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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old January 6 2013, 08:30 AM   #1
FelizNavidad
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Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

Given it's the anniversary of DS9, I've been on a bit of a kick the last few nights but not really dealing with going back to the beginning. It's actually more I wanted to see Ezri Dax episodes, which I have not seen in forever and tonight I watched Tears of the Prophets, Image in the Sand, and Shadows and Symbols and had a question.

I've always been a bit confused by this but is there an in show specuation/reason as to the whole prophet contradiction from Shadows and Symbols? What I mean is when we first meet the prophets, it seemed like they had no idea who Ben was, and then we had Ben teach them linear time and corporeal life. Well, jump ahead to Season 7 and we find out that in actuality the Prophets actually planned Ben's birth. I was just confused as to why there is a contradiction here. I was thinking maybe the prophets did have an original battle with the Pah Wraiths and when they won, they decided to wipe all memory of that Prophet era clean, but then if they are non-corporeal, than it doesn't really matter.

I know I'm sounding a bit confused, but I just want to know what the thread title asks. Was the relationship between Sisko and the Prophets just test after test and the prophets knew this stuff all along?
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Old January 6 2013, 08:33 AM   #2
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

Really the only explanation that would make sense is that they were letting Sisko do the first contact thing and explain corporeal nature in order for him to come to terms with Jennifer's death and move on. You can't be Bajoran Jesus if you're pining over your lost love after all.
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Old January 6 2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

R. Star wrote: View Post
Really the only explanation that would make sense is that they were letting Sisko do the first contact thing and explain corporeal nature in order for him to come to terms with Jennifer's death and move on. You can't be Bajoran Jesus if you're pining over your lost love after all.
That, and the Prophets gradually reveal information to Sisko so that Sisko has a growing understanding of them. If the Prophets revealed everything to Sisko in the episode Emissary it would have been information overload and completely messed up Sisko's head. Sisko needed time to accept his position, and notice as the season's progressed the Prophets asked more and more of Sisko while Sisko's faith in them grew.
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Old January 6 2013, 03:01 PM   #4
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

There is no "before". The Prophets are not linear.
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Old January 6 2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
There is no "before". The Prophets are not linear.
Indeed. There is no contadiction if you avoid looking at it linearly.

"Emissary" was the initial point of contact between the Prophets and Corporeal Entities. They were not aware of Sisko before that point. But from that point of insertion into their existence, the awareness spread throughout their existence, in a way that from our perspective would appear to be both backwards and forwards in time. From their perspective, that's just their natural way of being.

Once they had encountered Sisko in "Emissary," it was as easy as us walking down the street for them to go back in time (indeed, they wouldn't even understand the concept of going back in time, because they are present in all times and none) and create the person they needed him to be as revealed in "Shadows and Symbols."

As Sisko describes it in Warpath - "They didn't know until they'd met me that they needed to create me."

As for how the Prophets or Sisko could not know this beforehand if they went back in time from our linear perspective, that is also not inconsistent if you take "Accession" into account. In that episode, Akorem Laan in the original timeline had left his masterpiece poem unfinished. When the Prophets put him back into the timelines where he came from, the poem then became finished. But Kira remembered the old version where the poem had not been finished, even though it now had been.

All of which means that, whatever method the Prophets have of changing events in the past, it doesn't completely wipe out the original chain of events for the entire galaxy so that they never happened. It only blends in, tweaking the bits that concern them and leaving everything else untouched. That is why the Prophets had never encountered Corporeal Entities until they met Sisko, at which point they had always known about them.

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Old January 6 2013, 05:49 PM   #6
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
"Emissary" was the initial point of contact between the Prophets and Corporeal Entities.
Not including the Bajoran poet whom the Prophets rescued 200 years before Sisko even arrived on DS9, or all the orbs sent over thousands of years to Bajor, or the Sarah Prophet controlling a woman to mate with Joseph Sisko, and so forth...

The Prophets very much know what linear time is and were just stringing Sisko along and perhaps everyone else by pretending they were 'understanding' corporeal entities. The fact if the Prophets live in a non-linear realm which transcends the whole universe then the wormhole is probably the gateway out of thousands (or more) dotted throughout the universe. The Prophets definitely live in a higher dimensional plane and the wormhole is a mere point in their realm whilst being a short cut between two points of the galaxy.

The Prophets seem to have this gift of changing timelines and corporeal beings are aware of this (referenced in Accession) whilst having the ability to not be affected at all by changes in the timeline. So the Prophets must understand linear time and corporeal beings inside out.

In fact just saying initial is a misnomer because if the Prophets could see the future, then they would have known all along Sisko's first meeting with them.

