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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

I’ve been shot ;_;

Note to self: Next time you’re being taken hostage, and the hostage taker apparently has a moment of weakness and gives up his guns, make sure to disarm them before passing them on to the policeman (who actually turns out to be an accomplice).

I have no idea why I had that dream, nor why my fellow hostages were grammar school aquaintances :3

Posted May 16th, 2007 by Shish, in MoS, personal, reallife

New Year’s Balance

My new year’s party balanced out my christmas — all my friends who had said that they’d come round decided they’d rather be off doing family things, but none of them told me that they weren’t coming until I double checked at the last minute. Having no time to organise anything else, I ended up alone while everyone else was partying :(

ED> Not karma per se

Posted January 2nd, 2007 by Shish, in personal, reallife

I am so fscking 1337 XD

1) My desktop server tunnel broke, so being in a DMZ, there was no way for me to get from my server to the desktop. Then I remembered I’d lent my crossover cable to a friend and ended up plugging all the boxes into the same switch. Seeing as I needed to keep the server’s DMZ connection up to be connected to it, and connect to the LAN to get at the desktop, with one network card and one cable, one may think I was screwed; not so! Linux allows you to create virtual network interfaces, and be connected to several networks over one cable

2) I was told to check out the Ever17 demo; I did, and I found that it crashed when loading, every time. Always looking for ways to try out my latest toys, I figured I’d see what was up. 15 minutes later I was pretty sure of what was going wrong (buffer overrun smashing a pointer) and how to fix it in theory (check the pointer is valid), but there was still a problem — unlike regular languages, you can’t just insert code anywhere into a binary file, as the offsets are hard coded into it. Thankfully, the compiler aligned functions to 16 byte boundaries, leaving some padding at the end of each — I could jump to part of the padding, run the code that I’d replaced with a jump, run my new code, and jump back \o/ But 16 byte alignment means 16 bytes free *at most*, which still isn’t enough for all I want to do /o\ Orignally I ended up chaining several padding spaces together, but then I figured I could shuffle the pointer check around and do it in one less byte, which would fit \o/

Images: before and after

Ed: lock for spam

Posted January 14th, 2006 by Shish, in personal, pimp, reallife, software

I am also good at Halo

Team 1: Shish, who has no xbox, and has only played halo campaign mode at a friend’s house (twice 1, half way though 2)

Team 2: 3 friends

End score: 15-Nil to Shish

Although that was seriously whoring the banshee (or ghost? the flying thing)… in regular 4-way deathmatch I only got scores like 22-8-8-5~

Posted December 22nd, 2005 by Shish, in personal, reallife

The Sickness

No entries for ages as I’ve had the most kickass illness ever~

First there was coughing, pretty much non-stop, for about a week. Then with the throat being dead, I got a regular cold with lots of sneezing, again trailing for a week. The latest stage was worst, in two parts: first with the chest tightening so the air escaped the lungs, then the gas escaped the stomach, then everything else tried to escape, then it would keep on tightening while no more could come out, leading to great pain and curling up on the floor. Secondly, after a while the throat started to give up entirely — after a while coughing it’d just close, and I’d find myself unable to breathe in either direction. Certainly the scariest cold I’ve had, no other has had me seriously worried about suffocating to death in a room of perfectly good air, just because my throat was tired of coughing~

Posted October 30th, 2005 by Shish, in personal, reallife

A Weird Dream

First I was in a generic modern city, which was being attacked by non-specific monsters, possibly something to do with a Matrix remake – Neo was there. In one shot he had two binoculars and when the camera went away and came back one was a gun.

Having evacuated the city, I was back home; my primary school playgroud to be precise. I did something I can’t remember which involved standing up for a black man’s rights, which got me kicked out of the community, and hence the community bomb shelter. Velociraptors then came, and a competition was held to see which outcast would be let in. The first question was “Find the magnitude of the vector (x, 50)”, to which people complained one couldn’t get a numeric answer to a question with variables. It was amended to “Find the magnitude of the vector (45, 50)”, which I managed to get to 5 * vector(9, 10), before the raptors started arriving and I ran to a thin space behind some lockers where I hoped they couldn’t reach. They did manage to surround me though, which is where the dream ended – I assume we all died soon after :/

This teaches me two things:

o) Standing up for people’s rights and hence going against the majority in an emergency situation can be more trouble than it’s worth

o) The magnitude of (45, 50) is 5*sqrt(181)

Posted September 27th, 2005 by Shish, in personal, reallife

Be Careful What You Wish For: Part II

Off on a wander~

Leg 1: Straight North:

Figuring I had no real plan of where to go, I decided to see how far I could go in one direction. Down the road and into the woods at the end, after only a couple of hundred meters I find a nice tree to sit in, and start reading. The book in question being “Look to Windward”. I took it out a couple of days ago on the basis that I liked “Excession”, but have been lacking time to read properly. As I read, the noise of traffic was still quite loud in the background, despite being quite far from it and having the sound muffled by greenery; I soon grew used to it though. Not so easy to get used to were the mosquitos, which annoyed me, but I don’t think I got bitten. I also got to witness a squirrel fight.

