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Life Lessons Star Trek Taught Us

This week saw the 45th anniversary of the debut of Star Trek, the science fiction franchise that reflected the optimism of the space race and made science fiction mainstream years before George Lucas would manage to get Darth Vader to pant heavily. As a television show, it changed everything and taught the world many valuable lessons… like the ones we’re about to share with you.

The Hero Should Get The Girl – As Often As Possible
Doing the right thing may be a reward in and of itself, but it never hurts to sweeten the deal with lots of sexy alien ladies. Star Trek, unlike lesser shows, was unafraid to suggest that action isn’t its own reward, but action for a good cause could end up with an entirely different type of action as reward anyway.

Families Suck, Unless They’re The Families You Choose For Yourself
Another one in the slightly dysfunctional column, Star Trek is full of characters estranged from their families, yet fiercely protective and loyal to their crew. Trek was one of the first shows to not only deconstruct the atomic family at that time still inherent in American society, but also arguably the first to foreshadow the world that was to follow, where individuals created their own definitions of family.

Extras Are Entirely Expendable
Only Star Trek dared to make it explicitly clear that, if you don’t do something to stand out in a crowd, you will likely end up dead from some unbelievable threat sooner rather than later.

You Cannae Change The Laws of Physics (Unless It Suits Your Purposes)
As Scotty was fond of telling us, some things are just plain immutable – and yet, every week, the Enterprise managed to survive despite those unchangeable laws. Why? Lateral thinking (and some ropey psuedo-science, sure, but let’s stick to the point here). Star Trek taught us to never just accept things as they were, and to try and find the real life version of doing something funky with dilithium crystals.

Aliens Are Just Like Us, Apart From That Nose Thing
If ever there was a case of making a negative into a positive, it’s seeing how the low make-up budget of the various Treks turns into a lesson about how we’re all pretty much the same no matter what race we come from – Xenophobia be damned, Trek said, we’re just wrinkly-noses, funny-foreheads or pointy-ears away from all being exactly the same.

Patience Is A Virtue When Dealing With Alien Races
You might think that Star Trek only taught the value of conflict, but no – Look at The Next Generation, and the fact that the Klingons are now onboard the Enterprise, or Voyager‘s Borg crewmate, and realize that what Trek was really saying is “Just hold on, and your enemies will end up working with you because circumstances will cause you all to realize that there are even worse things out there waiting to screw you up.”

The Good Guys Always Win
The most important lesson of all. After all, even when the crew of the starship Enterprise lost – Say, for example, Spock dying – there would always be a happy ending somewhere down the line. As long as you were doing the right thing, Trek demonstrated, everything would turn out alright in the end.


  • secretasianboy

    Graeme Mcmillian Rules!

  • Wayne

    Star Trek taught me:
    We can move past nationalism to people as a species.
    Racism, sexism, difference-ism can be overcome.
    Sometimes, the good of the one counts more than the good of the many.
    We can move past money as a prime motivator of human endeavor
    Never wear a red shirt to work
    Technology can free us instead of drag us down
    There’s no such thing as the no-win scenario
    Violence is never the answer; no matter how useful it is, it always comes back around to you in the end.
    You can’t go back to being slaves in a paradise where everything is provided for you.
    Always be ready to question the captain and, if necessary, take him out.

  • Dlfurman

    At the end of “Shore Leave” this lesson: The greater the mind, the greater the need for PLAY!

  • Jmcreer

    Star Trek taught me tolerance for others I might not agree with… even morons who clutter up the comments section with uneccessary and childish comments that contribute in no way whatsoever.

  • Scot

    It’s not just extras who are expendable. More broadly, “Star Trek” has taught us that, should you chose to wear a red shirt, you do so at your own risk. Always wear tan or blue.

  • groupthink please

    ha – they removed the first post. Heil Hitler!!!!!!!

  • Gcrackerrot

    Really we cant comment on the  bad suckiness…that is the Graeme? Why not?

