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- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 10:22pm (USA Central)
@T'Paul - I must respectfully disagree with your statement: "Therefore, communism, in it's true state has never existed." Let me quote at length from Will Durant's "Story of Civilization Volume I: Our Oriental Heritage." The basic gist of this is that all primitive man existed in a state of communism. I find the footnote a very interesting thought as well and probably more interesting in its theory than the rest of this.
"Trade was the great disturber of the primitive world, for until it came, bringing money and profit in its wake, there was no property and therefore little government. In the early stages of economic development property was limited for the most part to things personally used; the property sense applied so strongly to such articles that they (even the wife) were often buried with their owner; it applied so weakly to things not personally used that in their case the sense of property, far from being innate, required perpetual reinforcement and inculcation.
Almost everywhere, among primitive peoples, land was owned by the community. The North American Indians, the natives of Peru, the Chittagong Hill tribes of India, the Borneans and South Sea Islanders seem to have owned and tilled the soil in common, and to have shared the fruits together. "The land," said Omaha Indians, "is like water and wind - what cannot be sold." In Samoa the idea of selling land was unknown prior to the coming of the white man. Professor Rivers found communism in land still existing in Melanesia and Polynesia; and in inner Liberia it may be observed today.
Only less widespread was communism in food. It was usual among "savages" for the man who had food to share it with the man who had none, for travelers to be fed at any home they chose to stop at on their way, and for communities harassed with drought to be maintained by their neighbors. If a man sat down to his meal in the woods he was expected to call loudly for some one to come and share it with him, before he might justly eat alone. When Turner told a Samoan about the poor in London the "savage" asked in astonishment: "How is it? No food? No friends? No house to live in? Where did he grow? Are there no houses belonging to his friends?" The hungry Indian had but to ask to receive; no matter how small the supply was, food was given him if he needed it; "no one can want food while there is corn anywhere in the town." Among the Hottentots it was the custom for one who had more than others to share his surplus till all were equal. White travelers in Africa before the advent of civilization noted that a present of food or other valuables to a "black man" was at once distributed; so that when a suit of clothes was given to one of them the donor soon found the recipient wearing the hat, a friend the trousers, another friend the coat. The Eskimo hunter had no personal right to his catch; it had to be divided among the inhabitants of the village, and tools and provisions were the common property of all. The North American Indians were described by Captain Carver as "strangers to all distinctions of property, except in the articles of domestic use... They are extremely liberal to each other, and supply the deficiencies of their friends with any superfluity of their own." "What is extremely surprising," reports a missionary, "is to see them treat one another with a gentleness and consideration which one does not find among common people in the most civilized nations. This, doubtless, arises from the fact that the words 'mine' and 'thine,' which St. Chrystostom says extinguish in our hearts the fire of charity and kindle that of greed, are unknown to these savages." "I have seen them," says another observer, "divide game among themselves when they sometimes had many shares to make; and cannot recollect a single instance of their falling into dispute or finding fault with the distribution as being unequal or otherwise objectionable. They would rather lie down themselves on an empty stomach than have it laid to their charge that they neglected to satisfy the needy... They look upon themselves as but one great family."
Why did this primitive communism disappear as men rose to what we, with some partiality, call civilization? Sumner believed that communism proved un-biological, a handicap in the struggle for existence; that it gave insufficient stimulus to inventiveness, industry and thrift; and that the failure to reward the more able, and punish the less able, made for a leveling of capacity which was hostile to growth or to successful competition with other groups. Loskiel reported some Indian tribes of the northeast as "so lazy that they plant nothing themselves, but rely entirely upon the expectation that others will not refuse to share their produce with them. Since the industrious thus enjoy no more of the fruits of their labor than the idle, they plant less every year." Darwin thought that the perfect equality among the Fuegians was fatal to any hope of their becoming civilized; or, as the Fuegians might have put it, civilization would have been fatal to their equality. Communism brought a certain security to all who survived the diseases and accidents due to the poverty and ignorance of primitive society; but it did not lift them out of that poverty. Individualism brought wealth, but it brought, also, insecurity and slavery; it stimulated the latent powers of superior men, but it intensified the competition of life, and made men feel bitterly a poverty which, when all shared it alike, had seemed to oppress none." - *
* - "Perhaps one reason why communism tends to appear chiefly at the beginning of civilizations is that it flourishes most readily in times of dearth, when the common danger of starvation fuses the individual into the group. When the abundance comes, and the danger subsides, social cohesion is lessened, and individualism increases; communism ends where luxury begins. As the life of a society becomes more complex, and the division of labor differentiates men into diverse occupations and trades, it becomes more and more unlikely that all these services will be equally valuable to the group; inevitably those whose greater ability enables them to perform the more vital functions will take more than their equal share of the rising wealth of the group. Every growing civilization is a scene of multiplying inequalities; the natural differences of human endowment unite with differences of opportunity to produce artificial differences of wealth and power; and where no laws or despots suppress those artificial inequalities they reach at last a bursting point where the poor have nothing to lose by violence, and the chaos of revolution levels men again into a community of destitution.
