Today we lost an accomplished actor and great star voyager. Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on various iterations of the Star Trek franchise for 50 years, passed away at the age of 83. Here are five life lessons we learned from Spock over the years.
- Logic is the beginning of all wisdom, not the end.”
Even in tense situations, Spock learned to suppress his emotions and remain calm. Throughout his entire life, his Vulcan devotion to logic brought justice and order to the galaxy. Despite this, Spock understood that his cold, hard logic had to occasionally be lit with emotions and gut instincts, and often Kirk and Bones provided these traits. The infusion of Spock’s genius, Kirk’s gut instincts, and McCoy’s sense of morality and justice helped add to the towering reputation of the name Enterprise.
- “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
Probably one of the most famous Spock proverbs, Mr. Spock always believed that sacrifices must be made in order to protect the mass at large. This was most famously put to the test in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” when Spock nobly sacrificed himself to save the entire crew of the Enterprise from Khan Noonien Singh. His devotion to Starfleet and the people he served with was not as cold as he made it out to be, and in the end, he showed us that even Vulcans care.
“Do not grieve, it is logical.”
While Spock slowly succumbs to radiation poisoning, Kirk helplessly grieves his dying friend. Spock, in turn, tells Kirk not to mourn, for it should be noted that “his death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world”. In the end, the crew of the Enterprise celebrate the long life that Spock had and look down on the new planet that he helped to create. For he is not truly dead, “as long as we remember him.”
Despite his icy Vulcan facade, Spock realized the importance of friendship. Despite the many prejudices he faced when he first enlisted in Starfleet, he found himself friends who would stand by him no matter what, and he fought to protect them. At the end of TOS episode “Amok Time”, when Spock finds out Kirk was alive, he reacted with enthusiasm and happiness, before regaining his Vulcan composure.
- “Do yourself a favor: Put aside logic. Do what feels right.”
When the young Spock meets his future counterpart in Star Trek (2009), he logically concludes that he has the obligation to help rebuild his race and resign from Starfleet. However, Spock Prime thinks otherwise. Tempered by centuries of love and loss, this is the Spock that served alongside James Kirk and Leonard McCoy, who fought Khan, who died and came back, who attempted to bring peace and democracy to Romulus, who learned to love his father after 70 years of estrangement. Spock Prime tells him to follow his instincts – something he learned from an old friend.