I did say “serious stuff” in the tag line for the BLOG. So here we are. Should you belong to a smallish church I’m quite sure you won’t have heard of these guys – but you can bet his polished footwear that your Pastor has.
So, be aware – this will have popped through his door one day as an innocuous pamphlet.
(regrettably the footnotes & bibliography won’t print in this version)
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
(yes, you! with your eyes popping)
The International Adeistical League
Church Management and Planetary Belief Systems
Forgive us for contacting you in this manner,
but please notice our tact.
Plain brown envelope, much thinner than “Playboy,”
less bulky than condoms.
You may not have heard us, but you will know of the Council of Trent (1545-63) and the long delay before the Bishops were summoned. Rest assured that we have been global consultants since long before that time. If you have ever wondered why some Churches have been so successful, others less so, read on, we may be able to help you.
We will be quite frank with you – our International Research Division, during a routine galactic scan, has identified your Church as one that might be able to make effective use of our services. Yes, we did say ‘galactic’ – enough said, discretion is our byword.
You will notice that this offer is directed only to heads of churches.
And be advised, we have NO competitors.
Our consultants normally advise the acquisition of two components:
(i) Do you have troublesome parishioners, dubious clerics, awkward relations with government, daughter churches, or less-than-honest competitors?
If so, you need a Church Management System.
(ii) The Articles of Belief you hold are too important to be left to chance – you need complete control, and any of a carefully constructed set of modules from our subsidiary Belief Systems will give you this control within limits dictated only by the ultimate structure of the universe.
Lets begin at the beginning –
turn to our Brochure on BELIEF SYSTEMS
BELIEF SYSTEMS – logic and control
At first sight our suggestions in this realm of activity may seem to be a slight on your considerable skills as a theologian, but then you may not be aware of recent exciting developments in the logic and control of belief systems. Much of what we tell you, you will be aware of from a practical point of view, but we supply the theory and the management criteria for your complete safety.
To give some guidance, let us outline the basic modules. Please note that throughout this section n is the number of believers other than the head of the belief system.
Primitive Belief Systems (PBS n ‹ 97)
These relatively inexpensive systems are guaranteed to be 100% convergent in space-time to a single equilibrium point, provided only that n ‹ 97. They work well with closed sets of believers – for example in the mountains of New Guinea, but they can be adapted to other rural settings, or in special circumstances, to decrepit inner cities and major corporations.
They can be used with n › 97 and n smaller than a poorly defined upper chaotic limit, but we don’t recommend it. However, a meticuluous user can negotiate short tricky space-time passages (such as the arrival within the closed set of believers of a set of strangers of variable belief susceptibility). In these cases, extreme care is recommended together with simulation of the system using the program supplied as an optional extra, and adherence to all guidelines in the free Manual of Primitive Systems supplied with your package. Note that simulation in faster than real-time – essential in these cases – requires an Intergalactinet subscription.
If it is ever likely that n › 97 (and population cycling can sometimes be a problem, as can multiple births and unexpected longevity) then all users should ensure they have an emergency Sacrificial Module to hand. These are supplied in packages of five, and are guaranteed to appear to be completely compatible with the basic Primitive Belief System.
Beyond the vaguely defined upper limit, Primitive Belief Systems modules collapse catastrophically with completely unpredictable results. We supply hermetically sealed escape modules, carefully disguised as coffins, funeral pyres or your choice of exit for use in these unfortunate circumstances. Our real estate branch maintains a wide selection of hermetiferous niches provided as a free service to our clients. We admit, regretfully, that in some niches existence is only marginal, although always possible. Hospital facilities (and Blue Cross coverage) cannot be provided.
Complex Belief Systems (CBS)
There is no known upper limit to the size of these systems, although we do advise that this is still an open research area and under some circumstances (unlimited access to Galactinet terminals, for instance) caution is advised. There is some evidence, too, that these systems can develop spontaneous ‘belief black holes’ – apparently stable but inflowing zones of abelief. Criteria for their establishment and maintenance are still under investigation.
