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satyesu
10-14-2009, 10:49 PM
i have an idea for a sentient species that reproduces asexually like starfish can by regeneration, e.g. when they believe their time has come, they arrange to be dismembered to produce two or more people. my biggest hangup is what that would mean for the initial person. would his soul inhabit either half? would it split somehow? any ideas would be helpful. thanks!

Romantic Heretic
10-14-2009, 11:24 PM
I don't know from souls, but a person's mind and awareness would be the important question for me.

I'm thinking that at the beginning the two parts would merely be identical copies of each other. As time goes on and each part experiences different things they would start to diverge.

Another thought is to have the split 'reset' their minds. The act of reproduction wipes out their personality and memories. They become blank slates on which new experiences, and personalities, can be imprinted.

I like the first myself. It would be interesting to explore how people coming from a common point of origin would become different people due to their differing experiences.

veinglory
10-15-2009, 12:02 AM
I agree, the notion of a soul is purely abstract. What matters is whether their is any continuity of experience. If there is not then all of the offspring a "new" and the previous person is an ancestor/placenta.

dirtsider
10-15-2009, 12:17 AM
I don't know from souls, but a person's mind and awareness would be the important question for me.

I'm thinking that at the beginning the two parts would merely be identical copies of each other. As time goes on and each part experiences different things they would start to diverge.

snip...

I like the first myself. It would be interesting to explore how people coming from a common point of origin would become different people due to their differing experiences.

Farscape does this in season 3 as well as follows the repercussions for most of the season, in case you're interested in doing some research. lol

Ruv Draba
10-15-2009, 12:20 AM
It depends on your premise. Here are five to consider:

Identity is created by an indivisible soul: So, you'll need one or two more of them
Identity is created by soul, but it's divisible: So perhaps identity is weaker in each of them but gradually gets strengthened
Identity is a social fiction: Then it's up to the rules of society
Identity is a psychological fiction: Then it's up to what fictions the offspring tell themselves
Identity is genetic: Then unless they've mutated, they're twins inheriting the same history and perhaps taking it in different directions
Which would I pick? Whatever made the most trouble. Maybe 3 and 4 together.

Misa Buckley
10-15-2009, 12:33 AM
Farscape does this in season 3 as well as follows the repercussions for most of the season, in case you're interested in doing some research. lol

Scaping as research - I love it! :D

PeterL
10-15-2009, 12:38 AM
You might also consider devising another method of asexual reproduction besides fission and budding. I think that parthenogenesis would result in a different set of problems along those lines.

Ruv's suggestions for premises are interesting, but I would strongly suggest that you avoid all of them; soul and identity are very different anyway. It might be a good idea to conceive of the soul as something external that is added to the beings after they reach a certain degree of development.

sunandshadow
10-15-2009, 12:41 AM
One more possibility - the adult starts to develop multiple personalities, that's when it knows it has to divide because it has 2 identities already.

Lhun
10-15-2009, 04:36 AM
i have an idea for a sentient species that reproduces asexually like starfish can by regeneration, e.g. when they believe their time has come, they arrange to be dismembered to produce two or more people. my biggest hangup is what that would mean for the initial person. would his soul inhabit either half? would it split somehow? any ideas would be helpful. thanks!Since souls are fictional anyway, i'd say go with whatever you want. Or more precisely: go with something that fits well in your world and story.

It depends on your premise. Here are five to consider:<snip>
5. Identity is genetic: Then unless they've mutated, they're twins inheriting the same history and perhaps taking it in different directions
[/LIST]Which would I pick? Whatever made the most trouble. Maybe 3 and 4 together.What you're describing is actually Genes are genetic. Which is kind of a given. If you have a genetically defined identity, these twins would end up being the same person, just twice, since they have identical genes (barring some mutations).

Ruv Draba
10-15-2009, 08:22 AM
What you're describing is actually Genes are genetic. Which is kind of a given.Not at all. Our social and psychological identities are just as important as our physical ones, and we're free to decide which is the most important.

If our genetic physicality shapes psychological and social identity (i.e. genetically identical people are treated as the same person and think of themselves the same way) then that's a departure from twins.

