The move towards exdependence began during the interplanetary age, and was at least partially responsible for the development of spacers and many Genetekker adaptations. Full exdependence became possible with the spread of nanoassemblers in the 5th century, when for the first time an individual equipped with the right recipes, a nanoassembler, sunlight and a source of raw material could in principle create their own self-sufficient habitat. The exdependency movement spread in parallel and often overlapping with the Backyarder movement.

The early exdependents were mostly interested in setting up small independent and hidden communities, but as these views became more and more similar to the other backyarder and interplanetary survivalist views a strain of strict exdependence developed from the debates on the outer system community nets. This strain suggested that the goal must be that each individual should be able to survive entirely without the rest of human civilisation. It was called individual exdependency (indexdep) by its supporters (mainly spacers from the Kuiper settlements) and acommunitarianism, man-islandism or archindividualism by its detractors. Given the Technocalypse and often chaotic internal politic of many outer system communities indexdep appeared as the logical next step of the cladisation and fragmentation of humanity to certain people.

Although indexdep was possible in a purely physical sense, it also required mental modifications. Except for the rare natural hermit personalities most humans (and provolves) had deeply seated social needs and could not thrive well without at least the illusion of company. To solve this the indexdeps employed neurohacking to remove social needs, turning themselves into perfect loners. Another need was to amass enough recipes and information to be able to recreate anything needed; the first precursors to the Encyclopaedia Everythingiana were compiled in the outer system.

The indexdeps spread out, leaving precious little trace in history. It is known that they traded some nanorecipes with Backgrounders and the Shadow Federation, but they kept mostly (as expected) to themselves. Since this was long before reliable long-term life extension and uploading, the original indexdeps died out within a few centuries. Some may have produced offspring colonies or seeded the cryonanites on Halfway Shell between Alpha Centauri and Sol. Their isolation and single-mindedness usually led to them becoming essentially static in their technological development, something that seriously limited their interactions with other beings. Their asocial personalities and mental rigidity caused by very long-term solitary living also made them very marginal.

Since that period, individual exdependency has been revived and rediscovered many times. In the post-Federation era it experienced a brief renaissance, as well as during the climax of Semperism and in the increasing anxiety of the Age of Fragmentation. Modern exdependency makes it possible for a suitably equipped and modified individual to settle outside known space with a nearly indefinite lifespan and less debilitating mental effects, although gathering the required equipment and recipes remains somewhat cumbersome. Partially this is due to social controls of general assemblers and recipes, but there have been many deliberate overt or covert anti-exdependency campaigns in various polities where rulers and ideologies try to prevent citizens from voting with their feet.

It should be noted that among aioids exdependency has been much more common throughout history than among bionts, and in general more accepted. Many Caretaker Gods are vocal exdependents, and among the explorer aioids of the frontier exdependency is a common social position. Epistemic radicals in the Fosfo Cluster led a divergence to unsettled systems around the cluster (the Exdep-Epidyn of 7733) where they founded not just indexdep settlements but also (allegedly) underwent epistemic changes in order to create new fundamentalist science, culture and reality-perception. Contacts with the radicals have been very limited.

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    Individual exdependency. Early (late Interplanetary to Technocalypse period) extreme exdependent subculture, suggested that each individual should be able to survive entirely without the rest of human civilization. It was popular among spacers from the Kuiper settlements. Also known (by its critics) as acommunitarianism, man-islandism or archindividualism.
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 04 December 2000.