Borg Theories

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

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    No, I understood it, I just felt it made for a bad story.

    Um, no. They are wrong. They are evil. They're the very definition of an aggressive, expansionist, megalomaniacal intelligence.

    As I and others argued in the thread "The Borg, a defence:"


    That would be true if they were simply a society that had renounced the concept of individuality for itself. They are not. They are a society that has renounced the concept of individuality for itself... and which imposes that choice upon unwilling foreign cultures. This makes them more than just "alien" or "different." It makes them actively hostile and immoral, violators of the rights of other cultures to self-determination.

    Because Star Trek has only needed the evolution of lifeforms to tell a story twice. And both times, it turns out that evolution in the Trekverse is a bit different than it is in real life -- the ancient Progenitors seeding humanoid life in "The Chase," and Humans evolving into salamanders in "Threshold."

    I would certainly hope that if the story of the Borg were ever canonically told, more effort would be put forth to it than was put forth in "Threshold."

    Because no one's telling a story about how Cardassians came into being, or how Bajorans came into being. But if you're doing an origin story, you should make it more than just a textbook.

    Fair enough as fifteen seconds of exposition. But the Borg deserve an actual origin story, not an origin exposition dump. The very fact of how different they are from any biological species demands a story to itself.
     
  2. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    You are assuming that aggressive expansion has negative moral value. This may not be the case. Morality is a matter of perspective. From the Borg perspective, their actions have positive moral value. It is unfortunate that their values are incompatible with ours, but this does not make them evil any more than being individuals makes us evil.

    Funny enough, Threshold was actually realistic, super-fast single-generation adaptation notwithstanding.
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Yes. I am arguing from the premise that all cultures have a right to self-determination and that aggression, conquest, and enslavement are immoral.

    You be sure to tell that to the victims of the Third Reich.

    In many areas, yes. In the area of the right of cultures to self-determination? No. That is a natural right, and it is universal.

    No they don't. The Borg simply do not care about morality one way or the other. The Borg Collective is sociopathic.

    I don't consider the fact that they lack individuality to be the thing that makes them evil. The Bynars aren't what we would call individuals, but they're not in any sense evil. I consider the fact that they invade and enslave others to their way of life to be the thing that makes them evil.

    And, yes, enslaving foreign cultures is immoral. Period. That's a matter of fact, not of debate.

    "Threshold" was not the least bit Realistic. Evolution does not have a set "path" that one can fast-forward an organism towards, as "Threshold" implies. Evolution is simply the emergence of species-wide traits that developed randomly and then spread to subsequent generations then they turn out to have been beneficial to survival and reproduction.
     
  4. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Since you are arguing from that premise, I must ask you to prove that it is correct.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    [​IMG]

    Ask the victims of the Nazi invasions of Poland and France. I'm sure they'll be able to tell you.
     
  6. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    So, what you're saying is that you have no proof of the correctness of your belief, you are just assuming that it is true due to emotion.
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    No, I'm saying that common sense should tell you that it is true and that you fail at being human if you think otherwise.
     
  8. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    There is no such thing as common sense.

    Logic should tell you that you that it is false.

    If all cultures have the right to self-determination, what of the right of self-determination of a culture that determines it wishes to conquer other cultures? In order to respect its right of self-determination, one would have no choice but to permit its aggression.

    And if aggression is impermissible, then cultures do not truly have a right to self-determination.

    By your analogy, the Nazis would be evil, but the Allies would be equally evil for stopping them.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    No, because that is not self-determination, that is aggression. It is, in other words, the deliberate valuation of one's own culture's power over another culture's and a denial of that other culture its right to self-determination.

    The right to self-determination, more specifically, refers to the right of any culture to make decisions for itself that do not interfere with the rights of other cultures to make decisions for themselves.

    To make a symbolic analogy: I have the right to swing my arm wherever I want so long as it does not hit your nose.
     
  10. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    America after the rain
    No. Yes. The second one, maybe. In the context of Destiny,
    as a Caeliar I'd have "eaten" the humans first thing. Even if I wasn't hungry.

    It's pretty good, yeah. But for my money less intrinsically fascinating than "another tired allegory." And jihadi Bynars are more intrinsically fascinating than space zombies. And that's all Destiny does, is provide a moving exploration of the genesis of space zombies. "The hunger," indeed.

    It's all in the execution, though. Sure, a boring story about a failed transhumanist experiment isn't interesting, but that's circular logic.
     
  11. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    In other words, it is self-determination unless you personally disagree with it, in which case it is not.

    Your analogy is good, but it is also false. Laws against violence are are limitations on self-determination, all laws are.