For example, let's say that a creature commits a crime then buds into two clones. If the crime is to be punished then which do you punish? The first one you catch, or perhaps the larger of the two, or both? If the budded creatures feel remorse, do both individuals seek to atone, or if one does is that enough for all of them?

Australian criminal law has terrible trouble prosecuting an identical twin if the other twin has an alibi. All it takes is for each twin to insist that he has the alibi. It falls to prosecution to show that one particular one committed the crime. So -- fingerprints or other distinguishing marks are critical.

Ruv Draba
10-15-2009, 08:23 AM
Ruv's suggestions for premises are interesting, but I would strongly suggest that you avoid all of them; soul and identity are very different anyway.Depends on your mythos, Peter... notions of soul have been around in multiple cultures for thousands of years.

Lhun
10-15-2009, 11:39 AM
Not at all.You say so yourself here:
If our genetic physicality shapes psychological and social identity (i.e. genetically identical people are treated as the same person and think of themselves the same way) then that's a departure from twins.Which is exactly my point. If you say identity is genetic, that is a departure from twins. Because twins share identical genes, but not identities. Because in reality, identity clearly isn't genetic. It is influenced by genes, of course, but not defined by them.
So if you pick "identity is genetic" as model, that will be different from twins in the real world, who just prove that having identical genes means you have identical genetic influences which is kinda tautological.

I don't quite see why Australia's police should have any trouble establishing the varying identities of twins. It wasn't so long ago that DNA was unknown, let alone easily available for law enforcement. And aside from DNA, there's not much difference between a pair of twins, and two similar looking total strangers.

PeterL
10-15-2009, 05:19 PM
Depends on your mythos, Peter... notions of soul have been around in multiple cultures for thousands of years.

I suppose so, but I don't know of any cultures in which thee sould was equated with identity.

sunandshadow
10-15-2009, 10:36 PM
I suppose so, but I don't know of any cultures in which the soul was equated with identity.
The obvious one is the modern version of reincarnation where people are said to be able to remember their past lives and/or find the same soulmate through multiple lifetimes. Also all those fantasy stories about humans being transformed into animals yet retaining their human memories and intelligence, or a soul being magically imprisoned in a crystal so a witch could possess the soulless body. I've definitely the idea that soul=identity here and there.

PeterL
10-15-2009, 11:00 PM
The obvious one is the modern version of reincarnation where people are said to be able to remember their past lives and/or find the same soulmate through multiple lifetimes. Also all those fantasy stories about humans being transformed into animals yet retaining their human memories and intelligence, or a soul being magically imprisoned in a crystal so a witch could possess the soulless body. I've definitely the idea that soul=identity here and there.

I see what you mean, but that is not equating them. Parts of memory or personality remain with the soul.

FinalFayt
10-16-2009, 05:01 AM
Try budding(like a mushroom). Then u'd create another person, but still retain the same person(aka the mushroom). Now i rlly want mushrooms...

Smiling Ted
10-16-2009, 09:01 AM
i have an idea for a sentient species that reproduces asexually like starfish can by regeneration, e.g. when they believe their time has come, they arrange to be dismembered to produce two or more people. my biggest hangup is what that would mean for the initial person. would his soul inhabit either half? would it split somehow? any ideas would be helpful. thanks!

Oh.
Wait.
This isn't a joke about fanboys?
Never mind.

sunandshadow
10-16-2009, 10:08 AM
I see what you mean, but that is not equating them. Parts of memory or personality remain with the soul.
You can't define a soul to include all of an individual's memories (from all lifetimes, even if they can't necessarily access all those memories)? I would absolutely say that a person's soul IS their personality and vice versa, a soul is supposed to be the core essence of a person and to me that would obviously be their personality.

veinglory
10-16-2009, 05:34 PM
That assume there is a soul, and that assumption isn't necessary or even help ful have the conversation OP posted. Which is, I think, what people were reacting to.

sunandshadow
10-16-2009, 09:00 PM
That assume there is a soul, and that assumption isn't necessary or even helpful have the conversation OP posted. Which is, I think, what people were reacting to.
Since the OP used the word soul, the OP was probably assuming their characters have some kind of souls. That's been my thinking behind my responses, anyway. Also, since pretty much the whole array of possibilities has already been suggested in the thread, all the OP needs to do is pick whichever they think will make the most interesting story; for the rest of us, since there aren't any responses left to make to the original question I don't see how going slightly off topic would harm anything.

