To boldly go where no one has gone before
This was the last line of the 2009 reboot of Star Trek, spoken by Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy, of course, is famous for his portrayal of Spock starting from the 1960s TV series to the current film. Nimoy reflected on how Spock developed his mind in ways he thought would be impossible had he not played Spock for so many years. Zachary Quinto may have inherited the role (which he did very well), but whoever dons the pointy ears, of all the fictional characters I’ve encountered, I’d most resemble Spock.
Others might argue my personality is more closely associated with Sheldon Cooper from the CBS hit, The Big Bang Theory. They’d have a solid argument. Sheldon’s character displays many traits often associated with autism spectrum disorder, but the difference between Sheldon and I is my awareness of my fallacies and knowledge that successful integration into a culture or community requires interpersonal communication and a balance between your needs and the needs of everyone else. Spock logically deduced this, quoting the line “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” to his friend, Captain James T. Kirk, as he sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
It’s that kind of logic that dominates my thought process. While I don’t disregard emotional input, I’m aware of how feelings can work against you rather than with you. If people allow themselves to be controlled by their emotions, it can lead to a destructive lifestyle. This is why I always back off if I develop a rage of emotional sensations and always ask for details when someone asks about my availability for work or something that requires my services. Doing so allows me time to process the situation and develop an effective strategy to response to handle what comes my way.
Conversely, I’m also aware that pure logic is not necessarily the best option. I find myself attempting to achieve the balance the elder Spock was able to find as he got older, knowing when to portray human fallacies in the interest of the crew’s safety. Nimoy’s Spock summarized the balance of logic and instinct in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, “Logic is the beginning of wisdom…not the end.” I can also rattle off a lot of trivial information, and while my brain can’t process information as quickly as Spock’s, I do find myself playing dumb intentionally to avoid accusations of being a know-it-all when trivial matters are discussed.
Zachary Quinto’s Spock brought out the other reason why I most resemble Spock. Quinto’s Spock finds himself torn between two worlds with his half-human/half-Vulcan heritage, which is often an allegory for mixed race individuals who have trouble finding balance between their two cultures. However, I often find myself in limbo as a bridge between the neurotypical and autism communities. It was mentioned during Nimoy’s run as Spock, but Quinto brought out Spock’s human qualities to full effect, sometimes struggling in handling human emotions. I find many parallels with Quinto’s Spock. While handling emotional expressions is relatively easy now, I did have problems as a child. Instead, I find myself in limbo over how to respond and anticipate to behaviors from others. Despite many patterns I’ve observed in my friendships, there’s still a level of unpredictability that makes me question my decisions when a conflice arises. It’s not the question of whether I made the right decision (ethics is always a gray area), but if my logic can work in situations where people become influenced by impulsiveness.
Despite my concerns, as I mentioned before, I enjoy a liberation from the implied obligation to always follow your feelings. Cooling off and assessing the situation from multiple sides plays a role in solving problems too. Knowing you matter, but aren’t the center of the universe, helps empathize and determine how others could play an influence in self-esteem and social life in general. This mindset helps create a thirst for knowledge, to understand as many different emotional reactions as possible so I can factor them into my own decisions. As Quinto’s Spock noted as he applied to Starfleet and the Vulcan Science Academy, it’s logical to consider multiple options. That idea works well beyond applying for schools, but in studying human behavior as well.
I have no plans to become a psychologist, but as a journalist, I’ll be working with many people whose egos, reputations, interpretations and ability to separate impulse from logic will determine their reactions. A lack of preparation would be unwise. Spock displayed an ability to anticipate actions. I hope to one day master this, so that nothing can aggravate my emotional expressions.
Until next time, live long and prosper.