A question of friendship

I remember weird tidbits, like "i" before "e" except after "c" and the word "weird." One such tidbit is from the 1980's Star Trek Next Generation. The android character Data was struggling with the concept of human emotions and attachments. In conversation with a crew member who was about to leave the Enterprise for a different assignment, she said to Data, "I'll miss you." Data responded, "My circuits have grown habituated to the frequent presence of your sensory input as well." Sigh. Is that what it is?

 Just yesterday, NASA's comet-chasing spacecraft "Stardust" was ordered to burn all its remaining fuel and to shut down permanently, after a very successful 12-year mission. For Allan Cheuvront, the Stardust program manager for Lockheed Martin, it was "Like saying goodbye to a friend." Cheuvront had worked on the probe since 1996, when it was still in the design stage. He had an emotional attachment bond with a piece of machinery millions of miles off in space. It was personal.

 These attachment bonds are one way we maintain the illusion of continuity, identity and stability in an otherwise chaotic world. People come and go. Friends are made and lost. Some who run off to join the circus are remembered fondly with a wish to meet again. Others depart with a "Good riddance, I'm glad that's over with." A few hang around for a very long time. The Course tells us that all who meet shall meet again, but in an entirely different part of the book it describes what it means to really "meet" another, soul to soul.

 Did the NASA Stardust spacecraft have an inherent God-created identity, called a soul, for Cheuvront to meet and re-connect with? I don't think so, but there is no litmus test for this. Was the Star Trek character Data a creation of the Son of God imbued by his creator with the spark of eternity? Maybe, if you wish. It was just a story.
-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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