ATTENTION: The Boards will be closed permanently on May 28th, 2014. Posting will be disabled on April 28th, 2014. More Info

Cogenitor

honeybee1111

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 880

Report this Dec. 18 2009, 10:25 pm

Well, I don't think lotshaker meant to defend slavery. But I do think that "tolerance" can circle around and become "intolerance" if one decides to deny a sentient being rights, privileges and freedoms that one values for themselves as sacred because that sentient being happens to be different in some way, especially if that sentient being is asking for those rights.

Don't get me wrong, Trip opened up a pandora's box without realizing the broader consequences. But he's the only person in this whole scenario who actually cares about what Charles wants. Later, in Home, Trip seems to have learned his lesson about cultural interference - but ultimately, he still allows T'Pol to make her own choice.

lostshaker

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2293

Report this Dec. 18 2009, 11:45 pm

Quote
I think it's very clear from the episode that Vissian culture mistreats the Cogenitors. Certainly, Charles thinks so enough to choose death over enslavement. Archer argues to the Suliban in Detained that life in captivity with safety is inferior to life with risk in freedom. Why shouldn't that same freedom of choice be given to Charles?

The difference is certifiable knowledge. Archer had previous experience with the Suliban, contributing to his understanding of the situation; the captive Suliban were formerly not oppressed before the Cabal and had lived under different conditions; and Archer and Mayweather came to specifically understand the Suliban's treatment under Tandaran Law. So why shouldn't Charles have the same rights? I don't know. I don't know what her rights are under Vissian Law. I don't know the Vissians' long term plans for cogenitors. I don't know if removing Charles from the system would cause more harm than good.

Quote
We may not know what the other Cogenitors think or feel, but we do know what Charles feels - and Charles wants to be free. I think it is very complex - what would Trip or Starfleet do with it? But you can't argue that the Vissians didn't treat Charles like an inferior and/or didn't intellectual oppress Charles and then say that Charles was too childlike not to be making its own decisions. If Charles wasn't intellectual oppressed, then it just strengthens the case for Charles's right to self determination.

Consider though that Charles was the only cogenitor aboard the Vissian Ship. It is not unusual for humans to divide up by gender. It's done at varying ages for different reasons at different events. We separate as children, then again in high school, again in college, and even at work. Weddings consist of groomsmen and bridesmaids for instance. Such separation of the sexes could easily contribute to the perception of oppression and devalue in Charles' case. I don't know Charles' age. I do know it's sexually mature. Human females reach sexual maturation on a biological level during their teenage years, but mental faculties continually mature throughout one's lifespan. So as far as Charles' right for self determination, I don't know how the Vissian System accommodates for it. That is where my difficulty with Trip's actions originate. There is not enough information and like T'Pol said, Charles is not human.

Has anyone considered how Klingons treat children with deformities or disabilities? It would not be hard to believe that certain members of a family would abandon it or kill it under such conditions - certainly not Duras. From a human point of view this is atrocious behavior, but from a Klingon perspective it could be the right thing to do, assuming this to be a practice.

lostshaker

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2293

Report this Dec. 19 2009, 12:26 am

Quote
Trip is sincere in his concern for Charles and seems motived by pure altruism.

...if one decides to deny a sentient being rights, privileges and freedoms that one values for themselves as sacred because that sentient being happens to be different in some way...


Honeybee, I definitely agree that Trip's motivations were altruistic, which is why I love him and it's partly where the whole north/south/slavery point came into play. The situation is sad because Trip was genuine, but he didn't have the whole picture.

The Vulcans did not make it easy for humanity, which had emerged from a devastating global war to overcoming the worst of itself, embracing compassion for all life, and finally learning how to work collaboratively instead of competitively. Humans were quick to extend that philosophy and it unfortunately backfired... as in the case of "Cogenitor" and VOY's "Friendship One".

