Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence

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Jackson: I'm energy now.
O'Neill: (sarcastically) How's that working out for you?

Jackson: Good, actually.

The character ascends to a higher state of being, even becoming a god.

It is mostly a way to pay off a character. Or play off, in some cases. A way to put the character on a bus, though that's not all that it's used for. If the writers should need the character back, its easy to reverse, in which case the character will Descend From a Higher Plane of Existence as a God in Human Form.

The Singularity can cause whole populations to ascend.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Serial Experiments Lain, Lain disappears from the Earth after deleting her memory from everybody's minds. Also, Eiri Masami.
  • Utena Tenjou disappears from her world in the end of Revolutionary Girl Utena television series (and manga) upon achieving her ultimate goal.
  • In Mirai Nikki, Yukiteru Amano replaces Deus as Ruler over the Space-Time Continuum. 10,000 years later, he is joined by the third Yuno Gasai.
  • In the quasi-anime Oban Star Racers, Jordan becomes the new Avatar, with the task (curse?) of watching over the universe for the next 10,000 years.
  • Probably what happens in Haibane Renmei when a Haibane takes the Day of Flight, assuming that they were put in the Epiphanic Prison for a reason.
  • Happens repeatedly in Ghost in the Shell, in the form of Virtual Ghosts roaming the internet. Once, an ascended character merges with another ascended character to reach new levels of ascension.
    • The ending of the movie when Major Kusanagi joins her consciousness with that of the Puppet Master.
    • And the ending of the Man-Machine Interface, where ever higher-tier artificial life is created, and Kusanagi-Puppetmaster fuses with them in turn, possibly along with her "daughters."
  • In the final Space Runaway Ideon movie Be Invoked, everyone in the universe is killed, and then their souls float through space.
  • Dakki from the Houshin Engi manga.
  • Arguably, The Human Instrumentality Project in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where humans ascend from the problems brought on by the Hedgehog's Dilemma to join with the Adam / Lilith hybrid.
  • Son Goku in the last episode of Dragon Ball GT (it's hinted at), as he says goodbye to his friends and family, then leaves and apparently merges with Shenron and the Dragon Balls.
  • In Fist of the North Star Toki and Raoh both literally ascend to the Heavens when they die. Kaioh also has his own version of this by engulfing himself with lava with the corpse of Hyoh after being defeated by Kenshiro.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, arguably Tieria Erde in the TV finale when his physical body was killed by Ribbons but he uploaded himself into Veda to continue looking after the human race. But he gets better in the movie.
  • The ultimate goal of various groups in RahXephon is for Ayato and Quon to achieve Yolteotl.
  • In Angel Beats!, this is what the Battlefront was created to fight because they believed they would be reincarnated as something low such as a barnacle. Fortunately they get over it later.
  • In Naruto, after the spirit of the Fourth Hokage, Naruto's father, appears in Naruto's mind to stop him from releasing the Kyuubi, he rebuilds the seal, puts his faith in him, and fades away, now in peace with the fact that Naruto's determination has returned and that the Kyuubi will not roam the world again.
  • This turns out to be the fate of Madoka Kaname in Puella Magi Madoka Magica after she uses her wish to rewrite all of reality into a more hopeful one and basically becoming the personification of all hope.
    • It's strongly implied that, after Madoka rewrites the Magical Girl System, the Magical Girls who deplete their energy join her in her other reality. (Sayaka included). Far better than becoming a Witch and being eventually killed by other Magical Girls, indeed.
    • The manga version also includes Homura among the girls who "ascend" with Madoka, only that she does it a while later.
  • In Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt, Stocking returned to Heaven near the end... only to return in time for the finale.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The X-Men's Jean Grey is a literal example of this in her White Phoenix of the Crown form.
  • This is implied to be the ultimate fate of Gambit of the X-Men. The post-ascension version of him lives/will live/has lived outside time, and is already in contact with him. This being X-Men, this may actually be harder to come back from, when and if it actually happens.
    • Rather, this is what would happen to Gambit had Sinister not removed part of his brain to curb his powers. An alternate Universe Gambit, who could make you explode by looking at you and often did, once put in an appearance mainly to dissuade Gambit from making a deal to get his full power template back.
  • Also what happened to Xavier Academy student Quentin Quire at the end of the "Riot at Xavier's" storyline, although to all intents and purposes he was dead.

Professor X: Quentin Quire was liberated from his physical cocoon and born into a higher world at 4:32 this afternoon. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but in this case we believe it to be the literal truth.

  • The Speed Force seems not only to be the source of power for all the Speedsters in the DCU, but also their Valhalla. Several of them (such as Johnny Quick and Max Mercury) have been absorbed into it. The only reason Wally West never succumbed to the urge to do so is that his love for Linda would make living without her (even in paradise) unbearable.
  • In the Wild CATS revamp Travis Charest drew Lord Emp was becoming a High Kherubian Lord and wanted his arch-nemesis to kill him as part of the ascension process. His body had become child-sized and shriveled but he didn't care b/c he was about to transcend mortal concerns.
  • Jim Sacks from Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus. His exposure to Vril energy turned him into a "newly evolved super-being," causing him to come back from death once. Then, when his body was burnt to the bone, his spirit passed into "the universe with all her mysteries stripped away," but not before he used his new powers to blast his enemies to a crisp.
  • Toward the end of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan leaves Earth with the stated intention of creating life elsewhere, thus making himself the technical definition of a god.
    • Dr. Manhattan's origin was also an example of this trope. John Osterman's physical body was destroyed, but his intellect endured, and managed to come back as something greater.
  • The Ancient One, Doctor Strange's mentor, became one with the universe after his death, though he was still available for an occasional consultation.

Fan Fic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: When Grace Augustine passed away, she became one with Eywa: The Great Mother of the spirit world of Pandora.

Mo'at: The Great Mother may choose to save all that she is, in this body.
Jake: Is that possible?
Mo'at: She must pass through the eye of Eywa and return. But, Jake Sully, she is very weak.
Dr. Grace Augustine: Jake.
Jake Sully: Grace?......
Dr. Grace Augustine: I'm with Her now, Jake. She is real...[Dies].
Mo’at: Her wounds were too great. It was not enough time, She is with Eywa now.

