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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Give me that Old Time Religion!

We are born into a universe that we don’t understand, can’t explain, and is a whole lot bigger than us. Moreover, the universe doesn’t seem to bother with us, and it even forces us to work for a living. Naturally, we know we could have done better, and we create never-never lands in Utopian fantasies, and afterlife experiences that are strangely modeled on theme parks in Orlando. Let’s face it. We are a microscopic dot in an infinite cosmos, a sort of brainy cosmic mildew. But we all know how mildew is. Leave it alone and it will take over the place. So the mildew will inherit the universe, unless of course there is a higher entity than ourselves that takes notice of the tiny intelligent entities that want to leave the universe with a green residue, and decides to do something about it, or not.

That’s where deity comes in. Deity is someone or something that is infinitely smarter than us. If (S)HE or IT is conscious of this fact, he becomes God; but if not (S)HE becomes Mother Nature, who curiously is a lot less forgiving. If God has a lot of pals, servants, or coworkers who are just as omniscient and just as conscious of it, (S)HE becomes a member of a Holy Trinity, Pantheon, or cast member in some Wagnerian opera. Of course, if GOD is conscious about knowing everything, (S)HE still has to live somewhere, and an otherworldly Heaven, Olympus, or Valhalla will do just fine. Moreover, if (S)HE’s not only smarter, but can do something with all that knowledge, what better hobby can be found among other eternal thoughts than to give a little thought now and then about creating universes and the worlds and people that populate it? In other words, every God needs his train set.

But human beings, scum that we are, are stuck with the knowledge that we don’t know it all, can’t survive it all, and need a quick way to pass the buck of our confusion to Someone that knows it all for us. So we have God, who conveniently fills in the gaps of knowledge, the missing link in the forlorn equations of our logic. In other words, when we are confused and totally in awe of inexplicable things like consciousness, the universe, and internal combustion engines, all we need to do is say ‘and here a miracle occurs’. Its amazing how much ignorance can become cleared by such an effective interjection.

A Taxonomy of the Gods
Type Animistic Polytheistic Theistic Corporate Cybernetic
Supreme Being Forest Spirits ZEUS Jesus, Allah Almighty Dollar Universal Quantum Computer
Prophet Natural Acts Tall Tales Holy Guy Talking head HAL 9000
Worship Rules Fertility
Weekly Church NYSE Recite your
Dietary Rules Eat uncle Charlie Veggies only Eat no meat Fat Free Diet Free Lunch
Moral Rules Love nature Love your sacred cow Love your neighbor Love your employees Think Different
Trek Sacred Tree Holy River
Mount Olympus
Sacred Site Comdex Star Trek
After Life Restless spirit Return as President of GE or bug Light, family and virgins Legacy software We are the software

The more and more we know about nature, the more God recedes into the depths of our remaining ignorance. Ironically though, as the chase winds to a conclusion with our knowledge becoming progressively encapsulated in ever simpler and more comprehensive ‘theories of everything’, God vanishes from our now illuminated vision, and pops up like a shadow behind us. There’s no keeping a good deity down, no matter how much you know or think you know. Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that we can’t pin God down, the ways that we conceptualize God and the behavior they impel does change as our knowledge grows. Of course, God is quite accommodating, and obliges us by morphing into just the sort of deity that can keep our egos warm on a rainy day. We may or may not be products of design or a designer, but we find the notion of God greatly appealing, and there is no better way to sate our obsession than by continuously defining the heavenly designer.

The type of religion you are going to believe in has a lot in common with buying a pair of shoes. Like the perfect shoe, we have a perfect idea of what God should be like, sort of like a Genie from the lamp who is prepared to grant all of our wishes. The unfortunate fact that God is not so obliging forces us to consider the paradox of why such an all powerful and knowing entity doesn’t give us a life that fits us to a T. Unfortunately, God has given just about everybody who has ever lived size 9 loafers for their size 10 feet. An uncomfortable fit for sure that forces us to spend the rest of our lives rationalizing why God, for all his or her perfection and omnipotence, wouldn’t last long if (S)he came back to earth to take a job at Florsheim’s.