Rights, freedoms, and privileges are granted because of gender differences. Women are granted maternity leave. While some companies are beginning to extend this privilege to men, it is not a norm across the United States. At my company, women can defer taking in cave tours if they get an uncomfortable feeling from a group. The men can't do this. Of course what guy would turn down an all girl group like the Swedish Bikini Team? Heavy lifting and physical labor is usually allocated to men, because they're physically built for it. Men are free to write their name in the snow. So the question becomes what are cogenitors free to do in Vissian society that the males and females cannot? By contrast, why are the cogenitors limited to? They may not have education, but they may have a health care plan that could get Democrats and Republicans to agree.

I do believe that all civilizations are in a state of flux and continually advancing towards a socio-organism, a collective being where cities represent major organs, roads and individuals to blood vessels and cells. Social conflicts are a result of this unification thus simplified as "growing pains". Out of all this emerges a collective conscious as represented by the ideals and values. In contrast, the collective unconscious is the individualistic needs of each person in the community. Hopefully this will one day apply on a galactic level, or even a universal scope.

nickmalthus77

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2

Report this Dec. 19 2009, 9:18 am

I am glad to see the Cogenitor debate is still going strong. When I first started to watch this episode I thought it was going to be an uneventful budget saving time filler but the ending made it one of the most memorable shows of the series for me. I attribute it to being a great example of how Sci-Fi allows the for the bending of reality to examine and test our personal and societal belief systems. The philosopher Socrates famously stated that "self examination is the highest form of human excellence" which was somewhat reiterated by Phlox to T'Pol in 'Daedalus' on the topic of the Kir'shara : "You are examining your core beliefs, something that most people never do". Episodes such as this one give us an excellent vehicle to challenge our belief systems and make us ponder what would we do in a similar situation.

I think most of us agree that while Trip's intentions were good his impulsive reaction to his first contact with the Cogenitor was a suboptimal approach to his end goal of aiding it. I believe this based on the following points:

1. Trip subverted the chain of command - From the episode we can ascertain that the Vissian and Enterprise crew were free to co-mingle and fraternize. However, any transfer of skills or data should have been approved by the commanding officer. Trip was an officer in Starfleet and was obligated to fulfill his duty by following the chain of command. If Trip felt strongly on a certain subject he should have at least attempted to solicit approval in the chain of the command before acting. As a Starfleet officer he did represent all of Humanity and should have done more to build a consensus on his belief.

2. His actions involved deception - He deceived the Vissians by telling him that he wanted to work in their engineering section but instead secretly met with Charles. His 'Nobel lie' proved to the Vissians that Humans were deceptive and it would tarnish future relations.

3. Trip acted impulsively without adequate knowledge of the culture - Trip was an impulsive character and it stands to reason that he would have had the cavalier reaction that he did. He made his decision to teach the Cogenitor to read after only a single meeting. However, Charles and other Cogenitors would have been better served if he had simply talked further with the Vissians and Charles to learn more about their culture. The Vissians did not seem to be protective of Charles so simply talking with it would have been construed as part of the cultural exchange and permissible. Trip could have built up a strong logical argument about how the Cogenitors were being oppressed which he could have used to convince Archer with when he returned or he could have passed it on to Starfleet for reference in future Vissian contacts.

I do believe the term sex slave is fitting. The Vissians were interested in retaining the Cogenitor for strictly sexual purposes. Additionally while Cogenitors were physically comparable with the other sexes they were socially repressed. They were passed around in "turns", did not server any other purpose than that of a reproductive nature, and were forbidden to perform certain skills such as reading that the other sexes were allowed to. I think Trip was incensed by the de-personification of the Cogenitor when he learned that they were intellectually peers. "Dehumanization" is arguably one of the most sinister tools in human history that is used by tyrants and oppressors to subjugate and even exterminate ethnic groups and Trip was probably well aware of that.

