EP and the Disabled

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zkline zkline's picture
EP and the Disabled

Hi All,

I've been thinking about the topic of disability in Eclipse Phase, and so was wondering what thoughts y'all might bring to the table. As a totally blind player, I have a vested interest in this, though for the record I don't usually like to play blind characters just as a personal preference. :)

I'm going to presume that outside of the Jovian Republic, disability is rare to non-existent. A combination of gene cleaning and really rather amazing medical tech has probably rendered most congenital disabilities meaningless, if they're allowed to occur at all. The exceptions I can think of are perhaps flats with religious objections, or communities a la "The Country of the Blind." The latter would probably be Brinkers of one stripe or another.

With all that said, how can we allow for disabled characters to have representation in EP? I can see a particularly twisted sort of amusement for the rich and famous, in which living in a deliberately "sub-optimal," morph is done more or less for fun. As a disabled person I find this kind of repugnant, but if people fetishize disability in our current world, why should the future be different?

I've mostly focused on blindness because it's a disability I know well. I'm ambivalent, at best, to the prospect of a "cure." I realize this is quite possibly a contentious topic, but am really curious to see what, if anything, we can make of it.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Not all settings are good for

Not all settings are good for all diveristy. I'm in favor of disvisty, in genreal. In this setting, you can't be paralized, you cant be blind, and you can't be deaf and you cant have congintive imparments. For most of the polities, I dont think they have anything against any disability, it just been exercise from the ubquity of transhuman technology. If you suffer an accident that leaves you paralized, even without direct medical intervention, without medichines, you body will recover. It'll even grow back lost limbs. Anything during birth that would cause a disability, is trival to fix. Anything during pregancy that would cause disability is trival to fix. I have a friend, who goes by the moniker Capt. Deaf or Walker, and he is deaf due to a rare interaction from a vaccine he was given when he was an infant. Like that would be trival to fix.

So the only deaf, blind, cerbral palsy, paraplegic that exist in eclipse phase, is a life style choice.
If it important to you for your gaming table I would reframe Infogees, and mabe even the clanking masses from being a class and racism thing into a disability thing.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Zeros (people who don't have

Zeros (people who don't have Mesh Inserts/AR stuff) are probably kind of similar to a disability for EP, but are pretty rare and tend to be indentured as well.

There's also probably some weird ones, like Bright would have most people who aren't geniuses considered to be mentally defective.

In general though, getting to the capabilities of a Flat should be easy for anyone in a Biomorph, though the clanking masses are another parallel.

I think you also can have cognitive impairments, though they're a little different. Edited Memories, Subverted Mind, Curbed Intelligence, and Anomalous Mind would probably could as mental impairments.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
In the Halo setting the

In the Halo setting the Prophets. The higher social standing members, purposefully paralized themselves as a status symbol for their wealth and position.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Yea, curbed intelgence,

Yea, curbed intelgence, amoulus mind, subverted mind ect, can be cognitive imparments. Though they only last as long as its forced upon you. And I dont think that is representing disability, at least not analog to real life disability. Most blind, and deaf can't volenteer to be regain sight and sound. Even though implants are coming along to make that an option for those that want it.

And if you were say blind before the Fall, I dont see any reason why you couldnt elect to be blind in some preference file on the morph. Blind/deaf ect.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Anomalous Mind and (Neural

Anomalous Mind and (Neural Damage which I forgot last time) aren't necessarily forced on people. Both can be caused by accidents or similar. They're also pretty hard to fix. That's probably the best analogue you can really find, because physical disabilities don't really make sense in a post-healing-vat era.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Lets highlight Botched Merge

Lets highlight Botched Merge and Botched Uplift as well.

You can also play any combo of the traits a disability. You can work it word with the gm.

Baribal Baribal's picture
Not everybody can afford

Not everybody can afford biomorphs, and electronics don't heal. Then again only the poorest of the poor couldn't afford to have their cameras repaired, and they would probably go infomorph anyway in such circumstances. Those who could afford biomorphs might still have to deal with them degrading due to not being able to afford their Genetic Service Packages, losing many regenerative abilities, and suddenly you're just one accident away from becoming disabled.

Then there's also communities out on the rim where people experiment with gender identity by having all men sleeve Ayahs and all women sleeve Furies, or where all children are raised in Pleasure Pods, so they can decide their gender on a weekly basis. To people like that, experimenting with disabilities could be part of an experimental lifestyle.

Either way, disabilities are mostly a matter of choice in EP; either that of the disabled person, or those who refuse to extend their help.

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

Kippeth Kippeth's picture
A Non-issue

No reason why you cant play a disabled character just bear in mind a cure is cheap so you would have to think of a way to write into your character a reason why they refuse a fix.

As others have said, cost is one particular limiting factor but you could also be limited by location, perhaps you just dont have access to healing vats or psycho-surgery on your broken, run-down mining asteroid, scum barge or kupier belt station.
Another thought is that it might be self inflicted and you refuse a fix in that manner.

Many disabilities can be both mental and physical, perhaps a character was scarred in the fall and despite being physically able theyre mentally unable to use that hardware.

TL;DR there isnt any problem with disabled characters in EP.

GMT+12 Living in the future.

BalazarLightson BalazarLightson's picture
Cut off senses.

