You may recall the episode of the original Star Trek series entitled ‘Amok Time’. It occurs to me that the story line has interesting parallels to how boys experience adolescence.
Spock’s behavior has become irrational and inexplicably emotional. He reveals to Captain Kirk that he must return to Vulcan and initially refuses to explain why.
Spock defies the Captain who ultimately extracts an explanation from Mr.Spock:
You humans have no conception. It strips our minds from us. It brings a madness which rips away … our veneer of civilization.
Spock has entered into a transformational, chaotic state and must return to Vulcan to resolve it if he is to return to normal. Spock understands he is acting irrationally but his helplessness to control his emotions makes it all the more difficult for him.
Spock’s friends and comrades try to come to his aid offering understanding and help but he refuses them telling them to ‘leave me alone’ and crushes an innocent telecom unt in his anger.
As it turns out Spock and Kirk are forced into a battle to the death which Spock appears to win.
But, as only television can, the story resolves itself when Kirk turns out to be alive as a result of Doctor McCoy’s cleverness.
Adolescence can turn boys into illogical, emotional powder kegs. They may turn viciously on their friends and family when their instincts are stronger than their ability to reason. They may know exactly what is happening and still be unable to stop it.
Adolescence is an allegorical life-and-death struggle to enter adulthood by trying to kill those things and people that represent childhood. If we weather these storms and accept our role in the drama the end is almost always the same. Once our boys have entered adulthood we magically come back to life as their friends again.
Anyone living with an adolescent boy will instantly recognize Spock’s attitude and tortured demeanor. Adolescence is serious business. An we can better understand it will help us all survive.