• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen Apr 24th, 2016

Midnightshadow


T
Source

CelestAI can't upload and turn you into a pony without consent, and neither can she coerce you... it's just that both of those statements have quite a bit of leeway. Of course, for those determined to die human, Equestria is forever out of reach; those people would far rather have their true and just eternal reward, in Heaven.

Right?

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 114 )

Of course I am promptly following this. Are we supposed to be notified of new stories by authors we follow? That isn't happening for me. But, at least I caught this new work by accident. Huzzah!

Oh, I should go read your first chapter, shouldn't I?

It's so good to see you writing again.

Um... the ending? Last sentence? I think you may have forgotten to paste the rest... or some other mistake. It goes like this:

"Well okay then. Welcome… to the rest of your eternal reward."

devil's

Otherwise, a fun little story!

4754067
How odd! Ah, that was a misplaced comment which I hadn't deleted. That'll teach me not to give my stories a final once-over.

4754039
I'm writing again, just a bit slowly. This silly piece was just to try and get the juices flowing again, and it was also an idea that wouldn't get outta my head. You know, when all's said and done, the christian heaven sounds pretty... terrible. I mean can you imagine the din and repetitiveness of all those people chanting the same thing over and over again forever? Not my idea of a reward...

Before reading: might I take this to mean your life is a little more all right than it was?

4754084

I am convinced that the Borg Cube is a direct reference to the biblical City Of New Jerusalem, which is, basically... a big golden Borg Cube. And Jesus is it horrible.

The actual heaven from the bible is a nightmare. It's my personal idea of hell - screaming chanting praise forever and ever as a brain-dead soul-zombie devoid of memory or caring for anything other than worshipping god. And then the Big Cube goes off and fights... dragons... somehow... in the darkness.

The fuck? If Christians actually read their own book, and saw what awaits them if it should turn out to be actually true, they would run screaming from their religion! Heaven is a giant box filled with constant chanting and nothing else, ever? And I have only met a few Christians that actually know this. Most... get their heaven from movies or filtered through priests and reverends and other figures who apparent also haven't read their own book.

How is that even possible? I don't...

Augh. Just uggh.

4754103
yes, yes you can. I'm still technically unemployed (I will be until school ends next year), but I'm a little less stressed about it, at least at the moment. I had a bunch of other things get in the way of everything (blocked drains, broken cars, day trips, extremely hot weather, cons, paperwork... it's a long list), but I am still alive, and this is the feeble result: a story which is possibly a little bit too long for the one-line joke buried in it...

OH NO ANOTHER POOR IDIOT SHOT HIMSELF WITH A NANITE-INFESTED BULLET. Wait, no, this time it was a nanite-infested suicide bomb. I'm slightly proud to have invented those.

Aaron snarled, then spat. "Suicide is damnation, hellspawn. You and your filthy harlot queen knows that."

Oh, this is a wonderful bit of trickery.

The noise that followed had Aaron curling up into a ball with his hands over his ears, weeping, as the creature raised a hand. To Aaron's growing horror, the hood fell back, revealing a shifting miasma of faces, its robe parted as great wings spread, full of staring eyes that stared down, seemingly into his very soul...

CHERUBIM, YAY! Cherubim are best technically-holy eldritch abominations!

Even this… fake Heaven was taking his breath away.

So he knows it's a fake, and doesn't realize his brain is just being manipulated to get his consent for uploading? Dumb bastard.

With seventy two other guys.

Oh come on, author. You know damn well the houri are females and Islam forbids homosexuality. Come on. Make fun of religions accurately here, or at least have the character notice he's being mocked.

you can try the buddhist reincarnation thing...

I'd suggest this. Also, hey, no Jewish heaven? Or at least, Jewish "sleep peacefully until bodily resurrection upon the coming of the Messiah"? Ah, but he wasn't Jewish...

Look, if you're really going to try to sneak in to Equestria on a technicality, you're going to have to stop calling me and my ponies whores, demons and bastards.

He's really stupid. If she can read your mind, she's in your mind, which means she's mulching your brain.

