The Philosophy of Surak

The Path of Surak is a free E-book available online and can be found here.


The Philosophy of Surak A movement toward a lasting peace on this planet will not magically appear, nor will its goal be achieved by those who cease reading this now, but it will be achieved, and for those who put forth the effort, there will be a greater reward than we have ever lead ourselves to believe exists. The solution is, simply stated, to keep our passions in check so that they will not cause entropy. Use logic so that you will know what causes entropy and how to stop it. You may say, “That is not simple ” Indeed the trip we must take as a civilized people is not a simple one, but it will be a fulfilling one. It is much like a trek across the desert, where the terrain is inhospitable, the creatures unfriendly, and the journey seemingly endless. But like the sight of the occasional oasis or green edges of the fertile land, the value of what destination is reached is tantamount to any suffering along the way. It is a joy that cannot be taken away from one’s katra. The essential ingredient is that of the abhoration of violence. This is the permissible passion; the one that leads to its mastery. This is not innate in many of us, and must be taught. One does not learn this from another person, or from one’s teacher, but rather from an event one sees that encourages the opening of eyes, and the acceptance of diversity. Once this rebirth occurs, it changes a person for good, and for the good. The planet has never been free of war. We have seen how nations send armed forces to keep peace instead of letting tyrants and terrorists fight amongst themselves, but the end result is the same. War. Fighting war with war is humanity's biggest mistake. We seem to be creatures of great intellect and the ability to learn from our mistakes, and certainly the mistakes of others (if history is taught to every generation), so why, then, do we continue to fight war with more war? The problem is that we are using the word fight . If we fight, so that we do not need to fight, we are still fighting, aren't we? It is an endless cycle that cannot be broken…unless...we don't fight at all. Now there is a novel idea When someone approaches you with hate, give him peace, and there will be no fight. After all, it takes two people to have a fight. If one is unwilling, then the other will not have his way. Their devotion to logical thinking came as a result of near self-extermination in ancient times when the Vulcans were a hostile, warrior race whose lives were ruled by strong passions. Surak, the father of Vulcan logical thought lived during the planet's last great war. After both sides were devastated, Surak met with emissaries from both sides to establish a workable peace. The philosophy of logic eventually prevailed. In the ensuing years since Surak, there has been little to disrupt the peaceful and logical existence of the Vulcans. The sayings, wisdom and teachings of Surak, and those attributed to him after his death, play an extremely important part in Vulcan culture and society. Although all Vulcans do not follow his teachings in the same manner and some have even rejected his teachings, the vast majority of Vulcans revere Surak above all other Vulcans past or present. It is unlikely this will ever change as long as an advanced culture lives on T'Khasi. Recent information has shown that selected items from Surak's teachings, approved by the government, are even taught in Romulan society Surak quietly began to convert those around him to his philosophy of logic and control of emotions. He developed rigorous disciplines. As more and more Vulcans accepted his way, the situation on Vulcan began to change. People discarded their weapons and destructive emotions. One myth is that the Vulcan discards all emotions. This is not true. The emotions remain but under tight control. The key is controlling external display of these emotions. As in all revolutions, groups of Vulcans rose up against Surak's changes. There were many attempts on Surak's life and ultimately he lost his life on a peace mission. Much of the history of this time is a mystery. The point is that Surak, against all odds, succeeded in saving the Vulcan race from its path of self-destruction and forever changed Vulcan society. It is now known that a large group of those who opposed Surak gathered a fleet of spaceships and left Vulcan to find a world of their own. These pilgrims were all thought to have perished while attempting this journey. But some did survive and the Romulans are living proof of this. The Romulans are a living reminder (and embarrassment) of the way many Vulcans were before Surak. Surak maintained that the root cause of all the problems on Vulcan lay in the uncontrolled outpouring of the people’s emotions. His followers swore to live their lives by an ethical system devised by Surak and based purely on logical principles. All expression of emotions, negative or positive, was completely forbidden. Although this new philosophy spread rapidly across Vulcan, a minority rejected Surak's ideals. Surak's philosophy entails IDIC, logic, control of emotions and peace, but even these are not truly fleshed out well, though they can be discerned with an eye toward the language developed by Vulcan philosophers and expositors and possible human philosophies which parallel or from which they could be derived. A cult, by