With this week’s DVD relax of Star Trek right into Darkness, currently is a good time to evaluate or reevaluate the oft-stated Star Trek claim, “The requirements of the numerous outweigh the needs of the few” (or “the one”). This claim is do in miscellaneous scenes in the films, including in the latest one. Let’s first consider part instances and also the appropriate contexts.

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In The Wrath the Khan (1982), Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the requirements of the countless outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” This sets up a pivotal scene close to the finish of the movie (spoilers follow).

With the Enterprise (ship) in impending danger the destruction, Spock start a extremely radioactive chamber in stimulate to deal with the ship’s drive so the crew can escape danger. Spock quickly perishes, and, v his last breaths, claims to Kirk, “Don"t grieve, Admiral. The is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” Kirk finishes because that him, “The requirements of the few.” Spock replies, “Or the one.”

In the following film, The search for Spock (1984), the crew of the companies discovers the Spock is not actually dead, that his body and also soul make it through separately, and also that it may be feasible to rejoin them—which the crew proceeds come do. Once restored, Spock asks Kirk why the crew saved him. Kirk answers, “Because the needs of the one outweigh the requirements of the many.” This is, as Spock could say, a fascinating reversal that the message in the previous film.

How have the right to these ideas be reconciled?

We find solution in the next film, The trip Home (1986). In ~ the beginning of this film, Spock’s mother, who is human (his dad is Vulcan), asks him whether he tho believes that, through logic, the demands of the numerous outweigh the needs of the few. He claims yes. She replies, “Then you space here due to the fact that of a mistake—your friend have provided their future to save you.” (The crew had damaged the law and also had gone on the run in order come rescue Spock.) Spock says that humans are occasionally illogical; his mommy answers, “They are, indeed!”

Later in the film, as soon as crewman Chekov is in trouble, Spock insists the the crew save him, even at risk of jeopardizing the crew’s crucial mission to save Earth and also everyone top top it. Kirk asks, “Is this the logical thing to do?” Spock answers, “No, yet it is the human thing come do.” back Spock reaffirms his insurance claim that the needs of the countless logically outweigh the needs of the few, he suggests that periodically we should do the “human” thing, not the reasonable thing, and also put the requirements of the few (or the one) first.

So Spock, Kirk, and also Spock’s mother have affirmed the idea that acting logically and also acting “human” have the right to be in ~ odds—and that acting logically way always putting the demands of the many first. This is the alleged reconciliation that the reportedly conflicting principles with which we started.

But this logically is no a reconciliation at all.

In logic, (a) there have the right to be no divide in between acting logically and acting human; and (b) together Ayn rand discovered and also explained, the requirements of the individual are what give rise to the need and possibility of worth judgments to start with.

Our volume to usage logic, to incorporate the evidence of our senses in a noncontradictory way, is component of our rational faculty—the an extremely faculty that makes us human. Obviously, we likewise have the volume to it is in illogical, but that is since our rational faculty additionally entails volition, the strength to choose to think or no to think. We also have the volume to suffer emotions, which room automatic responses come our experience in relationship to our values. (Various other species have an emotional volume as well, yet our values room chosen, so even on this score we are substantially different.)

Our emotions, despite real and important, space not a way of knowledge; they are automatic reactions to experiences in relationship to our value judgments. Our method of understanding is reason, the usage of observation and logic.

In regard to the Star Trek example, the factor Kirk was right to assist Spock is no that doing so to be “human” as versus “logical”; rather, that was right to assist Spock because, provided the tremendous value the Spock is come Kirk, both together a friend and also as a colleague, and given that the mission to aid Spock was feasible, helping him to be the logical and also thus person thing to do.

In this case, Kirk’s emotional ties come Spock aligned through his logical review of Spock’s value to him. It is feasible for a person’s values to be out of line v his rational judgment, yet in such instances his rational judgment remains his means of knowledge, and also his emotions need to take a backseat until he reassesses his values and also brings them ago into line through his logical evaluate of the facts.

Once we see the relationship and potential harmony between reason and also emotion, we can see the Spock’s claim that being logical is (or can be) in ~ odds v being person makes no sense.

What of Spock’s claim, “Logic plainly dictates that the requirements of the numerous outweigh the needs of the few”? Logic calls for that some evidence be available in support of together a claim—but Spock offers no proof in support of this. He just asserts it. I beg your pardon “many”? i m sorry “few”? “Outweigh” on who scale? for what purpose? To who benefit? Why is his or their advantage the proper benefit? Spock walk not resolve such questions; he merely asserts the logic plainly dictates his conclusion. However it doesn’t.

Far from gift an expression of logic, Spock’s claim that the requirements of the countless outweigh the requirements of the couple of is an arbitrarily assertion and a restatement that the baseless moral theory known as utilitarianism, i beg your pardon asserts that each individual need to act to serve the greatest great for the greatest number. (For a critique the utilitarianism, view my essay top top the moral theory that Sam Harris, TOS, Winter 2012–13.)

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What logic actually dictates is the if people want to live and attain happiness, they should identify and also pursue the values that make that goal possible. As Ayn rand points out, life provides values both feasible and necessary. We have to eat—in order to live and prosper. We need to wear security clothing and also find shelter—in order to live and prosper. We must pursue a productive career to acquire goods and also services—in order come live and also prosper. The rule holds true in more-complex instances as well. We need to construct friendships to obtain a wide selection of intellectual, psychological, and also material benefits—in order to live and also prosper. We should experience great art to view our worths in concrete form—in order come live and also prosper. The pattern holds because that all our values. Logically, the only ultimate factor we need to pursue any type of value is in order to live and also prosper. (See Rand’s essay “The Objectivist Ethics” for she derivation that this principle.)

How go this principle apply in the Star Trek examples? In the situation of Kirk’s dangerous mission to aid Spock, Kirk logically concludes that, given the complete context of his values, conserving his dear friend is worth the threat involved.

What room we to make, then, of Spock’s final actions in The Wrath of Khan? Does he sacrifice his very own life and values in bespeak to offer the requirements of the many? No. Khan, piloting a damaged ship, sets off a an equipment that will certainly soon reason a enormous explosion the will ruin his own ship along with the Enterprise and its entire crew. Captain Kirk states to his chief engineer, “Scotty, I require warp rate in 3 minutes or we’re every dead.” it is in ~ this allude that Spock leaves the bridge, goes come engineering, and also enters a radiation-filled room in stimulate to fix the ship’s warp drive. As a an outcome of Spock’s actions, the Enterprise speeds away to a safe distance from the explosion—but Spock “dies.”

Spock does take into consideration the requirements of his friends and also shipmates in do this move. Yet he does no thereby sacrifice his very own values or also his very own life. His only alternative is come die v the ship anyway. Rather of dying and also having every one of his shipmates and friends dice too, he choose to uphold and protect the worths that that can and to uphold his meeting to serve as a Star Fleet officer—a place that he determined knowing and accepting the risks involved.

Although in this situation Spock need to pick the least negative of two negative options, he makes the choice that finest serves his interests and also thus his life.

The just principle continual with logic and thus with humanity is the if we desire to “live long and also prosper” (as Vulcans frequently say) we have to use logic and pursue ours life-serving values. Fortunately, contrary to Spock’s occasional illogic, this is what he in reality does. And this is why for this reason many world love him. It’s only logical.

See more: When Your Rear-View Mirror Is Set To Its Night Setting, It May Hamper Your Ability To_________.

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