PeterL
10-16-2009, 10:25 PM
You can't define a soul to include all of an individual's memories (from all lifetimes, even if they can't necessarily access all those memories)? I would absolutely say that a person's soul IS their personality and vice versa, a soul is supposed to be the core essence of a person and to me that would obviously be their personality.

There are several definitions of soul, and there are four levels of human existence; only the physical part could not be considered soul. I disagree with you about the sould being a person's personality, but I think that we are coming at this from different perspectives.

M.Austin
10-16-2009, 10:45 PM
i have an idea for a sentient species that reproduces asexually like starfish can by regeneration, e.g. when they believe their time has come, they arrange to be dismembered to produce two or more people. my biggest hangup is what that would mean for the initial person. would his soul inhabit either half? would it split somehow? any ideas would be helpful. thanks!

What a crazy idea! I love it!

I'm not sure where you want to go with this story, but having perhaps a quality of that person move down throughout generations would be a really cool way to do it. For example, Bob is silly, smart, strong, and bold. Bob splits, one gets silly, the other smart. They split, the next gets strong and the other gets bold. Of course it would be a bit more random and personal. But could you image having two people, the adam and the eve per say. Adam's "children" have these qualities, while eve's children has others. Your evil being could come from one and they've been waiting for the quality of the other to be born to overcome the evil in the first.
I'll quit ranting. The idea just kinda... took off.

More to your question, I believe the soul should be gone. More like a self-sacrifice.

satyesu
10-17-2009, 02:48 AM
There are several definitions of soul, and there are four levels of human existence
mind sharing with the class? :)

PeterL
10-17-2009, 06:55 PM
mind sharing with the class? :)

It is rather complicated. If you want the complete matter, then I would suggest that you studyone of the major mystical traditions, sifiism, yoga, qabblah, etc. The The four levels are physical, astral, mental, and spiritual. Any of those exce[t the physical can be and has been called the soul, but the spiritual level is the real soul.

Lhun
10-18-2009, 08:26 AM
It is rather complicated. If you want the complete matter, then I would suggest that you studyone of the major mystical traditions, sifiism, yoga, qabblah, etc. The The four levels are physical, astral, mental, and spiritual. Any of those exce[t the physical can be and has been called the soul, but the spiritual level is the real soul.Heh. Sorry, but i can't help but giggle whenever i hear someone talk matter-of-factly about topics like these.

Ruv Draba
10-18-2009, 03:26 PM
I suppose so, but I don't know of any cultures in which thee sould was equated with identity.The problem is we need to define both terms -- identity (do we mean social, moral, physical, psychological?) and soul (whatever mythic object we want that to be).

Soul has been equated to social, moral and psychological identities in some traditions -- and various combinations of these. Saying which one is 'real' (i.e true for everyone) is just silly because there's insufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate that any of them exist at all, and different mythic traditions have strong but divided opinions about these things. Some divide us into two or three parts (e.g. body and soul, or body, soul and spirit), some like the Egyptians divide us into six (heart, shadow, name, personality, life-force and body).

PeterL
10-18-2009, 05:47 PM
Heh. Sorry, but i can't help but giggle whenever i hear someone talk matter-of-factly about topics like these.


That's fine with me.

TheDreamer
10-18-2009, 07:13 PM
I suppose one idea could be genetic mutation being slightly more rapid and ongoing in the species, which constantly tweak the personality and mind, meaning that once the original splits into two, they share the exact same psychology - but they slowly diverge over their respective lifetimes, becoming increasingly different from each other, but sharing one massive genetic memory of all their ancestry, which slowly becomes more hazy over time - so they remember things their ancestors experienced, but less so of what their more distant ancestors experienced.

Rhys Cordelle
10-24-2009, 03:07 PM
Is there a particular reason for this form of population growth or do you have other concepts you're considering as well?

satyesu
10-26-2009, 05:22 AM
It wasn't intended as population control, though that is a side effect, I suppose...