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Vulcan vs. East/West Philosophy

From: "Livia Cases" 
Subject: Re: Vulcan vs. East/West Philosophy
Date: 25 Jun 1997 17:39:55 GMT

On Wed, 18 Jun 1997, Eric Nudell wrote:

> To All,
> I have seen quite a few postings recently that focus entirely on Eastern
> philosophy as being the primary source of Vulcan philosophy. I disagree
> with that view. I believe that the original Star Trek Vulcans were based
> on Roman Stoics and not Eastern philosophers.
> A case in point - Why are they called Vulcans? Vulcan is a Roman god not
> an Eastern one. Why Romulans? Another reference to a Roman figure
> (Romulus). 

> Eastern mysticism was not an element in the original Star Trek. I believe
> that Eastern mysticism was introduced by the some of the writers of the
> Star Trek novels and the writers of the television shows and movies in the
> 1970's and 1980's. They either did not understand where Roddenberry
> derived the Vulcan character from or they thought they could make the
> Vulcan race more exotic.
> To imply that the source of Vulcan philosophy comes from Eastern
> philosphy/mysticism is misleading and should be corrected. I must admit
> that Eastern philosophy has some of the elements of the Vulcan
> philosophical system but it is not the true source. Roman Stoicism is the
> source.
> Gene Roddenberry was fond of basing his alien races on historical Earth
> civilizations. Why do you think we could relate so well to the show? 
> Eric Nudell                          

Basing on my superficial knowledge of Stoicism and of Eastern 
philosophies I agree with Eric Nudell.
 In the only TOS episode where Surak appears he wears a very 
greek-roman-looking tunic. I think the eastern elements were 
introduced mostly as an aesthetical aspect in Star Trek: the Motion 
Picture. It's true, though, that I didn't see the "Amok Time" TOS 
episode, which might contradict me.
Of course the vulcan ability to mind meld might have brought the 
script writers closer to the not exactly "rationalist" eastern 
philosophies. Anyway as far as I know meditation was not mentioned as 
a vulcan habit until the TNG episode where Picard meets Sarek.

Livia Cases (a newcomer on the list from Hungary) greets all.

                  ;-> T'Kae <-;
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From: "Jacqueline Y. Comben" 
Subject: Re: Vulcan vs. East/West Philosophy
Date: 2 Jul 1997 04:14:13 GMT
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In message , Eric Nudell  writes
>On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, Rob Zook wrote:
>It will be a little difficult to get someone from TOS to confirm that
>Vulcan philosophy is based on Greco-Roman Stoicism seeing as the primary
>motivators from TOS (Roddenberry and Coon) are both dead. Speculate is
>all that we can do.
>There are striking similarities between TOS Vulcans and ancient Rome. The
>Vulcan society is based on the extirpation of emotion, logic thought,
>equality of sexes and non-violence. All of these beliefs are core
>doctrines of Greco-Roman Stoic philosophy.
>If all of the above analogies can be accepted, then I don't think it is
>too extreme to say that the Vulcans are based on Greco-Roman Stoics.
We know that Gene originally intended 'Number One' to be the calm,
unemotional one - to show that a woman could be calm and logical,
whereas 'the guy with the pointed ears' was there to show that humans
and aliens could be friends. The unemotional nature was transferred to
Spock when Gene was forced to get rid of Number One - presumably
to help him to show us an objective view, as opposed to the doctor's
emotional view. Thus, I am none too sure that Gene 'based' Vulcan on
any earth culture. DC Fontana could be asked - she wrote 'Amok Time',
didn't she?
Jacqueline Y. Comben
Fire-breathing dragon and ex-lisper
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