The Needs Of The Many In The Age Of Coronavirus

Spock: “It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh…” 

Kirk: “The needs of the few…” 

Spock: “Or the one.” 

That’s the reasoning that Captain Spock has as he leaves the bridge of the Enterprise during the Battle of the Mutara Nebula, as the crippled ship struggles to escape before the Genesis Device, activated by Khan, threatens to wipe them all out. He heads down to engineering and enters a compartment flooded with deadly radiation in order to manually make the repairs necessary so the ship can warp away with death nipping at its nacelles. 

I was eight years old when Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came out in June of 1982. I saw it in theaters and I wept when Spock died. I cried the whole way home in the car. I had been a Star Trek fan since before I could talk, zooming around the living room in my little wheeled scooter when the opening credits played on WPIX Channel 11. I have no memory of a time before me knowing about Star Trek, about Captain Kirk, Mister Spock. 

Spock’s reasoning has deeply impacted me. I’ve not led a blameless life, and I’ve failed at keeping my own ideals, but again and again my moral compass has eventually found its way to this true north – that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Even as Western culture, especially American culture, has taught me to look out for myself, even when I’ve fallen into that trap and thought “Fuck that guy, I gotta get mine,” I always come back – eventually, painfully – to this belief. 

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Yesterday I got a new tattoo. I had a credit with the good folks at Dark Horse Tattoo in Los Feliz and I wanted to get something for my sci-fi arm. See, on one arm I have a Dr. Manhattan-inspired hydrogen atom, a Dune quote done up in gorgeous Eastern style and a little Godzilla (and also two random Fantastic Fest tattoos). My other arm has an upside down pentagram and an Evil Dead 2 image, making it my horror arm (it also has a Starfleet insignia up on the shoulder, but nobody ever sees that).

The decision I made was to get the IDIC, a Star Trek thing. It’s a Vulcan symbol, and it stands for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

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