When Sisko met the Prophets

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by James T. Vader, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. James T. Vader

    James T. Vader Lieutenant

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    So I’m trying to wrap my head around Sisko’s relationship with the Prophets. When he met them in Emissary they didn’t know who or what he was. So does that mean at the exact moment he meant them, since the Prophets don’t exist in normal linear time, they said , “hey we should make this guy,” and Sarah immediately went to Earth and met Grandpa Joe? And then immediately buried the Orb of the Emissary on Tyree?
     
  2. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The pilot really is the biggest flaw with the whole series in regards to Sisko's relationship with the Prophets.

    Some will argue that it's as you say, they met him, then immediately went back in time(or whatever) to conceive him in their image. Which makes zero sense being Sarah Sisko was stated to have had no interest in Grandpa Joe and left him as soon as she could. If Sisko's "mama" the woman who raised him birthed him before he met the Prophets... it wouldn't have been Sisko. You can't meet someone then conceive him afterward time linearness or not.

    Others will say the first encounter was strictly for Sisko's benefit so he could perceive them as aliens instead of as gods intent on using him for their purposes, which I'll lean towards since it fits the facts at least even if it's obviously apology material after the fact.
     
  3. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Location? What is this?
    My view (also probably under the category of "DS9 apologetics") would be because the Prophets had chosen Sisko as the emissary and they needed him to stick around and fulfill his role for them. Sisko had requested a move back to earth at the earliest opportunity. After his deep discussion with the prophets about time, the past, humanity, emotions and existence, Sisko did a 180 and not only decided to stay at DS9 but was absolutely sure in his decision. As a result, he indeed "completed his task" as the emissary.
     
  4. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    There's no "exact moment" for the Prophets to make that decision, because they don't experience linear time. Since they are supposed to transcend our understanding of time, it's impossible to describe what they did in a way that we can understand, but it is certainly possible form their point of view that meeting Sisko in the wormhole is cause of them playing a part in his birth. As transcendent beings, they have the ability to influence cause and effect in strange ways.

    The Pah'wraiths seemingly lost the ability to experience time non-linearly when they were expelled, which would explain why they try to fight the Prophets. If they knew they were destined to fail, they probably wouldn't have even bothered.
     
  5. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    I never understood why the Prophets chose a non-Bajoran to be their Emissary. If I were a Bajoran, I would want somebody who was like me or looked like me to be my religion's key link with my gods.

    That said, it's possible that the Prophets were always anticipating him, and did not want to reveal the true nature of their relationship on the first meeting.
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    But if the Prophets don't experience linear time, they can't anticipate anything. For them, everything must be happening simultaneously.

    The whole concept sounds like some sort of temporal paradox.
     
  7. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No way - the flaw is all the rubbish that came after with regards to Siski being part-prophet etc. "Emissary" is still one of the best episodes; it shouldn't be tainted by the nosedive in quality the series took post-season 5.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's your opinion. I suspect you'd be in the minority thinking the series "nose-dived" after season 5.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Why not? Sounds like a needless and arbitrary limitation - time travel is all about looping and iterating and having effect precede cause, no matter how you look at it. It shouldn't be much of a trick for the Prophets to meet Sisko, and then decide that this is such a cool guy that on the next iteration he shall be divinely conceived.

    Also, "not experiencing time linearly" doesn't mean "not experiencing time at all" let alone "experiencing everything at the same time". It just means time is experienced in some different, unspecified manner. Humans don't experience it "linearly", either: the subjective experience is at best "monotonic" in mathematical terms, but looks more like a roller-coaster ride than a neat line, what with time flying when you are having fun etc.

    Asking why a human became "the" Emissary probably misses the point. Sisko was "an" Emissary; in other realities, there were competing individuals such as Akorem Laan, and at other timepoints of Sisko's own "timeline", there may have been further Emissaries, too. Things just happened to work out favorably when Sisko was holding the title, and the camera happened to be present, so we're a bit biased here.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    Yeah... and opinions are deemed worthy in accordance with how many people believe it.
     
  11. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    this X 10

    Retcons aside, the obvious reasons for this was that there was a totally different conception of the Prophets on the part of the writers in the beginning of the show to the way they were seen as the show ended. It was NOT a good change, and the whole "part-prophet" Sisko stuff, combined with the pah-wraith fire cave stuff got pretty silly.
     
