'The Eye of the Beholder' is an interesting examination of the way we view ourselves and the world around us. The triumvirate goes to a planet in search of missing personnel, only to be captured and put on exhibit in a zoo.
The aliens who captured them spend their days laughing at their antics, cataloguing their movements, and feeding them on a schedule. Just as we do to animals in zoos all over the world. And just like these aliens did, we feel completely justified in doing so because we consider them inferior lifeforms, not worthy of the same rights we enjoy.
When, really, it’s all about who carries the biggest stick.
And we can take that message and apply it not only to animal rights, but to the broader scope of racism, sexism, classism, and every other inequality you can think of. It’s easy to justify our superiority over those weaker than us, over those who do not have power.
These are the messages that Gene Roddenberry wanted to convey, to nudge his audience into examining themselves, to challenge their beliefs, and ultimately to change our society. This is why I loved Star Trek as a kid.
Almost fifty years later, this is why Trek endures,