Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by xvicente, May 15, 2013.
I the real world, I mean. Certainly It was not invented in ST II , like the Klingon proverb.
I've found some sites claiming it's a quote from A Tale of Two Cities, which is referenced elsewhere in the film, but I searched the whole text at Project Gutenberg and it's not there.
Although the concept certainly predates The Wrath of Khan, it does seem that the exact phrasing did originate there.
According to answers.com:
It was Shakespeare in the original Klingon text.
It definitely sounds like something Surak could have said or written. Given that the few later became the Romulans his line might not have been that smart.
Seriously, I like that Trek used different ethical ideas. On the one hand this utilitarian stuff, on the other hand the very opposite, liberal "human" rights, in "I, Borg".
Given the references at the beginning and end of the film (plus the references to other authors including Laclos and Melville), it's not surprising some viewers figured this was Meyer sneaking in yet another literary reference.
^Yeah, but they still guessed instead of checking, and that's a mistake.
yeah, the idea is basically classical utilitarianism.
Yeah, I don't think it's a quote or allusion. Just a bit of Vulcan logic.
You can still meet Bentham face to face: he's mummified at his old society's headquarters.
The Klingon proverb wasn't invented. It was a real proverb that they stuck the word Klingon on to.
Nicholas Meyer seemed to enjoy the joke of taking an Earthly saying or quotation and having a character attribute it to an alien race. Khan did it with "Revenge is a dish...," and in TUC, Spock said "Only Nixon could go to China" was a Vulcan saying -- not to mention "Shakespeare in the original Klingon."
It is feasible for two completely separate cultures to create the same aphorism, no?
It really does seem that while the idea/concept stated by this phrase was old, the exact wording of it is straight up a creation of Wrath of Khan.
About Nixon and China? I doubt it. But I guess it depends on how you translate it -- whether you render it verbatim or substitute an existing saying from your own language that conveys the same idea. (In one of my Trek novels, I posited that the original version of the Vulcan proverb was "Only Soval could go to Andoria.")
I think the phrase "the good of the many" has been around for a long time; the line in TWOK was essentially a variation on it. (And I think the novelization of TWOK did use "good" in place of "needs.")
Vulcans would have extensively studied Earthican history before creating the federation, and could have come up with the Nixon thing to try to explain certain concepts to the dumb humans.
^Except that, of course, "Only Nixon could go to China" is a pre-existing Earth saying in real life. It's a paraphrase of a comment made by Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield about Nixon's upcoming trip to the People's Republic of China in 1971: "Only a Republican, perhaps only a Nixon, could have made this break and gotten away with it."
I always just assumed Spock was being a bit wry . . . .
Of course it's not literally an old Vulcan saying.
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