Is this a canon inconsistency? In the TOS episode "Amok Time", a slice of Vulcan culture is revealed to us in the form of a ritual combat to the death. However, Vulcans are typically portrayed as pacifists, seemingly avoiding violent conflict at all costs. Is this an inconsistency in canon, or is it reconciled somewhere?

  • 3
    I always thought the point (or at least a point) of that episode was to show that Vulcans too have an irrational side, and that the pon farr was a way of reconciling this. And btw, I tried to change TNG to TOS, but edits have to be at least 6 characters.
    – user68965
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 2:35

1 Answer 1


It's reconciled by the fact that Vulcans openly acknowledge (on the rare occasions on which they discuss such matters at all) that Pon Farr (and all it's associated rituals) are irrational, illogical, and generally at odds with their values--but it's an an unavoidable biological urge they have no power to control. From Amok Time:

SPOCK: The birds and the bees are not Vulcans, Captain. If they were, if any creature as proudly logical as us were to have their logic ripped from them as this time does to us. How do Vulcans choose their mates? Haven't you wondered?

KIRK: I guess the rest of us assume that it's done quite logically.

SPOCK: No. No. It is not. We shield it with ritual and customs shrouded in antiquity. You humans have no conception. It strips our minds from us. It brings a madness which rips away our veneer of civilisation. It is the pon farr. The time of mating.

(Emphasis added)

So yes, you're completely right about there being an inconsistency here. But it's an inconsistency in the Vulcans themselves, brought on by their biology. Every seven years they lose all ability to retain logic, and so they fall back to ancient rituals that help guide them through this difficult time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.