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Old March 5 2013, 05:12 PM   #1
sonak
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what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

The original idea of the need for the Vulcan training in emotional control was that without it, the strength of their emotions would overcome them, and that they were naturally violent and passionate. But I was thinking that we have seen Vulcans who do not live according to the stoic philosophy of their culture- Sybok for one of course, and there's an ENT episode where we see a group of them(is that "fusion?" I can't remember the name).

Whatever criticisms of Sybok you want to make, it seems obvious that his issues were with his religious fanaticism and ego, not his temperament. He didn't become violent as a result of his rejection of Vulcan philosophy, rather the opposite. He was depicted as quasi-pacifist.

And then we have the Romulans, who are essentially Vulcans biologically and genetically speaking. And yet that civilization doesn't constantly erupt into civil wars and violence. They're not exactly models of egalitarian small-d democrats of course, but their societal model doesn't seem to have much to do with not following emotional suppression.

So why do Vulcans REALLY hold to the need for emotional control? It seems to be more of a philosophical preference along with the desire for logic rather than a "we must do it to keep from surrendering to violence" reason.
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Old March 5 2013, 06:17 PM   #2
SchwEnt
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

It does seem that the emotional suppression movement was a life-or-death drastic response to the conclusion that Vulcan passions and violence would ultimately destroy them.

I don't think every pre-Surak Vulcan was a raving berserker, but I guess enough Vulcans were dangerous enough to incite such an extreme rejection of emotions.

Joke's on Surak, though, as seemingly survival with emotions was possible--the Romulans proved that.

And then, yes, we have Vulcans like Sybok and those ENT fellows, who live with emotions and are not raving madmen or violently destructive.

Millenia later, I think it is possible that logical, emotionally-suppressed Vulcan is a philosophy, a long-held cultural tradition deeply ingrained and widely accepted, not necessarily a biological imperative (although yeah, Pon Farr).
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Old March 5 2013, 06:27 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

I think inherently Vulcan emotions are far more destructive than Human emotions.

The Romulans developed their own sense of emotional control by developing an apparently oppressive society that discourages the populace from getting too out of hand.

Different solutions to the same problem?
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Old March 5 2013, 07:03 PM   #4
SchwEnt
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

Oh wow. That's a really interesting idea I never considered.

Vulcan solution, suppress the individual.
Romulan solution, suppress the society.

Kinda obvious I guess but it didn't occur to me in those terms. I like it a lot.
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Old March 5 2013, 08:35 PM   #5
QCzar
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

From what I've seen on screen, I definitely have to echo C.E. Evans point about there being biological aspects to their violent streak, in spite of the Romulan's presentation.

To reconcile the two, I have always been of the belief that imperialism is a distinct idiosyncrasy of the Romulans as a people, relating primarily to their chosen way of life and of organizing their society. But there is nothing on-screen stating that this confers any behavioral condition upon them individually. They could very well have embraced some form of emotional control (albeit obviously less strident), and it would be the rational course of action if indeed their race (Vulcans writ large) is beset with abnormally erratic emotions.

Rather than reject emotional control, we've only ever seen that the Romulans reject logic specifically, and especially where it regards how they govern their society and their lives. However, the two states of existence (emotional suppression and violent imperialism) are not mutually exclusive. The coexistence of these approaches can, IMO, entirely explain the way the Romulans we've seen have been depicted.

The Vulcans seem to have chosen to integrate the pursuit of logic and rejection of unreasonable use of violence, with its attendant emotional suppression, into the way they run things on their planet. Their way of life is highly dependent on its strict adherence. Career, family, government and moments of crisis are all engaged through the purity of reason. It's systemic and a rather drastic leap from merely suppressing emotions.

They are the central tenets of Surak's teachings and it was probably this that drove the Romulans' ancestors to seek another path.
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Old March 5 2013, 08:49 PM   #6
jayrath
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

It was of course introduced as a gimmick that they then had to figure out a rationale for. In the broader context, Vulcan "logic" represents complete rationality, while McCoy represents passion. Kirk is in the middle, balancing the two. That's the delight of characterizations in TOS, and it was never reproduced in subsequent series.
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Old March 5 2013, 08:51 PM   #7
QCzar
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

This aspect of Vulcans has never been consistently portrayed in any of the series or films. Generally, Vulcans are as emotionally-suppressed as the plot needs them to be. I actually like this nuanced depiction, even if it wasn't necessarily the intended result. Makes them seem like a real people, with a requisite spectrum of calm to crazy (and seemingly ubiquitous snark), rather than one-note caricatures that most Trek races seem to be.
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Old March 5 2013, 09:10 PM   #8
sonak
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

QCzar wrote: View Post
This aspect of Vulcans has never been consistently portrayed in any of the series or films. Generally, Vulcans are as emotionally-suppressed as the plot needs them to be. I actually like this nuanced depiction, even if it wasn't necessarily the intended result. Makes them seem like a real people, with a requisite spectrum of calm to crazy (and seemingly ubiquitous snark), rather than one-note caricatures that most Trek races seem to be.

I think Vulcan society is one of the most interesting ones Trek ever came up with.
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Old March 5 2013, 10:15 PM   #9
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I think inherently Vulcan emotions are far more destructive than Human emotions.
Yep.

IIRC, Vulcans at their most warlike period were far worse than human society ever was. At the worst time, there was never more than 10% of the Vulcan population which was NOT at war.
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Old March 6 2013, 12:08 AM   #10
T'Girl
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
I don't think every pre-Surak Vulcan was a raving berserker
The Vulcans as a group are basically pathological serial killers, the Romulans aren't.

That's why the Romulans were cast out.

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Old March 6 2013, 12:22 AM   #11
sonak
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
SchwEnt wrote: View Post
I don't think every pre-Surak Vulcan was a raving berserker
The Vulcans as a group are basically pathological serial killers, the Romulans aren't.

That's why the Romulans were cast out.



huh? where is this from?
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Old March 6 2013, 02:45 AM   #12
QCzar
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

sonak wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
SchwEnt wrote: View Post
I don't think every pre-Surak Vulcan was a raving berserker
The Vulcans as a group are basically pathological serial killers, the Romulans aren't.

That's why the Romulans were cast out.



huh? where is this from?
Twilight
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Old March 6 2013, 02:51 AM   #13
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

There was a Myriad Universes story called "Tears of Eridanus" that had an interesting take on this:

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Old March 6 2013, 03:15 AM   #14
sonak
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

QCzar wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Vulcans as a group are basically pathological serial killers, the Romulans aren't.

That's why the Romulans were cast out.



huh? where is this from?
Twilight

the Ent episode? or the series with Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart?
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Old March 6 2013, 03:23 PM   #15
CaptainDave1701
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Re: what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I think inherently Vulcan emotions are far more destructive than Human emotions.
Yep.

IIRC, Vulcans at their most warlike period were far worse than human society ever was. At the worst time, there was never more than 10% of the Vulcan population which was NOT at war.
I Agree,
From what I have read over the years with their telepathic as well as mental capabilities along with animal passions they nearly wiped themselves out. There was a time when they would have made the Klingons look like pussycats.They then embraced logic and non emotion.
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