The following post contains entirely speculative musings on science fiction and fantasy concepts involving ghosts and symbiotes, and has been hidden beneath a jump because it might be considered oogy.

Imagine if another person was fundamental to who you are. This is a condition that some people think of as a medical one; some people think of it as an emotional one. I don’t speak of love, or Dissociative Personality Disorder. In this situation, what I’m thinking about is the idea we all like to think about where a person isn’t just a sum of the meat and flesh and brains and memories and experiences they have had, but are somehow some other thing that persists.

Maybe they persist because they are a soul, a spirit. Maybe this person is literally always around you, an ethereal presence. A ghost, they are a composite without the needs of a device, and as proof permanent of the eternal nature of life. Would it make you less frightened to see them, all the time? Would you in time grow to accept the loss of your privacy? Would you mind, if it was them? Whether intimate or simply accepting, ambivalent or mutual, the relationship mutual or confrontational? A ghost is not the same thing as a symbiote.

Maybe they persist because part of your own body and flesh and mind have become a host for them. Unconsciously or consciously, helpless and unsure, they cast down deep spores into your skin, and now your heart beats for two. Your life is important to them, though they are not the same. They do not see what you see, smell what you smell, taste what you taste, but their blood and yours can mingle, supporting them alive. They probably don’t have any of the same experiences you do. Do not know what it means to be alive as you do, know what it means to love. They might not realise the experiences their presence hinders – or helps. A symbiote is not the same thing as a digital shadow.

Maybe they persist because part of your own body and flesh and mind, created for your own use, can also be home to them. You became a cyborg, a robot in part, a graceful operator in the world of digital warfare. There’s a place inside you, to store music and video, information and codes – a place that now, this person, your friend, your … more? is hiding, clinging to the inside walls of your electronic space. Are they a whole person? Are they just a memory that knows how to remember? A startlingly realistic simulation of someone you know?

These are things I’m thinking about.

Back to top