|Posted on July 25, 2012 at 6:55 AM|
We have talked about “The Savage Curtain” where Spock meets Surak, “the father of all we became” (May 23). We’ve talked about the weird ritual in “Amok Time” where he battles Captain Kirk for legal claim on T’Pring (October 6, 2010). Now we have “All Our Yesterdays,” another original Trek offering that leaves more questions than answers regarding Spock’s ancestral past.
The star Beta Niobe is about to nova, and its only Class-M planet Sarpeidon appears lifeless. Nevertheless, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to rescue anybody who needs to be rescued. But the planet is all but empty of life, and the library they find has corridors and rows of visual disks available for viewing.
The only live resident remaining is Atoz, the librarian, who helps them choose the era they want, as do his three clones. One wonders why he hasn’t escaped already, and left the entire operation in his clones’ capable hands. At any rate, he doesn’t realize the men are not natives, nor are they looking for a place in the past. (A lot of time-travel variables here. It does not fit the claim of most time-travel stories.)
Kirk is watching a disk showing traffic on a medieval street. Suddenly he hears a scream on the other side of an open portal, and leaps through. Spock and McCoy immediately follow. But because the doctor had been watching footage of a frosty terrain, they land in a snowy landscape.
As long as they’re near the portal, they can hear each other. Spock says they’re in “a wilderness of arctic characteristics.”
Impatiently McCoy interprets: “He means it’s cold!”
Back in medieval times, the natives hear their voices and automatically assume Kirk is a witch. This portion seems meant to reflect the Salem Witch Trials, but I don’t think most people realize this period didn’t last more than 15 months. The mock trials were conducted only by an extremely superstitious people who foolishly invoked the Bible, much like an adulterer trying to excuse his bed-hopping with Scripture.
But I really want to focus what happens to Spock and McCoy. Just as their trudge through snow and ice looks hopeless, a fur-clad hooded figure appears and leads them to a nearby cave. Her name is Zarabeth, a lonely woman who lives by herself in the barren wasteland. When she takes off the coat, she is skimpily dressed.
This never made sense to me. Even if she lived in a cave heated by hot springs, cold blasts through the passages would surely make her chilly. She’d have to cover up all the time.
We’re told that being processed through a machine called an atavachron causes them to be trapped in these time frames, with no way back. It took me awhile to figure out why the atavachron was so significant. Based on the popular myth of evolution, the machine alters one’s DNA structure so they can live here; otherwise they would soon die. And returning would yield the same result—if Beta Niobe did not explode first.
Though his tone remains even-tempered, Spock’s become more threatening, more hostile. “Perhaps you were too ill to understand what ‘can’t get back’ means.”
“I don’t believe it, Spock. It’s just not like you to give up trying.”
“I’ll repeat it for you. Get this through your head. We can’t get back. That means we are trapped, here, in this planet’s past just as we are. And we’ll stay here for the rest of our lives. Now do you understand?”
McCoy figures it out. “You wanna stay here. In fact, you’re highly motivated to stay in this forsaken waste. … Now you listen to me, you pointy-eared Vulcan.”
Spock grabs his collar. “I don’t like that. I don’t think I ever did, and now I’m sure.”
Later, the doctor challenges him: “Think, man. What’s happening on your planet right now, at this very moment?”
“My ancestors are barbarians. Warlike barbarians.”
“Who nearly killed themselves off with their own passions. Spock, you’re reverting to your ancestors. Five thousand years before you were born!”
In real life, transmuting from violence to peace is a personal matter, not ancestral. Atavachrons notwithstanding, each individual makes his own decisions whether to be angry or calm, to react violently or take abuse quietly.
Look at Peter, for instance. Like most people in his society, he fully expected Jesus to plow through the Roman Empire, become a temporal king like His ancestor King David, and set up a wholly human kingdom like the monarchs who had ruled centuries before. His reactions indicate he vacillated between spiritual wisdom and a warrior mindset.
His declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16), brought high praise from Jesus. “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in Heaven” (verse 17). He even awards him “keys of the Kingdom of Heaven” (verse 19), which would take effect far later than this incident. Beyond even this age.
But when the Lord started predicting His own death in Jerusalem, Peter’s reaction was equally impulsive from the other side. “Never, Lord! This shall not happen to You” (verse 22).
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (verse 23).
In Gethsemane, as crucifixion time came nearer, Peter and the brothers James and John attended Jesus as He wept and prayed. When the hypocritical Pharisees sent a battalion—made up mostly of Temple servants—to arrest Him, Peter impulsively drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant, Malchus.
“Put your sword away!” cried Jesus. “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?” (John 18:10-11). Jesus also told him, “All who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Of course we also know Peter had betrayed Jesus three times during the ensuing trial.
Now contrast this with Apostle Peter, who wrote two of the epistles. Listen to his self-confidence. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7).
From declaring kneejerk reactions to showing humility. From being proud of himself to casting all anxiety on the Lord. We can all identify with Peter while he was Jesus’ disciple. His transformation provides hope for our rebellious bent, suggests we too can change.
I’ve heard some say, “I’m German, and we can hold our liquor better.” Baloney! Humans are humans, no matter what their race or culture. Or “the French are the best lovers in the world.” These people are deceiving themselves. Heredity and violent pasts have nothing to do with corruptions that destroy societies. The fact Germany and France have worse economies than the USA should prove it.
We cannot take Trek’s ideas at face value. In “All Our Yesterdays,” it’s a pipedream at best to think one society can suddenly turn around to follow peace and logic. And one man accomplished this? It does not track, without him becoming a dictator. Doesn’t sound very Vulcanish, does it?
Here’s something we as Christians have going for us. “Listen,” said Apostle Paul, “I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
Logic may serve Spock in some small ways, but he’s not immortal. We are.
JULY THEME: “CELEBRATE”
July 25: Pauline Creeden at Fat Free Faith
July 26: Nona King at Word Obsession
July 27: Israel Ikhinmwin at Israel Ikhinmwin’s Blog
July 28: Deb Anderson at Faith, Fiction, and Unvarnished Truth
July 30: Marilyn McKay at Life 101: Understanding It All
July 31: Jack Brown at Random Thoughts