beginning of Book 7
The Tahiti Syndrome
Thesis: “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” –Theodore Surgeon
Johan Huizinga in his book Homo Ludens , states, “the function of the poet still remains fixed in the play-sphere where it was born. Poiesis, in fact, is a play function. It proceeds within the play-ground of the mind in a world of its own which the mind creates for it. There, things have a very different physiognomy from the one they wear in “ordinary life”, and are bound by ties other than those of logic and causality. If a serious statement be defined as one that may be made in terms of waking life, poetry will never rise to the level of seriousness. It lies beyond seriousness, on that more primitive and original level where the child, the animal, the savage and the seer belong, in the region of dream, enchantment, ecstasy, laughter. To understand poetry, we must be capable of donning the child’s soul like a magic cloak and forsaking man’s wisdom for the child’s.”
(The Beacon Press, 1950, 119).
Lewis Carroll and Gene Roddenberry meet in Gene’s take off on Disney’s newly opening ”Disneyland” in Anaheim, California is the brilliant Theodore Sturgeon episode about PLAY and the modern mind in “Shoreleave.” “Alice in Wonderland”
“Oh my paws and whispers.
I’ll be late”Excuse me, sir, have you seen a rather large, white rabbit with a yellow waistcoat?”
“Without contraries is no progression,” as Blake shows. And there are even serpents, firearm, and a tiger in the garden. Lewis Carroll reminds of two happy and friendly creatures who also exist in the twentieth century in Roddenberry’s amusement part. Today on a planet where everyone seems offended, where everyone apologizes for some faux pas, CATHARSIS is needed. “Don’t you like birds, Mr. Rodriguez?” Tonia finds herself in a dress, a lady to be fought for who needs a knight to protect her in the amusement garden. Past meets present. The black knight is a dummy as Spock points, a fabrication. Spock: “All we know is they act exactly like the real thing, just as pleasant, or just as deadly. The amusement contains WW II fighters making a strafing run; a Finnegan senior student from the academy who punishes Kirk is a prolonged fight of Irish dimensions.
“I was thinking about…my days at the Academy….”hey Jimmy baby.”
“Remember you never could find your head with both hands.”
‘I’m still twenty years old… You’re an old man.”
After the fight, Finnegan Soothes Kirk: “Sleep
sweet, Jimmy boy. Sleep as long as you like. Sleep forever, Jim baby. Forever
and ever.” Kirk meets the Caretaker: Yes I enjoyed it after all these years. I
did enjoy it. The one thing I wanted was to beat the tan out of Finnegan.” Says
the Caretaker: “None of this is permanent. You have to only imagine your fondest
wishes, the old ones which you wish to relive, or new ones . . .battle, fear,
love triumph. Anything that pleases you can be made to happen. Spock: “ The term
is amusement park.” Sulu notes: “Play? As advanced as you obviously are . . .
and you still play?”And Kirk summarizes the thesis/theme: “Yes, play, Mr. Sulu.”
“The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” As
Huizinga notes, “purely aesthetic expression that carries us beyond ordinary
life into a world where something other than the daylight ranges; it carries us
back to the world of the savage, the child and the poet, which is the world of
“The Way to Eden”
Dr. Severn has something of a vegetative revolution based on the concept of the noble savage. He has some thirty people in his ship, and Captain Kirk believes him to be insane. The revolution is an anti technology. They robbed the ship. Scott summarizes they are a bunch of juvenile delinquents. “We know where they are and what they are doing. I don’t know why a young mind has to be and undisciplined one. Trouble makers. Eden’s song : “Stepped into Eden, Yeah, brother. No more problem in my body on my mind. Goin’like a king on whatever I find. Eat all first and throw away the rind. Yeah, brother. The goal in Eden is a huge fruit. They find themselves amid acid plants in the ship. They are a garden of destruction. Eventually Kirk closes “the incident.” Although these young people are misled by Dr. Severn, their idealism come into the movements of the 1960’s is shared by Spock who at the end tells them: Do not give up your search for Eden. You will find it. Or make it yourselves." The teleplay is by D. C. Fontana and Arthur Heineman.
This almost mythological piece has beautiful characters and setting. What takes place are trekkers who land in a paradisiacal setting. What gets our attention are the land mines that go off in paradise. Also as noted there’s no change here. There have been at least 10,000 years passed. The question remains how Akauta, who is the leader of the people of Vaal. McCoy quips, “Far out.” Philosophically, the people have to feed Vaal in order to maintain their paradise of no change. Kirk believes when seeing the people of Vaal feeding Vaal and obtaining their freedoms from this form of slavery, creates a black, cosmic, stormy event. The cause of this is that feeding Vaal destroys people who Spock insists are humanoids. The argument is over the necessity of freedom for live thinking humanoids. Kirk changes this humanoid situation of dependence or independence by ordering that the people of Vaal are not permitted to feed Vaal anymore. This would force the tin god to change its ways and a serpent in this case dependency by the humanoids. By being normal and thoughtful people, people who find their redemption through human love, they will evolve. Heretofore, their unnatural state has been no change. Now their patterns of life will change as loving human beings not as servants of a false God. Once again, man has to fall to achieve redemption. He now is the apple.