Excellent thoughtful questions for the group.

I'm going to head off on a tangent with this.

I've lost part of my sense of smell in one nostril after a cranial operation. Since the other nostril works ok, it kind of highlights certain smells to me, and makes me more acutely aware of the differences when I concentrate.

I know loosing your sense of smell, and thus stimulus and enjoyment form food can result in depression in sufferers. It certainly did for a couple people I know. Basically a source of sensory stimulation lost. I think loosing enhanced senses could also produce this kind of reaction, going from a super-taster category to a regular person.

In one scenario realizing my mesh inserts were under attack by an outside AI when I linked to a device I did a emergency hard shut down everything. No Cyberware active, no mesh, no T-Ray vision, no Tac-Net, No Muse... I took a D5 stress from being cut off like that and about a D10 for the threat of X-Infection.

Relying on normal senses when facing a potential X-threat was alarming. For weeks after I kept things shut off until I could get to a secure facility to do a clean sweep and reinstall of various components and fresh bios and all.

I think that alarm at loosing sensation is real. So, crippling, loosing normal or enhanced senses, or peripheral devices could all be pretty traumatic, and result in stress inflicted.

Also, for my PC, the panic fear responses to possible AI intrusion sparked an in party firefight a few sessions later, and we nuked a habitat I'd love to have explored further. It was the only way to be sure. Then again, the PC also machinegunned a room full of children... it was the only way to be sure.

That said, I know two super-taster friends, with amazing senses of smell. whop cannot abide certain smells, and strong odors of any kind. So too good a sense can also be a source of stress for a creative GM.

Thanks for raising the issue.

Back to the topic.

As for disability. Damaged or disabled Biomorphs would be recycled if beyond recovery. Damaged Synths repaired if possible, or similarly recycled. Cognitively damaged Egos would be put through therapy if possible to fix the damage.

zkline zkline's picture
Thanks all :)

This is fascinating. I know of only one person who's really interested in playing a disabled character in any game, so this is mostly a theoretical discussion for me. The comments about loss of sensory acuity are definitely an angle I hadn't considered. I guess the closest real life comparison would be sudden loss of Internet connectivity, especially if one's work depends on it.

One of the hardest things for me to get used to is probably the relatively casual attitude towards morphs. I should really make a concerted effort to finish at least Altered Carbon for some perspective. :)

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

puke puke's picture
inconsistants

zkline wrote:
One of the hardest things for me to get used to is probably the relatively casual attitude towards morphs. I should really make a concerted effort to finish at least Altered Carbon for some perspective. :)

There are some real mixed messages about this. On the one hand, firewall agents and most players are pretty cavalier about morph replacement. On the other hand, some of the fiction makes it seem fairly traumatic and protected by sociological rituals such as re-sleeving ceremonies and such.

Individual gaming groups should probably set the tone of their game to their own preferences.

BalazarLightson wrote:
Excellent thoughtful questions for the group.
In one scenario realizing my mesh inserts were under attack by an outside AI...

If firewall agents are facing threats of basilisk style hacks or other AI sensory assaults, they might cultivate "blind fighting" skills. One of the ways this might be done, is to have sightless adapted infomorphs or egos on file to load up and jam your morph for you.

Have a mind on disk that is adapted to operating without the regular sensory suite, and load it up whenever such a thing is required. Training this skillset would be something that specialist contractors might offer...

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
I think you also can have cognitive impairments

For certain! One of the major themes of this game is psychological stress and its cognitive effects. Rules for it, even. Common, in an AF10 setting, one might think.

I'm also thinking that the benefits provided by "basic biomods" might be fickle. If you don't have proper healthcare, maybe that limb wont regrow on its own. Maybe something goes wrong, and you just end up with a stunty hand growing out of your shoulder-stump like that lizard tail that never grew back right. Maybe your hearing returns with awful tinnitus, or your lost eye grows back but never quite works right.

Of course, game groups will customize how "post scarcity" the setting is. The books are pretty inconsistent about this. Is healthcare available readily? Or is there some post-apocalyptic type survivalism and scarcity going on?

Are some of the economies in the game more dystopian than they seem? Things that might be possible given the tech level, might not be available to anyone beyond the uber-wealthy or well-connected.

And then consider punishment, or debt enforcement. Behind on a debt? Owe a favor? Sorry pal, you've been garnished down to 800x600 vision. Why? Fuck you, that's why. We're not teaching a lesson to you, we're teaching a lesson to the next guy for whom you will be an example.

Transhuman conspiracy and horror. Don't forget the horror. It can be political and socio-economic as much as it can be existential.

sysop sysop's picture
I've seen this done in a high

I've seen this done in a high tech environment and done very well with a character that couldn't speak and instead used a voice synthesizer. The player himself isn't disabled but wanted to explore the idea with his character and has been an absolute delight with it. IC this question has come up and the character's reaction has always been: "Why should I have to be the one to change? I like me. You change."

I also think it's very very important to point out that we have - right now - nowadays - real world parallels for this question. For example, Deaf communities that have access to assistive technology that are not interested in taking advantage of them because it would destroy something unique and valuable about their community. It would be cultural assimilation and elimination.

To get meta about this, there are two conceptual frameworks for disability:

* The idea that disability is damage to be healed, and should be removed with genetic or surgical solutions.

