Tag Archives: dr who

The Doctor is My Hero

It’s Saturday which means I’m in for another new episode of Dr. Who.  I’m the kind of Whovian that has her DVR scheduled to record it  and my bestie is often over for dinners on Saturday nights to watch the newest episode with me (I’ve simply got to come up with a special dinner menu for the Christmas episode out of respect for the return of Professor River Song – it’s bad, I know).  In the long list of heroes we humans are so creative at inventing, the Doctor provides a modern day model for unrequited compassion and a dedication to justice so perfect that he tortures his own soul for his own shortcomings.

I’ll give a bit of background before I explain.   Working from the  foundation of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” beautiful book, the characters who have entertained and inspired over the millenniums all share similar traits.  Consider our modern day heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter:  both come from meager beginnings yet they’re somehow tied and bound to the evil of their day.  Their personal bond with evil begins with some twist of childhood fate so that the rest of their lives are spent conquering the dark elements of the universe, always, always to overcome (we don’t know how to write the story any other way than to make sure good wills out – I love that about us).

badwolftardis

photo courtesy of rebloggy.com

The Doctor follows a similar plot line. His beginnings were marked with uncertainty and fear, and his path is wrought with a parallel evil that persistently challenges his patience, wit, compassion, and even causes him to question his own goodness and worth – as any decent villain should.  Yet.  He manages to overcome evil while facing his own shortcomings.  For a man who can nonchalantly say things such as “Time isn’t linear, it’s wibbly-wobbly, spacey waycey,” for a man who can hop in a machine and watch the moonrises of Jupiter, for a man who can feel all of time and space at once, The Doctor has made a decision to annhilate his own people, and this haunts him time and again.  He knows he’s had to choose between the few and the many, and he carries the guilt of the choosing.  But if there’s ever a chance to redeem himself, he seizes it without hesitation.   That’s why the Doctor is my hero: in spite of his omniscience, he’s all too human in his failings.   But even in the face of them, he chooses good over evil in the hopes that when balanced, the good is greater than the evil.  Such is the story of most of us, we should have confidence in that ;).

When the twelfth Doctor made one of his first appearances, he asks his assistant if she thought he was a good man.

“I don’t know.  But you try to be and I think that’s probably the whole point.”  The Doctor tries, he demonstrates that horrendous failings don’t have to define us, there is still good within our souls with which we can redeem ourselves.  That’s why he’s my hero.

Allonsy kids!

Frankie

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No Religion: What’s to Believe In?

As we continue to progress as a species, more of us human beings are stepping from the dark archaic belief systems of religion to the bright confidence of knowledge afforded us by science.   But the shift from religion to non begs some questions:  What do we do with ourselves?  Where do we put our energy?  What’s to believe in? What becomes our focus?

From my humble perspective, it kind of seems that a default focus would be nationalism; belief in one’s nation and attention to its politics and social/economic issues.  From my humble perspective, we could use a boost in national attention to politics and social/economic issues.   But there lies a danger of jingoism, unabashed love for one’s country without regard for other nations, fervent almost blind belief that ‘my country is the best’.  In a time when we face global challenges such as health epidemics and climate change, we can’t really allow ourselves the pleasure of arrogance.  We must be able to cooperate, to admit that maybe another nation is doing something right and we might consider adjusting our own perceptions.  We are bound together by this planet and its natural laws, we have to work with one another in order to keep our species viable.  While some of our new found energy can and should be focused on national issues, it is necessary to strike a balance with how much energy we invest in our country – there are bigger ideas to focus on as well.

I heartily contend that the biggest idea should be humanism – a focus on mankind and our path of past, present, and future, our connection with one another as dictated by nature’s laws.  If we think about it, we only, always, have each other; and though cultures vary we cannot deny our bloodline and the truth that we are all brothers and sisters.  I believe we owe a certain amount of attention to our race based on this sole premise, with the spirit that we are inherently obligated as human beings to look out for our siblings. As mentioned above, our modern age forces us to examine physical global issues and international cooperation is paramount to finding solutions to these issues.   A humanist focus allows us to set aside cultural prejudices and adopt cooperative attitudes based upon the assumption that we’re all in this together.

