Live Long and Prosper

Friday, April 23, AD 2010

Leonard Nimoy is calling it quits as to any future portrayals of Mr. Spock, and is retiring from show business.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who has famously portrayed “Star Trek’s” original alien Spock for over 40 years, has announced he’s officially hanging up the pointy Vulcan ears for good. Nimoy, 79, plans to retire shortly from show business and the “Star Trek” convention circuit, according to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun.

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4 Responses to Live Long and Prosper

Prime Directive Debate

Thursday, September 24, AD 2009

“As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.”

Yesterday Darwin had a thought provoking post about the impact of technologically advanced cultures on less developed cultures.  In the combox discussion there were frequent references to the Prime Directive of Star Trek.  This of course gives me an excellent excuse for posting this examination of the Prime Directive and for me to burnish my credentials as the “Geekier-Than-Thou” member of this blog.

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38 Responses to Prime Directive Debate

  • Cogent analysis.

    I enjoyed the mental excercise and I must admit that you are more of a geek than I am becuase I didn’t know there was this depth of knowledge about the Prime Directive. I also cannot speak Klyngon, but I am trying to learn Latin (EL).

    I think we could use something like the Prime Directive for the American Empire. Non-intervention is a great policy – but, as you stated, NOT everytime.

    Our first obligation, our Supreme Prime Directive, if you will is to obey God. Not to play God, but to do His will and that requires that we use the gifts, whatever they be, spiritual or temporal, for His greater honor and glory. Naturally, we suck at it, which is why non-intervention would be best in most situations, like trying to impose Democracy at the barrel of a gun (not that I am against the war in Iraq per se, just its stated goal and the execution).

    Conversly, even though American interests had a hand in the rise of Nazi Germany, would it have been ethical for us to NOT intervene in WWII to stop the spread of fascism and national socialism? Of course, that doesn’t excuse our cooperation with Soviet and Chinese Communism. We stopped Hitler and that was noble but handing half of Europe over to Stalin and China to Mao is not excusable.

    I think we need to keep in mind that the Supreme Prime Directive is a commandment, the first one, all other directives come from that.

  • Oh, the Prime Directive is not only a non-starter for Catholics, it’s pretty much impossible to square with any sane/serious ethical tradition, religious or not.

    In fact, about the only “philosophy” it comes close to jibing with is objectivism, and even Ayn Rand probably would have at least *sold* the vaccine to the dying species in “Dear Doctor.”

    I suspect the PD was the result of something approximating a late-night undergrad bull session amongst the scriptwriters.

  • I suspect the PD was the result of something approximating a late-night undergrad bull session amongst the scriptwriters.

    More likely it was just a convenient plot device. Lots of ST:TOS episodes would have been over in five minutes if Kirk et al had been able to reveal who they were and use the full extent of their technology. You’ll notice that whenever following Directive Prime would hinder advancing the plot, it is promptly abandoned or ignored.

  • Dale’s right, how is it possible to obey the prime directive of Jesus Christ and this prime directive at the same time:

    Matthew 28:19-20
    19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

    That commandment necessitates a cultural and religious intervention with any society that is not converted to the True Faith.

    This not a coercive action, it is one of deep and abiding love for God and His creation.

  • Though it does seem to have a certain appeal for people suffering from a near crippling case of relativism of the youthful variety. Back in the golden age of science fiction (high school) I did have a few people insist to me in all seriousness that the prime directive was moral because it was _wrong_ to impose our ideas of what a good outcome was on other people who might have a different cultural context.

    I don’t think that kind of idealism holds up to any real serious thought or experience, but it does apparently have a certain appeal. Of course, for my part, I was always a Babylon 5 guy rather than a Star Trek guy…

  • Actually, there was an episode (Observer Effect) in the short-lived series, Star Trek: Enterprise, which presented what I believe to be a balanced perspective concerning what was ultimately to become the Prime Directive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_Effect

    An alien species called the Organians refused to interfere with the dying crew of Enterprise which had contracted a deadly silicon-based virus since these aliens themselves adhered to such a directive.

    Captain Archer, who ultimately discovered their presence nearing the end of the episode, engaged in dialogue with the aliens, acknowledging the apparent soundness behind the reasoning for this Prime Directive they adhered to since when they, the crew of the Enterprise, had actually interfered with more primitive alien races, introducing advanced technology and what not, the results were often disasterous (perhaps that is why and how the Prime Directive itself came into being?*).

