What Is Truth, And What Is God?

The following is an excerpt of dialogue from one of my alltime favorite scifi series, babylon 5 between an alien dude and one of the main characters who, in the show writes a book and it becomes a sort of spiritual revolution for his people.  He gets fans, lots and lots of fans.  And after much reluctance, decides to talk to them.  The following is one of the conversations:

Narn:What is truth? And what is God?

G’Kar: You don’t really want an answer to that question.

Narn: Yes, I do. Please.

G’Kar: If I take a lamp and shine it toward a wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often, we assume that the light on the wall is God. But the light is not the goal of the search. It is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it.

[blank faces]

G’Kar: Similarly, someone who does not search, who does not bring a lantern with him…sees nothing. What we perceive as God is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do. Or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty… and all its flaws… and in so doing better understand the world around us.

Narn: Ah…yes…but… What is truth? And what is God?

G’kar (rolls eyes): Truth is… a river.

[amazed looks and murmurs from the crowd]

Narn: And god?

G’kar: God is the mouth of the river.

[the audience is pleased, G’kar walks away very annoyed]


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26 Responses to What Is Truth, And What Is God?

  1. Truth is a lobster, and god is the B-52’s. 

  2. misuriver says:

    I knew I should have watched that series. 

  3. iccgomani says:

    I’m watching this right now, near the end of season 2, great show! This is some fundamental wisdom right here. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. LydJaGillers says:

    And there you have it, people will only listen and believe what they want.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @schallerbrandon – Haha.@misuriver – : D  It’s a good one.  Mainly because the story was planned out 5 years (seasons) in advance, so it has this awesome mythology.  Multiple wars happen through the course of the show and all kinds of shit goes down, earth gets taken over by a dictator etc.Awesome show.I wanna re-watch it now, damn.But be forewarned, the first season or so is a bit hoaky, but that’s true with almost all scifi.

  6. agnophilo says:

    @iccgomani – Welcs : D  And yeah, great show.@LydJaGillers – Yup.  Well, some people.

  7. i like that you try to explain things and educate people on your site.

  8. FalconBridge says:

    His explanation reminds me of Plato’s cave.

  9. amygwen says:

    It’s a little scary that you remember, in detail, a television show that has been off the air for 10 years. DVD???

  10. agnophilo says:

    @FalconBridge – It does a bit.@amygwen – More like I googled for the exact wording.

  11. maniacsicko says:

    this reminds me that i don’t have the time to watch tv series anymore…   sigh…

  12. agnophilo says:

    @maniacsicko – : (Well fortunately they will be archived forever.

  13. maniacsicko says:

    @agnophilo – forever?  that’s an assumption isn’t it?  people say that the world will end on 2012…    XD

  14. agnophilo says:

    @maniacsicko – I stand corrected, it will stay archived for the forseeable future : DAnd the world will not end in 2012.  The ancient mayans or whoever did not possess time traveling technology any more than we do.

  15. BobRichter says:

    @agnophilo – You know that whole “planned 5 years in advance” thing is a myth, right? Noone’s ever seen the secret plans in the secret vault because they didn’t exist and JMS flew by the seat of his pants as much as any Sci-Fi show creator ever has. It’s deep, but it’s not that deep. It’s got some memorable characters, but they aren’t the greatest. It had impressive SFX at the time, but they weren’t ever really that good (CGI wasn’t up to the task they put it to at the time) and they now look dated. It was a fun ride, but the first season is crap and the fifth season is filler.I’d still recommend 2-4, though, and 1 for background.

  16. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – He didn’t plan it out ahead of time?  He didn’t plan out every line obviously, but the main story yes.  I mean for fuck’s sake what’s his name the centauri dude sees his death early in the show and it only happens in the last season.  What, he put an eye patch on j’kar to make him look “spookey”?Do you think that all that “no, you’re not the one” stuff and seeing the disappearing guy in the space suit on babylon 4 and all that wasn’t meant to be later tied in with the episode when they go back there?Come on.Every show like that has a lot of stand-alone “monster of the week” episodes, but the broad strokes of the story were thought out ahead of time.

  17. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – Out of curiosity, are you feeling burned from battlestar galactica?

  18. BobRichter says:

    @agnophilo – Tying stuff back in later isn’t the same thing as planning it all out ahead of time. I’m not going to argue that B5 didn’t have its great continuity moments, but if it was planned out ahead, it wasn’t any more than a rough outline, and it’s pretty clear that the fifth season was entirely unexpected.And no, I never actually expected that much from Battlestar Galactica, so it didn’t have far to let me down.

  19. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – They were considering canceling the last season and JMS protested because he couldn’t wrap up the story in season 4.You’re saying that through seasons 1-4 they never thought “hey I wonder how all of this will end?”

  20. BobRichter says:

    @agnophilo – No, I’m saying they built it with a rough outline and a fair bit of seat of the pants flying, rather than having the whole thing in advance.And JMS did wrap it up in season 4. Season 5 was really just filler.

  21. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – No, he altered the plot of season 4 so that he could sum up the story in a finale if he had to.

  22. BobRichter says:

    @agnophilo – He wrote the plot of season 4 in such a way that it did in fact wrap up at the end. Whether he did that due to a fear of cancellation is beside the point. That’s the show we got, and noone’s ever seen another one.And none of that alters the simple fact that the plot ended in season 4 and season 5 was nothing but filler, left without even any significant loose ends to tie up.

  23. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – Whatever, aside from the telepaths martyr bullshit story I liked the last season.

  24. BobRichter says:

    @agnophilo – Wasn’t that most of the season?No accounting for taste. Thanks for engaging me. Sorry for messing up your comments section. Again.

  25. agnophilo says:

    @BobRichter – Don’t worry about it.  And I think it was a sub-story for a good part of the season.  That’s why we have fast-forward.

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