Our enemy within

In the Star Trek episode The Enemy Within, a transporter accident splits Captain Kirk into two Captain kirks, each representing half of his personality.

“Good” Kirk is too docile and timid to make decisions. He lacks confidence and the ability to assert himself. He has no teeth, so to speak.

“Bad” Kirk, on the other hand, storms into McCoy’s office demanding liquor and proceeds to carouse drunkenly about the ship, at one point attempting sexual assault on Yeoman Rand. He’s all impulse with no ability to self-regulate.

In the end, it’s understood that both of these sides of our personalities keep each other in check and in the absence of one or the other, we become extremists.

Good Kirk’s empathy counters his own innate aggressive tendencies. Robbed of it, he’s out of control. Likewise, when robbed of Bad Kirk’s drive, he becomes weak and incompetent.

This episode perfectly encapsulates 21st century political divisiveness. Liberals are supposed to push society forward, and conservatives are supposed to help keep it in check and reel it in when it gets too kooky. That’s pretty much the gist of how it should work, as I see it.

We need both. Everybody needs to hop back onto the transporter pad so that Scotty can beam us into one critically thinking entity that knows how to compromise with itself. In order for that to happen, though, we must acknowledge that we need each other.


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