Two astronauts, Warren Marcusson and Sam Conrad, crash land on their intended destination of Mars. Marcusson, the more optimistic of the two and believes “people are alike all over”, is badly injured and wishes to see the planet in which he sacrificed his life to explore. Conrad, the more pessimistic and fearful astronaut, refuses to open the hatch and Marcusson dies never seeing Mars.
Alone, Conrad finally opens the hatch of the aircraft to see Martians surrounding his ship, who surprisingly look very much like humans. The Martians are able to communicate with Conrad through their mind reading abilities. Conrad becomes even more relaxed when he meets Teenya, a very attractive Martian woman. The Martians lead Conrad to his new living quarters which they have designed to look like a standard home of an American Earthling in the 1960’s, to include furniture, tapestry, and appliances. The Martians leave Conrad to rest in his new quarters. As he begins to explore his new accommodations, Conrad realizes there are no windows and the only door does not open from the inside. Becoming panicked, Conrad begins to moves around the living space like a caged animal when suddenly one of the walls lifts up and Conrad sees a gathering of Martians looking in on him. He looks just outside the lifted wall to see a plaque stating “Earth Creature in his native habitat.” Conrad grabs the bars of his new home and yells to anyone who will listen “Marcusson! Marcusson you were right? You were right. People are alike . . . people are alike everywhere?”
The theme of this episode is about the cruelty of caging wild animals for the enjoyment of humans but that is not what I wish to talk about even though I agree with the sentiment. The lesson I take away from this episode is we often cage and lock up that which we do not understand or do not want to understand (feelings, emotions, situations, even people). When we feel fear or uncertainty, instead of exploring like Marcusson we hide away or lock away like Conrad.
When it comes to experiencing feelings and emotions we don’t understand, we often push them down and lock them away with the hopes of never having to deal with them. What we don’t realize is the more we suppress and the less we process the feelings and emotions, the more power we give them. Those un-dealt with emotions will show themselves in how we see and talk to ourselves, how we see and talk to others, and how we see the world. In order to not see ourselves, others, and the world through the tainted view of our buried emotions we have to deal with them, not all at once, but when we experience them. When we are experiencing a feeling or an emotion we rather not deal with, pause and let the feeling and emotion take place. Pay attention to the feelings/emotions, what are they; fear, anger, hurt, betrayal, pain, etc. Process the feeling/emotion. Why are we feeling this way? What has caused this feeling/emotion in us? Come up with a plan for that feeling/emotion. Will we address the person or situation that caused us to feel those feelings? Will we move through it or just let it go? Lastly, we have patience with ourselves as we go through this process. In the beginning this will take awhile and may feel awkward to do but with time, it will become second nature. Once we learn to pay attention and process our feeling/emotions as they come, we won’t have to lock them away and have them negatively impact our lives.
Regarding situations and people, I am talking about the figurative, locking people away when we don’t understand them or chose not to understand them. It is easier for us to stereotype people who are not us and put them into a box which we can easily label and assign assumptions. Instead of doing this, be curious and learn who people are. Uncover who they are at their core, what do they care about and what matters most to them. Be compassionate when learning about one another. When we learn who people are we no longer have to make assumptions on their actions, their words, and their intentions, we will know what they are because we know them. When you take time to get to know people, talk with people, and learn about them, you will see that are not that different than us and like Marcusson believed, people are alike all over.