  12. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    Well at least it lead to moments like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USqzdvKf4T8

    Incidentally, that's the best Sisko/Prophets interaction IMO in the entire series. Yet for supposedly benevolent gods, the Prophets always seemed stern and cold lol..
     
  13. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed. Emissary handles Sisko's relationship with the Prophets perfectly.

    Disagree. Season 6 is excellent although the finale is when the arc starts to dumb itself down. Season 7 is when all this Prophets business goes in to NuBSG levels of dumb spirituality and handwaving.
     
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If that's what you think, knock yourself out. I didn't say it. :p
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    To me, the Wormhole aliens/Prophets exist in a unique state in which Time has no meaning. Past, present, future (and all the infinite different versions of them) are all one and the same. As a godlike (or unaffected) race, they never gave more than a passing interest in the affairs of lesser races in the same way most of us don't give much thought to an ant hill we might pass while driving down a road.

    Sisko was the one that introduced the concept of Linear Time--of one event leading to another. Still being non-linear beings, though, the wormhole aliens were not subject to cause and effect themselves and could go back in time and create the cause of an effect they already experienced.

    As linear beings, this doesn't make a lick of sense to us because it doesn't fit the way things work in our reality.
     
  16. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    I agree. I like your comments so much, that I went back in time to post #4 in this thread and said something similar. :lol:
     
  17. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Only the Now matters to us linear beings.
    :)
     
  18. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just because the Prophets do not perceive linear time doesn't mean it doesn't happen. There's no way they can meet Sisko then decide to go back and conceive him. They had to decide to conceive Sisko because "he's the one" because without Prophet Mom Sarah there would be no Sisko for them to meet later on. Even if time doesn't exist for them, it does for everyone else.

    So that leads me to the interpretation, that their first meeting with Sisko was just to size him up and for his own benefit. Helping him get over the pain of his loss of Jennifer so he could move on and be Bajoran Jesus without emotional baggage.
     
  19. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    They transcend time. Just because we are slaves to time progressing at a constant pace and in a forward direction, does not mean that they have to oblige our perception of it.

    What is time, really? What is life?

    Look at time as if it were a film. A film is nothing but a sequence of moving pictures, at 24 frames per second. If we think of time as if it were a movie that lasts from the Big Bang to the end of the Universe, and every moment that we perceive is simply a single frame in that movie, then the Prophets are like a projectionist who can pick up that reel of film and flip through it to any point they wish. They can cut the film and splice it together in any way they want. Now imagine they can insert themselves into this movie and interact with the characters. They pick up reel #4, see this character named Sisko, and decide he's really cool. They want to influence his origin story, so they pick up reel #4 and splice in a couple scenes where they create him. They take out a pencil and draw a couple of extra scenes into a cel, and add it to the movie of the universe.

    You may think this is impossible, but that's because you can't step back and see the bigger picture. You, me, the rest of mankind only exists in this film, and don't know any different. But the Prophets are like the projectionist who can see the frames of the film in any order they choose, and can even be a part of that film if they want.

    That's probably why when see the Prophets, it's always via characters from the show that Sisko knows. The Prophets talk through Kira, Odo, Bashir, Dukat... they're splicing scenes from the film and adding their own language.

    If they took a scene out of that film of Buck Bokai swinging at a pitch, they could splice the moment where Buck hits the ball first, then the moment where the ball is thrown from the pitcher's hand, then the moment the ball is made at the factory, then the moment where the ball is traveling across home plate, and then the moment where it sails over the outfield for a homerun. From Buck's perspective, it happened in sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and he doesn't know any different. But to anyone watching the film, it will look like Memento and be all out of order, 4, 2, 1, 3, 5.

    Explaining this reminds me of the book Flatland, where the Square is frustrated at trying to explain his existence to a Point, and a Sphere is frustrated that Square doesn't understand the third dimension.
     
  20. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh, undoubtedly, but I've never been one to just follow the majority opinion blindly.

    I felt the series lost a lot of its "heart" (for lack of a better word) as season six progressed. Season 7 was worse. I just preferred the characters, their relationships and the storylines from the first four or five years.

    It wasn't just the complete retcon of the prophets, I didn't like the over-focus on the Dominion war either (and yes, I know I'm in an even smaller minority on that one!).

    Don't get me wrong, series 6-7 wasn't uniformly terrible. But to me they are substantially inferior to say, season 4.