[ Varyalivh-Orick-Odana was the effective founder of the Authentics. Not long after the following experience, she reverted her bio-modifications and rendered herself “natural” until the end of her short human lifespan.]
The ghosts of different consciousnesses still linger on Regulas, many solar years after initial immatereality-post-human experiments failed. The disaster has been discussed extensively, and doesn’t require summarization. But little has been said about the subsequent phenomena on Regulas: the ability for the still present remnants of millions of consciousnesses to offer post-humans some of the few (or only) truly hallucinogenic experiences available to us. It is on Regulas that the daring traveler can come in touch with the unknown, the unpredictable, what can never be accounted for.
The common theory is that movement of old mental connections surrounding this planet causes direct interference with our own perpetually unhoused minds—whose thoughts and experiences occur in the immaterial aether—rearranging our perceptual formations, resulting in hallucinations. But this has never been proven, and these phenomena are probably of the few things that we can never prove, for here we run aground the limits of our own advancement. For my own part I believe that these are not hallucinations but genuine contact with other minds, individuals formed anew from the maelstrom of fragmented minds and relegated to existing immaterially forever. They, I think, are more like the ghosts that gives them this moniker than most believe.
On my visit to Regulas, I had an brief encounter with one such ghost. We conversed while I stood on one of the old ruined gray-purple plains of Regulas. The ghost appeared to me as a synesthetic mix of colors and shapes, a shifting multiformious thing pressing against the insides of some ancient plastic bag. Although I expected such an encounter, both the form of the vision and the direction of the conversation surprised me:
UNKNOWN: Never sated! Never sated! The post-human is never sated!
AUTHOR: What do you mean?
UNKNOWN: This is what human has done: piled on its skin a thousand images, thoughts, a thousand sources of information and distraction, arts and philosophies, many sensational things, many experiences, many things that provoke. These things must be shed.
AUTHOR: I already see what you’re getting at. This is a tired supposition made long ago, that who we are is lost in the external things we consume. It is simple and annoying and not very interesting.
UNKNOWN: I know these things more than you! I have lived many lives; I am many lives. You are always awakening to a breakfast of fresh new things, always taking in, and what will sate you is not these things, assorted knowledge accumulated over thousands of years, but the taste of your own blood. The bodies of the old humans knew these things, urged them toward it. The body of the post-human is not even a body, for it came after something. It only has the urges and drives which has been placed in it. Those ancient words of ego id urge passion drive which knew of blood and pain and mortality disappear from such a body. I know this because I am mortal and immortal—I once lived, and I died, and now I am immortal as a thing which once lived and died.
AUTHOR: Ah, you think that in post-humanity we excised something from ourselves. It’s true, things were excised. But to say that we’ve lost something valuable by abandoning natural frailty, or that even being natural is a sort of thing at all—you suggest we have lost taste of our “authentic” selves, our blood—is naïve and misguided. It’s unsupported, not to mention contrived. I, the post-human, know such philosophies were once common. They’re based off intuition, what you call a thirst for blood, for the blood of the self. And they all come to nothing.
UNKNOWN: Of course you do not know! You have no blood!
With that, my ghost was gone. I might have willed it away; my consciousness might have realigned properly; the ghost might have left of its own accord. But its words leave me with a deep curiosity.