In between the BSG, Caprica, and Fringe the missus and I have been geeking out on the Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns on SyFy (I've actually been sneaking/geeking in some SG:A too).
Yes, we both hate adulthood. And consensus reality.
But the TNG reruns have been acting as a strange kind of oracle as well, often synching up with my various explorations in Synchronicity and whatnot. This episode (which aired Tuesday night), "Homeward," is a perfect example. It deals with hologram reality, something I've been puzzling over the past couple weeks, but not in the usual recreational holodeck way.
It's also one of countless ST eps that have not only an underlying AAT theme, but also are embedded with abductee/contactee themes as well.
The two often seem to go together, and have since "Who Mourns for Adonais", all the way back in 1967.
In "Homeward," Worf's adopted brother Nikolai is studying a primitive, pre-technological planet whose atmosphere is about to disintegrate. He sends a distress signal and the Enterprise respond. The plan is to rescue him and let the rest of the people die in order to maintain the Prime Directive (pre-warp cultures can't know that alien races exist, so just let them die when they're in trouble). But as usual the Prime Directive is more like the Prime Suggestive, seeing that it's flouted all the time.
But since Worf's stepbrother is a civilian and civilians are usually troublemakers in the Trek-o-Verse (or just plain trouble), he defies Starfleet's order to let the Boraalans die slowly and horribly while the gang all watch from orbit and feel sorry for them. But how does Nikolai ensure that the Boraalans won't be shocked by their first UFO encounter?
He beams them to a holographic simulation of their world aboard the Holodeck.
Both he and Worf then have themselves surgically altered to resemble the Boraalans (totally new forehead wrinkles!) and then tell them that the gods are sending them messages when the Holodeck keeps malfunctioning and revealing its gridlines.
But one of the primitives (the village chronicler, appropriately enough) escapes onto the ship and is so freaked out by these aliens and their giant flying saucer that he commits ritual suicide. Even more appropriately he's played by Brian Markinson, who plays Inspector Duram on Caprica (and also appeared on The X-Files in one of its many hallucination episodes).
And just to make the circle complete, Nikolai has looked upon one of the daughters of Boraala, saw that she was fair and created offspring with her (much to the chagrin of Lt. Worf). So in 45 short minutes, we have the following:
1. Alien intervention2. Shape-shifting3. Mass abduction4. Alien-human hybrids5. A holographic reality6. Contact shock leading to ritual suicide
Granted, this is a sci-fi show and not Law & Order, but there's something very strange about how we are seeing themes taken from UFO literature and then flipped around. Meaning, all of this is told from the POV of the saucermen, who are us but not-us. Makes you wonder sometimes, doesn't it?
This makes me wonder as well: awhile back, I was puzzling over the machine-intelligence concept that visionaries like Philip K Dick (VALIS) and John Lilly (ECCO) wrote about (as did Andrija Puharich, who like Dick and Lilly was well-experienced with psychedelics), which make up the core of a number of posts in the queue that don't seem to want to be written yet. And then the missus and I watched this episode, which deals with Data (a machine intelligence, obviously) and his radio communications with an alien girl from yet another pre-warp planet in danger of imminent destruction. She too is abducted aboard the Enterprise, but her memory of the event is erased.
So, holographic reality* and orbital machine intelligence- two concepts taken from the deepest reaches of Esoterica, breezily inserted into two random Star Trek episodes that both portray a pre-spacefaring world on the verge of destruction. Both deal with abduction and memory-erasing as well, all in a way that calls no attention to itself. It's all simply another day on the Enterprise. La, la, la.
Maybe that's why all of the deep, deep, deep weirdness embedded into this series escapes a lot of people's attention...
*Note also that they recycled the holographic relocation bit for Star Trek: Insurrection as well, so something there obviously resonated.