  • Arguably explains what happened to Tetsuo at the end of Akira.
    • Forget ascension—he apparently becomes a plane of existence.
  • The ending of Repo Man.
  • The villainess at the end of the Casper movie is defeated in this manner; she is killed and becomes a ghost so that she can fly through a treasure vault with ease and grab the loot. Unfortunately for her, by grabbing the loot she has completely fulfilled all her life goals, giving her no reason to linger as a ghost any longer. She is taken away to the afterlife against her will and the treasure is left behind.
  • Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End dies and becomes the new undying captain of The Flying Dutchman. (Until the Directors Cut shows up, and states that Elizabeth being faithful to him for ten years let him come back).
    • This is strongly hinted in the regular cut as well (or was it one of the earlier movies?) when a character explains Davy Jones' backstory.
      • and in the legend on which these movies are based.
  • The Nines—technically more of a re-ascension, since the main character was a sort of god to begin with until he got addicted to playing various human characters in the world he made.
  • Obi-Wan in Star Wars IV, which comes packed with the famous line that fits this trope to perfection...

Obi-Wan: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

    • Ditto for Qui-Gon, Yoda and Anakin.
  • Commander Decker has a sexy ascension with Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • In the novel Star Trek: Ex Machina, after the above incident with Decker, Ilia and V'Ger, the peoples of the galaxy become engaged in intense speculation as to what it means. Some begin considering it a sign or omen, and others declare Earth (the site of the ascension) a holy world. The novel's villain, Dovraku, convinces himself that other computer-gods will be able to follow in V'Ger's footsteps, including the Yonadi Oracle (this is pure nonsense).
  • Powder, anyone?
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, this apparently happens to Agent Smith after his...experience in the first movie. He then uses his power to copy himself and replace everyone inside the Matrix, including a Zion rebel inside it at the time.
    • An alternate interpretation is that this is an aversion; Neo making him go all explodey is no different than when an Agent is rarely shot; they just take a new host. Because this particular defeat proves the current batch of Agents outdated, Smith simply goes back to the Machines to be replaced, except he feels an un-programmed urge to refuse this and stays in the Matrix instead. Copying onto Bane and leaving to the real world is certainly still an ascension, though.
  • Apparently this happened to Valeria after her death in Conan the Barbarian. She comes back briefly in a form reminiscent of a Valkyrie to aid Conan in the battle against Rexor, much like Belit did in the classic Conan story "Queen of the Black Coast."
  • [[2001: A Space Odyssey]]: Bowman becomes the Star Child.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • A fairly weak but completely by-the-book version in Elantris: pre-Reod and post-restoration, pretty much anybody had a random chance of becoming one of the Elantrians, a race of super-powered, magical, semi-immortal pseudo-deities that basically everyone wanted to be. Kinda sucks if you got in after the universe broke though.
    • Also from Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn trilogy ends with this happening twice, first to the heroine Vin, who takes the power of Preservation and then After Vin kills Ruin via Taking You with Me, Sazed takes the powers of both Ruin and Preservation.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, everyone in the galaxy did this simultaneously a quarter of a billion years ago, the result of a Manraloth experiment gone wrong. Trying to unite the multiverse as they had the galaxy, the Manraloth and their allies attempted to tap into the higher dimensional planes with their minds. The resulting surge of energy proved too powerful, overloading the telepathic centres of every Manraloth and transmitting it to any other brain capable of receiving it. The entire galactic population was forced into a state of pure energy, long before most races were ready. It wasn't pretty, apparently.
  • In Iain M Banks's Culture novels, the process of ascending to a higher plane of existence (referred to as "Subliming") is considered the natural final step of an advanced race. Sublimed races have occasional contact with the corporeal, but not much. When contact is made, none of the Sublimed have given any hints as to what lies ahead; it is possible that it would be incomprehensible to corporeal beings. Subliming tends to occur once a race reaches a technological plateau, and generally occurs to whole species, civilisations, or social groups at once. "The Culture" are unusual in that they long ago reached the level of technology that would normally lead to a race Subliming, but chose to remain in the galaxy, trying to guide the less advanced races onto what the Culture perceives to be the right path. Sublimation is not banned or even discouraged, and individual citizens of the Culture are still able to sublime if they want to, as the technologies to do so are as readily available as anything else in the Culture. However, the Culture Minds have a number of issues with Sublimation;
    • People and civilizations who choose to sublime tend to stop interacting with less-advanced cultures with the exception of the occasional Deus Ex Machina. To just about all observers, it seems as if they committed particularly grandiose and complicated suicide. The Minds are thus not inclined to attempt it, and are in fact really freaking paranoid about even studying the phenomena too closely.
    • Civilizations tend to Sublime in their entirety - vanishing from the observable universe and leaving behind empty worlds, like a macroscale Marie Céleste. The Minds' observation of group dynamics finds this troublesome, as billions or even trillions of sapients experiencing a common fate indicates a certain degree of coercion, which they find abhorrent - the Minds see no difference between forced vaccination and genocide.
    • The Minds feel that departing this plane of existence would negate the Culture's "moral right to exist" - their ongoing efforts to preserve free will and ease the suffering of developing races.
      • OTOH, the various Ascended species (appear to) look down on the Culture and it's citizens as more than a little immature and petulant for not just subliming instead of sticking around to enjoy the physical plane.
      • A notable exception to the normal tendencies of Sublimation are the Chelgrians, some of whom Sublimed some time ago, but maintained close links to their corporeal brethren. The Sublimed Chelgrians then undertook to create a heaven for their race, based on their old mythologies. Devices called Soulkeepers are implanted in the brains of every Chelgrian, and are activated at the moment of death, recording the individual's personality and instantly Subliming them into the artificial heaven. The Chelgrian Sublimed are also unusual in their emotional attitude to events in the corporeal realm—most Sublimed races develop a relaxed aloofness to events in our plane, but the Chelgrian Sublimed at one point actively ordered the corporeal government to kill billions of Culture citizens, in retribution for the billions who died in the Chelgrian civil war, which was unintentionally sparked off by Culture agents.
      • At one point it is mentioned that Minds created without emotions and passions similar to those of biological beings universally Sublimate almost immediately.
      • In Buddhist theology, a being who has reached the point of being able to attain nirvana but refuses to do so until all sentient beings may do so is called a bodhisattva; they are technically inferior in insight to the being who does not make such a vow and goes on, but venerated in Buddhist cultures for their compassion...the Culture Minds are essentially bodhisattvas.
  • Sublimation is what every race in David Brin's Uplift universe is supposed to strive for.
  • Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light plays weird with this one. The protagonist's enemies send him to a place of eternal bliss, because they can't figure out any other way to get rid of him. The book starts with his friends pulling him out, against his will.
    • This was because an Energy Being (one of that planet's original inhabitants) had done for the protagonist what his own people had done for themselves "strengthened the fires of the mind so that they can burn independently of the body."
  • Surprisingly played straight in the Discworld novel Sourcery, as this is essentially the fate of the boy sourcerer, Coin—he decides at the end of the novel that his powers are too great for the world, and builds himself a pocket dimension where he may peacefully live.
    • It is also hinted at that all previous Sourcerors had escaped into similar dimensions.
    • Also, at the end of Thief of Time, Lobsang becomes the Anthropomorphic Personification of Time. This doesn't stop him from giving a "perfect moment" to Susan a little bit later.
  • In the classic space opera novels of the Lensman series by E. E. "Doc" Smith, the Arisians make repeated references to "higher planes of existence." The Arisians are a benevolent race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens whose sole stated motive for opposing the similarly advanced Eddorians is for the sake of 'lesser races'; the Arisians themselves do not consider the Eddorians a threat as the worst the Eddorians can do to them is force them out of this plane of existence.
  • CS Lewis is fond of this trope. Narnia is, after all, one giant allegory to The Bible.
    • This is the fate of Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
    • Aslan does this at the end of every The Chronicles of Narnia book (as that's just his way of going home).
    • The Last Battle ends with everyone except Susan dying and going to heaven. Susan's fate is still undetermined.
    • In his lesser-known Space Trilogy, the hero gets taken away by Maleldil to live in a valley on Perelandra with Elijah, Enoch and King Arthur for company. Or something.
  • In Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude, Remedios the Beauty quite unexpectedly ascends to heaven one day, taking the best linen with her. It's a weird book that way.
  • Childhood's End, the famous (and depressing) 1953 science fiction novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, uses this. Alien Overlords come to Earth, gifting Mankind with incredible technological advances, and creating true world peace. But ultimately, it is revealed that they're a servitor race of a higher entity, and their reason for coming is to prepare Mankind to its final fate: The current generation of humans will be the last one and with them human civilization will cease to exist, as all their children born from that moment on are no longer human and will mind-meld and ascend into a higher form of consciousness that transcends material bodies. Ultimately, that is the fate of all sentient races, except those that are "stuck" and cannot ascend (like the Overlords), doomed to die out or linger on until the stars burn out. All technological or social progress becomes meaningless (according to the author) in view of this, and most of the adults of the final generation linger on for a bit before committing suicide.
