I have mourned him like an old friend. This loss feels so tangible, so real, and yet… we have never met. So, it’s really no surprise that I feel sad, at a loss, devastated even, and yet confused as to how his death can mean so much to me.
My childhood icon Spock is dead.
Spock doesn’t exist.
First Officer Spock was a character in the original television series of Star Trek, and the man himself, actor Leonard Nimoy, has passed away at 83 after living a full life… and I have sobbed as though I have lost a close friend.
Now, let’s hit the rewind button… back in the day when KBC was VOK or Voice of Kenya in full, we would rush home after school, keen to watch television. In those days tv started at 5 o’clock and I remember sitting in front of the the big box, the television set as we called it, with a bank screen staring back at me as white sound pierced through the otherwise silent room. At some point vertical colored lines would appear on the screen, this was an indication that it was nearly 5pm and the broadcast was about to start. After that I think we had the VOK logo and some music playing, then at 5pm on the dot the national anthem would play. I would gleefully fling myself on my feet, off the ground where I had lain on my belly, kicking my feet in the air, patiently waiting for ages for this very moment. Like a good citizen I would leap up and in our living room stand to attention, salute dramatically and sing our beautiful anthem…
“Oh God of all creation,
Bless this our land and nation…”
After the anthem a presenter would take us through the evening lineup and shows would then begin. Yes young’uns we have come a long, long, long way..
Well, back to Spock now and one of my most loved shows was Star Trek. The story of the starship Enterprise and its crew. The music would start and the epic voiced introduction would run,
“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
For the next hour we were lost in a world of adventure, aliens, danger, friendship, alliances, loyalty, leadership and the First Officer Spock who was half human and half vulcan and always relied on his knowledge and logic to steer the leadership decisions of the gallant but highly spirited Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
I was entranced with the whole idea of Star Trek and now, decades later I genuinely and deeply mourn an iconic character who gave me so much adventure, instruction and joy. I do believe Leonard Nimoy knew just how loved his character was, but reading his poetry I realize that the man himself was a treasure, a special, gifted and spiritual being.
And so, what is it that this man planted in my soul that makes me wail at his passing? What have I taken from Spock and Nimoy that so deeply touches my spirit? I am sure the list is endless but there are three things in particular that I would like to share with you.
Now, I believe that the words we speak have great power. When we wish blessings upon each other there is a positive power carried in these words that translates unconsciously and deeply into our psyche. When we speak ill, abuse or attack each other, it has a similar but deeply negative power. Live long and prosper is a great blessing that Nimoy himself wrote into the character of Spock and the people of Vulcan. This spirit of moral virtue, wishing well upon others, speaks volumes of the man. I can’t help but think it has deeply shaped who I am today.
2. Seek Your Own Destiny
Temperance is a state rarely celebrated and yet so enchanting. It is is a representation of a great virtue, of incredible grace. Temperance is moderation, but more than this it encompasses aspects of self control, discipline, intellect, choice. Like Spock, Nimoy lived an incredible life of accomplishment and yet he did not give himself up to the extremes that so many of his colleagues fell victim to. Nimoy celebrated his artistic gifts as an actor, writer, producer, director, photographer and poet. He lived a life that HE valued, not that others expected of him. Walk your own path, he seemed to say, seek your own destiny.
Nimoy once stated,
“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.”
What an incredible lesson. What an incredible example.
1. Boldly Go…
As I ponder upon his most dramatic lesson for me, I can’t help but smile. There are so many reasons why this lesson stands out today. The media industry, that has been my home for 15 years now, is going through an intense period transformation. It is unchartered territory, and while we can project some trends we cannot predict the future. It is daunting… But as First Officer Spock would matter-of-factly say,
“Change is the essential process of all existence.”
While my true nature resents change, and seeks the comfort of familiarity, I have trained myself to live by the mantra ‘evolution is life’. I understand it is sometimes critical to let go, to transform, to adjust, in order to survive, to succeed and to thrive. This lesson is critical now as we seek to redefine television broadcast in Kenya and globally. Indeed, the power of content is incredible and this is a critical moment to take stock and boldly go into a new era. Thank you Nimoy for helping to mould me into a better and bolder person.
As I end my long and rambling thoughts on this man who I mourn and yet celebrate, I am determined to spread a spirit of positivity (Live Long and Prosper), embrace temperance and to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before, and in doing so to blaze a trail for others.
And to quote Nimoy’s beautiful poem ‘You and I Have Learned’,
You and I
the song of love…
The miracle is this
The more we share..
Dear Leonard, I hear the angels sing as they receive you, my soul looks forward to meeting yours in the afterlife. You lived a great life. LLAP.
Love, light & blessings