Borg Theories

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Itisnotlogical, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, has anyone read the Star Trek TOS Manga where Kirk and co effectively create the Borg and send them back in time?
     
  2. zenfakor

    zenfakor Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    No link to origin.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, yes there was. The story mentioned how the people Kirk encountered were dying from a disease and they were using nanotech to heal them. But somehow the virus merged with the nanotech and it became a nano-virus infecting others. Or something like that, I have to read the story again.
     
  4. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Any nanotech origin for the Borg comes pre-Jossed. The Borg got their nanotech from Species 149. Assuming that there numbering scheme makes any sense, that was early in their carreer but still well after they started doing their Borg thing.

    I prefer the gradual transhumanist explanation, because it's so believable. Start with one small neurological implant that becomes ubiquitous due to it's utility, perhaps a wireless DNI that allows one to operate a computer and access the internet with thought alone. From there, you start adding features and designing new implants. Practically everything that the Borg has is of serious utility value to an individual. most woundly want all the implants, but many would want at least one or two. The DNI is a no-brainer, and super strength is nice, too.

    Now, the problem comes in which the DNI implant starts being used for P2P chatting rather than just as a fancy keyboard and moniter. At first its no problem, because the brains remain seperate. But firmware updates that allow more inttimate mind sharing are inevitable, untill you end up mini-collective clusters, originally consisting of groups of friends, lovers, nuclear families, and workgroups. Politicians might also use it to reach a consensus more easily. But it's still very good. It's a tool, not a yoke.
    Of course, it becomes fashionable to implant young children with DNI, because it aids learning and makes childrearing much easier. Young parents never have to face the frustration of not knowing what their crying baby wants, a simply mind-meld would clear everything up.

    It would likely remain good for several generations. Disease isn't eleminated, but it is reduced. Violent crime is practically non-existant, as criminals would have to feel exactly what their victims felt. The network is global now, so you're linked to every other mind in the world, but that's alright, it's actually very useful. Being linked to every mind also means being linked to all the knowledge and experience of the whole. Problem solving becomes much easier.

    It only becomes a problem when the children grew up linked to the Collective have children, and their children have children, and those elders who knew what it was like to be individuals died of natural causes. Over time, over the course of centuries, perhaps millennia, this society forgets individuality all together, remembering it only as a ecco of an ancient memory. That's when they become dangerous. That's what makes them Borg.
     
  5. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Completely agree.

    That's one of the major reasons why I don't like the Destiny novels.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  6. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's my Borg theory:

    They exist.

    End of line.
     
  7. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Gah, curse you, I'm still reading those :klingon:
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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  9. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Changed it to spoiler code now if you want to adjust you post as well.
     
  10. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Done, hopefully it won't change the revelation when I get to it.
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    According to Memory Alpha, they didn't get their nano technology from Species 149, they got their procedure for reviving dead drones using nanoprobles from them.

    Fascinating drama you have there. :rolleyes:

    I think you should consider forgiving the "Destiny" trilogy. For one, Humans weren't the first Borg -- a small number of temporally-displaced Humans were the first victims of the Borg. Secondly, having Humans as the first victims of the Borg gives the trilogy a thematic symmetry as a meditation on how one reacts to one's impending death that it would lack if the first victims were some other species. Thirdly, it nicely explains both why the Borg are referred to by a contraction of the English name for cybernetic organisms AND why the Borg were irrationally fixated on Humans throughout VOY.

    I'm not normally a fan of making Humans the center of the universe, either, but in the case of the "Destiny" trilogy, it works.
     
  12. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Ooo, btw, Sci, thanks for recommending the Destiny trilogy, very engrossing :) Just finished the second one last night.
     
  13. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Origin stories don't need drama, they need plausibility. How did humanity come into being? Evolution via natural selection over millions of years. Klingons? Same thing. Vulcans? Same thing.

    Besides, it's very frightening and very poignant to understand how minor sociological and technological changes over time can end up transforming a race much like us into something that is totally alien in its mindset. If the Borg are victims of disaster, that takes something away from them. If they are the product of the same sociological forces that shape and mold us, forces and are, in and of themselves, good, then we can see ourselves in them. And more importantly, they serve as body horror on a societal level, a dire warning of what our grandchildren's grandchildren may become as our society progresses.

    Really, Evil Being X transforming an entire race into drones is cliche and it's safe. Space Hitler is always a great villain, not just because one can hate him without feeling bad about it, but because he assures us that it really can't happen here.

    But a series of decisions, a series of transformations, each of which were individually good and right and widely accepted, producing something so horrible, that at least makes you think, which Star Trek is supposed to do. Everyone knows that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but sometimes it is paved by good actions, too. We cannot know how our decisions today will impact the society of a thousand years from now. And it's hard to come up with something far more frightening than that. It's not just that the Borg are genocidal conquerors from our point of view, but that we may very well become like them in a few thousand years time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  14. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I don't think I have to forgive the novels for going along a plot line that I don't agree with, I know they aren't written just for me. Have to say in the ranking of my problems with the novels, that would be on the lower side of things. The fact I skipped around 1/3 of the series due to a certain plot line would be the main reason I only rate it as an average series.

    That is pretty much how I like to view the origin of the Borg.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    They need both. There's no point in telling a plausible but uncompelling story.

    It can be, if you have a good writer. But so can telling the story about how a group of people facing imminent death choose to react to their own mortality. By making the origin of the Borg a question of individual conscience, the themes of life, death, and how we create meaning in our lives is brought into much starker focus.

    In other words, a boring and predictable allegory unless it's in the hands of a particularly skilled writer. We've heard it all before -- "Be careful how we adapt new technologies or they'll adapt us!"

