I am not ashamed to admit that Star Trek has always been my favorite television show. My earliest memories of television was watching Star Trek and a few years later when it went into syndication, I became the biggest fan a ten year old boy could be – collecting models, toys, buying every Star Trek novel available, and even dressing up like Spock for Halloween. Spock was my favorite character in my favorite TV show and even as I grew older, my fandom and my appreciation for the character would never wane.
So when the news of Leonard Nimoy’s death hit the newswires on February 27, 2015, my heart sank. As illogical as it might be to shed tears and mourn the loss of someone I had never met, it could not be helped. Nimoy’s death felt like the end of an era for me. He and the character of Spock that he had made so famous was a link to not only my childhood, but to many other decades of my life and the inspiration and wisdom he gave me for almost 50 years of playing and reprising his most famous role cannot be measured.
As I sat and mourned the loss, I was reminded of the words spoken by Dr. McCoy after the character of Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (before being brought back to life in the next movie). “He really isn’t dead as long as we remember him.”
As hard as it is to face the fact that Nimoy will never reprise the role of Spock again and the dream of seeing Shatner and Nimoy one last time together as the beloved duo of Kirk and Spock will now never happen, I am choosing to remember the logic and the life lessons that Nimoy, through Spock, taught us for almost 50 years. Today I am posting some of those gems that he gave us and as I look at each of these Spock quotes, I realize that there are indeed life lessons we should all take to heart.
- “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Going through life is all about adapting and changing. Every day, every situation, every stage of life is different and if we are not growing and changing, then we are losing ground. We cannot expect to handle today’s situations in life just like we did yesterdays. And tomorrow will bring a new set of circumstances that will require us to change and to grow. Although God never changes, we do and we must. If we are not changing, if we are not growing, then we are in essence ceasing to exist as an effective person in our world.
- “Insufficient facts always invite danger.” How often do we jump to conclusions or make assumptions about someone or situations? We assume we know their motivation or reasons behind certain statements or actions and we react accordingly to those assumptions. Or perhaps with a limited or even wrong set of facts, we make decisions that come back to haunt us. Spock’s words of wisdom warns us not to assume something about someone or something when you do not have ALL the facts, or perhaps when your emotions are clouding the facts. That will ALWAYS invite danger.
- “Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.” When Spock spoke these words in the mid 1960’s, no one had a clue that things like social media and texting would be such a big part of people’s lives almost 5 decades later. But now, in 2015, many people are so addicted to their smartphones, tablets, or home computers that they have in a sense become a slave to them. We spend more time on social media than we do interacting personally with other people. If we are ever without our phone, we feel totally hopeless and lost. Many times our technology has kept us from doing other things and those important things in life begin to slip away. May we all heed the words of logic from Spock and make our technology our tools and servants, not our masters.
- “Without followers, evil cannot spread.” With the rise of gruesome beheadings by ISIS as well as other hate crimes happening right here in our country, it is easy to despair about the evil in our world. However, it is important to note that evil cannot have any power if there are no followers. Unfortunately, the different evil factions are gaining followers all the time. Evil is spreading in this world because we allowing people to follow it. We allow compromises here and there, we overlook small things, and in the name of freedom and liberty we allow people to follow their selfish desires and little by little the compromises become greater and greater and eventually evil is spreading through the followers that we watched compromise their way to evil.
- “Logic is the beginning of wisdom…not the end.” At first glance, this is one of those famous Spock quotes that I do not agree with. The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord, not logic, is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of God is understanding. Another passage equates wisdom with knowledge when it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Spock lived by the code of logic and he thought those who did not follow logic were foolish. So in a sense, Spock was right after all. If the opposite of foolish thinking is logical thinking, then it would only make sense that seeking wisdom is the right thing to do. It is the logical thing to do. Therefore, if the fear of the Lord produces wisdom, then it is only logical to learn to fear the Lord. Making the logical decision to fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but logic itself is not the end. It is only the beginning.
- “You may find that having is not so nearly pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” What profound wisdom Spock offered to Ston with this quote. How many people have wanted something so bad and they went out and got it, no matter what the cost, only to find out that once they got it, the happiness was fleeting and did not last. The Bible tells us to set our affections on the things of God, not the things the world has to offer us because those are the only things that will truly bring happiness. If we set our hearts on those things that are not of God, then Spock is absolutely right in saying that gaining those things is not as pleasing as we thought it might be.
- “In critical moments, men sometimes see exactly what they wish to see.” As humans, it is natural to see only those things our minds and hearts are really looking for. If someone has hurt you, then often times you can only see the negative side of that person because your natural human heart doesn’t want to see the positive things. On the other hand, if you truly love someone, then you can overlook their faults and see only what your love tells you to see. Neither is a perfect sight. Both see only what they want to see. It is not logical, but it is true. However, which way serves for the better good. In the critical moments, is it better to see the positives in people, in situations, and in life, or the negative?
- “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few….or the one.” What would this world be like if we all lived with this Spock motto? What would our families be like if each one of us looked more to fill the needs of the other people in our lives than we do our own? Jesus taught throughout the Gospels that we are to serve other people and only in that serving will we find true joy. Jesus, Himself, served as the greatest example as He did not look after His own needs, but instead voluntarily suffered a gruesome death so that many would have eternal life. If you want to affect your world and even your family, then the best place to start is by following Spock’s motto and Christ’s example. The needs of your family and your world outweigh the needs of you, the one.
- “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” Part of Star Trek’s appeal has always been the friendship between Kirk and Spock. From the outside, it might have seemed a friendship that could not endure, but as we watched their friendship grown through the decades, it could not be denied that they were the best of friends and brought out the best in each other. Kirk’s passion impulse was always balanced by Spock’s calm and logic. Their friendship endured throughout time and became legendary. They are an example for us all to aspire, that no matter the circumstances, true friendship must endure. Circumstances and even hurt feelings must never stand in the way of true friendship.
- “Live long and prosper.” Along with the split hand salute that is taken from a Jewish blessing, this is perhaps Spock’s most famous quote and it rings with such truth and blessing. Who doesn’t want to live a long, prosperous life? Yet so many people live a life of stress and struggles as we seek to merely make ends meet in our lives. However, this famous Vulcan salute gives us the secret of a prosperous life. The hand gesture that goes with the greeting comes from the Hebrew letter that in English translates in the Sh It is the first letter in the Hebrew word for God, Shaddai, the word for God’s glory, Shekinah, and the word for peace, Shalom. When the Jewish rabbi gives this hand gesture while pronouncing a blessing over the people in the synagogue, he is invoking a blessing, “may God and His Glory give your peace.” The peace that God and His Glory brings to our lives when we fully walk in His ways is the only way to live long and prosper.
Leonard Nimoy, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for helping take us for nearly 50 years where no man has gone before and for teaching us such great truths to live by. You may be gone from this earth, but your logic and wisdom will live as long as there is Star Trek on this earth.