Hence the dream of communism lurks in every modern society as a racial memory of a simpler and more equal life; and where inequality or insecurity rises beyond sufferance, men welcome a return to a condition which they idealize by recalling its equality and forgetting its poverty. Periodically the land gets itself redistributed, legally or not, whether by Gracchi in Rome, the Jacobins in France, or the Communists in Russia; periodically wealth is redistributed, whether by the violent confiscation of property, or by confiscatory taxation of incomes and bequests. Then the race for wealth, goods and power begins again, and the pyramid of ability takes form once more; under whatever laws may be enacted the abler man manages somehow to get the richer soil, the better place, the lion's share; soon he is strong enough to dominate the state and rewrite or interpret the laws; and in time the inequality is as great as before. In this aspect all economic history is the slow heart-beat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of naturally concentrating wealth and naturally explosive revolution."
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 9:32pm (USA Central)
Jack - who said "Hatil says that the death shroud has been in his family for generations, but...how? If it's worn to get transferred to the asteroid...who is retrieving it afterwards? "
I was going to say the same thing, but it occurs to me, maybe by "shroud" he doesn't mean that particular shroud, but "shroud" meaning that particular weave and color and perhaps the way it's wrapped, maybe other families used a different type/color material, and instead of ace-bandage type wrap for another family it would be a bag type shroud. I think that was the way it was meant to be taken anyway.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 8:43pm (USA Central)
"Think of the technological advances of the past decades on Earth. Several of these, some decades ago, allowed us for example to help people with difficulty in conceiving to have babies of their own. And now, several decades later, research suggests that on average, those who were conceived thanks to such technologies have somewhat greater difficulty themselves in conceiving than the average population. What will happen if/when those people also receive technological help to conceive? How many generations will it take before we have succeeding in "breeding" an otherwise barren "sub-species" that can only conceive by technological means?"
What an interesting question. Not sure that it fits in this topic so I won't take it up but very interesting indeed.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 6:26pm (USA Central)
The most unbelievable aspect to me, was the idea that Troi, with every aspect of her character presented to date, was capable of besting anyone at
chess, let alone Data.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 6:20pm (USA Central)
The Quality of Life
DutchTrecker, I believe you don't know what "sentient life" means. I would like you to define it to include humans but exclude animals. My dictionary defines it "the ability for subjective feelings or perceptions" - in cave man terms: If it hit it, does it feel pain? That definition includes all animal life as sentient life.
But even aside from that, this episode raised a question about ethics. Is it okay for Riker to (essentially) kill three sentient beings to save two other ones? You say it is and you even list off the steps of importance of different forms of life. But you do this from a human perspective and you don't try to elevate your mind above that. Data is not human and thus doesn't have your mindset - to him it would not be okay to "slaughter them without thought" for humans. How would you approach this issue if it was Exocombs discussing to kill humans in order to save other Exocombs?
I don't try to persuade you to think Data was right. But please think about this issue from more angles, than just the narrow anthropocentric view that is natural to us. Trek is also about transcending certain of our "natural" points of view (consider: Money, Relationships, Conflicts etc).
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 4:47pm (USA Central)
Honestly I didnt think this ep was as bad as all that. TNG has admitttedly had some stinkers but I didn't think this was one of them...at least not to be counted amongst the worst. Its main fault was casting the dog as the killer; but hey, you can't say it wasn't a LITTLE surprising! I liked the Laura-esque theme, and poor ol' Geordi shouldn't be ragged on for standing up for the woman he loves, even if it wasn't real love, blah blah blah. Give the guy a break. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the romantic episodes but it kept my interest.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 12:06pm (USA Central)
Tears of the Prophets
Shoot, I didn't think hitting enter after answering the antispam question would post :( Sorry
Anyway here's the rest
The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the Admiral is still talking about them like they are an inconsequential and fictitious bit of religious hokery. They're real! They're probably the biggest asset the Alpha Quadrant has in the war! If the prophets send Sisko a vision saying it is his destiny to become the galaxy's greatest freestyler, then the Federation should throw their full weight behind that just to appease them.
What's worse, the show has been treating the prophets the same way for SIX YEARS. By this point, it would have been nice to have some concrete answers about the nature of the prophets and their relationship with Bajor and Sisko. As a viewer, it's really unsatisfying to see the prophets become major, direct participants in the war at the beginning of the season, only get a few vague prophecy related episodes thrown our way, then have an Admiral go "hurf durf I've been indulgent with you long enough Sisko time to give up your role as emissary to the most important aliens in the Alpha Quadrant so you can personally lead an invasion that could be better planned and executed by top level Federation officers with relevant training". Then Sisko gets a headache in the middle of it and contributes nothing.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 11:50am (USA Central)
Tears of the Prophets
The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the a
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 8:36am (USA Central)
The Magnificent Ferengi
Funniest episode of Star Trek and a total classic.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 7:08am (USA Central)
Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy
Immensely entertaining episode! Voyager at its best!
