Assignment for class: Choose two “mystery busters”; compare and contrast and explain their methods and how the lives of the people involved were changed.
Sherlock Holmes Vs. Mr. Spock
Both Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Spock from Star Trek, are mathematical in their dealings with the world and the people around them, to which they see themselves above, especially in trivial matters. Both men are proud in their precise sense and use of logic, which they both hold dear. They usually both keep emotion out of their work as to not muddle their brains and interfere with their processes. Both men calculate like a machine and have both been called machines at least once in their lives by people who often found them unfeeling and harsh with their direct and often time rude answers. They both can often be very hard and cold in their manor towards people, which often rubs people the wrong way, however, because of both of their massive intellects and logic and reasoning skills, they are able to solves mysteries and fix problems that perplex and boggle the regular human mind. Contrary to popular belief however, it turns out that both these men are very feeling and I believe it helps them figure people out and how to solve whatever issue is before them.
- Sherlock Holmes alone is a fascinating specimen who is the greatest known literary consulting detective in the world. He is a very intelligent and scientific person who gains his reasoning skills and what seems to be magical deductive skills, through observation, logic and uses cause and effect to gain insight. Like Mr. Spock, he attests to the idea that emotion muddles the brain and confuses the mind, so he forces himself to be unfeeling as to be more rational. He keeps his mind constantly sharp and clear and sometimes he goes days without eating because he claims that the energy used for digestion could be diverted to making him more focused. Sherlock is a scientific mind and he does experiments and such, but the time frame he is placed in is from 1887 to 1927, so whereas Mr. Spock has the benefit of more technology and newer processes for solving a mystery, Sherlock must use other skills to crack down on a case. Sometimes he has been known to be a drug addict, which he claims is false and that the use of drugs is a way of focusing on the thing he wants, but he does have other ways of solving mysteries. Whereas Mr. Spock uses technology for answers, Sherlock really puts himself out there and gets the information that he can’t get elsewhere. This man is a terrific actor and chameleon as he disguises himself as old women and other characters as to put himself in situations where he can gain access to the information he requires. Sherlock Holmes has a massive intellect and also, though he would deny using emotions, he has great intuition and can read people like a book. He is an observer who knows that more often than not, it is the simplest of clues like scuff marks, ash, a walking stick that tell the story and that the most obvious fact can be the most misleading. He adheres to the idea that the most overlooked clue can actually solve the case, which in most of his cases has been the case…. (pun intended). This is a man who can figure a person out with a glance and based on their behavior. This is a man who believes that science can only go so far because like he is so famously quoted, when take away what people think is impossible, whatever is left is often the answer, whether it makes sense or not. Most of the time in his stories, we are left with the magic feeling way of how he solved the case, until he explains how he got there and then the answer is quite simple.
- Mr. Spock by himself is the poster bored child of the term logic. He is the one who makes it cool. This man is the science officer aboard a spaceship that explores the galaxy in hopes of meeting new cultures and discovering new scientific advancements. He is basically the most required personnel on the ship as every discovery can be figured out through his mathematical mind. He uses logic and reason, which he prides himself on, to come to his conclusions which solves whatever dilemma or mystery that presents itself to him and his fellow crew mates. He has a trained scientific mind and also the benefit of the great advancement of technology to aid his scientific processes. He is a rational man with a rational mind and he is constantly in that mode of exploration and discovery. Whenever something happens that no one else can explain, he is the one who figures it out though scientific processes. He uses his scientific processes to work things out by steps and makes his most of the time correct conclusions known to everyone else, most of the time saving the day. He is well aware however, that logic is not the end all be all of wisdom and that there is more to discovery than just logic alone.
