Minbari Mondays, Signs and Portents, Questions and Context

This is the continuation of our fictional letter (reviewing each film and episode of Babylon 5) that I receive each week from Ranger Mayann.

Here is her 15th report:

Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa, Greetings from Tuzanor:

In this report, in your Earth year 2258, on the dates from Wed 3rd – Fri 5th August, 2258, to be precise, it is the second year of operation of the station.  From this  incident will be born the workings in preparation for the next great war, which for you Humans in your dominant culture’s Earth year 2021, is still to come.  You Humans have a word for this: Machiavelian.  It is a word that well describes the forbidden question, asked by one of your people who worked against his own interests and those of us all, even if he did not understand this until it was too late.

And now, Londo Mollari will begin to go down the path of accepting the first of many favors without asking the questions which could have saved us all from such pain, his own people most of all.   For all of their gifts of seeing into the future, the Centauri people, led by their pride and their thirst for renewed glory, continued to misread their visions and to ignore the warnings of the Seers, as Lord Kiro did, and as Londo Mollari did for too long.

Yet, the pain suffered by the Narn under the yoke of Londo’s people, which Mollari would see restored, also played a part in the events to come, and was also fully awakened by the events in this report.  Our own people, in insisting that Commander Sinclair be placed in charge of the station, continued to guard a great secret that also contributed to the pain to come.  Perhaps, had our Grey Council then been more wise, much of what was later to come might have been avoided.  Yet even Satai Delenn was still groping dimly in the darkness at that point, even as she prepared for the great change she would make, to help all of us come together.  At the cost of much pain for herself. 

And Sinclair, showing more of the strategic and tactical skill that he later and earlier (this will become clear next year…) teaches to our people, grows even further in wisdom as he guides Garibaldi, his best resource for ferreting out hidden information, as you Humans would say, and Lt. Commander Ivanova, his best resource for ferreting out hidden enemy fighter craft, and blowing them from the sky.  Wisdom, in choosing and placing people in the positions where they will shine most brightly, and wisdom, in knowing when not to pursue, and when to pursue.

From the city of  Tuzanor, on Minbar

Earth year 2278,

Anla’Shok Mayann

  Addendum to Ranger Mayann’s report, by Shira:  This is where it all begins!!  We finally meet the famous Mr. Morden, one of the most complex and fascinating villains I have ever seen, asking the one question that all Minbari are taught to avoid:

What do you want?

Ranger Mayann, as a Minbari, refuses even to pronounce those words, yet claims that one should always follow the “calling of your heart.”  What is that, if not what you want?  So why refuse to ask that question?  Why fall back on duty, on obedience, and on faith, rather than using reason to illuminate the path?

But they are right in that what you want cannot be, must not ever be, the whole story.  The darkness in each of us wants only what it wants, rather than the ‘higher good,’ as some people call it.  And that is something that each person must take into account.  I want to eat that chocolate lava cake, but if I do, there will be a price down the line, both in terms of lasting “a lifetime on the hips” and also of a temporary setback to my immune system.   As someone whose family has a very very strong history of diabetes, I also know that the price I could eventually pay for too much lava cake includes an embarrassingly preventable death.  So, I abstain, except for one day per week, giving me the chance to celebrate my good fortune of being able to afford and enjoy the taste and smell of chocolate, while using self discipline, as the Minbari teach, to keep my duty to society and my honor, for I do not know for certain that this chocolate has not been picked by enslaved children far from where I live, clean.

Oh, and not to forget, of course, excellent fighter pilot and leadership skills by Lt. Susan Commander Ivanova!!  🙂  Later on, those skills will have grown to outstanding levels, and enable her to pull off near military miracles, at great personal cost.

And I love the way so many breadcrumbs are laid down now, starting a trail that we almost can’t even see, yet.  For Sinclair, for Londo, for G’Kar, for Delenn, and even for Ivanova, it all starts here.   Each of their paths now lies before them, and each has stepped onto that path definitively as of the end of this episode, even if we the readers, er, sorry, viewers, cannot see those paths and much less to where the paths lead: yet!

We also see the crucial importance of context, in this episode.  Yes, the station will indeed be destroyed at some time in the future, but only the context can tell us if it will be a good thing, or a bad thing.  A key Adulting skill.

And, G’Kar, be careful what you wish for…

And, just when you thought it was all getting perhaps a wee bit too heavy, here comes one of the funniest moments in the first season!

That was part of Ranger Mayann’s letter on the history of the Babylon Project. It can be seen from another point of view by watching the Babylon 5 Season 1, Episode 13, which I most highly recommend seeing, at least twice!

See Ranger Mayann’s report from last week on means and interpretations…

To see all of her reports as an on-going PDF version: B5EpsThr10.

-Shira

Action Items:

1.)  Share your thoughts on the many possible forms of discomfort that a question can provoke, but why that question should be asked anyway, if you will, and then

2.) Share your thoughts on how we Human Beings might start to build a more fully inclusive society for all of us, and how this episode of Babylon 5 could help that process.

3.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses these thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind?

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
ReadWrite -one can add Stayed on Freedom’s Call via this GoodReads button:  , Vote, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plan Book)

Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa.

and my Babylon 5 review posts, if you like Science Fiction,
and
a proposed Vision on Wondering Wednesdays: for a kinder world…
   

Shira Destinie A. Jones, BsC, MAT, MPhil

our year 2020 CE =  12020 HE

(Day 1Day 5)

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free copies at: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

19 thoughts on “Minbari Mondays, Signs and Portents, Questions and Context

  1. This episode is a prime example of the virtue of long-term planning in story-telling. When the Shadow vessel appears for the first time, a plan is obvious.

    Also, as JMS has said, one has to know who one is before one knows what one wants.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, and thank you, Neatnik!! This is what I love about long-term thinking, in story and in real life: it is such a relief, in both cases, when a plan comes together!
      🙂

      Interesting thought, that. I suppose that what we ultimately want really is defined by who we are, though I’d never though of it that way before.

      Thank you for that thought.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you, Ranger Mayann:

          given the lengths that some of the smokers who live in my “non-smoking” complex go to hide their unhealthy habit (hint: in the garage at 11:45am, not a good one!!), I may well need a lit lamp at the height of mid-day to find it…

          Liked by 2 people

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