Where No Website Has Gone Before
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Spock (TOS)

Science Officer aboard the USS Enterprise under Jim Kirk's command. Fascinating.

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A Quick Tip by TheJohn

  • Apr 12, 2011
One of the most famous television characters ever. Awesome....logical.
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July 14, 2011
Now this is a complicated topic.

First of all you need to notice the change in the Spock character between the first pilot, "The Cage", and the second pilot, "Where No Man has Gone Before". The Majel Barrett character, Number One, was eliminated and Spock inherited her rank and LOGICAL MIND. I have no idea when Roddenberry began developing ideas about what Vulcan culture had to be like in order to produce Spock but its evolution involved a lot of people including Leonard Nimoy. Theodore Sturgeon got involved with the "Amok Time" episode also. It is curious that we don't hear very much discussion of how smart T'Pring was. We just know she was a bi...

You should know that I was one of those kids that got nicknamed "Mr. Spock" in high school. I decided I was an agnostic at 12 and usually got straight A's in math. But to me Spock was an Uncle Tom Tom alien. Tonto in outer space. That is why I like the Mirror, Mirror episode so much. Spock telling Kirk he had orders to kill him was great. LOL

But before Star Trek there were things going on in science and science fiction that relate to LOGIC. In the 1930's Alfred Korzybski wrote Science and Sanity about semantics and the mind. A. E. van Vogt incorporated these ideas in a few of his books like, The World of Null-A. Null-A stands for non-Aristotelian logic, so this deals with the fundamental thinking or non-thinking of European culture. Star Trek talks a lot about being human but its concept of human comes from European culture. Maybe the Chinese are not human. Sigmund Freud did not study human psychology. He studied European psychology.

http://vanvogt.www4.mmedia.is/anarchy.htm

But part of Roddenberry's style was to take particular human traits and exaggerate them and make them the central characteristic of some alien species. The Feringi epitomize greed and venality, the stereotypical capitalist. Klingons are honorable but often dumb warriors. And Vulcans are cold calculating intellectuals. But that characteristic has appeared in science fiction before.

Watch this clip from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5PeMa9xGQY

@1:15

Prof. Barnhardt: Tell me Hilda, does all this frighten you? Does it make you feel insecure?
Hilda: Yes sir, it certainly does.
Prof. Barnhardt: That's good Hilda. I'm glad.

So Professor Barnhardt is behaving like a Vulcan. Possibly similar to Dr. Carrington in The Thing from Another World though not as idealistically stupid.

So the point is Mr. Spock is just product of a culture exhibiting a characteristic of some human beings taken to an extreme. But Spock was the science officer and a computer expert and science and computers have undergone some drastic changes since Star Trek hit the small screen. How many Americans had computers in their homes in 1966? Now we have computers in our televisions. Now we have debates about global warming and peak oil but the scientists and the public mostly do not agree. What do most people understand about what is going on in the world these days?

If anything we need to Vulcanize our culture or we are going to fail to cope with our problems. There are plenty of sci-fi stories of that too. Maybe all of the world's cultures are now obsolete.

So Mr. Spock was an alien ahead of his time. Leonard Nimoy did a great job of playing him. But unsurprisingly the Star Trek reboot is trying to recover an obsolete past. The globalization of smartphones that do as much as tricorders is in the process of science fictioning our future.

"You live in a spaceship dear." - Zoe, Firefly, Objects in Space
 
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John Nelson ()
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Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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