Lesson 080: Duty over desire
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/21 ('The Perfect Mate')


While transporting Kamala, an alien empathic life form known as a metamorph, to her betrothed on another planet, Capt. Picard finds him self very attracted to her.

The pending marriage of Kamala to her promised groom will bring about the cessation of hostilities between two warring planets. Given Kamala's 'unavailability' condition, Capt. Picard manages to rein in his personal desires for Kamala.

The situation turns even worse for Capt. Picard as he learns that Kamala has instinctively 'bonded' herself with him mentally. The 'bonding' is a one-time life event for a metamorph, whereby, the metamorph will become exactly as her mate wishes her to be, meeting his every need and desire.

Unable to restrain himself any further, Capt. Picard tells Kamala that she cannot possibly go through with the pre-arranged marriage ceremony any longer now that she has 'bonded' with him. Kamala replies interrogatively, asking Capt. Picard if he would ask her to remain with him and allow the war between the two planets to continue.

Kamala's allegiance to her duty reminds Capt. Picard of his own duty as he steps aside with great heartache and gives Kamala away to her betrothed.


As human beings, most of our decisions are usually based on our emotional instincts.

We may approach issues in a very technical and logical manner, trying to make a decision that is truly objective and devoid of any emotion or prejudice; however, in the end, we usually make our selections because we 'like' our choice the best. In very rare instances do we actually decide in favor of something that we may find disagreeable subjectively, yet, suitable objectively.

If we can accept that our decisions are either driven or highly influenced by our desires, then we can learn to control our decision process more effectively by discarding the desire aspect first. In doing so, we also remove a very nasty element from the decision process - our ego.

In particular, as the decisions of people in great power positions are always at the mercy of their own egos, their devotion to duty and what is right and wrong can often be overridden by their selfish personal desires.

Businesses have closed, nations have gone to war and empires have collapsed because crucial decisions were made based on personal desire and not on the greater good.

Surrendering to our temptations is always easy. Conquering them and exercising self-sacrifice takes courage and a great deal of effort; however, it is always the right thing to do.

Capt. Picard does not relinquish to his ego by fighting for Kamala to be his and allow the awful consequences of war to perpetuate. He exercises the most extreme form of self control by not giving in to his deepest desires for Kamala, especially in the face knowing her equal reciprocation of his feelings towards her. This is self-sacrifice in one of its highest forms.

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