Surak is a fictional character in the backstory of the Star Trek television series and franchises. He is portrayed as the most important philosopher in the history of the planet Vulcan. During an Earth-like "modern age", when the Vulcans are technological but emotionally driven and violent, Surak founds a movement which reforms the Vulcan way of thinking and lifestyle and leads to the world of logically-reasoning and emotion-repressing Vulcans known from the TV series. This period in Vulcan history is referred to as the "Time of Awakening".
The "Time of Awakening" is accompanied by violence unmatched in Vulcan history, according to the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Awakening" (wherein Surak's mind is resurrected 1,800 years after his death to restore to modern Vulcans an uncorrupted version of his original philosophy.) During the "Time of Awakening" a Vulcan schism of those who "sought a return to savage ways" and "marched beneath the raptor's wings" (later the symbol of the Romulan people) perpetrate a cataclysmic nuclear attack upon Surak and his enlightened society. Soon after Surak's death, these Vulcan recidivists abandon their homeworld to colonize the planets Romulus and Remus. The old society would come to be known as the Romulan Star Empire—where Surak's philosophy of peace and logic survives only as an underground movement within their emotional, warlike society for the next 2,000 years (until further shepherded, in the Next Generation episode "Unification", by the elderly Ambassador Spock in the role of a latter-day successor to Surak), while flourishing on Vulcan to become its predominant philosophy.
The "Time of Awakening" and its "ironic violence" noted by Surak, which ends in nuclear holocaust but philosophical maturity, was written by Star Trek creators with intentional parallels to modern human society—particularly its historical progression toward cultural enlightenment, reason and tolerance interrupted by extreme bouts of cultural regression, irrationalism and fanatical violence.
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