What Quark the Ferrengi taught me about coping mechanisms and PTSD

This won’t make much sense to non-Trekkies. In the Star Trek Series of TV shows, particularly ‘Deep Space Nine’, there is a species called Ferrengi, who are avaricious and focussed on accumulating wealth. Their central philosophy is rooted in the ‘Rules of Acquisition‘ .

I was struck by a unique application of rule #3 in the Deep Space 9 episode “The Maquis, part 2“.

Rule of Aquisition #3 Never Spend More for An Acquisition Than You Have To.

In the story, a Ferrengi is locked up in prison with a Vulcan. Ferrengi are ruled by the ‘rules’ and Vulcans are governed by logic. The vulcan is a member of a group called the Maqui, who were trying to defend their home territory from a nearby empire, and were cut off from help by the Federation of Planets by a treaty ceding that land as a buffer zone between the two empires.

Here’s a link to the conversation between Quark and the vulcan Saconna. He calls her position with the Maquis illogical and uses the Rules of Acquisition to explain that, “peace can be bought at a bargain price.” He explains she doesn’t have to fight or die to protect her home, but can get peace in a less costly way. The conversation is right at the end of the video so it gets cut off and continued in the next video.

I have adapted this rule and the logic behind it, as interpreted by my guru Quark, into:

Sworddancewarriors rule #3 of being a survivor

(I’ll come up with #1 and #2 later)

Never use a self-destructive coping strategy, when a less harmful one will get you what you need instead.

Some examples:

  • Why cut your body to convert unbearable emotional pain into physical pain and banish dissociation when holding onto cubes of ice will do the same job without injuring your body permanently?
  • Why stay in a relationship with an abusive partner in order to feel safe sleeping at night, when a big dog will do the same job?
  • Why drink to numb overwhelming feelings when expressing them in a safe place will get you to a calm place without the hangover and liver damage?
  • Why over-function to make critical people like you, to deal with hating yourself, when you can learn to like yourself and find people who like you without being bribed?

Anyone got any other examples of substitutions of cheaper coping strategies for expensive ones?