Them there is the question of moral supremacy - what right do humans have telling the Vissians what to do? Archer stated towards the end of the episode, "We're out here to meet new species, not tell them what to do!" First, the contact between the Vissians and Enterprise crew was mutually consensual. This contact consisted of communication and cultural exchange. In respect to other first contacts reading would have been included in the exchange as well but Cogenitors were forbidden to have that ability. In any event, it was expected that humans would be true to their own nature and accurately represent themselves. At no time did Charles feel physically intimidated by Trip. Charles's initial reservation with communicating with Trip would most likely be attributed to it's fear of punishment by the other Vissians for breaking the Vissian rules. Charles, being mature enough for mating, was an intelligent being who knew all about Vissian society and knew what it meant to be Cogenitor more so than any human or any of the other two Vissian sexes could ever possibly have. In the short period of time Charles was with Trip it learned of human culture and freedoms and made it's own rational decision of which existence would be best for itself: to begin a new life with the humans or to continue being a Cogenitor. In the end it was the Vissian Cogenitor Charles telling the other Vissian sexes which culture it found superior, not the humans.

Finally, there was the Vissian implication that Archer would have acted similarly if one of the Enterprise's crew asked for asylum. First, if the Vissians believed the crewman in the galley were slaves they could have simply asked that question directly to them and the crewmen would most likely have enlightened them on Human culture and told them that this was not the case. As Archer stated, no one is forced to do anything on Enterprise. However, lets pretend the crewman did wish to leave Enterprise with the Vissians in hopes of a better life or to learn about their culture further. Would Archer have A) asked to meet with the crewman on the Vissian ship in an attempt to persuade them to stay aboard Enterprise or B) Met with the Vissian captain and demand that his crewman be immediately returned to Enterprise to face the consequences of his actions. From what we know of Archer he would have chosen A but the Vissians chose B. If the Vissians earnestly believed that they knew what was best for Charles they could of coaxed Charles to come back but instead they attempted to use force via Archer to make Charles return.

grigori

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10463

Report this Dec. 19 2009, 10:49 am

Quote (lostshaker @ Dec. 18 2009, 11:45 pm)
So as far as Charles' right for self determination, I don't know how the Vissian System accommodates for it. That is where my difficulty with Trip's actions originate. There is not enough information and like T'Pol said, Charles is not human.

Good point; for ALL we know, Vissian Cogenitors mature sexually early, serve their purpose in procreation for a relatively short time, THEN go on to be educated and live full lives.

We're not told either way, and we're not told on purpose. We JUST DON'T KNOW, yet, and that's the whole point Archer responds to.

Good point with the Klingons, too, and surely numerous other species with which Humans continue to inter-act on various levels without imposing Human attempts at social reform. And even if they DO (actually, I CAN picture whole movements and organizations on Earth developing AFTER formal relations have been established for just this purpose)--even if Humans DO choose eventually to try to influence another society, it WON'T be a Starfleet Captian doing it, not after the first meeting. No matter HOW much he feels for the oppressed in question.

honeybee1111

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 880

Report this Dec. 19 2009, 11:26 am

Quote
Good point; for ALL we know, Vissian Cogenitors mature sexually early, serve their purpose in procreation for a relatively short time, THEN go on to be educated and live full lives.


In that case, why would Charles be so eager for asylum? Why are we to believe the male and female Vissians over Charles? If the society is intellectually oppressing Charles, then it is fair to be uncomfortable with Trip's actions in that Charles may not be fully aware of the implications of its new-found intellectual freedoms and may be acting on impulse.

But, if Charles is intellectually free, then shouldn't its desires for personal freedom and self determination be equal to the male and female Vissians?  Does it not have autonomy over its own body at least? Why blame Trip at all? Trip offered Charles a look at another way of life, and Charles clearly decided that was a better way of life - so much so that it chose death over continued enslavement.

Again, think of the freed blacks and white abolitionists who dared tell the slaves that they had a right to an education and freedom. They were blamed for "causing trouble" and making the slaves "uppity" by giving them information. But many, if not a majority, of slaves were very interested in those ideas because it offered them a promise of a better life. If most slaves were happy and content to be slaves as the slave owners claimed (and there were some slaves who remained loyal to their masters as well as freed black slave owners), then why be so afraid of ideas?

