Each eye is protected by a clear inner eyelid or nictitating membrane, which helps filter out harmful radiation, heat and dust. This adaptation was consciously bred into the general population when it first appeared, as a mutation in a particular clan. Referred to as “The Eye” it allowed warriors to travel and fight during the day, when ordinary Vulcans of the time were blinded by dust and the bright sun. Over the centuries, warring clans formed alliances by offering their best young people in marriage to clans that possessed the gene for “The Eye.”
Having copper-based blood aids in the utilization of oxygen under the low atmospheric pressure and low oxygen conditions of Vulcan. The Vulcanoid blood cells have a double-convex form, which in addition to helping maximize oxygenation, also aids in cooling each blood cell, the blood stream, and ultimately the entire body. A lot of the waste heat conducted by blood cells is transferred into the lungs during respiration, making the exhaled breath of Vulcanoids fairly hot under most conditions, especially during exertion.
The Vulcan heart is located approximately where one would expect to find the Human liver. It is believed that the heart was displaced over time, to allow additional space for the lungs. These are somewhat larger than standard, in order to extract sufficient oxygen from a thin atmosphere. In order to protect the heart, cartilaginous ribs extend lower on the torso of a Vulcan than in other races. Another consequence of the heart’s position, and that of the lower ribs, is that a foetus is carried relatively low, often causing considerable discomfort to women in pregnancy. The adult Vulcan heart rate is approximately 240 beats per minute, and normal blood pressure is 80/40; both far from the norm of most Humanoids. The Vulcan heart is also larger than Humanoid average, in relation to body size. This is due to the increased workload of the heart, in not only circulating blood, but also aiding the cooling of the body.
There is little question that the ecology of planet Vulcan made a strong contribution to shaping the character of its people. Today the landscape is mostly harsh and forbidding, filled with arid deserts and stark plains of black obsidian, still populated by active volcanoes, fumaroles, and geysers. Water is scarce in most regions, and the flora and fauna occupying these habitats are hardy - and often dangerous. So, too, have the people of Vulcan been tempered by the climate, developing a hardiness and inner strength that have enabled them to master their environment, and create a thriving and vital economy.
The teachings of Surak:
"Ideally, do no harm. Harm speeds up the heat-death of the Universe, and indirectly, your own.
More practically, do as little harm as possible. We are creatures of a Universe in which entropy exists, and therefore see no way of escape, but we do not need to help it.
Harm no one’s internal, invisible integrities. Leave others the privacies of their minds and lives. Intimacy remains precious only insofar as it is inviolate invading it turns it to torment. Reach out to others courteously accept their reaching in the same way, with careful hands.
Do no murder. The spear in the other’s heart is the spear in your own; you are he. All action has reaction; what force you inflict, inevitably returns. The murder of the other is the murder of your own joy, forever.
As far as possible, do not kill. Can you give life again to what you kill? Then be slow to take life. Take only life that will not notice you taking it. To notice one’s own death increases entropy. To die and not notice if increases it less, but still does so.
Cast out fear. Cast out hate and rage. Cast out greed and envy. Cast out all emotion that speeds entropy, whether it be love or hate. Cast out these emotions by using reason to accept them, and then move past them. Use in moderation emotions that do not speed entropy, taking all care that they do not cause others pain, for that speeds entropy as well. Master your passions, so that they become a power for the slowing of the heat-death.
Do no harm to those that harm you. Offer them peace, and offer them peace again, and do it until you die. In this manner you will have peace, one way or the other, even if they kill you. And you cannot give others what you have not experienced yourself.
Learn reason above all. Learn clear thought, learn to know what is from what seems to be, and what you wish to be. This is the key to everything; the truth of reality, the reality of truth. What is will set you free".
Vulcan philosophy acknowledges grief as a valid response to loss. Indeed, “I grieve with thee” is an ancient formula which Surak himself refused to renounce. While Surak cautioned against succumbing to the debilitating emotional effects of grief (and particularly against the tendency to transform it into a desire for vengeance), he nonetheless taught that even the most logical, dispassionate civilization must cherish life, as well as the ties of family and community. It must acknowledge and reflect upon the cost incurred when a life, particularly that of a kinsman, is lost. Otherwise, he wrote, that dispassion would become callous self-absorption, nullifying the bonds that enable individuals to function as part of a greater whole.
A brief memorial service is held soon after the death of a Vulcan child. It is usually presided over by a priestess, and attended by the immediate family, clan members, friends and colleagues of the parents, and any other interested parties. For the child of a very important person, the ceremony may be held at Mount Seleya itself, overseen by a Vulcan Master, but the services of ordinary Vulcan children are held at clan ceremonial grounds. The body is not present, having already been buried or cremated.
Many Vulcan children have pets, most notably domesticated sehlat, which are ferocious man-eaters in the wild. Although one might consider keeping pets an emotional or even sentimental practice, it is not viewed as such on Vulcan, and is instead viewed as a means of installing in children a sense of responsibility and maturity.
Ponn-ifla is the opposite of the Kareel-ifla. A very young discipline by Vulcan standards, it was created by the warrior-poet Ladok. Though it is non-violent in nature, it is quite effective in hand-to-hand combat situations. Its moves use a minimum amount of force and movement, turning the attacker’s blows back on him rather than initiating attacks of one’s own. A ponn-ifla master can take on a dozen opponents and incapacitate them all without moving more than a foot or two from his starting position. Moves include block, joint-lock, redirect, throw and Narlik, which is similar to a joint-lock but adds a twist to apply agonizing pain but no permanent damage to the opponent. The style’s name is derived from an ancient Vulcan saying regarding the calmness in the eye of a storm. The practitioner is expected to be an eye of peacefulness amid a storm of violence.
The official Vulcan written language was adopted by the entire planet some decades after Surak’s death. It has several different forms, some of which combine with each other. This is because it draws inspiration from several different donor languages, and is intended to signify the harmonious integration of distinct cultures, in keeping with the principles of Kol-ut-shan. The primary version resembles terrestrial musical notes, and is written in vertical columns running top-to-bottom, left-to-right. The script consists of a central staff, along which are written spirals, dots and dashes, both long and short. A more intricate and ceremonial version was used in ancient times, associated with religious writings and philosophical works. This variety was written in the Kir’Shara, as well as engraved on the walls of the P’Jem monastery. A second writing system seems to consist of simple squiggles, spirals and dots and can be used separately or in tandem with the primary script. A sequence of several of its symbols appears on many forms of Vulcan clothing. This script is also written vertically. A third cuneiform-like script appears on Vulcan starship hulls, and in some Vulcan homes and temples. This script, presumably numerical, appears to run left-to-right like many Terran languages.
The nearest equivalent to “madman” or “depraved” is “Lunikkh ta-ikt”, the Poisoner of Wells.
The Vulcan word for “fool” is “Nirak”, named for an infamous historical figure. Nirak was a soldier who lived before the Time of Awakening. He was standing watch over the gates of Gol when he saw a dust cloud on the horizon. He mistakenly thought it a sandstorm, and failed to send a warning. It was in fact an army, which destroyed the city and killed most of the inhabitants. Nirak was spared, however, to live with his shame. In the modern Vulcan language, another word used similarly to the English “idiot” is derived directly from an older compound word that means “one who fails to participate in civil affairs”.
There is no Vulcan word for “comedian”, and thus they are forced to use the English word when referring to the concept.
The word “reshek” is a symbol within the Vulcan alphabet, of which it is the third.