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Live Long And Prosper: Vulcan Philosophy or Persuasive Propaganda?

Live long and prosper, offers up Starfleet officer Spock and his Vulcan compatriots.  It’s the colorful phrase that even most non Trek fans know and recognize.  And it all sounds so deeply philosophical, beneficial and even endearing at face value.


In the end, is it so innocent or even harmless?  Does each and every alien race wish to live long lives and become prosperous?  Perhaps there are those in the universe who enjoy short, tough or even less than successful lives.  Why should Vulcans deny them that unique pleasure?

Are Vulcans the ultimate propaganda machines throughout our galaxy?

Live Long & Prosper & Don’t Complain About It

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the Klingon Ambassador arguing in front of the United Federation of Planets council rages at Vulcan Ambassador Sarek – Spock’s own father – and he says, “Vulcans are well known as the intellectual puppets of this Federation!”  Indeed, the Vulcans are well known for circumventing most any difficult situation through their searing, irresistible logic.  However, this logic isn’t always well received by those who become the target of the Vulcan argument.

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Unification, Romulan Commander Sela has this exchange with Ambassador Spock, whom she has abducted and is forcing his hand to help her in a nefarious scheme.

Ambassador Spock – Since it is logical to conclude that you will kill us in any event, I choose not to cooperate.

Sela – I hate Vulcans. I hate the logic, I hate the arrogance!

She’s not alone.  Even Captain Kirk got somewhat impatient with his ever rational and logical Science Officer.  And Dr. McCoy – well, one could write a book detailing their ever agonizing and antagonistic relationship.  You green blooded….  

Do Vulcans come across like the Tony Robbins motivational speakers of the galaxy?  One could definitely make a case for such comparisons.

It’s clear that the life affirming philosophy of one person or even an entire alien race can be looked upon as manipulative propaganda by another.  For centuries, such notions of living longer and prospering may indeed boost and bolster the Vulcan spirit and enhance their espiritdecorps, but it may not work at all for others.  Just as some of us hate being wished a nice day, some out there in the galaxy would rather Vulcans keep their life expectations for us and our future prosperity to themselves.