Lessons from Mr. Spock

By Hon. Michael Warren

I’m a Trekkie, and proud of it.  Even as a judge, author, and informal educator, I continue to learn from Mr. Spock.  In the wake of actor Leonard Nimoy’s untimely demise, I feel compelled - however emotional it might be - to share that wisdom.  Logical is it not?

1. Logic Prevails.

As Mr. Spock was fond of noting, humans are intensely emotional and, at times, irrational.  Dispassionate, objective reasoning was Spock’s core.  Honing our skills to think, as opposed to emote, is crucial to good decision-making.

2. Ponder before You Act.

Mr. Spock almost always thought before he acted.  He  evaluated the situation, examined the options, and determined the course of conduct most likely to succeed.  Sometimes the heat of the moment will provoke words, actions or omissions that we later regret. I know I have been there.  This is a tough lesson to learn, but tougher to ignore.  Taking time to survey the context, reflect on others’ viewpoints and perspectives, and evaluate the circumstances creates the best opportunity for positive outcomes. 

3. Loyalty is Key.

Although not always associated with logic, Mr. Spock was intensely loyal - to his family, his friends, his Federation.  Even when he disagreed with the illogical actions of his Captain or Doctor, he remained doggedly loyal.  No span of space, time, or dimension could stop his assistance.  Loyalty - scarce today - is a key trait that we should embrace.

4.  A Nerve Pinch Comes in Handy.

Spock was an idealist, but knew when - and how - to fight.  In battle there was no one Captain Kirk would rather have on his side.  When the chips are down, sometimes we (individually or as a nation) must engage in physical force to protect our friends, ship, civilization, and planet.  Indeed, we fought our Revolution and many subsequent wars to defend the First Principles of the rule of law, unalienable rights, limited government, the Social Compact, equality, and the right to alter or abolish an oppressive government. Unfortunately, this need is likely not to lapse soon.

5. Diversity is King.

The Federation is perhaps the most diverse union ever. With over a 150 species, including Andorians, Tellarites, Ithenites, Denobulans, Rigelians, Coridanites, humans, and Vulcans, the Federation’s combination of intellect, technology, and resources is unparalleled.  Spock himself was the son of a Vulcan father and human mother. On the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, he served with an American, Scot, Japanese, African, and Russian.  They were unbeatable because they drew on their strengths.  America is the Federation of today.  We would do well to emulate them.

6.  Mind Melding is Power.

Spock’s ability to meld minds was a powerful technique to gain invaluable insight and make crucial decisions.  Although we humans lack this uncanny power, we can put our heads together to obtain new and broader perspectives that lead to better decision-making.

We have lost an irreplaceable actor with the passing of Leonard Nimoy, but Mr. Spock’s lessons can guide for our lives and the next generations.  Live Long and Prosper.

Hon. Michael Warren is an Oakland County Circuit Court Judge and co-founder, with his daughter Leah, of Patriot Week (www.patriotweek.org).  He is also the author of America’s Survival Guide (www.AmericasSurvivalGuide.com) and a former member of the State Board of Education.