I’m taking a class with my wife called “A life that works”; it’s basically about learning how to take control of your life and figure out why we’re so busy and tired all the time but seem to be getting nowhere. It’s going to be a challenge for me. A big challenge.
Much of what we talked about in the first class was why we are living the way we are, what is holding us back, how have we lived up to this point. One word that was tossed around a lot was resistance. Resistance is that voice in our heads that tells us we’re too tired to do all that work, we want to lie down and watch all 12 seasons of the latest brain death tv show but it’s so much better without commercials. It tells us to go ahead and exercise, we won’t change anything anyway so why bother. It says that the ice cream and chips taste so much better than a nice salad, and its comfort food and we needs lots of comforting these days. It’s everywhere. Resistance gets its power from fear; fear of change, of being different, of needing to much, getting too little support, too little love, etc. When we fear, we resist. Simple, but oh so devious.
While I was listening, I kept thinking about the phrase from Star Trek, “resistance is futile”. The Borg. I know I’m a geek, move on. As I thought more about the comparison, the more I realized that the invention of the Borg is really genius. So much so that I’m naming my inner resistance voice “The Borg”.
Think about it: the Borg live in a ship that is essentially a box. We refer to people who think in different ways as “going outside the box”. Anything outside of the Borg cube was to be assimilated. And assimilation is how they deal with those who are different. They make the claim that it strengthens the Borg to assimilate all kinds of cultures and races but it doesn’t. What it does is erase all those things that made those beings unique and wonderful. Yes, the Borg are physically strong with their robotic attachments. And we are strong when we have all our techie things around us. Are we really so different from the Borg?
The Borg have a hive mind, everyone is thinking the same thing at the same time and all are in harmony with each other. Status quo. When challenged they fight to maintain the balance. They might be strong but their greatest weakness is the mind that refuses to give in. Like Picard did when he was assimilated. He kept his identity but admitted it was extremely difficult. His ability to keep his self apart from the hive mine enabled him to break free and live again as a human being.
We are seeing that hive mind in action nowadays in our politics. If you don’t think like me, then you are a bad and dangerous person. One to be thrown in jail or killed. You are not allowed to challenge my way of thinking. A friend of mine commented on Facebook about an article I had posted about a father and daughter with radically different political beliefs. The daughter wants to go into politics and is a Democrat and liberal, her father is the exact opposite. All she wanted was for him to open his mind and see the world from her perspective a bit. Not to change who he is, but to just be open to something new. My friend accused her of demanding that the father change and if he didn’t, she would condemn him. I realize it’s all about perspective but my friend is living in that hive mind. And that was a tough thing for me to see in him.
Growing up, I never learned about planning my life, or having a mission or vision for it. I just let life move me along and went with the hive mind. There are a few times here and there where I bucked the system and did something radical and daring but those were moments and not really planned out. I saw an opportunity and took it. Then I went back and laid down because it wore me out being so radical. I have made fun of mission statements and vision planning because I didn’t understand the need for such things. I know now that it’s a way of channeling the energy of our thinking to certain goals. Every hospital I have worked in does essentially the same thing: we take care of the sick and injured. But every hospital also has had a mission and a vision. Even the church I go to has one. It sets a direction. It helps our minds focus on what is really the most important thing.
And so I am learning how to do this because I have been directionless for a long time. I have some goals and I play to some of my interests but having an actual vision and mission to accomplish them? Nope. I just flowed and let life take me wherever. This way of living hasn’t really gotten me very far, I admit. I’m 55 years old now and just now learning that to do the things I really want to do, I better get off my ass, stop binge watching every time I have a chance to sit and plan out my life.
The Borg voice in my head will likely be there for a long time but like Picard, I will fight and keep my identity. But in order to fight, I must have a plan, mission, and vision. And that’s all good.