    However, he made an impassioned appeal to them, saying that adhering to such a directive in this case was not only foolish but also an act of bloody murder and that if becoming an advanced species meant being absent of compassion, he would rather remain primitive.

    * With regards to what Archer said concerning their experiences with primitive alien races and the harm that ultimately resulted when they interfered with these, this would seem to provide somewhat compelling evidence for why the Prime Directive came into existence, where Picard himself eloquently remarked in a past Next Generation episode:

    “The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy… and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.

    – Captain Picard (TNG: “Symbiosis”)

  • History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.

    That’s the theory. My question would be: what’s the evidence. I can think of plenty of examples where a less technologically advanced civilization has been harmed by contact with a more advanced civilization because the more advanced civilization used their superior technology to kill or enslave the less advanced people. Absent that, though, I can’t think of any cases where simply being given access to more advanced technology, medicine, etc. has been harmful. On the contrary, there are plenty of examples (such as, for example, in the wake of the Tsunami a few years back) where this has been very helpful.

  • The flaw with Picard’s logic is that he presumes to have perfect knowledge. It isn’t up to a Starfleet captain to know outcomes. We are not to have anxiety over how things will go, we are to only do our part as Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

    That is the Supreme Prime Directive. Suspecting that Picard is a descendant of ours then we have to assume a) he has knowledge of Christ or at least the Catholic Church is still alive and well in his time or, b) Rodenbury was even more sinister than we thought and interjected this athiestic, relativist Prime Directive in order to deny Christ.

    Either way, it doesn’t work. You CANNOT know that results will always be bad and perhaps a little bit of prudence will help you determine what technology to share and what to hold back all the while it is incumbent on you to improve the primitive species’ situation as pertains to basic needs and share positive cultural values with them and most importantly the Gospel.

    Say you get in your DeLorean and activite your flux capacitor and end up in Rome before Christ. Would it not be incumbent upon you to do all in your power to prevent children, especially girls, from being left to die on the hillside? I know what you’re thinking (y’all are really geeky)doing that you are going to skew the timeline and all manner of craziness can ensue. That’s a nice plot device, but if reverse time-travel were possible do you not think God allowed it? Wouldn’t it still be incumbent on you to OBEY His commandments and leave the outcome up to Him?

    Prime Directive may be a plot device, it may also be a tool of the devil to insert relativism into our culture through media entertainment. Evil has never had better marketing.

  • Blackadder:

    That’s the theory. My question would be: what’s the evidence.

    Did you even read my previous comment?

    I believe that was one of the things that that prequel, Star Trek: Enterprise, attempted to answer.

    Again, it would seem that Captain Archer’s previous interferences with primitive races by introducing advanced technology and what not, and the negative repercussions that ultimately came as the result, would seem to have provided the basis for why the Prime Directive ultimately came into being.

    This is why in that episode, Observer Effect, he couldn’t really fault the Organians for this Prime Directive that they seem to subscribe to due to his own set of experiences; however, he did fault them for the fact that in the particularly fatal circumstances facing his crew, if an advanced race were to act absent compassion, that race wouldn’t be so advanced after all since it lost that sense of compassion he felt integral even to an advanced culture.

  • So the man-made rules are absolute until they are no longer convenient to the rule makers.

    That makes sense.

  • e,

    Star Trek: Enterprise is a work of fiction. The fact that a character in a work of fiction says “history shows X” doesn’t mean that history actually shows X.

  • American Knight:

    Say that I am part of a complement that possesses advanced technology that happened to be nuclear-based.

    Suppose that I encountered a race on a planet that is exactly the kind of midiaeval earth.

    Their inhabitants are all dying of a deadly plague.

    Now, we possess a nuclear-based apparatus that would ultimately cure these peoples; however, the cure itself requires perennial treatments.

    So, tell me, if we were to provide such potentially deadly technology to this relatively primitive race; do you really believe that doing so would not result in harm?

    For one thing, the inhabitants themselves obviously wouldn’t possess a thorough understanding of the technology that we do.

    For another, all the negative episodes of our own people’s history (e.g., the devestating historical events we collectively endured due to misuse of this technology) where we as a people ultimately learned wisdom never to misuse this technology again, could not really be transferred to a comparatively primitive people such as the ones here.

    Why?

    Because absent of actual experience, like a curious and even errant child, no matter if one were to warn them, they’ll simply go off on their own and misuse the technology regardless not only due to an overwhelming sense of curiousity but also due to their comparatively adolescent mindset as a race where they do not know any better.