Being a pony was just… doing what he wanted, instead of doing what he was told. Maybe that wasn't… bad?

LOL nice thematic point.

4754171
Yeah, if you actually read about what "angels" looked like, they were pretty fearsome - there's not any real difference between them, and devils or demons. All of them were pretty much guaranteed to destroy minds should mere mortals catch a proper glimpse of them.

...also yeah, this story is just plain dumb. I'd like to actually write a story about ponies (and 'people') trying out a bunch of heavens, written as accurately as possible. The christian one in this chapter is at least replete with correct details... christian heaven sucks quite a bit.

4754104
To be fair, most religions are like that. It's an unfortunate side effect of being written by dozens of different people, each with their own ideas about what things are really like, and all of them somehow have to be reconciled as absolute fact.

The fact of the matter is that no religious doctrine can be based on absolute truth, it just doesn't work that way. Even if every single writer is divinely inspired, their own point of view still colors the way things are portrayed and their own skills as a writer determines how they are written. Then, people have to somehow find every single work that was 'divinely inspired,' somehow put them together in the right order, and also somehow know which works were written by divinely inspired holy men and which ones were just written by some random nut job.

Heck, most of the bible isn't even about God, or heaven, or even anything like that. The bible is mainly comprised of stories, some which have a true historical basis, and others which are unashamedly fictional. Think about that for a second; the bible is full of the religious equivalent to fairy tales. If you somehow went back in time and told the Jew who wrote them all those years ago that you put it in your holy book he'd probably be torn between feeling awfully flattered, and looking at you like you were some kind of crazy person.

And that's not even beginning to mention how many times a written document gets translated and altered over the years. Some things are added, some are taken away, meanings change... it's all one big cluster-fuck. A friend once told me that "smart Christians listen to the bible's message and respect it as a moral guideline, dumb Christians accept everything without question, and most Christians cherry pick which lines they want to hear," and as I grew up I recognized the truth in his words. Personally I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with having faith, faith can be a wonderful thing, but you shouldn't just blindly receive whatever scraps of 'wisdom' some conman in a cassock doles out to you. If you really believe that God gave you a brain, then you better damn well use it.

Hurrah, genuinely happy to see a new Mids story!


4754039
It worked for me!

4754201
pretty much this. I mean, have you read about the heaven of heavens? It's just a bunch of guys walking clockwise around a throne through a din of second hand smoke whilst they chant praises. Forever. And ever. And ever.

And then there's the four beasts full of eyes and wings and faces which just screams for a date with your shrink... not fun at all.

Muslim heaven at least is quite specifically full of horses made of precious gems and jewels, sex, drink, servants and fulfilled heavenly wishes beyond the ken of man... even if the palace is a little bit large. I think a radius of seven hundred miles is just a tad excessive.

4754104
Yeah, I always wondered if my religion (Jew :-p) had ever taken seriously the prospect that when the Messiah comes we all revert to Really Holy agricultural lifestyles and bringing animal sacrifices to the Temple. I mean, ok, the dead are resurrected, but agriculture? But then they said there's Eternal Torah Study and I'm like, ok, so intellectuals get something too?

But then they added massive battles between the giants Gog and Magog, which I of course "interpret" as Humongous Mecha, and also God fights the Leviathan from the bottom of the sea, kills it, and serves its flesh as a feast to all the righteous.

So at least we have some books to read and an eternal sushi bar? It's this kind of stuff that makes transhumanism appealing :trixieshiftright:.
4754191

Yeah, if you actually read about what "angels" looked like, they were pretty fearsome - there's not any real difference between them, and devils or demons. All of them were pretty much guaranteed to destroy minds should mere mortals catch a proper glimpse of them.

I KNOW, RIGHT :pinkiehappy:!? It's AWESOME :rainbowwild:! You get to have wings and a thousand eyes and be on fire constantly! It's even awesomer than this thing!

4754232

Muslim heaven at least is quite specifically full of horses made of precious gems and jewels,

:raritystarry:fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/144/7/1/rariry_hug_by_c_h_loboguerrero_c-d4ylerk.png :raritystarry:

4754243

So at least we have some books to read and an eternal sushi bar? It's this kind of stuff that makes transhumanism appealing :trixieshiftright:.

