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In the episode The Enemy Within, a transporter malfunction splits Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in two. One Kirk seems good, the other violent and evil.
As the episode unfolds we learn that the negative-seeming aspects of Kirk's personality are fundamental to his ability to function professionally as the Captain.
He must embrace both sides of his nature in order to be an integrated human being.
Despite an erroneous image of being a bit of a clown, Shatner's Kirk is nothing like the caricatures. Captain Kirk is typically very serious. He is cool headed, focussed; tightly disciplined.
He puts the safety of the ship and its crew first. His orders are Law. Kirk brooks no incompetence; he will step in immediately and take over if a crew member falters in their duty.
When intoxicated by an inhibition freeing virus Kirk chooses his ship over the women in the crew. This occurs again in the episode This Side of Paradise.
Captain Kirk's good and bad sides work in harmony to produce an impressive balance.
Although moderately patient and courteous with the crew, he is often terse and stern; speaking in a clipped, concise manner at all times. Kirk reserves his humour for his friends.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
In the episode Tapestry, Captain Picard is given the opportunity to re-live an incident from his Academy days which nearly cost him his life. Instead of behaving rashly, he plays it safe.
The subsequent course of his life is changed and he finds himself a much meeker man. Picard recognises that even the bad choices we make are perhaps instrumental in making us the person we are today.
Suppressing his violent traits makes him ineffectual as a Captain.
Ideally, we may seek 'to do the right thing' and 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. It is not always possible to please everyone all the time.
Often, we may do what seems necessary rather than what is right. The morality of our choices is perhaps a matter of perspective... Sometimes, we fail to be our better selves.
Violence in modern culture
There are popular characters in our culture who serve to highlight people's need to express socially inappropriate aspects of their personality e.g. Batman, Darth Maul or Captain Nemo.
Society is not fair and never will be. Frustration, anger, resentment, injustice continue to exist.
Characters who express 'violent behaviour' in fictional stories enable the audience to experience negative and often hostile emotional states in a relatively innocuous manner.
If you recall the example of The Enemy Within from the original Star Trek series, these antisocial emotions are not 'bad' per se; they are part of what make us who and what we are.
The thrill of violence?
These film clips represent exciting examples of violence:
Kingsman: Bar fight
Kick Ass: Big Daddy warehouse scene
Star Wars Episode 1 trailer: Fear is my ally
Blade: First appearance
Avengers Assemble: Puny god
Troy: Achilles first appearance
Last Action Hero: Schwarzenegger as Hamlet
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Sword vs gun
Batman Begins: First appearance
Chronicles of Riddick: I'll kill you with my tea cup
Dark Knight: Bat pod
Leon: Swat team
John Carter: Worth fighting for
Edge of Tomorrow: Beach battle
Not so friendly?
But is violence something to embrace?
Occasionally, situations require us to inflict pain in order to survive. This is not something to be proud of or to get lost in. But it is part of us.
Light resides in darkness. Easiness is attained
Aim for strength, control, patience and focus. Be resolute, fierce yet intelligent. Avoid the use of violence but recognise that is occasionally necessary.
created 1 September 2002
Last updated 29 August 2019