Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek Rocks

I just saw the new Star Trek. The characters are well written and ably fleshed out by the actors and director JJ Abrams.

Spock is my favorite, always wrestling with his human side to great effect. Spock is a living study in the split-brain theory -- or at least the old version of it.

On one side, logic and reasoning prevails. This is the enlightenment in action, the rational course of events. The other side is less structured and more seat of the pants.

Although neuroscientists now know that both sides work together and emotions permeate nearly everything we do, it's not easy to make that split down the middle of the corpus callosum, the wiring that connects both hemispheres. The brain is more like a network of networks. Sort of like an organic internet that tells the body what to do.

Nevertheless, Spock represents the duality of human nature. We want to do the right thing, but we always get tripped up by gut instincts, hate, envy, revenge, lust, greed and a host of other emotions that make us totally anti-Vulcan.

James Tiberius Kirk is all instinct. He seems to have very little time to contemplate his actions; he knows what he's going to do before he can access the thought. He's a hair-trigger, jump into bed, ride'em high cowboy. He doesn't seem to worry about consequences and has the confidence of a gunfighter.

Spock cannot complete his self or resolve his conflicts without Kirk, who is the man Spock could be but can't be. Together, well, they boldly go where no one has gone before.

Filling out this symphony of personalities is Bones McCoy, the ever-cranky doctor; Chekov, the bright kid with a syrupy accent; Sulu the warrior; Uhuru the linguist and Scotty the eccentric engineer. I'm not sure if every vessel has these kinds of folks on board, but they better if they want to go anywhere.

Anyway, the movie is great. I've seen them all plus the TV shows. The theme still sounds hokey, but it will put a smile on your face. The franchise is alive and well and freshened up a bit for a new century, although I'm not sure which one.

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