Friday, July 30, 2010

Life as a game

I was playing Conway's Game of Life on my phone and a thought occurred to me, "You know, if God treated Life like I play this game, we would all be doomed."

Conway's Game of Life is a cellular automata simulator. The version I play starts with an empty field. I swipe my finger along the screen to create life. Then I go about interfering with any form of stability or stasis in an attempt to clear the screen with as little interaction as possible. Put simply, first I create life then I set about to destroy it with as few moves as possible.

Any sort of massive single deity which claims to be both the creator and destroyer may be interested in playing similar games on a larger scale. Such games would, of course, ultimately lead to our destruction. Frankly, such games are fun, so I can clearly see the draw.

Multiple deities provide a checks-and-balances that you can't get with a single deity. This would be why there's an assumption that any single deity must be the definition of good. Defining anything as being "inherently good" is a rationalization, an excuse. It is an ethical cop-out.

Would you blindly follow a deity to the destruction of all life on the planet? What if you were sure that would trigger the return of your heroes and deities? What if you were given proof that the request came from your deity of choice?

Personally, I don't think I can call any deities inherently good, as I can not call any inherently bad. They exist. They may have their own agenda. They may believe their agenda would be beneficial to you or to humanity as a whole. But... inherently good? Is a tree inherently good? Are the stars inherently good? (Note that I can't talk about people this way due to the belief that some folks have that people are inherently bad.)

Good and evil are often just labels. If I said everything I did was good because I had been touched by my gods then I would be given carte blanche to be extremely damaging to my fellow humans without consequence or remorse. Unfortunately, this seems to happen with some cults.

You need to look at everything with a sense of ethics. Is the goal to win the game at any cost, or is it to play honorably while everyone has fun?

When dealing with divinities, a little doubt is good, as you may not be communicating with the deity you expect. (More on this later.) If you are asked to do something that doesn't seem ethical do not blindly accept it as a test of faith as it is just possible you may not be dealing with an ethical deity. Ethical deities not only don't cheat, they don't ask others to cheat for them.

Out here the game we play is for the hearts and minds of humanity -- the very future of our people. Play fair and we can all have fun. Cheat and you may still lose.

Monday, July 26, 2010


The goal of this is to have a weekly blog about polytheism. As I am a parent with distinct opinions about child-rearing this seems an appropriate place for that as well. The blog will be primarily updated Monday morning, to honor the Moon's day. (This has the benefit of giving me the weekend to write it if need be.) With any luck there will be bonus updates as well, but the goal is weekly on Monday.

When I talk about polytheism it is distinct and separate from most forms of neopaganism. Some neopagans only actually believe in two deities, a male deity (or Lord) and a female deity (or Lady). Additionally, it isn't uncommon in some neopagan communities to find deities treated as being amalgams responding to any deity name you can throw out. I'm not like that at all.

When I say that I am a polytheist, I mean it. I believe in an infinite number of deities with an infinite number of forms and an infinite number of names. Names are meaningless, as every deity has an infinite number. Only trust the names they give you, as -- for you -- they are most likely to respond to that name. I have more to say on this topic, but it will wait for a later post.

What do I mean by the title of the blog?

The word "daemons" can mean, roughly, small gods. This directly ties in to the polytheist aspect of the blog as most of the deities I pray to are not commonly acknowledged. They are not the "big" deities as it were. "Raising Daemons" then, could mean uplifting small deities to a greater state of divinity -- effectively creating larger deities.

The fact that the blog will also cover some parenting stuff is also covered with the name nicely. The word "daemon" was used for the venerated ghosts of dead heroes. If I aspire to raise a great and mighty child who -- through whatever she decides to do -- can magnificently change the world for the better then it is logical to hope that she may eventually become a daemon.

I see it akin to Christians hoping that their children learn to be Christ-like, or Buddhists hoping their children learn the Buddha-nature. If you are down with ancestor worship at all it is only natural to aspire to raise a child worthy of praise and worship in the future ages. The more great and mighty people we raise the better the future can become.

I am looking forward to comments, as I plan to have posts in the future discussing things brought up in comments. If ever you find you need further explanation, please chime in! If you have a question -- even one unrelated to the current post -- please ask! Around these parts there are no stupid questions, though depending on your expectations there may be some really strange answers.