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Models of Heaven

This got me thinking. All the models of heaven that I’ve seen have had glaring logical flaws, inconsistencies, and mutually exclusive parts in their descriptions.

The traditional image of humans wearing togas, clouds, and /nothing else/ seems somewhat dull, and I don’t see any logical or spiritual reason for it to be this way. I can only imagine that this model was invented by a poet in the middle ages, along with so much other supposedly canonical Christian imagery (See Cracked for details).

As to the model of “Like earth, but with a strictly invite-only guest list. No dogs allowed.” — If we assume that heaven is a place of happiness, how can we be happy when the things we love are barred from coming with us? If it’s not a place of happiness, then this model is just a limited (worse) version of earth. Either way, this model sucks too.

There’s also the idea that everybody gets their own personalised heaven. At first this seems great, but some people’s heavens would be mutually exclusive — the only way for them to co-exist would be in strictly segregated areas. Everybody would have to have their own simulated universe where they are the lone conscious being, and everybody else is robots for their pleasure. This seems to be a place of happiness in the same way that getting high on drugs is happiness — with the world bending to your will you could stimulate the brain to release the chemicals of joy, but deep down it seems meaningless and depressing. This model is shallow happiness at best.

So, what could heaven be like? Let’s start from some “facts” (I don’t actually believe any of these, but they seem to be fairly standard among religions)

– There is a soul, a consciousness that can live without the body
– You will meet your ancestors
– Heaven is a place of happiness

So, let’s start with a whole bunch of dead people, their souls idly floating above their bodies according to fact #1. What do they do now? In order for fact #2 to be true, they all have to go to the same place. But wherever you have multiple consciousnesses, you will have multiple viewpoints, disagreements, arguments, fact #3 gets broken. There is a straightforward solution to this: all souls go to the same place, and they do not remain separate. Heaven is the place where all souls merge into one all-knowing blob of experience and memories.

Extrapolating that this blob of consciousness is ever expanding, growing in knowledge and spiritual power, how does God feel about the competition? My answer to that would be that the blob itself /is/ God — when a child is born, a fragment of the God splits off and enters the body; it spends its life gaining knowledge and experience, and when it dies everything it has collected is merged back into the whole. This collective-consciousness God shapes the world by choosing which bits of itself to put where.

This model of the afterlife seems logical and self-consistent (please point out if I’ve missed something), so I think it’s ahead from the start – and for bonus points it also accounts for both the “heaven” and the “reincarnation” theories. It even tells us what the meaning of life is (Well, it pushes the reason one step further up the chain at least – we now have the question of why does the blob exist and why does it want to collect experiences, but these questions are no less answerable than our current ones).

As an atheist attempting objectivity, the latter model seems all round better. I wonder why the first few models are the ones that are preached about, and I don’t hear anything along the lines of this one?

—- Essay ends, rambling follows —-

I’m pretty sure there are a few religions with ideas of a shared life-force that we all come from and go to – I can’t name any real world religions that believe it, but I can name enough fictional ones that I assume there is some basis in the real world somewhere.

To be cynical for a moment: the mainstream models of heaven might not have logic or provide happiness, but they do put the preachers in power, allowing them to continue being mainstream. The latter model says that it’s fine to kill the preacher because that’s another useful data point for the collective consciousness to have. The net result is that popular belief is not influenced by memes that are true**, but by memes that protect themselves, which is an entirely different tangent of depressing.

** not saying that this model is true, just that a logical model is more likely to be true than a self-contradictory one.

Tangent! If you don’t care about religion but you think the idea of memes protecting themselves is interesting, see research on conspiracy theories — theories where every element is pinned down with specific verifiable details get rejected when somebody thinks a single element might be dodgy. The successful conspiracy theories are the ones that don’t have any details, they just give a general idea and allow people to fill in the blanks with whatever they want to believe o.o

Posted September 16th, 2011 by Shish, in personal, reallife

Number magic: not actually magic

A thing I’ve seen around the internet is “if you add your age to the last two digits of your birth year, it is 111! magic!” – I’ve tried explaining why this isn’t magic, but haven’t made it as simple and clear as nbisby on the opera blog. To paraphrase:

  • Consider your age is (2011 – yearborn)
  • The last two digits of your birth year is (yearborn – 1900)
  • Added together is (2011 – yearborn) + (yearborn – 1900)
  • The year you were born cancels out:
  • 2011 – 1900 = 111

The magic where you have a ring of numbers, and no matter where you start the instructions always have you finish in the same place, use similar cancelling-itself-out tricks :3

Posted May 26th, 2011 by Shish, in reallife

Ace Combat 3

Finally completed Ace Combat 3 – 30 missions with a plot that’s surprisingly confusing for essentially nothing (mission 1: blow stuff up for company x, mission 2: you now work for company y, blow stuff up. Mission 3: you are in space for no particular reason. Blow stuff up.).

