Kaiidth

One of the earliest concepts Surak taught to his followers was kaiidth, which is traditionally translated into Federation Standard English as simply What is, is. Another informal and more descriptive translation is Let go and go with the flow. If one looks for an equivalent in human philosophy, it can be found in the traditions of Taoism and the words of Lao-tzu in the 76th verse of the Tao Te Ching: “An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind.”

He defined kaiidth in Part Six of the Second Analects, which you can read here: https://kirshara.wordpress.com/second-analects/

Vocalist and ka’athaira player T’Prion has put Surak’s discussion of kaiidth to music, offered here in this video. We hope you find it satisfactory. Below, you’ll find the lyrics in Modern Golic Vulcan and a translation into FSE.

KAIIDTH

Nam-tor nash kaiidth

Ken-tor hagik tanafsular heh teransular rata t’kaiidth.
Is-tor au ish-veh svi’fereikanlar rik hokni-nahp.
Veshtau ruhm dan-tanafsular kisheyalar.
Puhuplamau kras. Pupluhnkau masu.
Zatrasha ozhlar nayik kurayalar.
Tusa ein-tanafsular, dva-tor ta puyigahdau fereikan.
Hi nunau yeht-tanafsu kras-thezh,
masu-ulidar, il kuraya vi’bikuv.

Nam-tor nash kaiidth.

Trel-tor ozhlar t’teransu fi’ka’athaira
eh mavau sa-veh ralash-pitohlar ik ri wedzh-tor sa-veh.
Kuv vesht fa-wak saven-tor sa-veh teran,
lau aisha tchachaik’es fa’orensular sa-veh yar-kurau.
Hi kal-tor yeht-teransu ralash-pitohlar
kisheik kakhartau teran na’ek-uzh-kharat.
Nazh-tor ralvatif uzh-set’ko
eh nam-tor ish-veh weh-rom fna’riyeht-ralash-pitohlar.

Nam-tor nash kaiidth.

Fai-tor rom-masu-halsu ta kuv puk-tor ish-veh tehn’nepilash,
fa-wak shetau ish-veh maut-zungor heh mastevau.
Hi kuv ri shetau ish-veh pahthik,
fa-wak kup masu-hal-tor ish-veh na’vla eh fun-tor hagik na’gef.
Tvai kaiidth kal-tor hal-tor heh kal-tor lesh pilash t’ha’kiv etek.
Vun nar-tor etek ta fa-wak katau ish-veh etek
na’ridvuyan-masular wilat fa-wak
tihetilau ha-pavek k’ten t’urgam.

Nam-tor nash kaiidth.

WHAT IS IS

This is kaiidth.

Artists and composers easily grasp the concept of kaiidth.
They use it in their creations without conscious thought.
Even the best painters experience accidents.
Paint is spilled. Water is splashed.
Eager fingers leave stains.
Some artists weep, believe their work is ruined.
But the true artist fits the paint-drip,
watermark, or stain into the picture.

This is kaiidth.

The composer’s fingers slip on the ka’athaira
and he plays notes that he did not intend.
If he were teaching composition, his awkwardness in front of students
may cause him to turn green [with embarrassment].
But the true composer allows the accidental notes
to guide his composition towards a whole new direction.
The melody gains new interest
and is better for the wrong notes.

This is kaiidth.

The good swimmer knows that if he fights against the rip current,
he will exhaust himself and drown.
But if he does not panic,
he will be able to swim to the side and return to the shore with ease.
Kaiidth means letting go and allowing the current of life to carry us.
We must accept that it will bring us
to the still waters
where the situation will stabilize with less effort.

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To Understand without Knowing

Art by Jonliza Velox

Art by Jonliza Velox

Ken-tor rik’faiyan. The phrase comes from Dahr-Krus, or Part Two, of Surak’s Analects. In it, Surak considers the subject of epistemology, or how we know what we know. He wrestles through the systems of knowledge prominent on Vulcan in his day, including: 1) empiricism – the insistence that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience; 2) rationalism – the doctrine that knowledge (and ultimately, truth) must be tested by intellect and deductive reasoning ; 3) the scientific method – the rigorous discipline which combines and utilizes both empiricism and rationalism in the pursuit of knowledge and truth; and authoritarianism – the acceptance of knowledge and the truth of ideas asserted by an unquestionable authority.

