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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old December 9 2012, 06:37 PM   #1
Athena28
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Spock Lying

I know it's dicey regarding Spock lying. Vulcans don't do it often, but they can.

He's omitted the truth, exaggerated the truth, but flat out lied like here and not for any real reason?

In several other eps. he lied - The Enterprise Incident, The Menagerie & movies: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country but those could be seen (I guess) as for the good of the ship/crew. Why the lie in this ep?
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Old December 9 2012, 06:55 PM   #2
jayrath
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Re: Spock Lying

TUC went to great lengths to explain that he wanted others -- not himself -- to merely exaggerate, omit, etc.

I don't know if Vulcans can't lie, or most often choose not to. If it's just a myth, it would be very useful for Vulcans to further it. Anyway, he's only half-Vulcan.
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Old December 9 2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Re: Spock Lying

I think the "Vulcans never lie" myth is propaganda deliberately created and encouraged by the Vulcans themselves, to cause other races to be off-guard.
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Old December 10 2012, 04:08 AM   #4
Nerys Myk
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Re: Spock Lying

jayrath wrote: View Post
TUC went to great lengths to explain that he wanted others -- not himself -- to merely exaggerate, omit, etc.

I don't know if Vulcans can't lie, or most often choose not to. If it's just a myth, it would be very useful for Vulcans to further it. Anyway, he's only half-Vulcan.
I don't think the ability to lie would be genetic. More than likely the Vulcan aversion to lying would be cultural and learned. Spock is culturally a Vulcan.

Spock and other Vulcans have lied, most notably Tuvok who work undercover in the Maquis.
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Old December 10 2012, 10:01 AM   #5
Timo
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Re: Spock Lying

In most episodes and movies, the idea that Vulcans don't lie is probably accepted as a lie. That is, everybody in-universe agrees that Vulcans are weird and deny themselves things for no good reason, so it's plausible they would deny themselves the pleasures and benefits of lying, too. But the characters would always have a lingering suspicion about that.

However, in "Data's Day", our android hero Data, to whom adjectives such as "literal-minded" and "objective" are easily applied, seems to accept the "Vulcans don't lie" claim axiomatically, in a situation where a Vulcan lying for sinister reasons would be the most logical explanation. This in an episode where Data is offering the audience his innermost thoughts, through letting us read his correspondence. Generally, Data seems to know a lot about verbal deception and manipulation, and has practiced it himself several times by the time of "Data's Day". Is he deceiving the audience when seemingly claiming that he dismisses all suspicion of a Vulcan character on grounds of the she-doesn't-lie axiom? Or does he perhaps have a blind spot with Vulcans, a fellow species from the "we don't have emotions" group of denialists?

I guess Spock is always lying by insisting that he doesn't emote. All Vulcans constantly lie in that sense. Yes, they sometimes "admit" that they are controlling their internally raging emotions, but that's a whopper in itself: emotions appear to affect all of their behavior, even if it never amounts to emoting.

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Old December 10 2012, 10:16 AM   #6
Melakon
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Re: Spock Lying

It's also possible Vulcans never lie to each other. Having extra-sensory abilities might make them more able to detect falsehoods.
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Old December 10 2012, 10:21 AM   #7
Timo
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Re: Spock Lying

That's a clever one!

(Of course, there's Vulcan-to-Vulcan deception going on in our very first multi-Vulcan episode, "Amok Time". But it's of a fairly subtle sort, built on omissions rather than false claims.)

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Old December 10 2012, 08:51 PM   #8
Pavonis
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Re: Spock Lying

Athena28 wrote: View Post
I know it's dicey regarding Spock lying. Vulcans don't do it often, but they can.

He's omitted the truth, exaggerated the truth, but flat out lied like here and not for any real reason?

In several other eps. he lied - The Enterprise Incident, The Menagerie & movies: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country but those could be seen (I guess) as for the good of the ship/crew. Why the lie in this ep?
I've never thought that Vulcans couldn't lie, and that Spock was definitely capable of lying through his teeth if he wanted to. However I never understood why Saavik was so surprised at Spock for "lying".

KIRK
By the book! Regulation Forty-six-A:
'If transmissions are being monitored
during battle...'
SAAVIK
...no uncoded messages on an open
channel...'
Saavik steps out in front of Spock.
SAAVIK
(continuing)
You lied.
SPOCK
I exaggerated.
KIRK
Hours instead of days, Saavik.
As far as I can tell, Spock neither lied nor exaggerated. He used a simple word substitution cypher, per regulations.
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Old December 10 2012, 08:56 PM   #9
Athena28
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Re: Spock Lying

I can pretty much understand the lying for the ship, Starfleet, etc. Just having some trouble with lying in The Tholian Web. [Sorry, forgot to put that in the initial post]. He just lied at the end & I couldn't figure out why.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:15 PM   #10
Garrovick
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Re: Spock Lying

Well, Spock kind of painted himself into a corner when he and McCoy told Kirk that the only problems during his absence were minor ones that were "inevitable when humans are involved". Then Kirk asked if his last orders helped, and Spock would have had to admit that he and McCoy were having serious conflicts until the taped orders helped them resolve them. Basically, it was a case of Spock's human half peeking out just a bit and leading Spock to tell a little white lie to avoid some embarassment. Not a very Vulcan reaction, perhaps, but certainly a human one.

