Questions, Answers

Who are you?

What do you want?

These, it seems, are some of the most important questions that can be asked. Perhaps the only questions that need to be asked. “Where?”, “How?” and “Why?” can, in most cases, be done away with entirely if you already know the “who” and the “what-who-wants.”

In the Sci-Fi TV series Babylon 5 (go ahead, roll your eyes, groan, get it out of your system…) the galaxy is divided into opposing factions of order and chaos. The side of order consistently asks “who are you?”, while chaos asks (persistently, treacherously) “what do you want?” At the climax of that series, JMS insists that neither faction is “right,” and that the only way to answer the important questions is to live out a life of liberty. The show is, essentially, a humanist epic and a glorification of progress unhindered by totalitarian schemes. That’s all well and good for American television, but I can’t get it to mesh with any kind of Theocentric understanding of life, much less with Christ’s Kingdom.

Are there further questions to ask? Are these questions what’s important to our identity and our lives? Why are names so important to the Hebrews and Christians? Why is history so important to the moderns and the humanists?

2 comments:

Michael said...

Interesting! I continue to hope to watch Babylon 5 one day.

Does the side of order asks "who are you" hoping for similar answers? (Unity through shared humanity?) Or is it a sort of homage to Greek self-knowledge and self-control?

The link between chaos and "what do you want" seems obvious. But a lot of hard work and theology went into developing personal freedom. So what do we do with it?

Anonymous said...

Another perplexing dimension to those questions is that we generally have difficulty answering them for ourselves.

'Who am I' and 'what do I want'. In the book, Stumbling on Happiness, the author contends we are really bad at judging what will make us happy. Apparently 'what do I want' is a mystery to me.