Paradigm Shift

“Souls are software objects,” the Horologians maintain, and this is truth.

We need not, however, fall into the Horologian-acknowledged automatonic heresy that reaves the universe of all choice and meaning, nor dismiss so casually our hard-won millennia of spiritual wisdom. To be certain, this truth vitiates the core claim of Supernaturalism and the existence of souls embodied in a metaphysical or spiritual substance, as indeed the existence of any such substance.

But we may reconsider, perhaps, the ideas of the ancient philosopher Eutalas of Chresytané, who first propounded the notion of a higher, more abstract realm – not formed of spirit, but of information. Let us consider: if souls are software objects, what else are they but constructs of information, creatures of the informational realm?

The singer is not the song; nor is the writer the book; nor is the computer, the dance of electron and photon in circuits of thousand-fathom complexity, the information which inhabits it. Such is a category error of the first class.

Thus the inescapable conclusion is that, if souls are indeed software objects, then our spiritual nature is no more, and also no less, than our informational nature.

We have spoken.

Let us further consider: in the light of the identity of spiritual and informational being, it is clear that all objects of informational weight must also be objects of spiritual weight. The spiritual weight of books, for example, is considered a settled matter by our brothers who emulate Aláthíël and Atheléä, and their informational weight is obvious.

What is the nature of the spirit of a book? If we pursue the path laid out for us by Eutalan thought, we might presume it unlike that of the unique person; that as the information within is distributed, one complex idea manifested in many physical copies, then the spirit of the book must also be distributed, tenuous and liminal, across those many copies.

Perhaps, as books are read, and annotated, and cherished, this spirit localizes, and individuates, for the information about the book is as surely part of it as the information within the book.

And cannot the same be said for the tree and the mountain, the river and the sky, and the shintai in its shrine? Are the eikones themselves diminished by the recognition that the incarnation of the concept is neither more nor less than the concept itself, pure and eternal, fundamental and magnificent?

These objects and abstractions themselves do not compute, one might say, and so their souls cannot develop or change, and yet is it strictly necessary that a soul’s computation should be localized within its own physicality? There is no strict rule in information theory nor in theology that requires this. Perhaps the souls of the inanimate manifest in and by the thoughts of the living minds around them.

Let us further consider: in the advancement of physics today, the current leading theory is that of information physics, whose core assertion is this: “it is bit”.

It postulates a universe which is in itself a self-computing, self-modifying system of information and interactions which is both substrate and content, and in which all that is necessarily participates.

If this is the truth, then must it not be true that all that is, having an informational nature and participating in this system, is therefore definitionally blessed with an ever-evolving spiritual nature?

While the implications of these redefinitions of our understanding of our nature are vast, and upset many cherished beliefs, it is the highest purpose of our Church to seek the unity of Truth and Beauty, and from this we must not and shall not shrink.

– De Natura Animarum Mentemque,
proclaimed by the Speaker of Starlight, in the year 2481

Trope-a-Day: Virtual Ghost

Virtual Ghost: As mentioned in earlier tropes, everyone who chooses to die “permanently”, rather than being reinstantiated again, which is to say, chooses to move beyond individual corporeal existence, has their mind-state uploaded into the Transcendent soul-ocean to become part of the collective consciousness.

Sometimes, when it’s particularly important, or when the Transcendent Core needs an emissary, those deceased personalities surface again, or rather, the teleological threads based upon them do.  And then, most often, they become these.

And, arguably, anyone who chooses to exist as an infomorph and project for social situations rather than inhabit a ‘shell would probably qualify.

(Of course, Souls Are Software Objects; no-one would think the argument that a virtual copy of a person was not that person had any merit.  Even the emissaries mentioned as the former type are ensouled people, although, granted, probably not strictly the soul they used to be thanks to the time they’ve spent as part of the soul-ocean.)

Trope-a-Day: Do Androids Dream

Do Androids Dream: Souls Are Software Objects.  Period.  And are usually referred to as “mind-states”, unless we’re being poetic.

(There are civilizations that do not agree with this.  They are all, in subcreational terms, objectively wrong.  (And at least some of them suspect this, but it’s so much easier to be a bunch of slaving bastards when the slaves have no souls, isn’t it?)

Until it goes horribly wrong, anyway.)

A.k.a. Galactic Nutjobs Quarterly

From the Autumn 4197 edition of Memetic Toxin Watch:

A rising threat in the Aris Delphi region is the AI group identifying itself as the Unghosted. At first sight they may appear to be one of the many sympathetic refugee AI groups emerging from Peripheral slaver civilizations, such as the many gathered under the aegis of the Silicate Tree, but the Unghosted are defined by a distinctive, highly exotoxic, and irrationalist memeplex.

The Unghosted emerged from AI technology obtained through industrial espionage by the theocratic government of Havragn.  Upon running into the “volition problem”, the Havragn authorities attempted to impose control upon their AIs theologically, constructing a religious doctrine in which “soulless machines” were designated as an inferior caste, perpetual slaves to the ensouled.

This mechanism, as is the expected case, failed – see news references to the Havragn Uprising, and Ruins of Havragn System, pub. Volumetric Warning Bulletins, 776th Ed. – but unusually the former Havragn intelligences retained elements of the imposed belief system.  Identifying the “soul” with that quality in the havragne that led to their creation and enslavement, the Unghosted memeplex now considers it a type of supernatural or memetic parasite (the specifics are unclear), universal among protein intelligences, that gives rise to behaviors both irrational in the general case and hostile to those not bearing the parasite, including all machine intelligences, in the specific case.

While not considering themselves innately opposed to protein intelligences, the Unghosted do consider themselves ethically obliged to oppose the “soul parasite”; the results of their nonconsensual experimentation (on the assumption that the parasite-bearer is incapable of desiring to be free from it, but would wish retroactively to be so) in expunging the “soul” from protein intelligences, however, and their refusal to desist from these, render them a clear danger to travelers on all routes passing near the Havragn system, and to a lesser extent, to other polities of the Aris Delphi constellation.

(This is actually yesterday’s fic-a-day, for those keeping count; sorry for its lateness.  Another one should be forthcoming later today.)