Sunday September 2, 2007

Book 9: The Body Politic
Part II: Royal Flush


Vog:You don't need to probe me, Doctor. I'll tell you what you need to know.
Doctor Bunnigus:Start talking.
Vog:A few generations before my birth, my people perfected physical immortality. Our bodies regenerated and renewed themselves indefinitely.
Vog:Sadly our minds did not last nearly as long. Our brains were fine, but over the course of two or three natural lifetimes the individual invariably went insane.
Vog:The problem seemed to lie with our long-and short-term memory. The filtering system our minds evolved to use just couldn't cope with extreme longevity.
Vog:As we grew older, less and less of short-term memory was deemed 'new' or 'different' enough to be committed to long-term storage. Entire years, and eventually decades would fly by unremembered. Sanity fled, and life became a cheap commodity again. Civilization itself began to die.
Vog:The politically expedient solution involved uploading ourselves to machines, where consciousness and memory could be extended to adjust for immortality.
Doctor Bunnigus:I take it that's not what you did?
Vog:You are perceptive. The trillion-mind cyberocracy imploded during the identity wars sixteen hundred years later, taking our civilization with it.
Vog:Only those few of us who opted to remain corporeal survived.
Vog:Our solution had been to re-wire our minds, allowing us to live in a state of permanent innocence, naivete, and senility.
Vog:We were scorned and derided as fools, but we survived the conflict, and remain sane even today.
Vog:We replaced the material of our brains with an extremely hardy carbosilicate matrix, engineered to selectively forget or ignore large portions of our multi-millennial experience.
Vog:And when I say 'extremely hardy,' I mean it. My brain can survive outside of my head.
Doctor Bunnigus:Okey, this I have got to see.
Vog:I can tell by your enthusiasm that I haven't talked you out of performing that biopsy.