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Existence

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The idea of existence in the Astrostles Galaxy spans across different realms of 'being': the material realm, the soul realm, and the Figrealm, a realm where dreams and thoughts come to be. Information on these realms can be found in-game in MARDEK Chapter 3: Keystones at the library in Aeropolis.

An important analogy...

This information is crucial to understand to make sense of the way that the realms, and all of existence, work.

Souls are eternal, but they are mindless; all they are is the aspect of *being*. The thing that 'sees from behind the eyes', the thing that makes you you and not someone else. The thing that, even if there was an exact clone of you standing beside you, would make you perceive from your standpoint rather than from theirs. They are not personalities.

Minds are not so eternal. They can be wiped, destroyed, and replaced. However, souls tend to want to hold onto minds, and it is possible to do so between material lives because minds, by nature, are not material.

Material bodies are vehicles and nothing more. They exist in limited dimensions and have limited capabilities and infinitesimal lifespans.

The analogy is this: The material body is like a piece of computer hardware. It is useless by itself, and does nothing. The Mind is the operating system, the software. It controls the computer and makes use of its physical structures to create effects. The soul is the user. It USES the operating system to USE the computer, but it is neither of them. The operating system may be very closely tied to the computer like the mind is tied to the brain - if a part of the hardware breaks, then even if the software still 'exists' as such, it cannot run any operations which would require that piece of hardware - but they are both separate from the user. Even if the computer shuts down entirely, the user is still there; just unable to use its functions.

Death could be seen like this... Imagine you are online in a chatroom or something, talking to people. You are in cyberspace at this point, interacting, being perceived by others. But then your computer breaks down and cannot be repaired. You're logged off the internet, and as far as those other people can tell, you are gone for good. Your link to the realm of cyberspace was severed. Of course, you know that you still exist, but they can only come to the conclusion that you no longer do because they can no longer perceive you and your account is inactive (well, assuming that they know nothing of the Real World, anyway).

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that souls do not 'exist' in the material realm at all; they merely interact with it. A metaphor is this: you can play a computer game, but not be within the game. You can analyse all the code of the game, all the image and sound files associated with it, etc, and all you'd ever find is the code that the player triggers to control the player. You would be forced to assume that these triggered themselves somehow since there was clearly no player *within* the game... Because obviously there isn't; you exist in a different realm entirely and merely *interact* with the game world from an external standpoint.

Understanding these things will make the following things seem clearer.

The material realm

This is a place of matter and matter alone. The natural and moral elements shape this place, and it is where lives take place.

It is one of many such places crafted by the deities and higher beings for the same reason that we make MMORPGs. The creatures within this realm are merely vehicles for souls. Some, however, are simply machines running on 'code'; mindless. These tend to be simple animals and creatures such as bacteria. There are also Monsters, which have 'souls' of darkness rather than aether.

The vast majority of living material creatures are unaware of their existence as higher beings in machines, and it is in general not possible to observe souls within the material realm.

The soulrealm

This is a place without form or boundaries, without dimensions, where all souls always reside. It is possible for souls to manifest in other realms, but when they do this, they never leave the soulrealm; they just... 'link externally'. It's hard to explain, and far beyond our comprehension as humans.

Some beings can travel from place to place using the soulrealm. Since the soulrealm lacks dimensions, it is possible to travel across the universe in an instant by merely willing yourself into the soulrealm then out again at a different point... though this is extraordinarily difficult for creatures not designed for it.

The figrealm

This is the realm of dreams, the realm of the mind. Everything that happens in any mind does not exist as such in the material plane, but it exists here. When someone imagines a large house, a large house does not appear within their material head, but it DOES appear in their section of Mind within the Figrealm.

The Figrealm is formless and boundless, but it runs on willpower and imagination. Though nothing exists or grows here, merely by imagining something into existence, it will exist... if your mind is strong enough. Objects also tend to linger in the Figrealm as long as people remember it; once everyone forgets its existence, the manifestation within the Figrealm fades. [1] Since yours is not the only mind there though, not everyone has effective omnipotence in the Figrealm.

