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What defines a person? Is it the deeds we accomplish or the crimes we commit? The beliefs we hold or the accumulation of our experiences? We define ourselves by the way we dress or the way we act. We are the product of the lessons we learned and the struggles we faced.
What is a soul? That is what makes me “me,” right? A soul is the thing that defines our identity. A soul is formed by our moral judgments, I’ve heard. I’ve also heard it is immortal. The soul is the spiritual part of us that is not affected by the mortal body.
Physically, we are just a bunch cells doing their thing. All those simple tiny units make up our tissues and organs, and those tissues and organs enable us to breathe air and circulate blood through our bodies, giving us life. Our bodies are nothing special; many animals are faster and stronger than us. I guess the only thing we can be proud of is the group of neurons in our head. Our intelligence is what allows us to do difficult calculus problems and understand the theory of relativity. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing, but our brain is the source of our emotions too.
That organ inside our head is from where our consciousness comes. What is the consciousness? Does it have to do with the soul? I’ve always thought of it as the voice in my head, the origin of awareness. To me, the consciousness is the part of us that connects the soul, body and mind.
Scientifically, our thoughts are just a pattern of electric currents through our neurons. Is that all our minds are? Just a pattern of electrical currents? Our whole identity is up to our brainwaves.
Since I have been born, I have been a part of the Advancement of Human Identity Department (AHID). What we do, or I should say, what people who are much smarter than me do is analyze these mental waves. The scientists hook a person up to a computer and start to calculate the patterns of the brainwaves. After quite a few hours, the computer starts to copy the brainwaves, and later still, it predicts them. At that point, a person can leave the computer but the program still holds the brainwave patterns. You see, that person’s thoughts, memories, and emotions are stored in that computer. We call the consciousnesses in the computer Mimics.
Mimics are as conscious as you or me. We can communicate with them and they can communicate with us through the computer. On tests, they answer, word for word, the same way as the original consciousness would. Mimics are the exact same person as the original. Although people change over time, Mimics will remain the same. Mimics are like pictures of people at a certain point in their lives, no matter how people change after the imprint; the Mimics will stay the same.
There is a big difference between Mimics and people, though. Mimics have no eyes or ears or mouths. They don’t have a body at all. They can only think and sometimes communicate with thoughts. Right now AHID has a huge memory drive where all the Mimics are held. When they are in the same computer program, they can talk to each other. I don’t know what their conversations are about though, because there isn’t a lot of new material.
I imagine them as ghosts, because they have no bodies, of course, in a quiet dark silent room because they have no eyes or ears. I would think it would be unbearable, to be so close to the people you love and be unable to hug or even touch them.
You’re probably wondering why anyone would choose that life. There is one obvious reason, perhaps you see it. As long as the computer stays functional and there is enough energy to power the computer, then the Mimics are immortal. The hope is that someday a robot or some kind of artificial body will be provided for the Mimics so they can live again. It is also comforting for the living to talk with someone who has died.
A few months ago, another member of the Identity Department showed up at my door and asked if I would like to join the ranks of the immortals. He showed up today, awaiting my answer.
I am eighty-four years old, usually the age when one makes a Mimic. People create Mimics when they are older because they have the most experiences to store in the computer. To join the ranks of immortals, that is a difficult decision, and I haven’t made up my mind.
What should I do? If I chose to copy my thoughts and join the Mimics, I obviously won’t have a body, but what happens to my soul? Does it stay with the original when it dies or switches to the Mimic? Or perhaps a soul becomes divided into two when one becomes Mimic? I thought a soul goes up to heaven when you die, but what happens if you never die?
I don’t know if immortality is all that great, anyway. Is existence always better than nonexistence?
What would you do?