Top o’ the Lot: The Invaluable Wisdom of Mr. Spock

From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.

We’re still mourning the loss of the great Leonard Nimoy here at Outright Geekery, and it’s been a tough week. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I simply would not be the same geek I am today without his influence, and I think it’s safe to say that there are many geeks around the globe who share those feelings. I wasn’t sure at first exactly how to go about honoring such a legend with a post. Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgIt’s impossible to sum up such a meaningful life in a single article. After giving it some thought, however, I decided that the most appropriate way for me to honor a man who was so very important to me is to write about the very thing that made him so important. His role as the unemotional Vulcan, Spock, had a defining influence on my life due to the character’s unwavering logic. This logic encompassed the character of Spock, and that Vulcan has taught me many Spock6lessons. He’s been an example for me as far back as I can remember, and there’s no better way to celebrate the logical wisdom of Spock than by using his own words. So, without further ado, there is no logic in crying, emotions are illogical, and “thank you so much, sir”, as we celebrate the man in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: The Invaluable Wisdom of Mr. Spock.

Honorable Mention: “Live Long and Prosper”

This is easily Spock’s most famous quote, but the Vulcan farewell saying doesn’t seem very logical. Sure, it’s nice and all; although no nicer that “Later, brah!” or “Peace out!”; but there is quite a bit more Spock5logic here once you peel back the layers. The most important thing to Vulcan society is, of course, the Vulcan society. Whether it be science, engineering, diplomacy, religion (if there truly is such a thing in Vulcan culture), exploring, or any other aspect of the culture, Vulcans recognize the fact that a single individual who devotes a long life to an endeavor and succeeds (or prospers) in that undertaking has moved the entire society forward, quite the logical wish to bestow. Applied to the real world it can be stated as “Do nothing half-assed, and support people who do the same.” We’re all in this together, folks; let’s make it the best!

5. “Fascinating”

Easily the second most famous quote from the character, Spock used this word whenever something surprised him, which I thought was just as odd as saying “Goodbye” to unemotional beings, until i gave it some thought. As Science Officer of the Enterprise Spock was Spock4up-to-date with every piece of scientific knowledge Starfleet had collected, and he had the intelligence to comprehend and apply it in just about any context. So, when he found something “fascinating” it was a big freaking deal! Spock wasn’t saying the word just to say it, he was letting everyone else know that he found something new and different. Communication of discovery is important, and it’s something I’ve applied in my own life. We should share our knowledge, but we should also find new knowledge fascinating and worth sharing with the rest of the world.

4. “Insufficient facts always invite danger”

Spock3Spock was of course speaking of the S.S. Botany Bay and its crew of genetically advanced retro maniacs in TOS: Space Seed, but it’s a quote that remains just as important today when dealing with the onslaught of information the Internet offers. Facts mean something, and they are facts for a reason. This was a big part of Star Trek overall as a franchise, and in a world full of deniers of facts we should all be duly diligent researchers, else suffer the consequences.

3. “Change is the essential process of all existence”

This quote is important to me for several reasons, one of which involves the nature of the episode it comes from. “Let That Be Your Spock7Last Battlefield” contained a strong message about both race and war that not only makes it quintessential sci-fi, but an example of just how very important a franchise Star Trek is. But I take something else from this quote, and it’s something that the Star Trek franchise itself has done: evolve. In order to exist you MUST change. Growing requires action, and that is inherently a change. Without change we simply stop being. I’m always working on the next version of myself, and this Spock quote sums that up very nicely.

2. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”

Another famous and quite popular quote from Leonard Nimoy’s most famous and popular character, the logic present here is Spock2absolutely irrefutable. While most people tend to associate this with the death scene in The Wrath of Khan, the quote is all about sacrifice for the greater good, no matter what the particular greater good may be. To me it’s saying, “Be part of something bigger than you; know it’s bigger than you; and know that your sacrifice is meaningful.” It’s the logic of faith! It’s maybe the most compelling aspect of Spock’s dual Human/Vulcan heritage and mirrors our own human experience in ways only Star Trek could communicate.

1. “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end”

It’s purposefully ironic that Spock said this to a Vulcan with perfect logic and a lack of wisdom in Undiscovered Country because it’s an important lesson for anyone. If you have a compass and you need to Spock1go north, for example, logic dictates that you simply follow the direction of the pointing needle. The compass, however, says nothing of rivers, lakes, ravines, canyons, or other obstacles that may stand in your path. As integral as logic is to his character, Spock still understands the vital importance of other aspects of being. Even those who adhere to logic like a Vulcan must concede to this requirement. It’s only logical.

All of us at Outright Geekery were big fans of Leonard Nimoy. He had a hand in sculpting us all, and, through us, this website and we will miss him immensely.

See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.

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