By denying Charles access to Trip when Charles clearly wanted more information and more freedom to explore new ideas, isn't that censorship? If the status quo was so great, then why were the Vissians so afraid of Trip exposing Charles to music and teaching it to read? And, it's certainly possible that many - perhaps even a majority of cogenitors were happy with their lot in life - but doesn't Charles's desire for individual freedom count for something?

Charles isn't a child. Charles isn't retarded. Charles isn't mentally ill. Charles is daring to say - I want a different life that the one my society has forced upon me. All Trip did was expose Charles to the possibility.

If the other Vissians had offered a compromise - offering Charles more freedom in exchange for its cooperation in helping the couple get pregnant, that would be one thing. But they didn't. They dismissed Charles's desires as created by an outsider and demanded it be returned by force and against its wishes.

If you claim that Charles is not intellectually oppressed and well-treated, then it strengthens its right to make its own decisions. If it was kept childlike and in a state of complete innocence, then the situation becomes more complex because Charles may not understand its own motives and may need more time to explore its own desires.

grigori

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10463

Report this Dec. 19 2009, 1:13 pm

Quote (honeybee1111 @ Dec. 19 2009, 11:26 am)
Again, think of the freed blacks and white abolitionists who dared tell the slaves that they had a right to an education and freedom. They were blamed for "causing trouble" and making the slaves "uppity" by giving them information....
By denying Charles access to Trip when Charles clearly wanted more information and more freedom to explore new ideas, isn't that censorship? If the status quo was so great, then why were the Vissians so afraid of Trip exposing Charles to music and teaching it to read?
....If the other Vissians had offered a compromise - offering Charles more freedom in exchange for its cooperation in helping the couple get pregnant, that would be one thing. But they didn't. They dismissed Charles's desires as created by an outsider and demanded it be returned by force and against its wishes.

I don't disagree with this parallel (nice provocative parallels, btw), and know that it's probably in Trip's mind as well. I don't disagree for a moment that Charles is oppressed.

It's the context in which Archer must take action that I'm remembering. He can't do much differently than he did--with the Vissians so unwilling to compromise, as you've pointed out--and there's the tragedy of the episode. Once the "discovery" is made, the tragic "denouement" is inevitable, we have only to watch it unfold, like a train wreck in slow motion. Trip skips a couple of steps of due process, through understandable compassion, and it's everyone's undoing.

And we don't believe that Trip alone is the cause of the death; of course not. Those Vissians are intransigent, but we don't know enough of their culture to know where precisely to place the blame. Maybe it's in every aspect of the culture, at every social strata, ingrained in their entire religious history--how can Archer fight that? He'd be fighting it by making such a bold judgment against the culture right at first meeting.

NO one knew their own individual actions would result in a death.

Trip is absolutely right but cannot do anything about the situation without going against Starfleet's guidelines, such as they are (thanx NickM), and Archer sees the oppression and considers the amnesty request, but can't make such a judgment call without more information.

Without the death Humans may well have had opportunity for a dialogue. But it sure looks like the way it played out kind of ruined it for Vissians and Humans. The other tragedy of the episode.

honeybee1111

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 880

Report this Dec. 21 2009, 11:12 am

I think inherit to this episode is the rights of the state (and a species to do what is necessary to survive and protect all its citizens ) and the rights of a sentient individual to self determination. Every civilization has struggled with this, including our current one. My problem with the Vissians is that they completely dismissed the rights of Charles's as an individual and refused to seek any kind of a resolution or compromise.

On balance, it's hard to believe such a rigid society could become as successful as it clearly was.

But it is still a thought-provoking episode.

kludge77

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1477

Report this Dec. 22 2009, 4:01 pm

Wow. Who knew I would spark such a conversation!

