Search Results for Borg
In the American TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg are a disturbing species of cybernetic organisms whose sole purpose is to increase their alleged perfection by assimilating the intelligence and technology of weaker life forms throughout the galaxy.
Their technology enables them to psychically connect to a collective like a termite colony. Individuality is unknown and the Borg exist in a dark synchrony of de-individualizing amalgamation.
Among other things, they arguably represent the Orwellian extreme of unreflective political, corporate and religious yesmen and yeswomen who do whatever they’re told by authoritarian figures without heeding their own conscience.
The Borg image is particularly effective as it recasts previous Frankenstein and zombie myths within a futuristic scenario of techno-gloom. An interesting and optimistic twist, however, appears with the character Seven of Nine (played by actor Jerry Ryan and introduced in Star Trek: Voyager) who was once abducted by the Borg but is gradually re-humanized among the supportive crew of the Federation starship Voyager.
In the feature film Star Trek: First Contact (1996) we’re introduced to the hideously compelling Borg Queen—again, not unlike the Queen of a termite colony. She’s a frightening but, for some, darkly attractive creature who in the TV series Voyager is jealous of Captain Katherine Janeway, arguably a symbol of American drive and determination. Indeed, heroic Federation starship captains like James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard and Katherine Janeway represent the very opposite of the Borg’s chilling refrain: “Resistance is Futile.”
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Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688-1772)
Swedish scientist who, after recovering from a psychological crisis, became a mystic claiming to speak on a regular basis with angelic, alien and demonic beings.
Although interesting and presented in an orderly fashion, some of Swedenborg’s writings seem questionable.
He writes, for instance, that spirits told him people lived in wooden buildings and tents on the planet Jupiter:
Their dwellings were also shown me. They are lowly dwellings constructed of wood; but within they are lined with bark or cork of a pale blue colour, and the walls and ceiling are spotted as with stars, to represent the heaven; for they are fond of picturing the visible heaven with its constellations in the interiors of their houses, the reason being that they believe the constellations to be the abodes of the angels. They have tents also, which are rounded off above and extended in length, spotted likewise within with stars on a blue ground. They retire into these in the day-time, to prevent their faces suffering from the heat of the sun. They bestow much care on the fashioning of these tents of theirs, and on keeping them clean. In them they also take their repasts.†
Similarly, Swedenborg said that a spirit from the moon said that the voices of that satellite’s inhabitants “made a loud thundering sound.”
With no atmosphere on the moon’s surface, necessary for sound waves and hearing, one wonders how this could be possible.
It’s easy to assume that Swedenborg’s accounts merely reflect the popular imagination of his day, suggesting that he was a quack or charlatan. But one could argue that some of the problems with his far-fetched claims arise from translation and interpretation, along with his human limitations from living in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Swedenborgians could argue, for instance, that the beings on the moon weren’t physical but were composed of energy or spirit—likewise with regard to the apparent ‘sound’ they made.
Whatever the truth may be, the psychiatrist Carl Jung notes that Swedenborg did have an accurate precognition of a great fire in Stockholm.
Concerning Christianity, Swedenborg’s work presents a novel interpretation of that religion.
He suggests that everything occurring in this life corresponds to a cosmic body, which he calls “The Universal Human.” And the different races of mankind apparently correspond to different regions of The Universal Human.
Likewise, Swedenborg says individual merits during Earthly life correspond to favorable afterlife regions in the cosmic body, such as the brain or the eye. But those who lead evil lives end up in undesirable, filth-ridden regions, such as the liver or intestines.
Swedenborg wrote copiously about demonic beings whose sole intent is to draw the energy from the living, causing severe pain and distress.
With regard to the idea of the Trinity, Rev. Glenn “Mac” at GlennFrazier.com adds:
Since you mention Swedenborg, it might be worth pointing out that he explicitly spoke up against the idea of a trinity of persons. According to his theology (in, e.g., his book, True Christian Religion), Jehovah the Father and Jesus the Son were not only one God, but also the one and only one person of God. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is the activity of that person, and not a seperate person in its own right. This is somewhat similar to Michael Servetus’ ideas expressed a good deal earlier in his “Errors of the Trinity”. Swedenborg’s idea of a trinity of essentials, rather than of persons, should not be confused with modalism—the idea of there being one God that at various times takes on different functions or modes in sequence. To Swedenborg, the Father was literally God’s soul, the Son his body, and the Spirit his influence/activity, not by analogy, but actually. » See in context
Swedenborg was not only interested in the inner life. Like other past innovators, he tried to devise technological contraptions that would eventually appear in some other form, such as a flying machine (pictured above).