Because of the complexities of these systems, and they are not easily categorised, we recommend in the first instance purchase of well-behaved and thoroughly explored systems. Extensive simulation shows that these can be guaranteed to be convergent 99.99990% of the space-time, and even aberrant behaviour is relatively easily controlled by the judicious use of space-time clamps. For these instances a 1-800 number is provided – customised to each module retailed – with hotwired connections to our control terminals, and this will salvage your problem a further 99.98% of the space-time.
You will find a complete selection of CBS modules outlined below, at the end of the brochure. Simply write in the location of your system (Latitude and Longitude will do just fine), the number of: untenable assumptions, a priori givens, irrational desires, number of major deities, expected (or required) future duration of the system (in generations), the number of hierarchical control levels (below yourself) and last, but not least, the estimated degree of public celibacy for each hierarchical level, in the boxes, and then place a tick in the Select box. The presence of the tick automatically will convert the paper into a customised catalogue of systems suitable for your use. Don’t ask how its done. We won’t tell you, and you wouldn’t begin to understand even if we did. However, it is a modest ‘show of force’ which often converts customers all on its own! Try it.
We should mention that it follows from the fundamental theorem of CBS that in any sufficiently complex system there exist an infinite number of ‘small’ space-time catastrophes. This not a flaw to these systems but a positive asset. They occur with little or no synoptic public warning, but their existence is easily predicted and for this reason all our modules include a basic simulation system with your chosen module pre-installed and set to current co-ordinates. Thanks to our powerful visualisation algorithms you will have no difficulty seeing the immediate path ahead, and we expect that your existing experience will suggest innumerable ways to exploit such sudden dynamic shifts in system equilibria. If it didn’t, we would not have contacted you in the first place.
Some more sophisticated items
Let us stress that these are very stable well-explored modules, even though they may come as something of a surprise to you.
• Guaranteed convergence from any CBS to any other CBS (some limitations exist on convergence rates. Still, invaluable to those hell-bent on expansion).
• Guaranteed divergence to either growth, stable or extinction belief sets (require careful handling, but very useful for escapists, or to handle troublemakers. As a general rule, and to achieve best control, only one divergence system should be in operation at once).
• Auto-adaptive (self-correcting) CBS modules (extremely clever modules which detect drifts in believer strength at critical ‘knowledge’ nodes and differentially adapt the entire set to compensate – deviants never develop beyond limits you can set.)
• Delayed deity emergence systems (very popular with beginners.) However, while popularity on appearance is proportional to delay, local instability associated with appearance is a polynomial function of the delay. READ THE MANUAL carefully to avoid popularity inversions, or worse yet, popularity implosions.
• Interpretative scenarios (we have an enormous range of options – they add real time stability to virtually all CBSs).
• Compatible deity sets (can save a lot of troublesome local instability if you are an addict of multideistic schemes.)
• Holographic projection systems (ensure that believers get correct pictorial images, can help re-reinforce ‘difficult’ ideas – i.e. the “Virgin Mary”, “Immaculate Conception”, “Holy Ghost.”)
• Cultural control modules. (These are helpful to add an additional level of control – for example they are traditionally used to prevent or eliminate literacy and numeracy – two major sources of instability. There is some evidence that they are beneficial at the chaotic margins of PBSs.)
• Guaranteed genealogies. We invent these for you as requested, but more surprising is that once we deliver, all efforts at rigorous investigations will meet dead ends, lack of proper evidence, or implausible denials – all of which actually reinforce belief. All genealogies are guaranteed for the duration of your PBS and all genealogies intersect (in fact are infinitesimally close to) previously proven planetary historical figures at least 10% of the time. For a modest additional fee we can increase this percentage.
• Sacred writings. Well, we can supply these at very low cost, but it is our experience that most users prefer to develop their own. SACWRITPRO, our Sacred Writing Processor, has a self-correction feature which automatically ensures that you do not transgress acceptable limits for your CBS (NOTE: Sacred writing is not possible with PBSs).
You, death, and life after death
We knew you’d ask, they always do, so we’ve added this section to clear things up.
This is tricky. Basically, with current technology and resources, you are a prisoner of your own planet. So, if you would normally expect to die, you bet yer, you will.