VS.

* The idea that disability is created by society that doesn't care to account for a variety of morphs.

In the first framework, all is 'fixed' and healed and disability no longer exists. Which can be rather off putting for RL players with disability to put it bluntly.

In the second, the setting uses technology to level the playing field so people have *more* options in their morphological choices not less, without fetishizing them because there is no disadvantage or social bullshittery associated with the choice.

Bringing this home, what it may look like in setting:

I have what is technically considered a low-vision condition. I am not legally allowed to drive without my assistive technology: my glasses. So long as society is accepting of my glasses then my disability does me no harm. To the point where most people don't even think of having glasses as a disability.

I could see some very strong arguments that you may see anarchist and autonomous habitats that have deliberately designed themselves to accommodate blind, low-vision or Deaf or low-hearing characters as their default level of support. Sighted and hearing members of the community are welcome but materially and socially equal to other members. (Interesting parallels here to mobile-first web design, btw. Design your site for a mobile phone and anything for a computer display is 'extra' and you can be sure your entire audience gets to fully use the site.)

This is what I would consider to be the goal for those habitats that take the second approach to handling disability. For example: Muses assisting those with low-hearing or low-visions with direct-to-neural AR displays. Hey, automatic immunity to visual basilisk hacks is kinda nice, ok? So long as your muse doesn't get chewed up and spit out.

But not all disability is the same either. The disadvantages of some forms of disability cannot be removed by getting society to get its head out of its collective ass. For example: chronic pain conditions, scoliosis, compromised immune systems. Nothing society can change would lessen the impact these conditions have on an individual's quality of life.

You could argue non-Solar adapted morphs are disabled in Solarian communities in the same ways that someone with extreme sensitivity to sunlight, environmental conditions, or immuno-compromised systems are today.

So in your home games keep that split in mind and consider how you can support the one without crapping on the other ok? It makes for interesting stories and makes players at your table actually think about the subtleties of this topic.

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puke puke's picture
it turns on a dime

sysop wrote:
So long as society is accepting of my glasses then my disability does me no harm.

spend a couple hours at the Tuol Sleng museum; that sort of thing cant be taken for granted.

sysop sysop's picture
That escalated quickly, didn

That escalated quickly. Got dark in a hurry there, @puke - And yeah, that is exactly my point about how we can look at societies and in the game setting - habitats - that effectively create categories of disability based on morphic variation.

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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Your disability is an asset—upgrade it!

Hey zkline, thanks for asking this question.

I started giving the issue of disabled characters in transhuman SF a lot of thought after a conversation with a really cool lady who's a disabled advocate in the RPG community. She wanted to know what happens to people who, for one reason or another, don't want to be "fixed" in a transhuman setting, and who furthermore want that choice not to be "fixed" to be respected.

My thought: if you can be transhuman, you can be transdisabled. Transhumanism doesn't have to erase blind people; instead, it can make you a better blind person! The tech in EP can eliminate blindness, but with mesh inserts, who needs to see, anyway? There are so many options for being functional and independent in this setting without taking a stream of photons in the eyeballs.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

zkline zkline's picture
Building a Better Blind Person

Jack and all,

Thanks for the positive words and support. I appreciate the emphasis on different ways to view disability, as it's a lesson which society in general could use sometimes, I feel. :)

I love the idea of building a "better," blind person. My initial thoughts focus on the muse, it can presumably provide a lot of information on the world in general, and possibly visual info when required. Augmented senses are an obvious idea, people tend to assume the blind already have them, so it could be kind of fun to create a character who really does. The "superblind," stereotype is annoying in real life, but in a game context with an actual blind player behind it I don't see much of a problem with it.

One thing I haven't seen much about is muse output, do they tend to converse via neural link? I'm not quite sure how far along brain-computer interfaces are in the setting, though would presume they're pretty much ubiquitus given what else we can do.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

Baribal Baribal's picture
Let's say that a Barsoomian

Let's say that a Barsoomian in a ruster morph travels to the belt, meets a scumborn Scum in a bouncer morph; they fall in lust and decide to make more little Autonomist, because why not. Their genes collide in complex ways, because design and evolution are things that just don't mesh very well, and the child is, let's say for variety's sake, deaf.
There's a few possibilities and implications now. The defect may be with the ear, and resleeving into a standard morph would replace it. However, assuming that the parents do not resleeve their child, probably for the sake of keeping the last remnants of deaf culture alive, or adding one more bit of variety to the meme pool, it now grows up without ever hearing anything, and the brain wires itself accordingly. Now, if the child resleeves, what happens to that bit of brain? Is it part of the morph-related structures, so that it'd be replaced just like the ear itself? Is it part of the ego's neural makeup? Will that person now have its mind assaulted by sensory input that's being fed into a part of the brain that in the meantime has rewired itself to do something else entirely? What does that experience feel like? And as there's now a morph which some people would call defective, what's it like for someone to sleeve into it? Will they suffer partial sensory deprivation, and the hallucinations that may accompany it? Is it even possible for them to hack around the ear via the mesh inserts, or is the audiosensory part of the brain again part of the morph? Do they have to deal with, and if so, how will they do it, Wernecke and Broca areas that didn't grow to parse and produce audible speech? (Okay, the latter is almost certainly part of the ego, since language skills travel with it, after all.)
As far as people's reception of a person's disability are concerned, I assume that the whole range of possibilities is represented in the solar system. The inner system will probably fall into the range from "I don't care, deal with it, it's your morph and ego" to "Oh my, I did not know that Autonomists were *that* barbarous, and with their own children, too! Around here, such things are weeded out during the prenatal screenings." In the habitat of the parents themselves, there will probably be *interesting* ethical discussions. Is it fair to a child to deny them hearing, possibly for life (depending on the answers of the first few questions), to further which goals exactly? Is it fair to deny them that aspect that makes them special, unusual, possibly an enriching variety? Is letting a morph grow like that an unjust drain on communal resources, if it'll cause difficulties to people who'd later sleeve into it? After all, biomorphs are scarce. Or is it a valued oddity model?

