At The Ending Was The Word

Thirty-Six Paths of Illumination, the (n.): A memetic mystery cult designed for the Imperial Exploratory Service by the Word of Command, ICC, the Thirty-Six Paths are designed as a means of handling severe cases of exodeism (q.v.).

In many cases, when primitive species conclude that it is necessary and proper to worship the “Shining Ones”, the “Great Star Gods”, or other such epithets, creative theology leads them to conclude that denials of divinity are merely a test for them, or indicative of avatar incarnation, or some such. In such cases, extreme denials or proof of non-divinity tend to cause severe backlash, societal disruption, and cultural implosion is not unknown, leaving aside the consequences for the unwilling gods.

Thus, the Thirty-Six Paths of Illumination are intended as a pathway to slowly and carefully wean exodeists and their societies from their faith in a manner designed to minimize the resulting personal alathkháln and societal consequences; a thirty-sixth level adept of the Paths is fully aware of the reality of the situation and equipped to join in enlightening those below.

Other visitors to worlds in which exodeism is prevalent and the Thirty-Sixth Paths are in effect are requested to cooperate by non-contradiction with the program, and warned that memetic safeties and countermeasures are woven into the memeplex.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary


Trope-a-Day: No Such Thing As Space Jesus

No Such Thing As Space Jesus: Amazingly enough, the people who built their very own set of mechanical deities (see: Deus Est Machina) are remarkably skeptical about people who claim to be (and, of course, to have) supernatural gods.  Especially since they can only very rarely whip up a miracle that Sufficiently Advanced tech can’t reproduce perfectly well.

Not that that stops anyone from forming religions around those things, anyway.  After all, the most important qualifier for a deity is the ability to act in an appropriately Godlike manner.  Or so it would appear.

Clarke’s Third Law

Or, A Typical (Paraphrased) Exploratory Service Response To The Embarrassing Problem of Xenodeism:

“So you’re some sort of gods?”

“That depends.”


“If you mean: do we possess assorted skills, powers, devices, and other techne capable of duplicating pretty much any miracle attributed to the mythological deities of yore, yes. If you mean: are we exemplary, awesome, righteous, and worthy of emulation in all things, we’re flattered, and maybe. If you mean: should you get on your knee-equivalents and start grovelling before us in worship, knock that shit off right now.”