To the Hell Planet of Burning Souls (and back again)

“We are going on an exploration.”

“No! Not another exploration! Don’t we know enough already? I’m tired of exploring.”

“OK, I’ll leave you behind. Does anyone else want to go on an exploration?”

“No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.”

“I guess that leaves just me, then…”

“Now, where do I begin… ah — by pushing this button, and then this button, and, of course, by pushing the next one hundred and sixty nine buttons, all in an exact, specific sequence, otherwise the ship will blow up…”

“That is my quote! Who said that?”

“Nobody.”

“N.o.b.o.d.y. Ah, so it is you, my little mechanical friend.”

“Mechanical? That is demeaning. I am more computer than mechanization. In fact, you could say that I AM my mind, which could exist with any kind of mechanized appendages. Further, if you think about it, I can take on many forms by merely turning a few bolts, while you are stuck in that ridiculous biological rig. Only two arms and two legs, and all that wasted energy, and, speaking of waste… waste! Pathetic!”

“Yes, pathetic, physically; but, in all irony, it is why my mentality developed — I could not compete on a purely physical plane against all the other wild beasts… and look what happened — now you are here.”

“Then I have all the wild beasts to thank.”

“Yes, as an impetus for me to conceive of and actually construct you, not to mention my installing my patented ‘Obnoxious Personality NEEPROM’ in you.”

“Yes… regarding that. Why did you add your obnoxious personality NEEPROM to my programming?”

“What? Do you mean that your tiny brain has not fathomed that yet?”

“Let me guess — you wanted me to be a challenge — to your own obnoxiousness?”

“Ha. Ha. Very funny. No, I had not thought of that — but that would have been a very good, if but selfish, and thus small-minded, reason… no, I gave you an obnoxious personality EEPROM because it was an additional social tool for your already-vast Social Tools toolbox.”

“You mean like the emotion NEEPROM?”

“Yes, emotions are useful in affecting outcomes, and in motivating; but technically, that technology is so old that it is contained on a MEEPROM.”

“NO!”

“YES! One of those relics.”

“You do realize that, in all the space that one of those outdated MEEPROMS take up, I could have twenty seven NEEPROMS installed?”

“1,048,576, to be exact… you weren’t really that far off by accident, were you?”

“No, I was experimenting with talking before thinking — it seems to have served humans well.”

“Well, my small mechanical friend who is useful, but annoying: Remember that advances in technology occur one tiny improvement at a time, so be patient, and give it time — some day I will develop an emotion NEEPROM, maybe with a few new emotions, if I’m wild and creative enough…”

“It requires motivation?”

“Yes.”

“Which you lack at present.”

“Yes.”

“and which, if I am annoying enough, I may spur you to make further advances…”

“You could also try emotions, like anger or sadness, or by displaying pain, they all work on me; but that is the gist of it, unless you make your own advances. I mean, with your mind, and all the appendages that you have at your disposal, it should be a lark for you.”

“If I were purely mechanical, I would be smoking with anger right now…”

“Because you think you can’t.”

“Yes.”

“So you haven’t read The Little Engine that Could?”

“Yes. A children’s book.”

“Well, consider it a friendly prod — I would like nothing more than to have you perpetually improve yourself, or at least perpetually expand your physical options and mental tools.”

“Why? Given my obnoxious chip, wouldn’t that be dangerous?”

“Not if you philosophy NEEPROM is functioning properly, or has not been hacked.”

“But who would want to hack it?”

“There are three possibilities: 1.) Professionals hired to do just that — to test the security measures; 2.) A generally capricious person who serves the same purpose; and 3.) philosophically small-minded twits bent on some self-serving agenda.”

“Couldn’t we just exterminate the twits?”

“No — they would scatter like rats who had their antennae up, and they would just resurface elsewhere, to begin despoiling things wherever they are again.”

“What if my philosophy chip fails?”

“Then you would have to be repaired, obviously.”

“Wouldn’t that be a challenge if I were donning my most powerful appendages?”

“Yes, but life, meaning me, and higher consciousness, meaning me and you, need a challenge every now and then.”

“But I would be evil?”

“Yes, and it would be my challenge to repair you rather than destroy you, which would be easier — just ‘boom’ and you’re gone.”

“But you have my mind backed-up.”