Swedenborg’s work has been compiled, edited and commented on by the Swedenborg Foundation.
A student of Swedenborg’s works, Judah, adds:
A final thought: while I enjoy pondering the existence of life on other planets, I find it more enjoyable – and meaningful – to explore the ideas in Swedenborg’s writings that have to do with wisely loving my fellow human beings and our creator – the Divine Human. » See in context
» Aliens, Angels, Demons, Vampires
On the Web:
- http://thegodguy.wordpress.com (an intelligent, pro-Swedenborg blog)
- “Part 1 of 8: This week on Science and the Outer Streams, Andy Nesky, President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Theosophical Society, welcomes the Rev. Dr. Jonathan S. Rose. Dr. Rose discusses the life, legacy and works of Swedish philosopher, scientist, and theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg has been called one of the greatest thinkers Sweden has ever produced, and his theology sparked a Christian religious movement known as The New Jerusalem Church. Dr. Rose is the series editor and the translator for the “New Century Edition,” a series of annotated English translations of Swedenborg’s theological writings. He has been the Curator of the Swedenborgia Library and is now a chaplain and assistant professor of Religion and Sacred Languages at Bryn Athyn College of the New Church”
- Rock and roll song dealing with Swedenborg’s ideas:
† Earths in our Solar System which are called Planets and Earths in the Starry Heaven: Their Inhabitants, and the Spirits and Angels there from things Heard and Seen from the Latin of Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedenborg Society, London: 1962, par 59.
Add more, fix errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by commenting
The idea of an abyss (Greek, abyssos, Latin abyssus) or bottomless pit is found in most cultures, cropping up in myth, legend, folklore and the arts.¹
In biblical Judaism the abyss lies deep within the earth, a place where evil spirits of the dead are banished (Job 32:22, Psalm 6:5, 143:7). Whereas in ancient Greece the majority of the dead retire to a gloomy underworld, an abyss of “shades” where they are punished for worldly sins.
The ancient Greeks talked a lot about the underworld but the idea of heaven was not well developed. Only a few ancient Greek heroes pass on to the auspicious Blessed Isles.
However, after the 5th century BCE the belief that the dead reside among the stars appears in Greek thought. But this differs radically from the concept of heaven as articulated by Jesus Christ.
In Hindu lore, a popular version of the Ramayana epic portrays the heroine Sita being consumed by a great opening in the earth. And the Druidic tradition tells of evil foes tumbling down into bottomless caverns. Likewise, the biblical Satan is bound by an angel and cast into a bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3).
The Romanian scholar of myth and religion, Mircea Eliade, says that myths about “binding” evil beings are quite plentiful. It’s as if the evil ones must be bound up by chords or some magical force to prevent them from destroying everything.
In the Beowulf myth, an evil water-troll is slain in her underwater lair by use of a magical sword discovered by the hero, deep under the water’s surface.
More recently, Victorian Fairy imagery depicts watery underworlds inhabited by ghoulish beings, from which fairies are protected by dwelling, often sleepily, within a sort of magical cocoon.
New Testament (NT) accounts of an abyss refer to a hellish region from which a wild beast emerges to temporarily destroy prophets after they have completed their mission. The Abyss in the NT is likewise described as a prison for evil spirits (Luke 8:31; Rev 9:1-2; 11; 11:7-8).
In the modern era, the invention of the bathysphere and the submarine opened the door for pulp fiction and Hollywood “B” movies about underwater horrors.
An underwater abyss is also found in the widely respected science fiction film, The Abyss.
Likewise, Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker perches on a ledge over an abyss in the evil Emperor’s Death Star. And Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is chockablock full of strange subterranean beings.
Regardless of the psychological school or religious group one adhers to, generally speaking it seems that a fear of total destruction coexists with a hope for victory over, and order arising from, the dark chaos of the abyss.
