Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vulcan Thought for the day

OK, so I'm a Trekkie, so sue me! I love the iconic extremes that Trek has given us with the Vulcan and Klingon stereotypes to mention only two

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Vulcan's are not unaware of the disdain with which most species look upon our desire to master our emotions but to us it is simple: to master the mind is to master reality.

You who are reading these words right now, how do you experience reality? Through your senses, of course. Some species have more highly attuned senses than others, for example a wolf has an acute sense of smell and a dolphin can hear sounds in different frequencies just as some animals can see into the infrared or ultraviolet. However all of these senses render your reality and its amazing array of colours, scents and harmonies, that can range from the repulsive to the sublime, into simple binary code signals flashed along nerves to the physical brain that sits, in all humanoid species, atop your spinal column.

What is the objective difference between the nerve impulses that signify beauty and those that tell us the opposite? Are they positive and negative? Is it a matter of degree, frequency or other biochemical parameter? It is none of these. The difference is in the interpretation that your mind puts to the signals.

To put it in the words of one of your Earth homilies, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Vulcans are not immune to the aesthetics that define beauty, justice and love. In fact it is because we understand these abstract values far better than you who wallow in them, that we control them so rigorously.

You say that we are the poorer because we do not 'experience' the extremes of reality yet it is precisely because we do know the depths and heights of despair and euphoria that we severely limit them. Vulcan history is a garish panorama of the very best that we can be and the very worst and whilst, on the one extreme, our art and culture is so good as to be almost painful in it's appreciation, on the other extreme the horrors of the terror and depravity that we reached is such as to be almost unbearable.

What you, who say that you experience reality, do not realise is that you make your own reality. A man and woman might look on the same child and experience polar opposite emotions, the one seeing the beauty of procreation, the other seeing evidence of their mortality. Who is right and who is wrong? Neither? Both! Two men with identical jobs can see it as an over-burdening responsibility and a challenging opportunity. Which is it? The importance of the question lies in the way that they react to their perception of reality. Because of his positive attitude, one man might do his job far better than the other. For love, a mother might run into a burning building giving her life in the hope of saving her child.

The Vulcan Academy of Science theorises that it is because of our innate telepathic abilities that, historically, we Vulcans have been vulnerable to the extremes of emotions and must be ever on our guard against both extremes which is why we must react to them objectively and logically.

For humans it is different. Your society is based on choice, the idea that for each situation that you face, you can choose how you react to it. You can choose to be positive or negative. Ultimately, you can choose to be good or evil.

But ask yourself this when you need to make such a choice next, what am I basing this on? Is my perception of the facts objective and thus statistically most likely to be correct? Is it tinged by fatigue or despair?

Or can I manipulate my reality and work onwards with an optimistic view of the data? Humans can use their minds to control their bodies just as we Vulcans do – it is called psychoneuroimmunology. Two people can be given the same course of medication, one told that it has a 70% chance of success the other that it has a 30% chance of failure. It is statistically proven that the former will have a greater success rate than the latter.

Sometimes all that is needed to tip the scales in favour of a desired outcome is that we are actively working, consciously and subconsciously, towards success rather then resigned to failure.

To quote one of your 20th century icons, "There are always alternatives."

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