Today, the movie world received the sad news that Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. It’s never easy to hear the news of a beloved actor or actress leaving, and it’s especially difficult when we have countless memories associated with their films. Nimoy’s Mr. Spock is a character that’s embedded into the fabric of our pop culture, and his legacy will remain for as long as movies are made.
Nimoy’s presentation of the semi-emotionless Vulcan Science Officer was the stuff of legend. While many will spend the weekend re-watching the classics (The Wrath of Kahn being, objectively, the greatest movie with “Star Trek” in the title) and reciting lines like “live long and prosper,” we thought it would be apropos to take a look at some of the character’s traits that remind us of what a great friend and mentor looks like. These are the things Spock taught us about relationships that we’ll never forget.
Be warned, spoilers lie ahead.
1. Relationships require sacrifice
Who can forget the classic scene in which Spock sacrifices his life for the crew of the Enterprise? “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” What stuck with viewers for decades was not just his noble sacrifice for the hundreds of lives on the ship, but the solidifying of the friendship between Mr. Spock and Captain (and at this point, Admiral) James Kirk. Throughout the television series, their friendship had evolved from somewhat adversarial to close friends. This moment took their relationship to an entirely different level, and taught the world that sci fi movies could reach areas of the heart that were previously reserved for dramas.
The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends.
John 15:13 (NCV)
One of the Bible’s constant themes is sacrifice. God sacrificed his son, Jesus sacrificed his life, and that’s the example we should in turn follow. If you think about the relationships who’ve influenced and helped you the most, it’s safe to assume that they at some point made a decision to become less so you could become more. No one can truly win the heart of someone without giving up a part of themselves.
2. Emotions are hard, and you need friends to sort through them
Spock was legendary for his relentless aversion to emotions. Being half human and half Vulcan, he was constantly tormented by the battled between his two halves, as his human side fought to identify and express his feelings, while his Vulcan side fought to suppress them. Viewers loved watching Spock struggle, as many people identified with having emotions and not wanting to deal with them.
Another great aspect of Kirk and Spock’s friendship was that Kirk was constantly pushing Spock to embrace his human side. Time after time, tension arose between the two men as Kirk’s vivacious, heart-on-his-sleeve character clashed with Spock’s cool, calm, robot-like demeanor.
I speak to you as if you were my children. Do to us as we have done—open your hearts to us.
2 Corinthians 6:13 (NCV)
We all need friends who are willing to push past our rocky exterior.
3. A friend perseveres
Spock stuck in there with Kirk and the rest of the cast of the Enterprise through all their various challenges. Kirk was demoted, McCoy dealt with his problems by drinking…all circumstances we can relate to in our own earthbound lives, to some extent. What we saw from Spock was a relentless determination to stand by his friends no matter the circumstances.
Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother.
It’s a special thing to find a friend who doesn’t run when things get hard. Everyone needs a Spock in their life to help them through the tough times.
4. We all need mentors, and should aspire to become one
Although the jury’s still out among Trekkies as to whether or not the rebooted Star Trek series is worthy enough to be considered canon, there were many redeeming qualities from the latest two films, the most notable of which is Spock’s role in a new timeline that runs separate from the original movies and series. In J.J. Abrams’ rendition, the original Spock finds himself in a universe with younger versions of himself and his former Enterprise comrades. What’s fun to watch is how he takes it upon himself to guide and (from a distance) mentor his younger self, steering him clear of failure and disaster.
6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
Spock understood the importance of raising up the young. As we get older, it gets temping to settle into our lives and maximize comfort with as little friction or interruptions as possible. We should all aspire to find someone we can take under our wing at some point, even if it’s for something we feel is trivial. The world would be a better place if there were more Spock-senseis roaming the decks.