Treknobabble 26: The Wrath of Koan

Treknobabble is a continuing series of columns written by uber-Trekkie Reed Farrington in anticipation of the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.

That’s not a typo in the title. It’s a bad pun that I’ll get to shortly. (Even though Sean groans at bad puns, I find he uses them at times, so I’m adhering to Film Junk tradition.) [Note: There is no such thing as a bad pun. — Sean]

If you’ve read the previous Treknobabble, you know the impetus for this one. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be writing Treknobabbles while on vacation. I thought writing a haiku would be easy. And I’d have a really short Treknobabble for a change.

Composed of Star Trek phrases, here’s my haiku that succinctly summarizes Star Trek:

Human adventure
Where no one has gone before
Is just beginning

So I almost ended this Treknobabble with that haiku. But even I wasn’t satisfied.

You will note that I didn’t use the haiku-suitable and familiar five syllable sentence, “Beam me up, Scotty.” I chose not to use it, not because it was never said, but because it is too colloquial for my tastes. For a limerick, sure, but not for haiku.

As I was thinking of iconic phrases from Star Trek, I was thinking I was limiting myself by the 5-7-5 syllable structure of haiku although I realize that rule was set up for some numerical reason of which I am currently oblivious. Then I wondered if anyone had written Star Trek koans. And I wondered if koans had any set structure. Koans are associated with Zen because they’re paradoxical stories that impart some lesson or meaning. These are the types of Star Trek stories I like!

I know poetry is not a popular art form with the general public. So I might be creating a Treknobabble that no one, not even Henrik, will read, and thereby prematurely ending Treknobabble’s 15-month mission to generate hype for the next Star Trek movie.

I used to like writing poetry, but I hate reading it. I think this admission shows how vain I am. That is, I like expressing and sharing my feelings through writing, but I hate reading about other people’s feelings. I even hate reading poetry from my favourite author, Ray Bradbury. I still haven’t gotten around to getting any of Leonard Nimoy’s poetry books. Given my obsessive collecting habit, one would have to conclude that I vehemently hate poetry. I think my main problem is that I don’t appreciate poetry. Except my own, of course.

All the koans I found were rather short. Mine might be a little long, and not enigmatic enough. So be it.

Warning: There are spoilers in my koan. (I wonder if I’m the first person to ever write the line, “There are spoilers in my koan.”)

Interspersed with Star Trek phrases and a line from Milton, here’s my koan that summarizes the paradox set up within Space Seed, The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock:

Out of curiosity, a leader revives another from a long sleep.
The awoken one repays this kindness by taking what the leader has
including his ship. Though bred superior, the awoken one is
defeated in turn by the leader who regains control of his ship.

As an act of compassion, the leader allows the awoken one to fulfill
his destiny with his followers on an uninhabited, harsh world.

“‘Tis better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven,”
the awoken one believes.

Unforeseen to the leader and the awoken one, the capricious nature of
fate decimates the harsh world resulting in the deaths of many of the
awoken one’s followers as well as his beloved.

“I have been and always shall be your enemy,” thinks the awoken one
of the leader.

As time passes and through the capricious nature of fate once again,
the awoken one takes control of the lives of the leader and the
leader’s followers. But the leader’s best friend sacrifices himself
to save the leader and the leader’s followers.

Separated by the physical only in touch, the best friend explains to
the leader, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few or
the one.”

“I have been and always shall be your friend.”

“Live long and prosper,” the best friend’s dying words.

In remembrance at the best friend’s funeral, the leader solemnly
intones, “Of my friend I can only say that of all the souls I have
encountered, his was the most… human.”

The leader’s best friend was fond of saying, “There are always

The leader pondered words he, himself, was fond of saying:

“Make a difference.”

“Risk is our business.”

“To boldly go.”

And this time, the leader overcomes the capricious nature of fate to
revive his best friend from death, but sacrifices his career and his
ship, and suffers the loss of his son.

Upon revival and in consideration of all that the leader has gone
through, the best friend asks, “Why would you do this?”

“Because the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many.”

  • I’ll read any Treknobabble that mentions me by name.

    I enjoyed the post, but didn’t read the Koan (I think you should have explained more what the heck this is), because I haven’t seen the films.

  • Reed Farrington

    What?!?! Henrik, I implore you to drop your studying and skip your date with the Danish hottie, and watch Space Seed, The Wrath of Khan, and The Search for Spock right now! People’s lives have been changed by viewing these aforementioned works of art. I don’t care if you read my koan. But you must view the source material. (Okay, keep your date with the Danish hottie, but when you get back, watch this material.)

    I don’t know much about koans. Not sure where I first heard about them. Some definitions say they’re questions rather than stories that are meant to initiate contemplation. In an age and culture where everyone needs definite answers, I think the koan doesn’t fit in. I wonder if “2001: A Space Odyssey” could be considered a visual koan.

  • I hardly ever do any studying, and I have few dates with Danish hotties, so you’d think I would have plenty of time to watch these particular films. I don’t own them though, and I don’t know anybody who does. Plus I wasn’t into the series all that much. I would like to see the films, I’ll just have to find them and then find the time.

  • SolesGirlRachel

    Words fail me… “haven’t seen the films”?!

    Henrik honey, Reed is right – even if you were half-dying and in the back of an ambulance right now, your priority ought to be watching ALL of the Trek films, beginning with The Motion Picture (Director’s Edition) and forward from there. If your professors have any brains at all, just tell them what you told us, and what you’re doing, and they will totally understand. My goodness!

    I could tell many personal stories associated with my own experiences re: watching the Trek films, but I won’t (not right now, anyway). Suffice to say they the only films I know without question that I’ll always go to see in theater, and then buy in store when released, and then watch many times for centuries. (Yes I plan on a cure for aging to be found soon, quite seriously – look up Aubrey de Grey, the man is genius). :)

    In conclusin, watch the films, Hendrik! :D


    Rachel :)

  • SolesGirlRachel

    P.S. “Wasn’t into the series all that much”??? *weeping now*

  • I’m sorry, I didn’t think my comments would ever be read by a female. I am aware of your fragile emotional constitution, and had I expected women to read my thoughts, I would have been more gentle so as to not induce crying.