[From an email that David sent out to a group of friends he regularly emailed.]
A few hours ago a friend shocked me with the news Leonard Nimoy, Spock from “Star Trek,” died today. When I got home, an email from another friend told me the same thing. The Internet was alive with the news. New York Times online replayed Spock’s poignant death scene from one of his motion pictures and featured a recent video interview with Nimoy. Even President Obama spoke of his love for Nimoy and “Star Trek.”
Why am I saddened by the news? “Star Trek” meant a lot to me. The series actually helped shape my values, ethics and morals as I was growing up. Spock was one of my favourite characters. I admired his reason and flawless logic. Where I was passionate and romantic, sometimes getting myself into trouble, Spock was reserved, rational, in control of his passion. The show wasn’t like action programs you see on television today. It went into deep human ethical and philosophical questions: When do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one? Is there any difference between an advanced computer and a human being? Is there a time when pacifists must fight? What is the meaning of real friendship?
Spock the Vulcan exemplified rationality and reserve, while his best friend James T. Kirk exemplified passion, romance and daring. But Spock was half human. Although he seldom showed emotion, he loved Kirk, McCoy and the Starship Enterprise with all his half human heart. As his friend Jim Kirk said at Spock’s funeral, “Of all the souls I have known, his was…the most human.”
“Star Trek” boldly goes “where no one has gone before.” The “final frontier” is within. On the surface, the series is a journey across the galaxy at light speed, encountering new life forms and strange new worlds. But what does watching this series for years do for us who are watching? Some of us began our own inner journeys. We may have begun to ask ourselves what it means to be human, in a world where the developers of artificial intelligence are saying their advanced computers are more intelligent than human minds. Some of us watch the loyalty toward each other shown by Spock, Kirk, and McCoy and we wonder if we could ever have–or be–friends like them. Those of us who were pacifists during the Vietnam War (when “Star Trek” debuted) wonder now whether we did the right thing or whether there is, indeed, a time to fight for what you love and believe in….
“Star Trek” helped make many of us who we are today. For us, the USS Enterprise is an archetype symbolizing our inner journey, our ongoing human adventure. For me, that adventure is the journey “home,” the journey in which I seek to discover and unite all parts within myself. All parts of oneself working and communicating together for a common purpose–isn’t this exactly like the crew of the Enterprise? Kirk, symbolizing passion and courage, Spock reason and restraint, McCoy compassion and caring. “Strength through diversity,” as Spock would say. In today’s world, that is a lesson we all need to keep learning.
Spock, being half Vulcan and half human, represented that “split” that must be resolved in each one of us between emotionless logic and unrestrained passion. Nimoy’s character was one of the most popular and intriguing of the crew for decades for precisely this reason. We recognized in Spock the conflict between our own minds and hearts.
I am going to miss Nimoy. But Spock is here, on my “Enterprise,” in my heart, and will always be part of my journey. And that journey does not end with Spock, or me, or you. The journey–the human journey–continues to cross new frontiers and discover strange new worlds within. We, you and I, are that journey!
Star Trek: Voyage to the Center of the Heart
(Re-run of email January 28, 2013)
Watch this 1-hour Star Trek: New Voyages. After the actors get into it, there is some wonderful acting to do with Sulu, his daughter, the sacrifice his daughter is forced to make to save her father and the crew of the USS Enterprise, and some very wise thoughts about the meaning of life. And, again, the best visuals I have ever seen in any television or feature-length Star Trek motion picture. Amazing that these trekkies created all this out of sheer love so that the adventure could continue…to worlds unknown…in the center of the heart! This adventure is “World Enough and Time” (1 hour)….