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On planet Methuselah, the oldest planet in existence, there exists a race of beings that seem to be, in most definitions of the word, gods. They can form objects out of pure energy, have strength beyond imagination, telepathy, teleportation, and shapeshifting. In my story, my group of characters investigates the planet after they find Dyson swarms around the two stars the planet orbits. The Methuselans proceed to play with the characters for amusement, similar to what a child would do to an ant. They kill the heroes for fun, revive them, and do it again and again for fun, and that is a central plot point in my story.

A friend mentioned this, and I can’t seem to think of an answer. My question is why would gods with incredible abilities and such experience boredom in the first place?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Renan, Palarran, Nahshon paz, Bellerophon, Gryphon Sep 13 '18 at 15:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Just curious, is this related to the Tayan story? I remember in another one of your questions, you mentioned a super advanced race that created the Tayan for torture. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 13 '18 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @John Locke: Yeah, it is $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Sep 13 '18 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ Is religion out of the question? Could the aliens have their own religion that requires them to torture less advanced lifeforms? $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 13 '18 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ "why would gods with incredible abilities and such experience boredom in the first place?" For the same reason we get bored, but magnified 10,000 fold: there's nothing much to do. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 13 '18 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ @John Locke: No, they don’t have religion. $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Sep 13 '18 at 0:56
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Eternity is a Long Time

Imagine if Nero, Ghengis Khan, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler never died: in fact, they couldn't die. It doesn't actually take a majority of sadists to make a lot of bad things happen, just one in the right place at the right time to lead others. So imagine if every era not only spawned its own monsters, but that none of the rest of the ones from the prior one ever went away either. They just periodically return at opportune moments to wreak havoc and take advantage of the opportunities afforded them. A society with true immortals would possibly have to struggle with the fact that every thousand years or so some old monster from the past rises to power again.

It seems far fetched, but when dealing with actual eternity the idea that Adolf Hitler could periodically start a 4th, 5th, 6th and 118th Reich actually inst far fetched at all. Perhaps your characters caught this immortal civilization during a bad millennium.

Scale Matters

At the risk of sounding cliche, imagine an ant pile nearby a BBQ: your charcoal grill is using more energy per minute than an ant pile will use in its entire lifetime. Some of those ants get in the cole-slaw, so you give a quick little squirt of lighter fluid and toss a match to their colony. They lose everything in a painful and unimaginably brutal manner at the hands of beings they cannot comprehend to power they cannot fathom. To them it is a stupid belligerent and cruel apocalypse to which they are completely unable to do anything against. Worse, they Don't even know what they did to deserve it. To you it's simply a gesture of irritation over a highly trifling manner. It just turns out that an amount of force so small it hardly warrants a moments thought expresses enough destructive power to annihilate them completely.

In short, they are too small to matter to you, and you are too big for them to acknowledge. The difference in scale is so great that neither party is capable of avoiding the other. You cannot tell them to not get in your salad, and they cannot tell you to not burn their colony. No emphatic exchange is capable of existing between the two. Bargaining cannot occur, the lesser is completely subservient and at the mercy of the greater with absolutely no way of even possessing the knowledge to avoid it.

The humans are just the ants at the gods are having a picnic.

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  • $\begingroup$ I get what your saying. They just see us as tiny minuscule apes that landed on their planet, and we see them as to far beyond our imagination to comprehend $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Sep 13 '18 at 3:02
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As to killing and reviving them for fun: indeed not a nice kind of alien to have in your backyard as these beings should be more evolved emotionally as well as intellectually, but your question is the same for humans:

Why do extremely rich people that have everything need something to keep them busy?

Because without a goal life's just not worth living:

Need I go on? ;-)

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Why would godlike beings become bored?

Here's one explanation.

Let's start of with Joe, someone who's average on anything and everything. He then becomes God, and creates systems after systems, beings after beings, technology after technology. Creates another bigbang, annihalates the same universe. Then creates another universe, destroys it again, then creates a multiverse, proceeded to create being hunger for war then destroys then altogether. Surely, Joe can do anything, he can morph into a blackhole, a human, even a speckle of dust just for fun. He can create what he can imagine and besides that, he is immortal. But thats the problem, too much power, and immortality makes living dull.

Why?

because of the abscense of fear.