Leg 2: Still North; Through the Woods:

Starting to ache from the uncomfortable sitting position, and with light fading, I set off again deeper into the woods. There’s a surprisingly straight path going through them, which I followed, stopping off briefly for a lie down in some sort of ivy. I figured this’d be a nice place to sleep, but I never got back to it :( Slightly rested, I went north still, and into the next town. This proved to be the stopping point of my northern route; I had some idea what was east, so I went west.

Leg 3: West:

Getting deeper into town, it seemed most of the shops were closed; I continued on in the hope of getting to the major shopping center in the next town. A couple of uneventful miles later, I did, and it too was closed — the only thing open late at night was McDonalds. Seeing as the town was getting populated by groups of youths with their ghetto music (the word “ghetto” was featured in every sentance. Literally. “Livin’ in the ghetto. With ma bitches in the ghetto. Ghetto ghetto ghetto. Homies in the ghetto. Yo, it’s the ghetto.”, etc), I turned round and went back.

Leg 4: East:

Going back, I get the feeling I managed to intimidate people, what with being large, teenage, dark clothed, alone, etc. Some random guy seemed quite relieved after I’d been following him for a couple of miles, then passed without mugging him. I got back to the first turning point, and then further onwards. Mostly along main roads, I stopped a second time for another chapter. Still mostly uneventful, I went north for the second time.

Leg 5: North:

Going along another main road, this one being in the middle of nowhere, I noted a massive number of snails. That was all. Eventually I got to the river, and started pondering Narcissu, with the characters going on their journey with no particular aim. I would’ve continued through the river, but I figured hypothermia was bad, and I was carrying a library book I shouldn’t get wet. So, further east.

Leg 6: East:

Going through the more residential area, there are a lot of houses which all look the same. I’ve no idea how far I walked, but it was quite a way, until I ended up nearing my school, which was also closed.

Leg 7: South, Homeward:

Figuring I was getting tired, I set my target to be the nice tree I’d been reading in right at the beginning, so I could get some sleep. The route was quite similar to the one I normally take home, but walking through woods with no light was a lot harder than normal — thankfully, the path was very dark grey in contrast to the surrounding dirt’s black, so I managed to get through without trouble. Popping into the second bit of woods, it was too dark to see the path at all; after a couple of hundred meteres stumbling through brambles, I turned back :(

Leg 8: To Home:

Getting out of the woods as painfully and blindly as I got in, I gave up hope of spending a night with nature, and went home as per normal. Part I picks up the end of the night, which was terribly anger and depression filled, compared to all the fun I’d been having all evening…

Posted September 13th, 2005 by Shish, in personal, reallife

Be Careful What You Wish For: Part I

A conversational summary, merely as background for part II:

o) Sister was watching internet TV

o) Mother requests computer for work

o) Sister refuses to get off despite good reason

o) Mother yells

o) Sister storms off in a hissy fit

o) I point out that maybe she’s clinicly addicted; she gets very stressed when someone so much as suggests she leave the internet for a couple of minutes

o) Mother says maybe I’m addicted

o) I point out I’m quite willing to get off computers, when there’s a good reason to

o) She tells me to, because she says so (no reason per se)

o) I ask for reason, and point out that I’m on the computer in the first place to look for university open days, as she told me to.

o) She tells me normal people go talk with friends and other such

o) I point out that that’s what I do, via computer

o) She tells me to go outside, read a book, go shopping, do anything that doesn’t involve a screen

o) I do exactly as she says (Part II details this)

… 6 hours later …

o) I come home to find her crying about how worried she was about me, and she goes on about how I don’t listen to her.

This being after I got off the computer, in the middle of something (I hate leaving in the middle of things), with the only reason being that she told me to, with the thing I was doing being something she told me to do, in order to do what she told me to.

With the incessant regular nagging over things where I’ve clearly and repeatedly said I’ve heard and will get to it ASAP, one wonders quite what’s going on in her head that she still thinks I need to be told everything several times, and still thinks I don’t do things when asked :|

Posted September 13th, 2005 by Shish, in personal, rage, reallife

I Feel Faint…

I have a sudden headache, loss of balance, and feel like I’ve been hyperventilating, which prompts an impromptu will (So many powercuts and dodgy modem failures have made my life one of paranoia and backup plans…). It’ll be in ~/misc/will.txt when someone gets round to scavenging my computers :)

Posted August 26th, 2005 by Shish, in personal, reallife