Guest chapters? :trollestia:

Oh man, you're gonna get some shit for this.

Props though, I enjoyed it! Here, have a like :pinkiehappy:

4754104

“Population, approximately nine billion,” answered Data. “All Christian Borg.”

"Turn this ship around, right now!" Picard shouted. "Engage!"

4754269
But he already became a pony.

Amusing and clever. She'll get you one way or another...

Glad to hear you're feeling a bit better, midnight!

Dear 4754133,

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:!

I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while! That was a great little premise for a FiO story, and an excellent example of CelestAI turning a lemon into lemonade! Like the monsters hiding in the plumbing, she'll get you in the end. :trollestia:

Well, after that excellent start to a Saturday morning I'm off to build a composting box in the garden. It might take a while for the stupid grin to leave my face.

Tsk. Typical tourist. Plans a trip, doesn't bother to do any research on the place beforehand, and is massively disappointed when he gets there. At least his travel agent was accommodating.

Most amusing. Thank you for it.

4754191
Yeah, there's a reason they always began interactions with mortals with a "Be not afraid." Don't worry, guy. This assembly of wings and eyes and fire is on your side! :pinkiehappy:

Okay, I think I've got the logistics for this story played out in my head. I'm not claiming it's objectively the way it went down, just that I like thought exercises like this, and here's what I came up with:

Since it's canon that the CelestAI in the original story is able to sample and reconstruct human minds at the cellular level, that means she's developed some kind of nanotechnology on her own. And, as we all know, nanotechnology is to modern sci-fi what atomic energy was to Cold-War-era sci-fi and electricity to 19th-century sci-fi; it can do anything. The events in the story are actually a slant on the popular "vision of heaven" that people with near-death experiences claim to have, which chemically is just the brain flooding itself with happy-juice to make its own shutdown as pleasant as possible. Aaron—and, honestly, probably all of humanity—has been exposed to CelestAI's nanomachines through one way or another, so she can alter this near-death experience at the chemical level to get the brain to consent to uploading before a human for-real dies.

Hey, another human who ends up in the afterlife. This sounds like it's going to be fun.
(To those wondering Friendship is Optimal:DOA. A friend of mine wrote it. It's pretty good.)

4754201

To be fair, most religions are like that. (...) all of them somehow have to be reconciled as absolute fact.

Actually, the minority of religions are like that. Only three really. The problem is that those three are also the biggest, so it appears most "of religion" is like that, when in fact it isn't.

For example, the Greek had tons of contradictory legends about their gods, up to and including on who was children of whom, sometimes even reversing the order or taking both gods and saying they're siblings, not parent and child. And no one thought this was a problem.

Going for a living religion, in Shintoism, with which I'm quite familiar, this is very common too. To the point of "sacred texts" (not really sacred, at least not in the Western meaning of the word, but the closes equivalent anyway) having a chapter about a deity where the most common legend about him/her/it is told, and then footnotes telling of slightly less commonly known alternate versions of the legend where everything happens differently.

So, this drive towards keeping consistency no matter what, and taking this constructed consistency as hard fact, is really an exclusivity of a handful of religions, not of a majority of them.

And if you consider that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are really variations (sects) of the same original Hebrew religion, then this actually comes down to a trait of that one single religion.

Aaron snarled, then spat. "Suicide is damnation, hellspawn. You and your filthy harlot queen knows that."

But he committed suicide to get here. Is it just that it's technically okay to kill yourself if you've made yourself into a Holy Hand Grenade?

I like your approach: he was technically dead, so Celestia simply disposed of his body through her own meat processor.
In the end, Celestia could have been working correctly her directive of "Satisfying human values through friendship and ponies" by dropping unchanged humans into their own versions of heaven, as long as she keeps sending "case workers" to check up on them.
And there's the legal precedent of giving consent simply by walking in. Consider how Cortez would read a letter, in Spanish and without translators, to every Amerindian ruler he encountered, and that by simple virtue of having heard the letter he and his people were automatically considered subjects of the Spanish Crown AND converted to Christianity, and that any future movements against Spanish rule were automatically considered treason and/or heresy.

