The Ninjabot

10 Lessons Learned From Star Trek

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 4:30 am by Amanda Andonian

Star Trek: Into Darkness is hitting theaters next week, and I wanted to do something in honor of the occasion. Since I grew up with Star Trek and it’s one of my favorite television franchises of all time, I started to think about the different kinds of lessons I learned from the show. With a total of 716 episodes across six different series, there’s quite a bit of life wisdom to gather. In no particular order, here are ten essential lessons learned from Star Trek!

Children are the Worst

Wesley_CrusherAnyone who knows me personally is also aware of the fact that I can’t stand children. I always believed that I came to this conclusion on my own, but after viewing The Next Generation again recently, I’m realizing that this aversion has deeper roots. Just think about it. Wesley, Alexander, the kids Picard got stuck in the turbolift with, that boy who lost his mom and was suddenly attached at the hip to Worf—all exceedingly annoying and obnoxious. I love Wil Wheaton, but Wesley was such a poorly written and self-important character that it drove me nuts every time he had to “save” the Enterprise. This is a galaxy class starship, filled with the best and brightest of Starfleet. Why are they constantly shown up by a mere child? Kids. Are. The. Worst.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

Everyone in the bridge crew of The Original Series is amazing in their own way, but if I had to choose my favorite, it would be Montgomery Scott. Why? Because he knew how to manage people’s expectations. Whenever there was an issue in engineering, Scotty would give Kirk his best estimate of how long it would take, let’s say six hours. Kirk would tell him it needed to be done in three hours, and then Scotty would finish in two. The result? Everyone thought Scotty was a miracle worker. Of course, he was an engineering genius, but overestimating how long repairs would take ensured that Kirk never forgot just how good Scotty was.

Everything is Fascinating

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our favorite Vulcan, it’s that everything in the universe is fascinating. Maybe you can’t see it at first, but if you strive to look at the world from another angle than the one you’re accustomed to, then there will always be something new and wonderful to uncover. What Kirk often felt were normal, boring things about humanity, Spock always found it “fascinating.” He probably could have given that particular word a rest and tried something else in his vocabulary, but it also forced viewers to think about the world in a different way—through Spock’s eyes.

Resistance Actually Isn’t Futile

The iconic motto of the Borg Entity, “Resistance is futile,” was actually never true at all. Although the Borg were certainly a frightening and formidable foe, human ingenuity never failed to win out over their straightforward hive-mind. Even with their ability to absorb tactics and knowledge like a sponge, the Borg just didn’t have the ability to counteract our greatest asset: creativity. They might have won the battle more often than not, but the Borg couldn’t win the war against humanity.

Bigotry is Stupid

star trek let-that-be-your-last-battlefieldStar Trek is probably best known for its groundbreaking approach to social issues of the day. Most notable is an episode from TOS called, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.” The story revolves around the fight between two races from the planet Cheron, whose conflict is based entirely upon which side of their face is black and which side is white. To the Enterprise crew, it’s an inconsequential difference, but the two “races” believe otherwise. The result is nuclear fallout and the destruction of an entire planet. It’s not difficult to draw the lesson from that episode and apply it to humankind. While I doubt that humanity will be able to entirely transcend the differences that divide us within the next four hundred years (after all, we still manage to find cause to war with each other after 2000 years of sharing this planet), the message of equality and working together towards a common goal is one of the things I love the most about Star Trek.

Don’t Take Foreign Animals Home

This lesson comes from another seminal episode of TOS, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” In it, Uhura brings an adorable and purring Tribble back to the Enterprise where it quickly reproduces thousands of offspring, nearly overrunning the ship. Didn’t anyone ever tell her not to touch unknown animals, and definitely NOT take them home? You never know what trouble it brings with it.

Listen to Your Chief of Security

After all, you’ve hired him or her to keep you safe, right? Unfortunately for Worf, no one ever wanted to listen to his ideas. It’s actually kind of sad when you think about it. Despite the fact that Worf is constantly commended for his service to Starfleet, everyone completely shuts him down whenever he tries to maintain security on the ship. Poor guy is just trying to do his job!

Communication is Hard

Luckily for the Enterprise, most of the alien races they visited could have their language translated, or could speak English for some reason. However, there were still a few times when lack of communication resulted in horrible misunderstandings. In “Encounter at Farpoint,” an alien ship attacks Farpoint Station, but the Enterprise can’t communicate with anyone on board, and Troi can’t get a read on any life forms except to sense huge emotions that she can barely handle. Turns out the ship itself is a living being, and its mate was held captive at Farpoint and forced to use its energy to replicate goods and materials. The moral of the story: just because you can’t understand someone doesn’t mean they don’t make sense.

Date Real People

star trek minuetThat seems to go without saying, but common sense often escaped our erstwhile Enterprise crews. I’m pretty sure that every series of Star Trek that had the Holodeck also had at least one episode where a crewmember fell in love with a hologram. Geordi (“Booby Trap”) and Riker (“11001001”), in particular, come to mind. In both cases, their “relationship” came back to cause major trouble for them IRL, not to mention some pretty avoidable heartbreak. Thus, the lesson here is to just date real people. Yes, it’s hard to find the right person sometimes, but it beats looking like a total weirdo.

There are Always Four Lights

If I’m ever being tortured, and someone asks me how many lights I see, you can bet your ass I’m going to tell them, “THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!”

Is there anything you’ve learned from Star Trek that I didn’t mention here? What’s your favorite part about the show? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

    • Haha cracks me up every time. Way to stick it to ’em Picard. I think the guy torturing him was the evil Butler in Titanic. I could be wrong though. I haven’t seen that episode in ages.

    • Jess Hicks

      Awesome list! I need to rewatch the entire series, I think I only ever really watched TOS and TNG.

      • Every single series is on Netflix/Amazon Instant. Watch at your pleasure!

    • Thank you for including Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. 😀

      I did a tribute to that one in my webcomic a few years ago.

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