Specific Example of Solving a Problem
Spoiler Warning for Sherlock story and Star Trek Movie below:
- Sherlock Holmes has many a time used his scientific methods to discover the truth that was trying to hide in the shadows. He often thinks outside of the box and uses theory’s, hypothesis, observation and then confirms. He often tells people that the see with their eyes but that they do not observe, which is a big mistake. One of the last Sherlock Stories I read was The Blanched Soldier. The story starts with a soldier who gets back from South Africa after war and he goes to check on his soldier friend who got injured previously. When he gets there, the family tells him that their son is off traveling the world. The soldier is surprised by this and by the fact that his good friend hasn’t written him. He thought this weird and especially the family acting peculiar. He stayed the night at the house and late at night he heard sounds and saw what appeared to be his friends ghostly white face pressed against the window and then saw his friend taken away and ran and hidden in a small house on the property. The soldier tried to follow but was stopped by the Father. The soldier is super worried and curious at the fate of his friend; he doesn’t know if he is being held against his will or going to be murdered or anything else; he goes to Sherlock Holmes for help and guidance. Sherlocks main motto is that when you get rid of what seems impossible, whatever is left over, must be the true story. He said that this often times leaves many explanations and that one must work it all out and see which is most pliable. He uses this method and gains three possible explanations of the facts; the friend is hiding from a crime, he is mad and the family doesn’t want to send him to an asylum, or he has a disease. The crime easily gets debunked because there has been no crime reported in the district and if it has not been discovered than the family would kick the son out. Insanity was a better possibility, which would explain the person who took him away from the window. That person would be his keeper and constrain him. It is not illegal to keep an insane person if there is a keeper and is mentioned to the authorities. This theory is debunked however because why all the secrecy then? The last theory was a disease. Sherlock says that this disease is rare and uncommon but that the soldier has Leprosy, which is not uncommon in South Africa, where he had returned recently. He must have contracted it and the family dreaded segregation for their son so they paid a medical man to take care of him, which also explains why the blanched solder could wander in the dark. Leprosy causes blanched skin. More details for Sherlock’s discovery was that earlier, he noticed the butler wearing gloves with the stench of disinfectants which took away any doubt he may have had. Though Sherlock was on the right path, he was slightly wrong, due to him not being a doctor. The medical man came in and revealed that it was in fact not Leprosy, it was actually pseudo – leprosy (ichthyosis of skin), which is just a skin problem which is curable and cannot infect anyone.
- Mr. Spock has used the scientific method hundreds of times to solve a mystery of some sort. One that sticks out in my mind at the moment is in the movie The Voyage Home. Mr. Spock and the rest of his crew were on their ship heading back to earth when they received a transmission from earth to stay away because some sort of cataclysm was occurring. The people on the ship discovered a probe that was interfering with electronics and also affecting the weather in tremendous ways. The probes transmission was a peculiar sound and the captain asked Spock to figure it out. He said that it indeed was weird but that it had sense about it, that it held power and energy which supposed intelligence. He held the notion that the ones sending the transmission where not intentionally trying to cause destruction or be hostile because there would be no logic in that. He held that they were trying to send a message. Spock formed the theory that the message was not for man but for another intelligent life form. He reiterated that message from earth told them that the probe was being directed towards earth’s oceans, and because of that, Spock reasoned that perhaps the message is for an intelligent aquatic animal. The probability of that caused the captain to give the order to change the sound of the transmission as though hearing it under water and the sound that came out was clear to the viewers of the movie. Mr. Spock had some suspicions that he acted out and he figured out that the sound was that of whale song, more specifically, Humpback whale song. Mr. Spock used his logic, reasoning, and technology to figure out who the message was for.
- Although it turned out that nothing horrible had occurred, without Sherlock’s help, there might have been police action and chaos where there not need be. Sherlock also got to learn more as to add it to his mental scientific processes for the future.
- Because Mr. Spock was able to figure out who the message was for, the crew of the ship was able to go back in time to bring back the Humpback whales (because they had gone extinct due to hunting…) so that they could answer the probe and save the day. Without Mr. Spock’s brilliance, all would have been lost.