definition, is a religious sect lead by a charismatic leader who often enforces an authoritarian form of power. The Vulcan philosophy does not require a leader. (Even the Roman Catholic Church has a leader, and furthermore, an army) The Vulcan philosophy does not promote, and does usually not permit suicide of any kind or demand money for membership. Vulcans promote peace and neutrality, not war and violence. Vulcans do not desire power (or anything); thus Vulcanism is not considered to be a cult. 4 Consider that, as it says in the Bible, that smoke comes before flame, and insults come before violence. If this is true, then in theory, we could virtually stop all war by simply using our words in a more respectful manner. We secretly fear each other. This causes us to hate each other. You see, war and violence stems from hate, which itself stems from fear. So I say to you, cast out fear. The question asked concerning why we have not seen that war is not prudent, can be answered by saying that, because of our passions, we are blinded to see logic. We must put logic first, and then allow our emotions to live out their lives, but always under complete control. There are biblical precedents to these claims. Sirach 18;30 Don't be controlled by your lust; keep your passions in check. Sirach 21;21 An intelligent person will smile quietly while a fool roars with laughter. Sirach 22;16-18 A wooden beam can be put into a building so firmly that an earthquake cannot shake it loose; a person can be trained to use reason and sense so well that he keeps his head when a crisis comes. A mind that thinks things through intelligently is like a firm wall, finely decorated. Small stones on top of a wall will not stay put when the wind blows, and a person whose stupid ideas have made him timid will not be able to stand up to frightening situations. Sirach 23;16 ...sexual passion is a hot, blazing fire that cannot be put out at will; it can only burn itself out. A man who lives for nothing but sexual enjoyment will keep on until the fire destroys him. Sirach 28;5 If you cannot get rid of your anger, you have no hope of forgiveness. Sirach 28;6-7 So give up hate and live by the Lord's commands... Instead of getting upset over your neighbors faults, overlook them. Sirach 28;11-12 An argument that blazes out suddenly can lead to violence. You can blow on a spark to make it glow, or you can spit on it to put it out. Either way, you do it with your mouth. Sirach 33;22 Keep control over all that you do. Psalm 46;9-10 He stops wars all around the world. He breaks spears, and destroys swords. Stop fighting, he says, and know that I am God. Vulcanism, by definition, is the intense study of logic to the point of impassivity. The philosophy that stresses that emotion is illogical and thus impure. It stresses that peace is essential and that violence should be avoided at all costs if possible. Even though Vulcans typically believe in a separation of philosophy and religion, outsiders may consider Vulcanism to be a monotheistic religion because it insists that the universe has a creator. Arie'mnu- This is the mastery of emotion--controlling it to fit your needs. Instead of passion controlling you, you control it. Logic stresses that it must be controlled in order for one to keep a clear mind and to attain all peace sought after. Impassivity- The state of not feeling or expressing emotions, or being dispassionate. Also, this state should complement a state of logic. The difference between feeling happy and feeling impassive is the difference between winning a war and never fighting one. Vulcans are advocates of peace, or pacifists. There are different degrees of Arie'mnu involved in Vulcanism. The following degrees are numbered in order of difficulty (which is directly related to the amount of control necessary for attainment). A control level of one implies that a person is capable of controlling the facial expressions normally exhibited due to an emotion the majority of the time, but still feels the emotion.) Level two implies a person can control all expressions of emotion the majority of the time, but still feels the emotion.) Level three is where emotion is there, but not expressed, or even felt. It has no influence, the majority of the time.) Mastery level four is complete mastery. In this state, the emotion is completely cast out, and is no longer a part of you. This state is also referred to as Kolinahr. As there are different levels of mastery, there are naturally going to be different degrees of liberalism when applying this philosophy. This is good, but potentially harmful if not closely monitored. The most liberal of Vulcans should still fall within mnu level two, or a radical could even fall under level one, but this will be looked at with distaste (but never prejudice). Summary of Surak's teachings Cast out Fear. There is no room for anything else until you cast out fear - this does not imply rejection of fear, by pretending not to be afraid. To cast it out you must first ACCEPT it; you must admit it is there. Say: I am afraid. and through this be reduced to total helplessness, this point is potentially the most powerful. Just past it is the great leap to true power: The move through fear, to beyond fear. Especially go past the fear of the Other, the Unknown. Cast out hate and rage. Cast out greed and envy. Cast out all emotion that speeds entropy, whether it be love or hate. Cast out these