Spockʼs Brain !

The episode of StarTrek, Spockʼs Brain, deals with many philosophical ideas

such as the importance of the brain in allowing a human to perform types of actions. The crew is able to control Spockʼs mechanical actions such as walking however, Spock performs these with an expressionless face indicating he neither is aware of what is he is doing let alone why. The brainless Spock doesnʼt seem to feel emotion nor is he able to be ethical because his body cannot make its own decisions. He cannot speak, react to things, and is essentially a robot for the greater part of the episode. Philosophically this indicates that the brain holds all that a person is and all that a person needs. The body is a shell that we relate to because of its appearance. If I got a new haircut and began to dress gothic, a schoolboy may say that they donʼt like the “new Nick.” However, I have not changed in essence - people simply relate with bodies that are like their own. Because the brain is where oneʼs essence resides, racism based on appearance is ridiculous. ! There is an element of political philosophy shown with the sophisticated

underground courters as well as the controller and the less than sophisticated dwellers. Every so often, the unintelligent underground dwellers lose their controller - upon which they think they depend on for all things pertaining to their survival - and go in search of a replacement. This draws parallel with populations under communism (communism turned totalitarianism) as they are brainwashed to credit the leader with the solutions for everything (seen explicitly in North Korea). Like the dwellers, North Koreans were devastated after the loss of their beloved ruler. The episode suggests that we cannot live and prosper in such a manner. Like the crew suggests to the women, we must


move on and learn for ourselves rather than be ignorant under the full control of the government. In addition - the episode does not suggest this however - when everyone has responsibility, no one takes responsibility. Therefore, some sort of leader is necessary and we in the episode that even the women have an ignorant female leader in subordination to the controller. ! The computer knowledge holder called “the teacher” challenges the nature of

knowledge. The fact that it transfers knowledge to the user only temporarily, and the fact that one must use it to obtain knowledge of specific things pose compelling questions about how humans acquire and retain knowledge. ! Going back to the idea of Spockʼs brain becoming the controller, it is interesting

how Spock does not seem panicked by the fact that his essence has been extracted from the only thing it has known, and placed into another system. I donʼt know if Spock is a very poised Vulcan, or if our brains do not have a particularly strong bond with our shell. We would be able to quickly adapt and adopt a new body as our own. A very good real-life example of this is an experiment that a psychologist performed. He put a personʼs arm out of view of the person, and begin to rub a mannequinʼs arm (which was placed in front of them) at the same time as he rubbed their actual arm (out of personʼs view) in the same way. The person focused intently on the mannequin arm. The psychologist then pulled out a hammer and smacked the mannequin arm. The volunteer was utterly shocked, and shot immediately backward because their mind had adopted this new arm.


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