Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remember the lessons of 9/11 and Q Who?

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Star Trek the Next Generation hit the airwaves to rekindle the imaginations of science fiction fans.  The pilot began with the crew of the new Enterprise being put on trial by the “Q” a god like entity that believed humanity for all its accomplishments didn’t deserve to be space faring.  The captain and crew faced the trial and challenges presented by “Q” and managed to change the “Q’s” belief by demonstrating humanities' ability to quickly change and evolve.

The “Q” would show up in several more episodes to challenge the crew with additional tests.  It wasn’t until the episode “Q Who” that I finally understood the reason why the writers kept leaning on the Deus ex machina device.  This is the episode where the “Q” launches the Enterprise and crew to a remote part of their known galaxy to confront “The Borg”, the ultimate threat to their ideological way of life.  The Borg are a race of beings made up of a hive mind.  The workers are like insect drones who service a queen who sends out directives that they must obey.  There are no liberties, just work and service.  Tensions were high during this encounter but the crew managed to pull together and survive this first encounter.  Captain Picard lost several crew during this encounter and rightfully so, objected to the God like “Q” interfering once again with humanities mission to explore the galaxy peacefully. 

The exchange went like this:

Capt. Picard: I understand what you've done here, Q. But I think the lesson could have been learned without the loss of 18 members of my crew.

Q: If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.  Source

Tomorrow is 9/11, and my heart goes out to the families of everyone who has lost loved ones as a result of the attack and subsequent reprisals carried out afterward.

Several of my friends who are bloggers are also remembering the event as well, but are using the remembrance to take pot shots at the political leadership and economic decline that has resulted since the attack.  I understand that ultimately their complaints are that our country was doing pretty well economically up to that point, but since then the neoconservative agenda appears to have eroded the United States credibility, due to a lack of attention to accountability and results.  In a sense the country is being run by a number of individuals who’s status and egos are more important then the well being of the country that pays their salaries and funds their ventures through taxation.  I understand their concerns, but I respectfully disagree with the approach and conclusions. 


There is no doubt 9/11 was an event that changed America, it made us fully aware of the effect globalization is having on our safety and ideology.  Lawrence Lessig theorizes in his book “Code” that when technology is ahead of controls and regulations, there needs to be strict enforcement and harsh penalties to those who cause disruption and commit acts of violence.  These controls seem to come at the cost of civil liberties and lack of transparent oversight when initially carried out in our democratic society.  Over time though, in a society that values free speech and liberty, these limitations can usually be addressed with technology solutions and process refinements.  It is a tremendous opportunity for innovation, and those who invest here and have the courage to change and simplify the process will probably be successful.

I disagree with my colleagues who want to paint the picture that before 9/11 was better then after 9/11.  To me the post 9/11 world, at least the one I live in, seems to be the same if not a little safer.  Failure is an important part of the trial and error process and evolution.  Double failure is the definition of dysfunction and insanity though.  To have had the attack happen and not react with force, in my opinion would have been a double failure.


Today the crisis we as Americans face is a lack of trust in our political leadership.  The political machine has run amok because they keep choosing their words and actions based on how they want others to act verses just being honest with their thoughts and seeking ways to empower the people to make good choices.  In a sense they have bred a co-dependent relationship and now don’t know what to do.  What is needed is the elected leadership to agree to a direction they want the country to go in, and work towards enabling us, the people who will do the work, to get it done.

My agenda is as follows.

  1. Be kind to people and animals.
  2. Work hard and do what my immediate leadership asks of me.
  3. Get healthy and stay healthy.
  4. Contribute to my community in positive ways.
  5. Love

It is very easy to become sarcastic in stressful times, but as long as it is temporary and the overall humor is to deflate ones super ego, it should be tolerated.  That said, the challenges that lay ahead are a glorious opportunity to rediscover passion and to make positive changes.  We must remain on guard at the trappings of financial uncertainty.  Capitalism needs Democracy in order to be balanced.  Pope Leo XIII in the late 18th century wrote an encyclical warning that the trappings of pure socialism and capitalism needs to be challenged by the church to protect the liberties of man.  I challenge my fellow bloggers and viewers to also speak out in defense of our liberties and to not back down until they can trust the leaders of this country by objectively measure the leaderships performance, based on the direction the “executive team” agrees to go.  The president should be measured on how well he sticks to the overall direction.  Note I didn’t say directions (the plural).  The overall question is, what are we working towards right now?

I would put forth we are working towards becoming a more technologically advanced society so that one day we can master what we have discovered on this planet and be qualified to one day go forth and explore the vastness of the universe around us.

I am sorry that so many people have to pay with their lives, for those of us who haven’t, lets stop complaining and pick a direction and have the courage to go forward.

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