Mindscanner Issue #72
Summer 2007

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 From Admiral Qob zantai-Hurric
Commander, Cold Terror Fleet

<[email protected]>

I have some good friends in Fandom who simply do not connect to the idea of Klingon. That's fine. For me, though, it is a fictional way of honoring and exalting what I love about my ancestry. I'm German/Irish.  So the meme of the warrior bard strikes real deep in my soul. A lot of Klingons I know have gone in search of their roots and also RP Viking, even to the extreme of adopting paganism. Well, my personal experience makes that not an option for me, I've talked a little about my faith, maybe not enough. But back to the subject, there are few things that ring deeper in my soul than Irish music and Northern poetry. I was reminded of this reading a review/critique of The Thirteenth Warrior I liked that movie a lot, though I found some of it a little tedious, but this prayer is really soulful and quite Klingon.

Qob closeup Lo there do I see my father.
Lo there do I see my mother.
Lo there do I see my brothers and my sisters.
Lo there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
Lo they do call to me;
They bid me take my place among them in the Halls of Valhalla,
Where the brave may live forever.

This is close to a part of the why of Klingon.  Klingon, as is practiced by fans, is a celebration of the Noble, the Honorable, the commitment to respect, the willingness to shed blood and die for an ideal. But it's more than that, it's a joy in the rough and tumble, in the unabashed. A commenter pointed out this prayer was a prayer without shadow. That is a key to the Klingon, while there are thoughtful Klingons, the Klingon culture eschews ambiguity. There is great humor in the Klingon, it rejoices in the foibles and pompous. It is a knowing humor that still loves the clear vision of the right and wrong. It's knowledge is also self knowledge and acknowledges the warts and ugliness of itself.

On the violence of the Klingon. This is misunderstood. Humans look at the casual brutality and think that it means that Klingons are unthinking brutes. In fact it is quite different than that. Klingons understand and embrace the nature that humans and others try to veneer over. Where humans try to tame deny and neuter themselves, Klingons understand and channel the animal. There is a loss for Klingons, but it is a loss that we accept. Where in the Human version of Hamlet, Hamlet mopes and tries to come to a conclusion about his situation, in the Klingon he quickly engages his uncle and finds a way to kill all his foes. The human sees the deaths of the play as a tragedy, the Klingon sees it as a just and honorable end. But what does the Klingon lose? He loses the doubt and second thoughts, he might lose the depth that introspection gives, but for most humans introspection is simply a way to avoid the hard decisions. The Klingon makes the hard decision, perhaps sooner than wisdom would, but he does make the choice and at the end of the day even the most rigorous mediator is usually left with a coin flip. Alexander of Macedon was his most Klingon when confronted with the Gordian knot; he looked at it and rather than struggle to unravel it, pulled a sword and cleaved it in twain.

People also mistake the directness and simplicity of Klingons as stupidity and backwardness, as if they went directly from pillaging villages to pillaging star systems... well we did, but that doesn't mean there is no Klingon philosophy, that there is no love of wisdom. While the Klingon is utilitarian and pragmatic, he is also thoughtful. Their history is also different than that of Humans and Vulcans. where Humans and Vulcans went through Reformations and Enlightenments, the Klingon escaped that because it is a culture that was a slave culture, enslaved to totalitarian oppressors.  It fought and won the freedom that is taken for granted by Humans and Vulcans. It's philosophy is a deep and active one, based on warfare and liberation. There are parallels and echoes in human cultures, the Japanese, the African, and most resonating for me the Viking.