Looking it up on wikipedia, it seems the Japanese version has twice as many missions, plot-explaining cutscenes between them, character interaction, multiple endings, better copilot AI, radio chatter, etc etc; but this was cut from the UK version for no apparent reason. WTF, Namco?

Posted January 8th, 2011 by Shish, in reallife, tech

Expo 2009-10

Expo was pretty awesome; the commercial side was even more commercial and less interesting than before — but then I was mostly going to check out cosplayers and the DDR tournament. Epic success on both fronts \o/ Mr Cuddlemews had his photo taken with many pretty people; and due to somebody dropping out of the tournament and nobody with any skill wanting to take their place, I volunteered to be slot-filling cannon fodder XD Of course I got utterly butchered, but I got to meet some wonderful people, and many funs were had \o/

Posted October 24th, 2009 by Shish, in reallife

Beautiful things

Iron Man’s beta test flight sequence has joined the list of “Things so awesome I cried”. It occurs to me that I’ve not kept track of this list, so off the top of my head:

  • Farb Raush‘s .das .produkt; 15 minutes of pretty in 64k
  • The uprising scene in V for Vendetta
  • The Sylvia Cannon trailer from the Korean pangya site
  • The FFVII trailer on of the OPM demo disks
  • Planetarian deserves an honourable mention; it would probably have made me cry with awesomeness if I hadn’t already been crying with sadness :3
  • I’m sure there are others, can’t remember right now though :S

ED: Also, Kokoro Library :3

Posted May 16th, 2008 by Shish, in reallife


I just woke up from dreaming about barbequeing a chunk of my own leg. It was tasty :3

Posted May 16th, 2008 by Shish, in MoS, reallife

An adventure~

Coniston’s network card died, and I was the nearest employee; thus, my turn to run up to the datacenter and replace it /o/

This would be easier if I had parts, or the tools to attach them -_-

Wilkinsons do screwdrivers though, which is useful \o/ Though they are cheap and bend when you attempt to unscrew things with them /o\ Even less usefully, it seems that wired networks are dying off — All the high street stores had shelves full of wireless cards, but at best 2 or 3 ethernet models, and those were 10/100 v_v

After trying a few shops and being pointed back and forth, I ended up at yoyotech, which seems to be a place of at least some clue; the sales dude (Brian, apparently) asked if I was using linux, and googled to see if the model of card was sufficiently supported~

Having bought it (and a second of another brand, just in case), I was off to the datacenter /o/ The trip was relatively short and uneventful, aside from a youth in a shopping center throwing a big enough tantrum for the police to take note :-/

The DC itself was relatively normal, with coolers and cables and such; the part exchange went well once I’d figured out how to get the side panels off, and what to do with the switch bolted to the side o_O

On the way home, the train was declared unfit for human transport, so we all had to get off and wait for the next, which was much more crowded :( But then I was home \o/

Posted April 7th, 2008 by Shish, in pimp, reallife, tech


Shimmie now powers a site which gets half a million page views per day, serving 200GB of images :3

Re: Lack of updates, see Dan Kim‘s blog for a far better illustrated parallel to my thoughts…

Posted March 23rd, 2008 by Shish, in pimp, reallife, software

Dutchland trip 2007-11

Things of Note:

Posted November 19th, 2007 by Shish, in reallife


It’s been over a month, and apathy over writing about it has killed my blogorhythm :|

The LBW itself was somewhat meh, with not a great deal of linux, touristy beer, and being far too hot for wandering.

One of the ferries had a tetris clone and pacman as the video game section; another had dropped the section entirely in favour of a perfume shop :(

Getting to greece, I found my maths class immediately useful, as I could pronounce many of the words :P

I found a benefit to being single: No worries about oggling hot waitresses \o/

Another ferry, another arcade… This one had tekken tag, where I spent several euros on the end boss — she wouldn’t die, even when I got her down to zero health repeatedly, and used an attack which should have removed a further 70% :-/ A kid who used paul’s cheese punch to the max also failed… Much of the time in that arcade was spent hating children, who were hogging the cabinets and just playing with the controllers, not realising that you have to put money in…

On that same ferry, elsewhere, I practiced my scowls on the local children, hoping to incite displeasure. Having practiced enough, I then figured out how I could say “I take pleasure in the pain of your child” in mime~

San Candido was creepy when we arrived, being a skiing village out of season — it was ~8pm when we arrived, and everything was dead. Kitty and Alex went looking for a tourist advice person, and weren’t heard of again. The only humans around were two station staff, who seemed really happy to see some visitors. The only sound was a broken high voltage cable, like something from silent hill. A dog in the distance barked occasionally. There were lots of advertisements for the local meat…

San Marino and Liechtenstein were a couple of pretty awesome places, tiny countries on mountains. Lots of pretty views and sunsets~

The french metro system is very darwinian — the gates are too small for any but the slimmest people, and anyone who’s slow gets crushed…

I forget other things :S

Posted November 16th, 2007 by Shish, in reallife