    The right to self-determination is not an absolute in any legal or ethical theory, it can always be abridged for the greater good. This we call this abridgment of rights for the greater good rule of law. The only question is whose law, whose rule.

    Modern democratic governments believe that they derive the right to impose the rule of law from the consent of the governed. That is a lie. They derive the right to make law from the consent of a majority of the governed, the rest are held hostage by force of arms. Disagreeing with the law does not exempt one from it.

    It is permissible to impose rule of law by force of arms. It is often necessary. It is usually necessary. The only question is whose law and whose arms.

    Rights are not physical things, they are not tangible things, they are not real things. They are ideas, invented by men and imposed by law. Laws are not physical things, they are not tangible things, they are not real things. They are ideas, invented by men and imposed by violence.

    When systems are law clash, they tend to be normalized to each other, making them more compatible. This can be done through violence, or through negotiations, which carry the implicit threat of violence.

    When two totally incompatible systems of law clash, conflict is an inevitable necessity. The inability to normalize relative to each other means that one or the other or both must eventually be destroyed.

    Compromise requires understanding that values and laws different than your own are perfectly valid. It also requires a willingness to empathize with someone who is different from you.

    The Borg are a rarity in that their very simple law is totally incompatible with our own more complex system of laws. Normalization is impossible, destruction is the only option. Even so, it is unwise to call them evil.

    Evil is a label that makes it easier to kill. For this reason, it is a very useful label to impose on one's enemies. Nazis are evil, so we can kill them without feeling bad; Jews are evil, so we can kill them without feeling bad. It serves no other useful purpose. And it is dishonest. It distorts our perceptions of ourselves as much as it distorts our perceptions of our enemies. It makes peace more difficult, it makes mercy more difficult, it makes forgiveness more difficult, and it makes their opposites far too easy. We can label our enemies as evil because of their actions and then we can feel confident in our righteousness as we do exactly the same things, worse even.

    No man calls himself evil. We all know in our hearts that out actions, no matter how abhorrent that they may seem, are absolutely right. Once you label yourself good, and your enemy evil, there is no line that cannot be crossed. The greatest atrocities are not committed by a demon or a devil, but by a saint.

    Anyone deluded by absolute conviction is in danger of violating their own values. And this is why I oppose labeling the Borg as evil. This is why I oppose labeling anyone as evil.

    Certainly, I oppose those who are injurious to myself, and those that I value, but I must be honest with myself about that opposition and I demand no less from anyone else, lest opposition turn to righteousness and righteousness turn to enormity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    How, exactly, do you define the term "evil?" What do you mean when you use that term?
     
  13. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    In this context,

    evil
    –adjective
    morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    And what does that mean?
     
  15. Da'an

    Da'an Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Shibuya UG
    Ah, but from which perspective?

    This is all verging into the territory of moral relativism, if you subscribe to that philosophy, assimilation is good and individuality is bad if you're Borg, and slavery is good and sufferage is bad if you're a white male in America of a century ago, and human sacrifices are good if you're an ancient Mayan (or Aztec, I forget which).
     
  16. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Ignoring the debate over whether the Borg are evil or not (I personally think they are), I find this origin concept the most compelling. I can't help but feel that it's the closest to what the intended original point of the Borg was.
     
  17. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    A label used in combination with a moral realist philosophy to justify feelings of outrage and the accompanying desire to inflict punishment.

    Trek, TNG especially, is very relativist. Sure, they'd usually lecture the member of the "backwards" alien culture about how much more evolved they are, but moral judgment was usually reserved for Very Special Episodes in which the aliens represented real-world discrimination that the writers wished to speak out against.
     
  18. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    [LEFT]The Borg Collective are unambiguously villainous antagonists - they carry out the theft of whole civilizations and the kidnapping of trillions of people on a galactic scale, killing billions who get in their way. They're mass enslavers and technological rapists who violently absorb cultures enmasse, so they're bad guys through and through. :borg:[/LEFT]

    [LEFT]However what is reactionary about the demonization of the Borg is that they're cyborgs and they're a collective, which is not bad in of itself depending on the context. There was nothing wrong with the Mongolians being nomad horsemen, but it was their war crimes and aggressive conquest of Eurasia that had earned them their infamy. The way our technology has progressed since the airing of "Q Who?" points our civilization more towards the Borg Collective instead of the United Federation of Planets, with our Internet being a primitive form of the Borg Collective. [/LEFT]

    [LEFT]If we meet people from the future when we're a space faring society they're going to be like Data and Seven of Nine, instead of O'Brien and Scotty. If we're going to be deep in space for years/decades/centuries at a time, our warm and fleshy bodies are going to be a detriment, and nano machines will be useful in repairing our ships and our bodies. Brain implants make communications to computer nodes and each other more efficient.[/LEFT]