  • The German pulp Sci Fi series Perry Rhodan, started in 1961 as weekly issues and still ongoing, introduced the concept of Psychic Powers that allowed out-of-body travel and ascended entities called "super-intelligences" early on, within the first 50 issues. Later, during the early 1980s, this was expanded into a whole cosmic framework for the series. Sufficiently mentally advanced space-faring races would be fostered by super-intelligences until their individual consciousnesses would either be absorbed into an existing entity or ascend and merge to form a new one. More advanced entities strove to merge with whole galactic clusters and form White Holes, thereby recycling burned-out suns and cosmic matter, until they were ready to transcended the space-time continuum of the multiverse and join the ranks of the real Cosmic Players, the near omniscient forces of Order and Chaos called Kosmokrats and Chaotarchs.
  • Jack Chalker has a couple of books/series that reference this
    • 'Jungle of Stars' had the galaxy fighting a civil war brought about by the two remaining members of a race that had Ascended. One of them stayed behind to rule, and one was left behind to thwart him. The fact that both claim to be the guardian is only part of the problem...
    • The 'Well World' series averted this by having the master race achieve physical and technical Nirvana, and realize just how boring and static it was. With Ascension not being an option, they decided that since they had achieved perfection and still felt unfulfilled, they must have missed something on the way up. So they recreated the universe, using themselves as the fodder to create huge numbers of new species, so that hopefully one of them would discover the missing element on the rise back up.
  • In Star Trek: New Frontier, Mark McHenry eventually becomes a godlike being and leaves the Excalibur to prevent others of his race from abusing their abilities.
  • In the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, this concept gets used as a moral quandary in one book: is it worth releasing the ultimate Sealed Evil in a Can to reopen the possibility - just the possibility - of this future for a race which cut themselves off from it (and is just fine with that decision, thank you very much, and actually does seem tremendously better off the way things are)?
    • This is also used in The Book of Night with Moon. Cats get nine lives (basically, reincarnation with full awareness of the system, although dying apparently causes some memory loss), but if they're really good they get a tenth, immortal life in service of the Powers.
  • The Doctor Who Spin-Off Faction Paradox features the Celestis, a group of Time Lor—err, Great House members who foresee a massive War against an unstoppable Enemy. Terrified of being removed from history if they lose the War, the decide to do it first, erasing their corporeal bodies, but leaving their meaning behind, existing as memes in Another Dimension made of pure concept. Subverts the trope since the Celestis are still the same petty, bitchy, backstabby, fearful JerkAsses that they were as mortals. The Book Of The War puts it best: "Everything can't be all right in a society where everyone's either a god, a slave, or an assassin."
  • The novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach deals with this extensively.
  • The novel by Walter Mosley, The Blue Light, is all about this. In the 1960's, a blue light comes from a mysterious point in the universe. Everyone who is hit by it essentially ascends to a higher plane of doing what they were doing. For example, a homely woman who was having sex got hit by the blue light. She then becomes irresistible to anybody(man, woman, dog) and has an addiction to sex. Another man was hit at the exact moment he died, thus becoming a personification of death. The main character is a follower of a man who was hit while preaching, thus making him the best preacher ever. You get the idea.
  • Happens to most of the main characters in Journey to the West after Xuanzang retrieves the scriptures.
  • In Animorphs, the Ellimist, near-godlike already, effectively does this after being sucked into a black hole. Unfortunately for... well, everything, Crayak eventually does the same.
    • Well, more like being in Z-Space, real space, and the black hole at the same time.
  • Promised to the protagonists of Bridge of Birds: when they die, they'll get posts of minor deities in Celestial Bureaucracy, as a reward.
  • The epilogue of Watership Down: As Hazel dies of old age, El-ahrairah comes to make him one of his Owsla.
  • The ending of David Clement-Davies's Fire Bringer is reminiscent of Hazel's death above: as Rannoch dies, he hears Herne summoning him.
  • Greg Egan's works occasionally treat Brain Uploading in this manner; in Diaspora, most uploadees take little, if any, interest in the physical universe. In other works, it's more common to upload into a robot body than an isolated gigacomputer.
    • In Blood Music, a nanomachine civilization becomes so advanced that their sheer presence starts warping reality through some sort of observer effect, forcing it to transcend from the physical world.
  • In the Isaac Asimov short story "The Last Question", this happens to all of humanity and then to the rest of the universe.
  • Averted in Percy Jackson and The Olympians - after the war finished, the gods offered to make Percy one of them (he declined because he wanted to live a normal teen guy's life). Played straight in The Titan's Curse, the third book: after Zoё Nightshade's death, Artemis asks Thalia to join the Hunters and become her new lieutenant.
  • Caitlín is offered this in The Avatar. In fact, it's what the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who had engineered all of her several incarnations had meant for her to do all along. However, it's subverted; she declines the offer.
  • In Rage of a Demon King, Macros the Black attempted to merge his consciousness with Sarig, the dead God of Magic, and effectively become a God.
  • The Posleen War Series has the Aldenta, Precusors who techically run the interstellar federation, they have slowly withdrawn from this plane. They are presented as jerks who know there are mutliple ways to ascend but have reengineered the cultures or biology of the other species to ascend in their way.
  • In the Commonwealth Saga / Void Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, most species who reach their Singularity do this.
    • With the notable exception of the firstlifes, who created the galaxy-devouring Void.
    • In the Void Trilogy, the Anomine left their ascension mechanism behind, allowing Gore Burnelli to ascend and reason with the firstlifes to destroy the Void.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen does this to every other character. They can literally 'ascend' through unknown means. The most likely way seem to simply be by being awesome.
  • An electronic version of this: after the AI Wintermute merges with Neuromancer, becoming a virtual entity beyond living comprehension.
  • At the end of the Skinned trilogy (now called the "Cold Awakening" trilogy), Lia merges her mind with the internet. Given that the internet plays a role in almost every single aspect of human existence in her world, becoming one with the network renders her omnipresent and essentially omnipotent. First order of business? Reshaping the world as she sees fit.
  • Applies to anyone in the Left Behind book series who was raptured or martyred, as you are given a glorified body. Of course, this means that in your glorified state, you cannot fall in love, neither sire or have children. But for those who have been raptured and been with the Lord during the Tribulation, nothing else quite compares to it.
  • At the end of Who Cut the Cheese? by Mason Brown, Cover is removed from the maze. The frame story characters speculate on what happens next to Cover.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the series finale of Lost the entire main cast is dead. They gather in a church in Los Angeles in a sort of Purgatory and are led by Christian Shephard into a bright light that is implied to be heaven.
  • Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Benjamin Sisko in the finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also Kes from Star Trek: Voyager, although she comes back to Voyager in a later episode (and does not re-ascend.)
    • Also with Amanda from "True Q," though it is more of heritage than accend.
    • The episode "Transfigurations" features a rescued alien dealing in this trope.
  • Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1, though he later returns. Often enough for Jack to tell him that they won't mourn or do a funeral for him and that he knows he is just waiting for a cool opportunity to come back. After which he comes back. The exact phrase is also commonly used, although just the first word ("ascended") often. Did we mention that near the end of the series, pretty much the next best thing happens to him?
  • Spoofed in Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("Samson vs. the Vampire Women"), in which TV's Frank is visited by Torgo ("Yes, that was my name, and so you may still call me, but I am Torgo the White"), who takes him away to a "Second Banana Heaven," inhabited entirely by sidekicks and henchmen (TV's Frank later gets a job as a Grim Reaper in the episode "Soultaker," claming Second Banana Heaven was "too political").
    • And then played straight when everyone on the Satellite of Love turned into Pure Energy ala [[2001: A Space Odyssey]], at the end of their seventh season. Remember, Best Brains thought their show was cancelled for good.
      • And it gets spoofed when it's revealed that Crow got bored of it five minutes later and decides to come back.
  • What exactly happened to Cordelia Chase (of Angel) is a bit of a mystery. She seems to ascend at the end of season 3, but we discover in season 4 that she's trapped in some cloud plane. The audience is fooled into believing she comes back, but it's really the higher power (Jasmine) who orchestrated Cordy's ascension. Though her comatose physical body (or a duplicate) dies in season 5, even when her spirit returns later in the season, we can't really be sure if her soul has been freed from the cloudy prison or if it's another trick by one or another evil organizations. After all, what she tells Angel causes the death of characters and all of Los Angeles to be pulled into hell.
    • Many people (particularly those who watched when the show first aired instead of on DVD), believed things happened differently. We assure you, this is an example of Fridge Horror. Another, related example is that the PTB are actually just another faction of evil incarnate. We guarantee it.
    • On the other hand, it's implied that Buffy may have been an ascended being during her second death.

