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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

Commander Burnham's Conundrum


Before Michael Burnham

was a commander,

no less in Star Fleet,

she was a little girl.

A little girl who had ostensibly

lost both her parents

in a Klingon raid…

a little girl who was adopted

by Spock’s parents,

Sarek and Amanda.

As if surviving

the Klingon raid

was not enough trauma,

the poor girl found herself…

the target of Vulcan terrorists

known as

the Logic Extremists.

Like most children

little Michael felt responsible

for her parents’ safety,

which fed into her survivor’s guilt.

In light of the Logic Extremists

she felt her presence

in Sarek and Amanda’s household

put their family in harm’s way.

So she ran off

into the Vulcan wilderness

where she was promptly…

chased down by a great beasty

determined to make of her

a delicious meal.

Let’s explore this

from the perspective

of neuroscience,

and Taoism, and Star Wars.

Our brain-stem

is all about personal survival

and is quite willing to put others at risk

in the hopes of furthering its life.

In the Tao Te Ching

this is known as Yang,

or Toxic Masculinity.

And in the Star Wars galaxy

this could be attributed

to the influence

of the dark side.

All healthy mammals

have a fully functional

mid-brain…

replete with mirror neurons,

and an anterior gyrate

comprising our empathy center.

In the Tao Te Ching

this is known as Yin

or Healing Femininity.

And in the Star Wars galaxy

this is personified

by the light side of the force.

It is this empathy center

that would cause young Michael

to shudder at the thought

of endangering her foster family.

But it is also the same

neurological component

that would influence…

the Vulcan ambassador

and his family

to protect this young refugee

at any cost.

For evolution has selected

to wire our reward center

to our empathy center…

thus ensuring that love

is the key to fulfilment.

The defining emotion

of our brain-stem’s

Toxic Masculinity

is fear.

Likewise, the defining emotion

of our mid-brain’s

Healing Femininity

is love.

Two millennia ago

an insightful Jew wrote,

“…perfect love drives out fear.”

If our country is to survive,

no less thrive,

we must forsake ruthless fear

and embrace selfless love.

It is what Sarek did,

it is what Qui Gon Jinn did,

it is the key to true greatness.

But love can neither be commanded

nor legislated.

It must be inspired.

We could become the men and women,

who’s love burns so pure

and so bright…

that it wakes up

the rest of humanity

from its fevered delirium

of competition and cruelty.



Let us conclude

with a simple

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