Actor Leonard Nimoy most famous for playing Spock, the science officer and first officer on Star Trek's Starship Enterprise died on Friday 27th February 2015
As well as acting his career also included directing, writing and photography. President Obama, said in a statement: "Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy."
Playing Mr Spock, a racially mixed character allbeit fictional at a time when racial mixing was still unacceptable in most parts of America
had quite an effect on one mixed-race young woman and in 1968 she wrote to Spock looking for advice on how to deal with not fitting in, Nimoy drew on the logical thinking skills of the half Vulcan half human character with the pointy ears and came up with some very useful advice we can all still use today.
Dear Mr Spock,
I'm not very good at writing letters so I will make this short. I know that you are half Vulcan and half human and you have suffered because of this. My mother is Negro and my father is white and I am told this make me a 'half-breed'. In some ways I am persecuted even more than the 'Negro'. The 'Negroes' don't like me because I don't look like them. The white kids don't like me because I don't exactly look like one of them either. I guess I'll never have any friend. F.C. Los Angeles, Calif.
'Most of the Vulcan kids didn't like Spock because he was half human. So they wouldn't include him in all the things they did. He was very lonely and no one understood him. And Spock was heartbroken because he wasn't popular. But it was only the need for popularity that was ruining his happiness. The question was: which was more important, being 'popular' with the pack who might turn against him at any minute or being true to himself?
It takes a great deal of courage to turn your back on popularity and to go out on your own. Although inside you're not really like the members of the pack, it's still frightening to decide to leave them, because as long as you're popular, you at least have someone to hang around with. But if you do leave, then you may end up all alone.
Now there's a little voice inside each of us that tells us when we're not being true to ourselves. We should listen to this voice. Often we try to talk ourselves into believing our actions are good--'it's ok to pick on that person' we say because it may make us popular for a while with the pack.
But usually there is no good reason for picking on anyone. He's only bullied or turned away because of his background, because of the way he looks or talks or thinks. It's always only because he is different - not worth less personally than anyone else.
Spock learned he could save himself from letting prejudice get him down. He could do this by really understanding himself and knowing his own value as a person. He found he was equal to anyone who might try to put him down - equal in his own unique way.
You can do this to, if you realise the difference between popularity and true greatness. It has been said that 'popularity' is merely the crumbs of greatness.
When you think of people who are truly great and who have improved the world, you can see that they are people who have realised they didn't need popularity because they knew they had something special to offer the world, no matter how small that offering seemed. And they offered it and it was accepted with peace and love. It's all in having the patience to find out what you yourself have to offer the world that's really uniquely yours.
So-- the answer to the whole problem, the answer that Spock found when he had to make his big decision, is in overcoming the need to be popular. It's in choosing your own personal goal and going after it and forgetting what the others are saying. If you do this, then the ones who accept people for the right reasons- for their true worth-will find you and like you.
So Spock said to himself: 'OK, I'm not Vulcan, so the Vulcans don't want me. My blood isn't pure red Earth blood. It's green. And my ears-well, it's obvious I'm not pure human. So they don't want me either. I must do for myself and not worry what others think of me who don't really know me.
Spock decided he would live up to his own personal value and uniqueness. He'd do whatever made him feel best about himself. He decided to listen to that little voice inside him and not to the people around him.
He replaced the idea of wanting to be liked with the idea of becoming accomplished. Instead of being interested in being popular, he became interested in being intelligent. And instead of wanting to be powerful, he became interested in being useful.
'He said to himself: 'Not everyone will like me. But there will be those who will accept me just for what I am. I will develop myself to such a point of excellence, intelligence and brilliance that I can see through any problem and deal with any crisis. I will become such a master of my own abilities and career that there will be a place for me. People of all races will need me and not be able to do without me'
And that's just what he did. And when I see him standing there on the bridge of the Enterprise, facing danger and life-and-death problems so coolly and with so much intelligence, I'm sure he made the right decision.
Leonard Nimoy you will be missed and thankfully your useful advice will continue to help many.