Spock-light: Six lessons in honor of the “green blooded hobgoblin”
“Insufficient facts always invite danger.”
When we don’t know the answer, we make it up. If a friend doesn’t call you back right away, if someone gives you an unexpected sideways glance… your mind immediately spins a series of stories to explain the unknown. And it’s dangerous. It leads to interpretations and assumptions that have no basis in reality. This sends conversations, projects and relationships sideways as you are reacting to something you completely made up. But it never feels that way… the stories we make up feel very real because we base them on some tiny sliver of a past experience that we deem as fact. It takes tremendous self awareness and discipline to break ourselves of this habit. But it can be done if we are willing to ask questions. Be curious. Clarify what you don’t know.
“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”
Logic is the linkage of data to create a piece of information. That’s valuable. And a good basis for examining components of an argument, organizing thoughts and making decisions. But when we think about wisdom – about the robed guru on the lone mountaintop or the blind oracle on the dais – their gifts are not about logic. They’re about awareness and intuition. We achieve wisdom when we can combine logic and clarity of thought with emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
“Change is the essential process of all existence.”
I have been told recently, by more than one person, that I am not particularly comfortable with ambiguity. True. I am a logic based soul (see the prior quote) and I cling to clarity in thought, action and emotion. But life just doesn’t work that way. Life is organic, messy and forever morphing… some parts are a slow moldering burn, some are crackling crashes. And there’s no way to predict the timing or the outcomes. Understanding this, letting go of the need to control outcomes and to cling to expectations leads to both a happier present and greater wisdom. Yes, I’m working on it…
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
Whenever you hear that quote, you can recall that scene in excruciating detail and it still brings a heavy knot in my chest. (If not, I’m surprised you’re still reading this… but thanks, and keep reading!) While Spock was talking about self-sacrifice to save a greater society, I believe there’s a more
powerful message here. I am all about understanding and feeding your own needs. Self awareness is all about understanding who you are, what your passion is and creating the life you want. But it’s also about recognizing that the world is a greater force at play, that we are all connected and there is a grander scheme to life – to our lives – that we do not control. We find ourselves in unexpected situations. We meet someone and in an instant recognize a soul mate. We identify coincidences in names, dates and numbers. The needs of the many is the energy of the world around us, energy that allows us to accept and respond to the expansiveness around us, not control and correct to a limited view. Think about the ambiguity of life. Accepting that we are all connected, that there are bigger forces at play than just our individuality, allows us to open our hearts and minds to experience the world at large.
“Without followers, evil cannot spread.”
All energy, positive and negative, can be contagious. Where do you live energetically? If you live in the lower levels of your personal energy, you’re living in a mode of perennial victim. You could be unhappy, passively accepting your fate and taking minimal action just to survive. You could be angry, pushing through challenges despite the people around you who all seem to be conspiring against you. When you feed this energy, and meet others who help feed this energy, you perpetuate the negative swirl you’re already caught in. But what if you could change your perspective on that person or situation that’s feeding your negativity? If you could bring up your energy level to a point of compassion – for yourself as well as for the world around you – how would that change the way you interact with the world? There is no single person who drives evil in the world without the rest of us feeding into the energy and allowing it to happen.
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”
Spock was not easy to get along with. He constantly frustrated the emotional Dr. McCoy. He regularly rebuffed lovelorn Nurse Chapel. He clinically advised the swaggering Captain Kirk. He turned evil once and rocked a goatee. He fell under the spell of love once and got the girl. And it is because of all this, because despite his Vulcan logic, alien attitudes and sometimes seemingly cold behavior, he was loved. Because he was wholly, unapologetically true to himself. When we embrace our uniqueness… our messy, clumsy, emotional imperfections… we allow the people around us to embrace us as well. This honesty opens us up to binding connections that surpass sharing hobbies or a friend group. It’s truly sharing the gift that is yourself, and accepting that gift from others. That is friendship.
“I am not Spock. But given the choice, if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock. If someone said, ‘You can have the choice of being any other TV character ever played,’ I would choose Spock. I like him. I admire him. I respect him.” Interview with Leonard Nimoy
My phone buzzed madly from text messages from my children when they heard the news that Leonard Nimoy passed away (sometime around third period, it appears). I also had emails, Facebook IMs and voice mail messages from around the world. You can take away from that the truth that I am a Star Trek geek supreme, sure, but I think you can also take away the fact that Mr. Spock’s impact as a character, and Leonard Nimoy’s popularity as an actor/director/producer, crossed generations and geographies.
Nimoy was so much more than Spock, but Spock is certainly his legacy role. His Zen approach to life and to the character of Mr. Spock infused wisdom and joy into the world. We were blessed to enjoy his talent.