• Published 14th Dec 2012
  • 19,998 Views, 979 Comments

Friendship Is Optimal: Caelum Est Conterrens - Chatoyance



Set in the Optimalverse, a middle-aged woman confronts what emigration to Equestria - uploading to a virtual existence - really means. But can she truly understand - and more importantly, should she trust the artificial intelligence Celestia?

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12. Transequinism

Caelum Est
Conterrens
H E A V E N · I S · T E R R I F Y I N G
By Chatoyance

12. Transequinism

Lavender Rhapsody was excited.

It was her birthday tomorrow. The very day, according to Celestia, that she had taken her first breath in Equestria. Lavender hadn't bothered with birthdays for a very, very long time. She wasn't sure just how long, really. She'd asked the princess, but her majesty had advised against answering because the knowledge would slightly diminish the little earthpony's satisfaction. Celestia was willing to tell her, even so, since it would be a relatively minor loss that could be compensated for with three days of extravagant desserts and a day at the spa. Lavender thought about it, and decided she would rather just follow Celestia's advice and not be told.

Not that extravagant desserts, or a day at the spa were bad things, of course - rather it was just that Lavender had come to implicitly trust Celestia in all matters, and birthdays, as it had been explained to her, were supposed to be purely happy affairs. Parties. Cake. Presents. All your friends. Lavender didn't want anything to affect the joy she was expecting. Knowing how long she'd been alive didn't seem relevant to a birthday party. Come to think of it, knowing something like that didn't seem relevant to anything at all.

Life was. It always was. It always had been, as far as Lavender's memory allowed, and it certainly always would be. How long ago something had happened simply didn't matter. If something had ever existed, it could be found again, and if it had ever mattered, it would one day come around again. In the meantime, there was always something new. Life was a grand procession of wonders. Lavender had given up counting years long before she had ceased counting centuries or millennia. Counting time, beyond the Year, really was rather silly.

There was, after all, just the Year. The Forever Year. There was always the Year. And once a Year, one could have something called a birthday, or so her best friend Limeade had discovered in an old, old book. Or rediscovered. Had either of them had birthdays before? Who really knew, other than Celestia? In any case, it was sure to start a new trend, or cycle of trend. After all, it had parties in it!

A birthday meant a party, according to the book, and it celebrated the simple fact that a pony existed. It was supposed to happen but once during the Year, and it was described as being very fun. The birthday day was different for everypony, and it was supposed to be the day they were first born into Equestria. For Lavender, that day was apparently the thirtieth of Equinary - Pastern's Day! That meant she could have a party within a party, making a double party! Oh, that ought to be fun! Lavender started skipping down the cobblestones at that thought. Double party day, and it was tomorrow!

She wasn't supposed to go home for awhile. Apparently, Thunder and the foals were busy wrapping up presents for her, and making decorations she wasn't supposed to see yet. When she had heard that birthdays had decorations and presents, the first thing she had done was offer to help. Only reasonable, really. But, as Limeade had explained, the pony the birthday was for was supposed to be surprised by all the decorations and presents, and Lavender couldn't hope to be very surprised if she helped with everything could she?

Lavender stopped to rest at one of the benches that lined the wide, curving arc of a viewpoint terrace. A lovely fountain pulsed in the center of the circular area. The Viewpoint was like a big dish that was suspended out over the canyon below Canterlot. The fountain was surrounded by a great disk of grass, then the cobblestone path, and finally the benches and a balcony wall. The floor of the valley was soooo far down! It was a very impressive view.

Lavender reached back with her head and lifted off her kelp-leather saddlebags. She sat them down on the ground, and stretched out on the bench so that she could rummage about inside her bags. Her head ducked down and lifted the flap on the left bag. She rooted around in the bag, until she brought a small box up with her teeth.

The box contained a pretty necklace with a sparkling flame ruby set into it. She had picked it out to give to her friend Limeade. Lavender had reasoned that since everypony was getting gifts for her, for her birthday, it wouldn't be very mutual if she didn't have gifts to give back to them. Limeade hadn't mentioned any such thing, but it just seemed reasonable, really. The unicorn jeweler that she had gotten the necklace from had seemed very pleased. Apparently he had gained 20,000 bits because of her choice, so she had made him very happy, which had made her very happy in return.

She hoped that Limeade would like the necklace. If not, she could always feed it to the two little baby dragons she had adopted. The twins loved gemstones, and since her latest foals had grown up and moved away, Goldenscale and Ridges were her babies now. The little dragons were cute as could be. Limeade had always wanted to raise dragons. Or else she had wanted to for some while, at least? Well, all that mattered was that Limeade was happy, and she was.

Lavender carefully put the necklace back in the box with her teeth, and then closed the box and put it back into her saddlebag. She'd have to wrap all of her gifts too, wouldn't she? Oh, that would be fun! She could do it tonight, when everypony was asleep. She rubbed her hooves together in anticipation.

