Mr. Spock from Star Trek: A Popular Culture Icon as Symbol for the Importance of Accepting the Eros Within
Most individuals will not have the opportunity to go through analysis with a Jungian analyst. Yet Jung’s teachings hold so much valuable information for the world today. Is there a way to more broadly disseminate Jung’s concept of the transcendent function, the importance of honoring both the conscious and unconscious within ourselves? I believe that there is, by using icons from popular culture as a means of spreading Jung’s wisdom out into the world.
Most specifically, I believe that the character Mr. Spock from Star Trek films and television series can be seen as a symbol of the importance of the integration of bits of material from the Eros-driven unconscious into the Logos-driven conscious rational ego. When we first meet him in episodes from Star Trek: The Original Series Mr. Spock is introduced as the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer. Vulcans being a race that on their planet long ago decided to forgo emotions entirely in order to save their species. At the beginning, Spock is trying to suppress all emotions from his troubling half-human self. Yet, in his last appearance in a television series, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, we see an older and wiser Spock. A Spock who has learned the importance of integrating emotions into his persona, and not only on a personal basis. He is now on a mission to unite the Romulans, a race that shares ancestors with the Logos-driven Vulcans, but who left Vulcan when it decided to suppress emotions, with their Vulcan brethren. This paper will argue that the appeal of Mr. Spock and the Star Trek television series and films is one way to spread Jung’s concepts to the world at large.
Margaret Mendenhall, PhD, is a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Mythological Studies Program. She is also currently a student in Pacifica’s Depth Psychology Program, Specializing in Jungian and Archetypal Studies. As an independent scholar, Margaret is a member of the C. G. Jung Club of Orange County, the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology, Pacifica Alumni Association and is the Area Chair of the Psychology and Popular Culture Section in the Popular Culture Association.
Margaret has presented papers on Star Trek related topics at various national conferences in the U.S., including the Mythologium, the Science Fictions, Popular Culture Association, and the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. Margaret has also written, performed, and produced two myth based one-woman shows:
- Dancing to the Edge of a Cliff: A Mythical Journey Toward Wholeness
- Soul Trek: My Sci-Fi Journey Toward Wholeness,
She produced and hosted the public access television series Myth Is All Around Us. Margaret has also been published in Pacifica’s Mythological Studies Journal (online) and between Literary Review. Her dissertation for her PhD was entitled Vox Eurydice: The Ascent of Female Rescuers in German Language Opera.