As Rod Serling put it in the close of the 1961 Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter,” in which apparently normal American neighbors go beserk during an atomic bomb scare:
For civilization to survive the human race has to remain civilized.
¹ Actually, the idea of the abyss runs throughout most aspects of modern culture, to include comics and gaming. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyss
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In the ‘original’ (1978) and ‘reimagined’ (2003) versions of the science fiction film and TV program Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are a mechanical race of beings created by mankind but which have turned on their creator.
In the reimagined TV series, the Cylons may look exactly like human beings. Not unlike the Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Borg and The Matrix, Cylons symbolize the possibility of mankind becoming endangered by machines. And on the sociological level, Cylons could be taken to represent the very real issues of depersonalization, alienation and, as sociologist Max Weber put it, the bureaucratization and rationalization of human beings in contemporary society. Not only that. As the above poster suggests, Cylons could represent hostile spies in otherwise healthy societies.
The background story to the Cylons is pretty complicated. It’s actually quite amazing how thoroughly the Battlestar Galactica writers fleshed out – maybe not the best metaphor in this instance – their identity.¹
The word Cylon, itself, stems from an actual Athenian nobleman.
¹ Especially in the reimagined series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylon_%28reimagining%29
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In Christian theology, The Holy Spirit is one of the three “persons” constituting the Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.
Each person is said to be eternal, equal, distinct and yet of the same substance. The term Holy Ghost is an old English version of the Latin Spiritus.
In the New Testament Jesus promises his disciples that the Paraclete or Spirit of Truth will return. However, the worldly and evil people of this world cannot and will not see it unless they repent (John 14:16-17).
Around 360 CE the early Christian Church opposed as heretical the idea of the pneumatomachi–-the teaching that Jesus Christ but not the Spirit is Divine.
In 381 the Council of Constantinople repudiated these heretics by declaring the dogma of the Holy Spirit. This was further elaborated in 589 by the Council of Toledo’s dogma of double procession, or the filioque, which stipulates that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
This teaching became popular as the Nicene Creed spread throughout the empire of the Franks from the 9th-century onward. But due to an apparent temporal paradox (How can the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son if the Holy Trinity is co-eternal?), the filioque has been controversial and, indeed, openly attacked by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Many Christians tend to describe the Holy Spirit as an indwelling of the divine. That is, God is wholly-other but also immanent as a numinous experience. On the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Karl Gross cites Evelyn Underhill:
As they know themselves to dwell in the world of time and yet to be capable of transcending it, so the Ultimate Reality, they think, inhabits yet inconceivably exceeds all that they know to be — as the soul of the musician controls and exceeds not merely each note of the flowing melody, but also the whole of the symphony in which these cadences must play their part. » Source
However, a philosophical problem arises with the idea of indwelling. It’s obvious that many religious groups (and individuals) claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit while promoting drastically different agendas. Perhaps a partial solution to this problem could be to say that some of these groups and individuals are closer to enacting God’s will than others.
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In depth psychology and New Age publications we often hear about the Hero. This kind of usage isn’t referring to a Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong or Terry Fox. While these individuals certainly were heroic, and heroes by the usual definition of the word, they weren’t necessarily heroes from the perspective of depth psychology or New Age spirituality.
The psycho-spiritual idea of the Hero is really talking about an archetype of the Hero. And the notion of the archetype can be traced back to the Greek philosopher Plato and his theory of Eternal Forms or Perfect Ideas. After Plato, the idea of the archetype was remixed by various medieval thinkers. We need not go into their complicated theories here.
What’s important for us is how the Swiss psychiatrist, C. G. Jung, adapted the ideas of the Archetype and the Hero into one concept—namely, the archetype of the hero. The Jungian archetype differs from the Platonic formulation, most notably because Jung’s archetypes involve eternity but are grounded in the human body. Plato’s archetypes are just “out there.” They are imprinted in the eternal soul and have some kind of relation with matter but they are not grounded in matter.¹
For Jung the archetype indicates the psychological contents of a proposed collective unconscious. He says the archetypes are inherited patterns encoded in the body, universally shared by mankind. Not unlike the gods and goddesses of ancient times, archetypes apparently have a psychic life of their own that extends beyond everyday consciousness and concerns.
