Constraints, Ego and Star Trek

kirk-spock-fightMy friend X had a great insight- “You are very good at motivation but not so good with constraints.” I am more captain Kirk and less Spock. Kirk is capable of great things but is egotistical, reckless, emotion driven. High amplitude Kirk needs Spock to chop off the downside!

Without Spock, Kirk is at best a vision who will find a glorious death- since you don’t need to plan for anything after that dramatic gesture- and at worst, the talented could have been, drinking himself to death since life has disappointed him. Without Kirk, Spock becomes an incredibly competent but soulless bureaucrat who composes mathematically complex music that 3 people listen to, and the only reason he knows he is alive is because he goes for his annual check-ups on the dot and his doctor tells him that he is in great shape.

When these two combine to form a high performance team, the universe applauds. Theirs is not an easy marriage but oh it is glorious. That team is so life affirming because it represents the best of us. Creativity and vision evolving with intelligent constraints. To stay married they both have to rise to that challenge not just skate by. Important problems are the third leg of that stool- without goals bigger than themselves their ego and dissimilarities would prevent any friendship and just result in puzzled irritation. Puzzled because intuitively a part of them seeks what the other has to be complete and irritation because just the fiber of the other’s being is the opposite of theirs.

We should all know that feeling of being on a team that takes us to places we could have never gone! To explore the ourselves and the universe for the possibilities of our talent and hard work. That is what the best kind of existence is about.

A part of the reason I have set myself difficult goals for this year is because I will have to channel Spock, manufacture him, find him (and other supporting members) around me. There are other reasons- first- I have never had short term goals- I have mostly acted on aspirations (which is philosophy) and the desire to avoid failure (survival). I have never planned and followed an objective, scientific process to improve myself given self-imposed, explicit. short to medium term goals. However, I am ambitious. So my approach for evolution has been to take risk: put myself in harder and harder situations, try to get past those and see what happens. I evolve as a result. This style lacks purpose; but more troublingly, makes me depend on external beatings for evolution. The biggest flaw is that this style prepares me for barely good enough, albeit in a tough environment

Just good enough is ego satisfying and survival at best. It is a lack of commitment. Being the best is a different mindset. It may involve many things at which I am only just good enough, but I am explicitly trying to reach my limit in something that I stand for. Only surviving tough situations while floating around in a miasma of general malcontent with the universe is quite ego driven. To stop, I have to give up the crutch of irony. Launching a perfectly targeted acidulous barb makes my day and throwing stones at glass houses is deeply necessary. But ultimately these are not constructive- not primary emotions. Succeeding at the self imposed tasks is about seeking success not avoiding failure.

Much more glorious to sign up and lead the ship into unchartered territories rather than be conscripted trying to survive as a pawn in a war I don’t care about.

4 thoughts on “Constraints, Ego and Star Trek”

  1. “trying to survive as a pawn in a war I don’t care about”

    The answer to that is to learn about the war until you begin to care…If you can stave off disillusionment long enough…then understanding the conflict will lead to appreciation of the tasks you can achieve.

  2. Short term plans are a reflection of the fastly changing world around us … the age we are in … it shd be the way we shd evolve rather than planning long term

  3. Kirk vs Spock. Interesting, but only part of the puzzle. There are other dimensions you are missing.

    To take a cue from astrology and mythology:

    Mars – energy, ambition, drive (Kirk)

    Saturn – constraints, deliberation, discipline, self-control (Spock)

    Jupiter – wisdom, creativity, expansion

    Mercury – analysis, logic, math, verbal skills, linguistics, cleverness

    Venus – arts, refined taste, ability to appreciate and enjoy luxury, beauty

    Moon – emotional satisfaction, nurturing

    Sun – enlightenment

    Just balancing constraints with ambition is not enough!

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