Is Surak the Bad Guy??

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by palesubaki, May 17, 2022.

  1. palesubaki

    palesubaki Cadet Newbie

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    has anyone ever wondered if Surak might just be the Bad Guy?? I mean history is written by the victors and considering how internally toxic Vulcan society is it would not be a stretch that Surak's philosophies actually destroyed Vulcan society. I mean they are ashamed of their mating cycles, something that if their philosophies were truly to be taken at face value, they would not care one wit as it is a natural process of the body and mind. And let's not get started with the priests of Gol. Those guys literally lobotomize People. Torturing them until they completely lock down I.E trauma. Whoever can look at this and say that the Surakian way of life is health and good for Vulcan needs to have their eyes checked.
     
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  2. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    *single eyebrow raise* Fascinating.
     
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  3. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, you can look to the Romulans to see how the Vulcans would have turned out without Surak's teachings, and decide which way was better for them.
     
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  4. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TOS intended the Vulcans to be uniformly good guys, which was arguably too simplistic. But then, when you have the planet Vulcan, populated by Vulcans, who speak Vulcan, and have only one cuisine, also known as Vulcan, things are bound to be pretty simple.

    The Surak figure in "The Savage Curtain" was nevertheless a kind of accidental villain, because he was pointedly obtuse in his refusal to understand the situation, and he insisted on following a pacifist strategy that he himself admitted would fail on the first try. He threw away his value to the team rather than be of any help.

    Star Trek V and VI both played with the then-new idea that Vulcans could be outright villains, and then Enterprise made them our passive-aggressive frenemy.

    I won't discuss STD and "The Vulcan Hello" because I have so little respect for it that it wouldn't be helpful.
     
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  5. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought it was interesting that in Enterprise, the Romulans had essentially infiltrated the high command, corrupted the Vulcan leadership, and were pushing them towards war with Andoria. The events of S4 seem like they provided a major 'course-correction' to Vulcan culture, resulting in the society we see in TOS a century later, when dissemination of the Kirshara (sp?) has become universal.
     
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    The Surak from "The Savage Curtain" is as idealized as Lincoln.
     
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  7. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know anything about that, because I haven't seen Enterprise since its first run over the air, and if memory serves I bailed at least a year before the series ended. But it sounds like a pertinent backstory.

    I'd like to say, Star Trek V takes a lot of knocks, but that movie gave us Sybok. Before ST-5, Vulcans were All One Thing. ST-5 made the leap that Vulcans were flesh and blood people, and thus an individual could peel off and march to his own drummer. That was a big thing and it added a layer of realism to the story.
     
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  8. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Enterprise had a lot of that as well, through its entire run. There is a lot to dislike about Enterprise, but the show did have a few high points.
     
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  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    I don't know about that. The guest Vulcans weren't exactly paragons of virtue. Sarek with his lies of omission and snark. T'Pring and her schemes. T'Pau and her subtle racism. Stonn and his willingness to do anything T'Pring asks.
     
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  10. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, the Vulcans could come off as far less than perfect, even in TOS.
     
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  11. palesubaki

    palesubaki Cadet Newbie

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    That to me is one of the biggest red flags when it comes to the inherently harmful nature of Surak's teachings. We all know that Romulans are not just a similar species that evolved on a similar planet. They are literally the descendants of Vulcans. But what is the one thing never ever mentioned happening to a Romulan? Pon Farr. And considering the pacifist Vulcans have yet to breed out their mating cycle why does it seem to be non existent in Romulans. Especially as it is a specific evolutionary trait to help with the kind of extreme population drops caused by war? My theory is that the Romulans do go through Pon Farr but a far, far less violent or deadly one. To them it would be just what it is, a breeding cycle that would help with fertility and population growth. Which begs the question why would the Vulcan's Pon Farr be so much more violent? My answer, Pon Farr for Vulcans is no longer about breeding. It's become a way for them to let off the extreme stress caused by suppressing their emotions. There is a reason the mind only shuts it's emotions down naturally during times of extreme trauma. The suppression of emotion is only meant to be a last resort for the mind a survival mechanisam I.E. NOT something to be done voluntarily for years on end.
     
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  12. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the Pon Farr isn't a racial characteristic of Vulcans / Romulans, but a psychological one brought on by the suppression of emotion.

    We all know that Vulcans are not emotionless creatures- they actively work to suppress and subjugate their emotions and make all decisions through the application of logic. All that bottled up emotion, good and bad, needs a release at some point. I think that is the purpose the Pon Farr serves, over and above actual mating. It is a time when those emotions can be expressed, let out, under the culturally allowable guise that it's a 'time of madness.' But an excusable one. If Vulcans were to abandon Surak and return to a more conventional (read: emotive) way of life, Ponn Farr and the need for it would fade from Vulcan life.

    I also believe that although they do not discuss it, married Vulcans probably do engage in sexual relations far more often than once every seven years, although they may not allow it to result in pregnancy. After all, there are numerous physical and psychological benefits to healthy sexual activity, so therefore it would only be... logical. (Vulcans can rationalize with the best of them...) :vulcan:
     
  13. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Without Surak, there might be no Vulcan civilization, or a secession of ones that self destruct. Mostly likely no Romulans.
     
  14. palesubaki

    palesubaki Cadet Newbie

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    to quote an episode of STO (not sure which) Romulans are the descendants of the ones who chose to march under a raptor's wing and reject Surak's teachings. I.E. the Romulans ancestors did exist during Surak's attempts at reform. And yet despite all of Surak's preaching that only through pacifism and emotional suppression could their race keep themselves from self-destructing, The Romulan ancestors not only survived but were the foundation of one of the most powerful governments in the star trek universe.
     
  15. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Without Surak, proto Romulans would have no reason to leave,IMO.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2022
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    Enterprise showed that like Lincoln, King and Jesus, Surak did not live to see his ideas take root.
     
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  17. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I maintain that if you look only at Amok Time and no other episode of Star Trek that mentions Pon Farr, that originally Pon Farr was intended to only happen once in the life of a male Vulcan.
     
  18. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Then where does the 'once every seven years' reference come from?
     
  19. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

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    By jingo, you’re right. Nothing about seven years can be found in “Amok Time”, nor anything suggesting a cycle. Spock said “How do Vulcans choose their mates? Haven’t you wondered?” and goes on to explain that Vulcans “are driven by forces we cannot control to return home and take a wife. Or die.” So it’s not about mating as sex; this is just wedding stuff. It’s clear from the dialogue that this biological imperative is once-in-a-lifetime event.

    The Cloud Minders” gives us the seven-years business (as well as a Spock who’s pretty clearly on the make. Peddle your Pon Farr elsewhere):

    DROXINE: You only take a mate once every seven years?
    SPOCK: The seven-year cycle is biologically inherent in all Vulcan's. At that time, the mating drive outweighs all other motivations.
    DROXINE: And is there nothing that can disturb that cycle, Mister Spock?
    SPOCK: Extreme feminine beauty is always disturbing, madam.​

    Well, this is disturbing. Beliefs I’ve held for nearly a lifetime are really based on a couple of dodgy lines from the truly dreadful “Cloud Minders.”
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Romulans are neither psychic nor suffering mating cycles (that we know of). However, we don't know that they DONT have mating cycles.
     
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