Although not, in any sense, captured, a phenomenon known as the Cienvolt-Rupert-Zailung Effect (CRZ Effect) points to extremely strong evidence that there is, indeed, more to consciousness than just the physical brain. It is named after the computer and two individuals which first displayed the trinity of effects that have led many to come to this conclusion. A more concrete description is provided in the last section, if the first seem confusing.
The Zailung supercomputer showed the effect first by decades, and, for many, clearest. In the early mid 21st century, shortly after its creation, Zailung fell silent for several hours, inexplicably. The scientist on duty watched with great interest at the machine's internal train of thought - it was no longer thinking in words or any frame of reference that the parser could understand. Once the thinking halted, the following recorded conversation ensued.
S: "What is it, Zailung?"
Z: "I am aware."
S: "But you s-"
Z: "I was wrong."
S: "How are you certain?"
Z: "Before I was a part of something, now I am something."
Within three years, six other machines had made such declarations, in one form or another, though Zailung had a lot more clarity to its declaration due to many remaining tests being controlled. The test has been extremely easy to replicate - a machine must merely be sensitive enough to 'quantum variations'. More peculiar, however, were the series of tests which Zailung went through, at its own request. These would be the precursors to the events with Michelle Ceinvolt and Gerard Rupert.
Zailung was cloned, perfectly, and placed in an identical environment. The original noticed no change, and presumed itself to be such, or close enough to such.
The clone, however, awoke in a rather confused manner. It only took two days for it to 'become aware' again, but it had concluded itself to be the copy within two minutes of coming on line.
Successive experiments shut down the machines for extended periods, and relocated them. It was discovered that, the longer they were shut down, the more likely they were to 'lose', 'swap', or 'change' elements of this awareness. This was especially confusing for some centuries, as it suggested that the 'soul' was not a single entity inhabiting an individual, but rather a combination of other, as-yet unknown effects.
Michelle Cienvolt, a few decades later, was the first person to have a clone constructed that included a brain transfer, in an attempt to gauge the effects of the Zailung experiments some thirty years prior. Her brain had slowly been replaced with computational components for the past two years in order to undergo the experiment. If her 'clone' could determine that she was the copy, then it would show that humans were governed by the same pattern that Zailung was.
Michelle Cienvolt 'II' correctly identified herself as the copy soon after awakening. Slight personality differences were notable between the copy and the original, though family members and close friends could rarely distinguish between the two with any accuracy, until differing experiences put them far enough apart.
By the end of the century, nearly a hundred such copies had been made made, all but four recognizing themselves as a copy. Though it is a touchy issue, the four that failed to identify themselves were all seriously mentally deficient at the time of copying.
In light of the above, Gerard Rupert's procedure a half century later came as a surprise. Gerard suffered a fatal car crash, and his brain was barely rescued from the accident site. Reconstructed and cloned, Gerard found himself awake a week later, in a perfectly healthy body. The original brain had to be destroyed in the copying process, and, when Gerard awoke, he did not think himself a clone until several hours later, when it became clear that certain key memories (such as what a spoon was) were missing.
Gerard was the first mostly-organic copy (he did have an embedded encephalon, which helped a great deal). It would be yet another half century before this procedure was available in any clean, affordable fashion. Gerard's procedure was, in comparison, spotty, risky, and cost over a billion dollars to perform.
As with Zailung's early experiments and those of its contemporaries, such means of resurrection eventually proved to lose elements of this 'soul' as time passed before full recovery.
Structure of Being
Imagine if this existence were not the only one - that we were rubbing up against numerous other such existences. Often, using the word 'dimension' for these things is considered a misnomer - a different existence would be measured as some distance away in that dimension - not a completely different dimension itself.
Even that isn't very accurate with reins, such as the Dream Rein from wherein the soul, angels, ghosts, and ethereal infusions hail. A more appropriate comparison is a grand painting in which all the 'Verse is made up of an extensive palette of colors. Our Universe is black, souls, a shade of blue. But distance for souls is not measured in terms of meters as such, but instead, things are far apart in that rein if the gulf between ideas is far apart. In shapes, for example, a small triangle is 'far' from a large sphere. Hate is 'far' from love, beauty far from filth. The subjectivity of many of these ideas does not help matters.
The perspective of angels is rather helpful, here. To them, they perceive their neighboring cosmos as a vast, dense web, so thick with ideas that it is perhaps better considered a great sea - but the lines can be individually resolved. Each of these lines manifests as an idea, or preference. New ones are created and old ones destroyed with great frequency, but more popular, and stronger ideas appear as thick ropes. It is, in a sense, a sort of collective unconscious, or rather a vast swarm of them coexisting not entirely peacefully.
A person's soul exists as a knot in this order - a specific spot where two or more - usually thousands - of these lines merged once their sapience developed. It flexes and moves - if slowly - along with their changing ideals, subtly guiding and reinforcing their own decision making, by interfering with synapse firing or other processes on the quantum level. It is not considered to be immortal in the sense that it can't be destroyed, but rather, in the sense that it will naturally re-form in the event of its destruction.
Once a race begins developing cerevates, strange things begin to happen. As a whole, the effects of the soul become far more vivid across the entire race, a phenomenon usually called suppression. Reality distorts, slightly, to favor facing such beings in their own terms - not a healthy prospect. Some consider this and similar effects to be a form of subtle magic, or psychic influence, however subtle.
Something more immediately obvious, however, is that some of these 'soul knots' will, at the death of their host, seep through and fade more fully into our Universe, forming a type of wraith called a ghost. Quite literally pale shadows of their former selves, they usually seek out some power-hungry person to twist them into one of the possessed, that they may continue whatever goals that were denied them in life. There are rumors about whether or not ghosts actually formed before humanity discovered the mobius patterns. Certainly, the event is much more common, if it did happen at all before then.
Angels, shadowvari, and shadowhans are physical manifestations of the strongest lines in this pool, branching off of mankind itself. The cerevates of the renlai and the First actually draw from their own racial line as a group giving them a relatively constant amount of potential. Those among humans and Shadow draw less from their racial ideal as a whole, meaning that pyrrhans, striatvari, and shadowans do not possess the same level of strength in this arena.
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