What Can We Learn About Humanity by Watching Doctor Who
Ever since my sister-in-law introduced my husband and I to the wonderful world of Doctor Who, I often find myself reading between the lines with each episode. It’s not to curb my cynicism of real life. I wanted to completely understand the concept of why the Doctor was regenerating and on what he has gained from this process.
Fast forward to the present – tears were streaming down my face as I was watching the last episode featuring the Eleventh Doctor. While it felt like a blur as I was witnessing his regeneration, I cannot forget his last words that were uttered from him:
But times change, and so must I… we all change. When you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good! You’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
Of course, the irony of that last quote was when he regenerated to the 12th Doctor, he didn’t remember. Just the instant realization that he has a new pair of kidneys.
In any case, we can learn about what was mentioned before the regeneration. People don’t change. It’s the events that make the person change. Imagine if someone from your past has told you that they were a changed person. Would you believe it? Chances are (depending on the repercussions) you may be obliged to say “no.” But what if an individual has went through such a traumatic experiences that changes their viewpoint of the world? Would you be a bit more forgiving now?
As humans, we do have the ability to regenerate. Our thoughts, ideas and viewpoints are subjected to change when we witness crucial events of our lives. They are milestones. Just as the Doctor has many faces, we all have different “identities” – we go through an evolution as we progress in the timeline. The subject of regeneration has been an ongoing fascination for humans. We are too focused in the literal sense i.e. the issue of mortality. How often do we wished to be able to share the Doctor’s ability by preventing ourselves from dying? Yes, it is a nice thought. It is a hope that we can live forever.
The harsh truth is that we cannot do so.
With that said, Doctor Who has been around since 1963. Regardless of the different incarnations of the Doctor, the main theme that has been the focus is the subject of redemption and resolution. He has taught us to embrace our humanistic views because he lived for too long to see civilizations come and go. Being human does not make us weak – it makes us stronger when we all face adversities. We are taught to progress forward by learning from the past and find a solution for the present.
Sounds wibbly wobbly but it works.
So how can we achieve that ability to regenerate (minus the glowing skin and instant makeover)? It starts in your psyche. We can start by asking ourselves a couple of questions:
1. Am I happy with myself?
2. Have I found the meaning of contentment?
3. If I were to change one habit about myself, what can I do?
4. Have I improved or do I need to make changes?
5. Am I conforming to what society wants me to be? Or am I truly living my own life?
6. If I were to change, will my beliefs impact others?
7. Will I be able to reach a sense of solitude?
As humans, we are bound by responsibility for ourselves and for what we can teach to others. Imagine that we are the companions to the Doctor. It would be great to travel in time and space to witness the rise and fall of nations. But when everything is said and done, would you feel satisfied that you were able to accumulate a vast amount of knowledge? Or would you have a nagging feeling knowing that we bit off more than what we can chew?
Our inner phoenixes remain dormant until we find the right opportunity to let go of our own fears and vices. There are moments when we feel that we may have “died” inside, only to find ourselves rising above the ashes. At that moment, in that time, we feel ourselves renewed with such focus and stability that we can take on the world. And then the process repeats itself, like a never-ending cycle. Are we finding ourselves in a loophole? No. It’s the true definition of being human.
In the episode “Closing Time” when the Doctor was talking to Alfie (alias Stormaggedon), the subject of embracing your humanity is summed up from the following conversation:
You are so young. Aren’t you? And you know, right now everything’s ahead of you. You could be anything. Yes, I know. You could walk among the stars. They don’t actually look like that you know. They are rather more impressive. You know when I was little like you I dreamt of the stars. I think it’s fair to say, in the language of your age, that I lived my dream. I owned the stage. Gave it a hundred and ten percent. I hope you have as much fun as I did, Alfie.
We can be whoever we want to be. Because the Doctor does (and always will) believe in us.
What do you think? Leave a comment.