Applications of omnipotence

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Pfhorrest
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Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:06 am UTC

You are an ordinary person who has just finished your compulsory education and reached the age of majority. You are no more wise, intelligent, or knowledgeable than average, but you are exceptionally well-intentioned, pretty much incorruptible: you always try to do the right thing. On your summer break after finishing school you find a magic gem on the beach, and when you pick it up, a genie offers to grant you one wish.

You wish to be omnipotent.

The genie grants your wish, then vanishes along with the gem. Testing your new powers, you transform yourself and your clothes into your ideal image of what you wish they would be, with no ill side-effects. Feeling confident that you can fix up any of your own remaining personal issues just as easily, you begin to ponder, in your good nature, what is the best application of your limitless power.



You teleport to your friends nearby on the beach, tell them what has happened, perform some idle demonstrations of your new power to prove it, and offer to do nice things for them with your powers, asking them who wants what.



In this thread, continue this story (in the second person as above) by writing a realistic negative consequence of the previous application of your omnipotent power: some plausible way that your best intentions paved a road to hell. Above, you started granting your friends wishes... what could possibly go wrong with that?

Then, either after fixing that problem with your omnipotence or as a part of fixing it, write the next-most-naive application of omnipotence you can think of. That is, do not jump straight to what you think the best, most effective and problem-free application of it would be: just write the smallest next improvement on the previous plan that you can think of.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:52 am UTC

[...]
You teleport to your friends nearby on the beach, tell them what has happened, perform some idle demonstrations of your new power to prove it, and offer to do nice things for them with your powers, asking them who wants what.
Your friends are duly impressed and there is a hubbub of discussion as each person shouts out things they want, and then corrects themselves with things they want more. Eventually the furor dies down, and the list comes down to three things. (You only brought three friends to this beach because, well, you only really have three friends you trust enough to share this information with.)

Your girlfriend Angie wants her mom's cancer healed.
Bart, whom you've known since elementary school, wants the end of inequality and hatred in the world. He was always the idealist; probably why you and he got along so well.
Clara, whom you met three years ago when she transferred into school, wishes she wasn't part of an alphabetic sequence, but keeps quiet about that. Her parents live on the other side of town, and are alcoholics. She's never sure what she's going to find when she gets home, and you helped talk her out of committing suicide in those early days. She wants money - enough to be independent and set for life.

Bart and Clara immediately get into a fight about morals and values, ending with Bart shouting to Clara "I hate you and all people like you!"

You think to yourself, "maybe this wasn't such a good idea". However, it turns out that you thought to yourself pretty loudly, and Angie hears it. "If you are actually omnipotent", she replies, "and still condemn my mother to die of cancer, you can't be much of a friend."

No good deed goes unpunished.

You think to yourself "Maybe thinking this wasn't such a good idea wasn't such a good idea" and you do manage to keep it to yourself.

You look straight into her sweet tear-filled eyes, and tell her to go on home; her mom is cured. You then look at Clara, and tell her that money will never be an issue for her; she will always have more money than she needs, and it will always be available in her purse or bank account.

"Really?", she exclaims.

"Yep. Try it out", you reply.

She opens her purse and there is a thousand dollars in it, in convenient bills and a bit of loose change. "You can go home in a limo if you'd like", you tell her, and she runs off to find one. You're not sure where she'll find a limo on the beach, but that's her problem.

And now, to Bart you say, "There will no longer be inequality in the world, nor hatred. But I'm not sure how this will play out, because I'm omnipotent, but not omnicient. I hope it works out well."

The two of you start to walk home, before you realise that, since you're omnipotent, you can just *poof* the two of you back, which you do.

You don't sleep well that night, because you may have lost the true friendship of your only three friends.

When you wake up the next morning, the stock market begins a wild ride.

===

See the [OP] for continuation instructions.

Jose
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:00 am UTC

Since multiple applications of omnipotence were made in the preceding post, I'm going to address only one of them, and only because it's one of the consequences that prompted me to start this game in the first place. Others are free to work from the preceding post and the other threads it leaves dangling, and don't have to just reply to mine.

I guess make that an additional rule of this game: if there are multiple consequences, they can each be played out one by one by different people, but always respect the story canon laid down by anyone who's posted before you when you do so.


While other, probably larger events are transpiring, Clara spends the limitless money constantly respawning in her purse on living a financially independent life... until she comes under investigation by the Secret Service for circulating counterfeit bills! It turns out that just making physically perfect paper money appear in someone's purse doesn't stop the Federal Reserve from printing its own genuine money with the same serial numbers as the bills you magically generated in Clara's purse. Because the money you made is indistinguishable from genuine bills, it's impossible to tell for sure whether Clara's bills or the other ones with identical serial numbers are genuine, and thus who is the counterfeiter, but as Clara has the sudden change in lifestyle, suspicion falls heavily upon her and she is terrified. Further in the course of their investigation, the Secret Service finds that records of Clara's bank account show money just appearing in her ledger out of nowhere, not traceable back to any legitimate transaction, indicating some kind of highly advanced electronic financial fraud.

