Spock, Barack, and Papa Legba: Cosmic Integrators

Barack and SpockFor those of us who are old enough to have grown up on the original Star Trek, tonight is the night when we see as Jeff Greenwald states: "the back story of the original series, and show how its three principles got themselves onto what might be (along with Noah’s Ark and the Titanic) the most famous vehicle in history: the starship Enterprise."

And I'll be there because of Spock--the Papa Legba of cosmic challenges.

I've always loved the character of Spock and for all the reasons as Greenwald continues in his comparison of the fictional character and the very real Barack Obama: "His appeal stems from the self-aware integration of all aspects of his personality: black and white, wonk and poet, athlete and aesthete."

Spock always managed to remain calm while the world raged around him as Leonard Nimoy pointed out in an interview and explained Spock's appeal: "what I was constantly playing -- is the yin/yang balance between our right and left brains. How do you get through life as a feeling person, without letting emotions rule you? How do you balance the intellectual and emotional sides of your being?"

As a teenager growing up during the turbulent seventies in Jamaica, this is what drew me to the character of Spock. And the fact that he was a mixed-breed curiosity who managed to maintain his composure despite the taunts of others made him a kind of male role model when there were few, if any, around.

This began my curiosity with sci-fi and when I decided to become a writer, one of my first stories was "Uncle Obadiah and the Alien," and why I named one of the main characters in my novel, Benjamin, my son, Papa Legba. It's wanting to find an answer to a question that has always haunted me: How do we straddle two worlds?

Poet and baller. Spirituality and rationality. Desire and responsibility. The internal battle still continues. Some days the human wins and some days the Vulcan takes over. But neither pole has all the answers--just as Obama learned as he walked through the racial minefield of America, and which is why he continues to confound his critics. He has looked at the world through black and white eyes and his solutions represent a new Hegelian equilibrium in race relations. The rest of them will have to play catch-up. But the only way that they will be able to do this is by rigorous self scrutiny--something of which Spock would have found "fascinating."

It's what we all have to continue.

Live long and prosper, Idrens!



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