Dreamers wander this realm to some extent, but many species are confined to what are called 'bubbles' within the Figrealm. These are their own personal, limited spaces which they cannot perceive beyond nor exit; they are not directly aware of other minds. Humans, reptoids, and most 'middle races' are thusly limited.

Some higher races such as lingons have more freedom in the Figrealm. These races generally do not sleep (their bodies evolved in such a way that they regenerate constantly instead of rapidly during rest), but can walk the Figrealm at will. This allows them to use abilities such as telepathy; they simply travel to another mind on the Figrealm and analyse or talk to it. In a sense, it could be said that such races possess a 'hivemind' or 'noosphere', but each one retains a distinct soul and sense of self even though they are able to freely share information and feelings without the need for communication in between. Again, this is something beyond human comprehension at this point in our evolution.

The Figrealm can be used for transportation across great distances in a very short amount of time. It is possible to... 'shift into' the Figrealm with your entire physical form by dissolving the current vehicle, 'memorising' it, then 'adjusting its coordinates', and making it reform at another point. Entire spacecraft can be transported instantly using this method, though it requires all on board to be mentally connected. Such jaunts usually require some kind of mental travelling within the Figrealm across some 'imaginary distance'.

Beings capable of such modes of transportation find the idea of craft that travel through the void of space to be quaint, or perhaps laughable.

Death

This is a concept limited to the material realm, which refers to the destruction of a soul's vehicle. When this happens, the soul is freed, usually with its mind intact, unless the mind was destroyed in some way during life (if this happens, it is generally impossible to develop a new mind until a new life). Destroying the mind's 'control panel' - that is, an organ such as a brain or equivalent - does not destroy the mind; it simply limits the ways in which it can use that vehicle.

Souls are sent to various places after death, usually within the Figrealm, if they still have a mind. (If not, they return to the soulrealm for a time.)

In the Figrealm, there are enormous 'Necropolises', built by thought and imagination. In religious beings, these necropolises often resemble what they have always believed would come after death, since they are formed by thought and belief, after all. It is possible for the mighty deities to form necropolises for their followers, but they rarely need to do so directly; they only really need to describe the place to their followers, who then imagine it into 'figxistence' themselves.

Souls that reside in these necropolises can take on whatever form they imagine, though this tends to be what they were familiar with in life; dead humans resemble humans (generally glowing 'figures of light'), etc. By default, beings resemble floating balls of light in the colour of their element. (It should be noted that material concepts such as 'ball', 'colour', 'appearance', etc, aren't the same in the figrealm... but for simplicity's sake, let's imagine that they are!)

Spirits

A spirit is a soul with a mind but without a body. Souls themselves are not spirits, but become spirits once they do acquire a mind.

They're higher forms of beings than those within Material Lives, because they have fewer limitations and more capabilities. They do not need to sustain themselves or bother about 'surviving', for example, and they can freely walk the Figrealm.

Reincarnation

It is entirely possible for souls to reside in the necropolis for the rest of eternity, but any time that they wish, they may organise a reincarnation. This gives them a new, fresh life without memories, which are used either for 'entertainment' (in the same way that we use games and films), or for learning things.

A valid vessel has to be available when choosing to reincarnate.

Many spirits choose to reincarnate as descendants or relatives of previous forms, just for the appeal of 'continuity'; sort of like reading books in a series.

Since the realms beyond life are also beyond time in the material sense, it is possible to have a good idea of what will be in store in any life that is chosen. Due to chaos and the unpredictable acts of deities, however, this is not always a certain prediction; just a general idea of what will probably happen.

Once reincarnated, the soul has its memory blocked for various reasons; once they return to a necropolis, they remember who they are once more.

(From the Fig Hunter Encyclopaedia)

References

  1. Right before 'Finding Mereador' heading

See also

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