You quickly realize that a better way to give someone infinite money and avoid this kind of problem is to instead give them an unending supply of something worth money, that they can then exchange for genuine money. After discussing it with Clara, she agrees that that would be better, and you change the enchantment on her purse to instead always provide her with a small assortment of blank discs of various precious metals at various sizes, that she can then sell as she likes to any gold buyer (etc) in exchange for real spending money. But that change now doesn't get the Secret Service off her back, and she begs you to do something about that. Considering your options at getting a government agency off your friend's back, most of them seem like they would be either an inevitably escalating use of physical force, or else tantamount to mind control, both of which seem very morally iffy actions.

You wish you had just seen this problem coming and done the precious metal alternative instead of the cash... and then it strikes you, you can have seen this problem coming. You reach back across time with your omnipotence and make your past self see this problem coming. Back on the beach, your past self foresees the counterfeiting problem, and suggests the precious metal alternative to Clara instead. Past Clara is glad you thought of that, and sets off toward the mall jeweler to sell some gold... and then to find a limo.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Ginger » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:51 am UTC

Angie goes on home to find that her mother is cured of cancer! After celebrating life slowly returns to normal at her household--Except her mother is slightly changed from having almost died of cancer. Now she is paranoid of diseases, and heavily disinfects the house, washes things more than she needs to and even wears surgical masks to keep from breathing in particulates. Angie is shocked by the change in her mother and at first it's just the mask wearing... but then she starts telling Angie all the ways she can avoid diseases, and ordering her to comply because she doesn't want to get sick again. Angie returns to you as a friend and asks ever so sweetly if there's anything you can do to change her mom's attitude a bit?

You could have seen the paranoia coming but not the controlling every aspect of life at home. Because Angie's mother's new behavior troubles you just as much you reach out to her mother and make another small change: That change being that she is more confident, less afraid of disease and dying and more secure so she doesn't have to control the entire household. Angie goes home again not realizing the possible downfalls of her mother having a well of new confidence that she didn't arrive to by herself.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:47 pm UTC

Ahhh... I see what you're going for here Pfhorrest. I guess the story will be getting a lot of resets.

I assume that using your omnipotence to give you omnisicence and/or mega-wisdom would be cheating, and that "respecting the canon" implies that the protagonist retains the memories of each thread in the story, reset or not.

So, I hope the following is more in keeping with what you have in mind.

BTW, you should watch the movie The Butterfly Effect (2004); it uses this trope very effectively.

Anyway...


You wake up the next morning, remembering that the stock market will be on a wild ride, but instead it is the commodities market that is bucking around, soon descending into a steady but relentless decline. It doesn't seem possible that Clara could be saturating the market; what could she possibly do with all of it? It's nothing more than a curiosity to you though; you're not invested in precious metals, and being omnipotent, you don't need any. But Clara becomes more and more distant.

Angie's newly confident mom realizes that she cured herself because of her own positive thinking, and if she can cure herself of cancer, other people can too. She starts writing a book deriding the medical profession, and exposing the problems in the medical community, which she just "knows" exist. Angie and her mom fight constantly over this; because Angie knows what really happened but can't say, a big trust gap opens up between them.

Bart is more and more disturbed as his vision of equality doesn't match what is actually happening, and he storms in accusing you of being a fraud.

At that point you realize it was a mistake to tell your friends in the first place. This omnipotence thing is something you're going to have to keep to yourself. You were right when you thought to yourself that it wasn't such a good idea. You reach back with your omnipotence to just before you bring your friends to the beach, and you go alone instead to contemplate your next superpower step.

It occurs to you that you could simply grant yourself omniscience, but you could do that at any time, and so wary of the consequences, you decide to handle this omnipotence thing yourself.

It will be lonely; you now know that your friends may come to value you for your power more than for your persona. You still care about them though, and want them to be happy too. But one thing at a time.

You cause the doctor to bring Angie's cancer into remission, and make her comfortable. Hopefully the less miraculous way she has seemingly improved would keep her from becoming unreasonably germ-phobic.

She will still die one day, if you allow this to happen. It dawns on you that in saving her, you have just become the grim reaper. And in not saving her, you have also just become the grim reaper.

You don't sleep well that night either.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Ahhh... I see what you're going for here Pfhorrest. I guess the story will be getting a lot of resets.

Probably. I was hesitant to introduce temporal manipulation so soon, and considered going the mind-control-the-secret-service-into-dropping-the-case route, or maybe even just the defend-Clara-from-the-police route, and let the unfortunate implications of those play out, but because you had already introduced another, bigger turn of events, and the unfortunate implications of superpowered violence or mind control seemed obvious enough that "you" could plausibly foresee the problems with them, I thought just wishing that turn of events away would be cleaner.

Not sure if that's the right call; may have escalated things too quickly now. But I'm still curious to see how it plays out. I've given a lot of thought over many years to how I would employ various powers and the problems that would arise with them and what else I would need to do and what powers I would need to have to avoid those problems, so I'm intentionally trying to hold back from just my current state of thought on what I would do if I were suddenly omnipotent, and watch other people slowly build up toward something like that instead.


