Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Cueball periodically says "I know you're listening" aloud in empty rooms. The idea is, that if nobody is listening he doesn't lose anything, but if somebody is listening he gains by freaking them out. In this case another Cueball-like surveillance man does get quite the shock.
As mentioned in the title text, this is similar to Pascal's Wager. Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher and mathematician who discussed the issue of the possibility that God actually does exist or not. A rational person should believe in God because he wouldn't lose anything if this is wrong, but if this belief is correct he would gain immensely by going to heaven at his afterlife due to being a Christian. The argument works equally well for any and all gods, but doesn't give any reason to choose one over the other, so it seems unlikely that Pascal's Wager has ever changed anybody's religious views. One important way Cueball's wager is different from Pascal's is that Cueball can choose to engage in paranoid pranks, but belief is not something that one can possess simply by choice.
This comic has a clear resemblance to the My Hobby series. This would also make it clear the Cueball in this comic is actually Randall.
- [Above the two panel comic:]
- Now and then, I announce "I know you're listening" to empty rooms.
- [Cueball is sitting in an armchair, reading. He murmurs something.]
- [Second Cueball like surveillance man with headphones jumps out of chair in front of a large computer terminal after hearing Cueball's mumble. His chair has fallen over.]
- [Below the two panel comic:]
- If I'm wrong, no one knows.
- And if I'm right, maybe I just freaked
- the hell out of some secret organization.
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Whether or not this is what the Citation request needs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager#Criticism would be helpful. Most people tend to go for the "What if it's the wrong god that you believe in?" counter to the wager. i.e. the parts of your religious observance that most please Zeus might well anger Odin greatly, or something similar for any two gods (pantheonic or sole Authority, this factor also being a major issue of choice) that you might care to compare between. This is mostly covered in the "Argument from inconsistent revelations" section of the above, it appears.
Personally my favoured counter-argument is that any sufficiently omniscient god worth his pillar-of-salt should know whether you are Wagering, and probably has a special area of Hell (or Tantarus) reserved for those that try to toady up to him by faking a belief (covered by the "Argument from inauthentic belief" section). I choose to believe that an honest non-believer might at least get a look-in at any middle-ground afterlife (regardless of their lack in belief of same), but I also don't have amy great reason to believe that this attitude is going to reward me, either.
(c.f. also the assumption that 'innocents', and people who have never been exposed to the Word Of GodTM are entitled to a free pass to some non-Hell level of afterlife, the punishment only applying after having been introduced to the whole Judeo-Christian system of post-death existence. On this basis, missionaries that go out and inform remote tribespeoples and oceanic islanders of the state of affairs are actually potentially making things a lot worse for their target audience than they would have been... Assuming that they're right in the first place.)
But note that, for every philosophical argument, there's an equal and opposite philosophical argument. I just plan on being good in the mortal world (where I know I will be rewarded, or at least regarded in a reasonably good light, if perhaps a bit of a doorstep) and if this doesn't help out when I hypothetically find myself at the Pearly Gates then I probably wouldn't have hit on the right form and combination of observances anyway so its not a wager that I could have reasonably 'won'.
This is, of course, way heavier an edit than I had intended, and I'm not suggesting that this is the best intepretation, just my own, and probably not worth a discussion over. 22.214.171.124 09:28, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
(Forgot to say... non-deity eavesdroppers probably wouldn't have the omniscience, so go ahead and randomly profess your belief in them! 126.96.36.199 09:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC))
- My best argument against pretending to believe something you doesn't is: do you really want to spend an ethernity with people whose belief you faked? For (extreme) example, if only Jehovah's witnesses go to heaven (and assuming you are not one), do you WANT to go there? Similarly, abstinents probably don't want to end in Valhalla. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:41, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
- This is a lot of unnecessary talk, even realized to be such by the one who wrote it. The explanation, as written, is fine without this extraneity. 188.8.131.52 16:24, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
- Since you did remove the incomplete tag I did add some more explains for Pascal's Wager. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:23, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
You get the record for longest expoundition of a title text.184.108.40.206 18:21, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
- Yes, check your e-mail. (Not you; him.)
I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:36, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
There is a community portal discussion of what to call Cueball and what to do in case with more than one Cueball. I have added this comic to the new Category:Multiple Cueballs. Since there is only one Cueball that "talks" it is obvious to keep him listed as Cueball. Just made a note that the other guy also looks like Cueball. --Kynde (talk) 14:43, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Cueball's calculation here is wrong. Yes, if there's nobody listening, he doesn't lose anything. But if there is, what happens when they think he's on to them could get unpleasant for him. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I'd do this on the internet but there's a good chance they actually are listening. Though they can't arrest commies for being commies, they can still watchlist them and monitor them closely, especially those who admit to plotting revolution. So yes, I know the government is listening, and the government knows I know they're listening. My only wonder is what are the consequences going to be? And how much faster will it be because I know they're listening?
Perhaps Cueball shouldn't be so quick as to say such... International Space Station (talk) 05:25, 22 April 2016 (UTC)