Still More About Me, Continued

I was talking about the down side of human teleportation.

Why do you think I say “types of person” rather than “modes of travel”? I say that because, while you make certain sacrifices to travel the way I did—like not starting my career until I was practically middle-aged—you make certain other sacrifices to travel via teleportation.

It takes a special kind of person to be willing to be disintegrated, even if the new you is identical in every way right down what you had for breakfast and what you were thinking about when it happened. I mean, how do you know you’re the same person? Just because you have someone’s memories doesn’t mean you are that fellow. Of course, people who teleport regularly will tell you that the same is true of each of us at every single moment of every day. So what’s the diff?

The diff, my friend, is that “identical in every way” is not completely and totally accurate. Make no mistake—you’d never notice any difference. But over time, in the course of many QTs, an infinitesimal difference or two creeps in. Maybe a quark is having a bad day or there’s a random molecule of something or other in the reconstruction chamber.

The thing is, “identical in every way” now includes the flaw. Over many, many QTs these infinitesimal differences have a cumulative effect. The person merrily blipping into and out of existence all over the galaxy starts to look a little, well, rough around the edges.

And it’s not just looks. Things start to happen to the mind as well. In short, if the person personning your consulate is one of these guys, then you have a consul who was probably cynical to start with—bent on taking multiple or extremely remote posts just for the extra pay—AND is now quite possibly suffering from mental and physical deterioration.

Unlike some, I don’t fault QT travelers for failing to recognize that they have a soul that makes them unique. Actually, only someone who believed he or she had a soul could, in my opinion, teleport with something approaching moral integrity. If you believe you have a soul, then the destruction of the body isn’t such a big deal.

But in my experience, which is admittedly limited to the diplomatic community, teleporting consular representatives tend not to believe that there is anything about them that exists independently of their flesh and blood. And they let their bodies be destroyed anyway. A person like that has nothing to lose, morally speaking. What aspect of your existence is he or she going to respect, let alone cherish?

The contrast I’m drawing is completely self-serving. I realize that. But I’m not going to lie to you to avoid looking narcissistic. In all humility, you’re damn lucky to have me. You have Ponder Orbis to thank for that.

Remember that your humble Consul General doesn’t just represent the GHC here on Earth. He also represents you in the GHC. Lots of people in the Consortium Diplomatic Corps have jobs that relate to Earth in one way or another. I’m the only one whose job it is to be your advocate, your friend, no matter how stupid you are or how badly you behave. And you do in fact need all the friends you can get.

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