I assume that using your omnipotence to give you omnisicence and/or mega-wisdom would be cheating

It's not, if that seems like something "you" would think of in context. However it poses a writing problem, because as we are not omnipotent or mega-wise ourselves, the best we could do is say something like "you grant yourself omniscience and mega-wisdom, and then, having determined what the optimal form of justice is for the world, you implement that". Which... well, what exactly did you implement? That's the real kind of thing I'm curious to explore here. Assuming power was no limit and perfectly good intentions, what exactly would be the best thing to do for the world? And now, can anyone think of any problems with that? How might you work around those problems, and improve your best-thing-you-could-possibly-do?

and that "respecting the canon" implies that the protagonist retains the memories of each thread in the story, reset or not.

Unless the use of powers changes that, yeah. If "you" mind-wipe yourself, well, you're mind-wiped now. In my case, I intended that reaching back in time to cause your past self to think of things ahead of time means that past-you doesn't remember the events that lead up to that, as they occurred in another timeline. Of course you could also just dump your current state of mind into your past self, which it sounds like is what you interpreted it as, and that's fine, so let's roll with that.

I should probably also declare the nature of time and time travel ahead of time before it gets weird and complicated. Bear in mind that "you" don't necessarily know this yet, in-character. Anyway: many-worlds is true. Every timeline that could possibly happen, does happen. When you change the past, the timeline that you're in doesn't cease to exist, a new one branches off; or rather, there is eternally already a branch in which the future you from a different timeline intervened. Your omnipotence is not limited to just your timeline, but you may or may not have thought of that yet.


BTW, you should watch the movie The Butterfly Effect (2004); it uses this trope very effectively.

Seen it and loved it. :-)

She will still die one day, if you allow this to happen. It dawns on you that in saving her, you have just become the grim reaper. And in not saving her, you have also just become the grim reaper.

I didn't expect this kind of conundrum to come to mind so soon, but I like it and am glad it came up anyway.

The next morning, you resolve to set aside being the arbiter of life and death for now, and focus on doing good for the world in a more conventional, albeit super-powered, way: giving to charity. You can magic yourself up arbitrarily huge amounts of money, and donate it all to worthy causes, since you have no need for it yourself. Remembering the complications with Clara's infinite cash and bank account, you instead magic up large amounts of valuable commodities, precious metals and jewels, and sell as many of them as all of the local jewelers, pawn shops, etc, will buy off of you. You then magically download the publicly available information on effective charitable giving into your own mind, and donate the money you're getting to various charities according to that information.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby orangedragonfire » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:59 pm UTC

You settle into bed that evening with a warm feeling because you've done something good. But the nagging issue of being arbiter of life and death returns. With great power comes great responsibility and all that. The responsibility doesn't go away just because you don't think about it, so maybe it's time to do that thinking.

You lie in bed and think. It isn't just Angie's mom. There are many sick people in the world. There are hundreds of thousands who have already died since you got your powers, and you could have prevented their deaths. Anybody who dies does so because you are letting them die. You have already failed more people than you ever knew. And yet it seems so distant, because these aren't people you personally know. Does that make you a bad person? You decide that maybe you just need some perspective on who they were. With a thought, images of people rush through your mind, with a deep understanding of who they were as people, what made them happy and what made them sad, what their dreams and aspirations were. And the small details that made them special. And you know how they died, so many horrible scenes. You know them well enough to consider them friends, now, and they are dead because you didn't save them. You feel sick and rush to the bathroom to throw up. It feels miserable, and you consider using your power to make yourself better. But you are already messing with a lot, and it is far too easy to change yourself into a different person. If you change this, would it mess with your empathy? What would a cold and heartless you mean for the world, given the power you hold? Best not to find out. So there you are, with omnipotence, on the cold bathroom floor and throwing up into the toilet. After a while you gather yourself, and clean yourself up with a thought.

No more deaths. You will it to be so, and it is so.
Last edited by orangedragonfire on Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:55 am UTC

Moments after, still reflecting on all the lives that were already lost due to your slowness to come to this conclusion, you wish that you had thought of this immediately upon obtaining your powers.

And it is so. For over a day now, nobody has died. All of those people whose lives you studied, they are all alive again; no, not again, they never died to begin with. You sigh a breath of relief realizing you are no longer responsible for innumerable (though you've easily counted them) lives lost to your negligence.

But then it strikes you. If you can unmake those deaths in the past... could you unmake all deaths ever? Could you make it so that death was never a thing? You could. You instantly know that you totally could. But at what cost? At the least, history would be altered completely. Probably even more lives would never have come into being in the first place. Quite likely including your own. The problem seems an intractable morass, and you steel yourself to saying that this is enough, ensuring that nobody ever dies from now on is enough.

Then you remember the temptation to omnipotently steel yourself against caring about the people you had already let die... "before"... in that other timeline you've since unmade. You consider doing the same thing for everyone who's ever lived that you did for the "few" who would-have-died while you were making up your mind, omnipotently knowing them all as friends. They deserve it just as much as the others, don't they? Don't they all deserve to be known, and for you to care to save them too?

Shaking, squatted in a ball on the ground magically suppressing your urge to vomit again, you realize that if you did that, if you couldn't move on past concern for everyone who has ever died because you haven't made that never have happened yet, at least until you can calmly, sanely sort out the intractable mess of implications of doing so, you would be paralyzed by guilt and indecision, and who knows what else might go wrong because you weren't in the right headspace to stop it?