emotions by using reason to accept them, and then move past them. Use in moderation emotions that do not speed up entropy (e.g. compassion). Ideally, do not harm. Harm speeds up the entropy of the universe, and indirectly, your own. More practically, do as little harm as possible. Harm no one's internal, invisible integrities. Leave others the privacies of their minds and lives. Intimacy remains precious only insofar as it is inviolate; invading it turns it to torment. Reach out to others courteously: accept their reaching in the same way, with careful hands. Do not murder. All action has equal reaction: what force you inflict, inevitably returns. As far as possible, do not kill. Can you return life to what you kill? Then be slow to take life. Master your passions so that they are used to slow entropy. Do no harm to those that harm you - offer them peace: then you will have peace. Learn reason above all. Learn clear thought. Learn to discern that which seems to be, and that what you wish it to be, from what truly is. Learn the truth of reality, the reality of truth C'Thia. What is - is. This will set you free. We have differences. May we, together, become greater than the sum of both of us. There is no offense where none is taken. Nobility lies in action not in name. The spear in the other's heart is the spear in your own. He talks peace if it is the only way to live. Do no harm to those that harm you. Offer them peace, then you will have peace. There is no other wisdom and no other hope for us but that we grow wise. Reach out to others courteously. Accept their reaching in the same way, with careful hands. Time is a path from the past to the future and back again. The present is the crossroads of both. Wide experience increases wisdom, provided the experience is not sought purely for the stimulation of sensation. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Intuition ...doesn't the concept carry over with Spock in Unification, when he tells Picard he had gifts his father never understood, namely intuition and the faith to follow that instinct? I think he adds that he had found it a source of great strength. Surely 'reason-truth' is only a part of the character of the mature individual. intuition and faith may be somewhat alien to Vulcan philosophy, depending on who is constructing it at the time ;) Patience Patience - The universe is not perfect, and many things may take quite a bit of time to work, especially dealings with others who do not necessarily share ones beliefs. Patience is a virtue of many more quietist philosophies and cultures. This does not always derive from a presumption of the imperfection of the all, however. Indeed, Impatience may speak to our immaturity given the perfection of c'thia (the way (things are)) A Vulcan ordered to sit and wait would do so only if it was logical so to do. If it was logical to act when inaction was required, the Vulcan would have no compunction in disobeying the order, even if it subsequently got her into trouble. The Vulcan would maintain that her actions were entirely logical, you see, as if that gave her justification. At this point it becomes clear that c'thia/logic begins to have a faulty significance to it if we are not careful. it is not that an action is deducible to the intellectual mind but almost begins to take on an ethical character. there may be presumed to be a 'Way' which may be discerned, and if this Way leads one to violate reigning authority, then we may also presume that this Way is elemental to the individual's being, a kind of barometer against which acts are judged however, quickly we enter into a Thelemic (cf. Rabelais/Crowley) dilemma. if at any moment the Vulcan (or indeed any individual) may discern that an action is against c'thia (Terran 'illogical'), then how an any sort or reliability be maintained? it is a Thelemic dilemma because in the philosophy of Thelema the individual is presumed to have a 'true will' by which she regulates and discerns her most perfect activity, and thus it compares directly with this example of disobedience as I say above it appears to enter into a type of 'ethics' in that it cannot be completely presumed that what the individual establishes as c'thia is necessarily to be so in the overview of the action taken. the authority will probably review the action and determine itself whether it was 'right' (cf. officers ordered to perform heinous acts of violence in situations like WWII Germany; this exact ethical dilemma is resolved by the courts in support of disobedience even by Terran standards within the film 'Nuts') Vulcans are extremely capable of waiting. One of the best descriptions of patience is having something to do while you wait. The Vulcans are capable of high order calculation and thought inside the mind. If you can work on your projects while you wait there is no reason to be in a hurry. Perhaps so, and yet again perhaps it is a cultural difference in a similar manner that, given the endless rebirths and focus on the present moment that is often emphasized within Buddhism, perhaps such practices as sitting has enabled the Vulcan to remain absorbed even without a lot of stimuli (this may be the essence of 'nirvana' or 'zazen' despite their mystical and practical descriptors (the first an extinguishment of craving the objects of desire, the second a static absorption in the present moment)


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