If you’re a Star Trek lover then I’m sure you got excited by the title of this post. However, if you’re not a sci-fi fan, then please let me explain.
Recurring in Star Trek episodes and movies, the Kobayashi Maru is a simulation exercise undertaken during training with the Starfleet Academy. In the simulation, the ship ‘Kobayashi Maru’ has sent out a distress signal and the appointed captain must make a decision about whether to save the ship entering neutral territory and violating treaties with the enemy Klingon race, endangering themselves in the process or leave the Kobayashi Maru crew to their potential death saving their own crew. This is leading somewhere I promise… Rambunctious recruit, James T. Kirk, becomes the first officer in training to ‘pass’ the test when he reprograms the ‘Kobayashi Maru’ simulation to ensure the survival of both ships involved in the attack. Some at Starfleet Academy saw Kirk’s method of passing as arrogant and labelled him a cheater whereas others saw it as innovative, that he found the solution in a seemingly hopeless situation. Designed to test the character of recruits when under pressure and faced with a lose-lose outcome no matter what they decide, it is now a ‘thing’ among Star Trek fans or those who know of the franchise to refer to a no-win situation as a Kobayashi Maru situation.
Okay so now that you know ‘Kobayashi Maru’ is not some new form of Yoga taking Hollywood by storm, I should get to the point. As a test of character, I ask myself, what would I do as captain in this situation? What are my problem solving skills like?
At first, I believe that I’ve watched enough science fiction in my time to be able to weasel my way out of it. You know, hang a lantern on it in the script of my life. Then I remember that I’m not living in a movie. So I move on to the anxiety that real-world Frannie feels in any exam. School exam, driving test, eye examination – you name the pressure and I will crumble under it. Suddenly my alter-ego comes out. The same version of me that enjoys theatre and performing and who I assume would enjoy karaoke, not sure about this last part though as I’ve never been… but I digress. This is about as close as I come to Kirk’s approach, I over-compensate for how anxious I actually am about the situation by acting overly self-assured.
Okay, alarms are sounding, there’s smoke coming out of the thingamajig’s capacitor core (don’t ask, because I don’t know. I never said watching sci-fi made you as smart as the characters) and all eyes are on me. Decision time. To be honest, I definitely wouldn’t have the intelligence or the forethought to hatch a clever Kirk-style plan prior to sitting the test and I would like to say that I would do the noble thing. Then again, I’m not sure what the noble thing is here? The catch is that no one has both rescued the Kobyashi Maru while surviving the Klingon attack so either way one lot of crew doesn’t make it. My sweaty palms are back just thinking about it. And to think I wanted to join the airforce when I was 15!
Because I’m the boss of my posts, I’m going to say I pull a rabbit out of my hat and everyone survives. Yay! Interesting thought though. Do you know what you would do? If you’re not already into it, probably never, ever watch a Star Trek movie is my guess.
Enjoy the weekend y’all.