THREE STARS – Thought-provoking
When the creators of “Star Trek” conceived the symbol of the Borg, they touched on the defining characteristics of evil: Evil is anything which consumes the life of a human being.
As the spelling infers, e-v-i-l is simply the opposite of l-i-v-e. Whether the life which is taken or lost is physical, emotional, social or spiritual, evil has the power to increasingly consume our lives.
In the series, as well as in this latest installment of the films, titled “Star Trek: First Contact”, the Borg are a powerful symbol of evil.
Impersonal, having no real thought of those whose lives the Borg are “assimilating,” the Borg have no concern for individuality, freedom, beauty or spirituality. Their society is a collection of beings whose biological individuality has been married to the mechanical and collective consciousness of “The Borg.” No one thinks independently of the collective, and all are under the repulsive control of a “queen” whose ambition has consumed her.
Their ship is a cube full of cables and utilitarian functions devoid of any appreciation of art or beauty, and their purpose is to encounter new civilizations and literally consume them. In a fate worse than death, they don’t kill the people they encounter, but rather, assimilate them by removing independent eyes and arms and installing mechanical cameras and claws which recreate them into appendages of the collective.
Attacking the individual’s freedom and sense of hope, the Borg proclaim that “resistance is futile.” Like Dante’s description of hell in which we must “abandon all hope,” the Borg are an intergalactic hellish force consuming the hope of its victims.
Though it would be helpful in understanding this film to know the history of the TV series and the various episodes in which the Borg are encountered, the film presents a powerful image of how to resist evil.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has known the depths of hell. Having once been captured and assimilated by the Borg, Picard had been used by the collective to destroy the lives of many. After a daring rescue by his crew, it is several years later and he is now faced with fighting this evil he has known so intimately. It is his intimate connection with the evil which proves to be his power to overcome it.
This is often the case. Those who have experienced the power of evil to consume their lives, whether through ambition, greed, lust or addiction, are those most able to help others become free from its grasp. The answer is through the creation of a true community which does not consume its members, but which enhances their lives through love, support and caring.
Such communities empowered by healing love as churches, Alcoholics Anonymous, and support groups develop a power of love and loyalty which is more powerful than that of evil.
In the film this community is represented by the crew of the Enterprise.
When Data (Brent Spiner) is captured by the Borg and his unique existence as a sentient android is tempted by the queen to join the Borg collective, it is his loyalty to Picard which saves not only himself and Picard but the entire human race.
This is the message of hope. The self-sacrificial act of Picard to attempt to save Data, the loyalty of Data, and the power of love over evil is central to all spiritual battles.
Evil cannot be overcome by a greater violent force, evil must be overcome by love.
Though the film has a rather trite conjecture that the development of human space travel will be contingent on a “first contact” with an alien race who will share their technology with us and initiate us into a new level of existence in which we need no money, have no greed, and have no necessity to battle between ourselves, this theme is incomplete and unconvincing. The spiritual battle seems to simply be expanded from the earth’s surface and our racial wars, to the vastness of space and new intergalactic wars. There is no sense of a larger Love which can then unite alien races together.
Evil, if it is to be truly conquered must face a Love which is far greater than species or planets, but is truly universal.