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In my story there is a god of misfortune that always brings bad luck to every living thing, including other gods, that get in the way. The bad luck worsens the longer or closer the individual is relative to the said god. However, suppose any god who abandons their post or neglects their duty will lose their power or ability for good, no strings attached, so they could potentially become a happy mortal, then what's in it for the god of misfortune to miss out on this opportunity for a life-changing moment?

For example, the god of the underworld would be pleased to see more recruits joining the club, the god of death is happy that the entire ecosystem is healthy and thriving, and he is also always welcomed to the underworld for doing an excellent job. As for the god of misfortune, his job is solely to bring bad luck!

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    $\begingroup$ What is exactly this god's duty? Does he need to work tirelessly to bring misfortune to people? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jan 14, 2022 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ Without clear background this is about the motivation of a character and off-topic, please fill us in. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2022 at 2:12
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    $\begingroup$ This is a question about the internal motivations of character. Maybe, you know, Eris actually likes throwing golden apples inscribed "to the fairest" on tables at weddings. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 14, 2022 at 3:26

16 Answers 16

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Without suffering there would be no motivation to learn the right path.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration... With the complete comprehension of these four truths release from samsara, the cycle of rebirth, was attained.

Misfortune and suffering characterize existence. They are also the incentive to understand existence better. Misfortune and suffering are the incentive to understand the Truths and be freed from the cycle of rebirth and this mortal plane.

The god of misfortune would like to be freed. But he sees his actions in the world as helpful. He is helping people to understand their relationship to the world, and to ultimately transcend the world.

When every entity there is has transcended the world of suffering and achieved Nirvana, the god of misfortune will be the only one left. Then he will meditate on the empty beach. Eventually he too will join them. Until that day he must stay.

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The God of Misfortune takes a pride in doing his duty while unacknowledged and neglected. He sneers at those gods who do their duty while wallowing in praise and admiration.

He's not entirely sane.

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  1. It's funny. You should see his video channel. People love when he visits golf tournaments, but the racetrack is where he racks up the page views.

  2. Giving up power is inadvisable. He has taunted the gods, and the gods haven't forgotten. If he doesn't have the power to ruin their day, they most assuredly will ruin the rest of his.

  3. It has weird fringe benefits. I mean, it would be really bad luck if you guessed Bukele's Bitcoin password (for him, that is). It would also be really bad luck if you guessed the password only to fall down the steps and break your neck on the way to the computer to sell. But guess who's around to pick up the password and go on a god-level shopping spree? Sounds like there will be bad luck for the Salvadorans also. :)

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potentially become a happy mortal

That is your opinion. The God of Misfortune has seen what his own power does to people so now he is afraid of becoming a victim of his successor.

He is also afraid of payback from the rest of the pantheon since he:

always bring bad luck to every living things including other god that gets in the way,

Yep, staying as a god is safer.

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The Crown Must Have an Owner.

The position of God of Misfortune must be filled. If the bearer resigns then the mantle passes to someone else.

The current bearer doesn't know how the new bearer is decided. But since we are talking about the God of Misfortune after all, we don't want this job falling into the wrong hands.

The bearer keeps their job as an act of kindness. Rather than resigning, they prefer to do the absolute minimum to keep their position, and maybe prevent a really really bold man from becoming God of Misfortune.

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The God of Misfortune is innately bound to the God of Fortune.

Before the creation of the world the God of Fate and Luck, foreseeing that humans would, by their very natures hold misfortune, wrongs and slights (real or imagined) close to their hearts for years if not forever while only fleetingly celebrating any good luck that came their way and seldom if ever appreciating all that is good in their lives decided the only way to survive in the minds and hearts of mortals would be to split himself in two.

So at the birth of the world he sundered himself into twins. The Gods of Fortune and Misfortune. Since all the Gods need the belief of their believers to survive each half was bound to the other, sharing equally in the amount of 'faith' they drew from mortals.

So now mortals offer prayers to both Gods. To the God of Fortune prayers and offerings are made seeking his blessing. To the God of Misfortune prayers and bribes are offered seeking to divert his/her gaze elsewhere (or onto an enemy).

And yet strangely there is still only one temple and within it sit alters and statues of the twin gods (opposite and facing each other). And their priesthood warns that to worship one god alone is to earn the wrath of the other. (Meanwhile beyond the world, the twins sit side by side watching and sharing equally in the rewards. All the while toasting their 'father' of course.)

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Actually, the god of misfortune does regularly choose to become mortal. And whenever a god post is not filled, the universe chooses somebody to fulfill that role. Then you have two possibilities:

  1. The universe chooses some unlucky person to be the new god of misfortune. Sucks to be them. Until they eventually figure out that they can just renounce their godhood and a new god of misfortune is chosen. In order for this to not happen too frequently, the other gods usually don't tell the god of misfortune of the day that they can actually just become mortal again, all they have to do is this one very specific thing.
  2. The person that was the god of misfortunejust so happens to be the most unlucky person in the universe. So whenever they choose to become mortal, the universe chooses them to once again become the god of misfortune. Maybe this takes a bit of time, which could make for some interesting stories on how they always eventually end up as the god of misfortune again.
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  • $\begingroup$ OK, this is the answer that reflects poetic (in)justice. +1 $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2022 at 11:25
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Gods embody human foibles and virtues, this one is an officious, rule-bound jobsworth, and let's face it, not as bright as (s)he's like to think (s)he is.

