#KindnessIsALiteracy: Geordi La Forge
#KindnessIsALiteracy is a recurring series on TrekEthicist.com that profiles individual characters and how they magnify and represent the literacy of kindness
In Star Trek: Insurrection, we see what was always just underneath the surface as Geordi La Forge sees the sunrise for the first time and is clearly almost crying. His eyes had completely regenerated from the metaphasic particles on the planet. However, the recaptured youth of spirit that, for the others, enhances their clarity of vigor, wasn’t needed to reframe Geordi’s youthful kindness. That has always been there; always already existing through his vibrant courage and tenacity of character that others on the crew benefited from, though perhaps overlooked specifically as Geordi’s contagious trait.
In the Voyager episode, “Timeless,” (1998) Geordi La Forge is serving as a captain attempting to stop Harry and Chakotay from altering the timeline to rescue the Voyager crew. The interaction between Geordi and Chakoty is respectful and kind, despite the confrontational nature of each doing what they must do to accomplish their respective missions.
LAFORGE [on monitor]: If you succeed, countless lives will be affected.
CHAKOTAY: We’re here to save one hundred and fifty lives. Our crew.
LAFORGE [on monitor]: I understand and I might be doing the same thing if I were in your position, but I’ve got my own crew to protect, not to mention fifteen years of history. So, I’m asking you again. Stand down, and return the transmitter.
CHAKOTAY: You know I can’t do that.
LAFORGE [on monitor]: And you know I have to try to stop you.
CHAKOTAY: Yes, I know. Good luck.
LAFORGE [on monitor]: Same to you.
This instance of Geordi being at command recalls “Arsenal of Freedom” (1988) in which he is left in charge of the Enterprise and strives to defend his position as Lt. Logan contests La Forge’s ability to handle the responsibility competently. Geordi’s response was ultimately not to censor Logan, but to place his in command of the saucer section as La Forge committed to the legendary, and rare, saucer separation to handle both tasks to assuring the crews safety and attempting to rescue the away team left on the planet Minos. In this instance, Geordi did not let conflict override his gifts of trust and transparency, but worked with the opposing factors, and crew (i.e. Lt. Logan) to manage the mission with dexterity and abundant clarity of vision.
There are no greater treasured friendships in the Star Trek universe, than the kindness exhibited between Geordi and Data. In “The Next Phase” (1992), Data refers to Geordi as his best friend when it is falsely believed that Geordi and Ro have died. There is a moment after Geordi returns that Data clearly mimics the expressions of someone who had believed he had lost his best friend forever, but Geordi understands Data’s humanity and comforts him. The very fact that Geordi can relate to Data so well is, perhaps, because Data allows him to through his quest to become more human. Geordi’s tenderness was always there, ready to give himself emotionally to others with his heart on his sleeve. However, in the maxims of duty, either due to rank or the limits of human expressions that others force on us, he is simply not often given the opportunity to be his true self and release the compassion that is always at the surface of his presence.
Geordi’s kindness is not reserved just for his friends. He often exhibits advanced conflict resolution skills. In the episode, “The Enemy” (1989) as he is left behind on a planet with stagnating electromagnetic storms and at the mercy of his captor, the Romulan, Bochra, Geordi seals a trusting relationship so that Bochra can set aside his instinctual loathing for the Federation. With the teamwork that follows, Geordi and Bochra are able to free themselves from the planet and establish one small step towards a resolution of long standing conflict between the Romulans and the Federation, at least in practice.
The reservoir of Geordi La Forge’s abundant kindness is an innate leadership tool that enhances his presence, persistent vision, and clarity of composed skills. Without La Forge the Enterprise would have lacked the basic element of evolved humanity that Star Trek had entirely set out to project. What is gained from his austere deliberateness of nicety is the single impression that humanity can find strength of mind despite perceived weaknesses or the elemental bigotry of others. There is hope for a time-space of collected, embraced, kindness of wisdom that allows and elaborates on the futures of our dreams of hope without end.