Sunday, March 15, 2015

Not an Emo Boy

 Interesting. You Earth people glorify organized violence
for 40 centuries, but you imprison those
who employ it privately
--Mr. Spock

 Dispassionate, objective reasoning was Spock‚Äôs core.
Honing our skills to think, as opposed to emote
 is crucial to good decision-making.
--Lessons Learned from Mr. Spock,
Judge Michael Warren   

The Strength of a civilization is not measured
by its ability to fight wars,
but rather by its ability to prevent them
--Gene Roddenberry

Actor Leonard Nimoy has taken the Big Beam Up to the Sky, but his Star Trek character Spock remains a compelling indictment of human foibles. The unshakable logic he represented is a quaint depiction of a man that never was.

Spock hailed from the Vulcan race which placed the highest value on reason unfettered by emotionalism. (His mother was human, however, which was his Achilles heel.) Vulcans chose that path to fend off a potential racial holocaust due to their previous hyperemotionalism. Spock's logic tempered Captain Kirk's sometimes hotheaded reactivity, and it was these two poles around which most of the plotlines revolved.

Ranger sees an analogy to early 21st century American martial conduct. Almost a century after World War I -- The War to End All Wars -- we still follow the same reactive and emotional policies that brought the United States into that highly emotional powder keg.

From a crazy Yugoslav to crazy Islamists (or, anarchical, if you prefer), we still bring out the big guns as the meet reaction to most hostilities. What else would Homo sapiens do, being the warlike toolmakers that we are?

Star Trek developer Gene Roddenberry offered a searing indictment of a nation mired in the mud of Southeast Asia with his outer space fantasy featuring the "Starship Enterprise" on a mission to find amenable life forms among the galaxies with whom to forge a peaceable federation. "To boldly go where no man had gone before" (the most famous split infinitive in television.) But like President Wilson's League of Nations, this was a camaraderie that was beyond earthling's capabilities.

If Spock could rule the world, it's a fair bet he would eschew both the magical feel-good hope-and-change rhetoric of our leaders as well as the fear and hatred which serves as its balance.

Perhaps our battle cry should be, "WWSD" ("What Would Spock Do?")

[A friend sent this interesting clip of Nimoy explaining the source of his famous "live long and prosper" hand gesture. It was intended as a gesture of fraternity from a being with an otherwise inscrutable visage --L.]

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