what's the rationale for Vulcan emotional suppression?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by sonak, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vulcan society survived due to some leaving Vulcan presumably not following the philosophy of Surak, while the vast majority did.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Surely the Vulcan society depicted in Trek didn't spring into existence overnight. Surak promoted logic over emotion for Vulcans, but was emotional suppression the original goal, or was it a trait that developed post-Surak? Using logic and embracing inner peace don't require emotional suppression, but that may have happened over the centuries as Surak's followers grew and his philosophy took hold among the population.

    Is the choice for every Vulcan really either "raging violent berserker" or "unemotional robot"? Clearly some 22nd and 23rd century Vulcans could be emotional but not exceptionally violent. I wonder if part of the problem for Vulcan society was the existence of telepaths. Sarek was able to unconsciously project some of his emotions onto other people when he was ill with Bendii syndrome. If, in the Vulcan past, some raging berserker telepaths existed, might they have projected violent emotions onto others, spreading conflict?
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    according to "the savage curtain," Surak believed in emotional suppression. But as you say, embracing peace and logic don't require emotional suppression, so I'm not quite sure why they got lumped together. The telepathy idea is a good one, but again, Sybok kind of contradicts that.
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    The Excalbian Surak was a projection of Spock's knowledge and view of him. Presumably he was exactly as Spock imagined him or knew him to be. But how accurate is Spock's view of the historical Surak?
     
  5. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How telepathic are Romulans? Perhaps they've lost this ability over the centuries after their exodus. Telepathy played a big role in the savage nature of pre-Surak Vulcan. Maybe without telepathy, the Romulans have had an easier time in conquering their savage heritage.

    Or, perhaps the telepathic Remans figure into this somehow.
     
  6. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One thing I didn't like about Romulans in TNG is they gave them subtle forehead ridges, so they must have split from Vulcan a LONG time ago to have gone through some actual physical evolution. Evolution is pretty slow if not nonexistent in a modern technological society. I don't think it was every disclosed whether Romulans had any telepathic capabilities although there were hints of some sort of special connection possible between Romulan/Vulcan couplings ala The Enterprise Incident, and then Saavik was half-romulan, but her origin was never explained.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Or it could just be a simple case that Vulcans aren't like Humans and the suppression of their intense emotions is a necessary tool for them in their pursuit of logic.
     
  8. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    I've never understood how any being can effectively suppress its emotions. For real life humans, this is obviously pathological.

    But for Vulcans, maybe Surak discovered that Vulcans held an innate ability to maintain emotional control, which Vulcans in later times discovered via neurological analyses/studies.
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    huh? There are various Human religions and philosophies(Buddhism and Stoicism come to mind) that teach emotional suppression as the path to inner peace or enlightenment. Granted they're not as extreme about it as the Vulcans, but it's not some rare kind of concept.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Chalk it up to a regional/ethnic characteristic like a epicanthic fold in humans.
     
  11. QCzar

    QCzar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have been giving more thought to the Romulan question (which is inexorably linked to any discussion of Vulcan history) and believe that another possibility can reconcile the two, one which fits in well with established Trek lore (in style, at least).

    We have to accept that there is a biological component to this. After all, Romulan traits were obviously inherent enough to show up as distinct on 23rd/24th century medical scans. In other words, despite the relationship, they were obviously regarded as another race (maybe subspecies?) by the Federation, and not just another faction of Vulcans.

    Maybe it's more in line with Andorian/Aenar than European/African. Maybe the Romulans' ancestors were already what they've been seen as or well on the path to becoming this by the time they left Vulcan. Obviously the Aenar had millenia, if not millions of years to diverge, but who's to say it wasn't the same on Vulcan? It's been less than 50,000 years since another species of sapient humans walked our own Earth, after all (even if we rarely crossed paths).

    It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility that the Romulans were already "Romulan", in form if not in name, long before they left Vulcan. Hell, it's established that even the Vulcans' own recollection of that time and how the Romulans fit in is fragmentary at best. History is funny like that (remember the "myth" about Troy?).

    So what this all means is that maybe the Romulans tell us nothing at all about the Vulcans desire/need to suppress their emotions.
     
  12. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That seems to be the conclusion reached by Ex Astris Scientia:
     

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