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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Get over it

In life, the hardest fight we will ever have is with our own feelings. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation is my favourite science fiction series, and Data (played by Brent Spiner) is my favourite character. Data is an android and consequently has no feelings, until his 'brother', Lore gives him an emotion chip. Switching on the chip is initially more than Data can handle due to the intensity of the emotions. His pleasure at being disgusted by a new drink he tries is humourous, but the paralysing terror he feels in a dangerous situation jeopardises his own safety and that of his Enterprise crew mates. He cannot control his feelings so he decides to deactivate the chip.

How good would it be to have an emotion chip which you could simply switch off? How many times have you been told to get over something, and been angered by the suggestion because it belittled your feelings, and because it made the erroneous assumption that you could merely flick a switch and the feelings would go away? If only it were that easy.

Data eventually learned to control his feelings, but not, as the Vulcans do, by suppressing them, and not by ignoring them, nor by deactivating his emotion chip whenever things became to much for him. Data mastered his feelings, both the pleasurable and the painful, and allowed them to enrich his life. As excruciating as they sometimes are, would you really want to be without your feelings? Would you really prefer to be heartless? Think of what you would miss out on...ecstasy, intimacy, warmth, love and joy.

A battle rages between our hearts and minds, between what we think and how we feel. This is the human experience.We must endure suffering to enjoy pleasure. We must spend some time in the dark to appreciate the light. We must know brokenness before embracing healing.

I would love to be able to flick a switch and shut down my feelings sometimes, but I can't. And so I fight on in the space between what is and what I want to be, between the way things are and they way they should be. Much of what happens to us is beyond our control, as are our feelings about what happens to us. We are not androids or Vulcans. We are fragile humans created in the image of a God who understands exactly what it means to truly suffer.


read more about Data
Top Ten Data episodes

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