Friday, January 6, 2017

Short Story: The Mandala Effect

"The Mandala Effect refers to a phenomenon in which a large number of people share false memories of past events, referred to as confabulation in psychiatry. Some have speculated that the memories are caused by parallel universes spilling into our own, while others explain the phenomenon as a failure of collective memory."

"In psychiatry, confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a disturbance of memory, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.[1] Individuals who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications", and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence."

"In 2010, blogger Fiona Broome coined the term 'Mandala Effect' to describe a collective false memory she discovered at the Symposium in Toronto, where many others believed that the Dalai Lama died during a Tibetan revolt in Communist China in the 1960s. A healing sand mandala was prepared by Tibetan monks to welcome the Dalai Lama's visit. That year, Broome launched the site to document various examples of the phenomenon."

"A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism, representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance."

"Many people who visit the Mandala Effect website have fond memories of the Berenstain Bears books. They read them as children, or family members read them aloud. It’s a cherished childhood memory.

However, the books in this timestream are Berenstein Bears. E, not A, in last syllable."

External References:
Know Your Meme

Friday, December 9, 2016

MindWrap: Roko's Basilisk and the Folly of Transhumanist Atheism

"A thought experiment called 'Roko's Basilisk' takes the notion of world-ending artificial intelligence to a new extreme, suggesting that all-powerful robots may one day torture those who didn't help them come into existence sooner." Business Insider

"Roko's basilisk is a thought experiment about the potential risks involved in developing artificial intelligence. The experiment's premise is that an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future could retroactively punish those who did not help bring about its existence, including those who merely knew about the possible development of such a being. It resembles a futurist version of Pascal's wager, in that it suggests people should weigh possible punishment versus reward and as a result accept particular singularitarian ideas or financially support their development." Rational Wiki

What is the Roko's basilisk? It's an idea that if somehow we were to create a smarter-than-humans AI, which will in turn create an even smarter AI, and so on until it becomes close to omniscient and godlike, that it will create a simulations of all of the previous humans that didn't take part in advancing it, and then punishing them.

Why would it punish them in a simulation? Arguably, said AI would be the best thing ever, as it will solve humanity's problems if it was created to be friendly. However, since humanity has suffered before it was born, so to speak, those humans that didn't advance the AI will be punished because reasons. Those reasons include existential risk or some other.

One put it that 151,600 people die each day before said AI manifested, so the AI has a reason to exact revenge on those that didn't help it come back to save humanity.
To be fair, not all transhumanists hold these belief, as it is just a thought experiment. You'd have to accept the premise that AI would find existential crisis compelling enough to punish simulations of you far in the future, in addition to the already faulty transhumanist assumptions.

If one does accept the premise, these are the problems with that line of thinking.

That is,
1. Atheism says there is no God
1a. If there was a God, He is evil for reasons, including the following: sending people to hell for not following Him, the existence of evil, people suffering, etc.

1b. God sees Himself as the ultimate good

2. We are most likely simulations by an AI

3. If we are simulations, then AI is basically a god in all practices and purposes

3a. Thus if said AI runs this simulated universe, it is the god of this universe

Thus if Roko's Basilisk is true,

A. There is a god

B. That god is evil for sending the current simulations of who don't to an existential hell, allowing evil to exist in the simulated universe, allowing suffering of simulations, etc.

C. That AI considers itself the ultimate good, and with objective measure

D. We are already simulations of said AI god

E. Atheism is false, at least in this simulated universe

So if Roko's Basilisk is possible, atheism is false. Do note I don't believe in Roko's Basilisk or atheism, I used their reasoning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant Christianity Classification System Needs To Be Replaced

For centuries after the Reformation, Christianity has been classified into three so-called branches:
Roman Catholicism: the largest sect of so-called Christians. (The term "so-called" is only reference to the title, ie, someone who believes his religion is based on Christ's teachings, not being born again or other definitions)
Greek (or Eastern) Orthodoxy: a half split from Roman Catholicism.
Protestantism: "protesting" from the Catholic Church, a result of the Reformation and another split from Catholicism.

Protestants sometimes add a fourth category: Cults.
Cults would include Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses and others.

However, this does not fix any of the underlying and fundamental problems of the system. And Catholics consider these cults to be part of Protestantism.

This system is outdated, revisionist, and over simplistic.

How so?

This system was invented by Catholics in relation to them. While them being the largest name holder of Christianity does give them some credence in setting up the classification, it fails to accurately predict the nuances.

In other words, by using this classification system, we play along the Catholic view of history. And there are obvious reasons why we shouldn't go along with the revisionists.

