If I haven't mentioned it before, I am a Star Trek fan: the Original Series; The Next Generation; Deep Space Nine; Voyager; Enterprise... Growing up I was caught up in the seemingly-futuristic gadgetry. Many of those devices are now part of our everyday lives: cell phones; e-Readers; Siri and Alexa; iPads and tablets; and telemedicine... to name a few. Besides these life-changing devices that support our access to information, keep us on schedule, and help us to communicate and interact, we have seen an exponential growth in computer-generated graphics, special effects, and artificial intelligence. It's a much different world than 1966 when Gene Roddenberry introduced us to Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy or 1987 when Captain Picard, Will Riker and Data came into our lives.
Our lexicon even boasts phrases like "Resistance is futile," "You will be assimilated," and "Permission to speak freely."
What I find interesting about science fiction and reality is the story telling: what life could be like versus what we experience now. It is as if we try to imagine another life where problems are solved or challenges are positive and conquerable. I wonder if our story telling helps us to escape today in search of a different tomorrow? Or, does the human spirit and imagination need an outlet to envision or strive for another outcome?
Between the polarities of Resistance and Assimilation lies Choice... that is, the freedom to choose and the permission to speak freely.
|What symbolizes your freedom?|
(Photo, American flag, Old Town San Diego,
For example, when Will Riker -- Captain Picard's "Number One" or his next in command -- was concerned about or disagreed with a decision, Riker would meet privately with Picard. Then, out of respect for Picard, Riker would ask for permission to speak freely. These actions of meeting privately, respecting the other person, and requesting and receiving permission allowed these TV characters to move into a new space: they showed up differently to their conversation. I would propose that this TV behavior modeling can work in real life as well.
With about 20 countries celebrating their national holidays or independence days in July -- Canada (July 1), the United States and the Philippines (July 4), France (July 14), Columbia (July 20), and the Netherlands (July 26) to name a few -- freedom is on the minds of millions of people.
I wonder how we imagine and actualize our sense of freedom?
|What events cause you to pause?|
(Photo credit: Honoring U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick;
Brendan Smialowski, via Getty Images)
In another example, watching the public hearings of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital, I have been struck by the relationships between image and reality, resistance and assimilation, information and ignorance, independence and interdependence, respect and freedom. That is, in real life we are being asked several questions:
- Are we willing to listen to dissenting views or are we limited by our group's ideology?
- Can we seek out new information or do we not want to pay attention?
- Do we understand our freedoms in relationship to others in our society or are we focused only on how freedom pertains to me?
Difficult conversations require that we show up differently: that we meet privately, respect the other person, and request/receive permission to speak freely. It is when we move off the stage of public opinion and competing ideologies that we can speak freely... and listen freely... to another perspective, experience, belief, and point of reference.
May we learn to celebrate our freedoms... by allowing others their freedoms.