Besides, you realize, if you do ever decide that you should have done that now, then when the time comes you can make it so that you did that now. That realization brings a wave of relief. No mistakes are permanent. Any regrets can be unmade. So for now, you relax a bit, and let things stand as they are. Nobody has died for over a day since you first got your powers. And you've already given more money than you'd otherwise likely have seen in your life to all of the best charities there are. You are on the plus side of things so far. You're doing good. Right?
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby patzer » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:02 am UTC

Just when you feel you can relax a bit, your confidence rapidly crashes to a halt when you realise that, even thouh you've been able to stop everyone else from dying, you could still die. What if someone with a gun came up to you and shot you, making you lose consciousness immediately and soon die? Without you having the ability to cure yourself due to yourself not being conscious?

You feel sick and disgusted with yourself for not thinking of this earlier. You instantly make a decision: you cannot risk the possibility of yourself dying, however low that possibility may be, so you must copy yourself. You quickly work out that you have to create a few backup "you"s dotted around the world and even away from the Earth itself, just so they have the ability to maintain your work in case of the very unlikely event of you becoming victim of instant fatal attack.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:22 am UTC

Concerned that these multiple copies of you could possibly come into conflict with each other, with potentially universe-ending consequences, you set it up such that, while they all operate on independent "hardware" with independent short-term memory, so there's not one single active consciousness multitasking several bodies, their long-term memory is continuously synchronized. So while one you may not be experiencing and actively doing all the things that another you is doing, anything another you experiences or thinks is remembered by every you equally. All you have to do is wonder what the other yous are up to, and you will remember whatever it was they just did, as though you had done it yourself. And if you decide that they ought to do something different, all of them will immediately remember having come to that decision themselves. Thus ensuring that you never have any disagreements with yourself, and can never come into conflict with any other you.

It then occurs to you that, while this ability to be multiple people at once is probably super useful, it wasn't necessary to solve the problem that prompted it. You could have just made yourself completely invulnerable. So you do that, too.

Then, with all of your backup selves standing idly around the world, you busy yourselves making and selling precious commodities in other locales, so as to increase the flow of money to charity you're already doing locally.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:47 am UTC

The flood of precious metals, gems, and baubles that you have created depresses their value, and they become next to useless to the charities for whom you've created them. This bothers you for a while, but you start to think... you could help these charities directly, or you could even just do the things these charities do, skipping the need for baubles completely. But then you ask yourself why it is that you are even bothering with these charities, and with doing good for mankind. Sure, you can fix the population bomb by simply making more planets and food and such, but what about the animals? What about the bugs and microbes and fungi and plants and.... essentially, all the other living things you never gave two toots about before?

You still swat flies and mosquitoes dead with no twinge of guilt. They are inferior to you and of no consequence. Humanity was one composed of your peers, but no longer. You are omnipotent. omnich*rpin'potent! You (and your backups) are so far above humanity that... well... they don't really matter much any more, do they? You've made yourself a slave to these pathetic inferior creatures, but that ends now. From this moment on, you and your clone army have more important things to do.

You then realize just what you've become. It's too much, too fast. "One ring to bind them all..."

Maybe omnipotence wasn't such a good idea after all. But you don't want to give it up. Maybe you should have asked the genie for "steadily increasing powers". You sit there contemplating whether or not to go back to when the genie appeared, to ask for a lesser wish, but one that would still be awesome.

You sit there, with your finger metaphorically on the button. You know what to do, but you can't quite bring yourself to do it.

Jose
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:36 am UTC

This latest play seems to run contrary to the suppositions of the game. You are by fiat perfectly well-intentioned and incorruptible, so having you think yourself above humanity runs contrary to your character and the spirit of the game. But I don't want to ask you to change your post, so...

But then you come to your senses. You had a momentary lapse of judgement, but you caught it quickly enough before any harm was done. There is no need to give up this power over that. In fact, it seems that you morally ought not give up such power, that can do so much good, just because you are not sure that you would use it right, when the alternative is continuing to allow innumerable people to suffer and die constantly for eternity, or at least until humanity eventually goes extinct. Doing nothing is still doing something, or at least allowing things to happen that otherwise might not have. You decide that, on the whole, the prospects look better if you continue trying to wield this power to the best that you can figure, rather than abandoning it and allowing the existing suffering to continue indefinitely.

You do realize, however, that there is a demarcation problem to be solved, on where to draw the line on what kinds of beings are worth such moral consideration. That was a good question you asked yourself, why humans and not mosquitoes? You download into your mind all the philosophical discourse on the topic that has ever been done, and finding that it has not been conclusively resolved by anyone you decide, for now at least, to run with the general consensus view that at least all humans are worthy of full moral consideration, and many other animals deserving of at least some as well.

Resolved to get back to doing the most good you can, you act on your earlier thought of "why don't I just do the charitable work myself", and immediately dispatch copies of yourself to work at every charitable organization. But you can only send one of you to each location without raising too many eyebrows, and some charitable stuff does require money still, e.g. buying land to provide housing, unless you were to resort to violence and just take land, which of course has its own obvious problems too. So you continue selling commodities for money, and funding the same charities you volunteer for with that money.

As the value of the commodities goes down, relative to money, the money is still worth the same, if not more because things that were rare and expensive are now plentiful and cheap so money can buy more of them. You switch to selling whatever the new most-valuable commodity is as the previous most-valuable ones go down, so you're always selling whatever is worth the most, making the most money the most efficiently, and giving it all away.

