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Vulcan Philosophy
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James Lileks still watches Enterprise. I gave up midway through the first season. Anyway, he said this, which I thought was interesting:

The Vulcans not only follow Surak’s teachings, they have built up what appears to be a religion around them - but there’s no element of the divine. Everyone gets to act like true believers, and everything sounds and feels like a religion, but it’s not. And that's fine; I don't care, but it's instructive: the writers seem to want all the trappings of a religion without, y'know, the God thing. It's like the Force. They have statues and chants and monasteries and devout unblinking acolytes who are Very Serious, but no God. It's like Amway with Gregorian Chants. You can boil the entire Vulcan philosophy down to one word: Chill. Yes, I know, it’s more. IDIC, logic, all that, but it’s useless unless everyone CHILLS THE FARK OUT. Otherwise you have Vulcans in bar fights saying dude it is so totally logical that I turn your face into sehlat meat.

Well, right...they're essentially pacifists, since they apparently almost destroyed themselves at some point.

Looking up Vulcan philosophy, I found this wiki, which says:

Vulcan Philosophy revolves around the concept of Logic. A Vulcan's moral goal is to abandon all emotion and become a purely logical being. This is attained through meditation and discipline. The father of Vulcan philosophy is Surak, who helped lead the Vulcan people out of a time of destruction and violence into their new era of peace. His introduction of logic and emotional discipline ushered in the Time of Awakening.

Vulcans embrace cultural and racial diversity, as evidenced through the IDIC. Vulcans also embrace a pacifist philosophy, going so far as to follow strict vegetarian diets to avoid killing even non-sentient animals.

Vulcans believe that the needs of a very large group should go before the needs of a very small group or any individual.

Not bad for a fictional philosophy. Be logical. Don't kill other things that think. Try to meet the needs of the maximum number of people. I personally wouldn't sign up, but one could do worse than to follow it.

Doesn't exactly sound like "Amway with Gregorian Chants". Even for a fictional culture, they have a pretty well-defined set of principles. Seems like what bothers Lileks, even though he's obviously a fan of the show, is that Vulcans are seemingly secular. It never ceases to amaze me that people seem to think you can't believe in anything unless you believe in god, which I shouldn't need to point out is patently dumb.

On a side note, I've had more than one person refer to me as a Vulcan. I suppose I should take that as a compliment.

Update: It's also interesting to note that Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and volcanos, and blacksmith to the gods. It's also the name of a group of people within the Bush Administration, who are obviously not naming themselves after the pointy-eared folks on Star Trek (see the recent book The Rise of the Vulcans).

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