by baldilocks

One of the many reasons that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was my favorite of the several Trek incarnations was its pilot episode “Emissary.” In it, we first meet Commander Benjamin Sisko, a widower, the father of a young son, Jake, and previously, the first officer of the USS Saratoga which was destroyed in Trek’s infamous Battle of Wolf 359. His wife, Jennifer, has been dead for three years—killed at Wolf 359–and he has languished at a desk job since that time. In the beginning of the series, he takes command of Space Station Deep Space Nine without much enthusiasm, and contemplates retiring from Starfleet when his task at the station is finished.

Fast forward to the pivotal scene of the pilot: here is Sisko as he teaches the prophets—a group of non-linear alien beings who have abducted him and who use the appearance of person and scenarios which are familiar to him—about linear existence using his favorite game as a metaphor.

[On a baseball field]

Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko
Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko

BATSMAN-Alien: Aggressive. Adversarial.
SISKO: Competition. For fun. It’s a game that Jake and I play on the holodeck. It’s called baseball.
JAKE-Alien: Baseball? What is this?
SISKO: I was afraid you’d ask that. I throw this ball to you and this other player stands between us with a bat, a stick, and he, and he tries to hit the ball in between these two white lines. No. The rules aren’t important. What’s important is, it’s linear. Every time I throw this ball, a hundred different things can happen in a game. He might swing and miss, he might hit it. The point is, you never know. You try to anticipate, set a strategy for all the possibilities as best you can, but in the end it comes down to throwing one pitch after another and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins to take shape.
BATSMAN-Alien: And you have no idea what that shape is until it is completed.
SISKO: That’s right. In fact, the game wouldn’t be worth playing if we knew what was going to happen.
JAKE-Alien: You value your ignorance of what is to come?
SISKO: That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you either with weapons or with ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

[Scene switches to the doomed USS Saratoga in Sisko’s quarters as he leans over Jennifer’s dead body.]

TACTICAL-Alien: If all you say is true, why do you exist here?

The prophets force Sisko to face the fact that, by living in the grief and anger produced by Jennifer’s death, he has stopped trying to live up to his own standard.

This is what we all do at various points in our lives. And our task in life isn’t to beat ourselves up for being imperfect in what we say we believe—for failing–but to get back up off of the floor and keep pushing and pressing on, using what we have left. Sisko still had his son and discovers by the end of the pilot–and the end of the series–that he has much more than he was able to imagine at the point where we first meet him. This was good TV.

And it demonstrates something essential about the relationship between inner-core beliefs/principles and the fallen nature of humanity: temporarily falling away from the former doesn’t make them any less true or correct…and doesn’t make them any less yours. And the great part about principles which are solid and true is that returning to them will help you dig yourself out of the ditch into which life has deposited you.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks

At Instapundit there is a piece on the CNN Marco Rubio Kerfuffle that includes a quote from Mickey Kaus via Twitter:

Because it is twitter rather than his own blog we are deprived of deeper context but reading this one question instantly comes to mind:

Is it possible for the public’s expectations for the Rubio campaign to fall any lower?

Update: Rubio Rubes self identify:

Just when Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio needs them the most, big-dollar contributors from the party’s wealthy mainstream are having second thoughts about his future in the 2016 race.

That only now Rubio donors are having second thought suggest they weren’t doing much 1st thinking.

Can anyone explain how even if Rubio managed to somehow win florida voters in other states magically go to him?

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Guess who’s showing up in Germany

Of course if Europe in general & Germany in particular was what it once was, Practicing christians who were fruitful and multiplied, then it wouldn’t matter how many refugees came in, there would be a confident Population of Europeans who would insist that new immigrants assimilate or at least respect their laws and customs.

But I guess a half century of knowing that people from half an ocean away will do your fighting and even your praying for you does that to a society. Of course it beats World wars doesn’t it?

Update: I’m sure this story is totally unrelated to the last one:

Confirming polling which shows that the AfD have hugely increased their share of the vote since Germany decided to open its doors to refugees in late August 2015, the right-wing party won on average 13.2 percent of votes at local election in the central German state of Hesse on Sunday.

This result made the AfD the third largest party behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who won 28.2 percent and 28.0 percent respectively, Hessischer Rundfunk reports.

Not bad for a party that was once a non entity, I wonder what changed their fortunes?