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Eclipse Phase, seem to have

Eclipse Phase, seem to have perfect or near perfect brain machine interfaces. Eclipse PHase to have perfect or near perfect mapping of the brain and near perfect understanding of how it works. How the Muse talks to you, is probably depends how you want it to talk to you, vs how it can actually talk to you. In this scope of someone who is say, deaf, then they might just be text on their intropics. For the blind, it might be an orchestra. Muses can get very abstract, even with folks with plathora of maxiumal sensory inputs. I have a gender nuatral AGI, named 2600 Hertz (the sound wave itself), And their muse is a binary clock. It converses with 2600hertz through binary bytes.

So a Muse can be something like Clippy, that sits at the corner of your intropic AR laid over world, or its a subconcious voice, that is precived like your internal monologe is precieved but with a distinct voice.

So my stumbling with Disability in eclipse phase, as to the real world is that in the real world disability isn't a choice. I play a lot of textbased mushes/muds and quite a few players are deaf. And even some sightless play as well, as they tend to transition great on screen readers. I think the framing of being disable is not being able to operate well in a given context is good, and make a lot of sense in EP. Maybe its worthwhile to frame inside the book as such. But it seems to be just a lifestyle choice within EP, and that doesnt reconcile well with me. Disability in real life isnt often a life style choice. Its not being vegan, as an example.

And for Jack Graham, making a better blind person, that seems to come close to the mostly bad cliche of a disability being a super power, in particular the super powered wheel chair.
Warning tv tropes links:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuperWheelChair

sysop sysop's picture
I think the phrasing there is

I think the phrasing there is bad at the very least: "A better blind person" implies being better at being blind? Which doesn't exactly make sense? When maybe the better (or more clear at least) phrasing would be: "A better person, who is also still blind" Which yes, falls back to person-first language, but it avoids the adjective stacking uncertainty of the first phrase. Cause English is basically a boiling pot of uncertainty principle. I've some wibble with the word 'better' as well, there's judgement in there, but it stands in the context of transhumanity's baked in 'upgraded ability' concept I guess?

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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
zkline wrote:One thing I

zkline wrote:
One thing I haven't seen much about is muse output, do they tend to converse via neural link? I'm not quite sure how far along brain-computer interfaces are in the setting, though would presume they're pretty much ubiquitus given what else we can do.

The muse communicates as a voice in your head. It can also put windows up in your AR.

Tactical Network software is one option for getting around. You're on a minimap of the room, so you can move around that way. I don't remember whether we have an echolocation augmentation in the game, but it's certainly within the technological limits.

I guess there's also a question of how purist a definition of blind works for you. With EP mind/machine interfaces, there's visual information, but it's in your brain; eyes and optic nerves are never involved.

I suppose there would also be the possibility of creating mesh interfaces that use screen readers, sound, and haptics to eliminate visual information entirely. We don't describe anything like this, but it's well within the technological possibilities. There were people doing research on sound/echo-based VR spaces for the blind back in the nineties, so I imagine by EP times, full interfaces will have been worked out.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

boomzilla boomzilla's picture
I've thought about this

I've thought about this somewhat myself. I know real-world deaf people sometimes argue against the elimination of deafness because it has its own culture, carried by the unique vectors of sign language.

I guess I am (to an extent) a sort of libertarian with regard what one does with their mind and body, whether it is "fixing" a disability of their own, or not fixing it, or even inducing it. (I recall, I think in a Greg Egan novel, a subculture of people who would induce autism in themselves).

For context, I am autistic myself. Definitely don't generalize my personal experience to all disabled people (or even all autistic people) any more than you would let, say, Donald Trump speak for all white people, haha. But, some personal observations:

I tend to play socially awkward PCs in Eclipse Phase (and other RPGs) just because it's difficult for me to not be socially awkward.

The interesting question, of course, is "if I lived in a time and place where I could radically modify my mind and body as extensively as in Eclipse Phase, would I 'fix' my autism?" I don't know. My autism definitely doesn't make life easier, I'll definitely admit that much. In the six years since I left college, I have only had marginal employment, despite having studied the (very "marketable") field of computer science. Nearly all of my classmates are making six digits now, and here I am, a 31 year old man, still living with his parents.

It makes me wonder, very much, that, maybe if I were more socially savvy, maybe gainful employment would be easier.

