Friday, December 14, 2007

Choose Two

There's a saying in Software Engineering circles (and probably other fields):

Fast, Cheap, Good: Choose Two.

It's all about tradeoffs. If you want something fast and cheap, it's not going to be very good. If you want something cheap and good, it'll probably take a long time. And if you want something fast and good, it'll probably be expensive.

I find that a similar principle applies to an atheist's view of the afterlife. In my choose-two scenario, it works the opposite way. All the choices are negative, but in this case, the "choose two" limitation is a good thing. You're guaranteed that at all times, at least one of the three negative things can't apply to you.

Dead, Mortal, Unhappy: Choose Two.

You see, if you are mortal (and by mortal I mean when you die you completely cease to exist), then you cannot be both dead and unhappy. Because if you are dead, you no longer exist, and there's no "you" to experience unhappiness. Whether you're alive or dead, there's always some good news. If you're dead and unhappy, at least you've survived death and have a chance for future happiness. If you're mortal and unhappy, at least you're not dead.


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