Beyond the Black
Transhumanism is a term used synonymously to mean “human enhancement.” It is aninternational, cultural and intellectual movement that endorses the use of science andtechnology to enhance the human condition, both mentally and physically. In support of this, transhumanism also embraces using emerging technologies to eliminate theundesirable elements of the human condition such as aging, disabilities, diseases, andinvoluntary death. Many transhumanists believe these technologies will be arriving in our near future at an exponentially accelerated pace and work to promote universal access toand democratic control of such technologies. In the long scheme of things,transhumanism can also be considered the transitional period between the current humancondition and an entity so far advanced in capabilities (both physical and mentalfaculties) as to merit the label “posthuman.” As a theme, transhumanism embraces headyquestions: What defines human? What does it mean to defeat death? If minds aresoftware, where do you draw the line with programming them? If machines and animalscan also be raised to sentience, what are our responsibilities to them? If you can copyyourself, where does “you” end and someone new begin? What are the potentials of thesetechnologies in terms of both oppressive control and liberation? How will thesetechnologies change our society, our cultures, and our lives?
Ego and Morph:
The distinction between ego (your mind and personality, includingmemories, knowledge, and skills) and morph (your physical body and its capabilities)is one of the defining characteristics of Eclipse Phase. A good understanding of theconcept right up front will allow players a glimpse at all the story possibilities out of thegate. Your body is disposable. If it gets old, sick, or too heavily damaged, you candigitize your consciousness and download it into a new one. The process isn’t cheap or easy, but it does guarantee you effective immortality—as long as you remember to back yourself up and don’t go insane. The term morph is used to describe any type of formyour mind inhabits, whether a vat-grown clone sleeve, a synthetic robotic shell, a part- bio/part-synthetic “pod,” or even the purely electronic software state of an infomorph.A character’s morph may die, but the character’s ego may live on, assuming appropriate backup measures have been taken. Morphs are expendable, but your character’s egorepresents the ongoing, continuous life path of your character’s mind and personality.This continuity may be interrupted by an unexpected death (depending on how recentlythe backup was made), but it represents the totality of the character’s mental state andexperiences. Some aspects of your character—particularly skills, along with some statsand traits—belong to your character’s ego and so stay with them throughout thecharacter’s development. Some stats and traits, however, are determined by morph, as noted, and so will change if your character leaves one body and takes on another. Morphsmay also affect other skills and stats, as detailed in the morph description.