Sunday, September 28, 2014

Life: Predator or Companion?

Star Trek: Generations is generally regarded as one of Star Trek's weaker offerings.  There was a planet wide geek sigh of relief with its next sibling, First Contact.

However, Generations has grown on me over the years.  Malcolm McDowell plays an excellent antagonist.... and if you pay attention, he delivers some excellent lines.
Picard: What you're about to do, Soran, is no different from when the Borg destroyed your world. They killed millions too. Including your wife, your children.
Dr. Soran: [smiles, sighs] Nice try. You know there was a time that I wouldn't hurt a fly. Then the Borg came, and they showed me that if there is one constant in this whole universe, it's death. Afterwards, I began to realize that it didn't really matter. We're all going to die sometime. It's just a question of how and when. You will too, Captain. Aren't you beginning to feel time gaining on you?  It's like a predator; it's stalking you. Oh, you can try and outrun it with doctors, medicines, new technologies. But in the end, time is going to hunt you down... and make the kill.
Picard: It's our mortality that defines us, Soran. It's part of the truth of our existence.
Dr. Soran: What if I told you I found a new truth?
Picard: The Nexus?
Dr. Soran: Time has no meaning there. The predator has no teeth.
Dr. Soran is a wounded man and he views life with a wounded eye. In his view, time and death are an enemy.

Picard faces a similar wound in this movie with the loss of his nephew and the realization that this is the end of his family line. He struggles for a short time with a depressed outlook, but then comes to a realization contrary to Soran.
Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe than time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again.
I have a friend whom I only see every few years contact me recently.  We haven't had a chance to talk much about my de-conversion from Faith, and he wanted to know how I was doing. His tone was one of concern. My attempts to tell him that I have not been happier in my life were met with skepticism. Since he believes that without God life has no meaning, he struggles to understand how I could be happy.

I realize that, under religion, I had a view of life very similar to Soran's. I felt the "World" was out to get me. I saw most of the pleasures of this life as problematic in some way.  I presented an outward show of joy... but I was always plagued by guilt and fear.  I believed the scripture when it said, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."  This life meant nothing, it was only eternity that mattered.

However, since leaving the Faith, my view has shifted.  I no longer view the world as an enemy. My time in this life is no longer a test and a trial put to me by some deity. It is, as Picard said, a journey- where our moments are to be cherished.

What my friend cannot understand is the freedom that comes from creating your own meaning and walking your own path.  It was nice to be taken care of as a child and it suited me for a time, but I much prefer life as an adult.

I used to hate Kirk's dying words in Generations. I thought, given the history of the character, he deserved more. Perhaps, but I see some wisdom in it now. I hope on my dying day, I am in a room full of loved ones and I am able to contentedly say:
"It was... fun..."
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