  • groupthink please

    ha, no it will get deleted. So the guy who wrote the article can say whatever brainless things he wants – and probably gets paid for it. But you better not dissent

  • Xz007

    You see, I learned from Star Trek to respect other cultures, to honor the chain of command while still holding true to principals, and, when in doubt, to approach a situation objectively.  But I clearly got it all wrong and should’ve been much more superficial when it came to watching the show.  Obviously, it was more about skirts and hero worship than actual transcendental values.

  • demoncat_4

    one lesson learned from star trek is all cultures are just part of the universe . and sooner or later even enemies like the kligons and borg wind up becoming and changing to allies.  plus red is the color of horrible death in star trek

  • Thad

    …so, uh…is the irony in your post intentional, or not?

  • Thad

    “Look at The Next Generation, and the fact that the Klingons are now onboard the Enterprise”

    And Next Gen debuted BEFORE the fall of the Soviet Union, no less.

  • Thad

    I’d suggest a poll on whether we want useless, barely-literate posts filling up the comments section with unexplained but intense vitriol against the people writing the articles instead of actually talking about what the damn articles are ABOUT…

    …but knowing the kind of responses I’ve seen to CBR polls in the past, I can’t help thinking “yes” would win in a landslide.

  • Thad

    Want a website that discusses Star Trek in excruciating detail and treats it as VERY, VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS?

    You’re sitting at a computer with an Internet connection.  I can’t imagine you would have much trouble finding one if you were actually looking for it.

  • Jmcreer

    There was no irony – the comments were directed at about 6 or 7 previous trolls that were just posting rude, uncalled for, and derogatory remarks at Graeme.  Those comments have been removed so my previous comment appears somewhat strange now. 

  • Jmcreer

    I’d vote “nay” on allowing barely-literate posters to clutter up the comments section, although to be truthful I think they do more harm to themselves than Graeme.  They might as well stamp, “I’m an arsehole” on their foreheads because most of us think that about them.

    While I often don’t agree with a lot of what he writes, responding with a bunch of poorly thought out, lame insults or observations is not a tact I like to use.  Better to respond with something worth reading.  That’s the whole purpose of a column like this – you don’t have to agree, but at least disagree with constructive comments.

  • Jmcreer

    As a huge Star Trek fan even I can see that this column is clearly a “tongue in cheek” look at Trek.  One thing Trekkies could learn is to lighten up and have a good chuckle at themselves and some of the more outlandish antics of the show we all adore so much.  That goes twice for Star Wars fans (of which I am one) as well!!!  : )

  • Jmcreer

    Klingons – uneasy allies, reluctant allies?  But they are hardly holding hands with the Federation and skipping through the tulips.  In fact, it’s pretty clear that the Klingons would try to take over the Federation if they could, but they can’t.

    The thing I like about Trek is that many of the races in the show are NOT tolerant of other races, including many within the Federation, but they STRIVE to change their prejudices and long-held assumptions.  Many people dismiss Trek as viewing tolerance and acceptance through unrealistic, rose-coloured glasses, but don’t realise that by and large, many of the characters struggle with their dark natures to achieve that “utopian” ideal.

  • pDUB

    wait a second, are you telling me we cannot shit on Graeme anymore?  I mean, sure his writing is getting better, but it is oh so fun to harp and nitpick on the smallest of mistakes or inconsistencies.

  • groupthink please

    I could chuckle at the article if it were clever. But it’s not. If someone is going to try to do tongue-in-cheek, they should be clever enough to pull it off, else don’t try, or don’t expect to get applauded for it

  • Clairvoyant Medium

    I like this, its well written and funny. I also think the comment from “wayne” has many good points too. All hail Star Trek, life would be so boring without it.

    Live Long, and Prosper!!!

  • ComicGold

    I learned that your girlfriend will break up with you after you’ve asked her to paint herself green promising that the paint will come off before her interview with that law firm.

  • Lioness

    “A monster is simply a creature outside of it’s natural environment.  Every “monster” is not a monster in it’s natural environment.” – The Devil in the Dark