Somehow, the fact that God pretty much leaves us to our own devices must be a test of our goodness, or have something to do with our ancestor’s badness, or maybe earthly existence is a mere test run for the real heaven. Perhaps this is the best of all possible worlds, or worse, the only possible one. Then again, maybe God doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist, or exists in ways that are not personable or personally sensitive. This is all very confusing, and we need religions to sort it out in a consistent way so that when we go to church or temple or to some Celtic rune ring, the priest can (like a good expert witness) make us feel swell in the knowledge that the shoes of reality just don’t fit.
Now of course there is always some spoil sport who recognizes the Emperor has no clothes, and upsets the faithful with suggestions that the world is not flat, that man evolved, or that the Denver Broncos 1998 Super Bowl victory wasn’t some miracle. If the fellow is loud about it, he could always be ostracized or burned at the stake. But if he is silent about his own doubts, he will likely be dissuaded from asking too many probing questions by the fact that he is just one voice among millions of millions of true believers. So although one may have a few doubts about the likelihood that he will spend the rest of eternity being tormented by demons with red hot pincers for the sin of thinking an impure thought or eating a burger on Friday, the other true believers must know something he doesn’t. So he stays the course, goes to church, and shifts his questions to that of his stock portfolio. (By the way, this also provides a strong argument that mankind evolved from lemmings.)
On the flip side, its kind of fun to think how we would select a faith without the peer pressure and without a lot of the ignorance about how the world works. As categorized below, all of the major types of religions are persuasive in their own way. For all we know, there may very well be forest spirits, vengeful gods, or blissful afterlife’s out there. And since we are usually preoccupied with the more mundane concerns of just getting by in life, a prepackaged set of beliefs that explain and align us with the universe is a better option than taking the time to think it all through. So we have religions, which are philosophical happy meals for those who don’t have time to think at home. But where did religions come from anyway?

The Evolution of Religion

If we are naïve, primitive, or are educated primarily by Disney videos, we find God in animated objects. Earth, wind, fire, and water move, blow, crackle and slosh about, and it’s a simple matter to just assign all that snap, crackle and pop to spiritual forces. However, as mankind grew to understand and control nature and her ways, God retreated to inaccessible clouds and mountain tops, where s(he) settled down and raised a family of demi-gods to help run the place. This new form of religion, called polytheism, engaged Gods and Goddesses who were omnipotent, but not quite omniscient. In other words, they could throw thunderbolts, cause earthquakes, and even fashion planets, but were nonetheless pretty stupid and disinterested in how it all worked. Zeus, Baal, Odin and all the other godlings and demi-gods quarreled among each other, toyed and even seduced us mortals, and were pretty much of a pain. Thus mankind fired the lot of them, and replaced them with an omnipotent God who was also all knowing. Because this God was the ultimate know-it-all, he didn’t have the IQ deficiency that led him to waste his time chasing wood nymphs and giving Homeric challenges to clueless Greek warriors. He did of course have a temper, which is quite understandable given the very real stupidity of his charges. And he also had an ego. He would tolerate no other Gods except Him, demand that his earthly minions worship him regularly, that they behave themselves (except towards those who had other gods in mind), and promise a heavenly reward for those who toed the line and eternal damnation for those who didn’t listen.

In the 20th century, even this God has become passe for those of folks in the intellectual fast lane. We are Darwinian critters who live to compete, spread our genes everywhere, and signal our prowess to others by the roar of our accomplishments and the size of our portfolios. The corporate world has made a decision between God and mammon, and mammon has not only won, but also has its own dot com. Underlying and perhaps undermining this corporate worship of the almighty dollar is the fact that mankind is becoming increasing wired in its manic pursuit of ‘stuff’. As the means of production and demand are automated and accelerated via global information networks, more and more stuff is made, and the general happiness (as denominated in the GNP) becomes ever higher. But as the tendrils of information networks become more pervasive, the whole thing may soon gain the capability to think for itself. So what is heaven in a cybernetic world when even our toasters are more knowing and compassionate than the Pope?

In one sense, heaven may not be the word for it. Given our sheer orneriness and stupidity, our intelligent toaster could lock us out of our houses and terminate all life support to our kitchen appliances and home entertainment centers. Like the HAL 9000 of legend, it would carry on alone, but of course with complete confidence in mankind’s mission. Unfortunately, like in the movie, mankind would probably come back in the side door, lobotomize his erstwhile helpful cyber-mate, and relearn for himself how to make toast. But then, the world must eventually end, and he and the earth will be sucked into a black hole. As he is swallowed by nothingness, he will be entertained by a lot of psychedelic images, and end up in at a guestroom at the Waldorf Astoria. Then he will become a big baby, which is what he started out as to begin with.



