of the perfect, whose virtue has an ascetic characteristic, practicing the abstinence commanded by the three “seals”: the “seal of the mouth” forbids all blasphemy and also commands fasting, and abstention from meat, blood, wine and all alcoholic drinks; the “seal of the hands” commands respect of the life (the “Light”) enclosed in bodies, in seeds, in trees, men and of animals; the “seal of the womb” prescribes total continence. (ToB reference notes 186).
Ricoeur described Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche as “masters of suspicion.” He has in mind the set of systems that each of them represents, and above all, perhaps, the hidden basis and the orientation of each of them in understanding and interpreting humanum itself….the above-mentioned thinkers, who have and still do exercise a great influence on the way of thinking and evaluating of the men of our time, seem substantially also to judge and accuse man’s heart. (ToB 165-6).
As in this story from the Star Trek mythology, Manicheans, like Satie, clothe “themselves in good deeds,” but inside are full of hate for their fellow man. Her suspicious attitude brings her to a dualistic view of all human beings. She can be a partner with no one because she feels like she is better than everyone. A master of suspicion much like Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx (ToB 165), she suspects everything and believes nothing. Truth is according to her vision, but since she doesn’t really believe it exists, she will never be able to find it.
Why Mythology Is Good…
Humans love stories. We listen to stories, read stories, watch stories. Many of us would like to have our own story. Mythology is a type of story. It is a wonderful way to explore ideas, explore the consequences of certain ideas, reveal human nature, and maybe even get people to think in a new direction. With mythology, writers can creatively grasp certain universal truths that are otherwise hidden. In short, the myth tends to know what is unknowable. How does mythology do this?
In the words of Chaucer, the best story is that of “best sentence and moost solas.” It is not only woven together well, but it also has more to offer. Sir Philip Sidney suggests that “Poesy [story, literature] therefore is an art of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in the word mimesis—that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth—to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture—with this end, to teach and delight.” Good stories not only entertain, but they also teach something. Mythology has a profound way of doing this. This series is devoted to delving into the mythology created by movie and other visual media makers.
Christological will be a frequently referenced concept.
The education of conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart (1784).
 Jeff Cavins’ The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation
 Theology of the Body reference notes, p. 91
 from the “General Prologue” in Canterbury Tales
 from “The Defense of Poesy”