When it first aired in 1966, Star Trek shattered stereotypes and twisted conventions: a multiracial crew of humans and humanoid aliens sailing through the galaxy, not in search of conquest, but rather knowledge and discovery.
It’s a premise brimming with altruism, and that’s exactly what captured the imaginations and hearts of so many. Our civilization was only a couple of decades into its recovery from the biggest calamity it had ever seen and a glimpse into the distant future gave us something to strive for.
While not always perfectly logical, Spock did represent a previously underrepresented (at least in film) school of philosophy that I’ve always personally identified with called logical positivism. Mr. Spock was the embodiment of virtues we hoped to one day cultivate in ourselves that would allow us to see past petty rivalries and matters of the ego. His reverence of the facts gave balance to the crew of the Enterprise, the perfect counterpart to an impulsive (but charismatic) captain.
Mr. Spock—as played by Leonard Nimoy, the prolific actor who died at 83 today from pulmonary disease—was part of an analogy of our own internal struggle between emotion and stability. In observing the journey of the Enterprise, we were reminded that we didn’t have to choose between reason and impulse, but instead balance them. It was this balance that enabled the crew of Star Trek to overcome adversity in the face of immeasurable odds. And yes, it’s true. The show was sensationalized, but that neither negates the validity of its messages nor the caliber of inspiration it produced in so many.
Leonard Nimoy had a film career that was so prolific that I can personally recall watching him in recently-produced shows three times in the last couple of years (despite his being over 80 years of age). A year ago he announced that he was suffering from health issues and, earlier this week, he signed off from the Internet with a final tweet (his Twitter account has since been deactivated). You lived a long and prosperous life Mr. Nimoy. Farewell.