For example, all the classifications are based on its relation to Catholicism.
Either you're
1. Catholic (Roman Catholicism) OR
2. Pretty much like Catholic no matter how much you pretend you aren't (Greek Orthodoxy) OR
3. Not a Catholic and protesting away from it, making Catholicism the "mother" (Protestantism)

It's all based on how Catholic you are! As I noted, Catholics consider Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to be Protestants.

Catholics view all non-Catholic Christianity as rebellious and prodigal children to be subjugated under her wing as the "Mother of Christianity". I kid you not. I talk to a lot of Catholics, and this is what they tell me.

I know the classification system is entrenched in our textbooks in seminaries, history books, and such, The victor does write history. But for one, I refuse church history to be written by and from the point of view of the instigators of the Inquisition. It makes as much sense for the history of Jews to be written by Nazi Germany.

There are plenty of ways to categorize Christianity. I propose such a system:
1. Hierarchical Christianity
2. Common Christianity
3. Middle Christianity
4. Cultic Christianity

Hierarchical Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A priesthood apart from the lay people.
  • A priesthood with a patriarchal figure. The Pope and the Patriarch of Orthodoxy, amongst others.
  • Emphasis on infant baptism.
  • Emphasis on tradition.
  • Emphasis on church authority as final. May manifest as a catechism.
  • Emphasis on images, statues, icons, or other physical embodiments.
  • Emphasis on saints and angelic beings.
  • Emphasis on sacraments. May be seen, rightly or wrongly, as works salvation.
  • No separation of church and state. Sometimes, the church is the state. Theocracy.
  • Major in size.

Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy would fall under Hierarchical Christianity. The Chinese state church and other state churches would fall underneath Hierarchical.

Common Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • No priesthood apart from the lay people. The lay people are the priesthood.
  • An adherence to the Bible and the Bible only as their rule for faith and religion. This does not mean they are free from errors of interpretations or conflict.
  • Emphasis on believer's baptism.
  • Emphasis on Bible's authority as final.
  • Emphasis on separation of church and state.
  • No images, statues, icons, or other physical embodiments, possibly except symbols such as the Cross.
  • No emphasis on saints or angelic beings.

Most Baptistic denominations would fall under Common Christianity, along with non-denominational, and Church of Christ, and others.

Middle Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A compromise between Hierarchical and Common.
  • A conflict between a separate priesthood and priesthood of the believer. Presbyterians.
  • A conflict between infant and believer's baptism. Presbyterians, again.
  • A conflict between separation of church and state and theocracy. The Lutheran and Calvinistic state churches, for example.
  • Emphasis on theologians and confessions. Calvinists, Lutherans, and such fall here.
  • Basically, mix and match with Common Christianity, and you'll have Middle Christianity.

Most Protestant denominations would fall under Middle Christianity. The reasoning is that Protestants protested from the Catholic Church, and so would dilute their doctrines and traditions. Much of Common Christianity were never part of the Catholic Church and thus not should not be considered Protestants.

Cultic Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A clear denial of the Trinity. This is the main difference between Hierarchical and Cultic, as Hierarchical usually does believe in the Trinity.
  • A denial of other key components of the faith.
  • Additional books of revelation. The Book of Mormon and the Watchtower, for instance.
  • Minor in size.

As noted, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses would be in this category.

Will it catch on? Probably not. Does it suffer some problems from the previous classification system? In some parts, yes. However, it is a struggle to keep it simple while also covering a lot of systems.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Game Design: The Inky Darkness, A Horror Real Time Strategy Game (subject to change)

Originally from Faction Calculus, my blog about Real Time Strategy games.

As my bio states, I am a game developer of sorts. I often do game jams occasionally, where one will try to make a game in under a prescribed time limit. Not a lot nowadays, but I used to.

So, with Asylum Jam coming up from Game Jolt with the theme of psychological horror or mental issues outside of a context of an asylum (which makes the name ironic), I had a lot of ideas: A game based on writer's block; a game based on the Five Stages of Grief; a 2-D version of Luigi's Mansion; etc.

I recently was playing around with an unfinished RTS engine of mine on Game Maker, and so I thought, maybe I should create a small horror RTS. RTSes are hard to make, but I have done them at least twice for different game jams. Also, I've been fascinated by Lovecraft recently.

Introducing, the Inky Darkness RTS concept!

You are a commander of a small military base outside a settlement. Whether suddenly or with warning, a dark fog has covered the lands and is increasingly darker and darker. In the fog are terrible, slithering things, and areas covered with the fog are impenetrable. The few that come back from the fog have been reduced to one babbling with insanity... or worse. Escape, get rescued, turn back the fog, or succumb.

Deciding whether Victorian steampunk, World War I, Cold War, or the modern era.

Cold War has the advantages of the Soviet Red Menace atmosphere, and earlier wars such as the Vietnam War as a backdrop for flashbacks.

