Captain McBain wrote:
You do realize that Picard is quoting Hamlet out of context, right? The line comparing man to angels and gods is meant to be taken as sarcasm, but Picard actually believes that this is what humanity will rise to one day. Yet when it kind of does when Riker gets the godlike powers, it's the worst thing that could ever happen. I do believe Picard is lacking in consistent views.
Um, Picard actually does acknowledge that in the episode: "What he says with irony, I say with conviction..."
And I don't know why it's so shocking or repugnant to hear him talk about how special and noble humanity is, or to suggest we may one day evolve to become something better. That's kind of the central message of the series!
Nor was he suggesting we would become literal
gods and angels-- only that we would become like them in spirit (although they've encountered enough energy beings over the years who HAVE evolved from humbler forms, so it's not exactly a new concept to anyone in this time).
And I don't see any inconsistency with his reaction to Riker either. His concern was that Riker (and by extension humanity) wasn't yet ready
for such powers.