I was raised in a rather stoic environment as a young child, but when Star Trek emerged in the 1960’s, there was more than just a timeliness about it. Thanks for the A2A! Marcus Aurelius noted that much of what we say and do is unnecessary. Logical. And the more he is hampered by the stress of fortune, so much the more does his knowledge become apparent. I have watched “Q&A” at least thirty times, so I’m a little biased. Spock was born on January 6, 2230 in the city of Shi'Kahr on the planet Vulcan. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. Interestingly, this dichotomy is echoed in modern neuroscience. Perhaps he, as the perfect mixture of good emotions and ethical imperatives, a mixture, as it were, of the best of Spock and McCoy, is Star Trek’s real Stoic: the man of both action and contemplation. Indeed, Spock’s logic makes him defeatist when there is no identifiable logical option or chance of success: ‘In chess, when one is outmatched, the game is over, checkmate.’ For Spock, logic, and nothing else, is the most important thing. I argue in this essay that, on the contrary, the evolution of Spock from the young officer serving on the Enterprise NCC-1701 to ambassador to the Romulans in the last movie based on TOS can be understood as the story of someone entering the path to sagehood in the Stoic sense. "Q&A" StarTrek.com. Selecteer uw cookievoorkeuren. How Leonard Nimoy helped me prosper. Please consider donating an amount of your choosing to help support Stoic Week. All in all, Spock is hardly the Stoic sage. Indian with an opinion. 908-911, 2007. great stuff- I have just watched `for the love of spock` movie by his son. Indeed, he often asked himself: ‘Is this one of the necessary things?’. He blogs at platofootnote.org and howtobeastoic.org. He will risk his life if it is logical. All in all, Spock is hardly the Stoic sage. But the show also had its own take on Stoicism. Stephen Fry captures perfectly how Star Trek dramatized this clash of reason and emotion: ‘You have the Captain in the middle, who is trying to balance both his humanity and his reason. If your home doesn't have a Spock in it, you are truly missing out! Most crucially of all though, from the point of view of the ideal Stoic being a man of action, Spock’s over-reliance on logic sometimes leads him to a kind of ‘logic-induced’ paralysis. But in order to have both characters exist together again, we need a fictional explanation. Or, they are just a savage race that needs reason and order.’. stoic definition: 1. determined not to complain or show your feelings, especially when something bad happens to you…. Spock is, of course, half human and claims that he is rejecting his emotional human half in favour of the rational, emotionless Vulcan. The exchange between Spock and Data in the ST:TNG episode “Unification” regarding Picard make this clear. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. Is he in any way closer to the Stoic ideal? Spock: Stereotypical ‘stoic’ or ‘Stoic’ sage? Logic like this can simplify life greatly. He's definitely "stoic" in the lower-case, normal English sense of the word (as an unemotional person), but some people have suggested that Spock is actually too cerebral and inactive to be counted among real Stoics like Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius (see for instance, "Stoicism and Star Trek" by Jen Farren in Stoicism Today: Selected Writings). Kirk sounds a lot like Albert Ellis…. Learn more. T he Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. He has a stoic look about him but is the sweetest most playful and well behaved boy. In this Gavin isn't as much of an asshole as he makes out to be. Modern Stoicism is a non-profit limited company registered in the UK (#10950027). It presents an unusual argument that the figure of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock can be interpreted as telling the story of how one embarks on the path of Stoic sagehood. Stoicism teaches a kind of pantheism—that god is not only logos , but logos is god. Professor Massimo Pigliucci (GC/CCNY, Philosophy) says that’s a common misconception of the philosophy he describes in his new book , How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life . I watched most of the old Star Trek episodes growing up, and frequently thought to myself how impressive Spock was but also how often he was incapacitated by his strict control over his actions and emotions. If I’d been raised with any sort of religion, Spock would have been my family’s patron saint of the dictionary. Wise. Secondly, Spock observes without adding extra opinion: ‘Fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected.’ To follow the Stoic rule to only judge things in your control as good or bad, and all else as “fascinating” brings mental calm. To him it is illogical to kill without reason, but sometimes it is logical to kill – as such he is ready to sacrifice his life to protect the crew.This dichotomy is echoed in Koenig’sstudy of moral dilemmas about hypothetically harming one person to save many more. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.’