Why aren’t we learning?

by Sep 11, 20020 comments

I hesitated to post anything today about this, lord knows there’s already enough talk in the media today. If you’re reading this, I guess I decided to press the upload button after all.

Last night, as per usual, I popped in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode from my DVD box set with dinner. The odd thing is, that on the one-year anniversary of 9/11, and by complete chance, it was a Trek episode dealing with terrorism.

The episode started out by presenting the issue in black and white, just the way we’ve(the Western world anyway) been seeing things for the past year. Then, like all good Trek, it took it apart piece by piece, argument by argument, for both sides of the equation.

I’m not condoning what happened a year ago, nor anything that my country might have done before that to lead to the incident that I don’t know about, but considering the issue with “eyes unbutted by hate,” served to remind me what an impossible situation this is.

What really hit me is that this episode, made over 10 years ago, mimics a little too closely what’s going on now. I heard characters saying lines almost word for word that the President is saying now, characters citing arguments that terrorists are using in their video press releases. This is not a new issue for us, we’ve been down this road before.

And it’s not like this was a “relevant” episode; It wasn’t a meditation on 9/11 since the ‘War on Terrorism’ as we know it now did not exist when this episode was made. It wasn’t a meditation on the U.S.’s struggle against whoever it is we’re supposedly fighting. It was a meditation on humanity’s struggle with the issue , which is why it hit home so hard.

What has to happen to shift our paradigms as a species so we’re able to see more than two feet beyond our personal agendas (and yes, claiming the fight of ‘Good vs Evil’ is a personal agenda) and see what we’re actually doing? Why aren’t we learning anything?

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