Madman In A Box: Wisdom From Doctor Who

Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows.  It’s a science fiction show from the BBC that has been running for over 50 years, and to this day, still has a strong appeal.  I’m not going to get into why or how, but with everything going on in the world today, I think we could all use little messages of wisdom and humanity that are found throughout the show’s episodes.

If you’ve never seen it before, Doctor Who is about an alien with two hearts from the planet Gallifrey who travels throughout time and space in a large phone booth saving civilizations.  The Doctor helps people across the universe and different time periods all while setting fashion trends (bow ties and fezzes), offering candy to strangers (jelly babies), and preventing the extermination of all life by the evil armies of the Daleks; basically, rolling trash can monsters armed with whisks and plungers.  

Confused?  Good.  Being a little confusing and mad is part of the show’s appeal.

Compassion:

“Hate is always foolish, and love is always wise.”—the 12th Doctor.

There are many things a person can learn about life and being the best person you can be in the show.  First of all, the name of the main character is The Doctor.  A real doctor is someone who tries to save people’s lives, to help them.  In the program, The Doctor shows that it is important to have compassion for people, to help them in their time of need.  They didn’t name the show’s main character “The Pit Fighter” or “The Toilet Paper Hoarder” or “The Mad Man Carrying A Sack Of Rabid Squirrels Who Throws Them At Random Passersby.”  It’s The Doctor.  Although when the 11th Doctor repaired the giant crack in the wall of the universe, they could have called him “The Spackler.”  I digress.  The point is, being kind and compassionate is a noble trait to have.

Sometimes you need to show people that they are loved and admired.  The 11th Doctor did this with Vincent Van Gogh who was down on himself and his artistic abilities.  The Doctor took him forward in time to a modern-day museum so that Van Gogh could see for himself how much his art meant to people.  If you can show someone through words and/or actions that they are loved, then that’s compassion.  That’s kindness.  Even if it’s a small gesture, like getting your friend a cake on his 40th birthday that says, “Congratulations on passing the prostate exam!” (I really did this)

Intelligence and Learning:

“You want weapons?  We’re in a library!  Books!  The best weapons in the world!”—The 10th Doctor.

The Doctor is highly intelligent and curious about everything.  This shows that a passion for learning, being curious about the world, and trying to actually apply critical thinking and logic to solve problems is a good thing.  Never stop trying to learn new things.  You and I don’t know everything.  No one does.  If you’re curious about the world and strive to learn new things, your life can never stop growing.   And using intelligence, logic, and sound thinking is better than trying to use a sledgehammer for every problem.  Even though using only a sledgehammer to bake a pie, decorate a Christmas tree, or remodel the kitchen might be fun, it’ll just end up being squishy and counter-productive.

Self-Confidence:

“Bow ties are cool.”—The 11th Doctor.  

Before the 11th Doctor donned his famous bow tie, the only person who seemed to wear one was Bill Nye the Science Guy.  The 11th Doctor wore one because he liked it.  He declared them “cool”.  He wasn’t arrogantly proclaiming that his word was now The Law of Fashion.  He was saying that the bow tie was “cool” for him. He didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion of it.  That’s the point.  He was being himself, and didn’t ask for anyone’s approval or permission.  

That’s self-confidence.  So be yourself. Do what you like and wear what you like just as long as you don’t harm anyone else.  If you want to wear assless chaps and one of those hats with a little propeller on it while you study quantum physics and how to taxidermy racoons, then more power to you.  You don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to wear Cookie Monster booby tassels.

Relationships:

“Always try to be nice.  But never fail to be kind.” –The 12th Doctor.

Always try to be nice, and never fail to be kind to your partner.  Not being nice and kind, being mean and lashing out for no reason, is not a good thing.  For example, don’t promise chocolate chip cookies but give oatmeal raisin cookies instead.  And don’t feed your partner tacos filled with only cauliflower, anchovies, and beets.  It seems simple.  And it is.

But sometimes shit happens.  The Doctor & River Song, and also Amy & Rory, had periods of time where they separated, but always found their way back to each other.  It shows that two people who truly love each other may become separated for whatever reason, their paths diverging, but eventually those paths come back together, finding each other again.

There is also very important relationship advice from companions Amy & Rory.  And that is effort and appreciation.  Amy & Rory continually put in effort for each other, work for each other, and show their appreciation for each other.  Both partners need to step up and put in effort, not just one person doing all the work while the other just takes what the other gives.  Always show your partner appreciation.  Never take them for granted.  For example, thank your partner for giving you a fun evening out on the town, and then show them appreciation, perhaps by cooking their favorite meal for them.  Even if that meal happens to be a horrid mix of cauliflower, anchovies, and beets.

Speaking of cooking…

Cooking Skills:

Fish Fingers and Custard.  That is all.

Value on Life:

“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” —The 4th Doctor.

The 4th Doctor here tells you to never stop enjoying life.  Don’t take everything so seriously all the time.  Let loose, relax, and retreat to your blanket fort in the living room that’s fully stocked with Doritos and beer.  Life is meant to be lived and experienced. Go to that barbeque at your friend’s house, stay inside and read that book, take that road trip to Canada just to get some poutine with a glass of maple syrup while riding a moose.  No judgement.  Live your life.

With everything going in the world today I think that it’s important for people to heed some of the lessons from Doctor Who.  The world could be a much nicer place if there was more kindness, compassion, and showing appreciation for and valuing others.  And all this starts with you.  If even just you, the person reading this right now, followed these life lessons, it would make a huge difference in your life and the lives of those around you.  There would be a ripple effect of people always trying to be nice, but never failing to be kind.

Just don’t forget to wear your bow tie while indulging in a bowl of fish fingers and custard inside your blanket fort.

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