I think that one of the main reasons the story works so well is because Doc's fantasies about saving the ship and getting the girls are very universal - adolescent or not.
Show of hands: who, more or less, has the same fantasies when they daydream about being part of the crew of Voyager or Enterprise? I know I do.
Getting the fantasies right is half the battle - the other half also succeeds due to great comedic timing by the director and the whole cast - first and foremost Picardo (what a great actor!).
What's not to love?
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 5:36am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this one a lot. Felt almost like a TOS episode. It wasn't subtle, but the story was quite effective in this one. I took it as an allegory for soldiers covering up appalling war crimes. Good performances from most of the cast. Garrett Wang overacts a bit, though.
I agree with this review. It's a very good episode.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 4:57am (USA Central)
Strange New World
You know what's funny?
This debate we're having? Only exists because the show invites us to have it (due largely to poor writing). How many times have the captains of previous series landed on an alien planet after all scans said things were completely fine, only to discover that something was wrong on the planet. If T'Pol hadn't said anything, it probably would have never occurred to anyone on this board that they should have sent out some sort of probe. Of course, it would have been nice if the episode had addressed this after T'Pol's initial warning, but that's another debate entirely.
On a side note – yeah, I'm not fond of Archer. He's overaggressive, and petulant, almost as if the writers wanted an action hero for their new series.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 4:08am (USA Central)
If it weren't for episodes like this, Voyager could have been a MUCH better series.
- Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 3:24am (USA Central)
Ok, the little twist in the middle of the episode is a bit enjoyable and as always, mirror-Kira is always funny/fun to watch.
But really, is it becoming that easy to travel between universes just going to the corner's bar to buy a snack? It is Star Trek - Fringe, not DS9. It is ridiculous, it is lazy.
Not to mention what Kotas has perfectly said above: the mirror universe is just less interesting than the real at this point.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 10:20am (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
To me, Voyager's 5th season continued the very good trend that season 4 started - as Jammer said way back then: season 5 feels like season 4 part II.
I think that's a good thing. Season 4 turned Voyager into "The 7 of 9 Show" with recurring characters The Doctor and Captain Janeway - introducing Naomi Wildman. All the rest of the cast seemed like background noise.
I liked that. Now the show suddenly revolved (more or less) around 7 of 9 and her struggle with, and discovery of, becoming human (especially in terms of being an individual AND an integral part of a "collectiive" such as the crew of Voyager). The writers seemed to pour all the care into the 7 of 9 scripts that they didn't pour into scripts about other charatcers. 7 simply got a very good characterization through and through, which we hadn't seen much of on this show up until that point.
Since most of season 4 and 5 revolved around 7 of 9, we mostly see the other characters in relation to her. Sure, there are lots of episodes not centered around 7 of 9, but almost every single one of them seemed quite clearly inferior to episodes centered on (or at least heavily featuring) 7 of 9. That's my impression, anyway.
It seems that the writers all finally agreed on a favorite character to love when they created 7 of 9, and the show changed, getting a lot better in season 4 and 5 than the previous seasons (while still suffering from huge plotholes and all that jazz).
I'm hoping that season 6 will continue the trend, focusing on 7 of 9's "journey towards rediscovering her humanity" (I'm watching the show from A to Z for the first time these days).
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:17am (USA Central)
Past Tense, Part I
I have to agree with Elliot here... It's hardly up there with The Wire in its execution.
I think this is my main problem with Star Trek... I don't mind when they talk back about human's muddled past, but when they insist on SHOWING it to you in episodes like this it always feels incredibly heavy handed and somewhat contrived.
This episode was fun, but it still comes across like a cliche ridden b-film from the 80s. It's like a Robocop fuelled yuppie nightmare about their fears regarding the underclasses of our cities (as perfectly demonstrated by that idiot above, Ian).
I didn't hate this episode as I've learnt to live with the Star Trek way now and can enjoy it for what it is, but I certainly wouldn't be heralding it as a masterpiece of social commentary.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:14am (USA Central)
The discussion in this comments section is far more entertaining than the episode or its review. Sexpun's post is quite remarkable. It is true that many of the races in Trek are portrayed as a mono-culture (even humanity when you think about it) and there could have been a lot more depth to the Vulcans, Romulans and Klingons.
I like the Cardassians, they are as a race mistrustful and hostile, but we see how their society conditions them this way and they are clearly a military society who are perhaps forced into new conquests in order to provide resources for a struggling empire.
