Monday, July 13, 2009

On omnipotence and other superpowers

It's July 13, 2009, which means that it's Think Like a God Day. As mentioned earlier, this year's theme is:

Omnimax: Something's gotta give!

The concept of an all-powerful, all-knowing and benevolent god is an absurdity. How could a good god have knowledge of an injustice and the power to do something about it, and yet sit/stand/float idly by and do bugger-all?

It's a simple problem to fix: All one needs to do is take away one "omni" characteristic, and the hypothetical divine being becomes slightly more believable.

But which characteristic are *You* prepared to forego, Mr. or Ms. God-For-A-Day?

I'm not particularly obsessed with power, so I could quite easily do without the omnipotence part. Give Me the ability to change My own oil without forgetting to put the oilpan plug back in, and we're good.

I do treasure knowledge. The question is, do I really want to know everything about everything?

Think about it: Do *you* want to know what happens next, in excruciating detail? Would you need a stiff drink to forget what you saw just seconds ago? And what about the joy of learning something new? Me, I think I'll also pass on Total Knowledge of Everything.

Omnibenevolence is a great idea in theory, and it's the omni quality that I like the best. If I absolutely had to pick one of the three, this would be the one.

(Then again, there are the people whom I don't want to like...)

In the final analysis, I don't want any of the three "omni" powers. I'm perfectly happy with My limited magisteria of the Vernal Equinox, punctuation, Random Equipment Malfunctions, and chocolate.

Especially the chocolate.

1 comment:

Darchala said...

Having given it some thought, being any of the three sounds like an utter drag.

The novelty of omnipotence wears thin before long. Things that present no challenge at all usually aren't worth doing. Having an ever-shifting balance of power keeps existence interesting.

I'd drop omniscience for much the same reason. You can no longer really learn and discover new things if you're already aware of everything, and most of the fun is in the learning itself. What would the people who've dedicated their lives to plumbing the secrets of the universe do if they suddenly knew them all and had nothing left to discover?

Omnibenevolence sounds suspiciously like a loss of free will.

Then again, it's entirely possible that I'm just thinking too much like a disgruntled mortal.