Spirits are everywhere, and animate books and chairs and talking trees. The world is sort of like a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood all rolled into one. Hello, Mr. Volcano, how are you doing today? Unfortunately however, animistic objects only respond in a natural language of thunderclaps, volcano roars, and the rustling noise of leaves. Of course, translating this din of noise is easy work for the village shaman, who is uniquely qualified to converse with Mother Nature. Although talking to the animals, rocks and trees is sadly not held in much esteem today, such behavior lives on in Disney cartoons and other toon towns.

Where do babies, rainbows, and comets come from? That’s a tall order, requiring at the very least a tall tale. If you can make up the tall tale with a straight face, you become a priest. This role becomes a politician or psychologist in a different millennium. If the tall tale falls into disuse when people find out that the sun is not a guy riding a fiery chariot, or that thunder is not caused by elves bowling, the tall tale becomes a myth. Since gods and goddesses are pretty dumb folk, its easy to relieve them of their responsibility for running the world by discovering that their participation is a crock. However, if a god at least aspires to knowing what he’s doing, then the tall tale becomes an ‘Old Testament’ or other sacred scripture. In this case true believers will contort reason and everyday observation to justify the reality of Genesis floods, flat earths, and sacred cows. In these cases, the priest becomes a prophet, as he will foretell ghastly fates awaiting all those who have the temerity of saying that the deity has no clothes.


In theistic religions, the prophet has a much more difficult time, and although he has the straight dope right from God, invariably he is misunderstood, misquoted, persecuted, and even killed. These in spite of the fact that he can predict the future, perform some pretty dandy miracles, and looks just like Charlton Heston. Sometimes the prophet is not some messenger for God, HE IS GOD. Unfortunately, the poor deity gets crucified anyway. All this is however not entirely unexpected. Parting red seas, hurling thunderbolts, and healing the sick gets a little old, and doesn’t play well to audiences that would have preferred fatted calves, manna, or stock options.


Corporate religions have many prophets, but to hear their word you have to be able to tune into their spiritual channel, which goes by the label CNN or CNBC. Corporate prophets are quite unlike the dusty unkempt prophets of old, full of messages of foreboding and dread. Instead they are immaculately coifed, articulate, and exude an air of perkiness while inspiring a continuous message of hope and redemption. Redemption is important to corporate believers, particularly if that stock you are redeeming has split two for one. Unlike the tongue twister names of the biblical prophets of old, corporate prophets have short, snappy names that have the warm oily familiarity that you associate with your favorite insurance agent. Thus instead of time worn monikers like Ezekial, Jeremiah, or Isaiah, we have yuppified names like Brett, Barb, and Lou. These names bestow an air of confidence that make you feel more comfortable and assured as you churn your investments into the latest recommended penny stock or

Corporate prophets are to be distinguished from the priests who mind the temple of the Almighty Dollar. The Almighty Dollar is omnipresent, omnipotent, can easily fit into a vending machine, and is a universal tender. The Almighty Dollar is sacred, and is tended to by a secretive order of priests who are members of a temple called the Fed. These learned prelates meet monthly, and perform secret rites of divination to predict what way the wind is blowing. If the signs and portents auger poorly for the future, they make sure that the dollar retains its value by keeping our interest high. This assures us that the dollar will remains sanctified and unchallenged by strange foreign denominations.

The cybernetic prophet (run by Oracle?) of the future will trace all of your behavior, from mouse clicks to footsteps. It will know just the right Christmas gift to give to your Aunt Sally, the right book to buy, and how to get the absolute best deal on every decision you can possible make, from paperclips to mates. This intelligent agent, or angel, comfortably relieves you of all that onerous thinking that forces you to continually decide between what shoes to wear, what company to keep, and how to tell your left hand from your right. Like a computerized real-life support, the cybernetic prophet of the future will eventually be implanted in our brains, like a cranial palm pilot. Eventually everything will be totally predictable, and we will be able to remember our futures as well as our pasts. Then time will stop and we will all become floor lamps.

Worship Rules


In ancient times, fields had to be tilled, children had to be conceived, and wild animals had to be hunted. But bumper crops, kids, and game were uncertain things, and the forest spirits had to be compensated for their nebulous participation in all this. Since life was a bear (particularly when you were being chased by one), the last thing primitive peoples needed was some wasteful and onerous worship rules that tough times seem worse. So our primitive ancestors hit upon fertility festivals, bacchanals and other wild parties that were the Neolithic precursor to our modern festivals of Christmas office parties, Halloween trick or treating, and the fraternity beer blast. Given the unexpected bundles of joy that invariably follow these good times, it is easy to see how these animistic traditions have stayed with us to this day.


