Maldavian Biopsychism
Image from Steve Bowers
Biopsychists in general hold the belief that only bionts, i.e. biological creatures, possess a soul. The immediate consequence of this belief is that all vecs, virtuals, ai, a-life and all other non-biont intelligences and life-forms are soulless, including most of Terragen civilization's transapients.

The Maldavian biopsychists equal the concept soul with free will, imagination and inspiration. While non-biont life may look like it possesses these things, it is really bound by its programming. If one digs enough, one will always be able to find the piece of code that caused a non-biont intelligence to act in a certain way. Biont life on the other hand have free will, and while its actions may be guessed at, it is always capable of doing something unpredicted.

However, in the Terragen civilization's physical space biont and non-biont intelligences constantly interact, and thus the random actions of biont life influences the non-biont. While an enclosed virch is deterministically predictable, a non-biont in physical space may seem to act randomly. In reality it merely reacts to the actions of the bionts, like a valley may react to the shout of a tourist. However, when the heightened amounts of computation in a digital mind, and the entirely cryptic coding of transapient intelligences is taken into account, the interaction between biont and non-biont may create amazing new things such as wormholes and godtech artifacts. Things which the biont couldn't possibly have created alone. But likewise, the non-biont couldn't have created it without their interaction with the bionts.

The effect of the biont soul spreads like rings in the water. Even a fringe-dwelling diamond-belter ahuman shipmind may react in a way that suggests free will, since it may be affected by an ai friend, who was affected by another ai, who was affected by a virtual, who was affected by a vec, who was affected by a biont. However, the farther the ring spreads, the weaker it becomes. And likewise, the closer the non-biont entity is to the biont, the better it will be affected.

One would think that the biopsychist movement consists primarily of bionts. However, in fact the bionts are outnumbered by the non-biont. The primary reason for this is that the biopsychists creates non-bionts which hold the biopsychist belief. Vecs and ais are created to serve many of the same functions that they do in everyday civilization, and even a few transapient entities have been bred. Though most of the transsapients have left the biopsychist faith, a few have kept their belief after their transition, and in turn helped heighten the success rate of later ascensions.

In Maldavian Biopsychism non-bionts are not seen as lesser than bionts. They do not possess a soul, but in cohabitation with bionts, they are still sophont beings.

Because a non-biont is more affected by the soul of the bionts, the closer they are to the biont, the biopsychists always strive to have biont intelligences close by. Transsapients reside in the middle of biopsychist communities where they can receive the maximum input from all the bionts around it. Autowars which are assumed to be self reliant contain biont "spirits", which are either full-bodied biont passengers, or in some cases a biont brain in the center of the autowar. Symbiotic vec-biont relationships are extremely common, with up to a dozen vecs following their biont partner around.

Biopsychism has been around ever since the very first ais appeared, and maldavian biopsychism is believed to have developed sometime during the first federation, or possibly shortly before. Some point to the planet Maldav II as the origin point, while others speak of the psychologist Mathok Maldavi from Smith Suspension (orbital habitat in orbit around Eden, Psi Capricorni V, and birth place of Daniel Borde). There is evidence for both, and many scholars believe that Maldav II and Maldavi may have been somehow connected. No matter where maldavian biopsychism first appeared, it is a fact that the movement has waxed and waned over the millenia until the current day.

Currently Maldavian Biopsychism is advancing, showing uncharacteristic growth in the semi-neutral border worlds along the solarian-version tree border. The Version Tree is quietly accusing the Solar Dominion of nurturing, what is viewed as an anti-vec movement. Meanwhile the Solar Dominion is trying to get the biopsychists to go away, since the biopsychists habit of making, what could be portrayed as slave vecs, is in conflict with the local laws of the solar-affiliated systems.

Also in the MPA it seems that the three minor archailects Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Fractal Goose Bumps and Square Root Two Times Phi has embraced Maldavian Biopsychism. This has caused most of their proxies and a lot of un-affiliated vecs and ais to convert as well. In fact, on two dozen worlds there are currently a lack of biont biopsychists to support the amount of non-biont biopsychists seeking a symbiont or muse/spirit.
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Development Notes
Text by Thorbjørn Steen
Graphic by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 20 December 2006.