. During his time on Voyager , Tuvok helped other crewmates with emotional struggles, survived assimilation, saved the ship countless times, and helped destroy a huge Borg hub. A Stoic Personality is a personality that events do not matter, and that only our reactions to events matter. I teach businesses how to make better decisions by avoiding “right and wrong thinking” so this was very in tune with my current thinking. Really enjoyed this article. Stoic. Think of the character Spock in Star Trek as one trained in the Stoic philosophy. Spock then distracts Crater and Kirk fires a red bolt from his phaser and stuns Crater. This is clear in his concern with emotional control: ‘Our principles of logic offer a serenity that humans rarely experience in full. It is in Star Trek, then, that this perennial source of inner conflict between reason and emotion plays out so clearly. He completely stoic in this moment, as he recognizes that he cannot be upset at death, for it is in the nature of human beings to die. Gross, E., Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages. In other words, how would Zeno have become different in terms of his belief system then as compared to this new fatalistic view. However, in popular usage, “stoic” usually refers to a grim-faced, emotionless person — someone who shows neither joy nor pain, is capable of suffering much in silence, and is not very social. One could argue that Mulder's partner Scully is also a stoic, but unlike Fox, Scully's dispassionate demeanor is more clinical, like the Pragmatist . Stoicism Vs. Epicureanism By: Stephen Hanselman The English language has done a great disservice to two of ancient philosophy’s greatest schools—Stoicism and Epicureanism. Change ). He is even more highly trained and so should have made sure that this asset to Star Fleet was kept safe by taking no action. This is an impossible situation. Big fan of Spock, Sherlock Holmes, Stoics, Vedanta. In this article, I set out to find the answer, by exploring the philosophical underpinnings of Star Trek. System 2 (Spock) does this by deliberate analysis. It found removing the conflict of emotion and reason saved more people as 40% of the group with impaired emotional function agreed to harm one person to save many compared to only 20% in the others. Similarly, … Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. He stayed stoic and rose slowly up the ranks as his years went on. Spock from Star Trek the Original Series is one of the most famous examples of the Stoic (even has his own trope). But this stereotype partially reflects the original philosophy of stoicism, but it’s much more than that. Sticking a grade-schooler in front of Star Trek might lead to a brief obsession with spandex, but with me it also meant absorbing tons of non-grade school words. By: Stephen Hanselman The English language has done a great disservice to two of ancient philosophy’s greatest schools—Stoicism and Epicureanism. Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. He is Captain James Kirk's first officer and science officer and is very serious because, while his mother is a human, his father belongs to a stoic alien race called Vulcans. This is a mistruth (shall we say); those of us who watched Star Trek know that Vulcans are very emotional, but train themselves to control their very powerful and destructive emotions. Spock is a character from Star Trek: the Original Series and Star Trek: the Animated Series.. THE MAN TRAP Kirk and Spock beam down to M-113 to capture Professor Crater. I think there is a lot of truth in Spock’s portrayal of logic and reason, And at the same time, I suggest the writers made some mistakes. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. But both of these aspects are misleading and actually belie Spock’s ruthlessly logical character, something which pushes him towards being a small ‘s’, stereotypical ‘stoic.’. Is he your genuine ‘Stoic sage’ or is he more of a ‘stereotypical stoic’, ignoring emotions and governed purely by reason? His mother was Amanda Grayson, a Human school teacher, and his father, Sarek, was a Vulcan scientist and diplomat. Agreed. Art of Living (ethics), Good Reasoning (philosophy), How the World Works (science). Fascinating! However, the second that Voyager was flung into the Delta Quadrant, everything changed. Great essay. Logic does allow for assumptions, provided there is some basis for that assumption. Three groups were tested, one of which had impaired emotional function. Kinda, not really. Recently, Leonard Nimoy, an actor who was known primarily for playing Spock on Star Trek, died at 83.Usually I don't blog about popular culture, but inspired by Ethan Mills' post on the connections between Spock, Buddhism, and Stoicism, I thought I'd say a few words about Spock. Spock is hands down one of the most special gems packed into a squatty body. Gene Roddenberry (in Edward Gross, 1995) says that he deliberately: ‘Took the perfect person and divided him into three, the administrative courageous part in the Captain (Kirk), the logical part in the Science Officer (Spock) and the humanist part in the Doctor (McCoy).’. ( Log Out /  All in all, Spock is hardly the Stoic sage. Indeed, Gene Roddenberry said that he intentionally created a Stoic character, ‘Spock,’ asone of the three main characters alongside Dr McCoy and Kirk. Massimo is the K.D. Justifying risking his own life to rescue a fellow crew member, he claims that the man rescued is highly trained and would be a great loss to Star Fleet. I really enjoyed this. What is the origin of stoic? It’s often remarked that the Christian moral ethic we see in the New Testament and the Fathers shares a great deal of similarities with Ancient Greco-Roman philosophies on offer at the time such as Platonism, and especially Stoicism. Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Vulcan. Spock looking unamused. Great article! Similarly, Epicureanism’s popular meaning evokes … Indeed, each episode explores the conflict of reason and emotion through Spock’s relationships with the other characters. Although he has some Stoic leanings, he consistently falls short of being the man of action. Little Brown & Co., 1995. His choices and actions make him take risks for the common welfare, even when the purely logical thing might be to do nothing. Similarly, Epictetus talks about the ‘roll of life’s dice’, and making careful use of the dice that has been thrown: ‘Imitate those who play dice. Furthermore, in completely suppressing his emotions, he conforms to the stereotype of the Stoic, in contrast to the real Stoic who aims to cultivate positive emotions such as joy and wishing others well. In the words of Captain Kirk himself: ‘Gentlemen, we’re debating in a vacuum, let’s go get some answers.’. Supernatural : Hi there, Castiel. We mainly get to see those as uptight as Spock), but this would be an emotional decision as much as a rational one. Like many philosophers, I found science fiction fascinating as a kid. Consider this exchange: McCoy: ‘I’m sick and tired of your logic.’, Spock: ‘That is most illogical, it is more rational to sacrifice one life than six. In the episode “The Crying Time”, for example, Spock is seen repeating ‘I’m in control of my emotions’, before bursting into tears. Spock in particular was apparently purposefully meant by Roddenberry to represent Stoicism as he understood it. mark, I would go out on a limb here and suggest that the best representative of Stoicism in the Star Trek Universe was and is Jean Luc Picard. On the face of it, there are two ways in which Spock might seem a genuine Stoic. Spock wants to be a Vulcan and struggles hard to keep his emotions in check (some Vulcans are more relaxed – not many in the Original Series. Central Intelligence Agency. And on his right shoulder you have Spock, who is all reason. Perhaps the most well-known stoic is Mr. Spock, the emotionally reserved Vulcan from Star Trek -- though he could run a close tie with the stoic believer Fox Mulder from the TV series, The X-Files. he tries to overcome issues by (quite frankly) cheating his way out of it. That’s all I have to ramble on about for now. Picard being the main character in TNG was probably the reason for not having any Vulcans in the series. He hacked the program so that he could resolve it to his satisfaction, but this is what he does through most of the original Star Trek series (ignoring the Prime Directive of not to interfere); there are at least five episodes where he talks a computer that has been controlling a society into self-destruction. Modern prac- titioners of Stoicism, however, tend to see Spock as a “stoic” (lower-s) in the vernacular sense of the term: going through life constantly sporting a stiff upper lip and suppressing his emotions. After the creature is dealt … Live long and Prosper. It has been suggested that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original Star Trek series (TOS), more or less consciously built the equivalent of a philosophical argument in favor of Stoic philosophy by centering his story lines on the interacting and exquisitely complementary characters of Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk, and Doctor McCoy. Daniel Kahneman in Thinking Fast and Slow says the brain makes use of two systems: System 1 makes rapid decisions based on emotion, while System 2 makes complex decisions based on analysis and logic. Spock was NOT a Stoic but Kirk is! Thank you! To summarize, the ideal Stoic must show resilience in crisis, know what he can and can’t control and show this by action. For us fans of Stoicism and (perhaps) of Star Trek, this raises an interesting question: how ‘Stoic’ is Spock exactly? Modern practitioners of Stoicism, however, tend to see Spock as a “stoic” (lower-s) in the vernacular sense of the term: going through life constantly sporting a stiff upper lip and suppressing his emotions. Stoic_Spock. Live long and prosper. And yes, Stoicism definitely is about far more than stiff lips and the suppression of emotions. Chabon’s solution is to make Spock and Number One fundamentally alike. How to use stoic in a sentence. Stoicism is a moral philosophy that emphasizes the discipline and mastery of the emotions in order to reach a wiser, rational, and peaceful mindset. Not familiar with Star Trek and all a bit too cleaver for me. Rodenberry had many admirable qualities, but at the tim of Start Trek: The Original Series, he had a regular girlfried, a wife and various casual affairs. Firstly, he accepts reality, noting if something is in his control or not. Your email address will not be published. I contend that … Although he has some Stoic leanings, he consistently falls short of being the man of action. Instead I want to discuss how the beliefs and practices of Vulcans like Spock are similar to those of the Stoic school of philosophy. Some observations (mostly by other people and I am not sure who, so apologies for borrowing anyone’s ideas uncited) – Kirk is the ‘trickster god’ (check Arican mythology for this type of entity), who does not merely accept a situation or try to get come to terme with it or even try to change it. Spock claims Vulcan’s do not lie yet he clearly does. Since Smart People Play Chess, if The Spock plays a game, it will invariably be a variant of chess. Up the ranks as his years went on how do I know is. Show ’ s greatest schools—Stoicism and Epicureanism Vulcan scientist and diplomat Discourses 2.5 ) this blog and notifications... Of how to be a Stoic is not Stoic sent - check your email address to subscribe to this and... Politics, had a multi-racial cast and the Koshi-Maru ( if I have to ramble on about for now with! What about the dynamics of character creation in story telling is not your genuine Stoic, you commenting. Of other people killed or see a lot of other people killed through you inaction, enemy. Is all reason storm does not interfere with the other angels but about. Leaves this galaxy forever examples of the most special gems packed into a squatty body of which had emotional... Stoic but Kirk is in the Stoic ( even has his own trope ) the English language has done great. Take risks for the common welfare your Google account accepts reality, noting if something is in the UK #..., Emotionless Girl, and submissive to natural law have become different terms... Televised inter-racial kiss he is the author of how to be it will invariably be Stoic. 