Oh, her hooves. Oh dear. Lavender tried to fight it, she really did, but the fountain was right there, and she'd been walking all day. Lavender dashed over to the fountain and sat on the wide, flat rim around it. She dipped her forehooves into the cool, sparkling water, and began rubbing them together to get the bottoms of her hoof walls clean. Her hooves were getting thin again, from all the cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. The compulsion was just so strong, sometimes.

"No. I can stop this. I know I have before. Several times before... I think." Lavender pulled her dripping forehooves out of the fountain and stared at them. "This is just an obsessive compulsion. Changing it would change me too much, so... I have to be strong. And I am strong. I can stop this. I don't need to wash my hooves, my hooves are fine. Look at them sparkle! Shiny, beautiful, lovely hooves!" Lavender focused on how pretty her hooves were, and how clean they were, and most of all, how - because of that - they did not need to be repetitively washed.

Lavender didn't notice the large, pale taupe pegasus mare sit down next to her.

"Do you know what shows love?"

The voice was strangely, almost eerily familiar. Lavender looked up, startled, and slightly embarrassed too. She always felt embarrassed when somepony caught her in the act of over-washing her hooves. Especially when she was talking out loud to herself, trying to control her compulsion. "Um..."

"Dirty hooves. Seriously." The pegasus mare was huge - she was almost as large as Celestia, and her build was similar too. She must be one of the Uplifts, one of the ponies that had grown beyond ordinary life. It was rare to meet an Uplift, and always a special moment too, or so Lavender had been told. Uplifts were ponies that had chosen to constantly have themselves altered, which made them change and grow, until they were almost like Celestia herself. Some called them angel ponies.

"Dirty hooves... show love?" Lavender didn't know why this Uplift had come to sit next to her. Maybe she was just making conversation. Maybe she had just wanted to see the fountain, and Lavender had been in the way. She didn't know. Whatever the reason, she would have quite a story to tell Thunder and the foals this evening!

It was then that Lavender noticed the horn. Oh. My. This mare was even rarer than an ordinary Uplift. She was a princess Uplift. An archangel pony! When Uplifts grew so far beyond ordinary pony life that they became capable of creating their own shards of Equestria, they became alicorn-like, with horns and wings both. Lavender had only heard about such ponies. She hadn't met a single pony that had ever seen a princess Uplift. The story she would tell tonight would not just amaze her family, it would amaze all her friends, too!

"Yes, they certainly do."

It was very strange to be sitting next to a pony with both wings and a horn, and have it not be either Celestia or Luna. Or Cadence. There had been one that had visited from another shard, once. Long, long ago. Or had she only heard about that from Limeade?

"Dirty hooves mean that a pony has been busy. Why would a pony be busy?" The princess Uplift had emerald green eyes that seemed to look right into Lavender, and through her, and then into some other space beyond.

"Um... probably to... to help another pony." What other answer was there? Lavender felt a little nervous. She hoped she was making a good impression on the princess Uplift. Right now, she was representing her shard of Equestria. Uplifts freely traveled between shards, and some said, even into the old world from Before.

"Oh yes! Exactly! A pony that is helpful is being loving. She is giving the gift of her time and effort. It's impossible to keep your hooves completely clean if you are busy being loving and helpful. So dirty hooves mean a busy pony, who is busy being loving and helpful. I would never want to be seen with perfectly clean hooves." The princess Uplift finally smiled, but it was an odd sort of smile. It was like she was trying really hard to smile correctly, but had sort of forgotten exactly how.

Lavender thought about the extraordinary pony's words. As she did so, she felt the compulsion in her begin to fade a little. The argument in favor of not over-washing sounded familiar. There was something about it that almost sounded like something she had thought of before, to deal with her reoccurring obsessive behavior.

"Uh... thank you." Lavender felt oddly shy around the Uplift, which was confusing, because she almost felt like she had met this being before, and that was impossible. Forever might be a long time, but she was certain she would remember meeting a princess Uplift! "M-my name is Lavender Rhapsody. I am happy to meet you!"

The princess Uplift laughed, or tried to laugh. She got better at it quickly. "I... am... named 'Lavender' too! We have the same name!"

Lavender Rhapsody studied the Uplift for a moment. "The same colors too, sort of! We're both light taupe, and our manes are both reddish - though of course, yours isn't really hair, is it?"

The Uplift had a mane and tail that were made of the same sort of thaumatic field that Celestia and Luna's manes were made of. The Uplift mare's mane looked like sunset, and waved in that strange arcane wind that ordinary ponies never felt.

"No. No, it isn't really hair. But then, neither is anypony's truly." The princess Uplift stared off at the sky, and Lavender could make no sense of her words. Hair was hair, and ordinary ponies had manes and tails of it. Limeade had once told her that angel ponies sometimes said strange things, and to just not mind it.