He concludes that all these systems have their place in the daily quest for knowledge but that none are satisfactory for developing understanding. “Wide experience increases wisdom,” he said, “but to know the ultimate truth, we must transcend knowledge.” It was this assertion that won him favor with the priests of the Suta Temple in Shi’Kahr, and it was there on the ancient steps that he first began to teach a new philosophy to a wide audience. Before the Awakening, Vulcan monasteries were institutions of peace, as they remain today, but they were closed to all but the initiated. Before Surak, holy men and women practiced isolationism, removing themselves from the violence of the day behind thick walls. They had little hope the average Vulcan could live in peace, but when Surak began to advocate the strict control of emotions, the priests of the Suta Temple thought he was onto something.

Since that time, Vulcan philosophers, priests, linguists, scientists, and educators continued to debate what the phrase “to understand without knowing” means. One renowned voice in the debate was Professor Aravik who taught music and psychology at the Vulcan Science Academy. He was particularly interested in how the brain processes, stores, and retrieves information. He recognized that the unconsciousness stored a vast amount of information that was more readily retrieved when paired with a musical phrase, which acted as a trigger. Working with psychologists and musicians at the VSA, he developed a musical style call tumaun-ralash-tanaf, or “programming music.”  The technique involves creating a meaningful word-phrase that embodies a concept, construct, lesson, method, or any subject matter the student wishes to master. The word-phrase is then paired with a simple but memorable musical phrase, which is repeated at predetermined intervals in the learning process. Dr. Aravik discovered that his subjects – students who were required to master vast sequences of equations or to recall lengthy passages of scientific theorem or legal doctrine – improved their recall ability on exams by 96.78% when the material was paired with tumaun-ralash-tanaf. The musical phrase alone (without what he termed the “word-crutch”) became for the student a key that unlocked the unconscious mind where a large amount of the memorized information was stored. “Music,” he wrote in one of his reports, “enters the brains at a deeper level than language. Music acts as a trigger for our deepest memories and can access that part of the brain where information once thought to be irretrievable by normal methods of recall is easily, quickly, and precisely brought into the conscious mind.” (Aravik, 2423, p. 16)

Modern Vulcan education employs tumaun-ralash-tanaf at all levels, from the primary learning pods through the doctoral dissertation. To this day, the Vulcan ability of extraordinary recall continues to amaze non-Vulcans throughout the galaxy. Many species have requested the use of the technique for their own educational programs. Vulcan scientists, however, are reluctant to share the procedure since the Vulcan mind does not exhibit the same structure as the brains of similar humanoid species. Even other Vulcanoids, such as Romulans, have a remarkably different brain structure from modern Vulcans. The teachings of Surak and the discipline adhered to for the last two millennia are partly responsible for the development of the modern Vulcan mind.

The following is a sample of tumaun-ralash-tanaf in a song composed and sung by T’Prion. The phrase ken-tor rik’faiyan, “to understand without knowing,” is used by followers of Surak, often with the guidance of a priestess or other instructor, to reach a deeper level of consciousness in meditation and to commit Surak’s teachings to memory.

Ken-tor rik’faiyan video

Here are the lyrics in Modern Golic Vulcan and in Federation Standard English:

Ken-tor rik’faiyan lyrics  (Art by Jonliza Velox)

SOURCES

Aravik & Sern. (2422). Learning and the control of behavior: principles, theories, and application of operant conditioning. Shi’Kahr: Vulcan Science Academy Press.

Aravik. (2423). Learning in a new key: a study in the application of music and its effect on cognitive processing and recall. Journal of Vulcan Cognition, 45(2), 12-36.

To read a selection of Aravik’s work, click on this link:

http://korsaya.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Tumaun-ralash-tanaf.pdf

Join the Forum at Korsaya.org to discuss this work and many other topics regarding Vulcan culture and language.

 

 

You and I Have Learned

The death of beloved actor Leonard Nimoy did not come as a

Photo by T'Prion

Photo by T’Prion

shock. He was, after all, a man of advanced age and ill health. It was a logical end of a life thoroughly lived, enjoyed, and shared – a life of creativity, reflection, and learning. These virtues were devoted to developing the Vulcan character the world came to love and the culture he represented – both material and moral.

As an actor, poet, and photographer, Nimoy shared much of himself with the world – and never more so than within his portrayal of Spock, the archetype by which all other Vulcan characters have been measured since. He was the first and the last – the end and the beginning.

