Comments on Fragment littéraire gratuit #138 (les Qriqrx et l'immortalité)

jonas (2018-08-28T23:33:34Z)

I just remembered that there are more Lem stories that are relevant, although to a lesser degree than the thirteenth voyage. Stanisław Lem's ''Przekładniec'' (translated to Hungarian as ''Rakottas'') is a collection of sci-fi stories written in screenplay form. There's also a film and a radio play <URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Przek%C5%82adaniec > based on these. Of the ten stories, the first one (with Hungarian title “Létezik ön, Mr. Johns”) and the sixth one (with Hungarian title “Rakottas”) are relevant here, discussing the problem of personal identity. (I don't know the original title of the individual stories.)

I recommend that you read these as well, Ruxor, provided that you can find a high quality translation or original that you can read. Unfortunately, translating Lem is very difficult, and I can't vouch for the quality of any translations besides Murányi Beatrix's Hungarian ones. I also don't know how well you can read Polish or Russian or Hungarian (<URL: http://www.madore.org/~david/weblog/d.2016-06-10.2377.html#d.2016-06-10.2377> seems to say you haven't studied any Polish; but then it also says that you have studied Hungarian more than Russian, while for some reason I have the impression that you know more Russian than Hungarian).

Yet another story that's relevant is one of the Pirx pilot stories, which I have recommended you at <URL: http://www.madore.org/cgi-bin/comment.pl/showcomments?href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.madore.org%2F~david%2Fweblog%2F2013-10.html%23d.2013-10-07.2162#comment-23714 >. One of the ten stories is a science fiction ghost story, in which the identity of dead people live on through technological means. Unfortunately I don't have the book at home, so I can't tell which of the ten stories this is.

Severe SPOILERS for the first story of ''Przekładniec'' follow.

In the first story, a person is replaced, successively body part by body part, with cybernetic body parts. Unlike in ''The Positronic Man''* by Asimov and Silverberg (the novel version of the Asimov story “The Bicentennial Man”), the brain of this person is replaced too: first one lobe (half) of the brain, then the other. By the start of the story body of the person is currently entirely cybernetic. The story is framed as part of a court hearing, in which the manufacturer of the cybernetic body parts is suing the person, because he has bought the body parts for credit and is unable to pay the money back. The company claims that the original person no longer exists now that all parts of his body are dead, and that they own the cybernetic parts because nobody payed for them. The person, on the other hand, claims that he is still a person, and while he owes money to the company, the company does not have a right to the cybernetic body parts, because that would be slavery or murder depending on how they use them. (This is not the complete story, I am omitting elements, so read the original.)

I won't tell in detail what the sixth story is about, but it is also about questions of personal identity that are relevant only after some sci-fi technological modifications of human bodies.

* Ruxor is a fan of Asimov's sci-fi, so he'll understand my reference here.

jonas (2018-08-28T22:21:42Z)

I was trying to figure out which writing by Stanisław Lem I should recommend you to read. Now I know exactly where you should start, or continue as the case may be.

Read the thirteenth voyage in ''Dzienniki gwiazdowe'', translated to English as ''The Star Diaries'' <URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Diaries >, translated to Hungarian very well as ''Csillagnapló'' by Murányi Beatrix. (This chapter is mentioned in a Sci Fi Stack Exchange thread <URL: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/131333/story-by-stanislaw-lem-the-more-distinguished-you-are-the-shorter-is-your-name >.) The second half of this chapter describes a society based around a much more radical version of the Qriqrx's reincarnation. In that society, nobody has an individual identity. People swap the jobs and roles they fill every midnight, and nobody is allowed to differentiate themselves from the other inhabitants. Because of this, they don't have special bonds with particular people, but care for everyone equally. They do not have a concept of death just like the Qriqrx people don't, because death can only affect individuals, and nobody is an individual. Sure, they know about the death of bodies, but so do the Qriqrx. That society seems more like an unrealistic parody than your society, but ''Dzienniki gwiazdowe'' is that kind of non-serious book.

régis (2011-09-10T06:54:56Z)

@ Fork: tu mets le doigt où ça fait mal. Ruxor a beau être très intelligent, il peine à nous usiner une religion sans enfer. Mais, malin comme un singe, il peut la faire évoluer avec un purgatoire.

W (2011-09-09T19:17:47Z)

Je ne sais pas si ça existe ailleurs mais j'adore ce genre de fragments. Merci d'y avoir pensé :-)

Fred le marin (2011-09-09T17:53:27Z)

La mort définitive, c'est clairement dégueulasse.
La plus ou moins longue souffrance d'agonie qui peut la précéder, c'est le supplément d'horreur gratuit.

Je fuis ces pensées lorsqu'elles créent en moi une prison trop intense.
Mon refuge : les merveilleuses forces du mensonge, réincarnées en moi tel le phénix, et ô combien plus douces dans ce cas bien précis…
Ma mort, bien-sûr, vous l'aurez car je ne suis pas bon.
Mais une fois seulement.
Et avant, j'aurais écrit (quelque part, et de mon sang iodé) :
A bas le Diable salaud, à bas le Dieu facho !
Et d'ailleurs, au risque de choquer, ce n'est pas complètement faux. Je termine enfin :

"I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring." (Richard Feynman)

Fork (2011-09-09T17:31:06Z)

Ça risque d'être assez horrible de grandir avec les Qriqrx : « Si tu n'es pas sage, tu te réincarneras en quelqu'un de naze ». Aussi, j'espère qu'ils n'ont pas de notion d'emprisonnement à perpétuité…

Ruxor (2011-09-09T12:49:41Z)

JML → J'avais effectivement plus ou moins ça à l'esprit en écrivant, oui. :-)

JML (2011-09-09T12:33:15Z)

Si on hérite du conjoint et que l'incarnation peut changer de sexe, il en résulte beaucoup de liaisons homosexuelles ! Comme la filiation biologique est également compromise par les écarts d'âge, on en conclut que les «conjoints» n'ont pas pour rôle principal de concevoir des enfants (mais peut-être de les élever ?) : les relations extra-conjugales sont nécessaires à la pérennité de cette société.
… On dirait que tu viens d'inventer la Grande Partouze Éternelle !!!

Typhon (2011-09-09T10:55:08Z)

Ça rappelle un peu le système des Tulkus du Tibet. <URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulku >, mais étendu à toute une société.

Typhon


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