“Live Long and Prosper"
The well-known Vulcan saying captures the essence of this curious race. The simple phrase reveals kindness under a formal cloak. But how does a Vulcan live long and prosper? It is done by living a life we might describe as mindful.
Vulcans do not seek shallow pleasures. They would rather study ancient Vulcan poetry than look at funny pictures of cats online. They don’t seek riches, preferring the WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE.
Even the pursuit of happiness is not on their agenda, A Vulcan seeks fulfillment, not fun. Of course, there is the occasional small pleasure of winning an argument over an annoying colleague (Are you listening, Dr. McCoy?), or possibly saving the universe from total annihilation, but a Vulcan would be slow to admit even these satisfactions. They know how to keep it inside.
Vulcans almost destroyed their home world many centuries ago in a series of wars, and so abandoned all emotion. They gave up the urge to follow their desires and replaced it with a COOL, LOGICAL OUTLOOK.
To some, the cold Vulcan is all they see. But there is more to these dignified people: they are protectors of diversity and truth. They are open-minded beings who can converse with whales, side with rock monsters, and come back from the dead (occasionally).
In the pursuit of a fulfilling life, logic is their tool. They use it to search for truth. With it, they find a way to accept life as it is. This quality speaks clearly to us humans at a time when we find our own world seems to have turned into a slightly mad parallel universe.
Are you able to concentrate on one thing at a time? Ever since some bright spark at IBM computers invented the word “multitasking” in the sixties (AND IT WAS FOR MACHINES) we have become almost ashamed of doing one thing at time. Not any more. Free yourself from the need to learn Ferengi while driving the kids to school – Vulcan mindfulness can lead you to the beautiful simplicity of... unitasking.
Mr. Spock knows the clarity of focused thinking. When a planet-killing Doomsday machine is about to swallow your starship, it’s important not to start checking your mail or stopping to share a cool picture of your impending destruction on WhatsApp. This might sound obvious, but we humans are very similarly distracted when in our own daily “doomsday scenarios,” like messaging the boss or changing lanes on the highway while updating our playlist.
Social media is probably our worst downfall. An unending source of distraction, it gets in the way of focus – the very thing we need to get stuff done. Also, more worryingly, it has given us humans the pressure to share and be interesting. This would not be a problem for Spock. A Vulcan is far more concerned with being interested than interesting.
Private as a race, Vulcans would not post much on Spacebook (or whatever they have in the 23rd century). It would not be logical for a Vulcan to reveal his holiday location to virtual strangers. Nor would it seem a practical use of his time to Photoshop a kitten wearing a tie and possibly add the word ME-WOW to the image. A Vulcan will take a selfie only if he wants to check on the progress of a blackhead and there is no mirror available.
A Vulcan is not big on “sharing.” None of Spock’s human colleagues even know his real name – which he claims it would take them several days to learn how to pronounce. Up until his Enterprise mission, he had never even told his human mother that he loved her. No doubt he often found time to ask her where the eyebrow tweezers were. Eyebrows that good take focus.
Vulcans are taught from an early age to concentrate on a single task until it is completed. Not for them knitting a woolly cover for their communicator in front of the television. If it was Mr. Spock’s intention to watch TV all night, he would do so with full attention. He would understand the whole plot and know all the characters’ names. He would not, after a third glass of Saurian brandy, be wondering why that blonde – whose name he can’t remember – tried to kill her husband, or was it her brother, or are they all alien replicas? He would certainly not have messaged OMG!!! to humankind in general when the big season finale reveal took place.
We are increasingly vulnerable to media that invests billions of dollars in the art of grabbing our attention. That money would be wasted on a Vulcan.
“I’ve never stopped to look at clouds before, or rainbows,” Spock admits.
Such a person is unlikely to begin checking out pictures of cute tribbles before he searches for that data he needs to save the ship from an alien god. That’s why Spock has the facts at his fingertips and few invitations to join fan groups for hairless pets.
Learning from Vulcan focus, we can strive to shut out the attractions and distractions that seduce OUR EVERY WAKING HOUR. And if we get our work done with Vulcan efficiency – well, it leaves time to look at kitten memes afterward anyway.
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