Actor Leonard Nimoy who played the original Spock character on the iconic tv series,
Star Trek, passed away today.
Here is his last tweet:
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.#LLAP”
It is apropos that he tagged his message with one of the taglines of the Spock character:
“Live long and prosper”
When my friend texted me this morning he said “Spock is dead”. Of course, I had to correct him pointing out that the Spock character was a character invented by writers and first made flesh by Nimoy; so in fact, Spock is immortal.
What is the meta-significance of the Spock character? I would argue there are three main themes:
1) The outsider as prophet
2) The value of friendship
3) Integration and healing of the fragmented self
THE OUTSIDER AS PROPHET
The central engine and back story of Spock’s character is that we was teased mercilessly by humans for being 1/2 Vulcan and ostracized by Vulcans for being 1/2 human. This speaks to the outsider in all of us. In the end, he becomes a leader for both communities, fulfilling the arc of his life.
THE VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP
Forged through vulnerability, conflict, and sacrifice, Spock’s love and loyalty to Kirk informed his decision to sacrifice himself for his friend.
INTEGRATION AND HEALING OF THE FRAGMENTED SELF
From the thesis of Vulcan upbringing to the antithesis of socialization with human, to the synthesis of being Vulcan’s ambassador to the Federation, the hero became Master of Two Worlds, which is the fulfillment of every hero’s journey.
Of note, the mature Nimoy learned the value of being Spock after rejecting it. One of the blessings and curses of being an successful actor is that you become associated with iconic characters that you play. This leitmotif is explored in this year’s Oscar-winning “Birdman”. Nimoy’s own internal integration was completed with these polar opposite autobiographies: the first was at age 44 and called I am not Spock (1975). His second autobiography at age 64 was entitled I am Spock (1995).
What is the legacy of actor Nimoy? He was a father, friend, singer, poet, artist, photographer, and philanthropist. Click here for a list of charities that he and his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy supported.
Another of his iconic taglines comes from the movie, The Wrath of Khan (1982), in which he stated:
“Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”
Apropos to this theme, check out this quote by Dr. Norm Shealy, something of a Human/Vulcan hybrid himself. We have a quorum. Life is trending towards integration and the United Federation of Planets is growing nearer. Rest in peace, great soul; alav ha-shalom, beautiful son of Dora Spinner and Max Nimoy from Ukraine by way of Boston.