    What you’ll likely discover, in the end, is that if you were to revisit that primitive race years later after endowing them with such technology, you’ll find that they had eventually wiped themselves out because they had come to actually utilize that technology in order to gain power over other warring factions.

    Hence, there are delicate considerations in the matter that you are obviously neglecting.

  • Blackadder:

    Star Trek: Enterprise is a work of fiction. The fact that a character in a work of fiction says “history shows X”; doesn’t mean that history actually shows X.

    I was simply providing you the background on how the Prime Directive in the Star Trek Universe came into being because of Captain Archer’s own (mis-)adventures in the Star Trek Universe.

    How, in heaven’s name, did you actually come to think that we were discussing about something that resembled current/historical reality?

    Note:

    Captain Archer had these set of negative experiences in the maiden voyage of the original enterprise in the Star Trek universe as a result of his deliberately interfering with a primitive race; therefore, the Prime Directive came into being in the Star Trek universe

    /=

    Captain Archer had these set of negative experiences in the maiden voyage of the original enterprise in the Star Trek universe as a result of his deliberately interfering with a primitive race; therefore, the Prime Directive came into being in our universe.

  • How, in heaven’s name, did you actually come to think that we were discussing about something that resembled current/historical reality?

    Don’t play dumb and don’t treat me like I’m an idiot. You’ve been an active participant in this discussion and you know very well that it involves the application of PD to current or historical reality.

  • My original comments were strictly with regards to how the PD came into existence in the Star Trek Universe.

    Obviously, there is no Captain Archer, as far as I know, who is gallavanting in outer space in some space ship called Enterprise, deliberately interfering with primitive races.

    You’re better than that, Blackadder; don’t play the obtuse card.

    I have much higher regard for you.

  • Technology is just a tool.

    Our medieval ancestors were perhaps less technically proficient than we, but they were also, probably more moral, holy and pious.

    Man has NOT changed at all since he was created. We may have more knowledge of God’s universe, we certainly have been given more revelations but we are basically the same.

    The only moral advancement has been made becuase of Christ’s sacrifice and teaching and communion.

    So if we assume that Star Trek takes place in our future then the Church will still be there and man will essentially still be the same. Take that technology and bring it back to today and we would have the same dispositions for proper use or ill.

    This is much like the gun control debate. We need to control guns becuase guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. This false permise assumes that the wrong hands, presumably attached to wrong heads will obey gun control laws while they vilate ever other law and moral precept.

    If you give me a nuclear weapon, I am confident that I would NOT use it.

    A certain President of a certain country that used to be ruled by King Darius in ancient times — may be not so much.

    So the Pime Directive is nothing more than hubris, relativism and happy horse manure.

  • American Knight:

    You didn’t answer my question.

    Would you provide such a race with that kind of advanced technology or not?

  • There is not enough information to make that statement definitively. I would do whatever, to the best of my knowledge at the time, fulfils my baptismal promise of loving my neigbor our of love for God. If it saves lives I would do it. We all would have to.

  • Blackadder
    it seems that the Star Trek guys are always doing more of a “hand out hand grenades and bio-labs” type interference, instead of the “install a couple of solar powered water purifiers and a windmill powered well” type interference.

    Like I said on the prior topic– Fleeters are morons. They’ll choose to tweak a culture along Nazi lines because it’s organized.

    I can’t think of a single “turned out bad” interference that star fleet did where any random 20-something enlisted kid couldn’t have come up with a better plan that had fewer risks.

  • American Knight:

    Now you can see why Captain Archer himself remarked when confronted with a choice of bestowing advanced technology to a technologically inferior race in desperate need of it (remember: his time was way before the Prime Directive ever even came into being):

    “Some day, my People are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that says what we can and can’t do out here, should and shouldn’t do. But until someone tells me that they’ve drafted that… directive, I’m going to have to remind myself every day, that we didn’t come out here to play God.”

  • No e.,

    I don’t see it. I know your question was designed to get me in that trap, you may be an amateur attorney 🙂

    Archer’s well intentioned sentiment may very well have lead to the illogical (Vulcan pun intended) construct of the Prime Directive.

    The road to hell is paved with those kind of intentions.

    We are to keep His commandments becuase we love Him.

    The Prime Directive is a violation of His commandment so it is false no matter how well intentioned.

