Lesson 076: We are never the villain
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 4/12 ('The Wounded')


The war between the Federation and Cardassians is ended with a truce treaty signed by both sides. Despite the truce treaty, Capt. Maxwell of the Federation Starship Phoenix is single-handedly carrying out surprise fatal attacks on Cardassian vessels.

When Maxwell is caught and brought on board the Enterprise and reminded that the war is over, Maxwell exclaims that the war still continues, because the Cardassians live to make war and are not to be trusted.

After being told that enemies always say that of each other, Maxwell denies this claim and exalts that the Federation does not start wars, does not make surprise attacks on defenseless outposts, killing women and children; the latter being a reference to the loss of his wife and child at the hands of the Cardassians during the war.


Maxwell is a very pitiable character. We can easily sympathize with his rage due the loss of his family during war. The blinding scars of hatred that are etched so deeply on his heart cannot be easily removed and manage to only lead Maxwell down a path of vengeance.

We lose sight of our humanity when we allow the rage within us to be focused on only revenge. We are blinded into believing that what we are doing is right, even though objectively we might be guilty of committing the very actions that we are opposing.

Using rage as a catalyst to right a wrong is not wrong; paradoxically, however, judgment of right and wrong cannot be wise if clouded by rage.

Maxwell was fortunate in finding friends on the Enterprise to eventually guide him away from vengeance. We could all benefit from having such friends ourselves in our reality to come to our aid, when we stray down such blinding destructive paths.

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