“KHAN! How can one man’s name strike a different emotional response in three different people?”
By G. P. Avants
With a new revival of the Star Trek franchise I have been dabbling into the series and feature films again. Since we at God Among Geeks and Neekology 101 love to explore the character of our favorite fandom characters. So I found myself checking out the newer J. J Abrams films. Star Trek Out of Darkness is lit with character pathos, shades of grey moral decision making, while hitting heights and lows that remind us why we were drawn into Star Trek in the first place. It is in many ways a remake of Star Trek Wrath of Khan yet in many ways some of the character roles are reversed. That decision makes sense because the story has been turned on its ear.
We may not all admit it, but our emotions at times can master us. It’s how we respond to them that turns the tide of our story. If there ever three perfect people to analyze their emotional IQ it would be the iconic Star Trek dream tram trio of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy. The best way to look at the emotional spectrum is to place Spock on one end in the pure logic and reason category, McCoy as the highly emotional other end of the scale, and Kirk in a somewhat balance of the two. You could say that these three are the interpersonal thermometer of the state of the Enterprise and her crew at any given moment.
In truth, The USS Enterprise is more than an elegant and well-endowed starship manned by a fearless crew of Federation officers. She is home to a family of friends who have bonded over the course of time.Their adventures and sometimes skin of the teeth decisions have tested their collective limits.
James Kirk, in Star Trek’s Into Darkness, is about to face his greatest nemesis who will threaten the idyllic life of his crew and the course of life the Federation has created. His code name: John Harrington, but his real name is one spoken is a broken hissing whisper when his identity is discovered. “My name is…Khan.” He is a savage warrior with 300 years of battle weary experience. He too is a captain of his own destiny. Khan Noonien Singh is as fiercely devoted to his 60 +crew members as Kirk is to his. In an emotional rant Khan shares the rationale for all his seemingly heartless acts. “Tell me, Kirk,” Khan muses, “is there anything you wouldn’t do for your crew?”
“Khan?”The captain pauses and considers his next words carefully.
Of course as the Enterprise attempts to escape an enemy trap in space, the real internal battle ensures. The emotional decisions made in the heat of passion have to be made. Kirk in his role as captain is given counsel before he changes the course of his crews destiny. As the trio discussed the dire situation they are about to embark on Kirk’s emotions are already beginning to spike. How the captain how reacts ripples through the morale of his crew.
“Captain, it would do you well to manage your emotions,” Spock reminds him. He infers a little logic and reason will keep his head in the game. While Kirk processes that one ear, the doctor counters in his other.
“Damn it, man…” always prefaces McCoy’s responses. Think about his heart and the stress he needs to consider.
Of course with a raised eyebrow Spock retorts, “Really Doctor you could stand to govern your emotions as well.”
The enemy has been matched, set, and check-mated. Yet, after the death-defying conflict against greater odds the faithful Enterprise and crew are crippled and falling to Earth. The Captain takes in the counsel of logic and emotion, albeit charged with his caviler risk-taking nature, and Kirk sacrifices his life for his crew. He braves the radioactive core to give the crew a fighting chance to survive. Spock finds him radiated, depleted and dying. The roles of Kirk and Spock truly have reversed in this alternate Star Trek.
“Captain?,” Spock’s voice cracks.
“The crew out of danger?”
“Yes,” Spock took a page out of Kirk’s book, put logic aside, “I only did what I felt you would do.”
“And I did the logical choice like you would have done, Spock.”’
Spock’s face ripples. His logic is failing and maybe for the first time lotions. “I no longer want to.”
As the Captain slips into death, Mr. Spock’s emotional side painfully comes to life. In some would see as a breaking of an emotional bulwark. Spock expresses his repressed anger, sadness, and love with one carefully articulated and punctuated word:
As Mr. Spock learned emotions have their place and maybe a little exercise of them really is the key to long-term emotional health. Dr. McCoy shows us that emotions are important and getting them a check up regularly will help the heart to not shut down the reasoning on the brain. As the good captain reminds us all that how we respond to our emotional intelligence will greatly influence the lives of the people in our lives.
As an ordinary man with nerdy tendencies, and pushing my mid-fifties. I have been learning a lot about what real health constitutes. Some us men focus solely on keeping that mid section from expanding and our hairline from retreating. (Such a constant fight). However, we were created by God as beautifully complicated individuals. It’s easy to overlook or stunt the inner man. The mental, emotional, and even deeper spiritual self calls or even screams with choice expletives just to get our attention. Consider your emotions, men, and what working through them and experiencing them mean to us and the people closest to us. I have said this before, have you ever wonder why women live longer and handle stress better than men? (Quit shaking your head, you know that’s true.) Think about what issues you could tackle or be better prepared for if you took a little more daily personal emotional-scaping.
Getting that interpersonal part of your person might be a very reasonable and logical thing to do. Have you taken stock of your emotional life? Who is a Khan in you life that has actually caused you to build your emotional self?