    We are not to know what will happen, we are only responsible for obeying God’s rules as we work. The Prime Directive is hubristic because in it Fleeters presume to know what is best. They don’t. Only God knows what is best.

  • Actually, even Captain Archer himself thought that such a draconian application of the principle (before, it was simply some prerogative the Vulcans handed to them, which he & his Enterprise crew personally disagreed with but eventually found it to be generally justified) was wrong, as evidenced in many episodes.

    That said, I don’t think Captain Archer himself, who could be considered the Forefather of the PD, would agree with the strictly literal interpretation (without noting the Spirit of the Law, as it were) that subsequent generations at Star Fleet gave to it.

    It reminds me of how later generations of Americans are doing same with respect to our Constitution, who more so than not cling to an absurd literal interpretation of it and, indeed, deliberately defy the very Spirit of that Law which our Forefathers actually intended.

  • The only law with spirit is the Law of the Spirit.

    The Consitution is man’s law and it has no point if it has spirit. Law is fixed until legitimately changed; otherwise what is the point?

    Rules that are not fixed may as well not be rules.

    We need to read the law in CONTEXT not in spirit. This is true for what used to be our Constitution and it is true for the PD. The difference is the Constitution conforms to God’s Law, the PD doesn NOT!

  • AK-
    I think he means “spirit of the law” in the not doing something technically legal but totally against the idea– ie, the law says no marrying girls under 18, so folks just enter common law marriage until they’re 18…..

  • OK.

    I suppose I’m just overy sensative these days becuase of the dictatorship of reletavism.

    This living breathing Constitution BS is getting really old.

    Laws are a gift. We are free becuase of the Law and man’s laws are to be written in light of the Spirit, which is Truth.

    The laws we are handed these days are anything by truth and have no regard for the Truth. It is disgusting and I fear that we will end up with a future like the socialistic brave new world of Star Trek, or no future at all. I prefer the future of Star Wars, a heroic battle to slay the Empire and restire the Old Republic.

  • We need to read the law in CONTEXT…

    The Spirit of the Law actually means that you have to keep in CONTEXT the very reason for the law.

    It would seem Foxfier has a much clearer understanding of this than you do.

    It is disgusting and I fear that we will end up with a future like the socialistic brave new world of Star Trek, or no future at all. I prefer the future of Star Wars, a heroic battle to slay the Empire and restire the Old Republic.

    Rest assured, Star Trek and Star Wars are all works of fiction.

    Besides, socialism (or, rather, a variant thereof) has long been in existence for quite some time now in America and, indeed, the socialist project is even being further extended currently to much greater degree by the present Administration.

  • e.,

    I conceded the point when Foxfier pointed it out. Did you really have to go and beat up on me for it?

    I think our language can be more poetic when we are all on the same page. As in standing on something solid, you know, like the truth. Sadly, we aren’t all (I am not referring to you or most people here, I am referring to America in general)on the same page.

    As you cogently pointed out we are already socialist and on our way to full-blown communism. I suppose I am just quick to the trigger because socialism isn’t only an economic system, a false one at that, but it is a cultural sickness that perverts men’s minds.

    Be wary, be very wary.

  • American Knight:

    I conceded the point when Foxfier pointed it out. Did you really have to go and beat up on me for it?

    Apologies, but that was not my intent; I was merely amused at the irony in that what you declared then (and coincidentally accused the Spirit of), was actually much aligned with what the Spirit of the Law meant. That’s all.

    I suppose I am just quick to the trigger because socialism isn’t only an economic system, a false one at that, but it is a cultural sickness that perverts men’s minds. Be wary, be very wary.

    Believe me, friend, whenever I witness even mere rhetoric resembling that of the Spectre haunting Europe employed likewise concerning America, I instantly become leery of exactly this kind of perversion that is indeed socialism.

  • Picture-perfect example of why I really dislike PC talk– stuff with a good, solid, serviceable and honest standard meaning gets twisted to the point where I can totally understand folks twitching from the phrase “spirit of the law.”

    Sounds a lot like the “penumbra of an emanation” we all now and ‘love’, eh?

    Shoot, even the word “choice” totally out of any birth-related context makes me twitch…. Charity is similarly abused….

    *sigh* How did I get on a serious note when what I *really* want is to find a good geek board to discuss who would provide a better Pope, the Cardassians or the Vulcans?

  • Pius XII Foxfier is a good example of a Vulcan pope. Julius II, Cardassian all the way.

