Sci-Fi Wisdom: The Simplicity of Play

The original Star Trek TV series had a lot of truly famous episodes.  There was the one about the tribbles, and the one where Spock had a beard. Oh, and the one were Kirk fought that green lizard guy.  I love that one!  But today we’re going to talk about one of Star Trek’s less memorable episodes: the one where the crew of the Enterprise meets the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This episode just feels awkward.  I guess some people may like it, but I don’t.  Even so, there was one part near the end that really stuck with me.  It turns out (spoiler alert!) that the White Rabbit is not really the White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s book.  It’s a robot designed to replicate something a computer detected in an Enterprise crewmember’s imagination.

When the truth is finally revealed, we get this exchange of dialogue:

God-like Alien: This entire planet was constructed for our race of people to come and play.

Lt. Sulu: Play?  As advanced as you obviously are, and you still play?

Capt. Kirk: Yes, play, Mister Sulu.  The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

I bring this up because lately I’ve been dealing with certain real life problems, and like many people struggling with real life problems, I’ve found myself perusing the Internet for self-help articles or watching self-help videos on YouTube.  And there’s one piece of advice I keep seeing over and over again: focus on your goals and cut all the “distractions” out of your life.

By distractions, these videos and articles usually mean things like television, video games, social media… all those forms of entertainment that are self-evidently wasting your time… time that would be better spent working harder on your goals.

This, I believe, is terrible advice.  Look, obviously anything in excess can be a bad thing (there’s a Star Trek quote about that too; it’s in the tribble episode), but the biggest problem that I have, and I think we all have, with our modern world is that everything is so urgent, so demanding, and so complicated. Maybe our minds are not yet as complex as the minds of those god-like aliens on Star Trek, but still… our lives are complicated enough that we do need the simplicity of play.

So whatever your idea of “play” might be, please don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time or that it’s a distraction that needs to be cut out of your life.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Lego rocket ship to build.

13 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Wisdom: The Simplicity of Play

  1. Agreed. This is why when someone says “you must have too much time on your hands” when referring to some goofy project I probably spent far less time on than they think, I become enraged. Who are YOU to tell ME what’s a waste of my time?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. But yeah, this all boils down to something I learned from the theme song of Diff’rent Strokes: “the world don’t move to the best of just one drum; WHAT MIGHT BE RIGHT FOR YOU, MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR SOME. People view everything through the lenses of their own senses of perception. “Well that’s no good for me. It’s trash! Waste of time!” Well, maybe it’s good for someone else. Ya know? I absolutely HATE people who lack empathy. I don’t watch sports, for example. But I recognize that it tickles the fancy of a lot of other people. Is it trash? No, it’s just not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Woah woah woah….I liked that episode. I’ve always wondered what it was like under the surface of that planet. Fortunately the means and budgets in the 1960s were ill-equipped to build a CGI nightmare like would be done today if their story were to have first aired now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, you’re right. I’m probably being too hard on this episode. It’s a cool concept, and with the budget and time constraints they had I’m sure they did the best they could. But I just wish the tone felt more like “The Cage,” which explored a similar idea.


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