Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daniel Jackson RIP

I've been watching episodes of the Stargate series on DVD and tonight came to Meridian, in which one of the main characters dies, or I should say, ascends.

The character who perishes was archaeologist and linguist Daniel Jackson. I really liked Daniel, so much so that I felt very sad through the whole episode. As another character on the series described him (to himself when he'd once lost his memory) ....

You are brilliant. One of the most caring, passionate ... you're the type of person who would give his own life for someone he doesn't even know. If you had one fault, it was that you wanted to save people so badly, you wanted to help people so much, that it tore you apart when you couldn't make a difference.

In this episode, Daniel saved an alien cultural from a devastating doomsday weapon, getting a lethal dose of radiation in doing so. At the last minute, as he lay dying in his hospital bed, an ascended being, Oma, offered him the chance to ascend instead of die. He felt he was unworthy ...

Daniel - You said I was the only one qualified to judge myself? So, how ever much I want to achieve enlightenment or whatever you want to call it, what happens if I look at my life and I don't honestly believe I deserve it?

Oma - The success or failure of your deeds does not add up to the sum of your life. Your spirit cannot be weighed. Judge yourself by the intention of your actions and by the strength with which you faced the challenges that have stood in your way.

Daniel - What if I can't?

Oma - The people closest to you have been trying to tell you that you have made a difference. That you did change things for the better.

Daniel - Not enough.

Oma - The universe is vast and we are so small. There is only one thing we can ever truly control.

Daniek - What's that?

Oma - Whether we are good or evil.

Finally convinced he can make more of a difference in helping others as an ascended being, Daniel goes with Oma.

- Daniel ascending

Ironically, Daniel later (in the next season) learns that ascended beings are not allowed to intervene in the activities of humans, even to help (hmm - sounds familiar) and when he helps anyway, he gets kicked out of the group, having to take human form once again. Of course it's all just fiction, but still it's surprising how what's make-believe can so touch and move us (or me, anyway).

RIP Daniel, and see you next season.


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