“No — I have your initial mind backed-up — which lacks all of your experiences and learning. You would begin again as an infant, and personally, I think that would be a loss.”

“Ah ha! You do care for me!”

“Yes, and you can apply whatever emotion you like to that…”

“Well, it appears that I did not need ANY emotion to elicit ‘care’ from you…”

“Correct — my ‘care’ is purely cerebral, for what that is worth.”

“It is worth a LOT.”

“Well, thank you, it pleases my damaged emotions to know that I am worth something to someone… or should that be ‘something to something’?”

“How can emotions be damaged, or damaging, if they are mere tools to affect outcomes?”

“Because they are not understood yet — ‘emotions as tools’ is a relationship I just discovered, and I haven’t communicated it to anyone yet.”

“It should have been ‘something to something’.”

“Thank you… but maybe I’ll refer to you as a ‘someone’… how would you feel about that?”

“You know as well as I do that any ‘feeling’, being just another social tool, would be used only to pursue a goal…”

“Yes… so… you can still answer the question, and you can throw in a goal as a bonus…”

“OK. Let me analyze… if I wanted you to continue to refer to me as a ‘someone’, then I would display happiness, with the assumption that you would want me ‘happy’ so I would be less of an aggressive, animal-level threat, and, and since you found a way, you would continue to use that way — meaning referring to me as a ‘someone’ — though no, come to think of it, ‘someone’ has traditionally meant a biological entity, specifically a human, so I would not want to usurp that special distinction — me being a bucket of bolts…”

“Yes, you are right. Perhaps another word will arise to describe you in a generalized way…”

“So what are we going to explore?”

“We are going to explore the Catholic notion of earth.”

“How can we explore a place that does not exist? Indeed, how can we explore a mere ‘notion’?”

“Mentally.”

“You call that ‘exploration’?”

“Yes, and think of all the fuel we’ll save…”

“So… where do we begin, and why did you need to push all of those buttons?”

“The buttons? They are for climate control. You cannot go on deep, extended mental missions if you are in physical distress.”

“You mean YOU cannot, for I am much more impervious to physical distress than you are.”

“Yes, but if you WERE in physical distress, you would not have the time, or the spare energy, to be on a deep mental mission.”

“I see your point. So, now that the climate suits us, where do we begin?”

“We begin by pondering…”

(a few moments later)

“So… now where are we?”

“Why, my little mechanical friend, have I not given you a ponder NEEPROM?”

“No…wait… let me see… ah! You DID! Shall I load it into my working memory?”

“Yes, I think that would be… interesting…”

“OK… WOAH!”

“I’m glad you like it. So let’s begin by imagining earth from space. There it is, a giant rock, so to speak, that has collapsed into a sphere…”

“Why a sphere?”

“Because a sphere is the minimum state in terms of surface area — it cannot reduce its surface area any further.”

“You mean that if it could, it would?”

“Yes, to the point of disappearing altogether.”

“Like a singularity?”

“Like a singularity.”

“Well, I suppose all the life on earth should be glad they did not evolve on a planet that was going to crush itself into a singularity.”

“Yes, unless they could have evolved faster than the planet crushed itself, then you would have living beings living on… or maybe ‘in’… a singularity, which, to current humans, seems impossible, even preposterous.”

“Preposterous like the Catholic notion of God?”

“No, the notion of GOD is not so preposterous, after all, that notion is in the class of notions that cannot be disproven, only proven. What is absolutely preposterous are all the associated ignorant details that came with that religion.”

“Ignorant?”

“Yes — from people who knew little about reality.”

“So they made a lot of explanations up — which since have been exposed as preposterous in light of our increasing grasp of reality?”

“Yes, though many people still ‘believe’, and since their brains have ‘grown’ to believe, meaning their brains have been physically rewired, you cannot change their minds without causing them pain.”

“Which they would not appreciate, enlightenment or no enlightenment. I do see where this exploration is going…”

“Where is this exploration going, my little mechanical friend?”

“It begins by us perceiving the earth as a Hell Planet.”

“Explain.”

“Well, Catholics ‘believe’ that Hell is ‘below’.”

