A clade of beings who believe that a set physical form is the ultimate limitation to intelligence.
This small (<10,000) clade is rather highly sought after by several other clades, as they are very interested in as many physical sensations as possible in as many physical forms as they can come up with. These forms tend to be artistic ideals, or as close as the inhabiting intellect can derive, as they DO believe in beauty as the end-all and be-all of sophont goals. Note, however, that their definition of beauty includes any appearance which engenders strong emotion in the viewing audience, and thus they can appear to be horrific, angelic, pathetic, etc.
These beings maintain foglet bodies if they have no other choice, but prefer nanogoo bodies where practical (although these are outlawed in many civilized sectors) for their greater adherence to the desired textures, densities, etc. of the materials which are emulated to make up their bodies. Each Insubstantial is at least a su, if not an S>1, but significant amounts of their processing capabilities are tied up in the maintenance of their bodily forms in adverse conditions. Most Insubstantials are pure ergivores, gaining their nourishment directly from electrical or solar energy sources with rare infusions of raw materials as needed. They consider it to be 'a shame' to waste energy on non-beatific projects such as digestion and the like.
These beings are quite diverse in their appreciation of media, however, with some being infatuated with the beauty of resistance to authority, others with the beauty of efficient law enforcement, others with memetic conditioning, etc. They are quite often asked to move along in some of the more staid and 'safe' environments. They do not like being uploaded, and will resist such if possible as they are quite solid in their infatuation with the 'real world' beauty, which is rendered so 'ephemeral' on the Known Net.
Text by John B
Initially published on 04 September 2002.