- This article is about the Red Dwarf item. For the Red Dwarf episode, see RD: Ouroboros
Ouroboros is an ancient Earth symbol of a snake eating itself, representing eternity and the circle of life. The symbol is also referred to as the infinity rune, or Moebius strip.
On November 26th, 2155, a baby Dave Lister was found in a cardboard box underneath a gravity pool table in the Aigburth Arms, Liverpool. On it was written "Ouroboros", and Lister had always assumed that he had been abandoned and the word had meant "Our Rob or Ross".
However, three million years later, Lister and his shipmates would swap supplies with another version of themselves from another dimension. Among the crates of supplies was a crate of "Ouroboros" batteries, featuring the symbol of the snake eating itself. When Kryten explained what "Ouroboros" meant, Lister then suddenly came to a life-altering realisation: that he was in fact his own father.
Lister later used a self-gamete mixing in-vitro tube which he got from Kristine Kochanski to grow a baby, a baby which would actually become himself. Lister then used the Time Drive to go back in time and leave himself in the Aigburth Arms, writing OUROBOROS on the side of the box, as a way to tell himself about the time paradox he was created from.
Before beaming back into his own time, he tells his infant self that for a long time, he will think that he has been abandoned, but he wasn't; they were creating an unbreakable paradox to ensure that the human race could never become extinct. ("Ouroboros", Series VII)
- The concept of Lister being his own father is revisited in the episode "Fathers & Suns" of Series X.
- Ouroboros on Wikipedia