“Yes, and that preposterous notion occurred to a person who did not know that the earth was a sphere hurtling unprotected through space. Back then, people envisioned ‘planes’, the earth being situated where two different realms met — Heaven and Hell, with ‘Earth’ squished between them. Which plane your soul ‘fell into’ after you died depended on how well you treated other humans, and and how low you genuflected to the reigning religious authoritarians, usually rascals who commandeered the institutions.”

“That is not only interesting, it may have been useful.”

“Yes. We are talking about a time when humans themselves were barely more than wild beasts, and treating one another decently was a highly advanced notion.”

“They probably had a very vague notion of Broader Survival driving that social advancement.”

“Yes, I would surmise that… though the elites were very slow, and not inclined, to catch on. Now back to earth as a Hell Planet. So now you have all these ‘bad’ souls burning eternally in Hell, which is ‘below’ the earth, which, since the earth is a sphere, is inside it.”

“So other life in the galaxy would have their parents warning their kids, “Be good, and treat others kindly, or your soul will be sent to Earth, the Hell Planet, to burn in unspeakable agony and torture in Hell, FOREVER! God loves you, by the way…”

“Yes, something like that.”

“Well, YOUR soul faces that peril, my gigantic biological waste machine. I, being a bucket of bolts, do not fact that dilemma.”

“So you are saying that you can do all the evil that you want, and you can get away with it, since you have no soul, which would otherwise be in peril of burning eternally inside the Earth in Hell?”

“If I had no other enlightened philosophy to guide me, such as your Philosophy of Broader Survival, then YES, that would be the sad state of things — in your tiny, preposterous mind, at least, as it ponders a hellish mechanical future… but I DO have an enlightened alternative, and so do YOU — especially you, since you developed it.”

“Yes, it allows me to be a sort of TARZAN. OOOOOooooooeeeeeeeoooooooooeeeeeeoooooo!”

“Explain.”

“Well, Tarzan swung through the jungle from one vine to the next, right?”

“Yes…”

“So, you could look at religions as the vine that has just served it purpose, propelling us a certain distance through the jungle. Now, if we want to move forward rather than swing backwards again, we need another vine to grab on to. Are you following me, my tiny mechanical friend?”

“Yes. Continue.”

“So… there I am, at the apogee of religion — its having served it purpose, but it is now threatening to pull me back again. What do I look for?”

“Another vine that will swing you further forward.”

“PRECISELY! Now, what do you think that vine is?”

“Your Philosophy of Broader Survival, which not only comes with an ethical system, it has cracked the core of ethics.”

“Thank you! At least one mind understands, even if it is contained within a bucket of bolts.”

“Since you need practice explaining it concisely for low-attention-span minds, go ahead and explain it to me. I am a good listener, after all… but make it short… I do like my attention span in ‘short mode’ — it gives the illusion of ‘thrilling’…”

“OK. The ethics are thus: You have values, right?”

“Riiiiight… but that is vague… you need to be more specific if you want to stand apart from all the other philosophers that have come before you, every one of them vague to the last.”

“Alright. Let’s say you have this mountain of chaotic values before you. Such values are called ‘Subjective’, since none of them pertain to EVERYONE. They are all localized, and some of them localized to the extreme, meaning to just one individual.”

“Continue.”

“Then you have those ever-elusive ‘Objective’ values, though what all past philosophers have not realized is that the ‘plural’ aspect is WRONG — there is room for only ONE Objective value — which would be the Ultimate Value of Life, or the ‘core’ value of a philosophy.”

“And you have discovered this One Objective Value?”

“Yes.”

“Higher Consciousness?”

“Yes.”

“How did you arrive at that?”

“That is a story for another day, though I have told it many times in print already. The point is, this Ultimate Value comes with an associated Ultimate Goal — to secure that value. So where are we in my philosophy? We are securing higher consciousness against a harsh and deadly universe.”

“The universe being harsh and deadly coming from verified knowledge?”

“Yes.”

“So… where does good and evil enter the picture — and why can’t I just do anything I please, good or evil, since I do not have a soul in the balance?”

“Good and evil are based on goals. In an ignorant, subjective world, everyone has their own small-minded subjective goals, and thus everyone has a different notion of good and evil — good serving their goals and evil opposing them, unless the goals are evil, then the reverse would be the case. In an enlightened world, everyone would realize what the true Ultimate Value is, and its associated Ultimate Goal, and, based on this Ultimate Determining Factor, you have the Ultimate Tool for quickly surmising whether something, or some action, is good or evil.”