Initial is such a corporeal term...
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Old January 6 2013, 06:57 PM   #7
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

Ln X wrote: View Post
lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
"Emissary" was the initial point of contact between the Prophets and Corporeal Entities.
Not including the Bajoran poet whom the Prophets rescued 200 years before Sisko even arrived on DS9, or all the orbs sent over thousands of years to Bajor, or the Sarah Prophet controlling a woman to mate with Joseph Sisko, and so forth...
But that's exactly my point. You're looking at it linearly. Yes, they would seem to be earlier points of contact from our linear perspective. But for the Prophets themselves, that kind of distinction is meaningless. "Emissary" was the 'first time' they met Sisko. Everything else happened as a consequence of that.

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Old January 6 2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
Ln X wrote: View Post
lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
"Emissary" was the initial point of contact between the Prophets and Corporeal Entities.
Not including the Bajoran poet whom the Prophets rescued 200 years before Sisko even arrived on DS9, or all the orbs sent over thousands of years to Bajor, or the Sarah Prophet controlling a woman to mate with Joseph Sisko, and so forth...
But that's exactly my point. You're looking at it linearly. Yes, they would seem to be earlier points of contact from our linear perspective. But for the Prophets themselves, that kind of distinction is meaningless. "Emissary" was the 'first time' they met Sisko. Everything else happened as a consequence of that.

.
It was the first time Sisko met them but for the Prophets can be no first time and without them he could've have existed in the first place.
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Old January 6 2013, 07:07 PM   #9
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

DWF wrote: View Post
It was the first time Sisko met them but for the Prophets can be no first time and without them he could've have existed in the first place.
Precisely! So the Prophets knew all along about Sisko, heck they even altered the timeline just to ensure he existed!
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Old January 6 2013, 07:29 PM   #10
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

It depends on what this "nonlinear" view of time means.

If all time is undifferentiated to the Prophets, then they can never "really" know about anything before something, nor learn, because nothing will ever change for the Prophets, as change requires that time be flowing at least in some direction.

If, OTOH, time does flow for the Prophets, but in unexpected directions and speeds that don't map very well to the time Sisko and other mortals experience, then there's no problem with the Prophets first meeting Sisko in 2369, then meeting Akorem Laan in 9174, then creating Sisko in 2332, then going to see the Big Bang, then returning to 2372 just for laughs.

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Old January 6 2013, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

I think by virtue of the Prophets following a "non-linear time" (something which we as humans are 100% incapable of understanding) we cannot conclusively say that it doesn't make sense.

All we can do is take it at face value that they do not understand our concept of time, and that it took meeting Sisko for them to understand time. But we're also watching and learning about the Prophets from our point of view (the chronology of DS9), and not from their perception. It is entirely possible that meeting the Sisko was the catalyst for everything we saw in DS9, including Sisko being born and eventually being named Commander of DS9.

Its odd for us to think about a catalyst taking place linearly after the effect, but that's indeed what happens.
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Old January 6 2013, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

I can't see how cause and effect has any meaning to non linear beings.
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Old January 6 2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

DWF wrote: View Post
I can't see how cause and effect has any meaning to non linear beings.
Exactly.

I'm trying to put it in words we'll understand, but obviously its meaningless to them.
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Old January 6 2013, 08:39 PM   #14
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

As said, depends on what the difference between linear and nonlinear is. If the Prophets perceive time as occasionally accelerating, occasionally slowing down, it's still "nonlinear" in the mathematical sense: the curve of speed-of-time vs. passage of time is not a straight horizontal line but, well, curved (or the curve of Prophet time vs. our time is). This wouldn't be particularly exotic yet, and wouldn't ruin causality or anything.

But the time the Prophets experience cannot be a mere dot or a vertical line on such a diagram, or they would never learn anything, or would learn everything at once. And it needs to loop back on itself in funny ways to explain why Sisko is created only after he is encountered, in terms of the horizontal axis. Still, "funny" by no means equals "patently impossible": functions that loop back are merely more complex than functions that do not.

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Old January 6 2013, 11:40 PM   #15
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Re: Did The Prophets Know About Sisko Before Emissary?

My interpretation after thinking about it is that the prophets knew Sisko would show up and help them win their battle against the Wriaths. But, they did not understand the linear experience. Perhaps after Sisko explained it the knowledge radiated to their past and future.

It is clear that although the prophets don't experience time linearly they are subject to linear events. Otherwise the wraith who possessed Keiko wouldn't have thought his plan might work, and Winn would not have been able to interfere with their ultimate showdown. They just see all those linear events as a whole from a distance, without understanding the way it motivates Sisko's decisions.
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