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When it comes to background noise while I have serious writing to do, I have just two options:
Recently I had just such a day. After thoroughly enjoying an episode of Star Trek: Discovery, I was allowing old Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes to play in the background while working on a new project at Agorapulse.
An episode titled “Loud As A Whisper” was playing, and I certainly know it well. The Federation has been tasked to broker a peace arrangement between two warring factions on a distant world, and they’ll talk to no one other than the great negotiator Riva.
The Enterprise is dispatched to pick up Riva and deliver him to the planet Solais V where they find that Riva is deaf and mute, and always accompanied by three translators whom he calls his ‘chorus.’
Trouble ensues when a radical member of one of the factions fires at Riva and misses, but kills all three members of the chorus, leaving Riva alone and unable to communicate.
Now, as I said, I’ve watched this episode countless times, so believe me when I say it was playing in the background and I was giving it no attention at all. But then as the show reached its conclusion, I was suddenly drawn to the words Riva was saying.
Through the help of the Enterprise crew, Riva was convinced to try to help the planet’s factions one more time. And specifically, he decided to teach them how to sign so that they could communicate with him. He said (through Data’s interpreting):
Learning sign will be a part of their process of learning how to live together in peace… And that is the first, and most important aspect, of any relationship… These people have been fighting all of their lives. They know only hatred and suspicion and fear. Even with my chorus, I could not have changed their attitudes in a day. We have a chance.
I don’t know about you, but my Facebook Feed has continued to be filled more and more with news and stories and posts about how broken our society is. I don’t have any answers for them any more than you do, but I have to say, there’s a reason why Star Trek continues to hold a special place in my heart.
For over 50 years, the Star Trek franchise has done more than just tell fantastic stories about adventures in space – they’ve explored some of our society’s toughest questions. And I think this is another example that’s particularly relevant today.
“Learning sign will be a part of their process of learning how to live together in peace… And that is the first, and most important aspect, of any relationship.”
What if, instead of judging each other and getting upset over this or that position, we worked harder at communicating better with one another?