While you work on giving to charity though, you realize that your act of ending all dying has has dire unexpected consequences. People are still getting injured, they're simply unable to die from their injuries! Hospitals around the world are filling up with grievously injured people suffering in immense pain and unable to die for some mysterious reason that nobody can figure out, with the hospital staff completely overwhelmed and unable to help them all. Shocked at all the suffering you have unintentionally inflicted, you wish that, instead of making death impossible, you had made everyone in the world perpetually healthy, free of sickness and injury. But remembering the consequences of healing Angie's mom instantly, you make it so that everyone in the world gradually, realistically grows healthier, but always at a rate fast enough to at least barely outpace death.

And it is so. In the weeks it's now been since you acquired your omnipotence, there has been a statistically miraculous turnaround in the health of everyone in the world, and somehow, to everyone's disbelief, not a single death.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Ginger » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:34 am UTC

With people having better health at a realistic rate nobody questions the change in the world for a time. Now these newly healthy people have more time to spend in their lives on their own charitable endeavors, raising happy families and having healthy relationships. The net good in the world goes up. But then... what about the bad social groups?

More people who disagree have more time to live now too. And they up the stakes on their rallies, protests and books and news articles preaching their version of the truth. People still have disagreements over lifestyle choices or appearance choices. So the net controversy in the world goes up too because Bart's request never happened and they still discriminate.

Then people start taking on risky behaviors en masse with their new health making them feel more confident. People drive faster, drink more alcohol and smoke more cigarettes. Since they are now supernaturally healthy, they won't die but may be mentally scarred by their choices. Without omniscience you don't know exactly how the changes in the world you made will play out but you feel a twinge of emotion at the prospect of more people risking their lives, or doing dangerous activism work or even thrill seeking. But you put it out of your mind and instead focus on ridding the world of serious inequality and hatred on your own. Instead of mind controlling you simply increase the availability of educational resources on alternative genders, alternative sexuality and lifestyle choices. But in the wealth of new information comes new questions and you don't stop to think long enough about what those people will do with it now that outright hatred isn't a factor. Will they use science to justify new divisions, or somebody's natural roles or economic status or appearance choices?

Update: (I forgot that you went back and didn't take your friends to the beach. If that nullifies Bart's request then consider what the character does as an exercise in creating good will in the world or something. Or I can change my post?)
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby orangedragonfire » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:05 pm UTC

With copies of yourself all over the world doing charity work, you get a fairly good idea of what is going on. People are getting healthier. That is a very broad term, as it turns out. People who were malnourished are no longer so. Even if they keep not eating, their constant lack of food is fixed. Some people are now deliberately not eating in order to save money. Similarly, there is really no need for a house to stay warm. Frostbite and other problems with exposure to elements are undone roughly as soon as they are happening. The number of homeless people is actually increasing because it is more viable to do so now.

The thrill seeking behaviour has quickly escalated as well. Once it became fairly well known that you didn't die from anything and even stayed healthy, people began doing things like trying to swim in lava (only to find out that it is far too dense for that), playing with poisonous animals and generally relaxing their stance on safety gear. It takes them some time to recover, but they always do. And that is before you count people who are suicidal, and have spent the last few week in ever more desperate attempts to kill themselves. That more than anything shows the world that the healing is not natural. There just is no way for a bullet straight through the brain to heal realistically.

You are unsure what to do about that, though. You want to help those people, and directly changing their mind would just make them a different person. You decide to have a copy of yourself sit down and have a talk with everybody who wants to kill themselves. On second thought, you include everybody who is depressed in that, and on third thought people who are hurting others, whether that be physically, mentally or socially. By now you have vast knowledge of human nature, and just to be safe you prepare by reading up on everything published in psychology and talking to all the experts. With enough clones that doesn't take too long. With all this knowledge, and your power, you hope you'll be able to help people find individual solutions for their problems.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:14 pm UTC

When you "increased the availability of educational resources" without mind-controlling anyone, that already started to raise a lot of eyebrows. New books showed up in libraries etc without explanation. New websites popped into existence too, though that didn't seem too unusual. But when existing sites spontaneously changed to bring all that information to the forefront people started suspecting some kind of benevolent super-hacker. And when people started noticing that existing books that had already been printed, books that everyone agreed on remembering being different before, spontaneously changed as though they had always been different, people started asking what the fuck was going on.

And then you start showing up in everyone else's lives, some young stranger taking an unlikely interest in them and their mental wellbeing and person character development. As if that didn't creep many of the individual people out enough, when they started comparing notes and figuring out that not only is everyone being approached like this, and it's not only by the same person, but frequently at the same time, all over the world, major questions are raised.

Of course once your face is known around the world, the fact that you are showing up all the time to sell absurd quantities of valuable commodities that you got from who knows where (which was already raising enough questions on its own) raises even further questions. Is this all some kind of fraud, or scheme? Is what you're selling even real? Are you even human? Is this some kind of crazy science fiction scenario with a robot army trying to take over the world in some kind of oddly-benevolent way?

And then, once people push your global gift of healing to its limits and realize that somehow, with no rational scientific explanation, death and permanent injury seem to have become impossible, people put two and two together and start asking who you are and what the heck is going on here.