I'm going to be reviewing another episode real soon now...

grigori

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10463

Report this Dec. 22 2009, 5:51 pm

just a suggestion, Kludge--have a quick look-see at the 10 pages of topics we already have (you can change the default at the bottom of the thread list to show more than 3-4 pages)

BECAUSE sometimes we just get started on an episode, and somehow the conversation gets pushed aside and prematurely dropped! you could pick it up again for us, IF there's one on an episode that interests you.

( Since I've been here, we haven't HAD a Cogenitor thread--so EXCELLENT call, starting this one! I mean, this is caviar to those of us who like this tough ethics sort of thing, and apparently there ARE a few of us... :) )

Good to see you're still watching away... :D

lostshaker

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2293

Report this Dec. 22 2009, 7:48 pm

Quote (grigori @ Dec. 22 2009, 5:51 pm)
this is caviar to those of us who like this tough ethics sort of thing, and apparently there ARE a few of us... :) )

Agreed. Given the amount of episodes across all the other series, I'm surprised that the other boards don't seem so heavy into debating ethics. The VGR board can be pretty good about it at times, the General Discussions board once in a blue moon, but the others lack. This is why the Enterprise Boards are my favorite. You guys will argue and debate this material quite beautifully with solid points.

grigori

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 10463

Report this Dec. 22 2009, 7:51 pm

Quote (lostshaker @ Dec. 22 2009, 7:48 pm)
Quote (grigori @ Dec. 22 2009, 5:51 pm)
this is caviar to those of us who like this tough ethics sort of thing, and apparently there ARE a few of us... :) )

Agreed. Given the amount of episodes across all the other series, I'm surprised that the other boards don't seem so heavy into debating ethics. The VGR board can be pretty good about it at times, the General Discussions board once in a blue moon, but the others lack. This is why the Enterprise Boards are my favorite. You guys will argue and debate this material quite beautifully with solid points.

I arrived here earlier this year and was hopeful, then pleased to find a number of members with very impressive skills in this kind of discussion. I learn a lot, too. :)

Oh, and lostshaker, you're most DEFINITELY in that category. What is it someone once nicely said about me? About YOU: lostshaker doesn't speak very loudly, but when he talks, EVERYone leans in to listen!

lostshaker

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2293

Report this Dec. 23 2009, 2:56 am

Thank you, grigori. I am honored.

kludge77

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1477

Report this Dec. 23 2009, 11:25 am

Quote (grigori @ Dec. 22 2009, 2:51 am)
just a suggestion, Kludge--have a quick look-see at the 10 pages of topics we already have (you can change the default at the bottom of the thread list to show more than 3-4 pages)

BECAUSE sometimes we just get started on an episode, and somehow the conversation gets pushed aside and prematurely dropped! you could pick it up again for us, IF there's one on an episode that interests you.

( Since I've been here, we haven't HAD a Cogenitor thread--so EXCELLENT call, starting this one! I mean, this is caviar to those of us who like this tough ethics sort of thing, and apparently there ARE a few of us... :) )

Good to see you're still watching away... :D

Thanks for the tip! I checked through the archives before I posted. I didn't realize there were more that 3 back pages...

BrotherofShran01

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 23344

Report this Dec. 25 2009, 8:43 am

Quote (Yanks @ Dec. 24 2009, 3:23 pm)
Quote (kludge77 @ Dec. 22 2009, 4:01 pm)
Wow. Who knew I would spark such a conversation!

I'm going to be reviewing another episode real soon now...

This episode always sparks debate. Although I haven't seen a thread about this ep that has revealed so much intelligent debate though :cool:

It had been an interesting debate. I still have to side with Trip on this one. This is my position and I chose not to debate the issue at this time. I'm an action guy first and a debater last (Unless there is a topic that I get worked up about -Treaty of Algeron).

Recently logged in

Users browsing this forum: CO_Fowler

Forum Permissions

You cannot post new topics in this forum

You cannot reply to topics in this forum

You cannot delete posts in this forum