  • *sigh* How did I get on a serious note when what I *really* want is to find a good geek board to discuss who would provide a better Pope, the Cardassians or the Vulcans?

    Neither… it would always be human.

    As even the prequel attempted to make clear, it was the human race that was ultimately destined to serve a greater purpose, which was ultimately gathering into One all foreign races into a unified whole, later known as the Federation.

    That same special destiny, I would imagine, could easily translate into the enduring fact that only a human could be a better Pope, due to this faculty unique to humans (at least, according to ST/Enterprise lore), which enables them the remarkable talent for engendering peaceful, diplomatic relations amongst disparate alien races.

  • Ambassador Soval: “We don’t know what to do about Humans. Of all the species we’ve made contact with, yours is the only one we can’t define. You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites. One moment you’re as driven by your emotions as Klingons, and the next you confound us by suddenly embracing logic!”

    Admiral Forrest: “I’m sure those qualities are found in every species.”

    Ambassador Soval: “Not in such confusing abundance.”

    Admiral Forrest: “Ambassador… are Vulcans afraid of Humans?”

    (Soval answers with a slight nod)

    Admiral Forrest: “Why?”

    Ambassador Soval: “Because, there is one species you remind us of.”

    Admiral Forrest: “Vulcans.”

    Ambassador Soval: “There are those on the High Command who wonder what Humans would achieve in the century to come, and they don’t like the answer.”

    Admiral Forrest: “We’re not the Klingons. We only want to be your partners, to do what the nations of Earth have learned to do: to work together in common cause.”

  • E.- I don’t generally accept Enterprise, since they felt the need to pull a “it was all a holodeck” thing at the end, but given that the humanoid species are inter-fertile and several of the half-breeds have been shown to be fertile themselves (for example, a crewman who’s got a Romulan grandfather) I’d have to consider them the same species…which is really a pain for the atheistic version, even with the “seeded DNA” ep in TNG.

    What a horribly irrational thing for a Vulcan to say! Sounds oddly racist, even….

  • I can think of several examples where trying to do the right this has backfired. Think of all of the developing countries particularly in Africa that we brought medicine and doctors too back in the 50’s and 60’s. As a result the infant mortality rate dropped significantly. Good thing right?

    Well maybe not. These cultures have spent millenia having 10 or more children each assuming that 80% of them will die before becoming adults. The high birthrate was needed to maintain their numbers.

    However, with modern medicine, the mortality rate dropped while the birthrate remained high. Populations skyrocketed, and the subsistence agriculture they had practiced for centuries no longer supported them. What followed was massive poverty and famine.

    This was a major problem beginning in the 1950’s and 60’s when Star Trek was created. It was also a problem that the majority of the population was not really away of. Few people back then realized the negative impact of providing food and medicine to people who need it, hence the writers developed the Prime Directive as a plot device to point out that even well intentioned actions can have disastrous consequences.

  • Also, there is a fairly good chance that the church wouldn’t play a significant role 350 years in the future. If current trends continue, there will be very few Christians in 2350AD. The only two religious groups that continue to grow are Islam and non believers.

    Of course this isn’t taking into account the prediction of Star Trek that there will be hundreds of other worlds in the Federation. I doubt any of them will have religions similar to those on earth.

  • The assumption that current trends will continue is generally a losing bet.
    (That statement is the only trend that I can think of where it’s a good bet it’ll continue….)

    Africa is not in trouble just because of their birth rate– systemic corruption that prevents long term improvement for short term personal advantage is a much bigger problem. (Very symbolically, there’s a tendency to sell the seeds for next year’s crop.)

  • 2/23/2010
    I sit down and typed in the words for Prime Directive For A Health Care Reform, and it was like wow, just look at all this stuff,
    God vs./ or and the Prime Directive, As a Star Trek fan for over 30 years, I wish to see in to this blog, but I am a little lost so let me show you the tomorrow,”So as these Government Officials get your vote and send you off to you room so that all can be fixed by their Artificial Intelligence, {because they have been stuck in that Matrix} and now all they can do is see us as variables in a equation as dollar numbers, they do try to see, but without that Mathematical A.I. They are so lost. This is the same with Health Care Insurance Companies, as A.I. shows the way for D.N.A testing and other inventive forms of how to calculate the dollar as a human input.
    It has been stated that because of diversity that Government Officials must intervine,For days I worked the word diversity in my mind and it came to me that because of this it is not Americas weakness it is our greatest strength. And this is how I will show you.
    Constitution-
    Bill Of Rights –
    The Declaration of Independence-
    United under one forum, builds what is called the Trinity of the Protection Of Laws. This is because these Laws were built by people of faith who gave thanks to God for this wisdom. One would have to see and admire the simplicity of the three as one and at the same time they maintain their independence.”
    But I do offer my congratulations again to the Administration and theses Law Makers In And for The People Of The United States Of America.
    Henry Massingale
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    http://www.fascmovement.mysite.com.

