1. Sasch says:

    This article reminded me a little bit of the Christ Clone trilogy where somebody clones Jesus from cells found on the Turin shroud.

  2. notleia says:

    Read the first paragraph, came down to post about Ghost in the Shell. Animated movie came out in 199?. Man, it would be a pity if they did a Hollywoodized version of that that lost all of what made the original awesome. That would suck, should that happen.

    • notleia says:

      Also that idea about the same brain in multiple bodies has been done, in Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series. Very interesting, very well utilized.
      Some transhumanist themes I’ve heard about are about the fragility of identity because identity is dependent on memory. GitS the movie had a whole bit about how a garbage disposal man was given false memories about a marriage and kid that were used to manipulate him into committing felonies. Or, as you mentioned, how no longer being in a body might impact the mind.
      But there’s probably a whole slew of ones I’ve missed because transhumanist fiction isn’t on my radar so much.

  3. notleia says:

    **** flashfic time
    I was born Oct 12, at 23 years of age. This was after 10 years of gestation inside the mind of one Tylar Artos Crossman, who had downloaded the classic memnov about a girl born with a genetic disorder who died at 19. It was one of those classics that are not actually popular, mostly kept afloat because of cultural inertia, that most people knew vaguely about but never read. Tylar picked it out of a list because it was one of the shorter ones. He didn’t like it.
    But it was that novel that taught him about the concepts of a public mask created by the projection of others, and how that might be manipulated. It helped put words to the feelings he had when he was stereotyped as a creepy dweeb at 15.
    If Tylar, as the parent who carried me and gave me a body, was my mother, then my father, the parent who gave a spark of essence, was that girl whose private blogs were reverse engineered into a memnov 125 years later, Iris Lena Sonno.
    Iris was a depressed, cynical mess at 19, who excelled at post-graduate-level schoolwork because she had little else to do stuck in a wheelchair or in a hospital. She’d actually had more life experiences than Tylar, mostly lots of travel, for treatments, for enrichment, for fundraising drives for the foundation for her condition that paid for a great many opportunities her parents couldn’t afford, like all the traveling. So long as she could put forward the face of cheerful gratitude, buoyed by medication. The public wasn’t interested in who she was, they were interested in being sad and compassionate for thirty minutes and feeling like it had inspired them and enriched their lives.
    Tyler had redone the memnov at 21and found it less boring but still plenty depressing and kinda tedious. To be fair, Iris would have thought him oblivious and kinda dumb.
    But I date my birth as being distinct from my parents at Oct 12 because that was the day Tylar went to a museum exhibit about Iris that featured some of her artwork and he — I — felt differently. I remembered my father, but I still wasn’t my father.

  4. Autumn Grayson says:

    The idea of a brain being removed and used for another purpose made the first season of Psycho Pass come to mind. It’s a dystopia series where a person’s mental and emotional state can be assessed to see if they are about to commit a crime so they can be eliminated beforehand. The law enforcement has guns they can point at people, and if its programming assesses that the person is a threat, it will shoot or at least give the officer permission to shoot. But one of the main antagonists is basically a psychopath(from what I recall) and can get around this system. Toward the end of the season, he’s approached by the robot thing that represents the system itself. The robot reveals the true nature of the system…that it’s basically this huge room full of psychopath brains that are utilized in the assessment and decision making abilities of the system. The idea being that the psychopaths are the only ones that truly have the capacity to assess the relevant data in an accurate, non biased way(which is only partly realistic, but that’s another discussion).
    One reasons why many of the psychopaths would have opted to have their brain transplanted into the system was because it would give them a sense of immortality and power that they wouldn’t have had before. It’s very interesting and unsettling, the world of Psycho Pass.
    I’ve also seen, but not actually read, several stories where someone could have their consciousness placed in another body. One of them was where a person could pay a rent fee and have their consciousness transported into another body. I only saw a tidbit of that story, where someone that was ugly and unpopular rented the body of a beautiful person…but then refused to give it back.
    When it comes to the idea of souls playing a part in identity…I have several interpretations, and which ones I use depends on the story, story world, species of the chars, and circumstances. One is where the memories of the soul and body are mostly separate, at least after a certain point. Maybe sometimes they bleed onto each other a bit, but not by much unless certain circumstances pop up. So in that scenario, people wouldn’t really remember what their spirit did in the spiritual realm. And then once the person dies, their spirit might remember little, if anything, that their mortal body experienced.
    But then there are alternate scenarios, like maybe the spirit can remember what the body did, but the body can’t remember/understand the spirit. So, after death, the spirit would remember all its body’s past experiences, even though a newborn human wouldn’t be able to remember anything its spirit experienced before birth. A third option is the idea that the spirit and the body could have a completely separate existence even though it was still the same individual for the most part. Most of the time it wouldn’t matter because the spirit and the body are tied together, and when the body dies only the spirit exists. But if a body died, effectively severing its connection to its spirit, then maybe the spirit would move on to the afterlife to continue its existence. But then, if the body was resurrected, the brain would still contain all the information it needed to continue its mortal existence. Mainly because the brain would be like an organic/biological hard drive, CPU, etc that contained the information needed to maintain the same existence, even without its spirit. So the mortal human could keep living its physical life, completely oblivious to the fact that its soul is being blissful up in heaven, or suffering in hell, or whatever.

  5. Abigail Falanga says:

    I’ve been working on a story with a “Interchangeable Brain” or “I Live You Very Much” sort of premise for a while – though more magic/spiritual based. It’s interesting to see your take on the concepts!