    Luckily, that is by no means what happens in Destiny. :)
     
  16. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Personally, I like this a lot better than the origin in Destiny. It's far more interesting. The origin in Destiny is more like the origin of a supervillain. Whereas this is more like actual hard science fiction.

    Not that I blame Mack. Making the Borg interesting, in the confines of continuity, is a quixotic quest.
     
  17. Da'an

    Da'an Commander Red Shirt

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    Real life doesn't work like a TV show, that origin idea is good because it's so plausible. It doesn't need drama because the more fantastical and contrived a situation is, the less realism it has.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Of course it doesn't.

    But Star Trek is not real life, nor has it ever been particularly Realistic/Naturalistic. Star Trek, at its best, is a well-written Melodrama. And there's nothing wrong with that or dramatically inferior about that; Realism/Naturalism is not inherently superior to Melodrama.

    But Trek's first obligation is to tell a good story, not to end up sounding like a newspaper article.

    ETA:

    I don't think that's an accurate characterization. It's not the origin of a supervillain so much as it is an examination of how existential angst can mutate into pure nihilism because of our choices. There's a reason the Borg were born in the unforgiving winter of an arctic circle -- it's about the loneliness of facing your own imminent death and how you choose to react to it.

    Do you accept that all things, even yourself, must come to an end? Or do you cling to life against all else, putting aside questions of morality or honesty or decency or compassion? Do you recognize that it is better to die alone but with integrity, or do you choose to victimize others in an attempt to cling to life and avoid the loneliness that results from that choice?

    For my money, that's far more meaningful than yet another tired allegory about the dangers of society abusing technology that I've seen five million versions of.
     
  19. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Then you're missing my point. I was trying to say "our society will change, and what it will become will most likely shock and horrify us, just as the society of today is likely to shock and horrify someone from the distant past. Our children will no more share our sensibilities than we share those of our parents, and their children will no more share their sensibilities than they share ours. Advances in technology only accelerate the rate of social change."

    The Borg aren't wrong, they aren't evil, they're merely a different perspective, one that is antithetical to ours. They chose this perspective for themselves through centuries of social evolution. It isn't that their technology changed them, quite the opposite. They changed the way they used their technology as their society began placing less and less value on individuality and more on social harmony, knowledge sharing, and distributed problem solving, to the point that individuality just fell by the wayside.

    It's no different from the ancient ancestor species of the Great Apes putting more emphasis on walking than on climbing through trees and gradually losing its tail.

    Do you think that an fifteen million year old Hylobatidae would recognize humans as being related to it. Do you think it would believe that we strange furless tailless creatures are its n-th generation descendants? Of course not.

    A man plucked out of time from the American South just a fifty years ago would not be comfortable living in a world in which Whites and Coloreds are allowed to use the same water fountain. That certainly doesn't make us wrong for permitting it any more than we are wrong for not having tails or for walking upright. But it does make us alien. We are ever so slightly alien to the man who grew up in a casually racist society. We are extremely alien to our ancient Lesser Ape ancestor who probably cannot even comprehend being such as ourselves.

    Huge changes can take place in short time, and the more time passes the more alien a society becomes relative to a member of that society plucked out of time. The Borg aren't wrong, they're just alien, alien to us, and alien to the race that they once were.

    Our n-th generation descendants will be just as alien to us as the Borg are and their n-th generation descendants will be just as alien to them. That cannot be prevented, it's just the way of things. The best, the very best we can do, is lay down a foundation of knowledge and of basic morality and hope our children maintain it and use it well, and pass it on to their children.

    They'll inevitably change this foundation that we teach them and add to it, of course, and they'll do so in ways that we cannot predict long after we are gone. We can expect nothing less of them, it would be wrong of them to stagnate by clinging to our beliefs religiously, just as it would be wrong for us to cling to racism just because our recent ancestors believed in it.

    But knowing this makes what they will become no less alien, and what values they may choose for themselves no less potentially horrific.

    Unless Star Trek has reconnected All Good Things so that life on Earth was created by giant robots from the future fighting a war instead of appearing spontaneously from primordial ooze, it's difficult to complain. Genetic seeding and Preservers aside, practically every race in Star Trek has the generic "evolved naturally" origin.

    If "evolved naturally" isn't dramatic, why is it that they can get away with having this plain undramatic origins but yet the Borg, in your opinion, cannot?

    I'm pretty sure that I can guess at this one, because they never spend an entire episode just sitting around and watching primordial ooze bubble or lesser apes crawling along the ground. Because billions of years of natural evolution isn't worth dedicating an entire episode to, or an entire book.

    And if the origin I gave were canon, they'd also not dedicate an entire episode to it. At best, they'd give a few lines of dialog and maybe thirty seconds of CGI. It isn't something sufficiently dramatic to carry a whole episode or a whole movie or a whole book, but neither is natural selection as proposed by Darwin. Both, however, a worthy of fifteen seconds or expository dialog, and put the proper context on things.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  20. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    I apologise in advance for what will probably be a very poorly articulated argument.

    I would have thought the nature of the Borg is what would dramatically prevent them from just being another 'naturally' evolved race. We can easily imagine a race like the Klingons (aggresive, war mongering) or say the Cardassians (racist, smug, ruthless) since these are things that we can easily see in ourselves (a naturally evolved race), so a radial origin story isn't required.

    The Borg on the other hand are much more...primal force. It's so far out of what most of us can percieve as happening to any species like us naturally. The total surrender of individuality, the enslavement to a singular will, completely alien for most of us, to a force that has a singular motivation that most of us would neve conciously consider.

    Again, that's probably not really described well what I'm trying to explain here, but hopefully something will sink in there....:confused:
     

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