Skip: It’s going to be really hard for you to accept but Cordelia has ascended to a higher plane.
Angel: I know. She’s back.
Skip: Back?
Angel: Or at least something that looks like her.
Skip: Whoa, wait. Nobody comes back from paradise.(beat)Okay, a Slayer once but—

  • The Korean Drama 49 Days has someone literally getting on a celestial elevator.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has the Karmanians, a species whose members leave their magical power to a worthy successor before ascending into a phoenix-like form. Of course, this leads to Shane getting a Shonen Upgrade.
  • Carl Carlson, in Eureka, winds up integrating with the godlike Artifact.
  • Solosians in the Doctor Who serial The Mutants become near-omnipotent beings... in reaction to their planet experiencing summer.
    • In The End of Time, it turns out that this is Rassilon's ambition for the Time Lords: he uses the Master to free Gallifrey and the Time Lords from the time lock, knowing full well that this will bring all the horrors of the Time War with it, and plans to handle that by destroying time itself, with the Time Lords becoming beings of pure consciousness in order to escape said apocalypse.
  • Babylon 5: In the Season 1 Episode "Mind War" Jason Ironheart ascends. It is shown that one million years later, Mankind (and some of the other Younger Races, too) will also leave behind their material forms and ascend to become glowy Energy Beings.
    • John Sheridan ambiguously does in the finale, too.
    • Arguably, Lyta Alexander is headed in this direction as well.
  • This happens to John and Mary Winchester's respective spirits when each sacrifice his/her earthly ghost to form to save Sam and Dean on Supernatural.
    • To a certain extent, Castiel in "swan song" when he dies only to be brought back minutes later, "better than ever" meaning he's now an archangel.
  • Parodied with Michael leaving the show after the first season of Salute Your Shorts:

Ug: "He's...he's gone to a better place."
Telly: "He's dead?"
Ug: "No, he's really gone to a better place. He's gone hiking with his parents in Switzerland."

  • The Whitelighters in Charmed.
    • The ancestors of the Halliwell sisters are not Whitelighters but have a similar status as ascended matriarchs.
  • Beggars And Choosers: This was Brad's quick explanation for the disappearance of Parker's ashes.
  • This to happens to Reapers from Dead Like Me (they get "promoted") when they collect their quota of souls.
  • The Finale of Battlestar Galactica has this happen to Starbuck, after it is revealed she had been Dead All Along.
    • It is heavily implied that this is Anders's fate too, hence the "I'll see you on the other side". It also means the two characters ended up Together in Death.
  • The "Coda" written for Andromeda by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, its original showrunner, who was fired after "Ouroborous", states that Beka would have ended the threat of the Abyss by merging with it and doing this.
  • German soap opera (yes, this is no joke) Anna und die Liebe has a detailed description of what happens when you die. You go to your funeral and get a british style cab right to heaven or you can just on your way to the cab turn your head to your loved ones and then stay on earth for eternity with invisibility and teleporting powers which would grant you unlimited freedom. Even when you are bored with that you would only need to find another ghost who is about to go into his cab to afterlife. The only downside is that this seems to be reserved only for people that would go into heaven, as when the only evil character died there were only stairs down to hell in a bright room with no escape.

Music[edit | hide]

  • In Ayreon, after the end of the world, this happens to the last living human through a machine called the Dream Sequencer in The Universal Migrator.
  • Happens to Dargor at the end of Rhapsody of Fire's Dark Secret Saga.

Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Several mortals in Greek Mythology became gods for various reasons. Heracles and Dionysius were both sons of Zeus who later ascended to become gods on Mount Olympus after their mortal selves died. The warrior Diomedes, who appears in The Iliad, was given divinity by Athena as a reward for his skill and courage, while the mortal woman Psyche was made immortal after she married Eros, the god of love. The mortal woman Ino, who had taken care of Dionysius when he was young, was rewarded by Zeus by being made into a goddess who helped rescue shipwrecked sailors, appears in The Odyssey aiding Odysseus when he's lost at sea.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, this is the standard fate for epic characters in various versions (some becoming normal deities, archmages becoming one with the world's magic and others pursuing still other kinds of ascension).
    • In the colored-boxed set versions you ascended around 36th level and became a god. You could keep playing to near-omnipotence and choose to return to mortal form. Going through two entire cycles of mortality and rising to omnipotence caused you to really really ascend and vanish completely.
  • It's implied that humans who become avatars for Living Saints in Warhammer 40,000 effectively take this route, but giving that they are incarnations of the same God-Emperor to whom ten thousand psykers are sacrificed every day, it may or may not be as pleasant as it seems...
      • Since the Psyker sacrifice is really to power up the Astronomican rather than make an offering to the Emperor, it's probably one of the closest things to a Happy Ending one can achieve in the Crapsack World as a human.
    • Chaos champions who are favored by their gods and don't lose their minds to the constant mutations are sometimes transformed into Daemon Princes. They go and live in the warp, commanding the armies of their gods in their eternal internal struggles, though they're sometimes called back to the material realms whenever the tides of Chaos are strong enough to allow a demonic incursion.
  • This is the ultimate goal of the player characters in Mage: The Ascension: attaining full understanding of the universe and "ascending" into the Umbra, becoming one of the Oracles who guides the hand of Fate.
    • In the reboot of the line, Mage: The Awakening, a group of mages known as the Exarchs pulled this off in pre-history... and that's when things started to suck, seeing as the Exarchs decided magic was their ball, and no one was going to take it from them. Fortunately, a group of princes with some knowledge of magic calling themselves the Oracles created the Watchtowers, which allow the titular mages to temporarily enter these higher planes of existence and come back with the knowledge of how to do magic.
      • Both the Silver Ladder and the Free Council have the long-term objective of re-establishing a connection to the Supernal Realms and allowing all of humanity of Awaken and ascend. If only they could agree on how ... (The Ladder envisions a One World Order Magocracy, while the Council focuses on democracy and sees any kind of hierarchy as suppressing the human spirit.)
  • This is the goal of quite a few NPCs (and possibly the player characters) in Unknown Armies; there's a whole fleet of Archetypes one can follow for power (such as the True King, the Fool, the MVP, and the Flying Woman). Those who best embody the role ascend to the Invisible Clergy, and are slotted to have a role in the remaking of the universe once all the slots are filled... assuming someone else doesn't kick them out first. The only way to ascend to an Archetype that is already filled is to have a different take on it- in To Go, this can happen to either Dermott Arkane as the Heisenberg Messenger (a herald of uncertainty, representing the influence of opinions on news) or Erica Fisher as the True Executive (replacing the True King's noblesse oblige with efficiency and modern thinking.)
    • Or humanity collectively decides they're not doing their job well enough. It's that kind of game.
  • In the Glorantha-based Heroquest, it's what happens if you progress far enough in most schools of magic. You might become united with your god, or ascend to the magical plane. Or you might simply transcend human cares and motivations (or if things go wrong, become irretrievably insane). Regardless, you don't get to play that character any more—either he's gone, or he becomes a non-player character. (It usually doesn't happen accidentally; it's more of a way to gracefully retire a character who's done it all.)
  • Exalted makes this a possibility for the Infernal Exalted. Like in the Akira example mentioned above, however, it's not so much about ascending to another plane of existence as becoming another plane of existence. Infernals receive all their Charms directly from their Yozi masters, including the ones that allow the Yozis to exist as worlds within themselves.
  • Possible, though rare, in the Forgotten Realms setting. The result is a new deity.
    • Following the Time of Troubles, a triad of adventurers, the mercenary Kelemvor Lyonsbane, the wizard Midnight, and the thief Cyric, ascended to become the deities of death, magic, and betrayal, respectively.
    • Finder Wyvernspur was a Cormyrean nobleman and a bard before stealing the spark of the dead god Moander and being made a god.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Grizabella in the musical Cats. Yeah, we KNOW she dies but... just shut up.
    • Technically they're ALL dead. The "Heavyside Layer" was Earth - she was basically chosen to be reborn on Earth. 'Jellicle' was basically 'Angelical' after all.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Your character does this at the start of Immortal Defense in order to combat enemy fleets as they travel through hyperspace before they invade your home planet.
  • Dr. Malcolm Somerset in the Chzo Mythos series. Represented by Somerset descending levels and levels of stairs.
  • Not a Put on a Bus situation, but the Galactic Civilizations series allows the player to research a long branch of effect-less technologies that eventually lead to a Technology Victory, in which everyone in your species becomes an energy being.
    • In the latest expansion to Galactic Civilizations 2, resources called Ascension Crystals were added. To use them, you have to build a starbase on them, and each map has five. If a crystal is turned on, that starbase provides one point per turn. You need a thousand points to ascend, which is an instant-win condition. The problem? These starbases, unlike all others, can not be upgraded with defenses, and (quite understandably) attempting to become a god tends to piss off the other civilizations.
  • Similarly, one of the possible victory conditions in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is called the Ascent to Transcendence, where the human race links up with the planetary mind and abandons the need for corporeal form.
    • "Eternity lies ahead of us, and behind. Have you drunk your fill?"
  • Even more similar is a semi-canon example in a mod for Sid Meier's Civilization IV where in the space mod, one of the victory conditions has you pass through some sort of portal and ascend to a higher plane of existence. The phrase is in the actual wording for the victory condition.
  • Happens literally to Krelian in Xenogears. His goal the whole time was for everyone to come with him.
    • Also happens to Fei and Elly, except that they come back: after being murdered/forced to accomplish heroic sacrifices/driven to insanity for 10.000 year, it seems that they want to enjoy a ordinary couple life in the old physical realm
  • In the final level of Age of Mythology, Arkantos is granted Blessing by Zeus, effectively an Eleventh-Hour Superpower, and becomes a demi-god. He destroys the Poseidon statue, which kills Gargarensis. He ascends into heaven, and only returns a few times in the Titans expansion to reveal information to people.
