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View Full Version : ST:DS9: Did the Prophets even give a rat's ass about Bajor?


Elendil's Heir
04-19-2011, 10:32 AM
Most if not all Bajorans worship them as gods, asking through prayers for their help, guidance and protection, and believe that Sisko is the Emissary. The Cardassian occupation was no picnic; reminds me a bit of the Old Testament account of the Egyptians lording it over the Jews. But Sisko didn't arrive at DS9 until the Cardassians were already pulling out, so it's not as if he was their Moses-like deliverer. The only time I can think of the Prophets actually doing something for Bajor was when they destroyed the Dominion invasion fleet as it passed through the wormhole, and they only did that after Sisko essentially shamed them into it.

Did the Prophets (or wormhole aliens, for you secular humanist Starfleet types) consider themselves to be gods of Bajor, and if so, did they really care at all about what happened to Bajor or Bajorans?

friedo
04-19-2011, 10:40 AM
The Prophets didn't consider themselves gods, being largely uninterested in the corporeal universe, but they did seem to have a special relationship with Bajor. (They describe themselves as being "of" Bajor on several occasions.) They sent Bajor the orbs, which kept the Bajoran religion alive, which was ultimately helpful in unifying Bajorans against the occupation.

It was also the Prophets that persuaded Sisko that Bajor should not join the Federation prior to the Dominion War, and they were right; Bajor would have been destroyed if they were not able to stay neutral.

aceplace57
04-20-2011, 02:13 AM
Don't forget about the Pah Wraiths. The "bad" Prophets.

<<<< series spoilers in this link >>>>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pah-wraith

The battle between the Prophets and Pah Wraiths was the classic good vs evil.

I agree the Prophets showed little interest in helping the Bajorans. Given the chance, I think the Pah Wraiths would have enslaved much of that quadrant of space.

Bakhesh
04-20-2011, 09:25 AM
Given that Pah-Wraiths were bad prophets, would they have cared about corporeal matters any more than the prophets themselves? I thought they were only interested in the celestial temple ie the wormhole.

Captain Amazing
04-20-2011, 09:40 AM
Right. I don't think either the Prophets or the Pah-Wraiths cared all that much about Bajor either way. They had their own things to worry about, like fighting over the wormhole and trying to understand temporality.

Bakhesh
04-20-2011, 09:41 AM
Right. I don't think either the Prophets or the Pah-Wraiths cared all that much about Bajor either way. They had their own things to worry about, like fighting over the wormhole and trying to understand temporality.

and who can find the time?

Simplicio
04-20-2011, 10:06 AM
I think they cared. They bothered sending the orbs, and it appears the Bajorans have been getting useful visions from the orbs for a couple thousand years. And they warn Bajor not to join the Federation.

There power outside the wormhole seems pretty limited though. So short of telling the future, there isn't much they can do.

Elendil's Heir
04-20-2011, 10:21 AM
and who can find the time?

:D

Prox
04-20-2011, 02:30 PM
It seemed to me it changed over the course of the series. Early on, they seemed more like inscrutable aliens and the orbs and such were more like side affects of what they were doing, and they couldn't care less about Bajor. By the end, though, the story treated them more as literal gods, and they were taking an active role in protecting Bajor. I felt the Pah Wraiths were a big symptom of this; they weren't even hinted at until the fifth season or so.

Skald the Rhymer
04-20-2011, 02:52 PM
It's very hard to say. The Prophets were among the more truly alien of Trek's extraterrestials; their motives are far more difficult to understand than, say, Q's.

Of course, I'm in the camp that the John de Lancie Q was telling the simple truth at the end of TNG, which has the happy side-effect of requiring me to ignore Voyager in its entirety. :)

It seemed to me it changed over the course of the series. Early on, they seemed more like inscrutable aliens and the orbs and such were more like side affects of what they were doing, and they couldn't care less about Bajor. By the end, though, the story treated them more as literal gods, and they were taking an active role in protecting Bajor. I felt the Pah Wraiths were a big symptom of this; they weren't even hinted at until the fifth season or so.

They were still inscrutable at the end, methinks. And I have a somewhat trippy theory that, in a sense, the Prophets were not aware of Bajor "before" Sisko met them, and that their interventions in Bajor's past "began" at that moment.

Don't think about that too hard. It'll hurt your brain.

carnivorousplant
04-20-2011, 02:58 PM
Of course, I'm in the camp that the John de Lancie Q was telling the simple truth at the end of TNG, which has the happy side-effect of requiring me to ignore Voyager in its entirety. :)





Break out the compression phaser rifles!

Er, I mean, what the heck are you mumbling about over there?

Skald the Rhymer
04-20-2011, 03:07 PM
Break out the compression phaser rifles!

Er, I mean, what the heck are you mumbling about over there?

Surely you don't think I haven't prepared for your inevitable betrayal. You may wish to check the dilithium crystals on those rifles.

Are you protesting my swipe at Voyager or implicit approval of Q? If the former, I'll admit that Voyager had several good episodes, but they were randomly strewn in among the dreck. At least TOS, TNG, and ENT had the common decency to quarantine the worst of their shit to specific seasons.

carnivorousplant
04-20-2011, 03:24 PM
Surely you don't think I haven't prepared for your inevitable betrayal.

Merely a feint to lull you into a False Sense of Security.

But while we are sparing before the Inevitable Showdown (Evil is cool, Good is dumb), what Q comment allows you to ignore Voyager?

Great Antibob
04-20-2011, 04:28 PM
But while we are sparing before the Inevitable Showdown (Evil is cool, Good is dumb), what Q comment allows you to ignore Voyager?

