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Loki

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Bele, Gorshin's other famous television role, ...

Star Trek: The Original Series episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield © 1969 Paramount Pictures, produced by Gene Roddenberry. Click on photo for fair use rationale via Wikipedia

In Norse myth Loki is the son of two giants and confounded the gods with various tricks until, after bringing about the death of Balder, was fastened to a rock. On the day of Ragnarok Loki will break free and lead the giants into a terrible war against the gods.

The American scholar Bergen Evans sees Loki as an evil god in Norse myth with parallels to the Old Testament Satan as depicted in the Book of Job. Others see Loki more as a trickster and as a reversibly transsexual shapeshifter.

Loki (or Lokai) is also a TV character in the original 1969 Star Trek episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” a classic episode dealing with the inanity of racism. Loki is a non-human who’s half white and half black. Meanwhile, another non-human character, Bele, is also half white and half black but in the reverse symmetry to Loki,

Like Lokai, Bele is half black and half white, with the color divided by a line through the exact center of his face. However, the sides of Bele’s black and white skin are reversed from those of Lokai, a difference which seems inconsequential to the Enterprise crew but of great importance to Bele, Lokai, and, apparently, their civilization. The difference is pointed out by Bele to a perplexed Captain Kirk who asks what is the difference between them, to which he replies, “Isn’t it obvious? Lokai is white on the right side. All his people are white on the right side.”¹

As mentioned in other Think Free entires, part of Star Trek’s popularity arguably rests on its liberal use, reinterpretation and reimagining of mythological characters and their names. Possibly this elicits a kind of numinous resonance within viewers, perhaps even if they don’t consciously know about the mythology in question. As C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell suggest, mythic ideas and sounds may resonate within the viewer’s subconscious or unconscious mind.

¹ See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_That_Be_Your_Last_Battlefield

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