Friday Feb 03 |
The USS Enterprise stops at the newly discovered planet of Rubicun III for shore leave. The native people, who call themselves the Edo, seem passive and sensual, living in a virtual utopia where they openly express love and affection. However the away team sent down to make contact are astonished by the Edo legal system which has only one punishment for lawbreakers: death. Immediately after this the away team learn that Wesley Crusher has been sentenced to death for running into a bed of flowers during a game. The Edo regret the consequences for Wesley but explain that their society was once violent and chaotic and that their new gentler society depends on the inviolability of their draconian laws. In orbit Enterprise discovers a powerful immaterial alien force that acts in a god-like capacity toward the planet’s inhabitants. The “gods” prevent the Enterprise’s attempt to rescue Wesley by blocking a transporter beam until convinced by a speech from Picard and Riker that true justice is impossible without exceptions. via Wikipedia
“There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute. Even life itself is an exercise in exceptions.”
– Jean Luc Picard
Questions inspired by the episode:
- What happens to such a rigid set of beliefs when they’re imposed upon?
- How much can we follow reason when law precedes it?
- Can a true understanding of peace and harmony be built on the fear of punishment?
- Can the ‘greater good’ be defined by arithmetic alone? How do we evaluate the cost of jeopardizing our values?