The parallels between them are uncanny. While Surak brought intellectual enlightenment to advance Vulcan society beyond its primitive instincts, Spock brought forth intellectual enlightenment that would reunify the severed ties between Vulcans and Romulans, and reunite them in an attempt to finish what Surak began. In other words, Spock broke the barriers between logic and emotion, in hopes of improving the lives of more than just the two species themselves.
When Surak’s teachings influenced the initial split, it sent a powerful message to the universe-–you are not biologically bound to the constraints of your species. If you devote your life to one of peace, understanding, and logical thought, you may overcome your species’s irrationally paranoid, violent past. This was what the new order of Vulcans needed to see at the Time of the Awakening, in order to move forward and progress as a civilization. They needed this new direction, or they were sure to destroy themselves within the next hundred years.
Fast forward about two thousand years into the future, and Vulcans have done quite well for themselves. They are technologically advanced, maintain a deep sense of culture and history to be preserved, and are existentially curious and intelligent. They are still intolerant of emotionally-driven creatures (due to their history and innate fear of what lies outside Surak’s teachings), as demonstrated by how Spock was treated for having a human mother. What was seen as a disadvantage in his abilities to be a Vulcan became an advantage to him for how holistically he saw the universe. When Spock began his attempts to reunify Vulcans and Romulans, he was creating a new order–one in which logic and emotion could live together, fused and bonded in a way that was not only functional, but advantageous for their philosophical and intellectual advancement. He was able to do this because he possessed such strong components of each, and spending his time in Starfleet around humans for all those years taught him more than anything else could about being a compassionate individual. The message that Spock was sending to the universe, while similar to Surak’s in terms of striving to be something beyond your biological nature, was that logic and emotion do not exist in opposition–but rather a fusion of the two could be the cornerstone of peaceful, wise, unified civilizations. This was the necessary message of the time in order to stop Vulcans and Romulans from destroying each other, and make progress in a way that would lead by example and inspire the rest of the universe to become more unified.
What this demonstrates is that civilizations change, and with that change requires new priorities and new goals to strive for. The static state of Vulcan and Romulan societies had to be broken at some point, and Spock was just the one to do it. What was even more uncanny about the parallels between Spock and Surak was that they both died of radiation poisoning–-Spock at the hands of his closest friends and loved ones, and Surak, alone in Mount Seleya, where his katra would never fully be revived. Spock’s katra was able to survive because of his friends, but Surak had no one, and lived on through the myths and memories of Vulcans throughout thousands of years.
Both Spock and Surak made these sacrifices so that future generations could have better lives than they did. For Surak, this meant allowing Vulcans a chance at a better tomorrow–-one free of war and violence among themselves-–while for Spock, this meant allowing the entire Federation of Planets a brighter future of peace and acceptance across all planets. Each of them deeply believed that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few, and in their most critical points of existence, they simply did what was necessary in order for their ideas to survive–-even if their physical bodies could not. One can begin to reshape the landscape with a single flower, but a flower that will remain unwatered will not survive long enough to reshape that landscape. When each of them made their final sacrifices, they knew that they were leaving the worlds they came from in good hands–-for Surak in his followers, and for Spock in James T. Kirk.