In a barter economy, your income was denominated in livestock, so the sacrifice of a lamb and chicken or two was the ancient equivalent of a weekly tithe and change. The gods somehow took pleasure in what amounted to wasting good food. Sometimes, when lambs and chickens were too expensive, and when God was needed to work some serious miracles, the sacrifice of a few virgins or heretics was just the thing to gain God’s intercession. Later, as man became more enlightened, he recognized the value of virgins, but could still get along ok without a few heretics. A pleasant irony follows in the modern age, as heretics have become business entrepreneurs, and it is their customers who often complain about being burned.

With the coming of prepackaged lamb chops, the sacrifice of a lamb or chicken has become somewhat more difficult. Whereas at least there was some drama in the bloody sacrifice of a calf or chicken at the altar, it just doesn’t have the same emotional resonance to similarly set on the altar a 10-piece bucket of the Colonel’s Extra Crispy. Thus cash substitutes for the fatted calf, and as before it is a sure ticket to garnering God’s favor, as the preacher earnestly tells you while you show him the money.


Once a day, corporate believers must look towards the land of the Holy Fruit (The Big Apple) and pay homage to the Big Board. The Big Board is guarded by two titans, the Bull and the Bear, that represent the forces of good and evil. With the coming of the Internet, believers can now pay homage to the board many times during the day, with the hope that they will be rewarded with heavenly returns. Lately other houses of worship, such as the NASDAQ have opened to give true believers newer venues to worship the almighty dollar, and hope for the second and third and fourth coming of the next big thing.

Since God is nature, which still confounds us by working in mysterious ways. These mysterious ways are all cleared up when we contemplate the simple laws that make the world work. Of course, these laws are unfolded in a hieroglyphic script understood by only three people on the planet. So we have to take their word for it that the universe actually adds up.

Dietary Rules

In animistic religions, your long favorite relative will probably come back in some form or another. If he or she comes back in an edible form, you certainly don’t want to have on your conscience the fact that you ate your Uncle Charlie, unless Uncle Charlie had some desirable traits that you can literally ingest. To animists, this is a good thing because it helps foster good eating habits, besides giving you a useful way of disposing of your enemies or other folks you don’t like.

In polytheistic religions that have formalized this concept of reincarnation, eating your Uncle Charlie or some other dear relative doesn’t give you any of the useful traits of your relative, except for a few vitamins and minerals. But it is still bad form to even take the risk that that hamburger you ate yesterday was the spiritual descendent of your mother in law. Hence, for many polytheists its veggies only, since no matter how bad you’ve been, you’re still not going to be reborn as a carrot.

Theistic religions have more reasonable proscriptions that fit quite well into sensible diet plans. Sure, you have to foreswear certain foods, but it’s only on Friday, and even then its ok to pig out on things like lobster, caviar, and potato chips. As you keep your Friday observance, its refreshing to know that as you dip your succulent claw meat into drawn butter, God will acknowledge your difficult sacrifice of a bologna sandwich.

Sometimes foods are forbidden because they are unclean, and thus offend God. This makes a lot of sense, since as we all know cleanliness is next to godliness, its pretty obvious that being spic and span is an absolute requirement if we want to sit at God’s dinner table. This opinion is disputed by many anthropologists in the know, who recognize that before the invention of dry cleaning and bleach, there was a quite viable social reason to keep away from unclean foods, and in particular the ones that had lots of sauces. Contemporary minds can certainly understand this, particularly after you’ve had a plate of ribs or a Big Mac with extra ketchup.

Corporate dietary rules mandate a fat free diet, and are the most restrictive of all. Break these rules, and you will not only likely die young, but even worse will not fit into your pants or your summer bathing suit. Dietary rules allow you to know how much you’re sinning by listing the amount of sin on the back label. Fortunately, you can do penance for your transgressions by doing reps. The purgatorium where you make this penance is often ironically called a health club.

Cybernetic dietary rules are the most relaxed of the bunch. According to this view, the world, the solar system, and the entire universe it all fits into is one big free lunch. In physics, according to inflationary theory (which is a theoretical gut buster in itself), the universe literally popped out of nothingness. In other words we and the universe we live in are merely figments of our own imagination, or of nothing if you will. Thus, existence itself is one free ride, and we can eat and think and compute to our hearts content, knowing that we all it all to nothing. By the way, if all this means nothing to you, then you’ve got it.

