Saturday Morning Memo.

December 2, 2017 | Posted in General


My dad was a “Trekkie” of the highest order. Never missed an episode, would often times use Spock’s “Mind Meld” on me in an attempt to infuse his thoughts into my brain, trying to get me to cut the grass and take out the trash on his schedule, not mine.

While I appreciate the reruns all these years later, never really got into Kirk, Bones, Scotty and Spock like he did.

But there was this one episode that hooked me in back in 1967 when I was nine and happened to catch it again last week fifty years later.

“Arena” was written by Gene L. Coon, based on a short story of the same name by Fredric Brown, and directed by Joseph Pevney. The episode introduces the Gorn- a fictional extraterrestrial humanoid reptilian species*. In the episode, while pursuing an unknown enemy for an apparently unprovoked attack, Captain Kirk is forced by powerful entities to battle the opposing Gorn captain unarmed.

Kirk attempts to communicate with the Gorn, but receives no response. The Gorn tracks down Kirk, and Kirk realizes he is outmatched physically and relies on his agility to outrun the Gorn. Kirk gets caught in a rope trap set by the Gorn that injures his leg and slows him down. The Gorn finally communicates with Kirk via the translation device and offers to put him out of his misery. Kirk eventually “outwits” the Gorn and turns the tables then Kirk lies in wait for the Gorn and fires on him, severely wounding the alien. Kirk prepares to strike the Gorn to kill him, but realizes the Gorn’s attack on Cestus III was likely only in self-defense, and allows the Gorn to live. Suddenly, the Gorn disappears, and a Metron appears to Kirk, congratulating him on not only winning the battle but showing the advanced trait of mercy for one’s enemies.

Didja get all that? Good.

That famous first season episode, #18, production #19, first broadcast January 19, 1967 pretty much explains everything going on on the world today…and every day.

We are all both Kirk and Gorn on some level.

Our “Inner Kirk” is the “neomammalian complex” consisting of the cerebral neocortex, a structure found uniquely in higher mammals, and especially humans. It is regarded as the most recent step in the evolution of the mammalian brain, conferring the ability for language, abstraction, planning, and perception.

Our “Inner Gorn” is our reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or “reptilian brain.” The term derives from the idea that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures.The reptilian complex is responsible for species-typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.

Finally we also have the “paleomammalian brain” but that’s for another time.

Three brains inside every human, some more developed than others, often an ongoing tug-of-war over which “brain” is in charge, running the show or at the helm.

The reptilian brain is the machine behind the scenes as it were, all about our survival and is keeps us functioning without conscious thought when it comes to food, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and reproduction, among many other system functions.

The Gorn-lizard brain at its very basic is all about fight or flight. If constantly stoked and poked at, backed into a corner and with no other way out, it will fight until the death…or the next Facebook post, text message or “breaking news.”

The Kirk-evolved brain is about thought, processing, critical thinking, assement, learning and communication from a higher point, less reliant knee-jerk emotion and more on perspective. It’s more about response than reaction.

Every moment of every day, especially as unsocial media drenches our somewhat ancient limbic system with content and information that is difficult for the Kirk Brain to process rapidly and stokes the Gorn Brain easily, not hard to see the results.

My conclusion is that most humans over the age of 25 have at this point some form of PTSD. As a veteran who as worked with other vets on military related PTSD, I do not make that statement lightly. Anything that creates trauma, left unprocessed causes a form of stress that is like a constant, toxic leak in our lives, to a greater or lesser degree.

At this point in our “evolution” we are “the walking wounded” spiritually, mentally, emotionally, a species still trying to figure out why humans would stand in line to buy a phone that costs more than my first car…well…at least that’s what I am trying to wrap my Kirk mind around at some point each day.

There is nothing more challenging that the constant bombardment of information you can’t use, about human behavior you cannot change, leaving you frustrated, exhausted, confused, angry, bitter, broken and hopeless.

Its called “the news.”

For those who have become hooked into stuff that keeps their lizard brain on fire, on the lookout for the next enemy attack or battle, headlines that feed the lowest part of their gray matter…matters more than just about anything-its very survival depends on it.

For those who look past the headlines for lifelines of common sense, indicators of truth and progress, confirmation that humanity isn’t just swirling down the cosmic toilet bowl, waiting for the hand of fate to flush it all way, looking to keep their higher mind intact, the struggle is very real, and often times daunting.

When Kirk allows Gorn to live, understanding why the lizard acted the way it did, the power shifted and the energy was lifted. When you spot a Gorn, you know it. Same for the Kirk’s in your life.

Oh yea…that fictional* asterisk for a extraterrestrial humanoid reptilian species?

Its a real species…within every one of us.

So now you know what’s really going on and you can either feed the Gorn or feed Kirk but you can’t do both at the same time.

In order to win the battle you must know your enemy. To know your enemy you have to first know yourself.

“Live long and prosper…”



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