God training academy instilled in him (from now on please read "/her") a sense of absolute duty and the necessity to perform according to procedure, the martinets there insisted on it (with this god anyhow, they were different for others). There's even a manual which has been ordered and is expected to turn-up any day. (To be a stickler, this god spends quite a bit of time on a regular basis phoning customer-services between 10.30 and 12 on every Tuesday with them trying to confirm a definite delivery date which will "definitely be there next Monday, at the latest" and never is. Frustrating, but that's immortality.)

Grim attention to detail and a singlemindedness have left this god with nothing else whatever on it's mind except the daily routine and evenings by the fire with the cat, who is also miserable.

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Maybe they see dark humour in everything, because they have harboured a grudge against the other gods who seem very fortunate in comparison.

They probably have a backstory like Jyestha, a Hindu Goddess of misfortune, who according to Wikipedia "is also associated with sloth, poverty, sorrow, ugliness and the crow". Born when poison streamed from the sea with a younger sister who is much more beautiful. Apparently no one worships her any more and leave her statues in dusty corners.

Shadenfreude is the right expression.

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Hard times make hard men.

While mortals may see luck as a matter of fate that you go to consult a priest or an astrologist, the god of bad luck knows better. Luck is a matter of how well you prepare yourself for life.

Bad luck unthrones bad leaders who don't prepare for the future, bad luck stops weak people who can't handle change, and bad luck makes stronger people.

They take heart from seeing disasters from other gods happen and seeing those they blessed with bad luck survive. Their work causing minor bad luck made sure the person prepared for disaster and survived the bigger dangers.

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Sigma grindset I guess? Why do soldiers fight even though they are underpaid and activelly insulted and misstreated by their superiors?

Why did tesla work till his death? Why do people keep doing things that make them be hated or disliked?

I guess being anti-social helps, or at least more focused on results than people.

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Why would what we call "misfortune" be in any way misfortunate for them?

I don't see a problem here. Why would an evil god continue to do evil? Because it's who they are. Because they like it. Because it's what they do. Similarly, misfortune is in the eye of the beholder.

Additionally, we're talking about gods. They're essentially not (in your case: yet?) human, and don't see human categories, emotions, ideologies, morals and whathaveyou through our eyes, but through a consciousness that's essentially timeless, and - if at all - dictated by completely different and potentially unfathomable concepts.

To answer your titular question: we can't know for sure, but the fabric of life and the universe might depend on it.

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We call them gods, but that's not quite right. They're more like... ghosts. Spirits, if you will. A god is made when a person who was powerful in life, or well-known, dies. Whatever they're known for, becomes their aspect.

Becuase of this, there's no happy chances for the "God" of Misfortune once they descend to mortality. Everywhere they go, people will recognize them.

Here's where the table splits. If the way gods are made is well-known, then all the people who have had misfortune in their lives would blame it on them. Cue roughly 10 kajillion assasins on their way to the God's house.

If it isn't well known, then powerful people make powerful enemies. And when they see the God, who has eluded their reach for a couple hundred years, more misery comes their way.

There's no happiness in store for the God of Misfortune. All they can do is make sure no one else gets happy chances, ever again.

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Spite

Spite can be a powerful motivator. In some situations for some people, more negative feedback just makes them dig their heels in even more.

If this god sincerely believes his or her duties are important, or even essential, then her commitment to the work would only increase as others demonstrate that they lack the understanding or perspective to appreciate the importance of doing the job and doing it well, and would probably also reinforce this god's perception that the judgment of others is worthless (at least on this topic).

If this situation persists for a long time, your god might end up in a place psychologically where they're not just impervious to the negative reactions of others, but that their commitment is strengthened by them.

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Murphy

The god of misfortune loves to compete with the other gods. For the god of misfortune, the primary incentive to get involved in something is to undermine other gods and neutralize their prestige and good deeds. It will do that, by spoiling the things they try to help people with. Whenever people pray to other gods, the god of misfortune listens in, and it will start to interfere, to achieve the opposite result.

Murphy's law

The vehicle used by the god of misfortune is Murphy's law. Things that can go wrong will go wrong, when the god of misfortune is winning the game.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law

How to circumvent the god of misfortune

Don't set your expectations too high. Ignore gods, they won't help you. Work hard to reach your goals, instead of asking gods to reach goals for you. The god of misfortune will ignore you, because no other gods are involved it can compete with.

How other gods cope with this character

They don't. The god of misfortune is very powerful, he is a plague for faithful believers who trust their gods can help them. The god of misfortune replaces their faith by pessimism and cynism. The only gods that always beat the god of misfortune are Eros and Bacchus.

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Every faith system has this god and they play an indispensable role in progress.

Lessons from Animals

Consider if there were no adversity in life for an animal; the dinosaurs for example. There would be zero evolutionary pressure. Mutations in the genes would provide no disadvantage to lesser adaptations, and nothing would become extinct.

Parallels in Human Society

A society where everything just all worked as planned would literally never invent things. They would have no obstacles to success; they could all just pick up a self-help book written by the first guy to solve the Buttered Toast dilemma, read it, and magically, toast would always land dry side down. This miscreant god would have literally killed Murphy and starved all of humanity of any future invention; neigh, this god is Murphy. The whole industry of problem-solving would evaporate overnight, and humans would start looking like the fat blob Axiom refugees in Wal-E.

The god of ingenuity

Your god of misfortune was ordained as the god of ingenuity by the Creator god who know his creation’s lazy temptations, and coronated the god of mischief as the sole agent of progress, that humanity may one day ascend into greatness. But should they fail; woe be to them! Mortality awaits, and never again shall this fallen being know of unsoiled toast!

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