The Wisdom of Star Trek Series: #1 Odo as Metaphor for Unity


Marcielle Brandler

The character called Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is a “changeling”, a being who can become anything he wants to; a tiny screw in a computer panel, a boulder, a table, or even another person. When he rests, he does so in a bucket in which his “body” of gelatinous matter can relax into its liquid state. Odo seems remote emotionally, yet he is willing to sacrifice himself for those he loves. He yearns for relationship, yet does not show that side of himself as Security Chief of the station on which he works. It is ironic that his body is so pliable, yet he is put into the position with rules that are so stable and “unpliable”.

In one scene, he covers, Kira, the woman he loves, with his liquid self, as a way of uniting with her. We see the joy on her face. We humans do that when we hug, make love, shake hands, and pat each other on the back. We immerse the other person’s cells with our cells. When someone we don’t like reaches for us, what do we do? Pull away. Why? Because we don’t resonate with what he is offering. So too, Odo represents sincerity and unity. He becomes one with the other. He becomes one with being a tiny screw, a boulder, a table, or another person. This part of Odo represents the phrase, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” He thinks, and his thoughts become visible form. Thought is power, like electricity, which cannot be seen, until they are activated. Then they enter the physical realm, and we can acknowledge their existence. Odo knows he is a table, and it becomes reality. The knowing cannot be seen, so we do not acknowledge it. The table can be seen, thus we acknowledge it in its physical form. Oh, hey, there’s a table.

In the episode, “What You Leave Behind”, Odo returns to his home world. He stands on a large rock, which is surrounded by the same gelatinous form that is Odo. It represents other changelings in their liquid form. Odo pauses and looks around. Then, he dives into the pool. We see his essence mixing into the changeling “soup”, a metaphor for unifying with the Primordial Soup that is All Things. He is part of the same Unity that is mentioned in science, and many religious texts. We know that he is immersing himself with the Oneness that is all other changelings. — Auberjonois

The Christians call this unity, “Heaven.” The Buddhists call it Padma in Sanskrit and represent it as a Lotus flower floating upon the primordial mud from which we all came. Some teachers say that, after death, we return to the lotus and join ourselves as a petal of the greater flower.

“The lotus flower, represent [s] the primordial purity of body, speech, and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.” — A Zen Hut

We have evolved beyond the muddy lower self into a higher Self, who is above petty bickering, criticism and the lower form of mere physicality and join with others in harmony.

What is interesting about this metaphor is that the beautiful lotus actually originated from the primordial “soup” of the mud, and scientists say all life began from this same mud.

“Just like Oparin, Haldane outlined how organic chemicals could build up in water, ‘[until] the primitive oceans reached the consistency of hot dilute soup’. This set the stage for “the first living or half-living things” to form, and for each one to become enclosed in ‘an oily film’.”

  • Marshall
A meteor impact crater could be where life began (Credit: Detlev van Ravenswaay/Science Photo Library)

-Marshall. BBC Earth.

So, Odo (and we) can, by monitoring our thoughts, create a better physical reality, if we so choose. Thank you, Star Trek writers, for the wisdom hidden in your metaphors and imaginative storytelling.

Works Cited

A Zen Hut. “What Is The Meaning Of Lotus Flower In Buddhism?” A Zen Hut, 26 Mar. 2018,

Marshall, Michael. Earth — The secret of how life on Earth began. BBC.Com. October 31, 2016.
May 22, 2020.



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Marcielle Brandler

Author of four books, award-winning poet/ film and tv producer, Professor Marcielle Brandler appeared in Who’s Who in the World for several years.