Leonard Nimoy, one of the most influential people of my adolescence, died on Friday, February 27th. In his role as First Officer Spock, he brought logic, science, consistency and peace to my life when I needed it most.
The year I went to fifth grade, with my father in Vietnam and my mother having nervous breakdowns, I lived in Philadelphia, Michigan and New York. We spent that summer in Virginia. It was also the year I officially entered puberty, and thankfully, the year I discovered the original Star Trek. I didn’t miss an episode if I could help it.
Spock was my first crush. He was tall and handsome, steady and reliable. He taught me the value of logic and science. He brought stability into my chaotic life.
Spock was also a man of good conscience. In this article, which tells of Mr. Nimoy’s many accomplishments and talents, Gene Roddenberry was quoted to describe Spock as “the conscience of Star Trek.”
Spock plays a crucial role in the episode below which greatly impacted (or reinforced) my thinking about the possibility of non-human life forms having sentience and value. In “The Devil in the Dark,” Dr. McCoy says:
“Silicon based life is physiologically impossible, especially in an oxygen atmosphere.”
But Spock proves that it is quite possible.
By mind-melding with the silicon “monster,” Spock learns that she is just a wounded mother trying to protect her children.
Spock taught us to look deeper and have compassion for all life forms. He was a scientist and an environmentalist. (Perhaps that’s why he had green blood. 😉 Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
I will always remember, with gratitude, the lessons of Mr. Spock conveyed so well by Leonard Nimoy.