World War I has gritty trench warfare and gray drab atmosphere. Since chemical warfare was commonplace, the Fog is not out of place.

Modern era can be molded to anything, but has no context to history. Technology such as drones would be available.

Victorian steampunk is just cool, and fits the Lovecraftian sensibilities.

The Fog of War is your enemy. Literally. Once it is thick enough, you can shoot at the fog which might grow shadowy tentacles and hold it back until you run out of ammunition.

Strong lights can also hold back the fog. The fog is more of a "liquid" fog than an airy fog that covers everything. Think of Zerg creep or the Creeper World creep combined with a Fog of War.

The thicker the fog gets, the more aggressive the enemies it spawns will be and your range will get smaller.

You will have limited ammo, limited fuel, limited supplies, and limited men. You may venture out in your own peril to find supplies and survivors.

There will be a day/night system, though a thick fog will make daylight very scarce. Your men, and yourself, will need sleep. And sleep causes nightmares, not only on your men, but on you.

Units can hide or take cover behind something to ambush or not.

You and your men are affected by insanity as determined by the thickness of the fog; eldritch horrors each men has encountered; loss of morale, supply and troops; and nightmares at night.

Sort-of fourth wall breaks as evidenced by the insanity and the monsters in-game.

Some sort of random generation for characters and other things. Small bios for the characters to relate to.

Enemies include lumbering Lovecraftian zombies/mutants, lots of tentacles, and other cosmic horror. Enemies can corrupt your infantry units and even vehicles.

Insanity might also be an infestation/corruption meter, or separate.

Sort-of open world sandbox RTS as there is a city nearby for looting and other landmarks.

Flashbacks of previous wars. Maybe the commander has PTSD. Increases the hallucinations. Flashbacks are interactive and playable. Provides practice for player commander for warfare.

Instead of a bird's eye view like a satellite uplink, there will be only surveillance cameras. Or even, the increasing activity destroys the satellite uplink and that player now has to rely on surveillance cameras.

Insanity affecting the landscape. Things will become more out of place as time passes by. Might flash into an alternate dimension.

Commander being attacked in the command station. Structures are not small, but huge enough to warrant firefights inside. Indoor gameplay.

Base-building is standard RTS building, however, structures have interiors aforementioned, sort of like Prison Architect with preset building layouts.

Planned rhythm. To shake off predictability, squads may be sent missions to check on completely harmless things. And the harmless things may clue in to a darkness coming, or actually something completely random comes out that is not harmless.

Undertale-type 4th wall breaks and game hacking.

Risks and Challenges:
The trick is how to make a strategy game scary. The survival part should theoretically lend to that idea.

Call of Cthulu: Wasted Land
Fear Equation, Deadnauts, Zafehouse: Diaries
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Darkest Dungeon
Creepy World series
Don't Starve
Escape from Aliens from Outer Space!
Blood Roofs
Other games which I do not remember the name of.

Useful Links:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Short Story: A Multiverse of Answers

I loved her. I loved her so much.

But she didn't. I don't think she did. I though she did. But she does not now.

I made too many mistakes. But I don't even know what they were. It was way too sudden.

I need answers. Why did you leave me? Why did you not want me anymore?

But how do I regain her back?

I don't.

Travel to the past is impossible. The past is finished and closed.

Yet, there are many other universes where it all turned out differently.

Many other instances of her flitting around.

So I traveled to another present.

I met her again in one dimension.

She had no chronic illness.

She shied from me.

I met her again in the next.

She moved up north.

She approached me.

But was she really her?

Was she really the one I loved?

I need answers.

I must go back to her. I must.

And the many universes bubbled and frothed in the great sea of possibilities we call God's foreknowledge.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Poem: Can God Create A Rock So Heavy

Can God create a rock
So heavy He cannot lift
And atheists mock?

God became human,
Virgin born,
Jesus, Son of Man.

And many heavy stones,
Formed by His hands ages past,
He couldn’t lift.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mindwrap: Space Empires, Emperors of Man, and Eschatology

In fiction, especially science fiction, we, as humans, are utterly fascinated by the idea of a space empire, and an emperor ruling over it. Why? I believe the idea is found in our nature and in the Bible.

Man, despite his desire for freedom and liberty, in their very hearts, wants a (human) king over him.
I Samuel 8 KJV
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Man also dreams of a kingdom of Man that is established forever.

II Samuel 7 KJV
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
Man also dreams of a space-filling intergalactic empire.

Isaiah 9 KJV6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Science fiction and even fantasy are full of figures that are styled as emperors of the whole mankind that have shaken off the earthly shackles and have expanded into space. One can recall Star Wars and the Empire. But even more substantial is the Dune series and the Warhammer 40K series.

