Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by duspock, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Or its not a big deal and everyone except our regulars and guest-stars are gay. ;)
     
  2. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Too true,.. however, we have all heard the "all life is sacred" speeches prior to this episode; and Spock's descsion and actions were in just as much violation to his rhetoric in past episodes as in this episode,.. the 'Horta' is just the most overt I could think of off the top of me head,

    Also, Spock does not adopt this philosophy only for the Horta, and only suddenly after the Mind-Meld,.. it is long established and re-inforced through the series run in defining his characters belief and value system,.. the facts concerning the Horta race mortality only serves to increase the drama of the conflict,.. it does not suddenly define Spock's intrinsic long-held standards, which are (supposedly) applied to all things great and small.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Spock believes that Kirk is about to be killed. Kirk is the one who decides to wait until it attacks. What we really have is the repeated example of how Spock and McCoy offer advice, but Kirk makes the decisions.
     
  4. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Again, very true,.. Spock represents the Logical, McCoy the Emotional, and Kirk the enacting body and final arbitrator of his internal conflicts which are personified externally by the Spock and McCoy characters in conflict.

    However, in the Horta case,.. as it relates to Spock violating his Ethical Standards,... Spock cries out for Kirk to 'KILL IT', which as I stated before, violates the whole individual sacrifice for the good of the many, all life scared, Reason over Force, all those moral/ethical themes STAR TREK put forth, but then let have it with full phasers - when it got in the way of FEDERATION BUSINESS, or the STARS BEING HEROES.
     
  5. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Space hippy girl: "C'mon man, I feel you. I know what you want!"

    Sulu: (slightly amused) "How do you know what I want?"
     
  6. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, great comment, this is essentially the major flaw with the entire format of the show, as it relates to ethics/morals/and the PD, et al.

    Look at what you wrote: "All they know is, it is a dangerous creature",..

    and therein lies the rub, as the UFP, KIRK and Company tell us they are explorers, extending the hand of friendship in seeking out new LIFE ( not destroying that which they are threatened by, or do no comprehend), new CIVIL,... you now the speech,.. the point is KIRK and CREW, and the UFP are not in a moral position to judge anything or anyone,..

    and that means they cannot MORALLY take ANY action against anything which would have any negative impact on its natural existence or evolution,.. regardless if the "Fangy Beasty" is about to eat your Geologist or not.

    And that would make for a pretty depressing show,.. "Men into Space, served as a hot lunch";... this week, so-and-so gets eaten by a whatchamacallit,..

    THE UFP and its forces are the INVADERS anywhere they go outside of the realm of the UFP,.. and are in no moral position to judge the slave/gangster/nazi/roman/greek/depression/computer-driven planet as "bad", nor take any action against anything they find 'wanting" or life-threatening to them,.. if they themselves are the invading outsiders,.. AND truly subscribe to all the high-minded ideals contained in their speeches about freedoms, rights, and IDIC, and so forth.

    If they did, they couldn't go anywhere without an invitation, and certainly couldn't kill anything,.

    ,.... or as they did so often,.. disrupt the entire culture of a planet, and replace it with one more suitable to the UFP ideal and agenda,... (We can help you build schools, feed 100 where you could only feed 1, bring you teachers),... ah, indoctrination and absorption offered as "AID"

    Basically it is all about PERSPECTIVES,.. Planet of the Apes handled the dilemma of cultural perspectives beautifully,... to Taylor, the Apes had taken over his world and replaced it with their simian culture,.. BUT to the Apes, "The Humans are an Infection!",.. perfect.

    Since, the Enterprise's mission is to seek out (invade) areas of space not already part of the UFP corporate portfolio,.. they, regardless of the rhetoric,.. are nothing more than Imperial, Expansionist, Capitalists,... just like the good ol' USA.

    and regardless of the beautiful moral/ethic/ and aesthetic values espoused in a characters' speech,.. in the end,.. if it interrupts FED BUSINESS,... WHAMM-OH!!!,.. unless the Organians or Metrons appear to nullify their aggressions while "Boldly going where no HUN has gone before".

    So in point-of-fact, if SPOCK really subscribed to all that "respect all life and the rights of everything, free to be you and me speech",.. he would have resigned his post the moment KIRK gave the order to drive the Enterprise around the Fly-paper colored-cube in space.

