Sunday, 19 May 2013

TOS - 1.9 - Dagger of the Mind

Star Trek - Dagger of the Mind
Your thoughts to my thoughts,
your mind to my mind,
your bank account number please
you like my head massage?
This is the 1st episode where the Vulcan mindmeld was introduced.

We use the term 'brainwash' to mean everything from indoctrination to mind control. The term originally came from Maoist regime. The Chinese term 洗腦 is literally mean 'wash brain'. The term was of course used in a positive sense (so is 'propaganda') under Mao.

This episode makes use of that idea, and as usual, gives it a technological spin to it. And the brainwash of an individual is done using a revolutionary neurological device. In fact, the term 'brainwash' is much more correctly termed in this episode than when it was invented originally. The mind is literally wiped clean, or cleansed (as it was intended originally) with the device before putting new thoughts in. This is the whole goal of brainwashing.

In the episode, it's suggested that hypnosis isn't possible on patient who had been brainwashed this way. And so Spock suggests he should read what in the patient's mind using his Vulcan mindmeld technique.

I suspect this mindmeld was introduced in this episode for the purpose of the plot. And yet, the Star Trek writers liked it so much, it becomes part of the Trek lore. Vulcan mindmeld has added to Vulcan Grip (or Vulcan nerve Pinch or Neck Pinch) as Spock bag of tricks. The Vulcan Grip was first introduced in episode 1.5 "Enemy Within".

Since Richard Matheson wrote episode 1.5, I supposed he was the one who come up with the idea.

Where did he (or whoever) get the idea from? In Chinese wuxia - an old literature genre - martial artists could affect their opponents with the application of various acupressure points on the body. Press one acupoint would render their opponents motionless, another would make them laugh involuntarily, another would make them faint (just like Vulcan Grip), etc. It wouldn't be a quantum leap to go from here to Vulcan Grip. Anyway, that's purely my speculation.

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