Here, of course, in my example, it's not just my own experience, but the experience of me operating in society as it is. If I lived in a place and time where I could live well without having to interface with HR gatekeepers, would being autistic perhaps be less of drag?


jackgraham jackgraham's picture
sysop wrote:I think the

sysop wrote:
I think the phrasing there is bad at the very least: "A better blind person" implies being better at being blind?

What I meant was, working with the fact that you're blind rather than changing it in the course of augmenting yourself. You can build a character in EP who's extremely effective without being able to perceive visible light. Like, what if you just gave eyes a miss and had a t-ray emitter instead?

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

boomzilla boomzilla's picture
The complication in all of

The complication in all of this, of course, is, in a world like EP, you would have very little say in whether or not you are born this way: your parents are the ones who decide.

This happens, already, with screening for Down Syndrome in fetuses. Often, they are aborted.

Conditions like autism are *much* more complicated to screen pre-natally, but I am willing to bet that, if it could be screened for, and either selective abortions performed, or it be "fixed" pre-natally, then yes, there would be many less autistic people.

I was going to write more, but I am totally blanking on what point I was going to make.

I know this can be an emotional topic--I do apologize if I am somehow waving a rhetorical flame over a sea of ether!


sysop sysop's picture
@jackgraham - I remember

@jackgraham - I remember there was a thing for that! So I went looking and turns out it's gotten to the point of reality which is pretty freaking cool :) The abstract here also points out human echolocation, which some blind people whose ears are nice and sharp have worked out how to do to get around. The brain's plug'n'play ability for input is pretty fascinating:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536767/

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
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BalazarLightson BalazarLightson's picture
Best Thread in Ages.

Thanks zkline, for starting the best thread in ages.

So much interesting stuff to consider.

Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
Quote:I'm going to presume

Quote:
I'm going to presume that outside of the Jovian Republic, disability is rare to non-existent. A combination of gene cleaning and really rather amazing medical tech has probably rendered most congenital disabilities meaningless, if they're allowed to occur at all.

Should probably point out that the Jovians' medical care is on par with the rest of the solar system, since they have a vested interest in keeping their current morphs alive, since they don't plan on resleeving them.

"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.”
-Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address

Baribal Baribal's picture
Noble Pigeon wrote:Should

Noble Pigeon wrote:
Should probably point out that the Jovians' medical care is on par with the rest of the solar system, since they have a vested interest in keeping their current morphs alive, since they don't plan on resleeving them.

On one hand, since they don't resleeve, they have an even greater interest than the rest of the system to keep morphs healthy; After all, elsewhere the treatment for most terminal diseases is "What the heck, just resleeve". On the other hand, their development and adoption of medical technology is limited by the precautionary principle; where in the rest of the system rapid iteration of nanotechnological procedures, to name just one example, is the obvious way to do things, that won't fly in the Jovian Republic. Similarly, flats are probably still rather common, and will be for the foreseeable future, so the Jovians have to deal with medical problems that just don't present themselves elsewhere, where anything less than a splicer is considered a public health risk. Also, Jovians have to deal with the consequences of continual radiation bombardment. So the bottom line is probably that Jovian medical care is a comparatively broad field, but that they still do not get the same mileage out of it. And even that is probably only available to citizens in good standing, because who cares about civilians or even non-persons?

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
sysop wrote:@jackgraham - I

sysop wrote:
@jackgraham - I remember there was a thing for that! So I went looking and turns out it's gotten to the point of reality which is pretty freaking cool :) The abstract here also points out human echolocation, which some blind people whose ears are nice and sharp have worked out how to do to get around. The brain's plug'n'play ability for input is pretty fascinating:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536767/

Neat. Looks like someone is also working on a VR game using echolocation instead of visuals:

http://www.blindvrgame.com/

The only problem for EP is, echolocation doesn't work in a vacuum. So blind spacewalkers would need to use something else, like a radar implant.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

sysop sysop's picture
Awesome! And yeah, i mean

Awesome! And yeah, i mean technically you could use lidar or even visual input as well and just translate it into echolocation or any other UI at the muse level if you wanted.

I've seen a few Deaf people describe their inner thought processes as entirely visual - where I would mutter to myself, they sign to themselves or have scenes play out. Given how long a muse is with you, I think the software could easily adapt to communicating in the same methods as the user's preferred inner dialogue.

Since it looks like the Kickstarter might hit the 100k level and unlock the Whispering Muses level... zkline I would *love* to see you pitch this topic, I'd love if the stuff we're talking about here got into published form formally - from you and/or the disability advocate Jack knows. There's so much good information to unpack here.

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BalazarLightson BalazarLightson's picture
Enhanced Sensory stuff.

The thread gives me new ideas for in game... the PC's arrive at a facility, it had zero live mesh and all the walls and doors, consoles... everything in the place are the same damned colour. Only folk with Enhanced vision can see the slight variation in the colours on stuff to understand things. Alternatively, you might need T-Rays to see through the surface of the buttons to the markings beneath, and no lights in the facility at all.

Better still you might need a downloaded VR overlay, perfectly flat consoles and desks, so that nothing makes sense at all without it, and no lights. You don't know where to touch the door to open it without the VR overlay, can't see without T-Rays or something. Don't know where to touch the perfectly flat consoles to get the desired response from the machinery in the facility. Watching PC's struggle against facility staff perfectly familiar with the operations of the place and equipped to deal with it... all staff equipped with T-ray, Enhanced vision and VR overlay.

zkline zkline's picture
Forgive me for not quoting

Sysop and all, I want to quote some posts here, but this forum isn't as screen reader accessible as it could be.

