With this week’s DVD relax of Star Trek into Darkness, now is a great time to advice or reevaluate the oft-stated Star Trek claim, “The demands of the many outweigh the requirements of the few” (or “the one”). This insurance claim is do in assorted scenes in the films, including in the recent one. Let’s very first consider part instances and also the relevant contexts.

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In The Wrath of Khan (1982), Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates the the demands of the numerous outweigh the demands of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” This sets up a pivotal scene close to the end of the film (spoilers follow).

With the Enterprise (ship) in imminent danger the destruction, Spock beginning a highly radioactive chamber in bespeak to deal with the ship’s journey so the crew can escape danger. Spock quickly perishes, and, through his final breaths, says to Kirk, “Don"t grieve, Admiral. That is logical. The needs of the numerous outweigh . . .” Kirk finishes for him, “The needs of the few.” Spock replies, “Or the one.”

In the following film, The search for Spock (1984), the crew the the enterprise discovers the Spock is no actually dead, that his body and soul make it through separately, and that it might be feasible to rejoin them—which the crew proceeds come do. As soon as restored, Spock asks Kirk why the crew saved him. Kirk answers, “Because the demands of the one outweigh the requirements of the many.” This is, as Spock could say, a fascinating reversal that the article in the vault film.

How have the right to these concepts be reconciled?

We find response in the following film, The trip Home (1986). At the start of this film, Spock’s mother, that is person (his dad is Vulcan), asks him even if it is he quiet believes that, by logic, the demands of the plenty of outweigh the demands of the few. He says yes. She replies, “Then you space here since of a mistake—your friend have offered their future to conserve you.” (The crew had damaged the law and also had unable to do on the operation in order come rescue Spock.) Spock says that human beings are occasionally illogical; his mommy answers, “They are, indeed!”

Later in the film, as soon as crewman Chekov is in trouble, Spock insists that the crew conserve him, also at hazard of jeopardizing the crew’s critical mission to conserve Earth and also everyone ~ above it. Kirk asks, “Is this the logical thing to do?” Spock answers, “No, however it is the human thing to do.” although Spock reaffirms his insurance claim that the requirements of the plenty of logically outweigh the needs of the few, he suggests that periodically we should do the “human” thing, no the logical thing, and put the demands of the few (or the one) first.

So Spock, Kirk, and also Spock’s mother have actually affirmed the idea that acting logically and acting “human” have the right to be at odds—and the acting logically way always putting the requirements of the numerous first. This is the alleged reconciliation of the apparently conflicting ideas with which we started.

But this logically is not a reconciliation in ~ all.

In logic, (a) there have the right to be no divide between acting logically and also acting human; and also (b) as Ayn edge discovered and also explained, the demands of the individual room what offer rise to the need and also possibility of value judgments to begin with.

Our volume to usage logic, to incorporate the proof of our senses in a noncontradictory way, is component of our reasonable faculty—the very faculty that renders us human. Obviously, we additionally have the capacity to it is in illogical, yet that is since our reasonable faculty additionally entails volition, the power to select to think or no to think. We additionally have the volume to experience emotions, which room automatic responses to our experience in relation to our values. (Various other varieties have an emotional volume as well, yet our values room chosen, so also on this score we are considerably different.)

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

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

In this case, Kirk’s emotionally ties come Spock aligned with his logical testimonial of Spock’s worth to him. It is feasible for a person’s values to be out of line with his rational judgment, yet in such instances his rational judgment continues to be his method of knowledge, and also his emotions need to take a backseat till he reassesses his values and brings them ago into line with his logical assessment of the facts.

Once we check out the relationship and also potential harmony in between reason and emotion, we have the right to see that Spock’s claim that being logical is (or deserve to be) at odds v being human makes no sense.

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

Far from gift an expression of logic, Spock’s insurance claim that the requirements of the plenty of outweigh the requirements of the few is an arbitrarily assertion and a restatement of the baseless moral theory known as utilitarianism, which asserts the each individual have to act to offer the greatest an excellent for the biggest number. (For a critique the utilitarianism, see my essay top top the ethical theory the Sam Harris, TOS, Winter 2012–13.)

What logic in reality dictates is that if people want come live and accomplish happiness, they must identify and pursue the worths that make the goal possible. Together Ayn rand points out, life renders values both feasible and necessary. We need to eat—in order come live and prosper. We have to wear protective 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 to live and prosper. The principle holds true in more-complex cases as well. We need to develop friendships to acquire a wide range of intellectual, psychological, and also material benefits—in order come live and also prosper. We should experience great art to view our values in concrete form—in order to live and also prosper. The sample holds for all our values. Logically, the just ultimate factor we must pursue any value is in order come live and also prosper. (See Rand’s essay “The Objectivist Ethics” for her derivation the this principle.)

How walk this principle apply in the Star Trek examples? In the situation of Kirk’s danger mission to assist Spock, Kirk logically concludes that, given the complete context that his values, saving his dear friend is precious the threat involved.

What room we come make, then, the Spock’s last actions in The Wrath the Khan? Does that sacrifice his own life and values in order to offer the demands of the many? No. Khan, piloting a damaged ship, sets off a an equipment that will certainly soon cause a massive explosion the will ruin his very own ship in addition to the Enterprise and also its entire crew. Captain Kirk says to his chef engineer, “Scotty, I require warp speed in three minutes or we’re every dead.” the is at this point that Spock leaves the bridge, goes come engineering, and also enters a radiation-filled room in bespeak to repair the ship’s warp drive. Together a an outcome of Spock’s actions, the Enterprise speeds far to a safe distance from the explosion—but Spock “dies.”

Spock does consider the needs of his friends and also shipmates in make this move. But he does no thereby sacrifice his own values or also his very own life. His only alternative is come die v the ship anyway. Instead of dying and having every one of his shipmates and friends die too, he choose to uphold and protect the values that he can and to uphold his commitment to serve as a Star Fleet officer—a position that he decided knowing and also accepting the risks involved.

Although in this instance Spock need to pick the least bad of two bad options, he renders the selection that best serves his interests and also thus his life.

The only principle constant with logic and thus with mankind is the if we desire to “live long and also prosper” (as Vulcans often say) we should use logic and pursue ours life-serving values. Fortunately, contradictory to Spock’s sometimes illogic, this is what he actually does. And also this is why for this reason many people love him. It’s only logical.

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