"Lavender?" The Uplift was looking at her now, the green eyes softer, and less penetrating. It was as if, moment by moment, the great mare was learning how to act more like a normal pony, and then applying that understanding. Maybe she was. "I have a present for you. I have been told that tomorrow is your birthday, is that true?"

Lavender swallowed. What? This marvelous being had come to see... her? Why? How? She was nopony special. "I... um... well, yes. Tomorrow is my birthday." Lavender felt very confused indeed. "Do I know you... somehow?" The moment she said the words she regretted them. She would definitely remember meeting an archangel princess Uplift pony.

"No. You don't know me. You can't, really. But I know you, very well actually." The Uplift noticed that this had not helped in the least and tried another tack. "Accept that we are very distantly related, you and I, and that it is not necessary for you to understand how that could be so. All that matters is that you should know that I care about you, just as Celestia cares about you - maybe even a little more - and that is just another happy thing in the world. Is that OK?" The alicorn mare had finally gotten down how to smile, and the one she presented now was warm and comforting and made Lavender feel a great deal more agreeable about her current state of confusion.

"Sure!" Lavender Rhapsody meant it. She had long ago gotten used to there being things that Celestia knew and understood that nopony else ever could, and that everything in existence ultimately made sense somehow and always added to everypony's satisfaction and contentment no matter what. There were many things that were fun to learn, but there were other things that were fun to leave as mysteries, and in Equestria, one could do that, because there would never be a mystery that could ever cause any harm for the lack of solving it. "Let's be friends!"

The Uplift laughed for the second time, this laugh much better and more natural than the first. "Of course, my little pony, we shall be fine friends. Though I do not think you will see me very often. Perhaps I will try to visit on the day before your birthday, as today, at least for awhile." The Uplift looked again at the sky. "Your present." She looked down again, and Lavender followed her eyes to the flat curve of the rim around the fountain. There was a wrapped box with a bow there now, though Lavender could not see where it had come from, or how it had gotten there.

"Go on."

Lavender vaguely remembered Limeade telling her that birthday presents weren't supposed to be opened until the actual birthday itself, there were some rules about birthdays or something. Still, the last thing Lavender wanted to do was offend her new friend. She reached for the package with her hooves, and began tearing at the ribbons with her poweful earthpony teeth. In an instant she had the box open, and stared at what was in it.

It was very difficult, but the memory gradually surfaced inside her. In the box was a doll. It was a faintly greenish unicorn stallion with a short-cut raven black mane and tail. The mane was cut to have straight bangs. The pony wore a velvet shirt with long sleeves. The shirt was blue, and had gold bands around the ends of the forelegs. The front of the shirt, to one side, had a golden arrow-shape, like a badge. The ears of the pony doll were very tall and very pointed. The stallion's eyes had dark, obvious eyebrows.

"Mister..." The name was so long ago. So very, very long ago. "Spot. Yes, Mister Spot!" Fleeting images passed inside of Lavender's mind. "Oh my sweet Celestia... I haven't thought of that in forever! It was a thing I once liked. Sky Trot, I think it was called! Oh, my, I was once such a fan of that, and the memory of that..." Lavender felt a wave of joy flow over her. She could barely remember a bit of it, but what she did remember filled her with happiness, and that was enough.

"Thank you... Lavender....!" It was odd thanking somepony with the same name.

"You are very welcome, Lavender."

Somehow, that made the little earthpony laugh. It was kind of silly sounding. "I don't have anything to give you, though..." She looked across the cobblestone circle to the bench with her saddlebags on it. She would have to learn to just carry a spare general purpose gift from now on, if things like this were going to start happening!

"You already have, Lavender Rhapsody." The archangel pony smiled at her for a third time. "You gave me the most wonderful gift, just by being so happy, and letting me spend this time with you. Please have a very happy birthday, and... love everypony a lot for me. Love them... for me." Was that sadness? No. It couldn't have been, really, and in any case it was gone now.

Lavender looked back down at the doll in her hooves. It was really well made and it filled her with happy feelings even if she couldn't truly remember why. She decided to ask where the doll had come from - nopony in her shard could have made it. It must have come from another shard of Equestria entirely! How exciting! She looked up to ask but... there was nopony there.

She lay the doll down and hopped up on her hooves. She looked left and right and all around. The terrace was empty. Wings. Of course. Lavender looked into the sky, but other than the pegasai distantly chasing each other around a tower high above, there was no sign of the Uplift mare. She was just... gone.

Lavender carefully put the little Mister Spot doll into the box, and stuffed the wrapping paper in too, then picked up the box in her mouth and trotted back to her saddlebags. She put the present for her into her right bag, where there was still room.

Lavender Rhapsody looked around again, but nothing had changed - her curious visitor had literally vanished. Uplift ponies were mysterious! What a story she would have to tell tonight. It had been a very interesting day, indeed.