Although the melding of actor and character was uncomfortable at times for Nimoy, he expressed sincere gratitude for his involvement with the Vulcan. “Because of him, I’ve had a number of wonderful opportunities. And I’d like to think that, just as his Vulcan logic has had a tempering effect on me, my emotional human personality has rubbed off on him a bit. I know we’ve both matured and mellowed a great deal over these three decades.” Nimoy went on in his autobiography to tell Spock, “We’re both very lucky — lucky to have had each other.” Instead of expounding on the nature of luck versus statistics, Spock softly agrees, “Yes, I suppose we have.”1

For Vulcans, whose greatest love is learning and the accompanying growth of intellect and spirit, life is one big classroom. At the end of a life well-lived, a Vulcan should be able to look back and reflect upon all that has been learned. Nimoy did this simply and succinctly in one of his poems called You and I Have Learned, originally published in 19812 and shared again with the world on Twitter3 five days before his death. He wanted to remind us of the important gift we all possess – a gift he shared with the world through Spock – a gift he wanted to remind each of us to share.

To that end, we offer here You and I Have Learned translated into Modern Golic Vulcan in a video tribute to the honored Mr. Nimoy. Light with him always…and with us.4

http://youtu.be/eWwBeTRalqk

 

SOURCES

1Nimoy, L. (1995). I am Spock. New York: Hyperion, p. 11.

2Nimoy, L. (1981). These Words are for You. Boulder, CO: Blue Mountain Press.

3Nimoy, L. (2015, February 22). You and I Have Learned [Twitter]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/TheRealNimoy

4Sarek offered this blessing to T’Pau on the scattering of her ashes. Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s World. New York: Pocket Books, p. 296.

The Logic of the Forge

Recently, an excerpt from Surak’s teachings appeared in a publication commemorating the firstThe Forge 150 years of the United Federation of Planets. The selection is included as a sample of Vulcan philosophy and as an artifact of interest from one of the founding worlds. While the translation into Federation Standard English is satisfactory, the opening commentary is insufficient in detail to adequately introduce non-Vulcans to Surak’s writings. I would like to expand on and clarify that introduction here.

The journal entry featured in Federation: The First 150 Years is from a selection of writings typically referred to as The Logic of the The Forge, dating to the year 312 when Surak was 33 standard Vulcan years old. The entry is part of the Awakening phase of his life, after his family was killed and he lost his best friend Senet in the Sudocian Wars. While he took refuge in various part of Shi’Kahr, he was captured and tortured – not behind enemy lines – but by Shi’alan officials who believed he possessed military intelligence that would aid them in pinpointing the location of the mindlord Sudoc. Sudoc’s strikes on the region of Shi’al, and in particular the city of Shi’Kahr were Surak lived, were vicious and unrelenting. Shi’alan military officials sought to end the war by infiltrating Sudoc’s compound and executing the warlord. Sudoc knew they were getting close. Days earlier, his mind-controlled assassins penetrated Shi’Kahr and slaughtered several of its top-ranking officers, including General Solek, Surak’s father, and their households.

When they brought Surak in for questioning, they found him wandering the streets in a state of shock. He’d been out with his friends – one of whom was Senet – when Surak’s family was murdered. His confusion only increased when officials began interrogating him about his defection from the army. They accused him of desertion and, therefore, treason. They accused him of orchestrating his family’s murder. Surak, they said, deserted his position in the Shi’alan army and killed his own family because he was under the influence of Sudoc’s psychic powers. Stunned, Surak invoked the right of privilege. In those days, the sons and daughters of the wealthy were spared from the draft. Only a handful these young people freely chose to enter military service, preferring instead days of leisure. Surak was no exception and spent his youth enjoying games of strategy and debating the finer points of philosophy with a close circle of friends.

General Solek was so embarrassed by Surak’s lack of patriotism that he created a complete forgery of records detailing his son’s distinguished career in the army. Hence, the officials’ confusion and the comment in the aforementioned introduction: “The Vulcan philosopher Surak grew up in a world plagued by war and on the edge of self-destruction. As a young man, he fought in those wars in the infantry; he attributed much of his later philosophy to the changes he underwent during his ordeal.”[1]

This last statement is undeniably true.  In his journal, Surak wrote: “Vesht nam-tor nash-veh has-bosh fna’mesh; Nekal nash-veh agreibaya t’au, vesht tan-tor na’au ek’ro’fori ik psal au. I was sick over my humiliation; I had succumbed to their torture, given them all the information they had sought….”[2] In passages preceding the one quoted here, Surak described the nature of the information he had given the authorities and how that revelation affected him.

