Tag Archives: Vulcans

The Examined Life

It’s been a long and eventful summer. My wife and I have spent quite a lot of time together this summer, getting to know one another even more, falling deeper into love. I know my life is better because of her presence in my life. She started a new job three months ago that is a lot closer to home, so she’s enjoying the flex time that affords her and us. We’ve gone on two vacations, one with family, and one just by ourselves for our 3rd wedding anniversary. Our beloved dog-child, Lina, passed away at the beginning of summer, and we miss her dearly. I am going out of my own comfort zone and will be teaching English Language Arts in addition to Social Studies.

Some of these changes have filled me with great joy (my wife), some with great sadness (our dog), and others with trepidation (teaching ELA). At times I have wished I could emulate Vulcans in their cool emotion-less logic, and feel detached from events. Other times I desire anything but. As the Vulcans would say, humans are not logical. It’s good to reflect, examine, and reassess our own lives, for as Socrates would say, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

In honor of the purplexed Vulcans and reexamining past endeavors, here’s an updated Vulcan Suurok-class starship.

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Star Trek-style travel in our lifetime

It sounds like science fiction, but in fact NASA is working on a real-life warp drive. Theoretically, with this technology we could achieve interstellar travel with effective speeds of 10c! We would be able to travel to nearby stars and the planets that surround them all within a human lifetime. The possibilities are just endless. It fills me with such terrible hope for the future of humanity that we will be able to escape the womb of mother Earth and finally reach the stars! What wondrous opportunities for humanity will this herald?

Simultaneously I am filled with equal amounts of trepidation, for what terrible dangers will we discover? Aggressive species? Unforeseen space phenomena? Technical difficulties that lead to us being lost in space? Unknown killer viruses from alien worlds?

Perhaps we will discover less-advanced species nearby and instead of following our own history and taking advantage of them, we will, like the Vulcans in Star Trek, merely send something like a Vulcan Survey Ship to observe and perhaps help them on their way to the stars.

Perhaps.

Smirking Vulcans

Doesn’t he seem so smug?

In the Enterprise series episode, “Fusion“, we are introduced to a small band of Vulcans travelling aboard the Vulcan Vahklas-class transport. Without spoiling too much of the episode for you, what makes these Vulcans intriguing is that they are Vulcans that have found a balance between logic and emotion. This balance is something that we humans strive to achieve on a daily basis. Too far in the realm of logic and pure analytical reasoning, and we risk being unemotional and detached, isolating ourselves from our friends and co-workers. Too far into the realm of emotion and we risk letting our stronger emotions (whether hate or fear or happiness) run wild, possibly leading to similarly undesirable consequences.

So here’s to more balance in our lives, between the fire of our heart’s passion, and the cool logic of our minds.

Aggressive Vulcans

Administrator V’Las of the Vulcan High Command.

The Vulcans in Star Trek have always been known for their peaceable natures and their commitment to logic and a philosophy of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC), which advocated for tolerance and even acceptance of differing belief systems and practices. It came as somewhat of a shock to many Star Trek fans when the Enterprise series portrayed Vulcans as being far more militant than they’ve ever been shown before. The Vulcan government in the series was shown fielding starships designated as Vulcan D’Kyr-class combat cruisers, engaged in covert spying of nearby species (Andorians) as well as acting as Big Brother to humanity. Most shocking of all was the Vulcan governing body known as the High Command was willing to fire upon and kill those that disagreed with its policies, actions hardly congruent with the traditional Vulcan philosophy of IDIC. The Vulcans were justifying these actions using logic, but logic without reference to the morality of their founder, Surak.

We later discover that the Vulcans had strayed from their society’s founder’s core tenets and beliefs and eventually the Vulcans of the Enterprise series (22nd century) would morph into the peacenik Vulcans we know and love of later Star Trek series (23rd and 24th centuries).

It’s an object lesson to us that all societies change, but that we must be careful to look to the intentions, to the morality behind our laws when we go about changing them or creating new laws. Sometimes we get lost in the wording of our laws and lose sight of the intent behind them, and inevitably we marginalize viewpoints and perspectives that are abhorrent to the majority but sacrosanct to the minority.  Even scarier is when we adopt the language of a law whose intent was to marginalize the minority (whether racial, religious, ethnic, or other) and apply it to our entire society, without realizing that discriminating intent. We must be ever mindful of the intent behind our laws, for we are all affected by them whether we realize it or not.