  • This is the ONLY way to win at Nethack. And before you can do that, you have to delve to the bottom of the Dungeons of Doom, descend into the depths of the underworld, retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, and get back in one piece.
    • Not to mention that before you actually ascend to godhood, you have to make it through the elemental planes and the astral plane in one piece...
  • This happens to the entire population of the alien world of Cocytus in Lucasarts' The Dig: Their technology allows them to create an interdimensional gate, which they use to literally Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence called Spacetime Six, where a person can observe and move in three dimensions of space as well as three dimensions of time, contrasting "our" dimension, Spacetime Four. The only trouble is that (a) they find out that it's boring as Hell (pun intentional) and (b) they can't get back (oops). The protagonists of the game, having arrived Late to the Party on the deserted planet, eventually manage to reactivate the gate and lead the Cocytans back into the real world, for which they earn eternal gratitude and (implied in the ending) the services of a vastly superior culture on behalf of humanity.
  • The titular premise of Ultima IX: Ascension. It's nowhere near as awe inspiring as it sounds.
  • Yuko ascends to become a goddess at the end of Valis III. This lets Valis IV start with a new heroine after three games starring Yuko.
  • Used as a form of Reset Button for Kingdom of Loathing. It turns out the afterlife is boring, so you reincarnate to start your quest over, with an extra skill or two. And all your items, which are put into Ancestral Mini-Storage.
  • Arguably happens, in conjunction with a Journey to Find Oneself, to Ashley Riot at the end of Vagrant Story, having inherited all the power of Le?onde and become something other than human.
  • The secret reports of The World Ends With You state that in usual games, exceptional Players are offered to ascend to the plane of Angels, instead of being reborn. Mr. Hanekoma is one of these ascended Angels. Their purpose is to watch over the Reaper's game and help the composer. They are also talented artists (in the RG) with the ability to add imprinting messages to their art-piece. They use this ability to inspire the people to live a happy and interesting life. If the game Neku participated in would have been a usual one, he would probably been offered to become an angel as well, after the character development he'd undergone in the first week, thanks to Shiki.
    • Also counts if Players opt to become a Reaper. Heck, even being dead enough to play The Game counts. Turns out the living world is Shibuya's baseband frequency, everything else transmits right over the top of it.
  • In the Action RPG game Too Human, Baldur and his NPC allies literally ascend to Valhalla (via vakyrie) when they are killed in battle.
    • Via an incredibly slow-ass Valkyrie. And the entire animation is unskippable, to boot.
  • This appears to be the fate of Nicholas Wrightson in Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy. After you defeat him in battle, he suffers a Superpower Meltdown; seconds before he and all his aura beasts disappear in a flash of light, he screams "I can see the other side! It's beautiful!"
  • Inverted in Planescape: Torment. At the end of the game, should the Nameless One merge with his rogue mortality, it is rather heavily implied that absorbing the knowledge and skills of all of his hundreds - or hundreds of thousands - previous lives has transformed him into a being of nearly godlike power. Unfortunately, he's still got to pay for the sin that drove him to become immortal in the first place, so he's dragged down into one of the Lower Planes of Existence to serve out his sentence as a soldier in the Blood War.
  • In Fate/stay night you can ascend by accomplishing an impossible miracle, being worshipped after death by large groups of people, or swearing into a Guardian Contract with the world. However, it's a pretty raw deal, as while it grants apparent immortality, you do not retain the memories of incarnations sent into the world, exist outside time and Guardians get the extra special benefit of getting sent to 'preserve the balance' ie. kill lots of people so they don't kill even more people. They don't remember doing this after going back where they come from, but they know it's happened and know they're doing it. Oh, and you don't get any free will either unless you happen to be participating in the Grail War. Did we mention that the Grail will eat your soul if you're a Heroic Spirit? That means you don't even get reincarnation like normal humans. Yay ascension!
    • On the other hand, Realta Nua's Last Episode implies a brighter form of ascension when Shirou manages to reunite with Saber in Avalon.
  • Mega Man X in Mega Man Zero. Technically speaking, he's not dead, at least not until Zero 2 or 3, depending on the definition of death concerning Reploids, using his physical body as the "can" for the Sealed Evil in a Can, and throughout the series is now in a form that is the closest thing the Reploids have to a "ghost."
  • Aerith/Aeris in Final Fantasy VII. Once she dies, she controls The Lifestream to destroy Meteor and save the world. In the sequel she calls down healing rain to save the world a second time, and in the tie-in short stories she's the leader of an effort within the Lifestream to contain Sephiroth's infection of it.
  • Heavenly Sword: In the final chapter of the game, appropriately titled "The Goddess," Nariko overcomes/embraces the sword's true power and becomes a literal avatar of light, her aura sweeping aside armies of mortal soldiers as she walks towards the final battle.
  • Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight: When you finally return the Moonstone to Stonehendge, this is your reward. Through a druid ritual, you ascend to a higher plane of existence, becoming both a constellation and a legend "passed from one generation to the next."
  • In Okami this happens to Amaterasu and Waka at the end of the game, literally, but not quite in the way one'd think - they actually travel up to the Celestial Plane.
  • Supposedly this is exactly why you don't see any Chozo in the Metroid games, even though there's evidence that they've been nearly everywhere. The fate of their race has (possibly intentionally) never been adequately explained, although it's said that when the Chozo could advance no further, they withdrew from the universe to watch other races develop.
    • This is reinforced in the Prime Games, but a lot is still vague.
  • Kormir replaces Abaddon at the end of Guild Wars Nightfall.
  • The Titans in Brutal Legend play a bit with this trope: They ascended and essentially became gods thanks to the Power of Rock.
  • In third-person action game Rune, protagonist ends the game by ascending into Valhalla (a proper reward for any Viking hero).
  • Four of the six main storylines of Escape Velocity Nova involve or touch upon this one way or the other. The ones that involve it most heavily are the Vell-os and Polaris storylines (in the first, you participate in the Vell-os' ascension, scheduled for as soon as they are freed from slavery, despite not technically being a Vell-os, and in the second, you {{[[[Descend From a Higher Plane of Existence]] re-}}]ascend into becoming a part of the universe itself). Only the Federation and Pirate storylines lacks the Vell-os ascending and an epilogue stating that, in some far-off distant future, humanity as a whole will leave the corporeal behind.
  • In the Command & Conquer Tiberium series, this is one of the stated goals of Kane. The details of what ascension is actually supposed to even mean, to begin with, to be revealed in the fourth and final game.
