Oh … the dazzle of Science Fiction.  Who wouldn’t wanna boldy go where no man has gone before.

In the 1960’s, Sci-Fi was in its infancy when an ingenious fellow named Gene Roddenberry came along to give it a shove with the creation of Star Trek.  His vivid imagination was on display every week on our television sets.

The writers of the series would often inject social commentary in the script in a subtle way – one need only scratch the surface to discover the hints.

Were the writers of Star Trek painting a portrait of Socialism when they created “The Borg?” Only the writers themselves knew if there was meaning to it all, but the parallels are just too intriguing to ignore.

What is socialism, exactly?  It’s a system of social organization in which the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and collectively controlled by the government.  In Marxist theory it’s the stage following capitalism in the transition of society to communism.

The Borg first appeared in the Star Trek: Next Generation episode “Q Who,” which aired May 8, 1989.  The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms, an amalgamation of numerous species and races, operating through a hive mind with no sense of individuality.  They are made up of organic and artificial life forms which have developed for centuries – the result of an experiment gone wrong.

The Borg are cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by the hive mind. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing millions of vessels and having conquered thousands of systems. They operate solely toward the fulfillment of one purpose: to add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to their own in pursuit of their view of perfection.  The pursuit of perfection is the Borg’s only motivation, albeit an unemotional and mechanical one achieved through forced assimilation. They exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only to assimilate. “Resistance is futile” according to them.

Assimilation is the process by which the Borg integrate beings and cultures into their collective.  All traces of individuality is removed and implants are attached to the new drone so it can fulfill its new role in the collective.  “You will be assimilated” is one of the few phrases employed by the Borg when communicating.

The Borg use nanoprobes, microscopic machines, to inhabit a victim’s body.  They travel through the bloodstream and latch on to individual cells.  The nanoprobes rewrite the cellular DNA, altering the victim’s biochemistry.  The Borg are portrayed as having encountered and assimilated billions of individual life-forms throughout the galaxy.

The “Collective Consciousness” is the term used to describe the group mind of the Borg civilization.  Each Borg individual, drone, is assimilated and merged to the collective ensuring each member constant guidance.  Being part of the collective offers significant advantages to individual drones.  The collective consciousness gives them the ability to share thoughts.

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact a Borg Queen is introduced.  The Queen is the focal point within the Borg collective consciousness, a unique drone within the collective who brings order to chaos, referring to herself as “We” or “I.”  The Borg Queen states the Borg were once much like humanity, “Flawed and weak,” but gradually developed into a partially synthetic species in an ongoing attempt to evolve.

The Borg were a concept born out of necessity for Star Trek writers to feature a new antagonist that was lacking during the first season of The Next Generation series; The Ferengi were originally intended as the new enemy for the United Federation of Planets, but their unintimidating appearance and devotion to Capitalism and Free Enterprise failed to portray them as a convincing threat.  The Borg, however, with their frightening appearance, immense power, and sinister motive became the signature villains.

You might say:  Oh … it’s just Fiction, but is the premise?

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.

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