Spock's human half definitely helped him to tell the occasional lie when the situation demaded. I can't imagine a full Vulcan, regardless of the stakes, telling Norman that logic is a little bird, chirping in a meadow, or that logic was a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad.
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Old December 10 2012, 11:08 PM   #11
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Re: Spock Lying

Logic isn't an end in itself; it's a method to obtain progress towards a certain goal. In The Tholian Web, presumably Spock lies because it is in accordance with a larger goal to do so. If Spock values his alliance/truce (however temporary) with McCoy, he will do what is logical to protect it. Here, the logical thing to do was to present a united front to Kirk. It also prevented any further conversation into emotions/personalities/friendships, which sounds right up Spock's alley.

As for Vulcans never lying, it's likely because lying is very often an illogical step. Open communication and honesty in a society speeds progress and makes life more efficient. It is also logical to spread such a rumor across the universe as a tactical war tool, exactly as we saw in the episode with Miranda and Kollos.
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Old December 11 2012, 12:03 AM   #12
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Re: Spock Lying

In the strictest sense, to say that one never lies (or their species never lies) is always logical to say.

If it's true - if one really DOES never lie - then to say so is of course always going to make sense.

However if it's NOT true, to say that one never lies when one occasionally does lie is merely an example of such a lie. It's just putting that phrase into practice, as it were.
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Old December 11 2012, 12:09 AM   #13
Greg Cox
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Re: Spock Lying

Of course Spock lies when necessary. Remember when he posed as a simple merchant in "Errand of Mercy"?
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Old December 11 2012, 01:44 AM   #14
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Re: Spock Lying

Athena28 wrote: View Post
I know it's dicey regarding Spock lying. Vulcans don't do it often, but they can.

He's omitted the truth, exaggerated the truth, but flat out lied like here and not for any real reason?

In several other eps. he lied - The Enterprise Incident, The Menagerie & movies: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country but those could be seen (I guess) as for the good of the ship/crew. Why the lie in this ep?
Vucans lie ALL THE TIME. The whole "Vulcans don't lie" was started when he had the exchange with the Romulan Commander of:

Romulan Commander: "...there's and old saying; or perhaps it's a myth, that Vulcans cannot lie?"

Mr. Spock: "It is no myth, Commander..."
^^^
The problem is: Spock was LYING to the Romulan Commander when he stated that; and that's clearly evident if you watch the entire episode in context front to back.


It was established that Spock could/would lie in the first season two part episode that ree-cut the original pilot footage to make it usable for the series - "The Menagerie".

Then in "Journey To Babel" we had evidence full blooded Vulcans had no problem lying as Spock's father lied to both Captain Kirk and his own wife in an attempt to conceal his bad heart condition.

People who site Spock's line from "The Enterprise Incident" as 'canon proof' that Vulcans don't lie are in fact, taking the line out of context when you view the events of that episode in their entirety. If anything that episode proves conclusively that Vulcans can (and will) lie if they see a logical reason to do so.
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Old December 11 2012, 04:48 AM   #15
Sector 7
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Re: Spock Lying

Noname Given wrote: View Post
Athena28 wrote: View Post
I know it's dicey regarding Spock lying. Vulcans don't do it often, but they can.

He's omitted the truth, exaggerated the truth, but flat out lied like here and not for any real reason?

In several other eps. he lied - The Enterprise Incident, The Menagerie & movies: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country but those could be seen (I guess) as for the good of the ship/crew. Why the lie in this ep?
Vucans lie ALL THE TIME. The whole "Vulcans don't lie" was started when he had the exchange with the Romulan Commander of:

Romulan Commander: "...there's and old saying; or perhaps it's a myth, that Vulcans cannot lie?"

Mr. Spock: "It is no myth, Commander..."
^^^
The problem is: Spock was LYING to the Romulan Commander when he stated that; and that's clearly evident if you watch the entire episode in context front to back.


It was established that Spock could/would lie in the first season two part episode that ree-cut the original pilot footage to make it usable for the series - "The Menagerie".

Then in "Journey To Babel" we had evidence full blooded Vulcans had no problem lying as Spock's father lied to both Captain Kirk and his own wife in an attempt to conceal his bad heart condition.

People who site Spock's line from "The Enterprise Incident" as 'canon proof' that Vulcans don't lie are in fact, taking the line out of context when you view the events of that episode in their entirety. If anything that episode proves conclusively that Vulcans can (and will) lie if they see a logical reason to do so.
Are you Vulcanian? You present a very logical argument.
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