4 Responses to The Omega Glory

If Obama Is Spock We Are Doomed!!!

Tuesday, June 9, AD 2009

Spobama

Maureen Dowd wrote a column last month in which she compared, tongue in cheek, Obama to Mr. Spock from Star Trek.  Jeff Greenwald of Salon also sees a resemblance between Chicago’s “gift” to the country and the first officer of the Enterprise.  Bill Whittle of Pajamas Media, takes great joy in informing us in a very entertaining video here why having an intellectual in the mode of Mr. Spock as president is very bad for the nation.

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10 Responses to If Obama Is Spock We Are Doomed!!!

  • well, most of ’em are true anyway

  • It’s a fun video, but I don’t think Spock qualifies as an intellectual (he’s very intelligent, but that’s not the same thing). Also, the problem Spock had in the series as a leader was that he couldn’t connect with people emotionally, and therefore they didn’t trust him. This, I’m afraid, is not Obama’s problem.

  • 0.o

    Want… to defend… Spock…..

    On a side note, I thought Spock had a pretty good sense of humor: very, very, VERY dry. Heavy use of irony.

    Spock is also very good at subtle, polite insults. ^.^

    I object to intellect without discipline; I object to power without constructive purpose. -Spock

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/148307/best_quotes_from_mr_spock_of_star_trek.html?cat=38
    http://www.pithypedia.com/?author=Spock

  • Foxfier, I will concede that Spock often got off a good bon mot. However, what made it humorous was the assumption on the part of the audience that Spock was not trying to be funny and would have been aghast at the suggestion that he was attempting to be funny.

  • Asperger’s.

  • I’d have to draw a distinction between “trying to be funny” and having a sense of humor; I’d further have to submit that any Vulcan dealing with humans will either have to be able to find some amusement in their actions, or go mad from the sheer irrationality.

  • Of course we also have to bear in mind that Spock was only half Vulcan. I always assumed that he massively repressed his sense of humor in order to be 100% Vulcan which was obviously his goal, at least in the original series. The Enterprise series portrayed Vulcans as being far more openly emotional, at least by the standards of the original series.

  • If I remember the bits of Enterprise I read, coupled with the history of the Romulans,

    *SPOILER*

    *SPOILER*

    *SPOILER*

    (maybe)

    in the Enterprise time-frame, Vulcans had fallen away from the logical teachings of Surak (googles to get the name right) and it was toward the end of that when the teachings made a resurgence; historically, the Vulcans nearly wiped themselves out before Surak’s teachings took hold.

    Several waves of refugees or those who didn’t wish to reject their (highly overpowering) emotions included the ancestors of the Romulans. (They seem to have found a way to control their overwhelming emotions by being cold-blooded, back-stabbing, manipulative politicians.)

    That would make Sarek a child soon after a big wave of religion sweeps over, so Spock might be modeling himself on some real hard-liners, logically speaking.

    Add in the way that someone who is halfway between cultures tends to choose one and be more Catholic than the Pope for that one, and it explains why Spock would be a Vulcan’s Vulcan. (Spock’s fiancé’s actions in that pon farr ep come to mind.)

    Side note: I am utterly geeking out that my spell check had “Spock” in it already.

  • While it is true that Obama has developed a reputation for being rather “geeky,” I seriously question whether he has Asperger’s, since most Aspies are socially extremely awkward and probably couldn’t win an election if their lives depended on it. I do not mean that as an insult, by the way, just a statement of fact.

    Probably the most famous Aspie in the world right now is Bill Gates; he is famous and very successful but charisma is not exactly his strong point. In general, Aspies have little or no interest in purely social friendship (it has to be about a common interest), or in the relentless social maneuvering that would be required to become a successful politician.

    A lot of Aspies do identify with characters like Spock and Next Generation’s Data because of their focus on pure logic and inability to deal with emotions and body language. As I said earlier, many Aspies (I strongly suspect myself to be one) prefer e-mail and blogging to in-person communication because it allows you to communicate pure words and ideas, without having to worry about eye contact, etc.