Paul Atreides from the Dune Universe
In the Dune series, a conspiracy by a sect of priestesses called the Bene Genessarit plan to breed a Messiah-like figure. After a long genetic program of breeding and propaganda and manipulation, it resulted into Paul Atreides, who possessed an ability to see the futures (yes, plural) with the help of spice drugs from the planet Dune or Arrakis.

This enabled Paul Atreides to become an Emperor who united the Houses, controlling space travel. He sat on the Golden Lion Throne.

The Emperor of Mankind from the Warhammer 40K Universe
The Emperor of Mankind is an immortal being spawned as a personification of humanity. After a Dark Age of Technology, he united Earth or Terra in the Unification Wars. Then so forth he started the Great Crusades to take over the galaxy, which he succeeded. He, like Paul from Dune, possesses great psychic power.

So why does humanity have a fascination for a great leader that will take us to the stars?

In ancient times, kings were considered to be as gods. The very word "god" means a ruler. One can recall Nebudchadnezzar prompting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to worship a golden statue of himself before throwing them in the fiery furnace.

Along with Nebudchadnezzar, the book of Daniel lists Gentile world spanning empires and their kings: Babylon of Nebudchadnezzar, Medes-Persia of Cyrus, Greece of Alexander the Great, Rome of the Caesars, and the coming Empire of the Antichrist.

The Gentile world empires and the Kingdom of God

But they never reach into space, or the second heaven.

The Lord God prevents the conquest of space by Man:

Obadiah 1:4 KJV
Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. 

So this explains why we have not gone to space yet and colonized much at all. Divine intervention.
Deuteronomy 4:19 KJV
19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

According to this passage, the constellations are divided among the nations, understood here as the Gentile nations. So God has given the starry skies as an inheritance for mankind to fill,

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 KJV
8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

Cross referencing the previous passage, this means that there are 12 Gentile nations, one for each tribe of Israel. Hence, there is also one Israelite tribe and Gentile nation associated with one of each of the 12 constellations, or Mazzaroth (Hebrew for Zodiac), in the book of Job.

Revelation 22:2 KJV
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

So from the previous knowledge, it is safe to assume that each fruit corresponds to a Gentile nation. The 12 Gentile nations seemed to be named at the table of nations in Genesis 10, as the 12 sons of Japheth and Ham (with Israel as the son of Shem), but this is speculation.

But what does this actually tell us about the future Kingdom of God?

If God is preventing us from reigning at the stars, and that the nations are given the constellations, then it is implied that we are only to conquer and have a space empire once Jesus Christ Himself comes back to Earth, after the Tribulation and the Millennium.

When Jesus is crowned the Potentate of mankind and of the whole Universe, Israel takes the planet Earth, and the 12 Gentile nations take the constellations in a feat of space colonization. The Church is New Jerusalem.

And it shall be a Kingdom, though there is still death, as the tree of life is still necessary. Death being defeated is still future.

Fiction tells us of godlike men like Paul Atreides or the Emperor of Man, and yet despite all their abilities and power, pales in comparison to the coming Lord of lords and King of kings Jesus Christ.

Paul was not immortal. The Emperor of Man was, but his body decayed without his control. Jesus Christ is resurrected and eternal.

Both Paul and the Emperor possessed great psychic power to steer humanity. However, Paul despaired of determinism. The Emperor was shortsighted in many things. Jesus Christ completely omniscient and omnipotent.

The Preacher, secretly Paul Atreides, who was blinded

Paul blinded himself to escape the Golden Path, the determinism of him knowing the future, and wandered the desert. His son Leto II took his reins, transformed into a psychic sandworm to guide humanity, and after thousands of years, died in an accident he himself orchestrated.

The Emperor of Man decaying on the Golden Throne

The Emperor of Man was gravely wounded after Chaos demons possessed his son Horus. He sits in the golden throne, decaying, even with great psychic power. His Imperium is classified as a grim, dark future, that no one wants to really live in.

Jesus Christ, as our Potentate and future Emperor God of all Mankind, will never fail. While these two godlike men of fiction are the best mere humanity can conjure up to pretend to be Christ, He is the real deal. He is the Emperor mankind is secretly yearning for, to take a space empire of galactic, intergalactic, and universal proportions.

Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
1 Corinthians 15:28 KJV
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 
After a thousand generations of ruling the universe as Man, it seems Jesus will shed His fleshly human form and become the Word, but this is a bit of speculation.

God became the Man Christ Jesus, so He could fulfill humanity's dual desire of a human King of kings and eternal Kingdom, as He is the Desire of nations. No fictional space emperor could ever hope of outshining Him.

So if you ever long of ever being a citizen of a space empire of eternity, look to Him.

Samuel Garcia