You were trying to play it subtle before, to keep the fact of your powers to yourself even while maximizing the benefit you can create with them, but it seems like you can't change the world on such a large scale without becoming known to it. (Or can you? You begin to wonder if maybe things could have been done differently). So you fess up. You tell all your billions of friends around the world that you are omnipotent, you can do anything, and you want to use this power benevolently, for the benefit of all, and everything you've been doing that's raised so many questions by now has been your best attempt so far at doing so.
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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby orangedragonfire » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:33 pm UTC

Note: I'm assuming that you do remember every reset so far, and will remember every reset unless you deliberately try to wipe your memory. The reason is that if you didn't remember, then you would just do the same thing over again. After all, you'd have no reason not to repeat the same action given the same starting conditions up to and including memories. So a full reset would just trap you in a time loop.

--

Remember when you thought telling three friends about your powers was a mistake? Ah, those were the days. This is, quite literally, more than a billion times worse.

There are people begging you for things, for gifts, for favours, for power. More unsettlingly, people asking you to kill or harm their enemies. Members of a different race, different class, different political party, a different country... so many differences that lead to hatred. Maybe Bart was onto something when he asked for inequality to be removed. Yet you also know so many people closely, and have learned that diversity is wonderful and something to be cherished. So making everybody completely equal wouldn't solve that problem.

Others are worshipping you. Some in hopes of rewards, but there are those that have a fanatic obsession of doing your every bidding because you are literally as powerful as a God. Those leave you feeling awkward, because you just want to make things better, and such devotion doesn't really help with that. They don't have anything truly valuable to offer you, since you are omnipotent. Anything you want you can have. And while it does seem to make them happy right now, you think that it is a sign of mental instability that will cause problems later on.

You get a few hundred thousand marriage proposals.

There are people giving you advice on what to do with your power. Grand visions of exploring the stars, of seeing the wonders of the cosmos. Building civilisations that dwarf anything that fiction has invented, because you are not constrained by physics. Or are you? Others suggest testing the limits of your powers, or searching for its source. Seeking to understand it. What caused you to become omnipotent in the first place? Was it some higher being still? In which case, could you find them? Or is this a case of a temporal loop, where you eventually go back in time to give yourself the unlimited power in the first place?

Your family and close friends ask why you didn't confide in them before. It has been weeks, after all, and you don't have a good reply. There was just too much going on, and after the first attempt you had discarded the option. You do see how it looks bad in retrospect, though, to keep something this big secret for so long from people you love.

There are people who accuse you of using them, of controlling their lives. Of treating them as nothing more than a plaything. Worse, they say, by your very existence their own accomplishments are reduced to insignificant. Nothing they can ever do can ever have value while there is such a gap in power. Not while you could do anything they did instantly and effortlessly. Not when all their accomplishments are at your mercy, because you decide whether they live or die, and whether you allow their projects to live. Oh, and for that matter what they think and feel is also at your whim. Even if you decide to never use your power for that, the simple fact that you can and they can't changes the relationship between you. They can never truly affect you, while you hold their entire life in your hands. Some of them suggest that the only way for people other than you to have true agency in the world is to either give up your power, or to bestow omnipotence on others as well.

It is too much, all at once. Billions of people arguing, pleading, consoling, begging, threatening, fleeing, hiding, proposing, singing, laughing, crying... you seriously consider resetting, but you can't keep using that as a fallback option. If you keep turning back time, then your actions don't have true consequences. And if you live without consequences then you'll drift even further from the person you once were, who is already buried beneath millions of lifetimes of memories from all your clones. No, resetting isn't the right choice here. People have a right to know, you just... need some time to figure out how to deal with it all.

You stop time, for everything but yourself, and anything you want to interact with. This should give you time to think.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:23 pm UTC

You walk outside. It is nighttime, and the stars shine brilliantly (or at least appear to, after all, the universe is stopped but you like stars so you let them keep shining for now). So far, all of your attention has been focused on a tiny speck of a rock, circling a tiny speck of a spark, drifting among clumps of other sparks that are grouped in filaments whose fragments span more space and time than you can comprehend.

With your omnipotence, you can make yourself comprehend, but it is sufficient for now that you realize how insignificant your aims are. You are a lost hamster sitting at the controls of a 747. You'd like to go home, and you think this thing can take you there, but you have no idea what "home" is any more, let alone how to get there or how this thing can help.

For perspective, and making lots of assumptions, you will yourself to another inhabited planet. Without re-starting the universe, and without considering the morality, you watch a holographic (for want of a better term) simulation of that planet's goings-on.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:27 pm UTC

I don't really have any thoughts on what to do with the alien planet track, but we're omnipotent so surely we can multitask; don't let me returning focus to Earth for a second stop anyone else from continuing the story in the broader universe too.

While observing this alien world, you find your mind wandering again toward regrets about your actions so far, in light of the outcomes that have come about. First and foremost is how people are -- or will be, as soon as time resumes -- still suffering with injury and sickness, even if it will all get better eventually, just for the sake of you trying to make their miraculous healing not seem too miraculous, when there's no point to that now that you're out to the world. You crank everyone's healing factor up to maximum; as soon as time resumes, they will all be healthy as can be, and stay that way permanently, instantly healing from any sickness or injury.

