Forty-five years ago today on September 8, 1966, NBC aired "The Man Trap," for the original STAR TREK. It was the first episode of the series aired, but it was not the first produced. Back then, studios got to chose what episodes to air and NBC likely chose "The Man Trap" because of it's monster-on-the-loose storyline. The original STAR TREK lasted only 3 seasons, but as we all know it became a cultureal phenomenon in reruns. Since I was born after the series went off the air, that's how I became a fan and have remained such for all these years.
As I previously wrote, my moral framework was formed by STAR TREK. I was a toddler glued to the screen watching reruns of the original series on WPIX. Yes, that’s completely geeky, but so what? I remember when I found out as an early teen that the US didn’t follow the Prime Directive (i.e., all peoples—alien or otherwise—had a right to self determination) and was devastated by that. There is something inherently noble about the original STAR TREK universe. Dave Marinaccio’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek perfectly captures what I learned from STAR TREK and all what I needed to know how to live, what to do, and how to be:
- Each person or each species, no matter how alien, has the right to live their lives as they wish. (AS long as they’re not trying to take over the galaxy or eat you or something.)
- Everyone has a role in life. Sulu is the navigator. Uhura is the communications specialist. Do your own job and the ship will function more smoothly.
- Whatever you are doing, answer a distress call. The most important time to help someone is when they need it.
- If you mess something up, it’s your responsibility to make things right again (Say you disrupt history and cause the Nazis to win World War II. To correct matters, you have to let Joan Collins walk in front of a car even though you’re in love with her.)
- The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play
- If you can keep your head in a crisis you’ve got a fighting chance.
- The unknown is not to be feared. It is to be examined, understood and accepted.
- Close friends become family and family is the true center of the universe.
- End every episode with a smile.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. It was a sort of epiphany seeing this. Yes, this is how we should live. Thank you, Gene Roddenberry and STAR TREK, and happy anniversary!!!