I don't know enough about other disabilities to write much on them, though I can recommend others who might. I'd love to contribute in some way to this project, assuming the goal is unlocked.

One interesting tangent about all this is that I don't have a lot of understanding of what a lot of habitats, morphs, etc look like. I was reading through a couple of adventures yesterday and the map was less than edifying for a variety of reasons. This is only tangentially related to disability in the setting, but it's still something to consider :)

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

GenehackedGynoid GenehackedGynoid's picture
Fascinating stuff, wish I found this sooner

This is a fascinating thread. Kudos to zkline for starting it. I'm wishing I had found this back when the thread was more active and had jumped in sooner, but I also figure this will remain topical going forward, so may as well jump in here.

jackgraham wrote:
I started giving the issue of disabled characters in transhuman SF a lot of thought after a conversation with a really cool lady who's a disabled advocate in the RPG community. She wanted to know what happens to people who, for one reason or another, don't want to be "fixed" in a transhuman setting, and who furthermore want that choice not to be "fixed" to be respected.

More or less where a lot of disabled people I know are coming from. Speaking of...

boomzilla wrote:
Conditions like autism are *much* more complicated to screen pre-natally, but I am willing to bet that, if it could be screened for, and either selective abortions performed, or it be "fixed" pre-natally, then yes, there would be many less autistic people.

As an autistic person myself, I find myself in the kind of bizarre and awkward position where, if natal selection against autism is a thing, I would consider specifically requesting that they leave any genetic factors for autism in the mix for my hypothetical children, and then hoping they forgive me if society hasn't caught up enough to let them become self-actualized. This is half out of spite for any people who would rather I have not existed, and half because I would rather that autism not disappear from the gene pool entirely, because autistic people can make and have made particular contributions to society that are / would have been unlikely from neurotypical people.

I can't help but wonder, especially given the somewhat avant-garde approaches to parenting we see canonically in the books, if parents and prospective parents will start treating other disabilities much the same way even if they become "voluntary".

zkline wrote:
One interesting tangent about all this is that I don't have a lot of understanding of what a lot of habitats, morphs, etc look like. I was reading through a couple of adventures yesterday and the map was less than edifying for a variety of reasons.

I'm presently running a text-only game, and I'm kind of running into the issue of "how do I disambiguate what the spatial orientation situation is like?" myself. Not to mention that I'm even kind of a little fuzzy on what a lot of things look like, too. I've mostly mitigated that by sticking to Mars for now, which has at least superficial parallels with things I'd easily recognize, but it's still a bit difficult. I should try to come up with some things that might help people for whom the maps are inaccessible.
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
'Where we're going, we won't need Eyes to see...'

I think we need to explore the concept that a Disability is something that exists without the "sufferer's" consent - if they're not Suffering, it's not a Disability.
Iirc the current view on mental effects is similiar - a Disorder is something you have when your particular neural makeup is detremental to your lifestyle, so if it isn't causing problems then it isn't a disorder.

At the risk of sounding discriminatory, I could see blindness prevailant on Europa, Ceres and other deep-sea environments because sight simply isn't useful that deep.
For that matter, the morphs may not even have eyes.
On the flipside being Deaf would be incredibly rare there, but relatively common in Orbital habitats.

I don't want to imply that people are relegated to these environments, but rather that there's a natural drift to habitats where those senses are of limited use anyway.

Autism and the like are probably going to be present but less apparent due to Tech helping to assuage any problems they could cause.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Beside what TWNW said

When you are training with enhanced senses and you want to use them to have a integrated full spectrum direct to mind sensorium at all times. You would first train with only the sense that you want to know. I can see people training to use echolocation, chosing blind morphs to do it. Or exhumans selecting themselves to best use random selection of senses. Like only thermal. T-ray and Smell. Or even only touch (there was a Philip Dick novella about blind-deaf mutants I think. They developed special touch only language and later superpowers).
Some maybe would prefer to stay blind after mastering echolocation or decide that seeing people in dim auroras of scattering deep space radiation is much better.

Exurgents wanna eat your ass and you are low on ammo? Register to mobile gear catalogue at eldrich.host.mesh! ORDER NOW! FOR FREE PLASMA MINIMISSILE PACK! *explosive delivery options included

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Also, one thing that might

Also, one thing that might happen is transability; someone who upgrades senses at the expense of never repairing things they didn't get which would've been considered standard.

E.g. going for echolocation, or sense X instead of vision. Analogous in some ways, but very much different.

Laskeutua Laskeutua's picture
zkline wrote:

zkline wrote:

One interesting tangent about all this is that I don't have a lot of understanding of what a lot of habitats, morphs, etc look like. I was reading through a couple of adventures yesterday and the map was less than edifying for a variety of reasons. This is only tangentially related to disability in the setting, but it's still something to consider :)

This might stimulate some of your imaginings then: one of the pictures in the books that showed New Mumbai depicted a corridor to be hexagonal. I like to think that in the EP universe, with most people experiencing microgravity, that the layout of most places looks a lot more vertical.

