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("Star Trek The Motion Picture" posits, "Is this
Recall the Organians)
I. Maher wonders if Star Trek offers an ontological perspective--what does he mean?
A. The questions he poses when originally asked began man's philosophical quest:
B. Recall that the crux of Greek Philosophy was to explore the relationship between order and chaos in the universe: the pre-Socrates were themselves 'boldly going' where no one had gone before.
C. Click here to examine the Greek perspective, and reflect on whether the questions asked still have relevance in a ST UNIVERSE?
II. MAHER'S ESSAY WILL EXAMINE THE SEVERAL ST MOVIES:
III. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE:
A. Instructor's note: Keats' argued that man is born with the potential for a soul, and that his actions may or may not actualize it. It would appear that apropos of our previous discussions, V-ger may be studied from that perspective. Maybe a "super-Data," V-ger asks, "Is this all that I am?" (p.166).
B. Read carefully the opinion of Bishop Peter Forster on page 167. Notice that his weltanschauung definitely reflects a romantic perspective. We have studied Wordsworth and Shelley in this course before--what do they believe, and are their views consistent with the Star Trek vision of a perfect 24th century? Note historically that the Romantics--especially Rousseau--viewed the French Revolution as a similar opportunity for a utopia now. The word WONDER is important--why do you think philosophers have used it so often?
C. According to Maher, what does V-ger learn; does Spock learn the same?
D. Maher speaks of God as "relational." What does that mean? Look at this link to NEWTON; how did he address the role of God in a scientific universe? Why is the concept so important for V-ger?
IV. STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER:
A. Instructor note: ST V is metaphysically complex employing the classical archetype of the quest to find Aristotle's prime mover, Plato's Good, and / or the Judeo-Christian God on Sha Ka Ree.
B. In discussing Sybok's quest, Maher believes (citing relevant historical examples) that sometimes the quest can go horribly wrong, thus raising a question that became important in the Seventeenth Century--if truth is no longer the Church's sole domain, then how can reliable knowledge be ascertained? Poetic / metaphorical truth is not scientific truth. The Crusades are Maher's example.
C. Kirk's assessment of the quest (page 172) interestingly enough parallels Q's remark to Picard in the last episode ot TNG, All Good Things; where does Q locate the quest, and what are the implications?
V. STAR TREK; THE WRATH OF KHAN:
A. Why does Maher reference Darwin?
B. A contemporary mimetic application of the breeding of Khan (ubermench) is the mapping of the human genome. What can we create? In literature, Frankenstein discusses the issue--do we have the wisdom to manage what we have learned to do? In TNG the episode Unnatural Selection address the issue of genetically bred children. What does Dr. Pulaski say in her log at the conclusion of the episode? The Offspring (TNG) dramatizes the creator's responsibility when Data 'makes' a child.
C. The moral management of technology was debated at length during the industrial revolution. What did Huxley and Arnold believe about the kind of education one should pursue in the 'modern' age? Trivia question: what did the President of The United Federation of Planets say about progress?
D. Do you agree with Maher that Khan's breeding is amoral?
E. Look carefully at the analysis of the Genesis project--what was the intention, and what happened? Why? The romantics would certainly agree with Maher's assessment on page 175.
VI. THE VOYAGE HOME:
A. Obviously the theme is ecology--what is the moral reference?
B. Spock (p. 177) warns, "To hunt a species to extinction is illogical." What else does Maher believe?
C. What warning is conveyed in this chapter?
VIII. STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK:
A. Spock's mind on the Genesis planet is referred to by Maher as a tabula rasa. What philosopher advanced this concept, and what are the moral implications?
B. Note the Biblical allusion on page 179.
VII. STAR TREK: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY:
A. Remember the Hamlet allusion.
B. What other Shakespeare plays are referenced in this film--why?
C. Harold Bloom in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human notes that Shakespeare invented personality, and that today we are just catching up to his insights. We know also that Patrick Steward is an accomplished Shakespearean actor. What themes in this movie are dramatized by Shakespeare? Why do the many allusion to him work?
IX. STAR TREK: GENERATIONS:
A. In what sense is this film transitional?
B. How is the utopian theme developed - see page 186 for an important question.
C. Maher's analysis reflects many existential click here for some perspectives, noting the differences between, for example, Sartre and Kierkegaard. Which philosopher best expresses the views of the current chapter?
D. What is the Nexus philosophically and ethically?
X. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT:
A. What do the BORG represent?
B. Why is Data's role so critical?
The fact that so many literary and philosophical allusions have been referenced in this chapter supports our contention that STAR TREK has considerable mimetic value.
Consult the following: