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- For the Vulcan homeworld, see: Vulcan.
The Vulcans, also known as Vulcanians, are a humanoid species native to the planet Vulcan. They are one of the founding species of the United Federation of Planets, widely known for their distinctive pointed ears and eyebrows, and their merciless logic.
There may have been numerous transitions within the Vulcan government which has shifted between the Vulcan High Command to the Confederacy of Vulcan. Part of their territory is known as the Vulcan Colonial Protectorate. (TOS novel: Spectre)
- For a list of Vulcans, see: Vulcans
Originating from a desert world, Vulcans have a number of features evolved for better survival in warm and dry environments. These include inner eyelids to protect their eyes from sand and the ability to go for some time without water. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) This was a genetic trait that was traced to the early Vulcan ancestors following the scorching of their world and was spread through the use of primitive eugenics allowing the entire species to retain the use of this inner eyelid. (TOS novel: Spock's World) The inner eyelid is useful as it allows a Vulcan to withstand blinding flashes of light without any damage to the eye itself. (TOS novel: Memory Prime, TOS episode: "Operation -- Annihilate!") Within Vulcans there is a clear inner eyelid (a nictitating membrane) which filters radiation, dust, and other harmful elements that could damage the eye. Although this can be further mutated, under the proper conditions, to closely resemble that of a fish. (TAS episode: "The Ambergris Element")
Vulcans tend to be tall with dark hair and all have elongated upper ears that are pointed at the top and slanted eyebrows. Some specimens have pronounced brows. Similar to Humans, Vulcans tend to have a wide range of skin tones, an example being Xialites, and other tropically descended Vulcans, possessing a darker skin complexion. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
The Vulcan epidermis is unlike any in the known galaxy as it formed a two-way moisture proof shield which protects the body from external liquids and pressure, as well as maintaining the inner temperature and the liquid environment of the organs. A notable difference between Humans and Vulcans is that Vulcans do not possess sweat glands. Instead, they evolved an ability that allows their blood, skin, and body structure to cool itself rather than perspire, which would be inefficient on the race's desert homeworld. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Vulcan blood vessels are more dilated than Humans. The larger blood vessels are the reason Vulcan blood pressure is lower. The dilated blood vessels and fast heart rate also play a key role in regulating Vulcan body temperature. A standard 91°F (32.78° C) body temperature is maintained by the internal cooling mechanism of fast blood circulation. (ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual)
Vulcan blood is copper based, giving Vulcan blood a green color. This makes it extremely effective in separating, as well as utilizing, smaller amounts of oxygen available in the Vulcan homeworld's low pressure and mildly irradiated environment. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Whilst normally green, certain diseases such as Cymbeline blood burn have been known to turn Vulcan blood red, but only in the terminal stages of the disease. (ENT novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing)
Though they appear to be similar to Humans (there has been speculation that the Vulcan and Human species perhaps possessed a common ancestor due to similarities), the Vulcan species internal anatomy is far different. Males and females are of similar height as well as stature; averaging 2 meters in height and 70 kilos in weight. Furthermore, their muscle mass is much longer and their skeletal frame is denser compared to Terrans, the direct result of their living on a world with higher gravity and a thinner atmosphere. Due to these traits, the average Vulcan tends to be stronger than a Human. Their bodies are also capable of withstanding greater levels of radiation when compared to Terrans. (ENT novel: Surak's Soul) Vulcans possess a perfect bilateral symmetry and do not have an appendix. (TOS novel: Spock Must Die!)
Vulcan internal organs tend to operate at a much faster rate compared to other comparable species. A Vulcan's pulse is normally considered quite rapid. (TOS novel: Unspoken Truth) An average heart rate is as high as 265 beats per minute. The heart itself is another source of distinction between Vulcans and Humans, as its location is the center of the torso. It's surrounded by a large lung structure which is capable of holding approximately 20% more air then Human lungs. This has resulted in the Vulcan torso, rib cage, and musculature being significantly longer. This allows it to encompass the organs within, lessening the danger of outside forces causing serious internal injury. (TOS novel: Dreams of the Raven, TOS episode: "A Private Little War")
The Vulcan skull is also notably different when compared to other species. The Vulcans possess 28 teeth and lack rear molars. Instead, they possess a longer mandibular movement than other bipedal species. Although the bone structure of the Vulcan skull is thinner, the actual skull casing is formed of extremely dense matter. This allows a thinner depth of bone to be actually harder, as well as stronger, than a human skull. Thus, fatal blows to a Human head are less life threatening to a member of this race. (TOS episode: "Mirror, Mirror")
Vulcan neurology is known to be incredibly resilient. (ENT episode: "Awakening") One of the least understood areas of the Vulcan body is the brain. The Vulcan midbrain is larger, more complex, and contains more nerve endings and capillaries than those in Human brains. The Vulcan midbrain is comparable with the Betazoid midbrain, which comprises nearly 65% of their entire brain mass, although the Vulcan midbrain only comprises 45% of the brain. It is believed that this portion of their brain gives the Vulcan species their remarkable psionic abilities, though further testing has proved to be inconclusive. Despite this being the case, their race is known to be considerably more adept telepathically when compared to most Humans. (TOS novel: The Starless World) The species also has thirty six pairs of nerves attached to their spinal cord which serves as an autonomic and voluntary nervous system. (TOS novel: First Strike) Their brains are also noted to not have the same lateralization of function when compared to Humans, where the left side of the brain controlls certain functions and right controlls others. Instead, the Vulcan brain has an area controlling speech on each side of the brain, thus providing a level of redundancy (should one part be damaged, than the other could take over). This has also made Vulcans ambidextrous in nature, allowing them to use both hands equally well. (TOS novel: Mindshadow) The Vulcan nervous system is noted as being far more resilient when compared to other races, capable of surviving damage that would kill a Human or a Denobulan. (ENT episode: "Rajiin") Unlike most humanoid species, traumatic memories were not only psychologically disturbing to Vulcans, but had physical consequences as well. The Vulcan brain, in reordering neural pathways, could literally lobotomize itself. (VOY episode: "Flashback") A rare neurological disease that can affect Vulcans over 200 years of age, Bendii Syndrome, strips emotional control by affecting the metathalamus (part of the midbrain), and can also result in telepathic projection of emotion. (TNG episode: "Sarek")
They also possess more heightened senses than Humans. Vulcans' sensitive olfactory senses can tolerate human body odors with nasal numbing agents. (ENT episode: "The Andorian Incident") Furthermore, their senses are so sharp that a Vulcan can quite easily be capable of determining if another individual is an actual organic Vulcan or a robotic duplicate. (TOS novel: Memory Prime) It has been noted that Vulcan eyesight is more acute. They are able to recognize more color frequencies and see more clearly at a distance. There is a downside to this, as Vulcans experience pain and symptoms that are similar to headaches and eyestrain when exposed to highly vibrant colors for long periods of time. Furthermore, the Vulcan optic nerve is much more delicate and sensitive compared to those of Humans, which makes it more vulnerable to disease and degeneration. (TOS episode: "The Deadly Years") One of the most obvious distinctive features in Vulcans is the shape and structure of the ear, as the top of their ears' pinna tapers into a point. Though capable of funneling sound and intensifying the reception of harmonics, the internal structure of the eardrum is very different than Humans. It forms no fewer than three separate functioning eardrums. Tests have shown that these eardrums seem to respond to differing volumes and pitch and relay the sound through separate channels to the nerve centers of the brain. Each eardrum is known to work independently and, in the case of Vulcans of old age, it is most often the eardrums that sense low pitch that deteriorate. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
The hormonal activity within the Vulcan body can be regulated consciously by trained Vulcans. This allows such individuals to control their adrenaline, thyroid, and other metabolic systems which, in turn, allows them to alter their heart rate, oxygen consumption, and other bodily resources. This training also gives Vulcans amazing recuperative abilities, allowing them to control their bodies to repair internal or structural damage at an accelerated rate while in a self-induced hypnosis. (TOS episode: "A Private Little War") Most Vulcans can resist the phermonal emissions of Deltans (TOS movie: Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and those of Orions of the opposite sex. (ENT episode: "Bound") They are also capable of surviving for long durations without food or sleep. Under stress, Vulcans can do without sleep for weeks. (TOS episode: "The Paradise Syndrome", TOS novel: Yesterday's Son) A possible exception to this control is during the reproductive cycle, Pon farr. Unless the pon farr is satisfied, a Vulcan would die within eight days of the process beginning. (TOS episode: "Amok Time"; VOY episode: "Blood Fever")
The female Vulcan can be impregnated after her menstrual cycle begins, which is typically at the age of 16, and can be as late as 25. The male Vulcan is incapable of creating progeny until after the onset of their first pon farr, during which a hormone known as yamareen is released into the bloodstream. Thereafter, the Vulcan male is capable of reproducing at any time, but they must obey the physical urge to mate every seven years. This, in comparison with the reproductive ability of other species with which they can mate, gives credence to the theory that Humans, Vulcans, and Klingons are from a common ancestor seeded by the Preservers. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Most Vulcan males experience pon farr for the first time at the age of twenty, and in seven-year cycles following that, but amongst hybrids, their biological differences mean that it can come at more uncertain times. (TOS novel: Vulcan's Glory) Vulcans are capable of producing offspring with humans, but only through the use of medical intervention. A human female needs to receive large doses of hormones and Vulcan vitamins before conception in order to prepare her body for the fetus, which takes 10 months to mature. (TOS novel: Sarek, ENT episode: "Terra Prime")
Average Vulcan anatomy:
Males height = 2.0 meters (6’6”) Females height = 1.7 meters (5’6”) Males weight = 70kg (154.3 lbs) Females weight = 50kg (110.2 lbs) Body temperature = 32.78°C (91°F) Heart rate = 242 bpm Blood pressure = 80/40
According to ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual (published 1977 by “Star Fleet Productions, Inc.”)
The Vulcan lifespan is longer than that of humans. Vulcans have been known to live over 200 years, and the Vulcan Zakal lived to the age of 276 - dying just as Surak's teachings began to take hold in Vulcan society. (TNG episode: "Sarek", TOS novel: The Lost Years, TOS novel: Epiphany) At least one Vulcan lived past the age of 277 years. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
After reaching adulthood, the aging process of Vulcans slowed a great deal. Vulcans who appeared to be young adults by human standards could actually be as much as two or three times older than their appearance indicated. T'Pol, for example, who appeared by human standards to be in her late twenties or early thirties, was actually in her mid-sixties by the time she was assigned to the Enterprise (NX-01), quite older than many of her crew members suspected. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, who appeared by human standards to be in his late thirties or early forties by the mid-24th century, was actually over 100 years old by the time the USS Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant. (ENT episode: "Fallen Hero" and VOY episode: "Flashback")
Vulcan biology was vulnerable to Trellium as it was a neurotoxin to them which degraded their neural pathways to the point that they were suffering from violent emotions that resulted ultimately in madness. (ENT episodes: "Impulse", "Damage") They had never suffered from a condition such as hyperthyroidism and thus never developed a cure for such a state. (TOS novel: Legacy) Vulcans never fainted as such a condition was the result of emotional stimuli though they were capable of being rendered unconscious by virulent disease organisms or intense external exertion. (TOS novel: Windows on a Lost World)
- Bendii syndrome
- Pa'nar Syndrome
- Skag Maug plague
- Tuvan Syndrome
- Vulcans scourge
- Vulcan flu
- Oroborus virus
- Vulcan bebonea
The Vulcans have had the capacity for space travel since at least the 3rd century and have spread throughout local space. At least one Vulcan colony was lost from the Vulcan people: the Last-of-all-Cities colony on Darien 224, which remained isolated from the galactic community for two millennia (EV comic: Cloak and Dagger). There were also several other Vulcanite races in the Federation, though it is unclear if these are directly connected to the Vulcans or if they are simply a similar species. (Balance of Terror novelization) Other Vulcan off-shoots include:
There was speculation from Spock that Sargon's people may have visited his homeworld in the past and perhaps the Vulcan species are an offshoot of theirs. (TOS episode: "Return to Tomorrow") It's also possible that the V'gelnians were a another splinter species of Vulcans.
- See main article: Vulcan history.
Founded by an ancient Vulcan named Surak, the essence of Vulcan society is in arriving at the truth through logical process. Most Vulcans believe that emotions are illogical, thus making them impure, and deterrent to truth. However, Vulcans are born with the same emotions that afflicted their violent ancestors, but the continual mind conditioning, the t'an s'at, gives them the impassivity sought after by all Vulcans. The t'an s'at is an intellectual deconstruction of emotional patterns, a lifelong process that strives for absolute detachment from all emotion. Though not all can arrive at the ultimate pure logical state, the exacting process of mental control gives Vulcans enough to conform to the ideals of Vulcan society. Vulcans of this creed were impervious to greed, deception, anger, and all other vices. (VOY episode: "Alter Ego") Ultimately, the Vulcan way was one of enlightenment and expansion of the intellect through the pursuit of logic. (VAN novel: Open Secrets) This meant that they tended to control to the point of suppression of all acts of emotions. (TOS novel: The Galactic Whirlpool) Vulcans actually felt pleasure from the contemplation of logical processes at work and felt pain from perceiving its subversion though they were ultimately able to control the effects of pleasure or pain on their behavior. (TOS novel: The Joy Machine)
The majority of Vulcans follow a belief in logic known as Cthia and many aim to achieve a state without emotion known as Kolinahr. (TOS movie: Star Trek: The Motion Picture) This philosophy meant that they relied on logic and reason to guide their lives, rather than emotion. All expression of emotions was completely forbidden, negative or otherwise. This did not mean that Vulcans had cast away all emotions they once had; they had merely made a choice not to let those emotions influence the decisions they were making. (TOS novel: Demons) This led to the mistaken belief amongst other species that Vulcans had no emotions; they did possess them, but did not permit those emotions to show in public or allow them to control their actions. (TOS novel: Prime Directive) Few Vulcans managed to extinguish all their emotions but most had mastered the ability to contain them. This went in line with Vulcan philosophy that their race had adopted which stated that there was no reason why any emotion should have any influence on behavior or cloud the path of logic. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart) Vulcan families were privately proud if any of their number counted a Kolinahr student amongst their ranks. (TOS novel: Recovery)
Both the Vulcans and the Romulans were known to possess much stronger instincts when compared to Humans. (TOS novel: The Great Starship Race) Curiousity was one emotion which Vulcans admitted and even approved. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders) In contrast, fear was something that Vulcans believed that they did not experience under their strict beliefs against emotions. (ENT episode: "Damage")
Logic was similar to a religion to the Vulcans and as such it was filled with many sects as well as schools of thought each of which had widely differing view points and opinions on nearly every subject matter. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) It must be noted that this stance is not accepted by all Vulcans, however. There are groups of Vulcans referred to as "v'tosh ka'tur", which means "Vulcans without logic." (ENT episodes: "Fusion", "Stigma") The Romulans were originally a group of Vulcans who chose to split away rather than accept the philosophy of Surak. In addition to this, many Vulcan's can subscribe to the different teachings of other philosophers such as Jarok, Nirak, or T'mor. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) In the 23rd century, the Vulcans held an interest in using the teachings of Surak to persuade the Romulans to adopt a logical viewpoint as their own so that they would, within the span of a few centuries, manage to throw off their violent, overemotional characteristics. (TOS novel: Death's Angel)
One Vulcan saying is 'The Vulcan knows there is a time for everything' which is an approximate translation from the Kahr-y-Tan which means the 'Way of the Vulcan'. An aspect of this is the herb gathering ritual which Vulcans engage in which is where they collect necessary herbs in preparation of tea for Vulcan Masters. (TOS novel: Dwellers in the Crucible) When they decided to repress their emotions, the Vulcans drive for ambition and desire to conquer that were the characteristics of leaders was expunged as they had seen the result of these traits that nearly brought devastation to their world and people. (TOS novel: From the Depths) Vulcan scientists had determined that there were hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of sentient races in the galaxy that were victims of war, hatred and bigotry. Thus, their teachings made them believe that the greatest good they were capable of accomplishing was serving as instruments of logic and teach such races that there was a way outside violence as was discovered by the Vulcan forebears in their discovery of the control of emotion as well as the use of logic. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan)
Something of noted importance within Vulcan society was the discovery of the Kir'Shara by Captain Jonathan Archer and Commander T'Pol which brought at end of the rule of the Vulcan High Command. This also sparked a rapid change within Vulcan society which moved from a government that would engage in spying, battles and a more active part in the galaxy to one of more peaceful and almost isolationist tendencies. The discovery of the Kir'Shara presumably led to many years of study which the Vulcans concentrated on rather then follow the behavior they had previously. (ENT episodes: "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")
Vulcans did not distinguish moral factors from practical ones. In addition, they were notable for not making use of animal life. The reason for doing so was because they felt no great virtue in that necessity. As they began to master their own aggressions, they began to notice both the pain as well as rage and suffering that they had inflicted on their animals by influencing them through psychic feelings. These in turn reinfected the Vulcans leading to a never ending cycle of emotions which the Vulcans in later years avoided. (TOS novel: The Prometheus Design)
In Vulcan's ancient times, there existed a number of gods and goddesses with dual aspects amongst them that stemmed from their emotions which was known as the Inner Chorus. The first was Tel-alep known as "the Watcher" who was the bearer of knowledge. His alternate counterpart was Alep-tel "the Bitter" who was eager to give knowledge but this was poisoned due to his bitterness. Another deity was Kir-alep who was the god of peace whilst his wrathful counterpart was Alep-kir "the Sullen" who was a source of apathy to Vulcans. Valdena a Vulcan goddess was the representation of love, joy and beauty whilst Dena-vel was her counterpart who sought to hide all the beauty of the world that she loves. Kal-ap-ton was the most dangerous of the gods as he was the representation of grief. A closer counterpart linked to Kal-ap-ton was Tyr-al-tep "the Unforgiver" who made Vulcans feel guilt over what might have happened had the death not occured of a loved one. One of the most dangerous and dark voices amongst the gods was Ket-Cheleb "the Destroyer" who signified anger and was the only one that lacked a counterpart with it being said that he killed his dual aspect ages ago. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
Amongst this pantheon of gods the ancient myths spoke of twin god brothers that were different from one another yet always united and together rose their mother, the sun, into the sky. The names of these god brothers would be adopted by the early Romulans for their homeworlds. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novels: Exodus, Exiles) Other gods believed to exist included the gods of peace, death and war which were depicted on the Stone of Gol. (TNG episode: "Gambit, Part II") In addition, there was the warrior goddess T'Vet who was still worshiped amongst some circles in modern Vulcan. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders). There were a number of other deities within this pantheon which included the goddess Reah who held sway over death and bereavement. There was also a male war god known as Khosarr who had a consort called Akraana. In addition, there was a red fertility goddess who was known as Lia. (TOS novel: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
Though this is the case now, the early Vulcans believed in a wide range of myths that spread across the surface of their homeworld before the age of Surak. Such beliefs include the Treasury of Erebus that spoke of an ice demon living within the snow at the peak of Mount Seleya. Another myth spoke of the Eater of Souls which would devour the souls of travelers lost in the deserts of Vulcan. While other myths spoke of a deadly creature known as the Veruul that lived within the heart of the Fire Plains of Raal within Vulcan's Forge. Furthermore, in the heart of the Womb of Fire was stated to lie Vorta Vor. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novels: Exodus, Exiles)
Vulcan mythology believed in a place known as Sha Ka Ree which was the Vulcan view of Eden. (TOS movie: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) According to some of the oldest myths of the Vulcan race, that at the end of the universe all of existence was going to be consumed by fire. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exiles) Though the practice of worshipping gods had long ended with the introduction of Surak's logic, there were traditionalist cults that maintained the practice of belief in these deities those these groups had little interaction with later era Vulcans. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
Similar to Earth mythologies, Vulcans never intruded on the realm of the gods without reason which was usually due to an important task that mortals were required to accomplish that the deities themselves were unable to conduct themselves. (TOS novel: The Wounded Sky)
Family was noted as an important aspect of Vulcan society with loyalties overruling even planetary law. This was partly due to the fact that Vulcan itself was governed by an oligarchy composed of several prominent families. Vulcan families were extremely disciplined and very close knit. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son) Vulcans were noted for their more complex family relationships compared to Humans. Such family units consisted of the Eldest of House with normally a matriarch in charge of the affairs of the House. (TOS novel: Sarek) The social traditions of a family were considered quite rigid in the sense that children had great expectations which were difficult to integrate with personal ambitions or needs. The family ultimately determined most life choices or attempted to influence them such as career and even marriage. The latter was a notable aspect as it was expected the family lines were to be preserved through succession and tradition be upheld. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son) Traditionally, a male Vulcan was not present at the time when their mate was delivering their child during the pregnancy. (TOS novel: Star Trek (2009)) Children when they were born were not given a name until their Naming Day. (TOS novel: Sarek) Similar to the ceremonies surrounding marriage and burial, the Vulcan rituals that concerned birth had remained intact over the millenia with event he logic of Surak failing to strip the Vulcan race of their dark and ancient rites. (TOS novel: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
Newborn children til the age of four were known to take part in visual mathematics, basical calculation as well as beginning the neurological organization of their brains which was followed by an identity meld. By the time they were four, they began mathematics and species identification as well as began to coordinate the use of their physical bodies. Furthermore, algebra, geometry and physics dominated their study life at this time. (TOS novel: Battlestations!) Typically, as part of Vulcan custom, children are betrothed at around seven Earth years of age when they undergo a Bonding ceremony which telepathically links the two. As a result the two Vulcans would seek one another during their pon farr cycle. (TOS novel: Sarek) This practice had been in place for thousands of generations. (TOS novel: Vulcan's Glory) This was a parental arrangement which dated to ancient times as it served as a method of preventing wars and strengthening ties between neighbors whose ancestral lands adjoined. (TOS novel: Dwellers in the Crucible)
When they were eight, children began preliminary telepathic communication and were taught etiquette as well as their clans history along with Vulcan anthropology, calculus and quantum physics. When the child was ten, they learn to suppress cortical stimuli in the dominant hemisphere as well as learn of their races cultural history and began a study of Vulcan rites of passage. By the time they were eleven, they learn of the pressure points needed for mind melding in addition to learning memory accuracy and internal time counting. Furthermore, they were introduced to logic and definition, the principles of analysis, concreteness of thought and physical deportment. These early years of study were expected to continue til the child was between the age of thirteen to fifteen after which their formal training began. (TOS novel: Battlestations!) As children, Vulcans did not make use of secret languages though there were codes, gestures and intonation that were constantly changing. (TOS novel: World Without End) During their early education, Vulcan children took part in a curriculum where they learnt the most rudimentary telesper skills to better control their innate telepathic abilities. (TOS novel: Unspoken Truth)
When formal training began, the first rite conducted was Tal T'Lee where they were assisted in their meditation by an adept of their clan council. They learn to control their subdominant cortices which was followed by Dwemish Hi-An where identity isolation was learnt along with brain control with numbers systems and equations. They also learn multiplication left to right whereupon they took part in Enok-Kal Fi Lar which was the processes of definition and the concepts of given. Once this was complete, the child took part in An-Prele between the age of sixteen to nineteen where they learn pain control meditation from a clan council adept. They were also expected to read Essays of Discipline and Analysis of Pseudodoxy as well as was expected to learn to segregate the lobes of their brains. (TOS novel: Battlestations!) As the child grew older, one of their rights of passage was the Kahs-wan maturity test which was a survival ritual that dated before the time of Surak. Those who survived took their first step into adulthood. (TOS novel: Exodus)
At the age of twenty to twenty four, the Vulcan was expected to learn of logical paradigms and behavioral modification through the Runes of T'Vish. They also learn multiplication right to left, diagonal and cross multiplication as well as learn to isolate their katra. This continued til the age of twenty five to twenty nine where the Sele-An-T'Lee was conducted which comprised of lessons in subdominant brain organization, advanced philosophy and logic, muscle coordination and the control of will. Part of this also included learning the five steps which were the belief discipline, reality awareness, sensory acuteness, visual calculation and fact analysis. There were further readings expected which included Logic and Definition, Equations, Systems of Logic, The Interior and Purpose as Prime Motivator. There were also taught advanced mind meld techniques as part of their training.
By the time the Vulcan was thirty to thirty five, they were expected to had conducted the Norn-La-Hal which involved superior control meditation and neurological organization. Furthermore, importance was placed on the dignity and tradition in Vulcan identity as well as the contemplations of infinity. The final stage of this training involved Venlinahr which was the state most adult Vulcans had attained and involved meditation by individual discretion. There was also further study of Vulcan dharma as well as advanced readings on the mystagogues of Surak, Scorus, T'Enne, T'Vish, Prisu and Seltar. (TOS novel: Battlestations!)
- It should be noted that the above events were in relation to children of the Lyr Zor clan and thus may not be true to all Vulcan children.
Vulcans youths were not allowed to guide the conversations of their elders, this was especially the case if the child in question was not past the age of the Ka nifoor. (TOS novel: Corona) From a young age, Vulcans were geared towards the suppression of feelings of emotions and divest themselves from such traits. (FASA RPG module: The Federation) By the time a Vulcan was an adult, they had learnt a set of mind rules which governed their telepathic abilities as well as the necessary skills needed to shield their thoughts from outside emotions. (TOS novel: Mindshadow)
It was generally believed that the Vulcans did not possess any emotions though such a line of thought was false as they in fact hold the capacity to not only understand but deal with emotions. However, they had chosen not to do so and instead worked for the suppression of such feelings. (FASA RPG module: The Federation) As such, they were perfectly capable of experiencing emotions but chose not to express them. (TOS novel: Memory Prime) Though ultimately logical creatures, it took many years of practice and training for young Vulcans who do demonstrate emotions at first before beginning the long process that was made by Surak centuries ago. To accomplish this, Vulcan parents used learning tools and techniques to train their children in the primary concepts of logic, and to gain control over their emotions. Eventually, through these processes young children began to learn emotional control. (VOY episode: "Human Error", TNG novel: Metamorphosis) As part of their belief in honesty, Vulcan parents were known not to shield the truth from their young as they believed it would hinder their development in coping with such difficulties. Furthermore, a parent's attachment to the child was not considered an emotion but rather as part of the parent's identity and without the child, the parent would not be complete. (VOY episode: "Innocence")
Vulcans preferred not to dance with another man's wife which was attributed to their customs which stated that it was not appropriate for a man to have in his arms a woman that was not his. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders) During the marital arrangements, it was possible for the male to pay a bride price to his future wife. These dowries were not paid by a bride's family on Vulcan but by the husband when he was seem to be fortunate enough to gain a life partner. At the time of the formal announcement of marriage, the husband paid a monthly sum to the bride's family until the wedding took place. This money was used to provide the future wife's needs until the husband officially took on his marital responsibilities. This was the case even if the woman was wealth or had a career of her own or even both. This meant that the bride price also varied and was determined by the husband's wealth with the more wealthy having to contribute more money to their future wife.(TOS novel: Vulcan's Glory) In addition, there were strict teachings that spoke against desecrating the dead. (TOS novel: Mind Meld)
Matters regarding the Vulcan mating practices were typically not discussed with outworlders. (VAN novel: Open Secrets) They also believed that close family exchanges should be kept private. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan)
Vulcans were known to recognize the need to grieve though kept such affairs private. (TOS novel: Ex Machina) Thus, they mourned the death of friends and kin though they were aware of the danger of abdicating complete control to loss as it was frequently difficult to regain their former composure. (TOS novel: From the Depths) The tenets of their philosophy provided guidance on facing personal loss with equanimity and the use of logic to maintain emotional control as well as a state of quietude. Some believed that the lives of the dead were capable of being mourned only if those lives had been wasted. (TOS novel: The Fire and the Rose) It was considered an important matter to Vulcan families to recover the body of a deceased member. (TOS novel: Bloodthirst) In addition, whenever the partner in a bonding died, the family linked mentally in order to provide support until the surviving partner managed to adjust from the loss. (TOS novel: Time for Yesterday) Vulcan custom held that, whenever possible, the immediate family of the deceased walked from the site of the burial back to their home. (TOS novel: The Fire and the Rose)
- "In infinite diversity, there are infinite combinations. In infinite diversity, we find indefinite strength." -- a saying by Surak.
Surak's teachings were the most important philosophical essays in Vulcan history, detailing the use of logic and reason in order to control warring emotions and destructive tendencies. In the beginning, Vulcans used their emotions as a tool, preferring to apply logic to justify their actions rather than use logic to guide their actions. As the race evolved and the teachings of Surak spread, however, the use of various techniques to banish and suppress emotion became more prevalent and Vulcan psychology blossomed. The understanding of one's mind and mental processes as well as one's emotional reactions became a necessity, and psychology was applied not only to one's own actions but also to understanding the actions of others. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Their beliefs also led them to hold that all life was precious as it could never be returned or replaced. This meant that they never considered an act that would lead to the death of an individual - not even their enemies. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son)
The foremost psychologists on Vulcan belonged to the religious orders that guided Vulcan society. Surak's school, the largest and most popular sect of Vulcan beliefs, advocated the study and understanding of emotional desires, so that the student could suppress and control them. Constant study of this process, as well as assisting others in achieving mastery of psionics through control of emotion, had caused the devotees of this doctrine to become experts on the workings and common psychological traumas of Vulcan minds. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Vulcan reasoning meant that they did not have "hunches" but rather used subliminal clues to add up to a high order of probability. (TOS novel: Ishmael) They also preferred to train their minds rather than artificially enhance it. (TOS novel: The Starship Trap)
The school of Surak had many techniques which opened the mind of a student, perceiving where the student's difficulties and strongest emotions lie and adjusted the mind's processes so that the student can more completely face the emotion and learn to control it. Thus, they were experienced in abnormal psychology as well as the common workings of the Vulcan minds. When a Vulcan was unable to control his emotions, his family or colleagues often summoned a devotee of Surak to deal with him. When a Vulcan willingly gives in to his emotions, it was one goal of those who followed the doctrines of Surak to help him resolve his problems and rejoin society. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
One of the most contemplated teachings of Surak was his admonition that one should study reason above all else. He taught that a Vulcan should learn to discern reality both as it seemed to be and as it truly was. This dissection of truth from illusion had spurred Vulcans into intense study of science and mathematics, helping them dissect many of the most complex workings in the universe into logical steps. Patience, temperance and logical observation (truthfulness to the world) were three of the greatest virtues of Vulcan culture and all have great application to scientific reasoning. Vulcans believed that their adherence to this doctrine made them the foremost scientists in the Federation. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) An old precept among their kind stated that "the time required to solve a problem is inversely proportional to the amount of knowledge brought to bear on the subject". This essentially meant that the more scientists capable of reviewing the data, the greater the chance was that someone would find the solution to the problem. (TOS novel: Windows on a Lost World)
Further, the application of these virtues, combined with intense meditation, had given Vulcans great control over their native psionic abilities. They remained unable, however, to control that most famous biological trigger of Vulcan mental abilities such as the pon farr. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Most Vulcans learn numerous mental techniques that had been first developed by Surak but over the centuries had been improved upon by generations of philosophers and healers. During times of stress or those that led to agitation, a Vulcan was capable of calming themselves through the use of a meditation formula. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders) They maintained a great many techniques in the arts of meditation which they regularly employed. This ranged from simple basic defensive meditation capable of blocking the telepathic intrusions of highly trained telepaths such as Betazoids to complete meditation where there was a cessation of all thought. Such techniques were even used in the early period of interstellar travel when Vulcans entered into a deep extended meditation during intergalactic voyages that lasted for decades under sub-light travel where Vulcan explorers travelled between the stars. Furthermore, it was well noted that torture had little effect on Vulcans. (TOS novel: Captain's Blood)
It was known that incense was a means used by Vulcans to better facilitate meditation. In addition, they often made use of special mandalas engraved with Vulcan glyphs that were used to focus as well as help quiet their minds and emotions thus removing any barriers or distractions that might prevent them from concentrating on the reception along with the application of logic. (VAN novel: Open Secrets) Meditation was a particularly useful technique when they were confronted with a problem that defied casual analysis. (TOS novel: Legacy) Masochism did not exist within Vulcan society. (TOS novel: Star Trek (2009)) Those that took part in the kolinahr ritual also learnt of calming techniques in order to center themselves during times of emotional turmoil. Concentration was an art that the Vulcans had learnt early though doing so without any results was taxing. (TOS novel: Avenger)
Among the Vulcan disciplines taught included the simple technique of handling pain where the individual accepted the pain till it became a part of them whereupon it simply vanished. (TOS novel: The Wounded Sky) Vulcans did not believe in using medicines to cure minor afflictions and instead their science taught them to use their own bodies to create medicines to combat any such issues. This was the reason for the use of neuropressure in treating problems such as difficulty in sleeping. (ENT episode: "The Xindi")
Vulcans are noted for their patience and believe it is a necessity among their species while it was a virtue among Humans. (TOS novel: Sarek) One of the most famous qualities among the Vulcan people was their high degree of honesty. This was to such an extent that many Vulcan's were highly reluctant to tell a lie which led to the saying that "Vulcans cannot lie" (TOS episode: "The Enterprise Incident") Despite this, it was known that, under logical reasons of course, that they were capable of accomplishing such a task or make an omission. No Vulcan admitted such a dishonesty and considered it an act of "lying". (TOS movies: The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country) A saying on Vulcan included "It is not a lie to keep the truth to oneself." (TOS novel: Burning Dreams) They had an old custom ridden culture with a complex social structure involved in its makeup. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son) Greed was a particularly rare concept amongst Vulcans to the point that it was unheard of within their society. (TOS novel: Legacy)
Their society had no property authority for investigating violent crimes since they rarely occurred. Vulcan belief held that those who had the ability to commit murder had a form of mental illness. Whilst they were capable of killing in cases of defense or racial survival; to actually murder for personal gain was not considered logical. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders) These traits meant many believed that Vulcan society was devoid of criminal elements or terrorists though what was not known to many that such activities were known to had happened in the past. A total of at three hundred and twelve Vulcans were known to had committed terrorist acts in the past millennium by the time of the 24th century. Whilst terrorist acts on Vulcans were rare, they were generally limited to expressions of extreme political theory and also sporadic attempts at returning to the violent philosophies that ruled the Vulcan home world before the days of Surak. The number of such organizations included the Adepts of T'Pel, the Kahrilites, the Followers of the Cupric Band, the Binaries, the Traxton Compound, the Central Source and the Symmetrists. (TOS novel: Avenger)
Individual Vulcan towns held their own regional justice committee who were responsible for detention of criminals, holding trials and giving permission for mind melds. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan) In terms of murder, an ancient Vulcan tradition stated "Suffer the death of thine enemy" as the race were touch telepaths and the death of another often meant that the murderer had to accept their pain. As such, even in pre-Reform times, the Vulcans were selective about who they murdered as they had to decide whether it was worth experiencing the pain of their victim. (TNG novel: Metamorphosis) The Vulcan legal system was known to had developed to the point that it was considered both precise and elegant. (TOS novel: Rules of Engagement)
- The Vulcan Academy Murders states that there was no proper authority for investigating violent crimes which contradicts LUG which says that the V'Kor were a police force within Vulcan society.
Nutrition was seen as a perfectly logical activity though the Vulcans did not take any lunch. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders) They were quite capable of going for long periods without food allowing them to fast for an extended time. (TOS novel: Spock Must Die!) Furthermore, tradition was an important aspect of their society which was partly attributed to their capacity to perform mind melds that allowed for memories to pass across the generations. (TOS novel: Captain's Glory) This meant that century long memories were passed down family lines through mind melds leading to the creation of a "secret heart" within the Vulcan mind where they remembered the horrors and atrocities of their "pre-history". This also meant that there were a great many secrets were secretly kept from outsiders due to the respect for their traditions. (TOS novel: Memory Prime) Furthermore, Vulcan tradition held that its members be personally able attend to the affairs of any land or property that had in their possession. (TOS novel: Vulcan's Glory) In addition, Vulcans were taught to not acquire many personal belongings as such an act was not deemed logical. (ENT novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing)
After achieving their belief in logic, the Vulcan people estimated that other races had developed a similar "enlightenment" as well as the belief of peaceful exploration upon achieving warp travel but this was eventually proven wrong. To compensate with more 'emotional' races, they developed a complex behavioral algorithm that would allow them to model as well as predict another beings emotional response that would be calculated mentally. It was created as a form of self survival. The equations were very difficult to master but the Vulcan people had developed a wide variety in order to compensate for any situation. (DS9 novel: The War of the Prophets) To Vulcans, it was considered a breach of privacy to have their names called out loud in public. (TOS novel: The Motion Picture) Furthermore, Vulcans never carried weapons in public unless it was during the Kal-if-fee. (TOS novel: The Abode of Life)
Due to their telepathic nature, the Vulcans had a number of mind rules in place over the governance and use of these powers. (TOS novel: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) As they were touch telepaths, they preferred not to have physical contact during greetings such as when two people shook hands as Vulcans had an unpleasant mental intrusion from the brief contact. This did not mean that they avoided shaking hands but they did so only when they had to. (TOS novel: Recovery) Early training was designed to strengthen personal barriers and erect mental shields designed to prevent constant intrusion. In fact, on Vulcan it was considered a heinous crime for forcing a mind meld which was considered an unforgivable invasion of spirit. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son) Students of the Vulcan mind-touch techniques were intimately familiar with the intricacies of telepathic communication. (TOS novel: The Starless World) One such technique allowed its adept to take the pain of another beings and drew strength from it. This ancient discipline was forbidden in modern Vulcan society as it was misused by many who sought to impose their will upon others allowing them to brainwash individuals to become loyal servants. (TOS novel: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
- Whilst not named, this technique does appear to be similar to the one employed by the warlord Sudoc who used a telepathic ability to brainwash individuals into becoming loyal followers.
An ancient Vulcan custom was the offering of fire and water to guests allowing them to stay in a Vulcan home. (Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) Another involved casual contact which meant that others were not allowed to touch a Vulcan's body. (VAN novel: Open Secrets) This was partly attributed to their species being touch telepaths and any physical touch meant that the Vulcan in question was forced to peer into the mind of the other individual. (TOS novel: Memory Prime) Within their society, the Vulcan government was known to reward those individuals with advancement on meritocratic principles. (ENT episode: "Awakening") In addition, ninety eight percent of Vulcans had all held some form of public office by the time they were two hundred years of age. (TOS novel: Spock's World) There was a general belief that the Vulcan lifespan meant that they tended to fixate on their careers and stick to them during their long lifespans which led some to belief that their society suffered from some form of stagnation. (ENT novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing) Whilst they typically lived in large settlements, there were several isolationist villages scattered around their homeworld who shunned contact with the rest of their society with the closest human analogy being to that of the Amish communities. (VAN novel: Open Secrets)
One saying attributed to the Vulcans was "When all rational solutions refuse to fit the available facts, then we seek an irrational solution that does.". (TOS novel: The Starless World) They also held a similar saying as the Human phrase "Speak of the devil and he will appear". Though this was not superstition but simple observation on their part. (TOS novel: World Without End)
- Pon farr
- Rite of Tal'oth
Poker was known to be extremely popular amongst Vulcans as it was a game of sublime logic and not of blind chance. Due to their logical nature and ability to calculate odds swiftly in their minds, Vulcans were known to possess the perfect poker face. (TOS novel: Devil World) Vulcans generally tended to be self conscious dancers though in relation to other arts, their fixation on logic did not preclude their appreciation of beauty. (TOS novel: The Starship Trap)
adronn feltara • anwoa sprout • b'lltarr • bertakk soup • c'torr • farr-kahli • filrak • forati sauce • gespar • iced fruit • ihntya' • kahri-torrafeiaca • kalafruit • kleetanta • kreyla • lirs • L-Lersa • mia-zed • m'lu • n'gaan • plomeek • plomeek broth • plomeek soup • saffir • soltar • t'coraca • t'miirq soup • t'mirak rice • tolik fruit • tono'pak soup • ulan soup • vranto salad • wafer fruit
- See main article: Vulcan language.
Vulcans are known to be an advanced spacefaring people that were exploring the stars long before humanity was capable of doing so, as early as the 3rd century. Early Vulcans were a violent people and much of their advanced technology was seemingly lost in the nuclear wars shortly before the reformation of the Vulcan people led by Surak in the Time of Awakening. (EV comic: "Cloak and Dagger"; ENT episode: "Awakening")
Technology from this period included psionic devices such as Katric arks and psionic weapons including the Stone of Gol, Tol par-doj and Vorl-tak. Psionic weapons were banned on Vulcan following the reformation, but survived in the lost colony of the last-of-all-Cities. (EV comic: "Cloak and Dagger"; ENT episodes: "Awakening", "Kir'Shara"; TNG episode: "Gambit")
Even in the era of the Federation, the Vulcans contributed greatly in the fields of science. Sunok of Vulcan was responsible for the further refinement of transporter technology, making it virtually impossible for the machinery to malfunction, whilst many of Starfleet's starship design refinements came from advances in Vulcan science. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan)