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Author Topic: Maybe Klingons embrace death a little too easily?  (Read 5063 times)
torqey
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« on: 04 14, 2009, 05:52: AM »

Let's consider two possibilities:

#1. Klingons really do not enjoy life and all of them have death wishes.

#2. Klingons have serious issues and never want to look like whimps.

Reasoning behind #1: Many Klingons (like Worf's brother) want redemption from dishonor so badly, they will die to get it. They say that they are just doing it so they can die an honorable death and make it to the afterlife, but is that really the reason? For some of them, maybe, but maybe some of them (like Worf's brother) have just been treated so badly that they want life to end.

Reasoning behind #2: Klingons are always saying that it is a good day to die and that they will die trying, and that they are not afraid of death. It seems that a true warrior would not want to die in vain. Many Klingons just rush into suicide missions and die, accomplishing nothing with their death. Are they just doing this not to look like cowards?

My personal code of honor: Whenever I am playing a computer game, I always play someone who wears lots of armor and participates in heavy melee. In WoW, I played a warrior and a death knight. In Spore I played through the game in "aggressive" the whole time. In LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth, I made my heroes have lots of health and armor, and have big battle axes and maces. And you know, even though they were just computer games, I had a code of honor I used in each one of them. I would try to stay alive as long as possible, and if I knew death was inevitable, I would turn around and face the enemy, use all of my abilities that would give me more health, armor and damage output, and I would take down as many enemies as possible before I died. See, I would not embrace death, I would accomplish as much as I could while I was still alive. That is my personal code of honor.

So, I ask you, why are Klingons so quick to die? Are they suicidal? Are they afraid to be called cowards? Or are they just lazy and want life to end? Or are they maybe afraid that they will get old and die in bed very soon, and they want to die in battle before that day comes? What is the real reasons behind the Klingon death wish?

(Please note that this whole time I was speaking to you as a Federation science officer, not as a Klingon warrior. Please do not call me a coward and insult me. Join me in considering Klingon psychology, and think about it with me. Think about it as a sane person, not as a crazy Klingon warrior who's quick to die. Smiley)
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qurgh_
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« Reply #1 on: 07 07, 2010, 08:52: PM »

(I'll respond to this as a Federation sociologist who has studied Klingon society. Might as well play the role Cheesy)

I don't think Klingon's embrace death, they just don't fear it.

They have been taught that dieing for a cause is more important than living without one.

If you die in combat, after killing many enemies, then you have done something constructive with your life.

They know that by acting together, for a greater good, they can accomplish anything. If, by sacrificing their life, they help that greater good, then they feel like that have been a productive member of society. Since the whole society feels that way, they are praised for their sacrifice. This praise then encourages others to sacrifice their lives, but it doesn't mean they are going to just throw them away.

So, I don't believe that #1 or #2 are true. So let's look at option 3:

#3 Klingons believe that giving their life for the Empire is the ultimate sacrifice.

I almost want to compare the mindset to that of a suicide bomber. While the bomber doesn't necessarily want to die, he does want to destroy as many enemies as possible (and gain the approval and acceptance of his peers) and giving his life to do that is considered a great deed in the minds of the people around him.
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Kehlan
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« Reply #2 on: 07 08, 2010, 08:10: AM »

qurgh, I think its something more than that.... it does seem as though Klingons, the warriors at least, have some sort of death wish.  An example that backs that up .. Decandido's novel "A burning house"  Leskit mentions that he is is older now and it takes his blood a little longer to boil.... Toq responds that he intends to die in battle long before he ever gets to that stage.

It seems to me that if you go into a fight expecting to die, you'll get what you want. Any idiot can get himself killed in a fight, it takes a darn good warrior to come out the other side alive, having disposed of his enemies, yet the Klingon culture seems to denigrate older warriors.  Think of Kor, a legendary dahar master..how he became an object of pity and scorn... Why?  Because he survived enough battles to become old (and senile) Now I'm not saying any warrior should want to get old enough to be senile and useless.. when death comes it should (from a warriors viewpoint) be on his feet and with a weapon in his hand.. Actually wanting to die young is not healthy.

 Surely the best attitude to take into battle is "Well, if I die today thats fine, I do not fear it, but if I survive to tell the tale having fought honourably and defeated my enemy thats even better"

I also wonder, how many have to die before there is actually no-one left to claim the victory?

On the other hand, maybe KLingons don't embrace death in quite the way it seems.  there could easily be an element of bragging and bravado when they talk about dying.

Not sure if I'm expressing my thoughts very well, its proving difficult to put them into words.
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Captain Kehlan
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qoSagh
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« Reply #3 on: 07 09, 2010, 01:29: AM »

Kor was over 100 years old when he became senile. This is probably not the norm in any society that has so many warriors. Leskit was gray haired when we first saw him on screen and a bit older in the Gorkon books. We really don't know how old he is, just that he does not consider himself young anymore. Toq could very well be saying that he does not expect to live to be 80 or 100. This may not be a death wish so much as a realism. Far more warriors die in battle than do not, so Toq may not have any realistic expectation of reaching a ripe old age.

Trying to look at a Klingons mindset through our own human minds will always fail, Klingons like any fictional alien race have been specifically designed to be foreign to our sensibilities.

Remember also that Klingons have a two afterlife system. There is a place that honored warriors go and a place that the dishonored go. Even when the cult of Kahless was not in a prime position most Klingons still believed in The Black Fleet which one must be a warrior to get to.  Now there is a temptation to think that the culture created the beliefs but with Klingons it almost has to be the other way around. If the Klingons in fact did kill (or vanquish) their gods, it means that they have first hand historical evidence of the domain of the gods. Kortar is a real person who ferries the dead. It is safe to assume that Klingons know for a fact that both afterlife locations exist.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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