Life after death. Watch the semantics here. Absolutely there is life after death, and they will notice you’ve gone, for a time. But for you, well, to be brutal, nothing. NOT A THING. (Ignoring the worms, and so forth).
CRUËL: you doubtless think. But you have to remember that belief systems are just that: they have sod all to do with atoms and molecules. What’s more, further cruel irony, ‘almost all’ belief systems have an embedded persistence structure that guarantees – despite all logical demonstrations to the contrary – that you will believe that you will survive your physical death (see above).
Without this essential control element, it has been shown that physical deaths in intelligent biological systems would converge, after sufficient generations, on the birth time, thus extinguishing the system.
Oh!, GOD, yes, we knew you’d ask that (too)
Oddly enough, this is the last question most of our customers ask – which all goes to show they have sound business instincts!
And, the short (and the long) answer is NO, there isn’t one (or many – it amounts to the same thing) – it all stops with you. We know, quite anti-climatic, but then, GET REAL, be honest, you wouldn’t be where you are today if there really was one (or indeed many.) . . . Still, virtually all BSs are designed to project belief one level above the top of the pyramid. (The PUKE principle – Projection of Unreal Kinesinetic Existence). Generally its safer that way, as we expect you’ve discovered. Better not to let them know that when things go wrong it really IS (well, appears to be – it is same thing in a foolproof BS) your fault . . . . . .
Still, if you insist, we do have “YOU are GOD” modules, they look good (in fact they are designed to make you LOOK good), but they don’t come with any guarantee. This is primarily because if anything goes wrong you won’t (have time to) be around to claim on it anyway (see Life after Death note above.) The real problem arises from the belief singularity – its actual locus describes chaotic orbits (OK – a halo in angel talk) just beyond you. This continuous but localised instability really doesn’t matter if its pointing at nothing at all, but if the projection is focused on you – well, we’ll leave you to imagine. Still, some people like to live dangerously. Boys will have toys.
Is the NO GOD thing still bothering you? Gooooood. You’ll notice a great sense of relief with that worry off your mind. BUT, do you remember how you could get away with murder with God? Well, don’t try it with us. There may be no GOD, but Galactic technology is right up there, and there are things about the Universe you simply wouldn’t believe until you found it was too late. So, you still have to watch out for temptation, but this time its for real, (see SEX, below).
CHURCH MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
If you can cope with a Belief System of moderate complexity, you’ll be glad to have a CMS. In fact, you don’t get the option. Get one and you get both – no offence, but we like to protect investments. Standard models come modularised to the PBS or CBS you select, and there are standard elements in each. However, each module has innumerable and extensive menu sets for you to explore and if you don’t like the default settings you can easily customize.
Needless to say CMSs come in sets carefully matched to the Belief System, and of course they can be supplied with construction sets (for buildings, including outhouses) and custom outfitters (for ceremonial regalia, everyday uniforms, and so forth). An important component (upon which we insist with every CMS) is an automatic investment unit. They have the advantage that even though you may be planetary bound, there is no need for our investments to be similarly bound. Every cloud may have a silver lining – that’s an earthbound saying – but every galaxy has a hidden black hole for our investments. In they go, and out they come in a different galaxy, innocuously bursting forth in quiet corners, inflating nicely and still connected by a cosmic superstring to the original source. Give a knowing yank on the superstring and back they come, still inflated thanks to the little known “conservation of cosmic inflation” (COCI) principle. Of course, to satisfy Universal Conservation principles some poor bugger has to lose when you gain, but they aren’t to know why or how its happening. For them its just another case of plummeting stock, or injudicious choice of bonds.
Yes, we did say, our investments. They are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but we don’t advertise the fact, and the cover companies are cleverly disguised as erratic performers …. well you get the drift. We follow Galactic rules (and we had a big hand in devising them), so you don’t have to worry, and you won’t lose. Of course that doesn’t protect you from other sorts of unwise local business investment (funeral parlour kickback schemes, flower shops, preparedness counselling, and Pyramid Detergent sales opportunities spring to the page – customized to your own experience – as particularly unwise areas), but we leave you to your own devices for purely local aggrandisement. The only advice we offer is this – don’t rely on God (see above), and remember, some people really are smart, and they may not be you.