    Actually if you really compare what SPOCK is supposed to believe in, and what the UFP actually does (not what they SAY they stand for), SPOCK would not even have anything to do with the UFP,.. which really is just the I.S.S. Enterprise, with better manners, and a better line of B.S.

    So the whole show is one big moral/ethical contradiction, depending on your perspective, and it is worse for SPOCK, more than anyone,.. yet,.. there he is!

    Frankly, while I obviously love the show, when it comes to the conflict of what the UFP SAYS it stands for ethically & morally, and what it UFP DOES in fact and deed,.. I second the Organians utter disdain for the Earthemen.

    If your going to be a space-pirate, be an HONEST ONE, don't just wear the boots!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  7. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think a lot of the examples cited here are instances of Spock breaking regulations, which is not at all the same thing as acting unethically (except, importantly, to the extent they violate his oath as a Starfleet officer).
    The instance that comes immediately to mind is The Enterprise Incident (where he totally seduces the Romulan commander Kirk-style).
     
  8. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Correct, and that scene is also a prime example of gross mischaracterizations which occurred that hurt the integrity of the original character conceptions, broke the established willing-suspension-of-disbelief, and the hurt show itself in the long run.
     
  9. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    That's not really a situation of an ethical dilemma for Spock, because Kirk resolved the situation for him. Spock had no legal right to relieve Decker, and he DIDN'T relieve Decker, until Kirk manufactured a quasi-legal imperative for him. When Kirk ordered Spock to relieve Decker, it took Spock off the hook. Kirk assumed the responsibility. You could call that an ethical dilemma for Kirk, but not for Spock. (Of course Kirk didn't perceive it as a dilemma at all; it was instantly clear to him what the right course of action was.)

    Spock's ethical dilemma was earlier, as he tried to stay within the letter of regulations while keeping Decker from getting the ship destroyed. Spock handles that with integrity; but it's Kirk who grasps the nettle.

    Kirk's order to Spock is a genius moment of writing, I think. It crystallizes a key difference between Kirk and Spock: why Kirk is in command, and Spock is the best first officer in the fleet. Kirk assesses the situation correctly, and fabricates a non-existent prerogative to issue an order so Spock can do what needs to be done.
     
  10. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, the show did not have a much longer run after that, so it's hard to see how that act hurt the show. More broadly, I don't see anything in Enterprise Incident that hurt the integrity of the Spock character. What are you referring to?
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Neither do I. Spock was under orders to get the damned cloaking device.

    We can assume Starfleet might already have tried more secretive espionage ways to get the device and finally came up with this idea. It was a risky move because it could have gone wrong in so many ways. Indeed, the Romulan Commander tossing herself into the transporter beam might well have forestalled the Romulans declaring war. They not only lost a highly valued bit of hardware but also an experienced command officer---doesn't look too good for them particularly if it got out to their Klingon "allies." I could even see Starfleet "letting" it leak to the Klingons just to foster more distrust between the empires.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  12. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Completly splitting hairs here but based on my gut feeling after reading "The Caine Mutiny", Spock would not quite be off the hook, especially when Decker said, "IIIII don't recognize your authority to relieve me!"

    So in other words, my speculation based off a fictional event as applied to a completly different fictional universe with its own set of rules is that Spock would also stand trial if it ever got that far and Decker wanted to proceed.
     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Spock even states Decker may file a formal protest assuming they reached a starbase. I think Kirk and Spock were both on tenuous ground in relieving Decker.
     
  14. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh I completely agree with you guys, if Decker had made it back to Starbase with the rest of them, Kirk and Spock would have been up on charges. I meant only that after Kirk issued the order, Spock was off the hook for the decision to act. He wasn't off the hook legally; I should have said he was off the horns of the dilemma. Kirk made the decision for him.

    One of the most awesome moments in all of TOS.
     
  15. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    The Doomsday Machine was an idiotic situation. Decker isn't an Enterprise officer. Spock should have told Decker to bugger off from the start and just had McCoy and security haul him off to sickbay. The Star Fleet order used in that situation was the kind of TV order made to create drama. Star Trek and Hollywood often portray scenes with rank outweighing the chain of command.
     
  16. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Yet another, among many, examples of why military realism/verisimilitude and Star Trek should not be conflated, in any iteration of the franchise (still makes for a great scene, though).
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :techman:
     
  18. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
     
  19. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    And upon 1000's of repeat viewings, ultimately hurts the integrity and credibility of the the established character over time.
     
  20. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, she was just an easily led woman, what else could you expect?