Reflections from Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

I don’t know if all this has made sense to you, but I wanted you to know what kind of man he was.  In his quest to be more like us, he helped show us what it means to be human (PICARD).

My brother was not a human (B-4)

No, he wasn’t… But his wonder and his curiosity about every facet of human life helped all of us see the best parts of ourselves.  He embraced change… because he always wanted to be more than he was (PICARD)

I do not understand (B-4)

Well, I hope someday you will (PICARD)

We await the New Year. We hope for the best for we truly don’t know what it holds for us. Sadly, we are denied that divine privilege and perspective. Thankfully, despite living in a machine world, we remain human. And we must remain and become human. We don’t really know what awaits us in the New Year. But then, we know what we must become to make our world a better place.

Captain Picard understood what Data did to his crew. In his quest to be human Data showed the crew what it really means to be human. Data was non-human but definitely not inhuman. He was a constant reminder for the crew (including humans) the privilege of being human. Data helped them to see the best part of their humanity. Interestingly, Shinzon (the human cloned from Captain Picard) had let his experiences of anger and hate in the slave planet destroy his humanity. He could not see the possibility of becoming human due to his short-sightedness. Revenge, hate and the greed for power (the worst part of us) had blinded him and eventually destroyed him.

We live with intelligent machine that embrace the change we want to see in them. Scientists believe these machines will eventually evolve (someday perhaps). The machines we create show us what it means to be human. They show us the best part of ourselves through what they lack in themselves - identity, relationality, morality, and destiny. And if we are blind to the best parts of our humanity, then we would be driven by hate, anger and greed for power. We would loose our humanity and eventually be destroyed.

As humans, we must become better – in our grasp of reality, truth, love, hope, freedom. The Year 2009 seems like the worst of times. The Credit Crunch, Climate change, Job Loss and War are issues that need immediate affirmative action. But then, we must truly become human to give our remedial measures a human touch (identity, responsibility, relationality and destiny)

Samuel Thambusamy