Is my religion insane?

Serious discussions on politics, religion, and the like.

Is my religion insane?

Postby GhastmaskZombie » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:54 pm

This is exactly what it seems like: I am honestly and openly going to share a brief summary of how I think the world works, not in an attempt to convince or convert, but in a genuine attempt to gauge how preposterous it seems (since I'm rather certain it sounds at least a bit absurd). Now, the first thing to note is that this is not an orthodox religion based on tradition or scripture. I was raised atheist and told to believe what I thought was right, not what I was told. I remained atheist until my late teens, when I found Tailsteak's prior work, 1/0, and it got me thinking. Eventually I cobbled together a collection of concepts I call Fictheism. The gist is this: the only true distinction between fiction and reality is heirarchy. They are as two adjacent rungs on an infinite ladder, without a top or bottom. My god is the author, my genesis is page one of the universe, and my messiah is the protagonist. I will never know any of these things, and I feel it's quite likely there are more than one of each. At first it stemmed from seeing a 1/0 character say "cogito ergo sum," was reinforced by my own natural deistic tendencies, but what really clinched it was that quantum mechanics clearly looks like someone up there's making it up as they go along. So... is this mad, or just strange?
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby RyukaTana » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:24 am

Strange, but no less proposterous than many religions. Honestly, if someone tells you that your religion makes no sense, I'd ask you to challenge them to explain why their religion makes more sense without referring to how many people believe in it or the concept of faith.

Also, I'd also suggest dropping the word you're using to describe it. What good is a word no one knows that you'll have to explain every time you use it, may as well just call it 'my belief'. I also doubt it's particularly original, you could probably find a better term, particularly since it likely derives from the word 'fiction' which holds a shit ton of irony when you apply it to how you think the universe actually works.

Further, I wouldn't use the word religion to describe it, as that word tends to be very closely tied to concepts of widely-held structured belief systems, rather than singular, open-ended personal beliefs. That's maybe just me, though, but a simple phrasing of 'I believe...' followed by what you believe, is likely to add less cultural baggage to what you say.
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby crayzz » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:00 am

The gist is this: the only true distinction between fiction and reality is heirarchy.


Have you read InkHeart, InkSpell, or InkDeath by Cornelia Funke? This is, effectively, the premise, except certain people have the power to move things up and down the ladder by reading books.

Even before that trilogy, I've had similar thoughts, so its not an entirely preposterous notion (believing it to be true is another matter).
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby snowyowl » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:58 am

I'm sure you remember the page in 1/0 where Ghanny says "Once upon a time, an infinite number of people lived happy and fulfilling lives", or words to that effect. Does this "count" in ethical terms? Should you be sitting around creating stories all day - not stories that are fun to write or read, but stories that are fun to live in? That seems absurd to me.

Why fiction? What does it take for something to count as fiction? If I invent a story but do not write it down, does that count? If I write a story in which a writer appears, but I don't specify what he's writing about, does his writing exist? If I present something in the format of a mathematical proof rather than a story, does it still count, or do I need to prefix it with "Once upon a time, there was a Universal Turing Machine with the following input"? Actually, by writing that blog post (about a computer that runs every possible program in order) has the author already created every conceivable universe, saving us the trouble?
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby GhastmaskZombie » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:42 pm

Well, snowyowl, I must say those are some interesting points, and I've actually thought through many of them myself. But the most important one is the question of moral obligation. I quite honestly, do not believe we have any obligations to fiction. It would drive a person mad to entirely avoid coming up with harmful stories. To think that a simple "what if" could kill millions is a disturbing thought that I dare not face head on. Besides, one could argue that by simply saying "Once upon a time, an infinite number of people lived happy and fulfilling lives", you are doing as much good for the worlds of fiction as you will ever do in your entire life, as you've already reached an infinite quantity. I could say more, but I tend to ramble and this reply is long enough already.
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby crayzz » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:11 pm

To think that a simple "what if" could kill millions is a disturbing thought that I dare not face head on.


Unfortunately, this is effectively a "what if": what if people invented hypothetical "what if" scenarios in which millions suffered or died? I've just, effectively, harmed or killed millions two levels down the ladder (assuming hypotheticals count).
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby snowyowl » Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:29 pm

What if I had a way of breaking out of hypothetical universes?
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby GhastmaskZombie » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Snowyowl, I've already thought of that. In fact, a couple of characters tried it in a self-referential story I wrote for myself as a thought experiment. It proves nothing because the scientific laws of higher reality take precedence, with no exceptions. And no, you can't actually write a story in which exceptions to that are possible, because by being possible they cease to be exceptions. Clever, no?
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby Godric » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:01 pm

I've had some similar thoughts before, not quite as a hierarchy of reality to fiction, but similar enough. My train of thought generally looks at the question of where reality ends and fiction begins. I'm sure we've all seen this scene in one form or another, or at least heard of it. A fictional character somehow meets their author, artist, creator, etc. which leads to an existential discussion on reality, fate, or what it means to be a character in a story. Heck, 1/0 the characters are in constant communication with their artist.

With this in mind, my line of thinking is thus: does fiction create reality, or does reality create fiction?

I designed a character years ago, that travelled between dimensions, and some of these dimensions he realized seemed familiar to fictional stories/movies he saw in his home dimension, and he begins to ask the question if these dimensions were created by the imaginations of others and given physical form by the wishes of the audience, or if they had always existed and the events bled through the walls between dimensions and sparked the ideas for authors to write what were essentially historical events of parallel universes. It's less of a hierarchy between fiction and reality the higher or lower you go, and more of an even field of undetectable communication that either fuels, or is fuelled by, every other existence.
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Re: Is my religion insane?

Postby RyukaTana » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:08 am

Why, simply because this is a religion, does moral obligation have to have anything to do with it?

There are essentially two insinuations here: Either writing stories wherein bad things happen is bad and thus, the believer should never write or participate in such stories (and shit, this system doesn't even broach the ethos of what 'bad' means).

Or alternatively, that morality/ethics, particularly between instances/universes, is neutral. Things just are, they fulfill the needs of the narrative, decided by the creator based on the strictures of what they feel is the purpose of telling their story. Acts are not good or bad, except as defined by the storyteller or the characters brought to life by said story, but both are entirely subjective and have no other basis but the thoughts of said subjects.
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