July 20, 2012

The Supreme One slashes the budget for Heaven

Dear People in Heaven and Hell,

As you’re well aware, eternity lasts a very long time. And, you are equally well aware that death is inevitable. These two facts have combined to place tremendous strain on my resources, which I once wrongly perceived as infinite. Keeping the murderers among you immersed in fire forever, for example, takes an enormous expenditure of energy, as you can imagine. Not even I, the Supreme One, can circumvent or overrule the laws of thermodynamics. A rapidly rising population in the after-life, coupled with a precipitous increase in energy and operating costs are now threatening to derail my core project, which is to keep the universe running.

According to research I had commissioned McKinsey & Co. to do, even those who’ve made it to Heaven are dissatisfied, in spite of extraordinary investments we’ve made in heavenly amenities. I’m especially pained to note that customer satisfaction surveys of the denizens of Paradise repeatedly show only one response when asked about perception of Heaven: “Not what I was expecting.” It appears that modern humans clearly seem to have less regard for Heaven, when compared to Dante.

Long story short, I don’t have resources to keep things going at this rate, and need to make changes urgently. So, here are the measures that will come into effect immediately.

All amenities now offered in Heaven will be ended, and replaced with just one benefit – free cable TV subscription in all rooms. If our studies are right, I expect that this measure alone will cause our satisfaction ratings to rocket immediately, and our costs to drop dramatically. I also expect this measure to eliminate another common complaint in Heaven, “All my friends are in the other place.”

That will not be all. The problem of eternal liability continues to exist. According to research, the promise of just a year or two in heaven is adequate to generate ninety five percent of the desired “good” behavior in mortals. In fact, the promise of “eternal bliss” is viewed with suspicion and disfavor among adults who have completed college education. This suggests that cutting back on the eternal salvation promise will not lead to significant drops in faith, obedience and repentance levels. Focus group studies indicate a similar pattern on the deterrence side of the equation. Eternal damnation will be replaced with a limited term penalty of (say) three years of rolling a massive rock up the hill, while being tormented by demons and other such punishments not involving burning of fossil fuels.

Although it’s with great reluctance that I consented to modifying the original covenant between Me and you, I’ve learnt that consumers such as yourselves are quite open to modifying the same. I’m not surprised that the damned are happy to take any reduction in their terms. I’m surprised to know that the blessed too are ready to renegotiate eternal bliss, and are willing to be “bought out” of their existing contracts, if offered an attractive package such as, say, being reborn and leading a full life with an unlimited talk time and data plan.

Rest assured that we’ve consulted our legal team extensively on these modifications to the original terms and conditions of mortal life. It’s my belief that this will not require any changes to documentation on life, which in any case was left intentionally vague, and which not many of you seem to have bothered to read in the first place.

Peace and regards.

The Supreme One.

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