Lesson 096: Cultural heritage and assimilation
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 6/17 ('Birthright: Part II')


On a Romulan-held former prison planet, Klingons and Romulans have lived together peacefully for decades.

However, as Worf, the Klingon Chief of Security on board the Enterprise, arrives on the planet, he quickly learns that the Klingon culture is totally suppressed by the local Klingons and nothing about the true Klingon warrior ways of life are taught to the Klingon young.

As Worf begins telling the stories of the Klingon home world and the Klingon ways of the warrior to the younger generation of Klingons on the prison planet, the youth are compelled and invigorated by Worf's words of honor and pride in the Klingon culture.


As mankind grows ever closer together, due mostly to technology, we experience the wide variety of cultures that exists in our world today at a much faster pace.

In the US, which is often considered to be the largest melting pot of cultures on our planet, one can experience the wonderful diversification of mankind, sometimes within just a single neighborhood.

Growing up in mixed communities offers each individual an opportunity to learn and absorb parts of other cultures.

As new generations are introduced or born into such multi-cultural environments, it is only natural that assimilation into the local inhabitant's culture prevails. However, such assimilation does not preclude the nurturing within that environment of one's own culture, that which has been gained by heritage.

In the US, promotion of one's own culture is encouraged through distinct religious organizations, language classes, community gatherings and festivals.

To deliberately abort the culture, and especially language, of one's heritage is to deprive the individual of an additional dimension and depth to their lives.

Children are always encouraged to expand their horizons of learning by experiencing sports, music, art, etc., to make them more compatible with the world around them. Learning of their cultural heritage and former mother tongue can be considered as nothing more than just another facet of their education.

Just as experiencing cultures beyond our own gains us insights into our fellow humans, the opposite is also true, and that excluding and ignoring other cultures only segregate us from each other.

If indeed we were scattered all over the world, cursed with different languages as a mandate to separate us (as per the story of the Tower of Babel from the Christian Bible), then we had better learn to continue to translate each others words and understand each others cultural aspects of life if we are to continue to grow into a unified world.

Appreciating the variety in mankind does not perpetuate separation between us; rather, the bi-lingual, bi-cultural individual helps us to bridge the gaps between us.

The very basis of the alien Vulcan philosophy is the acknowledgment and acceptance of the vast variable nature of the Universe, symbolized by the IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations).

We humans are fortunate enough to celebrate the IDIC right here on our home world, everyday, within our own neighborhood communities.

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