Image from Bernd Helfert

Sarcophobia is excessive fear and disgust in the presence of flesh, especially one's own. Most sarcophobes are, or were, bionts; they often refer to an organic body as a meatbody. Biont sarcophobes dwell excessively on the limitations of their form, and will "escape" it if they can. Some tend towards intensive cyborgization, and eventually become as difficult to distinguish from vecs as the available technology allows. Others become sapient AIs. They may do this in a one-time upload process or they may make the transition more gradually with increasing reliance on uplinks via implants and a piecemeal migration to a computronium substrate.

Many sarcophobes prefer a vec or neogen remote if they need to use a mobile body again; the widespread availability of rental bodies makes this choice a relatively easy one.

More extreme sarcophobes feel disgust at any sort of body at all, regardless of composition. These seek destructive uploading into a virch environment, followed by alterations to their program so that even the illusion or memory of a body has been eliminated. Such uploads prefer not to acknowledge or refer to their computronium substrate or its supporting technology. At its greatest extreme, sarcophobia leads to a vain search for substrates that do not require any form of matter or energy at all. This may or may not culminate in suicide.

Some entire clades exhibit mild to extreme sarcophobia. Occasionally this fear and disgust has turned outwards in the form of genocide. More often it is a form of self-loathing. The latter has provided rich material for satirists and comedians through the ages. A classic comic work on the theme of sarcophobes is Sarah Singh Tan's interactive virch, No Nothing At All (4989 a.t., with upgrades in 5190 and 6223). Equally famous is Ayodele Xiang-Smith's sly and disturbing neo-Calypsonian tone poem and monologue Provisional Flesh. Though it was originally composed and performed in Old Earth Yoruba during the Second Neo-African Renaissance on Ikere in 3190, Provisional Flesh has been widely translated and imitated in the millennia since.

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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss
Initially published on 03 November 2004.