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Old January 1 2011, 06:33 PM   #72
Fleet Captain
Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

David R. George III wrote: View Post
You can debate about the wisdom of believing in prophecy, but what the Prophets offer is not really prophecy; it's eyewitness testimony.
It presents that same problem that regular prophecy does to human beings in that the words are enigmatic. What does that mean? What does that mean? is the constant refrain when dealing with the prophets. A good example of this is the episode Destiny, wherein everyone misinterprets the prophecy about the Temple Gates in one way or another, which influences their actions as they struggle to understand what the words mean. It's only once the prophecy has fulfilled itself that full understanding is possible. Part of the question becomes: what would you have done in this situation had there been no prophecy? This is an important question because the quandry is something like the following: "We can't really know what the words mean or whether the prophecy will be fulfilled, but we can be true to ourselves and do what we think is right."

Inevitably, if characters begin to betray themselves and do things that are manifestly wrong because of what they have heard in prophecy, that is catastrophic because (1) they are probably misinterpreting the prophecy, (2) they are acting out of fear and (3) betraying their own sense of ethics and morality. This is relevant whether or not we believe in prophecy because the same scenario can arise whenever human beings act out of fear or believe they know what the future will bring. The story in RBoE seems to be unaware of these types of issues.

In passing, it really wouldn't have been very interesting if, over the course of the television series, the Prophets had merely provided the Emissary with snapshots of the future that the characters could then act on without hesitation. Presumably they never did this because they can't do this. They perceive the universe differently, but that perception can only be communicated in an inexact and ambiguous manner to linear beings, i.e. it seems to work pretty much like regular prophecy.

I guess the rest of this probably needs to be tagged for spoilers as well.

Last edited by flemm; January 2 2011 at 04:12 AM.
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