The Borg: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you lead the strongest ship of the Federation fleet. You speak for your people.
Capt. Picard: I have nothing to say to you; and I will resist you with my last ounce of strength.
The Borg: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.
Capt. Picard: Impossible. My culture is based on freedom and self-determination.
The Borg: Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
Capt. Picard: We would rather die.
The Borg: Death is irrelevant. Your archaic cultures are authority-driven. To facilitate our introduction into your societies, it has been decided that a human voice will speak for us in all communications. You have been chosen to be that voice.
This dialog is from Star Trek The Next Generation and is a scene between the captain of the Enterprise and race they have come across called a The Borg. The Borg is a collective that values uniformity above all else. Individual differences are valued only if those strengths can be absorbed into the Collective and exploited for the good of the whole. Like everything else in Star Trek, the civilizations they run across are caricatures of our own. In this particular scene, the Borg have run across technological and biological diversity outside of the Collective that they wish to absorb, but once in the Collective, differences are not tolerated. Everyone must be the same.
Yesterday I wrote about reprogramming which is the major key to how I am coping with the loss of Shayna. Conventional wisdom isn’t serving me. Modern science isn’t serving me. Traditional religions aren’t serving me. I am having to chart a new path. As I retired last night I pondered “What would I say if someone asked me what religion are you?” I really don’t know what I’d say right now. We are expected to have a quick answer, but mine would be at least a paragraph, certainly not something I could express in one word. As an aside, after writing about reprogramming yesterday, I was doing my nightly reading and the author wrote about reprogramming using that exact word. At one time I would have dismissed this as simple coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. I believe in synchronicities. I take this as confirmation that my thoughts on reprogramming are correct.
Back to my point. We are social creatures and in some ways we are like the Borg. We are interested in individual differences, but we don’t encourage them. In fact, we actively and or passively discourage them. It makes us uncomfortable when people change, even for the better. And the closer people are to you the more they will resist your change. Think of how we treat people trying to make positive changes. Yes, I do it, too. The person who tries to improve their health and their impact on the planet by going vegan. We “tease” them. We continue to offer them meat. We say, “Well, you can have eggs.” We ask them “What made you decide to do that?” (with that puppy dog head cocked to the side look). If someone decides to take up Crossfit, we do the same. The buddy who decides to quit drinking will often face ridicule from his friends. They will continue to offer him a beer. Then there is the passive aggressive resistance. Maybe you don’t actively discourage your friend or loved one from changing, but you don’t encourage them either. You know they would love to hear some validation about their decision, but you withhold it- consciously or subconsciously hoping it’s just a phase and soon he will return to his old self.
In my family, it’s the latter. Rarely does anyone in my family say anything to keep anyone in line. Ostensibly, we let each other live our lives. We use teasing as a method. We are not huggers in my family. I remember a time 20-30 years ago when my father hugged my mother’s brother’s wife as she came into the house. You would have thought he kissed her full on the lips with all the uproar made about that. It was all in fun. It was done in a joking manner. But, just that little step outside of the role everyone expected him to play and the discomfort was on display so much I remember it this many years later. As you start to make changes There will also be subtle comments, like “I’m not going to judge you…”
All of this is perfectly normal. This is how we evolved. We are herd animals. We need each other and we need a certain amount of conformity to have an orderly tribe. We stay in line to keep the group’s approval and the group encourages us to stay the same so they know what to expect from us and for group harmony. But there comes a time when we have to make a change, we have to acknowledge that thing that distinguishes us from the group. We might even have to seek out that diversity and develop it. What the group doesn’t know is once we have developed it, they can possibly absorb it into the collective for the benefit of all. It will however be scary for the group. They will do their best to keep us in line. They will push back. They will resist. But, I have to stay my course. Your resistance is futile.