Science appears to be the common ground for us all and I’ll assert that the growth of humanism will include many elements of the discipline.   Two plus two will always equal four and no matter where we go in the world we can speak that language to anyone. I am not claiming that science has all the answers although I’m close to agreeing with many modern thinkers who believe it does.  It certainly answers our questions best and provides a universal language with which we can speak to one another, culture set aside.   Besides providing a common language science provides a foundation for finding common solutions to the challenges we face together.  The discipline is a perfect fit with the tenants of humanism.

I’ll even go out on a limb and demonstrate that we already have a vision for the melding of science and humanism and how they work together by invoking the genre of science fiction film and writings.  There are several examples where science fiction has remarkably portended the future as far as gadgets and inventions are concerned.   Even George Orwell was prescient enough to understand that an entirely new language would evolve under political pressures.   Using science fiction as a barometer for the way humanistic tendencies might emerge, one finds an astonishing body of work that illustrates how political and even personal decisions are made based upon available evidence and facts instead of mystical, archaic texts. Pay attention next time you tune into Star Trek, or Dr. Who, or The Fifth Element.

We’ve come a long ways since the days when science and religion walked the same path of curiosity together, searching for answers to the same questions.   At some point their paths split and one has gone on to answer those questions with solid evidence.   As we continue to progress as a species and more of us also leave the anachronistic beliefs behind, we are faced with the necessity of filling the void.   Humanism does so with a neat and comfortable fit.  Here’s to our future and the place that Humanism has within it.

Yours,

Frankie


An Earth Visit

Tsyllus stepped out of his TimeField Transport and took his first breath of Earth air.  Well, to him it was simply Planet st.042 located in the Stellar Formation xin, Galaxy Hrsollyn.  It was a bit of an outback planet, Universally speaking, and was therefore rarely visited by any alien life.  Tsyllus knew this because he was a TimePrince and therefore privy to all alien travel throughout the Universe.  At once.  It was a curse. He was visiting this particular planet because he heard tell (by some unsavory Woolysnx in some shifty bar on the mangy Planet Slaacp) that the inhabitants here had picked up the esoteric idea of a TimePrince.  Tsyllus wasn’t surprised at all that an obscure life form came up with the concept:   “We are, after all, connected.” he thought to himself, “We are all made of the same stardust material and we all possess the same stardust memories.”

He wanted to investigate what they teased out of the ether and how close they came to the reality; this meant an actual trip to Earth to study the imagined TimePrince and its creators.  He correspondingly landed in Trafalgar Square, just underneath one of the lion monuments.  He stepped outside to check his landing position, and taking a small remote control-looking device from his coat pocket he thought for a moment and then pressed a couple of buttons.  It took a few seconds, the Transport had to receive the code and then implement the program, but slowly the vessel seemed to disappear, its high-tech, shiny black rounded shell was blending in to the concrete base elevating the lion. Tsyllus had activated the camouflage program.

“Better.”  He announced to himself and, adding the command “Open Main Hatch” a panel of concrete opened up exactly like a door and Tsyllus stepped into his home. The hatch closed automatically behind him.   “Dlynnar, find local broadcast satellite A113, queue to program “Dr. Who.”

“Request received, finding local broadcast satellite A113, queueing to program ‘Dr. Who,'” replied Dlynnar, the mainframe quantum computer, in a pleasant androgynous voice.   He planned on watching every bit of Dr. Who and anything remotely Dr. Who related; he wanted to see what these aliens got right in the thing and what they got wrong.  He suspected the ‘wrong’ column would far outweigh what they got right, but he was inwardly thrilled that they even came up with the idea.  He wondered if they knew that TimePrince’s were a despised group and not typically amiable.

After hours of The Doctor, and a long tea in a small shop in Leicester Square, from where Tsyllus observed nearly every kind of human behavior and interaction, he was ready to make his report:

“Visit: Planet st.042 located in the Stellar Formation xin, Galaxy Hrsollyn, locally known as “Earth”, date 45 Meleni, year 70412.  Findings as such:

“The local intelligent life, calling themselves ‘humans’ are indeed an interesting and humorous population.  The first thing that impressed me was that I found their quaint bodies to be quite fragile and underdeveloped compared to most other alien life.  Just one small piece of metal slung from a projectile at mass velocity can crush their intelligence centers without resistance.  Indeed, this particular animal has no developed physical defense system such as an exoskeleton or telekinetic abilities to alter their surroundings or regeneration capacity of any kind, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to outside influences.  However, they fall quite short in soliciting appeal from any alien visitations due to their small mental and spatial capacities.  And yet….they seem to overcome their deficiencies in several clever and creative ways.

