For the entire duration of last week I was in a pitiful state: after a previous week already on the almost depressive side, my thinking power too had been affected in the following days, as my brain kept feeling like it was buried in a thick, gluey smog and was barely able to function at all, even for the simplest everyday things to be done. Days and nights were both spent in a kind of very unusual and very unpleasant sleepwalking condition, in which I found myself totally unable to do anything about the pressing, urgent task of preparing the necessary estimates for the possible fund-raising operation someone wants to start doing for Repos. This was such a terribly important opportunity for this place, it couldn’t be missed, and yet, there I was, paralyzed mentally even more than physically, and not making any progress on preparing those estimates. My poor brain couldn’t even bear the thought of those estimates needing to be prepared!… It actually hurt, it was that bad.
So the Saturday before, at the end of the usual three episodes of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ I had looked at (together as always with my usual accomplice, my Aurovilian colleague and best friend N.), instead of feeling good as usual, I had burst into silent sobs of utter compassion for the Romulan Admiral who had become a defector and asked for asylum aboard the ‘Enterprise’ in order to warn Jean-Luc Picard – and through him the entire Federation – of the massive attack planned by his colleagues from a well-hidden planet in the Neutral Zone.
After a lifetime of being himself totally given to the war against the Federation, this Admiral was now also a father, and that suddenly had made a big change in him: he wanted peace for his dear daughter’s future, so he didn’t want to risk the precarious peace already arrived at between the Romulan Empire and the Federation. As all his attempts to convince the other high-ranked Romulans of his new perspective on things had failed, he had resorted to this last extremity in the hope that his sacrifice would prevent the reopening of hostilities secretly planned by his country.
Alas, as it turned out, the whole so-called plan was only faked by the others, fake ‘information’ had been ‘leaked’ to him, just to make him reveal himself, and at the same time to attract the ‘Enterprise’ into a trap: the planet the ship came to check had several cloaked Romulan warbirds waiting, and the ‘Enterprise’ would have indeed been caught if our dear Jean-Luc, always quite clever too, hadn’t prepared also a little surprise of his own: a few cloaked Klingon war vessels, suddenly uncloaking when the Romulans already thought they had won… and convincing them at once to leave it at that, and go away.
It was a happy end for the Federation, but for the Romulan defector, the disgrace still was complete, and there was no way he could ever be any more considered as anything but a traitor by his countrymen, as long as they would go on being so war-inclined. So, entrusting to Captain Picard a letter of explanation only for his wife and his daughter some day, he committed suicide with the poison he carried on himself in case of torture, preferring to die rather than live for ever in exile from his beloved country.
The sad sight of the complete outer failure of this man after he had tried everything for that good cause reminded me powerfully of my own difficulties in saving what was dear to me and precious, I felt, also to Auroville, and I did feel some tears running down my cheeks…
So this Saturday I wasn’t too sure if the next episodes of Star Trek that we would be watching would do me any good.
The first two were quite all right…
And then came the third one… “Oh no! Not ‘Q’ again!!!”
This arrogant, cynical and totally unpredictable member of the Q Continuum, like all other Q immortal and endowed with enormous godlike powers, has been so often bothering or even seriously endangering Jean-Luc and his friends on the ‘Enterprise’, his recurring appearance is a frustrating occurrence every time; but little by little even he is impressed and starts liking especially Jean-Luc, and through him comes to respect the potential of Humans as a species.
In this episode, called ‘Deja Q‘, once again he materializes on the Bridge inside the spaceship, but as a stark naked human, stripped as well of all his normal powers by a decision of the other Q, tired of his constant mischief in all the universes. Quickly provided with some clothes, he does his best to curb his arrogant and selfish behavior in order to convince everyone that in his new situation as a human he can be a valuable member of the crew and should be accepted as such aboard the Enterprise, in spite of all the bad tricks he has played on them in other occasions: he doesn’t know where else to go, and finds himself now totally vulnerable to the attacks from the other creatures he has wronged previously everywhere. He soon realizes, though, that because of his presence aboard the Enterprise, the ship is being attacked more and more dangerously. Coming to his help, Data the android gets almost killed as well. Finally, ashamed of the colossal egoism and cowardice he discovers in himself as a simple human, although he knows that in his new mortal condition he will probably face the end of his life, he goes out on his own in a shuttle craft to draw the attacks on himself and save the ‘Enterprise’. The attempts by Jean-Luc etc to protect him by bringing him back all mysteriously fail and we quickly discover why: just as his attackers come near, another Q appears inside the shuttle and explains that his unexpected act of selflessness has been noticed; as it shows he can still change for the better, he is given a second chance and all his powers back! To be used more wisely than before…
All this sound like a very serious story, and it is, but at the same time because of the somewhat very childish huge personality of Q it becomes constantly a comedy and a farce; his histrionic tendency comes back full blast with the joy of being given back his powers: he soon re-appears on the Bridge in an explosion of noisy south-American music, all dressed-up in the colorful human garb he feels most fitting to express his exultation; seeing that this is not much appreciated, he tries giving to this or that member of the crew what he imagines would be to their liking (sexy women appear by their side!…), and when that too is not much appreciated, he graciously leaves, still in fabulous and gentle mood, promising to dear android Data a great special present.
Moments later, the usually very serious face of Data suddenly shows quite a surprised and surprising change, as he attempts several times to express a completely new and unknown inner happening, and finally does it fully, erupting into such irresistible laughter that we too, the onlookers, can’t help but laughing uncontrollably with him, and the flabbergasted crew members too start joining in, or at least smiling happily, seeing that their beloved Data is realizing at last, thanks to Q’s gratitude, one of his dearest dreams: to laugh, just like a human does!
Well, on my sofa, I for one was laughing like I had not done since days, and kept laughing with complete glee.
And I started immediately feeling much better than I had for days.
The next morning, after a rather normal night of sleep, I woke up with my head free and clear again, and my normal thinking capacity – whatever that is!… – restored.
And I wondered once again at the marvelous healing power of this so simple but deep thing in us: Laughter. Pure Fun.
Like Data said with softened eyes and voice after his own sudden experience of it,
‘It is such a wonderful… feeling…’