Gene Roddenberry first conceived of the idea of STAR TREK in 1960, and the first episode was aired at 8:30 p.m. EST, on Thursday, September 8, 1966. The initial impact was not impressive. TV Guide said, “the sky’s not the limit on this ‘Trek’,” and Variety said the series “won’t work.” Because of a write-in campaign spearheaded by science fiction writers and tenacity of loyal fans, the series lasted three seasons.

From the first episode, STAR TREK was unique and one of the earliest dramas that presented the idea of form being illusion. In The Cage, the Enterprise crew kept blasting away at a large rock formation and could not see the damage they were doing. It remained solidly intact to their vision when, in actuality, it was destroyed. Captain Pike was tortured by illusions of past horrors made to see real. Even Vina, his love interest, was seen as beautiful to him, although she was actually old and misshapen. The inhabitants on Talos IV were able to project illusions and make them real to anyone they chose to influence. NBC said The Cage was “too cerebral” for the average person to understand.

Throughout the remaining 79 episodes, this illusion versus reality theme was repeated many times. In The Man Trap, a creature who lived on salt could “become” anyone it chose and therefore, masqueraded as various crew members in order to obtain salt. In Shore Leave, whatever one was thinking while on a specific Earth-like planet, was manifested as “real.” It was an entertaining example of how our thoughts become our life situation. Of course, on the show, this place was explained away as an “amusement park,” where one could “create his own pleasure” for recreation. It still changed our perception of reality forever. Another example is Spectre of the Gun, in which the gunfight at the OK Corral is re-enacted through the projections the Malkots are able to obtain from Kirk’s memory. The key to winning was to recognize and reject the illusion.

STAR TREK was enormously instrumental in preparing mankind for future concepts (like those we recently saw on The Secret) that would have seemed too far-fetched had we not been conditioned first. Meanwhile, as this series was subtly reshaping the masses’ concept of reality and illusion, another avenue toward the same destination was being paved. When humanity is ready for a quantum leap in consciousness, prophets come in all shapes and sized to various groups.

In the mid-sixties, Helen Schucman, a Jewish conservative Professor of Psychology at Columbia University in New York, was having highly symbolic and disturbing dreams which she discussed with her colleague, William Thetford. He advised her to write notes concerning the dreams, and she was quite surprised to find herself writing, “This is a Course in Miracles,” while perceiving a form of “dictation” from an inaudible voice. Although this was completely out of character for her, she felt destined to write this work, which is overwhelmingly Christian. As each section of the book unfolded, it was typed by William Thetford and kept completely intact. No changes were made.

First published finally in 1976, the Course teaches basically that anything that is “real” cannot be destroyed or threatened, and that nothing “unreal” actually exists. Therefore, our bodies, our lives, even the Earth, itself, are illusions based on our own personal and collective expectations and projections.

Like STAR TREK, this was new stuff—a bit hard to accept and maybe “too cerebral” to understand. The Course teaches us how to cope with our illusions, but more importantly, it brings new meaning to the biblical exhortation, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” It helps shed light on the miraculous events in Christ’s life and how we can do much greater things than he did (and remember Christ, Himself, said that). It identifies Jesus as our brother who recognized the illusion, awoke from it, and was set free. It says that we are “asleep” and “dreaming,” lost in our own created fantasy, much as we “create” our nocturnal dreams. When we realize this, or “know the truth,” we will awaken to who we really are, and be set free from these projected images.

My book, Star Trek Revealed: the Spiritual Dimension of the Original Series, examines these themes plus several other related topics. It’s available on or through my website   

Carole Devine is an accomplished author. Check out her website at

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