Messages, morals and meanings...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    An interesting part of the Mission Log podcasts (hosted by John Champion and Ken Ray) has been their examining of the "messages, morals and meanings" after their review and discussion of each episode. Presently they've begun working their way through TNG after completing all of TOS, TAS and the first six films.

    But what about us revisiting TOS in terms of messages, morals and meanings and what we found as takeaways from the episodes? We needn't go through each episode one by one, but rather offer up whatever each of us might have been struck by in a particular way.


    In other threads I've mentioned being struck by the messages (or what I took them as) of the episodes "The Cloud Minders" and "Plato's Stepchildren." I found these episodes poignant in how they looked at class structures and how they reflect what has happened in societies throughout history and is still happening today.

    I was also struck by Ken Ray pointing out something from "The Cage." Ken was struck by how the Talosian Keeper referred to the punishment illusion he inflicted upon Pike as "taken from a fable he once heard in childhood." Was this indeed a subtle dig at religion and the labelling of it as essentially mere fable rather than fact as so many accept it?


    Anyone else?
     
  2. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    It could be read that way--or this single line could be boiled down to be nothing more than the result of "alien misconception" by the Keeper--thanks to references to religion (and we can assume, its associated text) as something accepted / believed (usually Christianity) by characters in the regular series.

    Examples: McCoy in Act 1 & the final Kirk/Uhura bridge lines from "Bread and Circuses," or "We find the one quite sufficient from "Who Mourns for Adonais" (as a counter to apparently false "gods" of myth). I would add, Daystrom's "Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God" stands as more evidence of the continued belief.

    Further, some love to use the "Kirk was always tearing down gods" line as behavior suggestive of rejection/disbelief, but if one considers the quoted lines above (particularly his comment/relationship to Apollo), then we could take his efforts as meaning he does not stomach frauds--behavior echoed in The Final Frontier with his questioning of the entity.

    There are more TOS examples, but for anything which could be read into the Keeper's single line, it failed to establish a pattern of thought / approach for the regular series.

    Note: the Keeper also had a total misunderstanding of humankind's rejection of slavery/breeding programs. This would support all other clueless Talosian observations--including the "fable" idea.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  3. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also from Who Mourns for Adonais, the genuine regret from Kirk and McCoy over having to destroy Apollo's temple:

    MCCOY: I wish we hadn't had to do this.
    KIRK: So do I. They gave us so much. The Greek civilisation, much of our culture and philosophy came from a worship of those beings. In a way, they began the Golden Age. Would it have hurt us, I wonder, just to have gathered a few laurel leaves?

    So, yes, Apollo was a jerk, and maybe destroying his temple/power supply was the only thing we could do to escape, but maybe we could have done things a little differently too, and just because someone else is wrong, that doesn't always make us right.
     
  4. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Great points by Trek God 1, but I just wonder, was that actually supposed to be Hell?

    If we are drawing the conclusion that Hell is from a fable, we are first making the assumption that is Hell that Pike is experiencing and not something else from a fable. Just looking at Grimm's tales and a lot of other nursery rhymes and fairy stories, there are things of that nature in there as well. Just reading some of the non Disney versions of what are supposed to be kid stories sometimes surprises me quite a bit. So, it could have been Hell, or just some other nasty situation from a fable.

    I'm just saying that to frame the conclusion, there is an assumption of the statement even before we can make any conclusion. I know it's probably supposed to be Hell, but when I was thinking of fable, I think of Hansel and Grettel when Hansel kicks the witch into the oven. The 3 little pigs let the wolf drop into an open hearth with the fire blazing. Hercules traveled to the underworld to speak with his uncle. Muspelhiem where Surtur lives is a firey domain.

    That's my point, there really isn't a definite assumption to be had, although the commonly drawn conclusion certainly isn't a reach either.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    To the Talosian the illusion represents a fable. It might even represent a fable from Pike's point of view. But I'm wondering (as did Ken Ray) why the writer chose to phrase it as such. Was he thinking solely from the perspectives within the story or was he also trying to slip something in to make a point.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're presuming that the burning cave (cave?) was a depiction of hell. Instead of something else that was from a fable non-connected with any Religion.



    :)
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    While thats possible it isn't a stretch for anyone to interpret it as a depiction of hell.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe it's from Indianna Jones and the Last Crusade, you know the scene under Venice where the oily crypt get set afire.

    Pike heard about it as a child.

    :)
     
  9. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's hard to say. Was the scene 'Hell on a budget', or something else? Other than fire, there are no distinct elements of the typical depictions of the netherworld. No pitchforks, no Charlie Daniels and a band of demons...nothing. :lol:
     
  10. Last Redshirt

    Last Redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Satan demanded too much money for a location shoot.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Anyone want to guess why Pike's clothes were shown to be wet? I mean he's in this cave with fire, but there's this shallow pool of some kind, and he's kneeling in it.


    :)
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    THE CAGE, Teleplay, Revised Draft, Nov. 20, 1964, p.44.

    I believe that should settle it. :)
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that pretty much says it.
     
  14. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    It was an effective scene.The material on Pike's hands & arms really sold the effect of his skin being fried--and of course, Hunter's screams. Gruesome stuff.
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Trek's message of brotherhood and fair treatment of everyone, and growing up during the 60s civil rights era, left me with a firm belief in universal equality. I'm damned if I can understand why there are still people who are racists and bigots.
     
  16. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Well, if you're just going to use things like evidence and proof, what fun is that?

    :lol:
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Basically, not everyone thinks the same.



    :)
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    1. Pike's clothes were melting.

    2. The later shout-outs to monotheism seem fitting for '60s mass-market TV. 60s religion was very middle-of-the-road prior to the evangelical resurgence of 80s/90s. And, calling a fiery Hell a fable would not be terribly risky then. Look at what they got away with in 1973 with the TAS "Magicks," saying Satan was just an alien and not a demigod. Granted that flew under the radar because of its time slot.

    3. One of the big themes I've been perceiving lately is our inherent brutality, but the possibility to control it. "I won't kill today." Or Spock quoting some horrors and someone else pointing out that we had improved. TNG sometimes seems to say that that nature can be permanently eradicated. That, to me, is dangerous thinking. We see lately in Ukraine how previously peaceful neighbors quickly can be turned deadly enemies because of our self-preservation/aggrandizement and group-identity instincts.
     
  19. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The way I see it, these futuristic heroes we all watch, admire and cheer on are basically aliens to us. Much of their beliefs and behaviors, while admirable in many ways, aren't a lot different from the remoteness of ponn farr's, telekinetic beings and hyper-accelerated living and such things are to us.
     
  20. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    People here have noted that in TOS, the utopia, and its perfect beings, haven't arrived yet. And DS9 brought things back to "reality." Of course TNG Has many strengths, not trying to dis it per se.