AssimilatedThose who’ve watched Star Trek know the meaning of the title. The franchise is famous for weaving lessons about humanity into the plot line to challenge our future, enlightened selves to overcome with rational perseverance. In one of the series they needed a scary, harsh protagonist to catalyze new lessons. Enter, the Borg.

Lost in the entertainment value of this hive-minded nightmare foe, most viewers missed the point the writers were making: the dark side of a mechanized society is oppression. To this end, an efficient collective will assimilate anything that serves its singular objective and nothing can stop it. There’s no reasoning with it, for no empathy or compassion exists that one could appeal to. It takes what it needs with icy, surgical precision and any population it comes in contact with is doomed. The Borg don’t kill or displace–they assimilate–that’s the most nightmarish part. Upon contact, the life you knew is over, any useful knowledge in your brain is extracted to add power to the collective, and devices are implanted to control you and ensure your servitude.

All hope is lost when confronting something that wants everything, intends to end you, has more power, all knowledge, and no emotion. So they aren’t exaggerating when they greet you with their diabolical slogan, “Resistance is futile.”

There are Many Borgs

Hive MindThis metaphor plays out on so many levels in our real world. Countries wage wars for strategic assets. Cities expand by annexing surrounding neighborhoods. Government expands by acting very much like Borg, not directly by force in the USA, but through escalating codepedencies. Some of this is necessary–like roads–but so much more is unnecessary bloat. Government buying cars for staff to drive to meetings is one example. Most everyone already has a car they can be reimbursed for on a per-mile basis. Why are we wasting resources replicating what they already have access to?

Did you know government doesn’t pay for vehicle insurance, but grants itself the exclusive ability to self-insure? Everyone else is required to have insurance, charged whatever a private corporation decides. Government leaves it to the free market to determine the price through supply and demand, but when the government demand is removed from the picture, it disrupts the market and disadvantages individuals. This happens a LOT in government. Mainly on the state and federal levels where they have the authority, there are so many situations where government opts not to participate or uses its scale to make special deals to the exclusion of others (health insurance coverage). That’s where it deviates from the Borg model. The fictional Borg turns out to be kinder in the long run than our governments currently act.

Ever notice that government always grows and never shrinks? That’s an old Borg thing. We’ve already been assimilated into this and it’s going to get worse as automation and artificial intelligence replaces humans in many jobs. Since the 50’s we’ve been promised that automation would free us from so much toil, but over and over again we’re just marginalized into working the same or more hours to survive.

Technology is the newer Borg trick: inserting devices into the body of society to control society. The Internet has become this, as both a mind recording device through capturing everything you do, and as a mind-reading device through analyzing your patterns to predict what you will do next. All this data available to both government and private companies sanctioned by government like pirates to cruise communities to steal from. It’s truly amazing that in the midst of such an epic privacy invasion many people continue to interact with social media using their real names.

TreadmillEverything you’ve been programmed to need and want in this society enslaves you to society’s machinery and you can never be free of it, not the way we’ve defined our current capitalistic democracy, nor any government these days. The American dream has always been to work hard so you can own your own home and be left alone, but that’s all an illusion. That money you saved? It becomes worthless because of inflation. Savings accounts can’t keep up with inflation and if you bet on the stock market you could lose everything. Because of this, you are never done working. If you somehow achieve home ownership and somehow pay off your loans, you are still sacked with paying annual property taxes that continue to increase. If you don’t pay, government takes it all. Where’s the freedom in this?

There’s a bigger point to be made. The context needed to be set, so consider all of the above as foreplay to get you in the correct state of mind to ponder the most oppressive mode of assimilation that is coming for you.

Check back to read the conclusion of this story.