  6. Autumn Grayson says:

    The thing about memories is that even if the brain was replicated exactly, people handle memory and perception way differently, whether that’s due to factors explained by personality type or something else. (Not Myers Briggs personality types, but the personality types as described by a certain brand of Jungian Depth Psychology/Four Sides Of the Mind Theory.)

    With the personality type theory I subscribe to, there’s two sensing functions that are relevant to the perception and memory of experiences and surroundings. Si has more to do with an individual’s perception, experience and long term memory. Se has more to do with short term memory, and memories linked more directly with other people and the external environment. Every personality type has both these functions, but places them at different priority levels. In this theory, INTJs and INFJs place Si at the eighth(lowest) priority. Being an INTJ myself, I can attest that my long term memory is horrible. I remember pertenent details, but they are usually extremely vague aspects of how something looked, what someone else said or did, what my interaction was with another person and how that influenced my relationship with them, etc. But those things have more to do with Se than Si.

    So imagine that my memories and mindset were perfectly preserved, and a few hundred years from now people still didn’t utilize this personality type theory. An ISFJ (Si is an ISFJ’s dominant function) could decide he wanted to experience my memories for some reason. But after doing so, he might think my memories were copied and stored incorrectly…primarily because so much of the detail and sensory information would be missing. He wouldn’t be able to feel what it was like for me to jog in the rain, because I wouldn’t be able to recall the sensory details well at all. I might remember that it was raining, and some super vague things like a few areas I passed, or maybe a conversation I had with someone that was jogging with me, but all and all it would be vague fragments of information. So not really an ‘experience’ someone could relive.

    There are key differences in what each personality type’s brain focuses on. ISFJs are past focused, so they have a lot more bandwidth to remember their past and presumably can even ‘re live’ some sensory details of those memories in their head. INTJs are the direct opposite, because they are extremely future focused. They remember only what they need to because the rest of their brain is dedicated to analyzing current circumstances and how they can be steered toward a certain future. So they’ll remember a few relevant things, like an interesting conversation they had with someone, or a bit of what something looked like. But they’re unlikely to recall much, if any, sensory detail of how it felt to run in the rain because that isn’t very relevant. They’ll remember it was raining. They might recall they got caught outside without a jacket and know they got wet. But they already know what water feels like, so their brain won’t remember the sensory details attached to that running in the rain scene because it’s extremely irrelevant.

    So if the future ISFJ was unaware of that dynamic, he would expect my memories to be as vivid as his, and upon seeing just how vague my INTJ memories actually are, he might feel cheated out of an experience, because surely if all that sensory detail is missing, it must mean my memories were copied incorrectly.

    There are actually ways to trigger an INTJ’s memory into something more vivid. That usually takes some very specific circumstances or items, though. If a past situation is made relevant to their present and future, they may recall more about it. But that might just be slightly more info than they would have otherwise thought about. Or a brief wave of nostalgia, or the emotions and thoughts they dealt with in a situation that made them suffer. Though in that last scenario they’re often going to recall that in relation to the frustrating intricacies of what the other person said and did, and what made that person decide to hurt the INTJ in the first place.

    Bearing all that in mind, the average INTJ could probably retain most of their identity if their Se was copied, but in theory they might be fine if their Si wasn’t transferred. But if you took, say, an ISFJ, his past is going to be so prevalent in his mind that not copying it might very well erase a lot of his identity.

    There are exceptions to what I said about memory being unimportant to INTJs, though. It could be that Si is still necessary for remembering Se things long term. Also, INTJs have future goals and projects, and some of their memories will be relevant to that. Not entirely sure if a lot of my story ideas would be remembered through Se or Si. I would assume Se, since my stories are of course about the lives of other people. So I would expect the brain would handle that through Se, just like any other memory of other people. The only difference is that the memory would be of a made up person rather than a real one.

    I dunno. I mean, life experiences and memory are important for formulating identity and future behavior, but there are instances where a person could actually retain most of their identity without the memories themselves. It just depends on a lot. But in the case of an INTJ, experiencing what it’s like in their head would be less about experiencing their memories in vivid detail, and more about how they analyze the world around them and make decisions.

  7. CrazyRead says:

    Oh my word, thank you for this post.
    I’ve had this story idea for a few years; sci-fi fantasy, where death is treated like a disease and has been pretty much eradicated. People are stronger, more connected to nature, large-scale war is gone…basically a utopia setting (still debating on whether or not it’s going to be surface-level utopia, or several-layers deep utopia).
    I’ve been stuck for a while, though, about the process of regeneration. At the moment, the process is rooted in a blend of several mythologies. The main function is a tree of life that recycles souls from a river. When a soul is naturally recycled, a new person is created; when the soul is yanked out of the cycle and forced into an “unnatural” reincarnation (say, a clone body), the soul becomes more tainted the longer it’s out of the cycle (and a person loses more and more of themselves in a way similar to dementia.)
    Originally, I thought it was a really cool idea. But it keeps leading me to a stopping point when trying to integrate it into the sci-fi aspect of the story–as well as the morals/ethics of the main society.
    I think these ideas are just what I need to refine this story. So thanks again!

    Also, there’s a wonderful post-apocalyptic webcomic that I’d like to recommend. It deals with things like memory and person-hood as well as disease, reformed societies, and the impact of history.

What do you think?