Perhaps the most troublesome part of most institutions are the people, especially those who have a mind of their own, or equally difficult, those who insist on not only believing in God(s), but in relying on him (her/them). (NOTE – as there is no GOD (see above) there is no point in arguing the finer points of gender on the matter.)
Our menus have a wide assortment of subtle, and not so subtle, methods for you to use – it all depends on your personality. It can be as simple as an unruly dog or a botched varicose vein operation, and lo, little Ms Mischief is house bound with a perennially faulty phone for months on end. You can easily maximise the service personnel irritation factor built into any household appliance, and you even select irritation forwarding just in case, fortuitously, something works correctly, or you come across a helpful service person. The result: – no one will come near them for months, and it will always be found that the faulty element is both hermetically sealed and cannot be back-ordered (just in case you have a do-it-yourself johnny on the Church Council).
The God squad brigade really are a nuisance (bloody self-righteous), but at least you can rely on the guaranteed fact that they will get no actual help despite the occasional operation of “contextual coincidence.”
The most misguided ones will be close to you, uncomfortably so. For their delicate direction we prefer to rely on perfectly natural solutions and by far the best is that all universal favourite, its never failed yet, you’ve got it (indeed you have!) – SEX.
It takes very little to re-direct a dubious cleric, and, for example, a juicy redhead of any of the three sexes can usually cause enough trouble to circumscribe the opinions and actions of the most deviant priests. Which trouble, discreetly revealed in the Parish Newsletter by judicious juxtapositions (photos of Church picnics) and entirely holy and un-insinuating phrasing, will develop an independent vortex all of its own. Depend on it. And old spinsters have their weak points too.
And rope. Enough for a metaphorical self-induced hanging, you’ll need that. Here we will give you some free advice: let time tie knots in the minds of men (its nearly always men in your Church, but fret not, times are changing and soon – look on the bright side – you’ll have twice as many people to blame).
Governments and competitors
Essentially, the same basic mix of accidents, money and sex will deal with almost any problems you encounter, although of course, like MONOPOLY, its up to you how you dispose of your assets. We’ll leave you to explore the menus – you will find plenty to entertain yourself. Try for example the “Day Care” option under “Danger Spots.” Then look at the Escape clauses and you’ll be amazed at the loopholes we have been able to track through Acts, space time and timely sick leaves. When there are no loopholes per se we can guarantee (we mean guarantee) indefinite delays – mind you, we will want our cut, but isn’t that just the way of the Universe?
Competitors are easily dealt with – a judiciously placed infectious belief system, insidiously attractive to the feckless and the witless and you’ll be home and dry. But make sure you get the blends right (a bit like coffee) and remember to allow for non-linear scaling and local inflation due to chaotic positive feedback (sometimes known as the cosmic “Miss Mathews” effect).
Governments are really tricky – they have been shown to be slower in operation than any known artificial automaton, and they are widely used, elsewhere in the Universe, to demonstrate the fundamental principles of poor design in electronic circuitry. Fortunately, it has been shown that any publicly funded governmental system contains at least one inescapably closed message circuit, and furthermore there are an indefinite number of routes from any node in the system to an arbitrary point on the closed circuit. So that’s the let out.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
WELL, now you’ve seen it all. You can’t help being in, for YOU have been chosen. Now you REALLY know how it feels. Cut the crap and pass the cut. We don’t care what you tell them – after all we both want their money and your life REALLY is your own – enjoy it while you can. “Man, that is born of woman hath but a short time to live,” – isn’t that what your bit of the hoo-hah says? Well, be thankful ye are chosen, you at least have no need to be full of misery – get with it baby (Pssst – we do have a nice line in adult videos and coloured condoms! OK!!!, OK!!! we just thought we’d mention it. That’s where we get the brown paper envelopes …..)
And when you’ve recovered
HAVE A NICE DAY!
© seamustheone, (for the I.A. League that is based in another Galaxy.)