04 April 2008

The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within: When Captain Kirk Splits
If you are a Trekkie, you might remember the very early “Star Trek” episode (#5) entitled “The Enemy Within.” Although dated—it was aired on October 6, 1966 (Stardate 1672.1)—it is a perfect example of Picasso’s quote and the core work of this book. I quote from the video jacket:

A transporter malfunction causes Kirk to be split into separate beings: one compassionate, the other savage. Spock and McCoy suffer along with their friend as Kirk confronts a side of his nature no man should see. His only hope for survival is to reunite his two selves.

Kirk has to destroy his image of himself as a “good” man if he is to survive.
Kirk’s savage or what I would call primal self gets split off. This is the enemy or beast within. This is the side of us the Inner Critic doesn’t want to let out. This side of Kirk is lustful, greedy, murderous; he incarnates all the deadly sins. But without his primal self, the “compassionate” side of Kirk begins to wither on the vine. He loses his ability to make a decision much less be in command of the Enterprise and, because of his indecisiveness, some of his crew are threatened with death. The compassionate side of Kirk, the Captain in Kirk, cannot function without his primal self. And the primal self, while at first roaming the ship and leaving havoc in his wake, also begins to weaken and soon is close to death.

The Embrace of Wholeness
While Kirk would like to let this side of him die, Dr. Spock points out that he cannot. He needs this part of him if he is to survive. It is this part of him, tempered with compassion and intellect, that makes him a leader. In a very touching finale, the two sides of Kirk not only unite but embrace one another, and the compassionate side of Kirk accepts his darkside with love. Only then can the real Captain Kirk step forward and take control of the ship once more. In essence, Kirk has to destroy his image of himself as a “good” man if he is to survive. He has to let his crew see that he, like all humans, has this self seething with all the primal instincts, and more importantly, he has to embrace, to love his darkside.
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