Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gods Who Hunger

Scriptural/Transhumanist Speculations on the Universe Part 5

Of the state of the gods are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Gods who hunger and thirst

The gods hunger and thirst after righteousness. From the temple-centric perspective I don't see much that adds to other verses in these chapters. Gods want to keep the promises they have made, they have the meekness and humility to learn what those promises are, and they hunger and thirst to fulfill the promises. We've already identified this integrity as important. The promise that comes with hungering and thirsting after righteousness is likely significant, but I don't feel like there is a strong constraint on reality I can draw from it. If we identify the Holy Ghost as the witness of truth, then perhaps an intense, ceaseless, primal drive to devour truth can be claimed as a characteristic of the gods. This is an uncomfortable idea for one who would claim that all truth can, at least theoretically, be known in some absolutist sense, so perhaps identifying gods who hunger and thirst eternally--as part of their very being, or state--does tell us something about the cosmos.

Eternal Progression is Eternal Learning

It's time for my first speculative proposal about the cosmos and not just what questions the Beatitudes suggest we should be asking. What can we say about a cosmos where it is a reproductive advantage to hunger and thirst after the sources of truth? If this hungering and thirsting is truly the state of the gods, then it isn't something with an end. If some absolute sum of all truth, or even some absolute understanding of all laws that govern all of the cosmos could be achieved, given enough time and mental capacity, then there would be no need for a god to continue in a state of hungering and thirsting after that as yet unproven (unwitnessed by the Holy Ghost or another testament of truth) truth. This state would not really be the state of the gods, but only a preparatory state. God would not hunger and thirst in this way. Accepting that God does hunger and thirst implies some mind-boggling things about the cosmos. There must be more possible laws governing worlds that can be than any god or group of gods can fully explore and understand. But we can make a claim even stronger than that. Not only is it a cosmos with so many dimensions of complexity that the gods can't comprehend it fully, it is so complex that the gods must continue to learn about what they don't know or they will be eclipsed reproductively. It is not possible to become the fastest reproducing gods in the cosmos by finding a single strategy that works best and then ceasing to experiment. If gods could figure out the best way to reproduce, all possible gods would converge on that method, and they would not need to hunger and thirst after more truth. In fact, hungering and thirsting after more truth--beyond what is needed to run this optimal reproductive scheme--would potentially be a waste of resources that could be better spent on other parts of the scheme, and at best would allow gods who don't hunger and thirst to reproduce equally as quickly as those who continue to hunger and thirst. The cosmos hungering and thirsting gods implies is possibly of infinite dimensional complexity--at least of greater dimensional complexity that the learning capacity of the gods.

If you are having troubles visualizing these dimensions of complexity, or asking yourself how it can be that God can be all powerful or all knowing yet be limited and eternally progressing in knowledge, besides suggesting that you might look into the origins of and alternative definitions of the words omniscient and omnipotent (and even omnipresent), I would refer you to the diagram above for a possible analogy. All of human experience, influence, and knowledge, including the knowledge that we will have and have lost, might be represented by one dimension. Admittedly this is a large dimension, and we can think of it as a line headed out toward infinity. If gods are able to experience or influence a class of things that are beyond any possibility of humanity (in our current state) ever knowing--some examples might be gods possessing some additional sense or living in dimensions of space or time that we do not experience--then gods could appear unlimited (or selectively unlimited) within our single dimension. Even if humanity could partially access this second dimension, the gods could still know, do, or be infinitely more, but this totality would still be limited to two dimensions. If all that was, is, or might be encompasses even one more dimension inaccessible, or only partially accessible, to the gods, then it is fairly trivial to conceive of gods that are infinite and all powerful (relative to current human perception), unchanging (if they have optimized certain traits for reproductive success), and eternally progressing (if there is greater knowledge or other traits that have not yet been or can never be optimized).

I see a couple of weaknesses in my reasoning. The first is theological. I have made a jump equating righteousness with a knowledge of truth. I'm not sure this is justified, but I think it can be argued convincingly that a continued search for truth is part of the keeping of one's covenants. The second is the assumption that the continued search for truth is directly related to reproductive success. It is possible that it is not a direct component to continually increasing reproductive rates. It is possible that it is simply a necessary characteristic to stave off boredom when one lives forever so as to prevent one from existential suicide, or that it serves another purpose I have not imagined. It is possible that the truths sought are not about the laws of the cosmos, but are interpersonal truths that come from ever-expanding relationships, and have nothing to do with learning in the sense that we seek to learn physics or chemistry or math. I think these are both weaknesses that need more exploration, and I'd love to hear my readers' thoughts.

Additional Note: From Who Shall Ascend: "Alma understood that the fruit of the tree of life and the waters of life were both the blessing to the righteous and the product of their own righteousness." I thought this observation was moving. There are indications in reference to metaphors of hungering and thirsting that say this hungering and thirsting will have an end, seemingly never to return. The never to return part seems inconsistent with a God that has made as yet unfulfilled covenants, but I can't dismiss it, yet.


  1. Love it! Gods hungering and thirsting for ever greater truth, goodness and beauty in an infinitely complex multiverse: that's a God worthy of worship through emulation.