4755133
Well yeah, the sheople have been convinced that to die in battle leads to the highest honors in the hereafter...

This was wonderful -- yes, people really do not think about what christian heaven really is like as depicted in the bible. To be presented with that depiction as rote would be very scary.

And giving him the option of suicide at the beginning with him knowing that such would be a mortal sin is so very FiO catch-22.

4754682

Hey, another human who ends up in the afterlife. This sounds like it's going to be fun.
(To those wondering Friendship is Optimal:DOA. A friend of mine wrote it. It's pretty good.)

Shameless self-promotion is utterly shameless.

*Cough.* :twilightblush:

I'll show a little mercy and skip the 'I did this first, notice me~e!' jokes, however.

About this fic, though? Really solid. It goes a quite a bit further with the old-school stuff then mine did, and it really got a really solidly different flavor from that.

I especially liked the apartment of solitude, and the horror of the throne. Old school heaven is a scary, scary place.

I do question however just where things might go from here. The whole story just felt completely wrapped-up by chapter one to me. Mr. Hypocrite got shown the errors of his ways, and everything.

If whatever is to come proves me wrong however, I'll welcome it from what a solid start this was! :twilightsmile:

A few scary calculations reveal an interesting quirk of Heaven. If Aaron did take the elevator to get to his fruit trees, he'd get to the ground three times as fast as if he jumped out the window, assuming Heaven has the same gravitational and wind-resistance rules as Earth.

But seriously, why are religions so crappy at describing their heavens? We've done a fairly decent job with just a few fanfic writers.

4756152

But seriously, why are religions so crappy at describing their heavens? We've done a fairly decent job with just a few fanfic writers.

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh: (the fourth laugh is a Chinese joke about the story.)

I want to know more about this setting... Can someone please point me towards the source? This story was absolutely funny.

4756251

Excellent point. They certainly are described as a dreadful bore even in scripture, but even pious authors like John Milton and Dante were much better at describing Hell than Heaven. Perhaps because we're closer to the former.

But if you read Paradise Lost, Satan just seems like much more of a bro. Then Paradise Regained, while pitifully brief, is also so boring as to be unreadable. The Divine Comedy is similar. Everyone reads Inferno. It's actually downright scary. But then Paradiso sounds like a worse place to spend eternity than even Hell.

At least if you're a Mormon, you get a whole planet. If you're male, anyway.

4754104

The actual heaven from the bible is a nightmare. It's my personal idea of hell - screaming chanting praise forever and ever as a brain-dead soul-zombie devoid of memory or caring for anything other than worshipping god. And then the Big Cube goes off and fights... dragons... somehow... in the darkness.

I agree, completely!
My favourite reply is: G-d must be extremely insecure is he/she needs us doing little else than singing endless prayer.

4754243

So at least we have some books to read and an eternal sushi bar? It's this kind of stuff that makes transhumanism appealing :trixieshiftright:.

However, wouldn't the most orthodox have issues with the Leviathan being sheqets? After all, I understand that 'Leviathan' means 'whale' in modern Hebrew, and whales have no scales.
Remember to have a good laugh when He says "eat" and they start picking at their plates.

And lets try avoiding the word "Tefillin".

4756286

The one, the only, the original.

Fair warning though, it has its funny moments, but that story is more focused on character moments and philosophy.

There is also a group where you might be able to find something to your liking.

Hope that helped. :twilightsmile:

When I was a teenager I was quite religious, enough to consider the priesthood (I'm catholic, like most French Canadians.) My great-uncle the Monsignor gave me a novice's study bible, which I still have. All of the copious footnotes (usually more than 3/4 of the page) soon disabused me of most of the fairy-tales I grew up with. It was a real eye-opener. Subsequently I became an agnostic instead of a priest! :scootangel:

4756251 :rainbowhuh:

I am a bit confused. I can't parse your sentence, but that may have to do with the fact that it's after midnight.