As for the Ferengi, I love Quark, Rom and Nog, they embody different characteristics of their species and therefore I feel the Ferengi are well-handled. It's only when other Ferengi come into it behaving like cartoon characters that I would admit their race isn't brilliantly protrayed; however the Grand Nagus is always hilarious and Quark gets some of the best lines in DS9. If only the human characters had been allowed more freedom of expression.
After that rambling discourse, I am always wary of Ferengi episodes as I like stuff that is intense such as the war episodes and the galactic politics. "The House of Quark" is the best Ferengi episode I can think of, it was really funny and very well-acted, but it is not what I'd like to see every episode.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:00am (USA Central)
"I'm going to build a Bajoran ship and sail it to Cardassia. What can I do to make this idea even more brilliant? Oh I know! I'll bring my son!" I need to watch this episode again (with reluctance, I'd rather be watching the more intense episodes), but it seems like such a silly idea. I mainly know DS9 from the later seasons so it seems weird for a Starfleet officer to fly a Bajoran ship right into the solar system of Bajor's deadliest enemy. But I guess these things will make more sense in the 24th century.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 4:51am (USA Central)
The Die Is Cast
Nick P's comments hit closest for me. The music has always been a sticking point for me in early Trek, a discordant series of notes that detract from the action and do not enhance it at all. In the later seasons of DS9 and Voyager, the music became very good. Balls to Rick Berman for his stupid directives.
I think this is one of the best episodes of Trek ever. People miss the point that this story was about the Romulans and Cardassians taking matters into their own hands by flattening the Founders. If there are three species who think committing genocide is the answer to all problems, it's these three. So why isn't DS9 Star Trek? Star Trek is about bare-fist fights, phaser battles and people breaking the Prime Directive.
DS9 actually sums up Trek's supposed ethos more than the others do: the Defiant doesn't mess with primitive species, the DS9 tream don't battle every alien race they encounter and we see humans co-existing with a variety of alien species. No other Trek shows us humans who have lives beyond their uniform; every alien who sets foot aboard the E-D or Voyager is up to no good; Janeway was forced by hostile aliens to use Voyager as a battering ram through the Delta Quadrant every week.
DS9 built a rich tapestry of galactic politics; events and decisions had repercussions; characters moved on with their lives; we got recurring heroes and villains; there was little buggering about with the Prime Directive. If DS9 isn't Trek, then Trek was doing something seriously wrong.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:45am (USA Central)
I didn't mind the premise, and I thought Janeway made a pretty good badass. There were a few incongruities that bothered me though. First, why don't their transporter buffers automatically purge themselves when a virus is detected? Isn't that the point of the buffer? Second - why do the virus's only try to impale the Captain and the Doctor? If anyone else had been impaled there would be blood everywhere, and people in the mess hall would have severe injuries. Third - why aren't there any patients in sickbay? I know deck 2 was quarantined, but why wouldn't anyone else go there? The doctor didn't have one single patient, not even Kes.
I actually liked the flashback scenes, it was more interesting than just having the doctor describe what happened. And it was good to see the doctor expanding his horizons.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:36am (USA Central)
@Jons: The flip-side of your observation is the Star Trek creation of the "padd" 15-20 years before the iPad.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:27am (USA Central)
Oh, just realized Fred the Jerk is Tackleberry! The aliens invaded Police Academy!
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 9:22pm (USA Central)
^ yeah, some of the cultural thing seem to be showstoppers. When the other Emissary came back and tried to reinstate Bajoran djarras, Sisko indicated that that would be an impediment to Federation qualifications. I would think that the Vulcan arranged marriages would be a showstopper to Federation membership too (like the djarras, it takes away free will froma fundametal life aspect), but they were founding members, so maybe they got a grandfather clause. It's possible they cut that custom loose after the Enterpeise timeframe...since I rather doubt that Sarek's marriage to Amanda was arranged in childhood.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 2:33pm (USA Central)
Call me crazy, I really enjoyed this episode. I liked the idea of a sentient fluid. Although I must say I am now officially sick of Paris. Cracking a joke everytime he's dying, ugh. Drama please!
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 1:47pm (USA Central)
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
@William B: I agree with your general reasoning. This Bashir situation is not the worst case of non-consequential misbehavior this season. In fact, it makes sense that the one to be punished is his father, as Bashir himself was too young when the genetic enhancing happened. Similarly, not letting Bashir entry into Starfleet would of course have been unfair (but who said the opposite?). Would be sort of a prejudice.
The issue is to not have any consequence, not even a small one (in fact not even a reprimand) for his life-time lies to the Starfleet. He chose to hide an important fact from Starfleet, not to mention to conceal a crime evidence to protect his father, obliterating justice. It is quite a lot for no consequence.
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