‘Humans’ have managed to build a variety of quasi-exoskeletons using the scant amount of metals found in their natural Planetary composition.  These exoskeletons include large land tanks, aeroplanes (what are Universally known as IPT – IntraPlanetary Transport) and water borne vessels, both surface hydro and sub-surface hydro.  One might wonder why the Earth creatures even build such protection if, as mentioned earlier in this report, it invites no other alien life form.  This is because Planet st.042 is still very much in its infancy with regards to Universal Awareness and therefore more focused on the varying differences amongst themselves.   Such a focus only sets the stage for intraplanetary warring, as typically seen on other Planets that are in their infancies.

In fact, there is still a large population on this Planet that still cling to archaic beliefs and have not yet progressed beyond Msoolyz’  famous “Illusionary Fixation” whereby their intelligence capacity is still underdeveloped and stifled by early “pre-consciousness beliefs of deism and egocentric thought processes” as Msoolyz states.  On the balance though, the Planet seems to be continuing along normal Awareness progress.  I would adamantly note however that much of their slow development is again due to the lack of any outside visitation or relationship; they have no reason to comprehend themselves as a unit without the face of an outsider to unite them.

Along with creative improvisations to protect themselves, I must also declare a high level of admiration for the human ability to imagine.  The fact that they were able to hone it on the concept of a TimePrince is testimony to their capacity to discern specific ideas and worry them to perfection.  In the case of comparing their version of a TimePrince with actuality, there are a few things eerily accurate.  There are obviously many gaps in these nuggets of truisms, however the ingenuity utilized to deduce what might be placed in those gaps is both entertaining and charming.

While they’ve imagined a TimePrince (their term is ‘Time Lord’) that is indigenous to a particular Planet and alien race, they imagine that everyone from that Planet is a ‘Time Lord.’  They missed the part where there are only a few of us born each generation with the ability to See and Intervene.   Yes, there is a certain amount of status with the gift, but the curse is much greater.  Torn from our families at a young age, denied any childhood privileges and raised by older generations of TimePrinces, our lives are solitary (Humans got that part right) and never our own.”

“It’s no wonder we are an unhappy lot.” Tsyllus thought to himself.  “Dlynnar, delete last to the word ‘Intervene’.”   He waited just a second and Dlynnar replied “Deleted, ready to continue Tsyllus.”

“Whilst this Planet has had scant alien visitors,” he continued, “the imagined life forms humans contrived are grounds for a Msoolyz type examination in their variations of form and character, and presented with an odd fixation on violent, often malicious life forms.  Perhaps this stems from their still primitive views and lack of knowledge thereof, I’ll leave the final conclusion for the experts.  It seems difficult for them on the whole to consider friendly visitors, which is most likely to occur as we all know.

Finally, and in attempt to end on a positive note (although I’ll admit a certain biased toward liking these harmless creatures) they have obtained a decent foundational grasp of space and time.  They are aware that there is probably other life in the Universe besides their own, they have probed neighboring Planets within their Stellar System and have worked the calculations out enough to understand that time and space are in no way fixed and linear but, to the use the words of their imagined ‘Time Lord’ a ‘Big blob of wibbly wobbly timey wimey ….. stuff.’  I myself am highly impressed at this grasp of time and space.”

“Overall, the inhabitants of Planet st.042 are a charming, if naïve, animal and I for one wish them well in their attempts to mature.  I have scheduled a revisit in millennia (Dlynnar, set the date for reminding please) and shall send an update at that time.   For now, this completes my report on Planet st.042 located in the Stellar Formation xin, Galaxy Hrsollyn.   Respectfully submitted, TimePrince Tsyllus.”

He took a deep breath and then addressed his computer, “Dlynnar, send report to the Pynndl council and set course for Planet Scaalp, I need a Norliss to drink before I lose my mind.”

Dlynnar dutifully replied, “Sure thing Tsyllus, sending report into council and setting course for Planet Scaalp, you need a Norliss before you lose your mind.  Estimated time of arrival equals 35 plincks, plus or minus 2 plincks. Allonsy!”