“I did have the information they sought,” he wrote, “for I had touched my father as he lay dying and saw it in his mind. I saw his hopes and his fears. I knew where Sudoc hid. I knew where all his wives and children were. I knew where his generals were, and all their wives and children. My father had learned their location through his operatives, who were also killed that night – before any of that intelligence could be utilized. With a few cowardly words, I sentenced them all to death.”

Later, when Surak began teaching peace and compassion in the crowded markets, he was often asked, “Why did you not rejoice at this information and give it eagerly? Here was your chance to destroy the man who destroyed your family and countless others.” Surak replied, “Does the destruction of the man who destroyed my family elevate me above him? Does the destruction of innocents for the sake of his execution absolve my conscience of the blood that has been spilled due to my words? Will not the survivors in his compound wish to retaliate? When will it end?”

Although Sudoc escaped the storming of his compound, the majority of his family was killed. During the raid, Surak managed to flee his cell and escaped through a series of tunnels into the neighboring kingdom of Lhai where he wandered the Forge for days until the search parties thought him dead.

In this journal entry, Surak wrote, “Katal nahp pa’svik mesh, heh vesht fai-tor hash-veh ta worla kupi hal-tor nash-veh na’ha-kel. The thought of my betrayal brought guilt, and I knew I could never go home.”[3] The betrayal he speaks of here is not only the betrayal of his close circle of friends but also the betrayal of self. At that point in his life, his friends had become his family, and during his incarceration, he had revealed their whereabouts through the pain of torture. They were all charged with sedition and wanted for questioning. But most of all, Surak was troubled by his betrayal of his own morals. By giving into his emotions and the pain, he failed to stand by his convictions, he later said.

One of the most interesting segments of this entry is Surak’s confession that he broke one of Vulcan’s ancient taboos. After he had wandered in the Forge for several days without food and water, he was awoken by a scout craft flying dangerously low overhead. Moments later, he witnessed its crash and ran to the crumpled fuselage to check for survivors. He pulled the bodies of two pilots – both dead – from the wreckage and searched the craft for survival rations and water but found none. “Thirst was overcoming me,” he wrote, “and I thought…I could drink their blood. It would allow me to survive. My religious upbringing considered this a violation of sacred law. If I did this and was discovered, I would be an outcast, I would be tried and executed.”[4]

Surak sat with the bodies for a long time, thirst and uncertainty gnawing at his mind. He thought of his home and his family of friends. He struggled to find meaning in his life and why he even might want to continue living. He thought of all the emotional states that had brought him to this place, that had brought all of Vulcan to this place, and began to formulate his renowned treatise on fear. The elimination of fear, he believed, was the key. He concluded, “Vesht pla-ash-tor nash-veh s’riklopaya; u’samu-esh, khal ozhika eh vesht var-tor ozhika nash-veh rish-tor. Vesht mon-tor nash-veh plak, visolektal nash-veh vukhutlar heh fa’lefator nash-veh. I stepped back from my indecision; like a cool breath, logic took over and told me to survive. I drank the blood, buried the bodies, and continued on.”[5]

Surak’s treatise on fear remains to this day one of the most influential pieces of Vulcan literature.

While copyright restrictions prevent me from posting the FSE translation of Surak’s journal entry, here is the original in Traditional Golic Vulcan:  Ozhika t’ah’Hrak


[1] An Excerpt from the Teachings of Surak in Goodman, David A. (2012). Star Trek: Federation: The First 150 Years. London: Titan Books, p. 17)

[2] ibid, p. 19.

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

The Silences

Ralash WhiteDuring the time he spent speaking in Shi’Kahr’s public places, advocating for a change in Vulcan lifestyle, Surak often spoke of respect. It was the one simple courtesy he felt was essential for each Vulcan to master and practice on a daily basis. Without it there could be no emotional control and no peace. Respect was sorely lacking in Vulcan culture during his time, as he demonstrated in this speech given on the steps of the Suta Temple in the year 323. In it, he outlined a code of conduct which became known as The Silences.

“It is always a signal that something is wrong when leaders live by different rules than citizens. In fact, it is the breakdown of society, of all that is civilized. A citizen cannot access the networks without being tracked. Purchases, conversations, messages, information-searches, images, health records, employment records, academic records, criminal records, family records, and property records are captured by data-mining software. The information is sold to the one who makes the highest offer. Credit applications are denied due to political affiliation. Job applicants are turned away because of their genetic predisposition to diseases. Identities, access codes, and bank accounts are stolen. Political opponents contact voters directly and take positions or make promises that are shielded from scrutiny by the public. Students are expelled for criticizing their teachers. Surveillance cameras are installed along borders encouraging anyone to access and monitor illegal crossings. False reports and vigilantism come in waves.

