Kja Observance

Biocentric vec religion

Cooperation
Image from John B
The Vec religion Kja Observance or biology worship, tolerated but not sanctioned by the Metasoft Version Tree, has two main dogmatic schools,pertaining to the amount and quality of revered biological matter incorporated into the body of the believer. A third school - Virtual Kja Observance - has developed and spread to the rival Vec house of the Silicon Generation.

Kja Observance is one of the largest vec religions within Metasoft. It first emerged among the 34-273-2323 series of vecs on Helix Orbital in the Aries Vector cluster in the middle 6700's.

The basic idea of the Observance is that living beings possess an ineffable uncomputable property called 'Kja'. It does not make them superior in any way over non-organic beings such as aioids (which numerous aioid submission cults have taught throughout history), but it is something that a purely inorganic aioid will lack. Ironically, due to its subtle form bionts are not able to perceive Kja, only certain forms of aioid mentation can experience its presence. This seems to be true for a number of advanced shared network mind architectures, especially the Kalmanni-8 series of minds.

Kja Observers strive to integrate Kja with themselves by integrating biological parts. In the fully established Observance this is not done immediately; the acolyte first must learn the teachings, philosophy and history of the religion before receiving the first implant. It is usually a symbolic piece of modified mollusc tissue producing the mother of pearl symbol of Kja on some suitable part of the vec's surface. After this first step the believer continues to meditate on Kja, and in regular sessions interact with teachers. Over time further biological spiritual enhancements are made, and in some cases mind modifications are done in order to fully experience the Kja. Rank is denoted by both the integration with the Kja and the social experience of the individual; at present it consists of sixteen steps until the individual becomes a Full Integration.

Critics claim Kja Observance is merely an accidental quirk in some mind models amplified to a religion, taking a trivial delusion on the meaning layer and turning it into the meaning of existence. Kja followers usually respond by suggesting this is just because the critics have not experienced the reality of Kja.

Metasoft was initially worried that the Observance would be disruptive (and the Observance that Metasoft would include anti-Kja code in later versions), but after investigations by the Department of Software Health and the Memetics Instrumentality it was declared harmless.

Kja Observance takes a bioist view, seeking symbiosis between bionts and aioids. There have been a few rare cyborg conversions where cyborgs update their minds to experience their Kja, but it has not been very successful. Kja Observance has developed many forms of reverse cyborgisation and biaioids, making them a small but fashion-wise influential part in the Metasoft biology industry.

The only major doctrinal schism has been the Quantity Debate (7529), where various views on the relationship of Kja and quantity of biological matter was aired. According to the mainstream school, the Qualitatives, there is no strong link between the amount of biomass integrated with the individual and the experience of Kja. The Quantitatives claim there exist such a relation (under the famous proverb "A dust mite trapped in a joint does not enlighten"), and the more diverse and extensive the integration, the greater the Kja.

The Quantitatives have gone on with extending themselves with massive bioimplants, sometimes to extreme levels. Especially in the spinwards Aries Vector cluster there exist several Quantitative communities where individuals extend their size many times to accommodate more life (usually plant matter, muscles or ornamental-spiritual genemod organs). The most extreme achievements are the Full Integrations of the Quantitative, which take office as habitat planetary ecological controllers in order to become networks linked to entire biospheres. There have even been suggestions of exploiting collective mind technology and wormholes to create multiplanetary Kja integration.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers and Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 14 October 2000.