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Star Trek, Spock and Emotions

“How do you feel? … How do you feel? … How do you feel?” — Computer, “I do not understand the question.” — Spock, TVH

(Photo credits)

There I was at the living room, a 9 year old girl totally absorbed as I sat on the floor, watching Spock with his pointy ears. Star Trek to a child’s mind seemed totally out of this world. Elfin-eared Spock never failed to delight me every week. Hooked and fascinated by all the trek adventure, I watched Star Trek without fail till 1969 but never became a “trekkie”. For some reason, I never went back to it until today when I watched the Star Trek prequel. Sequels don’t interest me most of the time but a prequel, why not? I was interested to know the early days of the “Star Trek” mythology when Spock and Kirk, and the rest of the Enterprise gang, came together. Mr. Spock, one of Star Trek’s most beloved characters, held many memorable moments in both the original series and the Star Trek movies not because of his pointy ears alone.

I never really understood the Spock character then. The “Star Trek” lore is that Vulcans have long suppressed emotions because they are not logical. But Spock has always had to deal with the added pressures of his human side. What did I know about emotions? (Besides, kids were meant to be seen not heard. I digress) In the movie, I realized there is an obvious duality in Spock, in him being half human and half Vulcan. He exhibits internal struggle between Vulcan logic and human passion which I think is quite an interesting aspect of him as a character. I think Spock feels emotion very deeply but he’s just restricted in the ways that he can express it.

We, as human beings encounter a sort of deeply rooted conflict, or duality every now and then. I’m a Gemini like Zachary Quinto, the new Spock and I definitely hold distinct aspects of my personality. One side of me is generally really outgoing and easy and the other is certainly more withdrawn,analytical and introspective. So yeah, I understand that duality from myself. I also understand the mind versus the heart element of the Spock journey, of his makeup.

I felt so much for Spock when he faced the duality of emotions. Obviously, Spock could not deny the wave of unspeakable grief when he lost his mother. Torn between cold Vulcan logic and warm human emotion, he was grieving but didn’t express it. Spock can make the perfect excuse that he is a Vulcan when he turns off his emotions and sets his grief aside. Is that healthy grief? No. In the end, the bottled grief turned to volatile anger.

What about us? We need to allow enough room for others and ourselves to have and work through feelings. We are humans not Vulcans nor robots. An important part of us, who we are, how we grow, how we live is connected to our emotional center. We have feelings, sometimes difficult ones, sometimes explosive ones that need to be worked on. We allow room for feelings. We let people have time and permission to go through their feelings. But we don’t have to let our feelings control our behavior. We don’t have to act on each emotion that passes through us. We do not need to indulge in inappropriate behavior. It does help to talk about our feelings with someone we trust. Sometimes, we need to bring our feelings to the person who is triggering them. But the most important person we need to tell is ourselves.

The Spock character shows a more logical side which we all have as well. I exercise my logical side by setting reasonable boundaries for my behavior and still leave room for a range of emotions. As I allow my feelings to pass through me, I accept them and release them and I shall know what to do next.

“Is that the logical thing to do, Spock?” — Kirk
“No. But it is the human thing to do.” — Spock, TVH

Gosh, I loved this Star Trek movie. Just before the final credits roll, my heart jumped as I heard their mission “to boldly go where no one has gone before”. Wow, this movie gave enough shout outs to old time staples like me.

Have you watched it? You better!

12 thoughts on “Star Trek, Spock and Emotions”

  1. Oh yes, when hubby and I watched it two weeks ago, the day after the movie made its debut, I said, “They got it! They were able to bring the campy sense of humor.”

    I especially liked Spock’s vulnerability. But for the life of me, I didn’t figure out, until later, that Winona Ryder played Spock’s mom…

    Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, for me, was more fascinating than the rebellious Kirk. I especially loved watching his human side come out with Uhura.

    One thing I know for sure: When Star Trek made its three-season run in the late 1960’s, they had a multi-cultural cast. Thus, as kids growing up, it was normal to see diversity on the TV screen. Thank you to the the franchise known as Star Trek — and if you haven’t watched the movie, Star Trek 4 (about the whales in San Francisco), find it! — we went boldly where no men had gone before…

  2. Made me cry to see them all as teenagers. I just wish they’d fleshed out that love story between Spock and Uhura a little more, but too much to cover I suppose with Romulans, planets eaten by black holes, red matter, time travel, warp drives, and all that sling shooting from here to the Neutral Zone and back.

  3. Writers Orci and Kurtzman managed to trash 43 years of Star Trek canon in two hours and at the same time, assimilated millions of new people into the world of Star Trek.

    Watched this 5 times already and i still don’t like it.

    @DJB – they are already “young adults” and not teenagers, except for the poodle looking Chekov 😀

    jepoys last blog post..Globe’s SULITXT15 and ETXT20 Now Even Better

      1. Because most events from TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY series and movies will never happen after the destruction of the USS Kelvin and Vulcan. (Ex. Spock’s Kulinar on Vulcan during the Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Spock’s wedding ceremony on Vulcan, Captain Picard’s mind meld with Sarek on Vulcan, etc.)

        Movie was great no doubt about that. Best looking Star Trek ever, but atleast those writers should have respected the canon established by Gene Roddenberry himself.

        jepoys last blog post..Globe’s SULITXT15 and ETXT20 Now Even Better

  4. I *loved* the movie. I was a bit iffy about the whole Spock/Uhura scene in the transporter room, but…that’s why it’s called a *reboot*, yes? Though I do think the whole alternate reality thing is a bit worn – I swear, canon has played around with space-time continuums nine ways to Sunday.

    Confession: I wanted to slap Kirk upside the head for most of the movie. But then there wouldn’t have been a movie if he didn’t act like a prat for a while. *grin*

    That said, Karl Urban caught McCoy beautifully. “I’m a doctor, not a physicist!!” brought back so many memories of DeForest Kelley I almost cried in the theatre, I kid you not!

    Zachary Quinto caught Spock, with added taray. No, seriously, when he said, “Live long and prosper” to the Vulcan council, he made it sound like “Bite me.”

    They should have let Uhura kick more butt. I’m sure Roddenberry would have let Nichelle Nichols do loads with the character, if the studios had let him. Now I think of it, the only reason I was iffy over Spock/Uhura was because in my mind, I always wanted Spock/Christine Chapel together.

    Scotty. Ahhhh, Simon Pegg was channeling Jimmy Doohan! So much love for the character, no lie.

    Yay for Hikaru Sulu brandishing the space sword! And Chekov was, to use a word coined by my younger friends, adorkable.

    Also: Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s voice as the Enterprise computer, her long-standing role in the original series. So happy she completed all her lines before passing away!

    Starshadow Rivaulxs last blog post..LoudTwitter MicroBlog

  5. i don’t have a uniform hanging in my wardrobe and I cant speak Klingon,so I am not going to lie I wasn’t a star trek fan when I went to see this movie. but I can agree that this was a great movie indeed. I think its amazing that this movie was able to attract a much larger audience as well, and still please. JJ Abrams did a nice job.

    Joey Logano Fans last blog post..Rookie Profile at Dover

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