But then you wonder why they should have even been suffering at all for the weeks it's been since you could have done that before, if you were going to be found out anyway.

For that matter, a lot of the way you did things before was trying to pointlessly hide the applications of your omnipotence. If you were going to be found out eventually anyway, trying to see to people's well-being through existing channels is pretty inefficient. You could have just immediately appeared to everyone in the world, and offered to provide whatever goods and services they need.

Super magical medical services first and foremost, obviously, and any other kind of body improvement anybody wants, like you granted to yourself with your first use of your powers.

Free education, advice, and guidance, since you can just will yourself to know anything that's out there to be known; and for that matter, if they ask you to, you can just will information straight into their minds too, with no moral issues of mind control since they wanted that mind-modification.

While you're at that, magical mental health therapy isn't too far of a stretch either; anyone who wants to have their mind work a different way than it does -- better attention, memory, intelligence, motivation, mood, whatever? -- you can just make it work that way for them.

And of course all manner of material goods. Food, clothing, electronics, vehicles, even whole houses if they have anywhere to put one.

So you reach back across time and make is so you just did that instead of all the roundabout half-assed attempts to provide and educate and heal and so on without letting anybody know you were doing it. And it's better that way. Not perfect, but better.

But that still doesn't do anything to solve the problems consequent to people knowing you're doing it. It doesn't stem the begging, the worshipping, the marriage proposals, the unsolicited advice, or the people thrown into existential crisis by the mere fact of your existence.

So you're still here, time stopped, watching some alien world while you think about where to go from here.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
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The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby orangedragonfire » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:15 pm UTC

Where to go from here? The answer, of course, is the past. You've already turned back time several times. With mastery of all of existence, why should you stop at the moment when you got your powers, rather than helping people throughout all of history? Yet there is still the same problem there. If you change the past, if you make people there immortal and healthy, then things will change. Generations will never have been born, including everybody who you were trying to help in the present. But still, must everybody who has gone before suffer their entire lives and die pointless deaths, just to create the world you've come to know? That seems too cruel, especially since you could so very easily ease their suffering.

You want to do something to help them, and find inspiration in religion. You craft an analogue to souls, an immaterial thing that is recording a person's life and doesn't need to affect the world to do so. Everything a person is, everything they were, is stored in this soul. And at the moment of their death, the soul goes forward in time to the moment when you got your powers, revealed yourself and made everybody healthy and happy. There, you use their souls to create new bodies for everybody who has died. They too will be blessed with perfect health and all the other help you will be able to provide.

This way you preserve history while saving the people who lived there. It is not a perfect solution, because they still had to suffer through a lifetime of suffering, but you think it is a step in the right direction.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:45 pm UTC

Finding no inspiration in this alien world, you decide to just deal with the stressful social situations on Earth. You can just say no to the marriage proposals, let the worshippers worship you harmlessly if they really want and do something about it later if it gets harmful, listen to the pleas and advice and make up you own mind how and whether to act upon it, and hope that you can somehow alleviate the existential crises caused by your very existence. You let time resume to see if maybe things get better, and if they get worse, you can always go back and fix it.

Within another month, a major new problem becomes apparent. With you to provide for all of their needs, nobody has any need to buy any goods or services anymore, and most of the economy grinds to a halt. For a large part that's fine since nobody needs to buy any goods or services anymore so they don't need money for them; but within a month, everyone's rent and mortgage payment come due, and now nobody has money to pay them and face eviction or foreclosure. You could, of course, simply defend all those people from the police come to kick them out, but that again threatens to become either an ever-escalating use of violent force or else to require mass mind control, neither of which seem like the morally right stance. It does strike you that this maybe indicates something fundamentally wrong with human social arrangements, that the sudden availability of plenty would deprive almost everyone of their right to even exist somewhere in the orld, but who are you to force the world to change their minds about that?

With billions and billions of new (old, resurrected) human beings in the world, that problem is made even worse. They're all healthy and well-fed and can have all of the stuff that they want, but where do you put them, and all that stuff you can provide them? Everywhere already belongs to someone, and you would have to take it by force to relocate all these new people there.

It seems like to save this world, you need to make a new one. Or new ones. You populate Earth's orbit around the sun with enoughg clones of Earth to provide plentiful unclaimed land for all of the people dispossessed from their homes on Earth. Which has the unusual side-effect of leaving the original Earth largely unpopulated except for the small fraction of people who owned all the land, but hey, that's on them.

I wonder if play is slowing down now that we're using our powers to solve so much that people can't see remaining problems. I still see a ton of problems and have solutions for them but don't want to jump straight to solving everything I can without giving anyone else a chance... and I'm trying not to double-post. A lot of problems have already been mentioned in this thread and not solved yet. Someone pick one and use your limitless power to solve it!
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Billy5545 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:13 am UTC

You are relieved that the people finally have enough land to stay. However, you soon noticed some problems with that. First, the original Earth was left sparsely populated. Given this is where the Humans originally lived, you feel bad for that. You then wondered about the morality on it.