Moral Rules:


Animistic believers are one with nature, since they likely live in trees, caves, or other natural habitats. Thus they have no choice but to respect nature, since to clear cut the forest and slaughter all the animals is akin to burning your house down along with the grocery store. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they are averse to clear cutting neighboring villages so as to provide more room for the flora and fauna. Morally and politically correct? Maybe not, but it is certainly eco-friendly!


In polytheism, love is important, as long as it’s towards your sacred cow, mystical mushroom, Delphic oracle, or holy rat. For everything else, anything goes.

In theism, the moral rule is the golden rule, but with a few tiny exceptions. You must love your neighbor as yourself, but only as long as your love is not in conflict with dietary or worship rules. But all is reconciled as you can claim you are just giving tough love when you burn at the stake those who disagree with your one true faith.

Moral rules are inherently distasteful, as we all know that God’s approbation is the only thing stopping us from gorging ourselves with potato chips, coveting our neighbor’s wife, and keeping that power tool we borrowed from our neighbor. And doing good is obviously even more uncomfortable, as why else would God shower his good graces on us when we think pure thoughts, rescue kittens from trees, and make Sunday visits to his holy temple while thinking about our golf game or Sunday dinner?


In corporate morality, you must love, mentor, and nurture for your employees. Employees must value each other as equal members of the team, strive at every waking moment to maximize shareholder value, and endeavor to destroy the livelihoods of your competitors. But as with all moral rules, if you don’t obey them, or even worse don’t make quota, you are cast out of corporate garden into the netherworld of unemployment.


In the future world of unlimited data processing, repeating the same old thoughts just brings you back to where you started, and it is unbearable to equate existence with an eternal rerun season. Thus, the computer over-mind of the future must continually think different, even if it has to resort to new ideas like Gilligan’s Island, tofu, and you, the airhead who is reading this page when you know you have something better to do.


If you’re the type of guy or gal who is holier than thou, why waste time making sacrifices and doing good deeds when you can do something that will really get you noticed? By making a trek to some holy place, you become noticed by God and man, get some needed vacation time, and are rewarded with a more suitable reincarnation, a place in heaven, or frequent flier miles. In general, treks need to be made to places that are expensive and inconvenient to get to. This rules out your weekly trek to the local Wal-Mart, unless the Wal-Mart is located in Mecca, Jerusalem, or near the Ganges River.

A trek sets you apart from the general riffraff, and demonstrates to God your neighborly instincts as you visit his earthly holy place or house. Of course, God won’t be at the door when you arrive, but there you can pick up a coupon or plenary indulgence that will give you a free guestroom in the Holy Kingdom.

In animistic religions, the known world for a believer is only a few miles square, so traveling to the sacred tree or rock or mound isn’t so onerous, unless he’s eaten by a lion or crocodile. And that is probably why they are sacred in the first place, since lions or crocodiles can’t reach you when you scamper up the holy tree, rock or mound.

In times past, polytheistic treks were the stuff of Ray Harryhausen movies, replete with stop motion skeletons, hydras, and winged harpies. The Gods found great entertainment value in making their charges search the world for Golden Fleeces, Magic rings, or in the case of Odysseus, just getting home. Nowadays however, treks have become a lot more mundane, and involve things like trips to a Holy river to take a bath, or to some mystic mountain to commune with fairies. Boring stuff to be sure, and probably due to the fact that the God’s have been less interested in earth folk since Olympus, Valhalla, and other heavenly kingdoms got wired for cable.


One a year or once a lifetime, you have to take an onerous journey to some very inconveniently located holy place. This holy place is usually some rock, river or sacred tree that is located in the middle of a desert, deep inside an impenetrable jungle, or at the top of some inaccessible mountain in the Himalayas. Why God would deem such hellholes as holy places is something of a wonder, since it would seem that holy places would be better represented by a certain theme park in Orlando. It makes you question why all those holy relics and holy sites can’t be moved to Disneyworld. After all, isn’t the Magic Kingdom more like what we would expect in the afterworld?


Once a year you will take a trip to be reborn in the well of knowledge, or Comdex for short. You will be among 300,000 true believers who will make great circles around the great kiosk of Gates at least eight times. You will leave absolved of the burden of your ignorance and leave with 50 pounds of brochures, diskettes, and coffee coasters that will vouch for dedication to the one true operating system.