Also, as far as character goes - if I were running a game, I would treat the permanent loss of a sense input (e.g. blindness, deafness) as a severe form of neural damage (maybe a 20cp negative trait? - 30cp traits tend to be reserved for stuff that has the potential to be lethal I've noticed). This gets around the 'oh, why don't you just resleeve' problem.

Alternatively, because it can be hard to scrounge the money together for a new morph, a similar morph trait would appropriate, but I think it lacks the gravitas of the first option.
There's an interesting story to be had with a character who, in the transhuman future, cannot reclaim their vision.

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
Autism and the like are probably going to be present but less apparent due to Tech helping to assuage any problems they could cause.

The more I learn about autism, the more I realise that it would be a driving force for muse adoption - a lot of what I've read (and a couple of anecdotes too from people close to me) point to education and mental stimulation as something that can help overcome many of its nastier expressions (I'm being deliberate with this phrasing, neither cause or cure is something we have an answer to and I'm not sure we ever will). Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if the first muses invented in real life were as a way to help autistic children.
I've always taken the position that in the EP universe, people don't just think you're weird for not having a muse, people wonder about your mental health and might even assume your parents hated you.

Baribal Baribal's picture
I'd agree with

I'd agree with ThatWhichNeverWas that for the purpose of discussing disabilities in a transhuman settings, only those should be considered that aren't easily treatable; all others are just personal choices, and examples of playing with morphological freedom, even if the disability may be congenital. On the other hand, I do recognize that there are disability-related cultures; also, I do wonder, are there post-silent-film-era soundless movies, geared towards representing, or taking place in deaf people's cultures? And if so, do they have subtitles for the signing-illiterates? (I once saw a video by a signing storyteller on YouTube. It deliberately had no transcript. I kind of felt discriminated against.)

To extend boomzilla's arguments about autism being something that parents may select against, and that there actually is a genocide of Down syndrome taking place, I'd like to point out that autism is overrepresented in scientific research, and probably some other aspects of society, meaning that selecting against it due to wanting only the best for one's child (whether that actually is good or bad doesn't really matter here) is negatively affecting humanity as a whole. Ajahn Brahm also likes to tell of his time volunteering in an institute for children with Down syndrome, which taught him a lot about empathy (No, not by him having to express it; by the children expressing it towards him), so that might already be impacting humankind negatively. And while we're at it, how about selecting against sociopathy, which apparently 10% of top-level managers express?

One more thing: What format will "The Whispering Muse" be? Source book, or fiction stories? For both, I could imagine different versions of a professor's work describing both dying and blossoming disability-based cultures. Heck, he might be someone on Bright who noticed the number of cases of neurodiversity right around him.

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

Laskeutua Laskeutua's picture
Baribal wrote:I'd agree with

Baribal wrote:
I'd agree with ThatWhichNeverWas that for the purpose of discussing disabilities in a transhuman settings, only those should be considered that aren't easily treatable; all others are just personal choices, and examples of playing with morphological freedom, even if the disability may be congenital. On the other hand, I do recognize that there are disability-related cultures; also, I do wonder, are there post-silent-film-era soundless movies, geared towards representing, or taking place in deaf people's cultures? And if so, do they have subtitles for the signing-illiterates? (I once saw a video by a signing storyteller on YouTube. It deliberately had no transcript. I kind of felt discriminated against.)

Simply?
Yes.
It's niche, happens more often outside the anglosphere, but it does exist.
Search for deaf rapping sometime, it's a strong testament to the culture is.
Also, Auslan - australian sign language - has some of the best swearing of all sign language groups. Also one of the bluntest languages. As someone who values brutal honesty and hates dicking around with niceties, it's amazing.

Baribal wrote:
To extend boomzilla's arguments about autism being something that parents may select against, and that there actually is a genocide of Down syndrome taking place, I'd like to point out that autism is overrepresented in scientific research, and probably some other aspects of society, meaning that selecting against it due to wanting only the best for one's child (whether that actually is good or bad doesn't really matter here) is negatively affecting humanity as a whole. Ajahn Brahm also likes to tell of his time volunteering in an institute for children with Down syndrome, which taught him a lot about empathy (No, not by him having to express it; by the children expressing it towards him), so that might already be impacting humankind negatively. And while we're at it, how about selecting against sociopathy, which apparently 10% of top-level managers express?

Autism is also a touchy one because its tendency for misdiagnoses. Growing up, pretty much everyone who wasn't immediate family thought I was autistic. I meet a significant proportion of what is commonly cited as the diagnostic criteria. I remember we had these posters in the classroom with the symptoms, and teachers would always single me out as an example of it.

A psychologist visit - and a second opinion - later and the conclusion was that I wasn't autistic, I just didn't care what people thought of me. I remember these words regarding it: it's not a disorder if it has no meaningful impact on your quality of life.
Maybe that just speaks to the attitudes of the psychologists in my area.

Similar story with another family member and ADHD, it was bad enough that 'intensive medication' was called for. Turned out to be a dietary issue - his ADHD symptoms vanished when eggs were cut out of his diet.

I'm not saying every diagnosis of these conditions are wrong, that would be irresponsible, but it's equally wrong to suggest there are no alternative explanations, especially if those possibilities remain unexplored.

