Archive for the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Category

Warning: Here there be spoilers. But if you haven’t watched the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica, what the frak is wrong with you?

There’s a scene in the final episode of Battlestar Galactica that never fails to fill me with awe:

As a reminder, for the last many episodes and, in fact, seasons, we’ve been wondering what the real nature of Kara Thrace (Starbuck) is, what her destiny is, and what all is wrapped up into the song, “All Along the Watchtower,” that keeps playing in surprising contexts. Here, at last, is the answer–or rather, one answer, since this series is a tapestry with many meanings woven into its fabric.

The song that identifies the Final Five human-form Cylons, the song that Kara’s father played when she was a child, the song that people many years later will play when they dream of escaping from whatever unhappiness they find themselves in, and Dave Matthews will use to close his concerts is also in musical form the jump coordinates for Earth.

Now why does this matter? It is, after all, just a television show, right? It matters because storytelling is how we humans form our fundamental understanding of our world. Some never do come to appreciate a mathematical formula. The arguments of science or philosophy or politics or even logic itself are lost on too many of us. But good stories reach everyone.

Why is this? What I’m illustrating here with this example from Battlestar Galactica is that narrative weaves meaning into events that would otherwise seem unconnected. Carl Jung called this synchronicity, as I wrote about earlier. And even when our lives have much in them that is random and meaningless, a good story unites all of its elements into a comprehensive whole.

I call this interpretation narrative theology. It explains the lasting appeal of religion and literature. Both are forms of storytelling that get integrated into our souls. A small act, what Gandalf says gets called a chance encounter in our Middle Earth, a butterfly flapping its wings all may or may not be merely random and without implication, but in the world of a story, everything can tie together.

As the greeting between Adama and Starbuck often goes:

Adama: What do you hear, Starbuck?
Thrace: Nothing but the rain, sir.

Each of those drops of water flow together to a vast sea of meaning that stories create.

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