Fear is one stimulant that makes our life somewhat exciting. For example, watching a horror movie for the first time. It always makes your scream, shout, laugh at your companion, etc, etc. But if you have watched it for like a million times, face it, You'll look stupid if you still scream on those jumpscare you already now.

In Real Life, we have atmost a hundred years to live (some have lesser lifespans) so the fear of actually NOT doing something makes us motivated to do it, making life more exciting, more compelling to do.

Adventure seekers say they dont fear anything but yes they do. They fear that their life AND youth is so short that they might not do something they would want to do, hence YOLO(You only live ONCE).

Soldiers fear that they might not see their families again, that's why even when fights are constant and repetitive, they do their best to survive to see the faces of their love ones.

Fear in itself, is the stimulant that your gods lack, that's why they will get bored after sometime, its you're call as a story teller when.

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A physical need for torture

Your aliens have some sort of compulsion to torture sentient lifeforms. They don't get happiness out of torturing animals, just beings over a certain intelligence level.

The reason

Your aliens evolved this behavior early in their history as a means of survival. Just like with homo sapiens' evolution, there were other hominid peoples living along with them. The difference is that these hominids stayed around near the beginning of agriculture (some say agriculture was the worst mistake in human history, but I am assuming a similar development as humans). There was so much competition for land to grow crops on in order to feed civilizations that suddenly it was beneficial for their species to kill members of the other species.

Civilizations that killed off other nearby communities were more likely to survive because they could grow more food with the extra land. To avoid full-on wars with other civilizations, though, people from other communities had to be captured under the cover of night and their bodies disposed somewhere inconspicuous. This became a love of torture that the species still manifests to this day.

No one left to torture

The other groups of hominids remained resilient as small farming communities spread out and became worldwide cities. However, their numbers had started to dwindle into medieval times. Seeing this, government leaders preserved large numbers of these people and hid them away from the public, releasing a couple for the public to hunt down and torture every year or so. The method had a problem- it only served to intensify their craving for torture.

By the 21st century, the hominids had all been killed off and there was no one left to torture. The public's demand for torture was only increasing. Anarchy started to ensue, and people tortured each other in the streets. Civilization almost collapsed.

With the invention of VR, the species was able to appease its appetite with virtual torture. It wasn't as good as the real thing, but the civilization managed to hold on.

The aliens try to curb their desire for torture, but it is hard coded into their equivalent of DNA. Members of the species who modify their genes to eliminate the desire report feeling empty and without a purpose. Nothing else satisfies their desire for torture.

New hope for torture

Fast forward 1000 years give or take. These aliens are now inventing all kinds of new stuff, including FTL travel. Earth is subsequently discovered. The planet is surveyed, and is found to be full of intelligent humans who can fully experience pain. The perfect subjects! The entire alien homeworld blasts off and sets up a colony near Earth.

Knowing what happened last time, the alien leaders again hold off on mass torture. Alien abductions become the norm, and the victims are never seen again.

Out of nowhere, a catastrophe strikes the planet. A meteor destroys the planet and less than 1% of the population is saved by the aliens. They rebuild the earth to be inhabitable using their advanced bio-engineering tech. There they create the Tayan, a monstrous species whose only purpose is torture. The aliens watch over the humans, but ruthlessly torture and kill them at the end of their lifespans. Realizing they might accidentally kill off humanity again, the aliens disappear into the shadows, but connect to their creations- the Tayan. Through the Tayan they can experience the ultimate pleasure of digesting their victims quickly or watching them suffer for years before death.

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  • $\begingroup$ Djeez, I hope I never meet these aliens! ;-) +1 anyway! $\endgroup$ – Fabby Sep 13 '18 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Fabby I formulated the answer to make their evolution possible under Earth-like conditions, so if you are a human (you never know on the internet, and I don't prejudge), you might have been one of them in an alternate world. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 13 '18 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ how does this answer the OP's question? They get bored because of torture? $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Sep 13 '18 at 2:31
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    $\begingroup$ @MR.J If you look at some of the other questions the OP has posted, they are about how super beings created the Tayan, a torture plant like the sarlacc. I confirmed with the OP that these were the same aliens. Then I built my answer around what I already knew about the aliens- they love torturing people. I justified that by explaining their evolution in order to make them have a biological need for torture. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 13 '18 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnLocke OP should have posted this question in reference with his stories to make it clear. $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Sep 14 '18 at 0:30

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