Lesson 088: Suppressing feelings and emotions
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/11 ('Hero Worship')


A pre-teen human child loses both of his parents in a disaster aboard their space ship. When the crew of the Enterprise rescues the child, they find him to be totally withdrawn and afraid.

As Data, an android, was the one who actually performed the rescue with his super human mechanical strength as witnessed by the child, the child finds comfort, security and support in Data.

When the child realizes Data is an android, devoid of any emotion, he begins to emulate Data, changing his appearance to look like Data, making mechanical movements with his head like Data, and even copying Data's speech pattern.

Counselor Troi recognizes that the child is suffering from the loss of his parents, perhaps even feeling guilty, wrongfully, for having caused the accident that killed his parents and finding consolation in his pretend world by totally suppressing his emotions with his emulation of Data.


While younger children are able to easily escape into imaginary worlds to avoid addressing their bad feelings, adult humans have a much more difficult time contending with such situations.

As situations are encountered which give rise to bad feelings, such as guilt, sadness, depression, failure and disappointment, many tend to either sink heavily into the abyss of the emotion, or they totally subjugate their feelings by suppressing all emotional outlets. Both are extremely harmful.

By dwelling continuously on the bad feeling and spiraling downward out of control, many face the risk of looking upon death as a viable solution for themselves.

Although there is an abundance of prescribed medication available to help stall these types of thoughts, the remedy is only temporary. The best medicine is contact with other humans in the world who can help to focus on the endless positive possibilities and opportunities that life still has to offer.

On the other hand, those who continually bury their bad feelings and emotions by cramming them deeper and deeper into their consciousness, and pretend that they are not impacted by such bad thoughts are only fooling themselves. They are ticking emotional time bombs. All it takes is one slight wrong gesture from someone, one meaningless wrong remark overheard, or even one bathroom toilet seat left up, and the individual will explode in vitriolic outbursts and maybe even physical violence, usually against a loved one or a friend.

Humans are emotional beings. We need to express our feelings. While positive emotions can elate us and carry us through many a difficult journey, negative emotions can hurt us if they are not dealt with properly and efficiently.

One does not necessarily need therapy to overcome the negative thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, one just needs to communicate with a loved one, a friend or at times even a total stranger, just to vent some of the pressure building up inside.

The human condition is replete with good and bad emotions equally.

As Data has stated at times, by not having any feelings as an android, he does not have to contend with the negative aspects of human emotion; however, he also misses out on happiness, love and even something as simple as laughter.

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