“THIS SIDE OF PARADISE"
Another paradise episode, an agricultural colony, a heaven, but one steeped in plants filled with drugs which have taken the place of the original agricultural colony which now are flowers of evil as a result of Berthold race. Flowers serves as a defense against the Berthold race thus leaving the colony in a suspended drug like state. It has become a perfect heroin like condition, which is run by Mr. Sandoval, who, upon meeting Kirk and the party, notes that his colony and its people were never in any danger. The characters include a woman named Leila, whose name means “night beauty”. The colonists noted from Spock that , “I am not like you.” The planet is named Omicron Ceti III which holds some 150 colonists. Sandoval states that they knew the Berthold race was risky but came down anyway and founded it. Kirk knowing the danger says he has come to the colony to evacuate all personnel and that he wants the people to begin preparations and accommodations on the Enterprise. Sandoval notes to Kirk that there has not been one death among us. He would consider the loss of the colony a great one. The next plot feature is the love affair between Leila and Spock, former acquaintances. This goes from Platonic at first to human as they proceed. The essence of the episode is love. When they find out that Spock doesn’t think as they do, they expose Spock to the plant’s last drug. From the point of view of the colonists, Spock’s view is from too much trekking and logic. So Spock gets high like the rest of them, joins them as it were, and decides to take a vacation from the Enterprise. He decides to join paradise. Spock is found an amorous position such as swinging from a tree branch pointing out astronomical figures from the night sky which he can see in the daylight. Through a series of violent confrontations including major one when Kirk calls Spock up to the Enterprise and commences a fight against his first officer to get the Vulcan’s attention by agitating his emotions by making him rational through an irrational attack. Kirk’s logic wins because instead of attacking his captain violently: instead he stands up violently much to Kirk’s surprise. Kirk’s trust in his relationship to his first officer, in knowing his Vulcan heart and loyalty, the ominous bar fight ends peacefully and seems to only provoke the Vulcan into passivism. This is the solution to the drug problem on the colony. While others wait on the planet’s surface for Spock’s return, Kirk and Spock begin to create a solution of chemical and electrical by a machine. This made them feel like bugs were crawling on them. As a result of the irritations and the fights, the rest of the 400 crew members are also irritated into punching each other. Spock concludes the feeling of the Vulcan view of life and the newly found peace by summarizing his feelings and those of the crew: “ for the first time in my life, I am happy.” Therefore there is this side of paradise, a world created by chemicals, it not longer exist. That side of paradise is returned to the world of reason and agriculture.
“The Pale face”
This episode is the only one with an asteroid deflector within an asteroid. It's made of an alloy of a sky deflector brought from ancient aliens and works in a period of 30 minutes. The setting is likened to the American Mid west tribes. Enterprise must find the ancients wrecking machine which must be found and activated by a Shamea. A key is required to start the inside colored buttons and deflectors. Spock ÒWe must get to the deflector point. There in a subterrean crater. Kirk: Where is this? He gives an order to find the deflector gate. Enter Salish. Salish says of Kirk, We must prove he's a god. Salish will become Kirk's rival in the machine and Kirk is his lover rival Miramanee. Salish and Kirk fight for Miramanee. Salish argues to her that you are linked to me. A fight breaks out between Kerok as Kirk in his tribal name fights Salish. Miramanee. There opens weeks of love. "I bear your child." Kirk must control the lights which turns night into day. "You are a god." Kirk: "You think I am a god. Well I am not a god. I am a man." Kirk is a false god according to Salish. Asteroid is moving and is creating a storm and Kirk cannot remember the activation code from the ancient past. There is an accident in the cave which brings down Nurse Chapel because McCoy believes Kirk has impasses in the brain. Spock Kirk is an extremely dynamic individual especially in tonal control. Kirk falls into the asteroid machine while in control with his communicator. He opens the machine's door. It is his communicator's musical tone that opens the door. With Spock's help they discover an ancient alien code and its music. These notes played by Spock open the cave has the crew runs the playing of the notes will open the machine. Everyone runs for cover as the machine opens.. The activator activates successfully. All Trek crew and native Indians are saved by Spock's noteworthy performance. The Native American settings are gorgeous and wonderful.
"Trouble with Tribbles"
Trouble with Tribbles has been listed by fans of TOS as the most popular Star Trek episode. Its diversity of unrelated specimens is the essence of grotesque art. The Enterprise crew receives a priority one subspace distress call only to find out it’s not a Klingon invasion but a request to protect grain of great importance to the Sherman’s planet. Kirk doesn’t take the request seriously and assigns only two guards to protect the grain. In the meantime, Cyrano Jones brings aboard a tribble, a small furry animal that doesn’t like Klingons. And the Klingons don’t like them. The tribbles squeak at the Klingons in disgust. Uhara takes one of Cyrano’s tribbles.
Dr. McCoy discovers that the tribbles are born pregnant stating, "which seems to be quite a time saver." When Kirk checks on the grain bins, thousands of tribbles fall out. A lot of the tribbles are dead. McCoy discovers that the grain was poisoned with a virus that ultimately starves the tribbles to death. When Kirk passes Darvin, a tribble squeaks and Kirk discovers that Darvin is really a Klingon. Cyrano has to gather all tribbles from the ship to avoid prison time for violating the law of transporting animals, and Scotty transports the tribbles to the Kilngon engine room aboard the Klingon ship. The episode includes a bar fight between members of the Enterprise crew and the Klingons. Scotty tells Kirk that the fight started when a Klingon called Kirk " a tin plated over swaggering dictator with delusins of godhood." Kirk isn’t insulted by the comment at all. With the non chalant attitude of the Captain and the thousands of tribbles, the episode is very humorous.
"LIVE LONG AND PROSPER"