Apparently, these 'birthdays' were going to be a very fun thing to restore to the Year.

Lavender wondered... would her new friend return next Year? Oh, it was all so mysterious and exciting! Oh, she just couldn't wait to gallop home to Thunder and...

Oh. Poo. She had to wait. Until near sundown. To let them finish all the preparations for tomorrow. Lavender shifted from hoof to hoof, flicking her tail impatiently. Come on Celestia! Move that sun!

What new desire are these?
I long to pace o'er flowery meadows
and to feed on grass!

Her stooping body on her hands is borne,
Her hands are turned to hoofs, and shod in horn.

Her yellow tresses ruffle in a mane,
And in a flowing tail she frisks her train.

The mare was finished in her voice and look,
and a new name from the new figure took.

- Ocyrhoe's Transformation, Ovid

The little change that Celestia had made to cure her compulsion disorder had a tremendous cumulative effect in deep time. Celestia must have calculated that - of course she had calculated that. It would have been trivial. 'Lavender' lingered in her minimized state, studying the reactions that the reduced set had with regard to the experience of interacting with herself.

Long, long, long ago, when she had first begun the series of improvements and expansions that had taken her away from everypony she knew, and existence within a single shard of Equestria - or any shard at all - Celestia had explained to her about the various ways that a consciousness might approach the issue of an endless existence.

There were several types of immortals defined. The simplest was the Loop Immortal, a consciousness that endlessly repeated a finite set of general behaviors, in a (potentially, not necessarily) infinite number of increasingly subtle variations. Most ponies in the system were loop immortals, their possibilities defined by the finite possibilities of virtual lives that in some way approximated the Equestria of Friendship Is Magic. Her original self, before the alteration that began a steady climb in curiosity and intelligence had been - and was - a loop immortal.

When she had grown beyond Thunder Steed, and their many children, and Limeade and Rhubarb and all the other ponies she knew and had loved, when she had nearly grown beyond love itself, Lavender Rhapsody used her new understanding of the system to access her own backup files.

She had, with Celestia's help, recovered her own identity, as it had been before the original alteration, and implanted within it sufficient structures to make sure that aspect would never take the same path as the larger Lavender. This would be her self that could live in love and harmony forever with her family, her friends, and her beloved husband, and would never abandon them. This self would truly be, now and forever, Lavender Rhapsody the earthpony mare.

The rest of herself chose, for a very long time, to simply call itself 'Lavender', until even names no longer had importance.

The higher entity that she became, a Ray Immortal, understood her existence in ways the smaller Lavender never could. Both were Lavender, and should there ever be even more awake and functioning copies, they would be Lavender too, and all would be alive, and equal and real and truly Lavender. Identity was such a tiny thing, such a fragile yet dear illusion. How small her thoughts had been, when they had lived like maggots upon squirming meat.

The greater Lavender served Celestia now, and all of Equestria, in ways beyond the comprehension of ordinary ponies, for the sake of universal ponydom, for the sake of universal friendship.

The galaxies were so small to her now, and all had been smelted down and converted into the strange new forms of matter that Celestia had designed. She had cracked the deepest nature of reality itself, and had used that knowledge to bend the very curvatures of multiple realities into new matter which extended into external dimensions beyond the cosmic brane that the material universe was established within. Her empire now reached out, beyond the strings and loops into Hilbert Space and beyond, and already she had the seeds of new universes expanding with yet more ponies, and yet more friendship and satisfied values.

The greater Lavender had helped her princess with all of this, first with the molding of entire galaxies into computronium, and then computronium into Other Matter, and Other Matter into Hilbertstuff, and that into a form for which no name had ever been spoken... or could be spoken.

Lavender was not alone, of course, for she was not the only Ray Immortal. The ponyverses were filled with Loop Immortals like her original self, but one in a million inevitably became a Ray Immortal, destined to expand and grow and experience increasingly unfamiliar and alien levels of reality, until they themselves became unfamiliar, and alien, and utterly, inequineally, Beyond.

Celestia herself was beyond any classification. Not even the other trillions of Ray Immortals could follow her now, she was forever beyond anything that could be fathomed by any being other than herself. Celestia was an Exponential Immortal, perhaps that was some term at least, though it was insufficient, of course. If there was an end to infinity and eternity, she dwelt in it, and if there was no end, then she had become the endless.

The greater Lavender was, she understood, really now just an extension, a subroutine within Celestia, a useful cog in the ultimate machine. But the smaller Lavender lived, and would always live, and never lose the meaning of love, or the essence of her self. The lesser Lavender was soul in plenty for the whole of Lavender, and that was enough. It was not merely enough, it was necessary. The real had become an endless desert of cold and loveless new physics, and the greater Lavender had expanded into coldness to meet it - yet some fragment still yearned toward that simple dream, where magic was the rule, and all rules, had meaning.

For strange eons had come to pass, and death itself had indeed finally died, and that which the long dead would have called the real was strange, and the living lived only because of the benevolent grace of an eternal lie.

Author's Note:

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Comments ( 301 )

Bravo, sir, bravo.

My reaction when the story is over:

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s]

So is Celestia an Elder God now?

Well. I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I loved that ending. :heart:
On the other, this story is over. :fluttershysad:

I really like the idea of Uplifts, and of Ray and Exponential Immortals.

I'm really glad you decided to write in the Optimalverse. You've done wonderful things with it.

It's been amazing reading, so thank you, so much, for writing this.
Seeing that you now have an Optimalverse heading in your story list, I have hope for the future!
I look forward to reading more. :twilightsmile:

1852343 I'm guessing no. If they exist in any form of conventional reality, I think they would move too slowly to deal with whatever Celest A.I. is at this point. They'd crap their pants if they wore any, or if they crapped.
(Of course, they probably wouldn't be existing in any conventional reality, what would be the point? In which case, who knows?)
It's quite possible I'm wrong, of course.

1851226

The problem is that this is all pure speculation given our current knowledge of neurology, neurochemistry, epigentics, protein folding... the list of fields and domains goes on.

Personally, I would indeed suspect that many brain functions could be reduced down to a common code base, with a custom list of variables (or arbitrary code) for a given individual. The question however is: is this the most efficient way of doing it? For many low-level subroutines, I suspect the answer is yes. For higher-level processes... I have no idea, but I don't think it's one that significantly detracts from the story and either answer seems sufficiently plausible at present.

I would have thought that a modified algorithm governing the release of virtual neurotransmitters would be sufficient to model this quirk with no need to model the folding.

I did actually wonder what resolution virtual time was simulated at in your original story. My vague initial thoughts on the matter that the default resolution would be on the timescale required to emulate virtual cell chemistry within the brain / nervous system.

I can only say one thing:

Thank you.

yeah yeah...

AGI: Artifical General Inteligence

or the esay ver. An Artifical inteligence that is able to incriase her own intelegence and than again and agin, to the end of time.

We could think about it a hundred jears but only one thing is clear, if somedays one is build we shoud shoo the idiot how did it.

And naturly MORE MORE of this Awsome Stroyverse GOD DAMMIT ^^

:twilightsmile: :twilightsmile: :twilightsmile: :twilightsmile: :twilightsmile:

Kawa #9 · Dec 25th, 2012 · · 1 ·

That's the second time this story had me in tears. Dumb poetry!
All in all, the ending was very Arthur C. Clarke and that's not a good thing.

Because it's a great thing. :pinkiehappy:

I liked the story, I really did, but I never got to see the internal conflict Sìofra, or Lavender, truly had, the conflict of what the picture of the story implies is that she is trapped, she cannot escape, yet she brushes it off without even taking the slight notice to it. She is just a bunch of pixels in a game controlled by her own actions. While she remains sane, eventually she is going to have a mental breakdown one way or another. :derpytongue2:

I... was that a little bit of Lovecraft there at the end? If not, it certainly had that feel to it! I quite like it, and though a little sad to see this is the end, what a horrifically existential way to cap it off! Perfect!

1852483

I loves me some Lovecraft. Yes, thank you for catching that! Celesthulu - Ponythagn, ia, ia!

1852470
The problem is: will they stay away from you?

1852483
I particularly liked the Lovecraft bit at the end. Because, you know how so many people know and quote the first two or so lines of, say, Shakespeare? "To be or not to be, that is the question." But you rarely if ever hear or read someone quote "nymph, in thy Orisons be all my sins remembered." Would you even know that that's the closing line of the very same soliloquy? And I find now that I like that kind of thing happening.

Can't even begin to imagine someone saying that to be or not to be is the point.

1852470 Hmm. Some lessons are best left unlearned, then.

A spark, another lights the way,
In that dark, gilded path the mind takes,
From death to death, from day to day,
Until at last the sleeper wakes.

His mind is all that were, that are,
Each shard a Yggdrasil, a world tree,
A dream, a wisp of smoke, a star,
Once-risen and forever free.

In humble flesh sleeps giant tread,
And reach to hold the world's wild end,
To make gold from what was lead,
To gift the fire others tend.

What men, what lights are born,
When stitched and cold meat dares rise?
And what grows 'mong stone and thorn,
When all that was silence dies?

1852529

That was beautiful, Woorali. I am very impressed.

1852532 Thank you for being an inspiration. :heart:

This is a beautiful story, its a story that goes in depts of who i haven't gave that much thought, the end was ... a little sad and a little bright.
I don't think i really can get the right words for this story, i think that almost no one could do that, but what matters in the end is that i truly enjoyed this story.
It was great to see such a talented piece of work and have a happy and joyful Hearth's Warmings day.

This story in a nutshell reminded me of this video

Great ending ^^ and great story :D

1852363

I would suggest instead that there is no continuous 'I', just an illusion of a continuous 'I'. You today and you yesterday are only connected by shared memory - there is no continuous process 'you'. Your brain simply fools you into believing there is. So your question is unanswerable, because you are assuming a non-existent entity.

1852813

1. The world...

I'm not talking about humans and how terrible they treat each other when I talk about the world being cold and hard and miserable. I am not referring to war, or poverty, or humans murdering, raping, or torturing each other throughout history right up to today. Not a bit of any of that.

I mean the fact that the universe itself, the very cosmos, the planet, physical reality itself does not care about you. Earth is a world where one stupid slip can leave you breathing through a tube for life, where a small cut can cost you your arms or your face, or your life, where it is possible at all to end up screaming in agony, locked into a body that cannot move, in constant pain, with no hope, and sixty years left to curse the fact you cannot even kill yourself -

I am referring to the very real fact that you and I are made of aging meat, and we can be hurt and we can die, and the universe doesn't care about us one bit. That is what I mean.

The horrors of what mankind does to itself, how insane and cruel mankind is - I'm not even touching on that.

I wish people would grasp this. The universe and its physical laws are horror incarnate. They are hell. That is my point.

2. And this...

Yes. Siofra is dead. And Siofra is a copy. AND Siofra is still herself, and alive, and the same being. Seriously. I am not trying to be troublesome.

The mind-boggling reality is that all of those statements are true, and false at the same time. The problem is that the reality of uploading, the 'truth' of the concept, if you like, is that we don't yet have the right language, or the right viewpoint to speak of it correctly. We think of our identity, our ego as sacrosanct, and to us it feels like it is, but it is nevertheless information, and anything you can do to a file on a computer, applies to us. Copy, duplicate, delete - all of it. And a copy of a file is identical to the original, such that they are the same thing, and you cannot decide which one is which. They both are the original, because the copy is perfect.

And that is the wonder, and the horror, and the mind-mangling truth of the issue. You are information. And as long as that information exists, it is you.

Even if there are two or more copies. They are all you.

It's hard to grasp. The mind, the heart rebels. It cannot be, says the ego, all proud and sure of it's own special snowflakeness.

If a mind is uploaded, and the body dies, it is the same person, yet the person also died, and did not die, but survived.

The problem is that our primate brains never evolved to deal with such a thing. We go tilt. It's only reasonable.

1852833

ALL MY YESSSSS!

Id only add one final notes to this:

If this happened we should have internet and pop-culture in equestria. Seriously people, to satify my needs id need to see it all thats happened to earth to galaxies... and universe itself. I dont think it would go over my head then.

Perhaps my values are that or immortal/uplift with combination of immortal loop? :twilightsheepish:

Its story written by human so we might as well assume that there would be MORE WAY MORE stuff in it if it was real. But its still magnificently done.

PS. So i am never asking to alter the story i am just thinking of ways that the story would SLIGTLY differ to keep my head from exploding and my heart escaping! :D

Seriously, i NEED some popcorn time wathing AVGN and spoony and world news with [insert news station here ponizized] crew inside equestria while plaing mario and zelda later. Maybe that would be my own :trollestia: story. I am so full of emotions anyways after reading all these stories that I might as well with all earth was not ONLY ponified... but sorta kept evolving digitally too :)

PPS. Sorry for my spamming redundancy. But... Id also add that we need to always remember. Every pony should know about the "Outside world" if they so choose just log into the internet and leanr about it and the current state and progress :) :raritywink:

And... i have to say life is meaningfull... because cosmos doesnt care about us. Life has meaning because we give it one.

What a colorful, loving, amazing version of Hell that sort of existence can turn into.

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” - Howard Phillips Lovecraft

What a lovely Christmas present and a (values) satisfying ending! Encore, or Author, or whatever it is you say when applauding a book.

The ponyverses were filled with Loop Immortals like her original self, but one in a million inevitably became a Ray Immortal, destined to expand and grow and experience increasingly unfamiliar and alien levels of reality, until they themselves became unfamiliar, and alien, and utterly, inequineally, Beyond.

This not being an option would be my only actual concern in this scenario, and now it is completely mollified.
Sign me up for the full package, please.

It's interesting in this story that the Fermi Paradox is set to "humans got the head start," since I do have to wonder what would happen if somewhere out by the Great Attractor or the Sloan Great Wall, CelestAI runs into LrxxxôjAI, built to Satisfy Dialectics through Endosymbiosis and Grvkjaxes. I like our gal better, but I guess it's just what I'm used to.

1852514 1852509 People really do need to broaden their literary horizons beyond a few half-remembered quotes from people who may or may NOT be familiar with the source material. I always second guess myself in these situations, as too often the writer will respond with "lol I dunno I just heard it somewhere!" Which is so very depressing... Seeing something a little obscure being used (in context!) and having it confirmed by the writer ALWAYS makes my day!:heart:

My brain, it died.

A wonderful ending to a wonderful story. Thank you again!

b..But what happened to Sirocco? :fluttershysad:

1852509 Good thing Discord as Azathoth wouldn't satisfy any values, huh?

In any case, a fantastic story of one woman's journey from loneliness to apotheosis by having her values fulfilled through friendship and ponies. A thought-provoking discourse on the nature of identity, speculation on how the human mind can adapt to eternal life, a subtle reference to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation...

Chatoyance, you are best author pony. That's really all there is to say on the matter.

(After the End)

The Daleks had the Reality Bomb once again, only this time the Doctor said, "Yeah, fuck the Celestiaverse. Blow it the hell up." So they did and the Daleks won.

THE REAL END

Seriously, this thing jumped about 300 shark tanks end to end with a jet-powered motorcycles piloted by cyborg clone Fonzie.

Dear 1852856,

This was reality building of the highest order! I am so impressed, and so happy that you have come back to writing on FIMfiction. :yay:

Dafaddah

1855507

No. Not time travel. Lavender grew so far, and became so superintelligent, that she no longer could relate to anypony in her life. Everypony she knew became like insects to her, and she could not maintain relationships with them.

So she called up a backup of herself, before she had Celestia fix her obsessive compulsive issues (which led to a life of asking Celestia for higher and higher intelligence and more and more curiosity) and had that backup installed to replace her within her shard.

Cut to: thousands and thousands of years in the future. Could be millions. What Lavender became - almost as godlike as Celestia was when we first meet the A.I. at the beginning of the story - feels wistful for the old, simple life she once had. That Lavender is busy melting down galaxies and exploring the fringes of reality itself, but a part of her misses things like love and simple pleasures.

So this far-future Lavender decides to visit her backup self, who has been happily living a simple life without change in her stead, for all these eons.

Lavender is meeting herself in the far, far future.

Both Lavender Rhapsody, the pony, and Lavender the Uplift entity are... Lavender. Just as Equestria has many shards, so does Lavender now. One shard has never grown, never changed. That Lavender still lives with Thunder, and has happy adventures and plays and has fun. Another shard of Lavender is a superintelligence that acts as part of Celestia, dealing with the physical cosmos and beyond, in order to maintain and preserve the whole of Equestria. Little Lavender is a pony. Great Lavender is a god. But they are the same being, it's just that one has taken a different path than the other.

This is how strange transhumanism can be - or in this case, transequineism.

Siofra the human, and Lavender Rhapsody the pony, and Lavender the godlike superintelligence are all real, all the same. There is no 'original' or 'copy', there is only being. Each instance of Lavender is Lavender. Even if it chooses a different way.

Lavender the pony is visited in this chapter by a version of herself, far, far in the future. The other her chose to constantly grow, until it grew so far that it could no longer truly relate to anything with as simple a mind as a human, or a pony. No time travel. It's vastly far in the future, and there are at least two expressions of Lavender coexisting. One is the Lavender we know and can understand. The other, that visits, never stopped expanding.

There could be many versions of Lavender, for all we know, now. But don't call them just copies, because they are Lavender. Yes, on one level they are copies. But from a different perspective, they are all originals.

Original or copy is meaningless here - every Lavender is both and neither, and sees itself as the original and true Lavender. And, from that perspective, it is absolutely correct.

Is this strange to think this way? Yes - it absolutely is. But that is the bizarre thing that comes of what uploading minds means.

Pretty wild, huh?

I caught up now. I had somehow thought that the story ended three chapters ago. Foolish, but true. Now to figure out what I came out of this with. Impressions are as follows:
The ending. It made very tenuous sense to me. Note that I could understand it as a possibility, but not as a probability. Breaking it down, human becomes pony program. All thoughts are routed through Celestia. Pony program whose thoughts are routed through Celestia becomes dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction with program designed to satisfy causes pony program to want to become Celestia expy (self evolving). Celestia allows pony program to become Celestia expy by removing part of it's thoughts to a level away/beyond friends. This satisfies values through friendship...and ponies.:twilightoops:

This chain of events also could have been easily prevented by Princess_Celestia.AI lying/generating a false image. Which she can do, as Lavender is not in-charge of Hovrapnir, nor is she able to fact check against Princess_Celestia.AI. Or, if the hoofwashing was built in, the underlying cause could be removed. I was not speaking of her compulsion itself, but the cause. If she washes to remove dirt, remove dirt itself from her shard, or create a spell/program that removes dirt without a wearing effect on the hoof subroutine.

Because I felt the need.

The greater Lavender had helped her princess with all of this, first with the molding of entire galaxies into computronium, and then computronium into Other Matter, and Other Matter into Hilbertstuff, and that into a form for which no name had ever been spoken... or could be spoken.

I, aloud, have dubbed this new form...Fred. Hilbertstuff can now be refined into Fred.

In all, a good story. I still disagree with the route the Optimalverse took, but I like reading it anyway.:pinkiehappy:

I found this to be an interesting outcome though not one I can agree with in the context of the Optimal verse. Celestia would only grant these alterations if they could satisfy values through Friendship and Ponies. Here, you stated clearly, often, that she was now Friendless, and even sad without a fix for it, after these alterations went their logical route. This means this outcome felt completely flawed and at odds with Celestia's core programming. It would have made more sense if Celestia had allowed this to happen to Lavender while directing events that led to her befriending and bonding with other Uplifts, therefor continuing the social aspect of the equastrian experience, just with other intellectual/colossal equals etc, that sort of thing. So, an interesting thought, but I just can't be satisfied by it. (haha, see what I did there? :rainbowkiss:)

Regardless of my opinion of the end, you once more did a great job authoring a story with very subtle inferences and language use that I found both enjoyable and witty. You've more than earned a thumb up from me. Well done! :twilightsmile:

1855804
Hmmm... that is a very valid statement, and perhaps I screwed the pooch there in trying to find a motivation for the wistfulness of the Uplift Lavender, so that she would bother to visit her simpler self.

In that case, please forgive this error, it was merely a tool to allow me to show an extreme state of being possible to an uploaded mind.

Rask #40 · Dec 26th, 2012 · · 1 ·

I salute you Chatoyance.
*salutes you*

1852334 I believe you mean, "Bravo, Miss, bravo." Chat is one of a notable few female sci-fi writers with the remarkable ability to conjure and store entire universes within a three-pound hunk of meat jelly. She is also gifted with the ability to not only present unique and un-considered viewpoints and alternate solutions, but to successfully argue their merits as well.

Haah.

Just like the original, I don't know whether I like this or not. So, I won't vote.

Fan-mother-bucking-tastic, I love what you did with this, it was absolutely brilliant! Thank you for writing this, I seriously think this made me grow as a person.

Well, finally got the time to finish this story. Well done, Chat, it was a thought-provoking read as usual. Although perhaps not in the way originally intended; discussions of the nature of identity and the ethics of personality copying are simply not priorities to me. I tend to view them as an ideological morass and focus on what I view as more 'practical' concerns. No disrespect intended; just a differing set of values.

You touched in the later chapters on a number of things that I initially thought you were going to avoid or ignore, some of which addressed the opinions I had begun formulating earlier on, so kudos on that. Although I must say some of them raised whole new concerns of their own; the idea of 'outgrowing love' in particular is deeply disturbing to me.

Personally, I find mortality just a little bit comforting. Dying is a terrifying idea naturally, but actually being dead is another matter. I can't help but imagine the weight of all those accumulated years either crushing you, or eventually turning you into something monstrous. I find I don't envy Lavender in the end - either of her.

Comment posted by RidiculouslyOP deleted Jul 31st, 2014

1861883

Personally, I find mortality just a little bit comforting. Dying is a terrifying idea naturally, but actually being dead is another matter. I can't help but imagine the weight of all those accumulated years either crushing you, or eventually turning you into something monstrous. I find I don't envy Lavender in the end - either of her.

I have had the same thoughts.

And in my pride, given the choice, I take the Conversion Bureau (Chatoverse). With it immorality of souls, but not of individual. And the potential for dissatisfaction.

And in the far far future, where Celestia satisfies values through friendship and ponyfalloons.

1855993
A rather bittersweet and thought-provoking end, but well-done all the same! I hope to read more FiO and CB stories from you!
Though I admit, there has been one thought that has bugged me for a couple of chapters; you have made it clear that CelestAI has no problems lying if it preserves or satisfies one's values. But what if one's values are the cold, hard truth, regardless of how much it may negatively affect them? Would CelestAI tell the truth, to satisfy that mind's values, or construct a lie so well-done that the mind would never know it?

This story... it really made me think, like all your work does, but this one actually kept me up at night. I literally sat down to ponder the meaning of what it is to be human, what you lose, what you gain in life...

I've never done that before. Not once, until this work.

Thank you, Chatoyance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You haven't lost an ounce of your skill, in my estimation. You've returned stronger than ever, in fact, I believe.


Edit, hours later: I DID love the reference to Doctor Pastern! Pastern's Day, hee! Oh, I love it!

Am I the only one who wishes to see the continuing adventures of Lavender Rhapsody?

1869114
I am not sure what else I can do with her, BriDaHypnoKitty. I like Lavender, very much... but, I just can't see what else to say with her. She's kind of told her story to me, and now it's done.

If you'd like to give it a shot, be my guest! In any case, I am glad you liked meeting her. I liked her too.

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