This should be easy for Trekkies and shouldn't be hard for me but I can't remember enough to even construct a search.

At the end of this Star Trek TOS episode Spock notes something to the effect that even the highest forms of intelligence need to "play" sometimes.

It provided insight into what took place during the episode.

I'd like to refer to this in order to excuse myself for spending too much time in Stack Exchange and not enough doing what I'm supposed to, but I'm not even smart enough to figure out what I'm remembering.

What exactly did Spock say, in what context, and about who?

  • 1
    For media that addresses a similar issue, you might want to check out the game The Talos Principle, which is all about how playing games is a fundamental part of the human psyche.
    – Werrf
    May 27, 2022 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


I believe you are referring to the episode Shore Leave

The following is the quote you are referencing, though it is Kirk rather than Spock who says this line.

"An elderly man appears; this caretaker confirms the guess: his people constructed this planet as a playground. Anything one can think of can be manufactured – and none of it is permanent. Sulu wonders how a race can be so advanced as the caretaker's people are and yet still have the need to play. To Kirk, it makes perfect sense: "The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play."

The full quote is referenced below.

CARETAKER: This entire planet was constructed for our race of people to come and play.

SULU: Play? As advanced as you obviously are, and you still play?

KIRK: Yes, play, Mister Sulu. The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

TOS: Shore Leave - Transcript

  • 4
    I've taken the liberty of adding in the full quote (and some surrounding context) from the transcript.
    – Valorum
    Mar 26, 2022 at 7:55
  • @valorum. Thank you for the edits. They look good.
    – beichst
    Mar 26, 2022 at 7:56
  • 8
    This is of course exactly it, and it's even better than I expected for how I want to use it. I'm going to imagine that in order to better accommodate our complex minds the entire Stack Exchange ecosystem was constructed by the simulation we live in just for us to come and play.
    – uhoh
    Mar 26, 2022 at 8:03
  • 2
    Glad to hear this is helpful.
    – beichst
    Mar 26, 2022 at 22:06

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