None. But the episode "The Q and the Grey" allow us all to ignore the entirety of Voyager in good conscience.

friedo
04-20-2011, 04:35 PM
None. But the episode "The Q and the Grey" allow us all to ignore the entirety of Voyager in good conscience.

But "Death Wish" is one of the best Trek episodes ever, IMHO, even if it is tainted by the stench of Voyager.

Prox
04-20-2011, 04:39 PM
They were still inscrutable at the end, methinks. And I have a somewhat trippy theory that, in a sense, the Prophets were not aware of Bajor "before" Sisko met them, and that their interventions in Bajor's past "began" at that moment.

Don't think about that too hard. It'll hurt your brain.I can sorta see how that could work. IIRC, the Prophets didn't really know what Sisko was talking about, or even where he came from in the first episode. But, ugh, time loops. Maybe next time I see DS9, I'll watch it with an eye towards this. More likely, though, I'll be doing my best to ignore anything to do with Bajor religion.

Skald the Rhymer
04-20-2011, 04:49 PM
I can sorta see how that could work. IIRC, the Prophets didn't really know what Sisko was talking about, or even where he came from in the first episode. But, ugh, time loops. Maybe next time I see DS9, I'll watch it with an eye towards this. More likely, though, I'll be doing my best to ignore anything to do with Bajor religion.

I don't think even time loop is an adequate description. The Prophets are outside of time, in the way the Xtian God is sometimes said to be. They had the same relation to TrekVerse mortals as 3D folks have to people in Flatland; the sequence of events is simply not comprehensible to a mortal mind.

I also don't think it's the case that the Prophets did not understand what Sisko was saying. Rather, it's that Sisko didn't understand what they were saying, and his misunderstanding was so profound that he misinterpeted it as a failure on their part. Bear in mind that a major point of the sequence is for Sisko to stop living in the moment's of his wife's death.

Though the Q Continuum look more powerful than the Prophets, I think it's just that they're showier. The Bajorans are spot-on to call them gods.

Skald the Rhymer
04-20-2011, 04:58 PM
But "Death Wish" is one of the best Trek episodes ever, IMHO, even if it is tainted by the stench of Voyager.

Like I said, that's the essential problem with Voyager. They'd tease you with episodes that were totally awesome and follow up with months of dreck. They'd hire a truly talented actress whoc consistently turned in engaging performances, and then put her in a ridiculous catsuit that made no sense either in-story or out. Et cetera.

Bakhesh
04-20-2011, 05:25 PM
Like I said, that's the essential problem with Voyager. They'd tease you with episodes that were totally awesome and follow up with months of dreck. They'd hire a truly talented actress whoc consistently turned in engaging performances, and then put her in a ridiculous catsuit that made no sense either in-story or out. Et cetera.

Personally, I think the idea of having Jeri Ryan strut around in that skin tight catsuit.......was............................sorry, completely lost my train of thought.

Quimby
04-20-2011, 07:46 PM
I always assumed the Prophets seeded life on Bajor so that the Bajorans could eventually evolve into the Prophets themselves. Similar to how they created Sisko because they knew they would need him. Since they are outside linear time, this wouldn't even be a paradox. Also there is a precedent in Trek for corporeal beings evolving into noncorporeal beings

chrisk
04-20-2011, 08:46 PM
I don't think even time loop is an adequate description. The Prophets are outside of time, in the way the Xtian God is sometimes said to be. They had the same relation to TrekVerse mortals as 3D folks have to people in Flatland; the sequence of events is simply not comprehensible to a mortal mind.

I also don't think it's the case that the Prophets did not understand what Sisko was saying. Rather, it's that Sisko didn't understand what they were saying, and his misunderstanding was so profound that he misinterpeted it as a failure on their part. Bear in mind that a major point of the sequence is for Sisko to stop living in the moment's of his wife's death.


I always liked the interpretation that though the Prophets are outside of our time, it's not that they exist outside of all time, just linear time - specifically, they have a continuum with more than one temporal dimension, allowing them some ability to control how they move through them.

As far as misunderstandings, I'd say that there were some on both sides, but I do think that for most of the Prophet sequences in "The Emissary", they truly were trying to fathom Sisko's nature, including what time was like for us. I don't think he misinterpreted that.

And I always loved that breakthrough moment of Sisko's:
"So you choose to exist here. It is not linear."
"No, it's not linear."

chrisk
04-20-2011, 08:52 PM
There power outside the wormhole seems pretty limited though. So short of telling the future, there isn't much they can do.

Their power within the wormhole could be pretty kick-ass. I think it was many episodes after 'Sacrifice of Angels' that I realized that the deus ex machina that the Prophets pulled that time was an ongoing effect, not a one-shot: that they were still barring Dominion reinforcements from passing through the wormhole, and (IIRC) allowing the good guys to pass freely. Best of both worlds, all the effectiveness of mining the wormhole without the inconvenience.

carnivorousplant
04-20-2011, 10:02 PM
None. But the episode "The Q and the Grey" allow us all to ignore the entirety of Voyager in good conscience.

Now I liked that. Q was helping Paris and company to use Q weapons while treating them like percussion lock rifles and shooting at people.

Ephemera
04-20-2011, 10:50 PM
Surely you don't think I haven't prepared for your inevitable betrayal. You may wish to check the dilithium crystals on those rifles

You might want to look again, and make sure those aren't phazers. Dilithium crystals have no place in a phaser.

carnivorousplant
04-21-2011, 07:00 AM
You might want to look again, and make sure those aren't phazers. Dilithium crystals have no place in a phaser.

And how I can lure him into a False Sense of Security when folks are helping him out? Hmmm? :dubious:

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