    • Well, Kane's intended destination is implied to be a planet, rather than a higher plane, after he was left stranded on Earth. That said, the ending fits the bill regardless, with Kane and the entire Brotherhood disappearing after stepping into the Threshold.
  • In the Arcanum your PC can achieve a status of deity by the end of the game. Furthermore, you can simply chose what type of deity you want to be in a final dialog with Big Bad. Although it requires for PC to commit a Double Face Heel Turn of a sort.
  • In the end of Wizardry 8 all your party ascends to the Cosmic Circle, where they take the role of new gods through control of a Cosmic Forge. Then you can litarelly rewrite a part of a cosmic history, or even ally with the Big Bad for a truly awesome Evil Ending (with a scent of Nightmare Fuel).
  • At the end of Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the Player Character may choose to become a god. There's even some emphasis on how this choice means leaving forever while staying a mortal doesn't, even though the game ends there anyway.
    • Also, if you have Keldorn in your party when you finish the game, his epilogue mentions that he got picked to be the right hand man of the setting's god of justice at the moment of his death.
  • In the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign, a character who died in the original game briefly reappears floating and states that he didn't die... and never will.
  • Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence is (usually) a prerequisite for becoming an arcana in Arcana Heart.
  • In Halo, the Covenant believes that the Forerunners used the titular Halos to achieve this. They were wrong.
  • Eternals in Eien no Aselia work like this. You agree to become one, you get tested to see if you're capable, and if you are, everyone forgets you even existed apart from other Eternals. And then you disappear from whatever world you came from altogether.
  • According to Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi, Saint Elimine never died. As the founder of Etruria and The Messiah among the heroes of the legend, one her mission in life was over she simply ascended to Heaven from a tower in the Etrurian capital, Aquleia. Said place became the Tower of the Saint and the placeholder of her spell book, Aureola, alongside the Saint's Staff.
  • Happened to Mirsa in the backstory of Romancing SaGa, following his Heroic Sacrifice that sealed Saruin 1000 years prior.
  • The stated goal of the shaman in Populous: The Beginning, she ascends to godhood in level 24 and level 25 is played from a god like perceptive
  • In the Disgaea series, one of the art books states that many of the spell keepers of the Omega, Tera and Peta-level spells were former humans, demons and angels, and considering the sheer number of keepers from game to game, apparently quite a few of them had met some kind of qualification. In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, a former war nurse ascends to become n angel after her death.
  • Feena and Lair at the end of Ys II (although they descended from a higher plane of existence first), and the rest of the Eldeen race in the backstory of Ys VI.
  • This is one possibility of what happened to the Dwemer in Tamriel. While messing about with the heart of a destroyed god, they either completely annihilated their entire race...or ascended to a higher plane.
  • May be what happens to Morrigan at the end of the Witch Hunt DLC for Dragon Age. She passes through a Cool Gate into somewhere unknown, "beyond this world, beyond the Fade."
  • Although it's more of a Return To A Higher Plane of Existence, This is Chip's ultimate fate in Sonic Unleashed.
  • In Mass Effect 3 Two of the endings lead to Shepard somehow uploading him/herself into the catalyst, in one s/he takes control of the Reapers, in the other s/he combines synthetic and organic life, and it's implied that s/he becomes part of the reapers, or synthetic hybrids in the process
  • In Journey, your character was implied to have frozen to death climbing the summit to the final destination and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence by the Precursors. This or the character went through Reincarnation.
  • In the final ending of Asura's Wrath after the source of mantra is destroyed, This presumably happens to Asura and the rest of the Shinkoku race after they can no longer exist, or go through Reincarnation.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Technically happens to two characters in Ansem Retort. Early on in the first season, Sora receives the powers of a demi-god but quickly forgets about them due to his amnesia. Several hundred episodes later, Axel achieves Reverse Nirvana, which effectively makes him an evil Buddhist god with the ability to use mind bullets and nuke cities at will. However, as an aversion neither character has left the comic. Hell, Axel's forgotten sometimes that he has mind bullets.
  • Officer Getskilled in Girly, who pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice by Taking the Bullet for his friends only to be saved by an immortal who is impressed with his bravery and carries him off to a never-ending life of love and adventure/
  • In Ozy and Millie Ozy's mother apparently ascended after creating the perfect ice cream flavour.
  • Narbonic had Mell be assumed into Heaven. Apparently it's a requirement for their apology, if the forces of Good cause havock by accident. Never mind that the people who just suffered might really prefer the damage being cleaned up or maybe a cheque, or something, rather than forcible Ascenscion of one of their friends. It lasts about a week, and then she apparently sets Heaven on fire, gets tossed down into Hell, becomes a lawyer for the demons down there, and gets tossed back out to Earth. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Awesome when she requests that her ex-demon boyfriend wait long enough for a metric ton of business cards to follow after her; apparently, despite the rumours, she's the only lawyer to wind up down there so far - or at least, the only one interested in doing any business.
  • Something*Positive - Joked over recently by Mr. Sandersan who, upon hearing that Davan's mother Faey spent her life sober, said she must have risen to heaven held only by beams of light and her obvious sainthood because she raised Davan, completely sober at all times.
  • In Homestuck, if you have reached the top of the Echeladder, die on your Medium's Quest Bed and still have your dream self alive, you can ascend to God Tier and become near Immortal. However, should you not have one of these things done, well...
    • As an alternative, if you die on a separate Quest Bed hidden in the moons of Derse and Prospit, you also ascend to God Tier. This provides a method of ascension that does not require a dreamself to still be alive.
      • Actually, in all three of the known cases where that method was used, the physical body had been killed but corpsmooched, causing the soul to be permanently transferred to the dreamself, and then the dreamself died on the alternate Quest Bed. The data suggests that, rather than a way for someone to ascend without a dreamself, it's a way to ascend when the dreamself is all that's left.
  • The Freak Angels end up this way, outside time and able to communicate with their past selves.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • One of the villains from the cartoon Mighty Max was beaten by "{{[[[Devolution Device]] evolving}} him] towards the infinite, far beyond such primitive concepts as good and evil."
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender. Princess Yue dies and becomes the new Moon Spirit after Admiral Zhao kills the original in the attack on the Northern Water Tribe.

