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Monthly Archives: June 2013

In the Doctor Who episode A Good Man Goes to War the Doctor posits that good men don’t need rules, and that it was not the time for the people around him to find out why he had so many. So, why do good people don’t need rules? And why do bad people need them? And does that mean one has to be perfect?

Because, we can argue on what it means to be a good man or a bad man, but the only thing that really matters is the best man. Do the best of us need rules? Do the best men and perfect men need rules? Well I contend no, but can any one of us call ourselves the best and the perfect?

People ask why we need the rule of law, we need a Government…granted a very small and toothless Government but a Government none the same… why we need the bible or the Qur’an or the principles of Buddha, Tao, and Confucius.

Well, the answer, because men need rules. Even if it’s a personal code of ethics, something we can identify with and make our own. No matter what it is, if it does not involve the intentional and deliberate killing of human life.

Even if those rules don’t mean anything and are just for teaching discipline and respect. Even if they are just silly rules for when people are young and to get through the early part of their life so they can again learn the valuable lessons of life. This is what rules is about.

For, as the writers of the Federalist papers pointed out, if men were angels we would not need Government.

But yet the Government needs rules to, because they are made up of just as corruptible men as any other organization and even as the individuals of which make them up.

I also think why early man, in one way or another, needed their early religions like Judaism and Hinduism to help get them through. Their laws may seem draconian to a twenty-first century mind, but a lot of them were about teaching discipline to people who desperately needed it. While giving them enough of the good stuff to move them forward.

Whether it is the individual or groups of men gathering for common cause, we need rules. We need to respect our rules, even if they are the wrong rules then the best thing to do is to change them or find a new code, not break them entirely.

Spoilers for the Name of the Doctor

“The Soufle isn’t the Soufle the Soufle is the recipe.” Clara Oswin Oswald.

“I said he was me, I never said he was The Doctor. My name my real name, that is not the point, the name I chose is The Doctor. The name you choose is it’s like, like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise.” The Doctor.

The Name of the Doctor aired just a few weeks ago. The episode was packed, chalked full of revelations, world shattering events, great characters, and the culmination of a series running arc while at the same time setting up the events for the fiftieth anniversary special this November. Steven Moffat pulled off a masterpiece of writing, it was a cool celebration of fifty years of Doctor Who with its own cool twists and turns.

But more importantly it was a testament to who the Doctor is as a person. The episode didn’t end up being so much about the name of the Doctor, but the Identity of the Doctor. And in so doing provides an example for all of us to follow in our interactions with people.

In short the episode comes down to the quote by Clara Oswin Oswald, the Soufle is not the Soufle, the Soufle is a recipe. Any individual is not the individual but a smattering of physical and mental traits ‘a recipe’. Characteristics that define us, and often do not look anything like they do when they put into a complete package. It is hard to see bone and sinew below the skin, it is hard to see intelligence and brains, especially if someone is shy about it.

This episode proved and showed a lot about the Doctor and Clara’s respective characters. They both shared they are willing to care, and sacrifice themselves, for the individual.

One of the most powerful scenes in the episode, aside from the River Kiss and the big reveal at the end, was when Clara was figuring it out, who she was to the Doctor and his life. But also what it would mean for her, that she would have to sacrifice herself to save his life.

Now here the universe was falling apart because of the Great Intelligence’s manipulations, because he was rewriting the Doctor’s timeline. The Doctor was falling apart and dying on the floor in tremendous pain over and over and over again. Thus every good deed, every world he saved, all of that was coming to an end, and the universe was ending as a result. And yet he did not care about any of this, only caring about the life of one woman. Pleading with her not to sacrifice herself. Pleading with her to live and continue on, to not kill herself for his behalf again. All he could see was the individual, the woman, in front of him.

And then after she had accomplished her task, after the Doctor was alive and well, he was going to throw himself into the time stream. An action which would likely kill him and force his time stream to collapse on itself. Probably causing the very actions that she had just prevented.

Nothing is a more powerful indication of who the Doctor is as a man, or at least who he tries to be. Someone who never looses sight of the small picture. Of the connection to the individual person. The line he gave from the Christmas Special, a Christmas Carol, “You know that in Nine Hundred Years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important…”

The Doctor at the heart of it all is an individualist. Someone who does not, or tries not to, lose focus on the smallest parts of life, the individual. Never looses his focus. It did not matter, really, if the universe was falling apart, he was going to save one woman. And when things were in the balance, when the lives of hundreds of people were at risk because of death from above, he balanced the scales, taught a greedy Scrooge of a man to love, gave a woman the proper death she deserved, and saved every one else.

Which is why, though, I think he needs Companions because this is a man who often deals with species waging war against one another and universe and world shattering events. This is a man who has wiped out whole races and has had to stand firm in difficult choices. It is hard not to lose perspective. And when he does this is when he is at his worse.

Perhaps this is what happened to John Hurt’s Doctor? Perhaps this truly is a testament to not only what the Doctor’s name is, but more importantly who he is as a person.