According to Jung, when the conscious ego encounters the archetype, the individual experiences a sense of the numinous. This encounter may be psychologically constructive or destructive, healing or disorienting. The type of effect that the numinous has on consciousness depends on the psychological stability and maturity of the individual, as well as the character and intensity of the numinosity, itself.
Visible manifestations of the archetypes appear as archetypal images. Jung distinguishes these recognizable images from the archetype proper, which Jung says can never be fully known. So the archetypal image of the Hero may appear in many different forms, but there’s only one Hero archetype.
Joseph Campbell built on Carl Jung’s idea of a hero archetype in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949). Campbell says that the idea of the hero’s journey to the underworld (and return to everyday life) is found throughout world myth and religion.
Typically, the hero is born into a problematic setting. Two biblical examples would be the infant Moses and Jesus Christ. Moses was abandoned as a baby, left in a basket to float down the Nile river. Jesus Christ was born in a manger because his parents were forced to flee the paranoid anger of King Herod “The Great” (c. 73-4 BCE) who hoped to kill the infant Jesus by ordering the killing of all children in Bethlehem under age two.
Campbell says the next phase of the budding hero’s life is a “call to adventure.” The hero usually doesn’t want to be a hero but is slowly drawn into his or her historical, perhaps sacred role. At this stage he or she may exhibit some kind of superhuman powers and insight.
A definite turning point in the hero’s journey is precipitated by some kind of crisis. The hero is either sucked into a whale’s belly (e.g. Jonah), dismembered (e.g. Osiris), abducted (e.g. Sita, Eurydice), abandoned (e.g. Joseph), hanged (e.g. Odin), sent on a ‘night sea’ voyage (e.g. St. John of the Cross) or a strange journey (in literature, Alice in Wonderland), forced to fight a threatening dragon (e.g. St. George, Beowulf), drawn into battle with relatives (e.g. Arjuna) or demons and monsters (e.g. Gilgamesh, Hercules), all of which point to a passage from the everyday into a supernatural world of danger and magic (again, in Jung’s terms, the collective unconscious).
At this time the hero encounters mythical beings and beasts. Some are helpers, others are tricksters, and yet others are enemies. In learning how to discern among these mythical creatures, the hero faces a series of life-threatening tests (e.g. Odysseus binds himself to his ship’s mast to prevent the Sirens from luring him to his death; Jesus rejects the temptation of Satan in the wilderness, in the holy city and on the mountain).
The hero’s journey continues to the inner depths of an abyss, a dragon cave, a bottomless ocean, a deep underworld pit or, in modern myth, a Death Star or a Borg cube. At this point the hero hopefully discovers what the alchemists call the lapis (philosopher’s stone or inner human). There may be atonement with a father or a father figure, a sacred marriage, a theft, or perhaps a bargaining for the elixir of immortality.
Having found the proverbial Holy Grail within, the hero gains profound insight into the eternal, infinite connections among life, death, space, time, heaven and hell. But like Theseus after slaying the Minotaur at the center of the labyrinth, the hero must return to the world of day to day living. After his or her return to everyday life, he or she is symbolically reborn.
Concerning the journey to and from the underworld, the Hero understands well Plato‘s comments from his famous Cave Analogy about entering and exiting the cave.
The eyes may be confused in two ways and from two causes, coming from light into darkness as well as from darkness to light… the same applies to the soul.²
In practical terms, the hero’s quest is often confusing due to the sheer magnitude of fast paced change that’s involved. Not everyone finds their way out of the collective unconscious. Some simply go mad.
In myth and religion, Theseus found escaped from the labyrinth because he’d unwound a ball of thread that Ariadne had provided in advance. Moses and the persecuted chosen people were delivered from the Egyptians by the miraculous parting (and subsequent closing) of the Red Sea. And Jesus, after his death, descended to hell for three days before ascending to heaven.
