Archive for November, 2010

Ein Traumatische Traum

The German word for dream is Traum.  Meanwhile, the German word for trauma is, well, Trauma.  I wonder, are they somehow related?

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Thursday, November 18th, 2010 Thoughts No Comments

No Salvation – Day 2102

"I’ll carry her back," I said, stepping over to the girl.  William pulled himself up and watched curiously as I picked her up.  We walked back in silence.

"Should we take her to the hospital?" William asked after we cleared the Fog.

"No, there’s nothing they can do for her," I responded. "I’ll take care of her for now."

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Monday, November 8th, 2010 Fragments No Comments

DNA is Not Magic

I always find it irritating when writers use a character’s genetics as an excuse for how they have magical powers.  Our intrepid heroes, having been exposed to cosmic rays or sea slug stem cells or something, find that they now have the power to turn invisible, make things float in the air, or even set things on fire with their mind.  Setting aside the fact that changes to the genetic structure of a preexisting creature do not cause the creature to suddenly morph accordingly, there’s still the problem of physics.  All of these special powers violate some vital law of physics, usually Newton’s third law or the first law of thermodynamics.  These laws aren’t coded into your genetic code, just waiting for the right gene to come along and ignore them.  They’re hardcoded into the universe itself.

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Saturday, November 6th, 2010 Thoughts 2 Comments

The Clearing

Finally, I saw light poking through the trees.  A clearing!  Clara had been wrong; there was a way out.  I’d have to go back and tell her.

“Welcome back,” she said, walking over to me.  Wait a second.  How could she have gotten here before me?  She told me that she would wait for me in the village.  Then I realized what must have happened.

“I must’ve gotten turned around,” I responded, looking around.  Sure enough, there was the other end of ribbon she’d had me lay out.

“That’s what I thought the first time,” Clara told me, taking it from me.  Then, in one fluid motion, she pulled the ribbon taut.  The other end went rigid as well.

“What?” I was dumbfounded.

“It’s not caught on a tree, either,” she said, shaking it vigorously, sending waves into the wood. “Watch.”  A few moments later, the waves emerged from the forest, smaller but undoubtedly the same.

“How…?” I trailed off.  She shrugged.

“All I know is this: the only way out of here is to cross the bridge.”

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 Falling No Comments

Divine Retribution

The Tanakh is often described as portraying the Jewish God as an angry, vengeful god.  In comparison, the New Testament supposedly depicts the Christian God as a kind, forgiving god.  I suppose this makes sense; the New Testament is full of passages about how God loves us despite our sinning, whereas the Tanakh is full of passages in which God, having been slighted by the Hebrews, almost gets rid of them all, ultimately contenting Himself by killing a few and terrorizing the rest with horrifying threats if they don’t shape up (“YOU’LL HAVE TO EAT YOUR BABIES”, for example).  But, well, the actual beliefs of His followers seem to indicate the opposite.  In particular, their views on the afterlife and the coming of the Messiah seem switched, in my admittedly limited understanding.

The Jewish view of death is that you go to a vaguely Purgatory-esque place for a number of months and then go on to one of the seven levels of Heaven, regardless of what kind of life you lived or what you believed.  There’s no sort of eternal punishment for screwing up in life; even the lowest level of Heaven is pretty awesome, and you’re guaranteed at least that.  It’s just that the other levels are, y’know, more awesome.  To top it off, when the Messiah shows up, you get to come back to life unless your body was snorted by Keith Richards or something.  No matter what you did, God forgives you, though he does reward goodness.

By contrast, the Christian view boils down to this: if you believed in Jesus and weren’t an unrepentant douchebag or something, you get to go to Heaven, which is a totally sweet place.  If not, though, have fun spending eternity in Hell, which is on fire and resultantly sucks.  Even if you lived like a saint, you get endless suffering if you didn’t believe in Jesus.  And that’s it.  It seems a bit petty to me, and certainly retaliatory.

Then, of course, there’s the beliefs of the coming of the Messiah.  The Jewish view, while a bit unclear, is something along these lines: either some dude will show up to lead us to a new age of peace and prosperity or we’ll just enter such an age anyway but, either way, it’s gonna rock for pretty much everyone.  Especially the Jews, though.  Also, as previously noted, the dead get to come back if their bodies were dealt with properly.  Cool.

Meanwhile, Christianity seems to say that Jesus is gonna show up again (I say again because we killed him the first time because we’re jerks), at which point all believers will die and be whisked away to Heaven.  Everyone else gets to suffer a variety of horrors heretofore unmatched until they die, at which point they’re sent to Hell to suffer some more.  Harsh.

To be fair, my understanding of these topics is incomplete and probably at least a little wrong.  Still, it seems odd that the “vengeful” God would let people mostly off the hook while the “forgiving” God would punish the crap out of people.

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Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 Thoughts 3 Comments

The Mansion

“You don’t understand.  We’re not in some nice mansion.  This is a tomb.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Yes it is!  There’s a corpse in every bed.  Paintings of the dead adorn the walls. The pantry is full of fake food.  And the windows have no view because, as you may have noticed, we’re underground!

Monday, November 1st, 2010 Stories No Comments