Spock Lying

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Athena28, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Athena28

    Athena28 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Location:
    Long Island, New York, USA
    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?
     
  2. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2001
    Location:
    West Hollywood, Calif., USA
    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.
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    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.
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    Down in the tube station at midnight
    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.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    It's also possible Vulcans never lie to each other. Having extra-sensory abilities might make them more able to detect falsehoods.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    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".

    As far as I can tell, Spock neither lied nor exaggerated. He used a simple word substitution cypher, per regulations.
     
  9. Athena28

    Athena28 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Location:
    Long Island, New York, USA
    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.
     
  10. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    wallowing in a pool of emotion
    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.
     
  11. emergencyfruit

    emergencyfruit Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    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.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    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.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Of course Spock lies when necessary. Remember when he posed as a simple merchant in "Errand of Mercy"?
     
  14. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Location:
    None Given
    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.
     
  15. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Location:
    Rural North Carolina
    Are you Vulcanian? You present a very logical argument.:vulcan:
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    Down in the tube station at midnight
    He's lying. ;)
     
  17. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Are there really such idiots?
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Well, Data is, sort of.

    He'd probably make for an even more annoying Star Trek fan than the undersigned.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Well, it's interesting. The Klingons in John M Ford's The Final Reflection (1984) are convinced that Vulcans cannot lie. At one point Krenn is wondering, "If it should be found that a Vulcan could lie..." It's an important subpoint – not a plot point exactly, since no plot events occur around it, but an important piece of setting that informs the presence of all the Vulcans in Klingon society.

    But I don't think Ford is taking the position that it's actually true; but rather that Klingons think it's true, and it's part of their racial theorizing / master race / manifest destiny cosmology. And there is precedent in TOS for Federation enemies to think that, since the Romulan Commander in Enterprise Incident believes it too.
     
  20. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in the South Pacific
    I have run into one or two fans who believe that anything said by any character in any context must be taken as literally and precisely true. They often have to disregard both storyline and characterization to do so, but still... :D