  • nope, obama cannot be an aspie because he is too full of shi* to be. as a rule, aspies are very honest, do what they say they are gonna do, and say what they mean and mean what they say. obama, on the other hand, is from the senate, and as a rule, people from the senate and the house are so full of shi* that they cannot tell the difference between truth and a lie – to congressmen and seantors – truth and a lie are the same thing. 😛

12 Responses to Geekier Than Thou

  • ….WTF did they do to Romulans!?!?!?!

  • That does look rather strange doesn’t it? However, I think the program was not set up with dogs in mind.

  • I went to the site, as well, ‘cus I couldn’t tell what the heck… that thing looked like a TOS Klingon gone all tribal….

    Just more weight on my “we’ll see it when it gets to the cheap theater” impression. (Hey, they want a trek movie that “isn’t aimed at star trek fans”– they’ll get fans that aren’t aimed at their movie.)

  • Here’s a question for your geeky-ness:
    Have you ever considered where the heck the Church is, in Star Trek?

    I’ve said since high school that Vulcans would be very good Catholics. (yes, even before Mr. Wright’s joke)

  • Gene Roddenberry had little use for religion and therefore religion was downplayed in the original series, except for the Bread and Circuses episode:

    “McCoy: (to Kirk) I read in your report that Flavius was killed. I’m sorry. I really liked that sun worshipper.

    Spock: I do wish we could examine that belief of theirs more closely.

    Uhura: I’m afraid you have it all wrong. All of you. I’ve been monitoring their old style radio broadcasts. The Empire’s spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn’t. (after a brief silence) Don’t you understand? It’s not the sun up in the sky. It’s the Son of God!

    Kirk: Caesar and Christ. They have them both.

    Spock: It will replace their imperial Rome, but it will happen in their twentieth century.

    Kirk: And the word is spreading… only now. Wouldn’t it be something to watch it happen all over again?”

  • Not sure how many of you know this, but Archbishop John Myers of Newark, formerly of Peoria, is a big Trek fan and in fact submitted some suggested plots to the producers of one of the early-90s shows (not sure whether it was “Next Generation” or “Deep Space Nine”) with his friend Gary K. Wolf (of “Roger Rabbit” fame”). They weren’t accepted, however.

  • Mr. McClarey-
    I know why there isn’t any showing, but if you treat it as a “world” instead of a show, you can make a lot of interesting stories– at one point I had a pretty good lineup of “evidence” that religion had been systematically repressed.

  • Interesting. My wife has devoured Star Trek fiction. I read a book by Esther Friesner where Aaron Stemple of the Here Come the Brides show was revealed to be an ancestor of Spock. The inside joke of course that actor Mark Lenard played this role, in addition to his role on Star Trek as Spock’s Vulcan father.

  • Et al.,

    After living life and becoming aware of the social themes of star trek, my enthusiasm dipped a bit when I realized that Star Trek was a Communist Utopia. Where there was no money and people pursued their vocations, not necessarily trying to survive since everything was taken care of.

    Of course this is incredibly unlikely with the demise of the Soviet Union, but I can see why some of the appeal being where there are no conflicts and people lived to fulfill themselves rather than God.

  • Star Fleet is the UN in space– part of why I enjoyed DS9 so much: socialist utopia gets smacked in the face with the folks they don’t control.

  • Of course the Star Trek episodes rarely took Roddenberry’s philosophy seriously. No war: The episodes of the show usually revolved around military conflict. No money: mentioned but never taken seriously. Just ask Cyrano Jones or Harry Mudd. The Prime Directive: Stamped on almost every time it came up. No religion: Star Trek Deep Space Nine reveled in religious themes. Utopia: Hardly, just ask the Maquis. Star Trek works because it barely pays attention to Rodennberry’s view of how the future might turn out. It is grand, and entertaining, Space Opera. Long may it go on providing amusement!

  • Mr. Roddenberry’s vision is kinda like the vision of most anything else: when it hits reality, it changes a lot.

    Communism: from each by their ability, to each by their need. Reality: nobody works to the height of their ability, and the folks managing the “to” always seem to end up with a bit more for their trouble.

    Ideal: “we hold these truths to be self-evident…”
    Reality: anyone who’s been into a history class in the last ten years got those bashed into their heads.

    ideal: Men and women are morally equal
    reality: women have to act like men to *be* the same.