Spock is dead.
Leonard Nimoy passed away this past Friday at the age of 83.
I have to date myself by saying that reruns of the original Star Trek series were a very important part of my adolescence.
And I loved the character of Spock.
Of course, I was a nerd at a time when that was not universally recognized as the royal road to financial success. And that has to explain some of it.
But as an adolescent I wrestled with powerful emotions that often seemed mysterious and disturbing. And it was the notion that it was possible to control those emotions, to not be affected by them, that was at the heart of my fascination with Spock.
The idea of control is, of course, particularly appealing to young men. With time it becomes clear that we can shape our destiny to some extent but we can never control it entirely.
Yet controlling our emotions still has a strong appeal.
These days it is often expressed as a wish to find better medications. Surely, doctor, you can help me come up with a medication that will allow me to be hypomanic forever?
I understand that wish, even though it now seems foolish.
Leonard Nimoy was never Spock, as he famously declaimed in his first autobiography, I Am Not Spock. But he understood the need we all experience to feel a sense of control, and so he stepped back from the precipice and offered a follow-up autobiography entitled I Am Spock.
Mastery of emotion. Mastery of mood.
Appealing notions that stand in contrast to the belief that all of us are merely moodsurfing…