Spock Is so Human

So Much Humanity Behind Spock’s Logic

Photo by Gage Skidmore

“Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.” What a line from Star Trek II, but do we really believe Kirk in his eulogy. I would say we appreciate the sentiment. However, Trekkies probably dismiss it as a quaint send off. In other words, a touching moment that gives a nod to Spock’s human half in honor of his inner struggle. On the other hand, if you sift through all the logic, Kirk is right and Spock is so human. Here are five memorable, human moments from the series.

The Apple

Not much to reminisce about here, but Spock presents the type of philosophical conundrum that has made Star Trek endure. “We have given the people of Vaal the apple, the knowledge of good and evil if you will, as a result of which they too have been driven out of paradise,” Spock seamlessly lays out the logic.

But while Jim Kirk may agree, he’s all about the human adventure and wants Spock along for the ride. “Doctor, do I understand him correctly? Are you casting me in the role of Satan?” Kirks sets up his first officer.

Spock’s vulcan half is caught off-guard and his human side gets defensive. “Not at all, Captain.” He can’t keep pace.

Sensing victory and a teachable moment, Kirks ups the ante. “Is there anyone on this ship who even remotely looks like Satan?”

A true vulcan would simply refuse to play along or give props for effectively turning logic on its head. But just because Spock’s tone and discourse are measured, the subtext is immersed in an emotional performance that could bring the house down. “I am not aware of anyone who fits that description, Captain,” Spock demurs.

Correctly sensing the annoyance, Kirk really gets Spock in touch with his feelings. “No, Mister Spock. I didn't think you would be.”

You can’t see it, but the green blood is boiling.

Mirror, Mirror

There’s not a lot of human in our bearded Alt-Spock. He just applies logic to fit into the surroundings that have befallen him. So of course, Kirk and Bones let him have it upon return. “What worries me is the easy way his counterpart fitted into that other universe. I always thought Spock was a bit of a pirate at heart.” Kirk thinks he has the upper hand.

Spock would leave it there logically if he wasn’t at such a disadvantage. But he’s only human. “Indeed, gentlemen. May I point out that I had an opportunity to observe your counterparts here quite closely. They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous, In every way, splendid examples of homo sapiens, the very flower of humanity. I found them quite refreshing.”

What a comeback. Our little Spock is learning. 

The Gamesters Of Triskelion

Kirk, Checkov, and Uhura have gone missing, and the universe has not left a clue. That is except an ionization trail that shows an excess of predictable energy. So what would account for such an anomaly. “Nothing known to us.” Spock lays the groundwork for his course of action.

Unfortunately, his logic falls on deaf ears as a course is laid in. “You're going to leave here without them and run off on some wild goose chase halfway across the galaxy just because you found a discrepancy in a hydrogen cloud,” McCoy suffices as irritant.

Had Spock simply left it at, “This is the only lead we've had,” he would have done Sarek proud. But the first officer can’t help show that his better half is no stranger to sarcasm. “Doctor, I am chasing the Captain, Lieutenant Uhura, and Ensign Chekov, not some wild aquatic fowl.”

Shutting Dr. McCoy right up, ring up another victory for the human race.

The Ultimate Computer

Spock certainly understands what’s at stake in this episode and doesn’t let Kirk rationalize the practicality of such computing power. “Practical, Captain? Perhaps. But not desirable. Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them,” Spock reflects.

He then ups the emotion to logically drive home the point. “Captain the starship also runs on loyalty to one man, and nothing can replace it, or him,” he’s definitive.

Of course, Spock does not afford any subtlety when the counter argument  spills over with sentiment. Hello, Dr. McCoy...  “I don't like it, Jim. A vessel this size cannot be run by one computer,” implores the good doctor.

The internal balance shifted by his nemesis, Spock can’t hold back. “The most unfortunate lack in current computer programming is that there is nothing available to immediately replace the starship surgeon.”

Of all the souls, Dr. McCoy—you don’t stand a chance.

What Little Girls are Made of

Spock tells us insults are effective only where emotion is present. He forgets his own directive in "What Little Girls are Made of," and comes off as one. 

Spock’s logic allows him to clearly identify android Kirk. But emotion causes him to take offense, even though no slight was obviously intended. “Frankly, I was rather dismayed by your use of the term half-breed, Captain. You must admit it is an unsophisticated expression,” he lectures.

James T. sets him straight, though. “I'll remember that Mister Spock, the next time I find myself in a similar situation.”

Hopefully, Spock’s human weakness can put aside the misplaced logic, and keep him from fitting in with us today, where everyone is offended by everything.

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Spock Is so Human