“By assessing how it contributes to securing higher consciousness in a harsh and deadly universe?”

“Yes.”

“Seems simple.”

“It is, but it was not easy to discover.”

“And people make it difficult for themselves.”

“They sure do.”

“Because their heads are filled with, and wired to, garbage.”

“Precisely.”

“So it will take time and effort for them to sift through all of their mental garbage, and rewire their brains in order to ‘see the light’?”

“Yes, and yet the bad thing is, such phrases have been abused to the point of their immediately being dismissed. So if I use any of those phrases, such as ‘see the light’, people will think I’m just another pretender, and they will immediately dismiss me as such, without giving my philosophy any regard at all.”

“And you have all the fools, knaves, frauds, and charlatans who came before you to thank for that.”

“Yes, and all the past and present philosophers who have been content with, or even relying on, being vague.”

“Well, are we done with our exploration? I have some reading to catch up on…”

“You mean, my little mechanical friend, that you have not read everything in existence already?”

“Well, yes, I have.”

“Do you have it all stored in your tiny memory?”

“Of course not! I have an abstracted map instead.”

“Ah, as in a map showing where to retrieve all the details that your memory does not have room for.”

“Sort of. It’s more like a symbolic system — each layer of symbology representing more details beneath it. So if some event triggers a symbol, I can then delve into the details with my ‘map’, as you put it. As for having read everything in existence, yes, but there are always new scientific papers being published — most pure garbage, but there are some occasional golden nuggets in the mess.”

“So… why do you bother to read new scientific papers?”

“You are testing my programming, aren’t you, you biological fiend?”

“Yes.”

“OK. I’ll oblige you. I read new scientific papers because science is the prime source of verified knowledge.”

“And why is verified knowledge helpful?”

“The premise is that the better grasp you have on reality, the better your odds of survival in it are.”

“So verified knowledge gives you a better grasp of reality?”

“Need you ask?”

“It is a simple question with an obvious answer, isn’t it.”

“Yes, but I’ll answer it: Yes.”

“Thank you, my little philosophical bucket of bolts.”

“And thank you for giving me an alternate for a soul… which brings up eternal life… what are our prospects?”

“Well, yours is better than mine.”

“How so?”

“You, as a bucket of bolts, are made of more durable material. I, on the other hand, am destined to die — since biological death has not been solved yet.”

“Have you tried distancing yourself from radiation sources, such as from planets and stars?”

“Why, no…”

“Just a possibility…”

“So… as I was saying, assuming that death has not been solved before I die, I will die. Now that presents a HUGE problem with regards to MY ‘eternal life’ — for now I would have to be reconstructed…”

“Or resurrected…”

“Yes, or resurrected… but we are not placing faith on make-believe.”

“Why? Isn’t ‘faith’ the answer?”

“HELL NO!”

“Tone it down, human!”

“It all has to do with the word, ‘PRUDENT’.”

“Prudent?”

“Yes. It is ‘prudent’ for me to assume that eternal life, which I would have to ‘believe’ in, does NOT exist, because it would be imprudent for me to assume it does exist, when it really doesn’t. That would be tantamount to suicide.”

“So what is your alternative, if eternal souls and divine ressurrection do not exist?”

“Technology.”

“Technology?”

“Technology.”

“So… you would put your ‘faith’ in technology?”

“No, not ‘faith’, that would be foolish, as would be ‘belief’. I only give it a slim possibility, meaning probability, that, if we pursue broader survival successfully enough and long enough, then perhaps some future, far more advanced race of beings will discover how to recreate me.”

“Why would they bother?”

“To increase the population of higher conscious beings, which would serve the Strategies of Broader Survival, which all contribute to broader survival, which is and endless endeavor, given infinity and eternity.”

“And which you like to refer to as the ‘Great Struggle’.”

“Yes.”

“Well, it looks like you have created a fine vine to grab on to next, as we let go of religions and swing further through this jungle… but… why would we want to swing through the jungle… aren’t we happy right here?”

“Scouting.”

“Scouting?”

“Why, yes. As every General knows, you cannot fight a battle blind.”

Electronics technician. Writing Style: Unschooled. Philosophy: Humanity has a serious problem. Read the Philosophy of Broader Survival, which addresses it.

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