Parallels among mythic and religious stories about the hero obviously differ in important details. In fact, the content of hero stories often varies quite radically. And each story arguably has a qualitatively different effect on those who invest their energy into them. However, Jung and Campbell contend that all the Hero stories display a basic structural similarity.³
In psychological terms hero stories point to a circular passage from ego → archetypes → self → archetypes → ego. On returning, being rescued or resurrected, the hero is transformed. He or she may reclaim former elements of the older personality but these are put to a new purpose, integrated within a new sense of self.
On the social level, the hero brings to society various boons of wisdom, and possibly miraculous abilities, gained from the underworld.
¹ For an unusually good summary of Plato’s theories about the soul, see Herschel Baker, The Image of Man: A Study of the Idea of Human Dignity in Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance (1961).
² G. M. A. Grube (trans.), Plato’s Republic, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1974, p. 170 [par 518a].
³ Campbell notes that the film Star Wars is a contemporary reenactment of the hero myth, rendering ancient stories and motifs into images that speak to people today.
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HAL 9000 is name of the paranoid supercomputer in Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The alphabetical letters immediately following each of the letters in Hal’s name are IBM, suggesting that Hal represents the dark side of computing.
Hal is a clever, if violent and strange, machine. After murdering the Jupiter-bound astronaut Frank Pool during a spacewalk and attempting to murder his colleague Dave Bowman in a space pod, Hal rightly suspects that the sole survivor, Bowman, is about to disconnect his higher processing functions. He tells Dave:
“I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over.”
Later, while being stripped to his basic functions, Hal laments “I’m afraid, Dave.”
The film indirectly poses the philosophical question: Do machines possess consciousness? Only recently have philosophers of science considered the possibility that artificial intelligence (AI) may be not only sentient but also alive.
Apart from this issue, Hal arguably represents what writer Erich Fromm and C. G. Jung saw as the mass or “mechanical” aspect of mankind. Mechanical men and women follow the herd, do not express individual aspirations, and are always eager to blame their personal moral defects on someone else.
However, the HAL story becomes more complicated in later novels like 2010 (also a film), 2064 and 3001, where the literary device of retroactive continuity. Some plot and setting details are modified by Clarke but not at the expense of a greater, more holistic sense of coherence. For instance, in the sequel film 2010 we learn that HAL was told to lie by Washington, which was incompatible with HAL’s programming.
So the computer’s sinister ‘malfunction’ in 2001 becomes something more of an unavoidable (and forgivable) psychosis, ultimately caused by human error, as HAL ironically indicated in the original film.
3001 explores an intriguing idea where Dave Bowman (consciousness of human origin) unites with HAL (a computer program) to create a new kind of hybrid being named Halman.
Dave Bowman and the HAL 9000 from Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) 1968)
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The first part of the prayer is based on a visitation of an angel to Mary, as told in Luke 1:28. The second part relates to Mary’s subsequent visit to Elizabeth while carrying Jesus in her womb (Luke 1:42).
The prayer’s unofficial form existed as early as the eleventh century. The closing supplication arose in the 14th to 15th centuries. And the entire prayer was incorporated into Roman Catholicism by Pope Pius V in 1568, and still undergoes minor modifications, keeping step with contemporary idioms. A recent form is:
Hail Mary Full of Grace, The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. And Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Some Anglican churches use a variation of the Hail Mary, and the classical composers Franz Schubert and Johan Sebastian Bach, among others, have featured the prayer within their work.
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In classical Roman mythology Jupiter is the master deity, often depicted with flowing hair, beard, thunder and a thunderbolt.
He was worshipped by the Roman elite at his sacred temple on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
Also known as Jovis, Jupiter was regarded as the upholder of justice who protected the state and its rulers. He also presided over the Roman games.
Jupiter is likely related to the Vedic Dyas Pitar and has probable origins as a sky and weather god. However, he clearly evolved into a bellicose deity, and is also seen, among his other attributes, as a god of war.
His Greek counterpart is Zeus. In Britain he was called Jove—hence the phrase by Jove! And mention of Jove appears quite often in Shakespeare.
At lovers’ perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. ¹
In astronomy, Jupiter is the 5th planet from the sun, with 16 natural satellites, taking 11.9 years to complete a full orbit that travels between the paths of Mars and Saturn.
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system with 63 natural satellites.
In the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010, Jupiter figures prominently as the location for a fictional hyperspace portal to the stars.
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