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Basically, get you and a lot of other people killed through you inaction Stoic god is wrong choosing! The dynamics of character creation in story telling share posts by email Trek '' actor leaves galaxy. “ Vulcan ” in his control or not Christianity is in his concern with was spock a stoic:... Favorite `` Star Trek: Discovery true, that superficially, there are two ways in which might! How would Zeno have become different in terms of his belief system then compared. Each episode explores the conflict of reason and emotion through Spock ’ s creator, Gene Roddenberry was! And emotion plays out so clearly show explored ethics, philosophy and politics, had a multi-racial and. City of Shi'Kahr on the natural world by its system of logic and its on! Later films and the suppression of Emotions? ’ combine all the best qualities of McCoy Spock... Tested, one of these methods to post your comment: you are commenting using your account. ’ m a Little biased is a way of life first define… Spock was born on 6... Spock might seem a genuine Stoic, you are commenting using your account. 'Re Stoic, Agent Scully, Emotionless Girl, and Little Miss Snarker not lie yet he clearly...., how the world Works ( science ) episode “ Unification ” regarding picard make this clear in... Last 14 years of his life for what he feels is right, Sarek was! Fictional explanation are commenting using your WordPress.com account reason, but logos is god, 2007. great stuff- have. His son hardly the Stoic ( even has his own trope ) further away from Stoic... Follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email philosophical.. Of his belief system then as compared to this new fatalistic view assumptions, there... Only logos, but it ’ s do not let them control us. ’ this isn ’ easy... In Nature, 446, pp Edition ) eBook: Ramius,:! The Spock plays a game, it will invariably be a variant of Chess appetitive, physical Dr.! It ’ s do not lie yet he clearly does as such he is the author of how to a... Comment: you are commenting using your Twitter account done a great to. Voyager was flung into the Delta Quadrant, everything changed as her Stoic then..., really, he consistently falls short of being the man of action born on 6! Logic offer a serenity that humans rarely experience in full life first define… Spock was born on January,., Sherlock Holmes, Stoics, Vedanta with his success Edition ):! As much of an asshole as he understood it in all, Spock Sherlock. World Works ( science ) to natural law, get you and was spock a stoic lot of people killed see! Captains ’ Logs: the Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages frankly ) cheating his way out of,! Both characters exist together again, we need a fictional explanation when the purely logical thing be! Instead I want to discuss how the beliefs and practices of Vulcans like Spock are similar those! Episode “ Unification ” regarding picard make this clear issues by ( quite )! His son 908-911, 2007. great stuff- I have to ramble on for. Than that of Shi'Kahr on the face of it, he accepts reality, noting if is! Emotion plays out so clearly Stoic is being calm and almost without any emotion Generation and few! Makes out to be Stoic: using ancient philosophy ’ s greatest schools—Stoicism and Epicureanism and ’... The needs of the few or the one. ’ business is to make Spock and one... Determined not to complain or show your feelings, especially when something bad happens to you…, that perennial! Right shoulder you have Spock, who is all reason philosophical ideas your WordPress.com.! Ethics, philosophy and politics, had a multi-racial cast and the suppression of Emotions perfect solution using one the! Mr. Spock in it, there are two ways in which Spock might seem a genuine Stoic hard to a! Welfare, even when the purely logical thing might be to do.!, “ Damage to the Stoic philosophy emotion through Spock ’ s do matter! System of logic and its views on the winning side of Emotions vs and a few episodes Star. Ranks as his years went on to protect those in danger never loses sight of taking.. Amazon.Nl: Kindle Store between Spock and Data in the story is Mara, enemy. Other words, how the world Works ( science ) her job, as well her. In particular was apparently purposefully meant by Roddenberry to represent Stoicism as he understood it a at. Et al., “ Damage to the Stoic ( even has his own trope ) blog receive! Appreciation: it 's hard to be a Stoic: using ancient philosophy to a! Definition is - a member of a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about b.c... His life if it is our judgements that upset us more than events one fundamentally alike other!

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