Sokka: My first girlfriend turned into the moon.
Zuko: That's rough, buddy.

    • Former avatars are absorbed into the Avatar Spirit. Aang has the ability to summon them when he needs them, and they appear able to appear to him on their own when they think he needs their counsel.
  • Retroactively happens to Optimus Prime when he is killed in Transformers: The Movie (the first one). He "joins his essence with the Matrix" and shows up as a Spirit Advisor from time to time in the third season of the old show.
  • Happens to Master Oogway of Kung Fu Panda.
    • You can really see the amount of work that went into the special effects of this movie when Oogway starts glowing with a golden light and then blowing away in the wind as a small cloud of flower petals.
  • The Flash got pulled back from the "Higher Plane of the Speedforce in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall".
  • When Mufasa is killed in The Lion King, he becomes a sort of spiritual adviser to Simba for the remainder of the movie, appearing to his son in the clouds and providing advice to help Simba along his way.
    • It is strongly implied, that this happens to every king.
      • At least, every good king...
  • In The Princess and the Frog, this is what becomes of Raymond the firefly after his squashing by Dr. Facilier. He becomes a star alongside Evangeline, the star he was in love with. "I know some day, we gonna be together forever..."
  • SpongeBob earns himself a chance to do this, but obviously doesn't.
  • At the end of Corpse Bride, the titular bride does this via her whole body turning into butterflies.
  • In an episode of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth uses a batch of nanobots to clean the water of a lifeless planet. However, they begin evolving (not Hollywood Evolution, mind you) at an extremely rapid pace due to their being robots. In a matter of days, they go from nanobots to robotic dinosaurs to humanoid robots and eventually doing this.
    • In "Overclockwise", Bender is overclocked by Cubert to make his reflexes faster for playing video games. Bender then begins overclocking himself, becoming smarter and able to predict the future. Eventually he becomes a god-like entity, able to create new worlds just by belching. Eventually the Reset Button is pushed when Mom captures him and resets him to factory standards, as user licenses are apparently more strictly enforced in the 31st Century.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Gi Ants" has in a ten minute time-span super intelligent ants developing culture, then the industrial revolution, then the technical era, and then self-enlightenment. This all leads up to this gem;

Phineas: Bye! Have fun evolving past the need for physical existence!