THIS is the Kobayashi Maru

Boa Noite Travellers,

Yesterday evening,  I experienced a one-two emotional gut punch while perusing my news app. The first was a video in New York City, which showed all the people In their homes applauding medical workers, and anyone who is risking their lives right now to help others. Seeing people on their balconies and at the windows clapping in unison at 7pm just made me cry.

And it reminded me of 9/11. That feeling of helplessness. The feeling you have when you can’t save someone else from their fate. The feeling of how humans can come together so powerfully at times.

I know many people have said, this is a viral version of 9/11. Watching NYC be consumed in contamination and death and seeing them rally together in their support of strangers. A display of humanity at it’s finest. Why does it take the worst, to bring us to our best? Why do we have to be on our knees before we reach out to one another?

Although I am a Kansan by birth and Lawrence, KS is one of my two favorite places here in the US. New York City has been an intermittent home for me. And my heart breaks for it right now. Have I said this before?

I remember the first time I went there by myself in my 20s. I was auditioning to be a VJ for MTV. Yes, I’m serious…And I had rather brazenly jumped on a plane at the opportunity and rushed to a city I had never been to on my own. I forget sometimes how fearless I was in my 20s, or maybe foolish? Hard to know really in retrospect.

But I have the most crystal clear memory of being on the plane, listening to THIS SONG on my disc-man and seeing the sun in the sky over the city, and the feeling in my gut said home as we descended onto the tarmac. I remember riding like smashed sardines in a van to my hotel with other random humans. And then just feeling like, well, here I am, unsteady on my feet, but there was something about that place.

New York city is not for everyone, but for those who love it, you love it like nothing else. I have many memories from that place over the years, some good, some bad, but there is a sort of glow about them all. A kind of nostalgia that doesn’t apply to any of my other memories. I have a photo in my house that was taken by my Grandfather in WWII, it’s from a boat facing the Statue of Liberty and it makes me feel connected to him in a way I can’t describe. To know we were once in the same place in youth but at different times…Like he saw something special of mine.

The second thing was THIS ARTICLE which just broke my heart. An older woman chose to not come to the hospital to be with her dying husband because she knew she would be using protective wear that’s in short supply for hospital workers. So she stayed away…

Can you imagine making that choice?

Today I’ve been intermittently contemplating the situation in which we find ourselves and for some reason thought about THIS SCENE in the Star Trek film, “The Wrath of Khan” To be clear, I’m not a Trekkie by a long shot. I’m a casual viewer at best. My Grandma watched the old tv episodes when I was a kid, so I sorta watched by default. And I’ve seen the Borg episodes with Patrick Stewart, because well, it’s PATRICK STEWART!!! But that scene with Spock is one those that will make you cry, EVERY SINGLE TIME. And it made me think about the lady who didn’t go see her husband.

”The good of the many outweighs the good of the one.” Or something similar. Isn’t that what Spock says?

The Kobayashi Maru is a fictional test administered to Star Fleet officers in their fictional world. The examination places them in a no-win scenario. Kirk admits to cheating the test and Spock admits to have never taken it, but in the end, it’s he who illustrates so clearly how un-winnable battles are won, it’s sacrifice. Sometimes it’s the worst kind.

And again I find this whole situation is reminding me of a science fiction story…I can’t possibly be the only one who has this repeating thought everyday, am I?

As I read about the virus and the deaths and it’s random striking pattern combined with the absolute financial devastation this whole scenario is wrecking upon our world, it feels to me like we are inside the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Doesn’t it?

Does is seem like there’s a win in here? Because I’m not so sure some days. And I mean that from a pragmatic stance. Because as long as I don’t read any of the media outlet coverage, life seems like a quiet Spring. But it’s not.

Do we understand that when the smoke clears, we will all have to make changes for the good of the many. I expect travel restrictions for at least two years, don’t you? And some kind of social distancing to try and curtail another wave of the virus. Isn’t it worth giving up our own self-centered orientation for the lives of many? Because I think it’s reasonable to say that here in the US, we all kind of do what we want, when we want, where we want and how we want, don’t we? Maybe we’ve been spoiled…Maybe we’ve been wrong.

The thing is I’m pretty sure we can’t re-wire the simulation like Kirk did and I don’t think we’re meant to…I think we are meant to do what we each can for the good of the many. I think it’s time to recognize the communality of human existence.

What do you think?

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