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Old July 9 2014, 08:52 PM   #42
Lieutenant Commander
Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
And upon 1000's of repeat viewings, ultimately hurts the integrity and credibility of the the established character over time.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that. Frankly, I think you guys are out of your minds for thinking it. It seems a pretty simplistic notion of "integrity" and "honor".

Here's a more honorable course of action: Spock could not do everything in his power to keep the Romulan commander distracted. Instead, he could leave her free to stop Kirk from stealing the cloaking device, or at least destroy the Enterprise as it is trying to get away. Then the Romulans could proceed as they wanted. Given the events of Balance of Terror, that probably means the Romulans will invade Federation space, spark another war, and millions will die.

Would that display enough integrity?

It's interesting, I'm having some parallel arguments in the discussion forums dedicated to the Song of Ice and Fire books (Game of Thrones and its sequels), about whether in upcoming books Jon Snow will leave the Night's Watch and go perform other tasks in the story. The people I'm arguing with insist that Jon has too much "honor" to ever do that. I'm going to make the same point here, that I try making there:

You are confusing "honor" with "duty". It's easy to get confused about those things, because "honor" is a slippery term, with shifting meanings in different contexts. A good way to look at it is that "honor" is a public thing. It is reputation and how people look at you. Honor commands respect; or it is the demanding of respect. People get upset when their "honor" is besmirched.

"Duty" is different. In the Ice and Fire books, Jon Snow cares deeply about his duty, and follows it along some difficult paths, doing things that put his honor into question. Is he a traitor, that kind of thing. It's very clear to the reader that Jon is doing his duty; but his honor (the public face) takes a beating. In another context, Ned has a line to Arya, somewhere early in the first book. Ned's character is especially rigid when it comes to duty and honor, almost priggish about it. Confronted with a lie his daughter told, and the impossible circumstance she was caught, even Ned has to concede that "Even the lie was not without honor."

So it is with Spock in this episode. His duty is very clear. He has a duty to protect the Federation and its peoples. He has a duty to assist Kirk in pulling off this wild scheme. And that's really all there is to it. Everything that Spock does in this episode flows directly from that. He behaves with complete integrity. Even his lies are not without honor. Spock himself gives all the answer that is needed. Who is he, that he could do what he did and yet maintain complete integrity?

First officer of the Enterprise.
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