“Yet one cannot learn by accessing the nets what Minister Pola purchased today, what he ate for breakfast, what vaccinations he’s received or what childhood diseases he’s had, what genetic diseases are prevalent in his family, his score on the Academy exit exam, what transportation he uses, what personal interests he has, what his marital status is, when his last pon farr was and if any offspring were produced, what his household income is, or even where his private residence is located. All one sees is a simple file which includes his educational degrees and specialty, his title of office, and his official commcode. No personal information is given.

“This is how it should be – for all of us. Only in the sanctity of privacy can we find peace. The intensity and complexity of life meant to evolve civilization have done the opposite – devolved it – making retreat from the world a necessity for Vulcan sanity and the control of the emotions. Modern technology and business practices, through invasion of privacy and lack of societal regulation, have subjected us to mental distress far greater than any bodily injury. We have lost our right as individuals to be let alone. Once information and images of an individual are on the nets, they can be used against that individual in perpetuity, making it impossible for him or her to leave an old life behind and start a new one. We have lost our integrity and far more. We have lost our soul because we have lost respect for one another.

“Only by leaving others the privacy of their minds and lives can we regain what we have lost. The courts do not protect individuals against the collection and selling of personal information. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the citizen to uphold the right of those around him to be let alone.

“How can we do this? Through the elimination of the incessant noise of life – through The Silences – by allowing each individual privacy in these aspects of life:

Birth:  This is a private journey shared by mother and child. No others should be present except those responsible for their care. The mother should not be distracted from bonding with the child. Announcing the birth on the nets and posting images leaves the child vulnerable.

Home and family life:  The location of one’s home must remain private information to preserve the sanctity of the house as a retreat from the world. While the honor and tradition of guest-right should be maintained, do not expect to be invited to the home of another. When wishing to meet with one whom you do not know, request that the meeting occur in a public place so that you do not intrude upon the individual’s personal sanctuary. Additionally, the individual should be contacted through his or her place of work or study and not at home.

Personal space:  Allow each individual a cushion of space. Do not intrude with your gaze, your voice, or your touch. Remain at a respectful distance, at least one pace away. Establish consent, even with the one to whom you are bonded, before you invade the other’s space. Do not ask another’s name of a third party. Wait for the owner to give it.

Spiritual beliefs:  Allow one the privacy of his or her experience with the being or force responsible for the creation and maintenance of the universe. It is a journey you cannot take and it is not your concern. We each have our own journey to which we must attend.

Thoughts and remembrances:  I have said before that it is the inherent right of all Vulcans to meld in mind and spirit. If you meld, do not invade the thoughts and remembrances of the other. Let the other reveal them to you, if that is his or her wish. Likewise, do not force your thoughts, desires, or memories on the other. Wait for an invitation. And above all else, never enter the other’s mind unbidden.

Time alone:  When you sense that you have come to the limits of your abilities, retreat into your personal sanctuary and conserve energy. Likewise, allow each individual time alone to heal and renew the mind, body, and soul.

Bonding and pon farr:  There are few situations in life that are more sacred than the link between bondmates. When their link is active through a mind-meld, pon farr, the birth of a child, or a more mundane event, no one else in the world matters, and no one should intrude. Even the status of their bonding is a matter only to be shared between the pair, their families, and close friends. And when their bond is severed by death, the survivor should be cared for but left to heal in the privacy of his or her thoughts and memories.

Death:  There is no life event more personal than death. While birth is the experience of two, death can only be experienced by one. It is a solitary journey. Allow those dying privacy. It is the last offer of respect that we can give. Death records, like all medical records, should be sealed, made available only to those who demonstrate a legal or scientific need to know.”

These are The Silences – the quieting of the noise of the Vulcan species.

_____________________

For those of you who would like to practice reading in Traditional Golic Vulcan, here is the original text:   Ralash-Fam’eslar

Welcome

Peace and long life.

This site is offered as a vehicle for discussion in the best of Vulcan tradition. Here the visitor will find links to the Analects of Surak and to each of the volumes as the text and translations becomes available. The reader is invited to post comment, in either Gol-Vuhlkansu or Federation Standard English. As time permits and discussion warrants, some of translator Shupal’s  Tuhskayalar (Commentary) will be posted for further debate. As this is a work in progress, the reader is encouraged to visit often. Additionally, visitors are welcome to contact me at sidzhan.tgai@gmail.com

In service,

Sidzhan, Site Administrator