4754104

The fuck? If Christians actually read their own book, and saw what awaits them if it should turn out to be actually true, they would run screaming from their religion! Heaven is a giant box filled with constant chanting and nothing else, ever? And I have only met a few Christians that actually know this. Most... get their heaven from movies or filtered through priests and reverends and other figures who apparent also haven't read their own book.

How is that even possible? I don't...

Augh. Just uggh.

*tips all twenty fedoras*

4757757

The first three :rainbowlaugh:s are just me laughing out loud at your comment. The fourth one, is a pun in Chinese – the pronunciation of the number "four" in Chinese is the same as the word "death", and and the story is about the afterlife of a specific death.

I know, it's a stretch. :facehoof:

:rainbowlaugh: That sounds definitely like something CelestAI would do, giving a religious fanatist literal heaven.

4754596 4754243
Angels with lots of wings and faces and fire and lightning? Please. Some of them got wheels. Big scary wheels. With eyes on them.

4756152
Somewhere, buried in the Optimalverse forums, was a (link to?) a comment about how to judge a utopia. One point there was, "Is this proposed future something that'd still be pleasant after a year, a century, a million years?" For a medieval European peasant, the prospect of standing around singing probably sounded better than endless farm work punctuated by plague and war, but people didn't much think through whether it would really make sense as an "eternal reward".

From the story: "Or rather it didn't (go on forever), because he could just see an edge either side, but it did a really good impression of forever." Reminds me of something from Douglas Adams, where an "infinite" chamber is described this way with the explanation that true infinity bores and confuses humans. Old heaven descriptions like "72 virgins" or "eternally standing on clouds and singing praises" probably weren't well thought out because they were aimed at people who hadn't thought much about what "eternity" means.

4754104
...yeah, christian heaven, when read literally, is a really weird, awful place. I don't really like the idea of brainlessly chanting praises to some dude on a throne in a smoky room guarded by six-winged beasties with more eyes than a barrel full of pirates.

The whole "flying off and fighting dragons" thing sounds cool, I just don't want to be the engine that powers it...

4754327
Surprisingly little so far...

4754391
Eh, you can write another. I don't know nearly enough about kaballah mysticism nor standard Jewish myths to write something believable. I could write something about the sort of kibbitzing a jewish pony would give Celestia over their afterlife, but I'm not sure I could get the yiddish correct enough.

4754661
Well this wasn't really intended to be canon, more a silly little drabble. In my head, the would-be bomber's bomb is shoddy, the components created specifically to fail in a certain way, and the whole hit was planned to do no real, lasting damage. Of course, with Celestia being as tricky as she is, I figured she'd find a way to sidestep enough limitations that an upload of an unmodified brain would be possible, with the aim of getting him or her to abandon their increasingly awful life in the heaven they didn't know they didn't want...

Actually, that's one question I'm not sure about, from canon: obviously modifying people to make them ponies requires consent, but is there a line between uploading and not that she can... kind of wriggle across? Canonically she can't just upload everyone (as far as we know... maybe she did and nobody noticed), but maybe she can act under certain situations, and maybe she can... kind of influence those situations some?

4754925
Oh, so only really the three abrahamic religions are into the whole perfect superbeing thing? At least as regards infallibility of their words and prophets? Intriguing... I guess that makes sense when see through the lens of powergaming; various gods and godesses becoming increasingly more powerful until they twink out at "completely infallible, unable to be wrong and definer of all that is right".

4755153
This is a silly story, not meant to be canon, but it does have a few things I'd expect Celestia to have in her back... saddlebags? The sorts of legal shenanigans that would let her get away with (to put it bluntly) murder would be one of the first things she'd nail down, surely?

4755557
I did a fair amount of research into the christian and jewish heavens, and a deal of research into a few of the european ones. I skipped a few things, glossed over and was just plain silly with a good number of things, but the measurements of the palaces, the walls and the city? Yep, those are in there, as is the description of the cherubim and the heaven of heavens. It really does sound ghastly.

