“How compact your bodies are, and what a variety of senses you have. This thing you call language though, most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much, but are any one of you really its master? But most of all, the aloneness. You are so alone. You live out your lives in this shell of flesh, self contained, separate. How lonely you are. How terribly lonely.”
- Spock, while linked with Medusan Ambassador Kolos in the Original Series episode “Is There in Truth, No Beauty.“
I’ve been a Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember. I liked Star Trek along with Star Wars growing up. The animated series was part of my Saturday mornings along with Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner. I remember being twelve/thirteen and suddenly really becoming a Star Trek fan – because at that point I started to see the depth of the characters and the meat in the stories; the ethics and the moral codes that were explored beyond the simple right and wrong. It wasn’t just pick a side, good guy or bad guy. Nothing in life is that simple.
The above episode is where Star Trek introduced the IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. The IDIC symbol is on Spock’s chest in the photo. I’ve done quite a bit of work in my life for diversity since first seeing that symbol, but I still think my concept of diversity was informed more by Star Trek than by any education since. We are at our best when we can combine all that we have in new and different ways to create something bigger and better than we had before.
And yet, we are so alone.
If we’re not careful, we are only involved in worlds where we are exposed to others who are just like us. Who think like us, act like us, believe like us. We start to think that is the only way to exist in the world. Without exposure to other worlds (the “aliens” within us) we loose sight of the diversity of existence. We lose the ability to think outside of the world we have boxed ourselves into as part of our aloneness.
What have you done to experience a new point of view today? Have you thought about what it might be like to be a single mother of four? How it might feel to be the “only” ______ (black, Native, gay, trans, female, Jewish, etc person) in the room for your business meeting or in your classroom? Have you ever considered how isolated living in a closet or in stealth mode might be? Have you looked outside of your box? Have you made an effort to combat your loneliness by really connecting with and listening to others?
How alone are you?