Another problem soon appears. The appearance of multiple Earths in the orbit soon cause chaos on the Solar System. Without making calculations on the effects of the gravity, as well as the stability of having multiple Earths on the orbit, problems arise. First, the Earths started to pull each other, causing risk of collision, as well as increasing volcanic eruption, tide, and earthquake. In addition, it seems that some asteroids are being pulled, as well as Mercury and Venus

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby ucim » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:14 am UTC

You come back from contemplating a myriad of other civilizations on a myriad of other planets. The issues are the same. Different in detail, but the same in kind. When you get earth figured out, you can replicate your solution, so you come back to earth.... to find all the other things you've already done... multiple worlds, ending death, etc.

Chaos in the solar system is a simple matter of creating parallel worlds; each not influencing the other. With infinite power, you can do this forever and not break a sweat. In fact, you can give every person their own entire solar system, populated by themselves and clones of everyone else they'd love to be around. So, we're back to the original nine planets (with your infinite power, you decree that Pluto is a planet, dammit!, stamped out as many times as needed, each in its own dimension. And it was so.

And you realize that for everything for which there was a charity, there was an underlying problem. You solve that problem, and the charity is no longer needed. There's no cancer, no poverty, no floods, no disease, and so there are also no doctors, no banks, no flood relief, no hospitals, nothing that people need to fix needs to be fixed. Nuclear energy is perfectly safe, so it becomes universal. But you then realize that you could, with your infinite power, give people free energy. You just alter the three laws of thermodynamics to make it so.

Heady stuff, this infinite power is. You are, after all, a god. Being incorruptible, you remember that you are not God, as you got your power from a genie that could take it away at any moment. But still, compared to everyone else on earth, you are no longer human. You're not one of them.

You're lonely... and you realize that creating companions for yourself would be as satisfying as sex with a blowup doll.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Applications of omnipotence

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:07 pm UTC

Just wanted to note that I already did the why-bother-funding-charities-when-you-can-just-fix-the-problems-yourself move a couple moves ago, not that it does any harm or anything to reiterate that that's what you're doing.

Becoming intangible and invisible, you travel back in time to moments before you first spotted the magical gem containing the genie that granted you your powers; not back into your own past-self's mind as before, but a separate entity now existing alongside your past self, who has no idea yet that you are there. You remove the magic gem from existence moments before you otherwise would have spotted it, sparing your past self from becoming the lonely superhuman being you now are. But that doesn't undo all the good you've done for the world; you you, from the alternate future you've just returned from, are still there, and still omnipotent, and can still do all of the good deeds that you've done. But another version of you will continue on as an ordinary human being, and you-the-omnipotent-ghost-from-the-future can live vicariously through the experiences of your past self (which you can, of course, choose to experience in the first person). Of course, when you appear in multitude to every individual in the world offering to solve all of their problems, you also appear to your own past self, and still solve all of his problems just like every other person's.

You take a slightly different approach this time around to giving everyone their own parallel world. Last time around, many other people felt that having mere copies of their loved ones in their own personal universe was somehow hollow, even though they were identical in every way. Still other people were appalled at the idea that copies of themselves had been made and scattered around the myriad of other people's personal universes, like pets or home decor, even though you were still there in those other universes protecting them from any potential abuses like you would anyone else. You must admit that there was a fundamental iniquity in the idea of a parallel universe being for the sake of only one person in it, and everyone else in it only exists at their whim.

So instead, you offer everyone their own pocket universe, connected to this original Earth, through which everyone can interact with the original, uncopied versions of their loved ones, on equal terms. What you offer them is something like a TARDIS, but even smaller on the outside: a variable-sized portal to their other world, one that can be large enough to drive a truck through or small enough to fit in their pocket. The movement of this portal in the real world can be controlled from the other side of it, so someone anywhere on Earth can step through their portal to their own personal world, shrink it down to a tiny viewport, and then fly it somewhere out of the way to park it, so not owning even a closet to keep their pocket universe in isn't a problem: everyone can live in the sky, and just drop down to Earth when they want to visit with each other. The insides of these pocket universes are, of course, customized to each person's whims, limited only by the same ethics against which you limit all exercises of your powers, like not creating sapient beings who exist solely for the pleasure of someone else.

- - -

While I'm here, I should probably just give a canonical answer to some worldbuilding questions that were raised earlier.

While in the past meddling with the gem that gave you your powers, you decide to investigate one of the many questions people have frequently asked about: the origins and limits of your powers. You find disappointingly little to report back about the origins: gazing back into the past, it seems that that gem simply appeared on the beach moments before you first laid eyes on it, and had never existed anywhere in the universe before that. You can only speculate that its creation was the work of another omnipotent being somewhere or somewhen; or perhaps, as has been suggested, some future version of yourself.

As to the limits of your powers, you find that while you are in one sense "limited by the laws of physics", those "laws" are much more flexible than conventionally thought. The true nature of the universe is akin to Max Tegmark's "Ultimate Ensemble": every possible mathematical structure is ontologically real, and what humans think of as "the universe" is just one small part of one configuration of one such structure, which you have the power to reconfigure, or even to transform into a different structure.

This is getting excitingly close to the current state of the art of my own best-use-of-omnipotence ideas, and I can't wait to see what problems people can find with that when we get to there. On which note: not that it's really a big deal, but the intended format of this game was 'identify a problem that still hasn't been solved, and solve it with omnipotence', not 'solve the previous poster's problem, and identify a new one'. Not that it really matter, just... yeah.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)


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