Picard And Riker's Motivation In 'Bumpy Space'

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To be on the verge of possibly discovering a new life form is a very drastic advancement. This act does not just concern the individual, but rather the collectivity of an entire species. More aptly put, the discovery of new life has no reference to a specific person or even group of people, because that very discovery affects all people. In addition, the very ability for interstellar communication can stir up emotions than can possibly skew apparent motivations. Given this idea, it is important to know if the top of the hierarchy of power is rightly motivated. In the story Bumpy Space, Naeem Inayatullah uses thorough academic analysis of certain Star Trek encounters to show that their interactions with new species are fueled by both a motivation…show more content…
In a very broad sense, this universe is comprised of the encounters of an Intergalactic group of species called The Federation, who have a mission to discover and understand new worlds that are approaching the ability for interstellar exploration. In a scenario called “11001001”, two Federation leaders named Picard and Riker exchange words with an alien species called the Bynars. The Bynars are in desperate need of help as a plan of theirs went wrong. Picard asked the Bynars why they didn’t ask for help, to which they respond “You might have said no.” Riker then asserts that the Bynars reasoning “was part of their binary thinking. For them there are own two choices, one or zero, yes or no.” (Inayatullah 57). Riker’s comment about the Bynars logic points out the fact that he is making an assumption and ultimately is projecting. To more thoroughly analyze this, we must realize that the Federation encounters these civilizations already from a superior standpoint. They arrive only with intentions of giving information and not receiving it. To them, they view these new civilizations as only “lacking” the information and intellect needed to withstand interstellar space travel. This power and…show more content…
The way by which we describe this reality to others is through language and communication. These two abilities go hand in hand and shape, to a drastic extent, the perspective and outcome of all encounters. In terms of species encounters, they almost always communicate differently, which poses as an extremely hard barrier to cross. Inayatullah conveys this difficulty in terms of binary logic (Inayatullah 64). This means that either the two species can communicate fluently or they cannot communicate at all. This logic accurately describes both Star Trek and most other interactions, such as the story of Columbus and the Indians. As Todorov states, “In regard to the Indians languages, the Europeans either acknowledge it as a language but refuse to believe it is different; or…acknowledge its difference but refuse to admit it is a language” (Todorov 30). This is a prime example of binary logic as there is no gray area, it is either one or the other. This logic can be flawed especially when considering the complexities of communicating. There is almost always a balance between complete comprehension and none at all. In a deeper sense, this type of thinking causes individuals to refuse anything that deviates from their superficial understanding that things fall into one of two categories. It then follows that difference between two groups of people is this deviation from the

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