, Research Paper
In the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled Darmok, which we saw in class this Friday, we saw what impact two cultures could make upon each other. The episode begins with the Enterprise coming out to greet a new race of people, the Tamarians, who are difficult to communicate with because their language has not been figured out. The crew of the Enterprises mission is to try to comunicate with the Tamarians and possibly get a treaty signed. The Episode Darmok shows us a tension between two different peoples, the Federation and the Tamarians, which are comparable to the Greek and Chinese cultures respectively.
The crew of the Enterprise is a good example of Greek culture during the Socratic era, always searching for knowledge, keeping an open mind. They fly around the galaxy looking for new civilizations to share knowledge with and trade with. Socrates believed that true wisdom is knowing that you do not know. If you believed that you knew everything, then you would not be motivated to find new civilizations like the crewmembers of the Enterprise.
The Tamarians are a good example of the Chinese culture during the Confucian era. The Tamarians language was based on the use of metaphors to describe everything. The religion of the Confucian era, Confucianism was based solely on the analects of Confucius. These Confucian analects are the basis of Chinese beliefs. They are a metaphorical basis upon which the Chinese operate their lives, much like how the Tamarians used these metaphors to communicate with each other.
This episode of Star Trek was a great example of the tensions between Classical Greek and Chinese cultures. It showed both the Socratic belief that wisdom is knowing that you do not know, and the Confucian ideal that life is best lived while by following the example of the exemplary few. Oddly enough, this paper in itself is a metaphor, using the tensions in the Star Trek Episode to better understand Greek and Chinese philosophical beliefs.