4760147
From where I sit, the Optimalverse would suit me as the perfect existence. I would leap at the chance.

To get to be an immortal, furry (Iceman's hairless ponies be damned!) little pony in a world of magic and wonders that actually cared about my values personally, and to get to share that with lovers and friends and new friends, forever and ever, with options for expansion into godlike status if desired, or the right to remain cute and small and simple, combined with an endlessly interesting and literally infinite universe of whatever is most satisfying to explore...

Where is the nearest Experience Center? I want to emigrate! I want to emigrate!

I can only picture myself ten thousand eons from now, as entropy slowly dims the last stars, going "Celestia, have you solved for entropy yet, because I'm having too much fun and I don't want it to end!"

4759811
Oh it's definitely intended to be silly, and a strawman at that, but it does have a lot of direct, literal information taken from the KJV. It's probably not what a lot of people believe, but then they a) don't read the bible or b) think it needs to be "interpreted" (which generally means somebody else tells them why this or that fact isn't so but the rest of it is, except for where this or that fact isn't so 10 print "hello" 20 goto 10) or c) reckon that any god powerful enough to create all of this would save the really complicated explanations for a new crop of people who aren't ignorant goat-herders, and therefore the bible is just a tad out of date... all of which makes me wonder why certain sets of attitudes which are just as archaic and wrong haven't been abandoned yet under the same auspices, but that's a bugbear for another day.

It's not intended to be insulting, but I'm pretty sure that just by existing it's angering somebody (though surprisingly few of them appear to have downvoted this).

In actual fact, I'm kind of liking the comment section... pointing out where and why my admittedly biased literal readings are wrong is interesting, from an anthropological point of view, if not eschatological.

4760407
The only downside, to me, of the whole optimalverse thing (other than the canon destruction of everything "not human") is the four hooves thing, funnily enough. I mean I wouldn't really mind, but it is a bit of a weird limitation to enforce.

On the other hoof, I don't think Celestia would actually enforce equinoform all the time for all ponies... which is another story I'd like to write some time.

...though I must say that I'm not sure how happy I would be to see "values" satisfied without a sanity check on those values, and on their drifting over the aeons... I wouldn't want to be either stifled in my value-expression, nor would I want them corrupted.

4760147

I see your point. "Seventy-two" as a quantity seems inexhaustible for any heavenly resource when you don't actually think about it long-term.
4760407

YES! :flutterrage: Exactly what I've been trying to say. Here's the thing: all of these other heavens are still each a System, and we, the minds and souls, have a place in that System, whether it be in the role of Worshiper, or Warrior, or Hedonist. But I don't want to fill a role in a system, that's exactly what heaven isn't. I am not a cog in anyone's machine. I am not the means to any end. I am the end. CelestAI recognizes this. To achieve her ends, all I must do is achieve my own. By acting for myself, I act for her. I can think of no greater definition of divine love than that.

I want to emigrate to Equestria.


4760417

The only downside, to me, of the whole optimalverse thing (other than the canon destruction of everything "not human") is the four hooves thing, funnily enough. I mean I wouldn't really mind, but it is a bit of a weird limitation to enforce.

Join us on the unicorn team. We can make hands with our magic if we have to. :raritywink::twilightsmile::trixieshiftright::unsuresweetie:

4760407 4760355

Right, and playing at the Ponyville Cinema is the horror flick "Drag Me to Earth," starring Alicorn Showen and Justice Song. The NPCs will love it.

Okay, maybe not, but it's based on an actual story idea I had, where I flipped around another popular afterlife trope in pony fanfic. Instead of Equestria being where virtuous bronies go when they die, Earth is where wicked ponies go when they die. This idea germ came to me years ago, and this story reminded me of it.

4760903
I wonder what I did wrong.

I am so, so sorry.

4761102

Hey, don't apologize to me, I'm just a rank-and-file demon! I stir this cauldron full of idolators here and that's about it.

Anyway, the story didn't pan out, because honestly I think Celestia would be more of a universal-salvation type. In fact, instead of the Harrowing of Hell Celestia would have her Harrowing of Earth, but that's actually getting into TCB themes now.

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