So, there’s this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (stay with me on this) wherein Data is working with a scientist (Dr. Marr) to communicate to this giant crystalline entity that killed her son when Data’s brother Lore aided the entity in wiping out an entire colony. Dr. Marr hates Data because she thinks he’s in with the entity, too, since his brother was before. She makes her hatred no secret, insulting and threatening him and being quite cruel – all of which does not affect Data in the slightest, he being an emotionless android and all.
After a while, Dr. Marr realizes that Data is innocent and has the best of intentions to help her, and she comes to him to apologize for being so cruel. She apologizes, but Data reassures her that she didn’t hurt him because he has no feelings to be hurt.
Even knowing that, Dr. Marr apologizes many times. The pain on her face as she recalls her cruelty is obvious – and struck a deep chord within me.
She’s not apologizing to Data, not after the first time. She’s apologizing to herself.
We hurt ourselves when we hurt others.
Even though Dr. Marr couldn’t actually hurt Data, she tried – and in the trying, hurt herself.
We’re not meant for cruelty. We’re not meant for spite. Hatred is really fear, bubbling up and driving us to do and say things our hearts don’t resonate with, if we could hear our hearts over our racing screaming fears.
Deep down, we know we’re all connected – and we feel that connection in our emotions. Emotions are often shared; sadness passes around, joy can brighten others, misery is contagious. And when we’re hurtful to someone, we share in that hurt.
Deep down, we’re all connected. More than that, we’re all bits of the same stuff. Stardust. Spirit. Universal Oneness.
It is all the more important, then, to be kind to ourselves and kind to others.