Becoming whole: Star Trek, women and brains

 

As part my cultural education, I watched Spock’s Brain from the Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) last night.

Common themes: what to do with powerful women, and rationality and sentiment

From the few episodes of TOS I have seen, there seem to be some common themes.

In Spock’s Brain, it is powerful (although sometimes vacuous) women, and how to relate to and deal with them. In The Galileo Seven, the relationship between rationality and sentiment as played out between Spock and his shipmates.

Fascination with polarities, and how it looks in daily life when embraced

In both cases, and I am sure many others (which I would discover by watching more episodes), there is a fascination and curiosity with polarities, and an active attempt to reconcile the poles with each other.

What is the relationship between men and women, and the masculine and feminine, when women gains more power in society, when men must learn to share power with women, when women find the masculine in themselves and men ind the feminine in themselves? What is the relationship between rationality and sentiment, between head and body, and how does it look when both are included? How does it play itself out in real life? How does it look in the grittiness in our daily interactions?

Mirroring at cultural and individual levels

This is pretty obvious: those themes, and many others from TOS, were very much alive in the mid and late 1960s, at both collective and individual levels.

As a culture, the leading edge in the western world of the 60s was at green, shifting into the postmodern, pluralism, a widening circle of concern that includes women, other ethnicities, and the Earth as a whole. It was the larger scale birth of the ecology movement, the human potential movement and deepening feminism.

And along with this, as a rough parallel on a personal level, there was a shift into the centaur level, finding ourselves, in our own immediate experience and daily life, as the whole beyond and including body and psyche. This was the larger scale birth of the western fascination with and exploration of mediation, yoga, projection work, and innumerable (other) mind-body practices.

Star Trek picked this up, which may be one of the reasons there is still an active interest in the original series (apart from nostalgia, and its quirkiness and humor.)

Shift: found and worked at

Any shift from having the center of gravity in one end of a polarity to embrace the polarity as a whole, has two aspects.

:: Found

One is the discovery and the noticing of the polarity. It has always been there, it just looked fragmented when there was an exclusive identification with one end.

Men and women have always had both masculine and feminine qualities. It is just that culture and gender identity has filtered these qualities so that some come out and are embraced, and others remain hidden and excluded.

And there is always the whole of psyche and body: of rationality and feelings, of feminine and masculine, of persona and shadow. It is always there, although again may not be noticed if the conscious identification is with only aspects of this whole.

All that is needed here is just to notice what already is. Nothing needs to change, apart from this noticing.

I can just notice that there are indeed feminine and masculine qualities in me, independent of my biological sex and cultural gender. I can notice the whole beyond and embracing my whole human self, including psyche and body, the feminine and masculine, persona and shadow.

:: Worked at

At the same there, there is an aspect of exploration, discovery, testing out, seeing how it plays itself out in real life.

How does it look in society when women and men are more equal in terms of power? How does it look in my life if I find myself as the larger whole which includes the feminine and masculine, the rational and feelings, persona and shadow? What are the roles of these aspects in this new situations? How does it play itself out? How does it change and mature over time, as I become more familiar with all of these aspects, these ways of being in the world?

And this exploration is what some of the TOS episodes seem to mirror: how does it look at collective and individual levels, when we embrace more of what we already are?

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