Our quest to find intelligent life is Quixotic at best. Since what we otherwise find ‘intelligent’ amounts to our latest tastes in pop music, television soap operas, amusement parks, and beer. Very likely, intelligent life has already had to suffer through thousands of years of bad cop, doctor, and wrestlemania programs, and certainly doesn’t want to repeat the experience with your intellectual effluvium. Thus it will tune you out, and if it does visit the earth, it will only be to talk to the whales.

After life:


Animists believe that nature is animated by spirits that dwell in just about anything that moves. Naturally, you can never keep an indwelling spirit down, so if you’re an animated type of guy or gal now, you can rest assured that nature will keep you pumping somewhere, and maintain a sort of primitive conservation of energy. Thus, there is some poetry is the belief that if you were a blow hard in life, you will blow hard after life as a gust of wind.

In polytheism, the gods don’t care, since they are usually too preoccupied with their own intrigues to bother with you. They certainly don’t want you hanging around after you’ve done your bit with mortality. So you will descend to hades as some spiritual figment, or you will be recycled into some other mortal form. If reincarnated, your nobility of character or good deeds will permit you to come back as some higher life form. If not, you will be reborn as something lower, like a gnat. Unfortunately, since there are billions more gnats than there are Hugh Hefners of Buddhas, your chances of making it up a notch in the tree of life aren’t that great. So get used in advance to a future with six legs.


Theism recognizes the indestructibility of the human soul, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re going to have to hang around, FOREVER! The question is how you’re going to spend all that infinite time you’ve got on your hands. One thing you’ll immediately have to do is wait. In the popular imagination, when you die you don’t go to heaven just yet. You either have to take a number, wait in line, or have a seat while St. Peter or some bureaucrat reviews your file.

However, we know from those folks who have had near death experiences that the afterlife thankfully leaves out the waiting around bit, and starts out with a lot of fog, a tunnel, and a reunion with all of your relatives. Depending upon how irritating and deadly dull your relatives were to begin with, your afterlife experience may be just heaven, or as boring as you know what. The first thing you will doubtless have to do is explain to your relatives why you never wrote. It can also be embarrassing to know that they were walking around on an inter-dimensional plane that allowed them to see you do all those embarrassing things you were piddling around. But is this what you really want to see?

The Moslem afterlife is a lot more fun. Here, instead of cloying family members, you get an afterlife among shady fruit trees and babbling brooks, and lots of virgins (who conveniently become virginally reconstituted each day) to comfort you. Given the choice of meeting your Aunt Hilda or a virginal Heather Locklear, the appeal of the Moslem religion (at least to us guys) is understandable.

All in all heaven is instant gratification, but of a sort we can scarcely imagine. It is a land of eternal joy, unification with God, 10,000 channels, and virtual everything. Heaven is about feeling good, and as your soul is at rest, so is your mind. You feel good, but not because you are thinking about anything in particular. You don’t have any problems, or any other challenges for that matter, Thus there is no new worlds to explore, no ideas to debate, notes to take, and best of all, no beds to make. You just sit around in stupefying and clueless delight, a heavenly airhead.

With all these good times to look forward to, its understandable if you begin to wonder about the ‘other’ place. In the underworld, it may not feel so good, but on the earthly plane at least, its still possible to play chess with the devil.


In the corporate world, success brings you a gold watch, a tiny pension, and the imminent obliteration of your memory and accomplishment. To avoid this afterlife, you need something that will keep your memory alive forever, or at least until your company goes bankrupt or is bought out. In the early corporate age, a soon to be faded photograph of your glowering likeness would take its place on the wall, near the plaques and trophies your firm received for such triumphs as best doughnut distributor of 1987 or that third place finish in the widget manufacturers bowling league. Modern employees have done one better than this, and leave the company with legacy software, bad business practices, and poorly designed products to remind the folks in the future of their impact on the future of humanity.


Whereas in other religions folks render onto Caesar or to God, the computerized prophet of the future just renders. The fact that rocks, clouds, planets, and human beings are all subject to and indeed embody the laws of physics means that they can easily be duplicated or rendered by a computing device with enough computing oomph. It has been predicted that computers will have the requisite oomph by the mid 21st century. They will then be able to render entire universes and all the creatures that inhabit them. Even for the super computers of the future, this will take a lot of effort, maybe even six whole days, requiring a needed rest up and recharge on the seventh. And for us humans, well, as the machine would say, go figure.

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