Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mortal Life as Sorting Algorithm

I was thinking last night about some amalgam of traditional religion, while waiting for my wife to emerge from an event being held in a church. Pierrette to come out of a La Leche League meeting in a Unitarian church.

Imagine that in a vaguely Catholic-like way, mortal life is simply a classification system for people (or souls). A giant sorting machine at the beginning, very brief in the grand scheme of your existence. And that, basically, when you're done being sorted along with your fellow mortals, you spend the rest of your existence in the company of your equals, in tiers.

So the reward for being good on earth is spending your time with other people who were good, and the punishment for being a d*ck is spending eternity with other d*cks. The golden rule isn't so much an exhortation as a tip for finding the right tier in your afterlife: "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you for the rest of your very, very long post-life existence."

After beta trials, God notices that some people attempt to game the system. Like any good game designer, Allah realizes that he needs some special tiers for those people who are gaming the system. In the same way that a video game might have an invincible mode that is completely out-of-proportion difficult for those who've already finished the 'hard' level with all their ammo and never having been hit, The Earth Mother realizes that those maximizing for altruism beyond all expectation deserve a special tier to be called Heaven, and that those who maximize for self-interest at any cost should have a special tier called Hell, where the reward and the punishment is also more than simply being sorted with your peers.

Unfortunately, the publicist screws up and the media take the sensationalist points and only covers Heaven and Hell, leaving out the important salient points about how most people will get sorted.

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