The Beginning of the End of an Era

2009-11-18-0spock-2
May his memory Live Long and Prosper

As a boy growing up on a farm, I remember being transfixed, watching the original series of Star Trek on a black and white TV.  Despite the lack of color and the ever-present static haze of rural television reception, the show had a profound effect upon me.  It introduced me to so much that was outside the narrow bounds of my world, transported me (if you will) to a broader universe, and inspired me to think in much grander vistas.  As its rise to a cultural phenomenon attests, Star Trek has done the same thing for millions and millions of others.

Perhaps more than any other TV show, Star Trek opened our collective psyche to consider possible futures and possible worlds and possible thoughts and possible philosophies that we never would have imagined.  I wonder if our ability to readily embrace the innovations of the technological revolution isn’t in part a result of the influence of Star Trek.  Having watched the crew of the Enterprise employ miraculous devices, this opened the door, and the desire, for us to do the same.

While it’s likely that the character of Captain Kirk had the greater influence upon me personally, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock certainly had a profound impact as well.   I would attribute some of my interest in science, and in logic, of course, to his influence.   Mr. Spock also gave me one of my all-time favorite words to use:  Evidently.   Just love how that sums up so much so concisely – all the available data points to the most logical conclusion that one can draw – i.e,  Evidently.

That attribute that he is most famously known for, the use of the intellect to control the emotions, while seemingly one-dimensional or “de-humanizing”, was actually neither.   As Eckhart Tolle teaches us now, and the Buddha taught long ago, we are not our emotions, we have emotions.  We are a consciousness that can step back from our emotions and regard them dispassionately.   And we can choose to identify with the emotions or with that deeper consciousness.

I have also found it noteworthy that Spock’s approach to logic and emotions evolved over time, a transformation that required decades and several movies to take place.   In Star Trek VI he utters a very memorable ( very memorable to me, at least!) paraphrase of a biblical passage, to a younger Vulcan protégé.   The original passage goes:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” which the movie turned into:  “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end.” Signalling an embrace of his humanity and his emotions.

Growing up in a Scandinavian farm community, I had no exposure to other races, cultures, philosophies, or religions.  The character of Mr. Spock introduced me to all of these.  It was mind expanding.   Leonard Nimoy, through his compelling portrayal of Mr. Spock, opened many doors for greater understanding. With his passing, the era that Star Trek ushered in is beginning to close.  One wonders what trajectory the next era will take.

May the gifts he has given us Live Long and Prosper.

Spock-Leonard-Nimoy

I shall miss him greatly.

 

21 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End of an Era

  1. Wow! Reading this was actually the first I knew about his death. I resonated with his character the most. 😦 He will be missed. I agree with what you wrote about his ability to not be driven by emotion as not being the by product of being one dimensional. That was what attracted me to his character…..evidently 🙂
    Thank you for this lovely post.

  2. What a beautiful post. I too, had not heard of his passing until I read this, and I shall miss him greatly. Star Trek certainly fostered my interest in science (I trained as a geneticist) and also my desire to write. I abandoned my first novel 2 chapters in, realising that I was writing Star Trek with different names, but that sent me off in new and wilder directions that allowed me to explore other strange new worlds.
    I have really appreciated Leonard Nimoy’s involvement in the more recent films, and his continued character development. Doesn’t bear thinking that his role almost never came about because the producers of the day didn’t approve of Spock’s ‘satanic’ appearance.
    Live long and prosper, all fellow Trekkies.

    • Thank you, Deborah Jay. Endlessly fascinating that so many lives have been influenced so deeply by this program and its characters. Interesting to contemplate Spock’s “satanic appearance” when one thinks of Lucifer as the “light bringer” and that Spock represented the light of consciousness. Was it in the episode entitled “Omega Glory” that, because of Spock’s appearance, he was stigmatized as being satan, and picture of him as satan was shown in a holy book? 

  3. Reblogged this on Forever Unlimited and commented:
    I always felt sorry for Spock, not knowing the depth and range of emotion…though at my ripening and mellowing age, I now realize how my emotions often got the best of me. However, I’ve learned not to listen to the callous “Get over it!” and I’ve come to value my sensitivity as a wonderful gift that enriches my experience.

    I’m still hoping to live long and prosper. ~PB

    • Sounds like we share some personality traits. The designation of “Highly Sensitive Person” fits me very well, and thus my emotions have also gotten the best of me. Through various methodologies I continue to learn to identify with other aspects of my self, and thus be less subject to, though still appreciating, my heightened emotional sensitivity. Should have heeded Spock’s example more when I was younger!

  4. Reblogged this on Mind Chatter and commented:
    Very nice tribute. Personally Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy, was a constant for me to tease my mum, as she had such a crush on him. She would get all ‘Treky’ and do the hand thing, and it would drive my sister nuts she couldn’t join mum and I in the “Live long and prosper” hand sign. I once offered to duct tape her fingers, but somehow she didn’t think this was cool. I am sure my mum doesn’t know of his passing yet, as she is in dreamland now. Perhaps she will want to have a special ceremony for him…although she won’t be able to control her emotions even half as good as Spock’s mum. Truly and end of an era, but so much has been gained and, as Cnawan states, our minds have been expanded if we even paid a small bit of attention to the shows. Perhaps now Mr. Nimoy will now enjoy a full enlightenment of the secrets of the Universe.

  5. I loved this show and Spock! I remember the one episode where Spock cried and it was foreign to him to experience crying! That one stuck with me! Wonderful post! Live long and Prosper! I like this a lot! Lovely celebration of his life!
    Where did you grow up if I might ask? My family is from Finland and that part of your post caught my attention as well! Happy Weekend to you!

    • Always love your enthusiasm, Michelle! I remember that scene of Spock crying as well. Doesn’t Kirk say something like, “You’re killing him!” to whomever it was that opened his emotions? I grew up near New Ulm, Minnesota. New Ulm itself is very well known as an intensly German town still today. But, 15 miles out, where our farm was, it was mostly Norwegians.

      • Yes he does and Spock reaches up and touches his face looking at the water from his eyes now on his finger and something about that stuck with me. I think it’s when you know that there are deep feelings in someone and then you see them come out and something about that slays me. It just does. I’m like balling right instantly!
        My family settle in Wisconsin around Rothschild! Isn’t that amazing that when our ancestors came to America they settled in a climate much like their motherland? My GGpa was 17 when he came to America from Finland. Brave! I think they were all brave! 😀

  6. Thanks for this lovely tribute. The character of Spock meant a lot to me. As a nerdy little girl watching TV in the early seventies, I learned from him that it was OK to be smart and to like science. An important lesson 🙂

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