I raise these to back up a belief of mine: My opinion is that the parents who care that deeply - the ones who, if given the technology, would go out of their way to obsessively select for different genetic expression - are the ones already medicating the hell out of their kids at the first indication that something may be 'atypical'. I've seen it suggested that this is the 'typical' parent, but - and I honestly wish I had numbers to back up this as opposed to anecdotes but I wouldn't know where to look - I would argue that's likely not the case. I know quite a few parents who preferred being surprised, specifically asking that details such as sex not be revealed during ultrasounds - 'I don't care, just as long as you don't see spina bifida'.
At least among the people I associate with, 'what's best for my children' basically amounts to 'I want them to do well in school, but I'll honestly just be glad if they get through the next few years knowing that they shouldn't eat rat poison'.

I've met only one parent who completely fits this stereotype of 'I'll do [insert extreme thing here] because I want what's best for them' and she had... issues of her own. I don't want to say they had paranoid delusions, I'm not a psychologist, but assuming the default position of 'my kids are supervised at all times, even inside the family home, because I can't trust my neighbours to not be kidnapping rapists' is a worrisome statement.

On the other hand there are parents like mine who take a 'don't fix what ain't broke' approach to things and would rather wait and see.
If we're talking in the context of the EP universe, Psychosurgery would only be an option if we're talking about mental disorders that directly lead to violent and/or self destructive outbursts - most other disorders they're inherently skeptical about.

Baribal wrote:
One more thing: What format will "The Whispering Muse" be? Source book, or fiction stories? For both, I could imagine different versions of a professor's work describing both dying and blossoming disability-based cultures. Heck, he might be someone on Bright who noticed the number of cases of neurodiversity right around him.

I too am curious about this.

Laskeutua Laskeutua's picture
...

Accidental double post.

GenehackedGynoid GenehackedGynoid's picture
Fascinating points. I don't

Fascinating points. I don't have a ton to say about this at the moment, except:

Laskeutua wrote:
Autism is also a touchy one because its tendency for misdiagnoses. Growing up, pretty much everyone who wasn't immediate family thought I was autistic. I meet a significant proportion of what is commonly cited as the diagnostic criteria. I remember we had these posters in the classroom with the symptoms, and teachers would always single me out as an example of it.

A psychologist visit - and a second opinion - later and the conclusion was that I wasn't autistic, I just didn't care what people thought of me. I remember these words regarding it: it's not a disorder if it has no meaningful impact on your quality of life.
Maybe that just speaks to the attitudes of the psychologists in my area.


Sensory sensitivity - i.e. being overwhelmed by noises, smells, bright light, etc. - is an often overlooked symptom, and although it does not have a 1:1 correlation and there are other conditions that can cause it, it's the first thing I'd probably look for, personally.
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Getting a bit real here...

Laskeutua wrote:
Similar story with another family member and ADHD, it was bad enough that 'intensive medication' was called for. Turned out to be a dietary issue - his ADHD symptoms vanished when eggs were cut out of his diet.

I'm not saying every diagnosis of these conditions are wrong, that would be irresponsible, but it's equally wrong to suggest there are no alternative explanations, especially if those possibilities remain unexplored.

ADHD sufferer right here, and when I say sufferer I friggin mean it; managing it is what I do all day every day, otherwise I become an NPC in my own life.

I'm also acutely aware that it's a driving force behind my personality – I couldn't 'Cure' it and still be Me because I quite literally perceive the world in a fundamentally different way then those without it.

The funny thing is, the Symptoms of ADHD are completely treatable - give me Mesh Inserts and a Muse, or better yet Eidetic Memory and Oracle Nanoware, and all the downsides go away.

This is where I see the line between conditions like ADHD, Autism or Absent Senses, and those like Downs Syndrome: the downsides of the former can be conceivably be treated or negated, at least with EP tech, whilst the later causes fundamental and nigh-irrevocable quality of life issues.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Right. And the impact on

Right. And the impact on quality of life, is my issue. A lot of folks bring up that divergence in neuraltypical thinking, is good. And sure, thats fine. Eclipse Phase as a setting doesnt want for divergent mode of thinking. Where its birth from, is a nuance of detail that often doesn't matter. And most game tables if they attempted to attribute such a thing to austism, or adhd ect ect would more then likely do a poor job at it. Aneuraltypical thinking is as exotic, and esoteric as any given table allows. But a disability that worsens quality of life, would be hard/moderate to contrive in eclipse phase.

A pitch I have for Whispering Muse, is for various egos which have a quality of life degrading disability. Its a series of firewall, well now proxies, but they were sentiels who gotten a form of the exsturgient virus which isnt detramental to themselves and makes them seemingly immune to other exposures. But they're vectors for the virus, and dangerious around everyone. Firewall keeps them on an island on an exoplanet, almost like a Leper colony. They try to provide them as much analog goods, and services as possible. But they cant be backed up, because it could infect the server they're on. They cant use or be part of any mesh network because they're a vector for infection. They lose all access to their love ones and friends prior to the infection, as they're on a mostly secret leper colony.
Firewall then uses them to explore known infected locations. They've tried to protest this use of them like this before, but Firewall, simply stops sending food if they take to long to procede with the mission.