Thursday, 15 February 2018

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

Spock's IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) medallion first appeared in the dinner scene of "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" (season 3, 1968). It was inserted into the script because Gene Roddenberry wanted to sell it at his Lincoln Enterprises (he had already tried to include the IDIC at the end of the episode "Spock's Brain" but his suggestion was ignored, probably because it was too late to implement it). As Nimoy, Shatner and other actors were not amused, Roddenberry agreed to rewrite the dinner scene and use the Vulcan IDIC in a less prominent way (via and via).

"Our first day of filming, Tuesday, July 16th, arrived, and I was greeted with a mutiny on the Enterprise. Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had very strong objections to a portion of the scene we were scheduled to do that day and were refusing to film. Since the objection was to dialogue involving a piece of jewelry that Gene Roddenberry had designed, he was summoned to the set. (I have since learned that Leonard Nimoy first phoned producer Fred Freiberger to tell him of the problem. When Freiberger refused to take any action, Leonard called Roddenberry.) The morning was spent in a round table war with the six characters involved in the scene plus Gene and me. But the battle was strictly Bill and Leonard vs Gene. Bill and Leonard felt Gene was using the scene as a promotional commercial for a pin he had designed; the pin was part of Leonard’s costume. Gene vehemently denied these accusations, but the guys were adamant in their refusal to be a part of something they considered to be commercially oriented." 
Ralph Senensky

"I got my script change, read the new scene and with my jaw still hanging open, I called Fred down to the set, asking him, 'What's this IDIC thing about?' I knew that Lincoln Enterprises would soon be selling these things, and there was no way that I was going to muck up a perfectly good story line just so we could include Gene's rather thinly veiled commercial. With that in mind, I flatly refused to do the scene. Freiberger hemmed and hawed about the difficulties involved in re-revising the script, but as I spoke to him recently for this book, he finally admitted that he was actually relieved that I wouldn't do the scene. It was probably the first time in history that a producer was glad to be dealing with a 'difficult' actor...
Leonard and I had both seen through Gene's marketing ploy, and one after another we'd refused to play the scene. Still, when Gene came to the set, he did his very best to push it through. To his credit, Roddenberry was completely honest about the situation and didn't try to mask his free publicity scam behind any half-baked creative half-truths. He simply stated that Lincoln Enterprises would soon be marketing these medallions, and that he'd really appreciate our cooperation in getting the product into this storyline.
So I went through a great deal of soul-searching and teeth-grinding over the situation, and finally I just had to say, 'Gene, I'm sorry, but I can't do this.' Roddenberry accepted my refusal, but kept working on Leonard." 
William Shatner

"Although I didn't appreciate Spock being turned into a billboard, I at least felt that the IDIC idea had more value than the content of the original scene. We filmed the scene as Gene had rewritten it. But the whole incident was rather unpleasant; Roddenberry was peeved at me for not wanting to help his piece of mail-order merchandise get off to a resounding start, and Fred Freiberger was peeved at me for going over his head."
Leonard Nimoy

"I go by the Star Trek philosophy. We called it IDIC, an acronym for infinite diversity in infinite combinations. To have a good, vibrant society, we need to recognize that as an asset - something that makes us a much more progressive society but also, a more engaging society.
George Takei

"Infinite diversity and infinite combinations is what makes the world beautiful and it's true, as true today as it was then. And that's where a place of in my heart. I thank Gene for that legacy."
Nichelle Nichols

Original script:

No, I was merely looking at your Vulcan IDIC, Mister Spock. (looks up, curiously) Is it a reminder that as a Vulcan you could mind-meld with the Medeusan much more effectively than I could? (to the others, but smiling) It would be most difficult for a Vulcan to see a mere human take on this exciting a challenge.

McCOY (to Spock) 
Interesting question. It is a fact that you rarely do wear the IDIC.

I doubt that Mister Spock would don the most revered of all Vulcan symbols merely to annoy a guest, Dr. Jones.

SPOCK (to Miranda) 
In fact, I wear it this evening to honor you, Doctor.


SPOCK (nods) 
Indeed. Perhaps even with those years on Vulcan, you missed the true symbology. (indicates medallion)
The triangle and the circle... ...different shapes, materials, textures...represent any two diverse things which come together to create here...truth or beauty. (indicating the parts, looks up) For example, Doctor Miranda Jones who combined herself and the disciplines of my race, to become greater than the sum of both.

Kirk can see Miranda isn't fully sold on Spock's intentions ...he changes the subject.

Very interesting, I might even say...fascinating.

And here the official description of the IDIC pendants:

"SYMBOLOGY [sic] OF THE IDIC. There are two basic shapes and two basic colors and textures, i.e., the circle and the triangle. Generally, they represent that all things meaningful or beautiful are created by the joining together of different things. The pyramid can represent man and logic while the circle represents all of creation, i.e., man and creation joined together to create beauty. Also, the triangle-pyramid represents man and the circle represents woman and the jewel represents the beauty that their joining together is capable of creating. Or it can mean the truth which comes out of the blending of different ideas and creeds or the strength and beauty that comes out of the joining of different races, or the rich life which comes out of surrounding oneself with friends who have ideas different from your own and the rich cross-fertilization which occurs in such associations.
The Vulcan in it, is that the glory of creation is in its infinite diversities and infinite combinations possible. As such, the IDIC represents and idea of universal brotherhood far beyond that represented by any other symbol we know of."

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images via and via and via


  1. Brilliant, Laura!

    1. I sincerely hope I will never run out of Star Trek postings. Many thanks, Kenneth!

  2. This kind of posting is one of the many reasons why I love this blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Macy. This is very sweet of you!