Tamarians, the Vorlon Question. Rom, the alternate universe.

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Deranged Nasat, May 18, 2014.

  1. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I wonder if our community of readers and writers - from the later category, Christopher and Kirsten Beyer in particular, for obvious reasons - have any thoughts or revelations on the question of Tamarian identity, which intrigues me but also potentially confuses me.

    Tamarian identity is fluid, we know that much. They embody figures of mythological history as they respond to different situations; they step into these roles (or the roles step into them). But how strong is their sense of personal identity? Do they retain a sense of the sturdy individual vessel into which they're pouring these figures? Is Temba as I embody/become him different from Temba as you become him, because you and I are different? Is he filtered through differently or does the vessel not matter? What about concepts like age, gender, even species? If identity is fluid, can I, as a male for instance, take on a female role? In traditional mythologies matters of age, gender, etc. are often important to understanding the context in which an individual is working. So in that sense, a relatively rigid sense of differentiation is perhaps necessary, or you aren't "doing it properly". But how does that sense of a stable mytho-historical identity work with a species and culture which is based almost entirely around the idea that identity is inherently fluid? How does mythology retain its solidity so as to serve as a comprehensible series of references? Why is Temba always and clearly Temba, limited to his distinct mytho-historical role, when Tamarians shift identity constantly?

    Is the past stable and the present fluid?
  2. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

    Jun 2, 2012
    Derbyshire, UK
    I would guess the Tamarians possess a sense of individual identity, for two reasons:

    Voyager's doctor reminisces in The Eternal Tide about his mastering of Federation Standard. It's his own accomplishment and nto perceived as an action by '<person> at <place>'.

    Secondly, Humans step in- and out of roles all the time as the situation demands, and behave differently. We step into professional mode when at the workplace, we can be the source of entertainment among friends one day and the shy never-utters-a-word in a gathering the next. You could assign roles to those events and recite them Tamarian-style.

    "Last night at the party it was like I was Darcy and he was Elizabeth during their first ball." (Sorry, I can't think of an actual example right now.)
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I imagine it's flexible. Tamarians are prone to think in depersonalized abstractions, but they can train themselves to reside more in the here and now.

    After all, humans can do much the same. Some human cultures stress individualism, while others stress subsuming the self to the good of the collective. And humans who have no trouble making individual choices under normal circumstances can get swept up in a mob mentality and surrender themselves to the will of the group.

    EDIT: On second thought, remembering what I had in mind, it's not that the Tamarians lack a distinction between self and other, but that they see little distinction between past, present, and future. They are aware of themselves as individuals, but they identify themselves with archetypal predecessors filling equivalent roles or performing equivalent actions. You're not just taking on a bigger bully like David against Goliath, you are David going against Goliath, or at least a manifestation of that archetype. It's metaphor over simile, identification rather than comparison.

    There's also probably an element of Galactica thinking to it -- "All this has happened before and all this will happen again." Patterns and archetypes resonate throughout time and all their occurrences are unified.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014