Leonard Nimoy who portrayed the character of Spock of Star Trek passed away last week. There are many who are saddened by his death, I am grateful for the life he lead. Had any other actor taken on the role of Spock it would have been easy for them to make a gimmicky show of it, but Nimoy really captured and brought life to the character. Spock was a character many people could relate to over the years. Half-Vulcan, half-human there was always the constant struggle with himself. Who hasn’t had an internal struggle? As we watched Spock come to terms with and embrace the two very different sides of himself, we found relief that we could, like Spock, try to become the best of ourselves.
Spock is what really made Star Trek special; he was the outsider looking in. It was that otherness that drew us as fans of the show. We knew what it was like to be an outsider. We were the over confident sex crazed Kirk, we were Spock. Throughout the years his words were wisdom to us they helped guide us when we were facing our own internal struggles. Here is a list of some of my personal favorite Spock quotes.
Change is the essential process of all existence
This quote comes from the episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. This episode at its core is an episode that deals with racism, an issue when the episode first aired and sadly still an ongoing issue in today’s society. When two characters, Bele and Lokia show up on the Enterprise, we learn that two are feuding over which side of their face is white and which is black. When Spock tried to relate his own people’s history to that of Bele and Lokia he says “We [Vulcans] were once a people, like yourselves, wildly emotional, often committed to irrationally opposing points of view… Only the discipline of logic saved my planet from extinction.” Finally, as Bele refuses to believe that Lokai can change, Spock says, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Very powerful episode and powerful line.
Logic is the beginning of wisdom… not the end
The line from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, its pure classic Spock. This is one of the first Star Trek films I ever saw as a kid and this line has always stuck with me. It drew me into the character of Spock and I never looked backed. To look back now and see where the character started from the first episodes and evolve through Nimoy into the character he was in this film and beyond. It makes you appreciate the art and devotion to the role.
Each of us at some point in our life, turns to someone-
This comes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In a conversation with Kirk, this line quickly sums one of the central themes of the movie. It’s also a question that we will ask ourselves over and over as life goes on. We may find a quick answer to get us through but it will always be there. Why am I here?
Insufficient facts always invite danger
Spock heads warning in Space Seed an episode from the first season of Star Trek. Space Seed is most famous for the introduction of Khan Noonien Singh, one of the greatest villains of film. In this line we hear more of Spock’s utopian philosophy. Spock was always projected with supreme confidence that logic could prevail.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
This line is one of the most famous from the franchise. Coming from Star TrekII: The Wrath of Khan, Spock shares this philosophy with Kirk earlier in the film. It later helps to explain his ultimate sacrifice later in the film. It could also help us realize that the goals we seek as a society, as one single race of people, to better ourselves, that goal is worth pursuing.
Insults are effective only when emotions are present
From the episode Who Mourns for Adonais? In the second season of Star Trek, this is simply good advice to live by. In a world of where our mothers told us “stick and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” we know that to be a steaming pile of bullshit. With Spock’s advice we can learn to control the effect of those words. Even if it is very hard separate ourselves from the emotional sting.
Pain is a thing of the mind. The mind can be controlled.
From the episode Operation: Annihilate in the third season, Spock was being more literal in his conversation with McCoy. Its still a piece of advice that we can relate to many other areas in our lives. Like the previous quote it helps us to understand that we control the things that affect us emotionally. We can act on those emotions, we can cage them, we can let them roam free, but ultimately it’s up to us.
Without followers evil cannot spread
From And the Children Shall Lead episode of the third season, it’s another logical piece of advice as we look to the future as people.
It is curious how often humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.
From the episode Errand of Mercy, I just think this is an awesome line in the context it was used. Its dead on to the point of the conversation. Talking with Kirk about the start of the Federation-Klingon War, Kirk tells him they didn’t want the war but they have it anyway. It’s a perfect observation of humanity from Spock.
Live long and prosper
To end it all, live long and prosper, the Vulcan blessing. Many know the words and the salute that accompanies it. Leonard Nimoy invented the salute when he “decided that the Vulcans were a 'hand-oriented' people". It’s the salute and words we sometimes use to greet each other. It’s the words and salute we use to say goodbye to a man who was more than just an actor to us. He was a man who took a simple role, gave the character life, and showed us all a better way to live and to simply embrace ourselves within.