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Kobayashi Maru & Other No-Win “Games”

September 3, 2013

Kobayashi Maru is a “no-win” situation test that was made famous in the Star Trek motion picture series.

The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982. I remember seeing the movie then, and never forgot the scenes and the powerful concept of the Kobayashi Maru.

Essentially, the Kobayashi Maru was a Starfleet training exercise designed to test cadets at Starfleet Academy that had no possible winning moves. It was designed to test the logic, character, judgment and emotional strength of the cadets before they would be put in real command roles. No matter what the captain or crew did, they were going to be in a situation that they could not win and the consequences would be grave and to their own defeat and destruction. The test helped Starfleet leadership observe the mettle of the cadets in battle situations facing fear, loss, defeat and death.

Kobayashi Maru is further portrayed in the 2009 film Star Trek, a prequel to the TV and movie series with a young Captain Kirk and crew. I watched the 2009 Star Trek film yesterday. It was a good movie, and further explored the concept of the no-win battle situation.

James Tiberius Kirk, the famous Captain Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise, while still a cadet, did find a winning move in the test, but he had to change the computer’s game programming in order to win. Some considered that cheating. Others considered Kirk’s methods logical, necessary, original and/or commendable.

But it made me think about the Kobayashi Maru of my own that I’ve been facing in recent years, and the Kobayashi Maru that many people face each day: no-fault divorce.

Like in the Kobayashi Maru, in no-fault divorce there are no winning moves – everyone loses (except divorce lawyers) – men, women, children, extended families, communities and society.

Many men and women are forced to play a twisted game in which families are divided, children are forcibly taken from their parents, and parents are helpless to do anything to protect themselves or their children from the emotional and financial losses that result.

Like the commanders in the no-win games, I have thought through every imaginable scenario and move – I could write a book on the subject and what I learned – trying to find a reconciling or winning move for me and my children. There was none. There was nothing but loss.

Kobayashi Maru is reminiscent of a concept from another great movie, WarGames (1983), in which the concept of a no-win battle situation, this one a nuclear war, helps the characters, the audience, and even the Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer character in the movie to learn that “the only winning move is not to play”.

Like Captain Kirk, I can’t accept a no-win situation. I keep trying to find a win or at least the best available option.

I have advanced educational degrees and moral training at fine educational institutions, and have never failed at anything else in my life. And my children are too important to ever give up.

And, like Kirk, I have come to the conclusion that the game itself is the problem, and needs to be changed.

No-fault divorce is a relatively new social experiment of the 21st century that has failed our society and children miserably. No-fault divorce has origins in Russia and communist/socialist countries. California was the first U.S. State to adopt what are now called ‘no-fault’ divorces in the United States in 1969. No-fault divorce has since been quietly implemented, without our individual or consensus approval, in every state in the U.S..

Russian/Communistic and Californian values and lifestyles are behind it – not values or lifestyles that I want for myself or for my children, or ones that most people i know have or ones our forefathers fought for when founding the United States.

Unfortunately, one person can’t change the system programming, even if the system is twisted, wicked and warped. And even a lot of us working together, can’t change the system either. It would take a cultural or political revolution that I don’t foresee in the short-term.

I believe what would be in the best interest of the family and children, is that the person who wants the divorce be responsible for the breach of social contract that it is and pay the spouse a suitable amount to support the family in the way that they are accustomed without interruption. The high penalty of the action will be a deterrent to some from seeking the divorce, and may reunite couples and families once the realities of divorce start sinking in. In the meantime, spouses and children shouldn’t be left to hurt and suffer due to the breach/infidelity/adultery/insanity of the unfaithful spouse.

While we can learn from these movies and the concepts they are trying to impart, we can’t make another person learn them. Thus, we are forced into these nightmare games by other people who just won’t learn or who just don’t care.

God sees and knows the mettle of those in no-win situations that get up every day and face the situation over and over and over again. And He helps us through it when we lose and hurt.

I stood my ground and fought the good fight. I went down with my ship, integrity in tact, and in good conscience, couldn’t have done it any other way.

The only winning move was not to play. That is what I chose.

But, I couldn’t avoid the wicked game, and none of us can do anything to stop it. God help us all, and pray your family is not next one dragged through it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 4, 2013 8:51 am

    Great post, Ed. Very sad, but profound analogy…

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