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author of All I Really Need to Know
I Learned from Watching Star Trek
Finnegan was an upperclassman at Starfleet Academy. An upperclassman who tormented a plebe he called “Jimmy me boy.” Jimmy me boy was , of course, Cadet James T. Kirk. Long after Kirk graduated from the academy, the captain of the Enterprise remembered Finnegan.
“Remembered” isn’t strong enough a word. What James Kirk wanted was to beat the tar out of Finnegan. And beat him silly he did—years later, on a planet that made dreams come true.
Virtually every member of the Enterprise lived out a fantasy on that planet, a planet constructed for the sole purpose of recreation. A planet constructed by an intelligence so far beyond our own. Spock wondered why they needed recreation at all.
The curator could have answered Spock. But it was Kirk who spoke. “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” Bingo. On the nose. Home run. Yeah, buddy. I’m gonna turn all the cards over. “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.”
Other phrases may sound similar. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Work hard and play hard. All those clichés are close but no cigar—they subtly miss the mark.
This is a prescription for maintaining one’s mental health. An understanding that intelligence requires both purpose and diversion. That the more challenging uses a mind is put to, the more important it is to have fun. CEOs should scuba dive. CEOs must scuba dive. A vacation isn’t just a good idea, it’s an absolute need.
To tailor the concept a bit, the more complex the task (or job) the greater the need to build in some fun. Extrapolate this baby all over the lot. Star Trek strikes again. Everything you need to know is in this series someplace.
In this particular instance, it’s also stated as eloquently as imaginable. The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.