Thursday, July 25, 2019

Miracularium One: Gods are Divine Machines

What is a God?

It's a divine machine. Says so at the top, doesn't it? But what, pray tell, is a divine machine then?

Gods have a tendency to be considered celestial beings that predate humankind, perhaps even created us and the other creatures that populate, well, God's green Earth. And everything else too. Heavenly jurors who decide the fate of human souls in the afterlife, who govern the forces of nature, and so on and so on. Depending on how you look at it, there might be only one, or there might be plenty, and if they're plenty they possibly have quite a bit of drama going on between one another. 

Well, in this case, most of the above is poppycock.

God did not in fact create man, rather, man created God. In his image, no less! That is to say, very specifically in the image of the people that created the God in question.

Art by M.C.Escher, 1953

When you hold a specific kind of morality, you are to at least some degree convinced that that morality is the right one to hold, and to exercise. Some people, perhaps even many, are very convinced that their morality is the right one though their argument for why that is may differ in quality. And, if you are right, that must then mean that people who don't think the same, are not. They're wrong. What's to be done about that? How do you, noble and well-thinking person of power that you are, ensure that everyone can be as right as you? If you're naive and optimistic, you may try explaining to them why they're wrong. Unfortunately that doesn't tend to do the trick. Especially when whatever ethics they believe in are a lot easier to practice, or just a lot more fun, than yours. In fact, there may even be times when you yourself are having a hard time sticking to what you think is right, in favour of what is either convenient or agreeable to you. 

How do you solve this problem?

If you have the power, the resources and the knowledge (the design is quite intelligent) to do so, you could create a God.

Gods are divine machines. I'll clarify: they are a divine engine that enforces the morality which it is imbued with upon its creation. A synphysical (both physical and metaphysical) construct that has no personality, no will, no choice. It is governed entirely by the presupposition that the ethics of its creators are objectively correct, and is a slave to infinite goodness according to them. If X is morally the right choice, then a God MUST choose X. In this sense a God does not have a consciousness or free will, only a core axiomatic logic from which it cannot deviate and from which it must derive all of its possible actions. Like a computer code. Like a machine. 

Art from the Book of Hours commissioned by Louis de Laval, ca. 1480
In addition, a God is a tyrant. Its purpose is not to be infinitely good, that's only a symptom of its role. Its purpose is to be as succesful as possible in making humans live by its pre-programmed morality. After all that is why the creator(s) made it. They wanted their morality, which they considered to be the right one and the only right one, to be unilaterally practiced.

Now, here's a little paradox. What if a God must do something that is morally wrong, in order to make sure that its subject humans do what is morally right? Obviously it can't do that itself, it's simply impossible for it to do. So, a God will in 99.999% of cases create angels. Angels are a handy workaround for this problem. An angel is not a human, so the God is not obligated to make it behave morally. Nor is the angel God itself, so it can act immorally. Hence, angels serve this purpose: to do everything immoral that results in a net increase in morality of the God's subjects. Smiting, in other words. Scourging the sinners. Angels are a God's fear stick.

Devils are not dissimilar to angels, but they differ somewhat in purpose. A God creates a devil, you see, as its own flip side. While a God must always act morally, a devil must always act immorally. Devils are a God's picture book of evil to show to its humans. An anti-role model, which is sure to cause humans plenty of grief when let loose among them, thereby cementing that everything devil-associated is bound to be interlocked with human suffering. Devils are also tempters because naturally, causing a human to act immorally is an immoral act in and of itself, and therefore they must commit it when they can. This reasoning is why gods encourage crusades: making others behave morally is a moral act, and therefore humans are more moral when they commit it, hence it is also in the God's interest to make humans do this since its prime directive is to optimise human morality.

But, you ask, if a devil spreads immorality, is it then not in the God's interest to destroy the devil it has created in order to maximise morality?

Entirely correct. This is a rather annoying system fluke no God-creator has managed to patch. However, take note that devils are far from created equal to the God. No, devils are far, far weaker, their influence much less powerful. They are a simulacrum of a nemesis, because in fact they are merely a caricaturally evil strawman, which a God or its Angels can defeat with impunity. So it's not exactly a substantial problem. And people need something on the basis of which they can demonise after all. Makes the morality business a lot easier.

Art from Neon Genesis Evangelion, 1995-1996
What to take away from this? Gods do not spontaneously come into existence, by virtue of belief or symbolism for a phenomenon. Gods are created by humans. More specifically, they are created by select humans with power, resources and knowledge. Gods have no free will, they must adhere to the moral principles of their creator. Their function is to propagate said moral principles among humans. They will create angels and devils to perform immoral tasks they cannot perform themselves, but which ultimately further the net increase in morality.

Gods are incredibly powerful, and incredibly dangerous.

The existence of Gods has caused strife and a simmering, floating web of rebellious thoughts among the humans Domine-ted by them, as is to be expected when tunnel-visioned celestial tyrants are not only metaphysical, but also very physical when they so desire. Gods are only ever created by the elite: only they ever have the sheer capacity to do so. Hence why they are so often chauvinistic and moralistic overbearing monsters. The frustrated masses can perhaps not create celestial machines, but their sentiment is powerful enough to give rise to a new species of celestial.

Demons are divine revolutionaries. See you in Miracularium Two. Fly me to the moon.