[Working draft of La dependence à la mort: An inquiry into the addiction to death exhibited by some of the capsuleer population of New Eden, University of Saikamon Medical Journal, Vol. 1, 1, (YC116) peer review pending]
There is a condition of immense psychological importance that has received little attention by the major medical treatises of the four major Empires. Where standard Amarr languages fail to encapsulate the idea, I borrow from the Gallente language the following term, which I believe to be an accurate description of an affliction plaguing the capsuleer population of New Eden: “La dependence à la mort.” The rough translation, to my Imperial and Kingdom readers, is “addiction to death,” but here is where the unwieldy nature of language prevents a proper explanation of the psychological phenomenon. The salient distinction lies in death versus the act of dying. But again, the “act of dying” implies that the death occurred of a voluntary nature. I need not remind my colleagues who study the neurochemistry of dependency, that rare is it that addictions allow choice in the matter without outside intervention.
Regardless, as customary for medical articles of this nature, I will provide a working definition of “La dependence à la mort.” An addiction is defined as a chronic disease that subverts cerebral reward mechanisms, functions of memory, and pathways of motivation and replaces it with a dysfunction in one or more of these areas. I extend this definition to observations made upon some number of the capsuleer population of New Eden regarding their experiences with death.
It may come as some solace to the reader that the condition itself is only observed among the clone population of New Eden, as their so-called “immortality” serves as the basis for negating the risk aversion that normally accompanies dangerous activity by the threat of the cessation of life. Indeed, it is this “immortality” itself that places so many capsuleers and those utilizing dropsuit implants at risk. Unfortunately, although the brain implants associated with ground assault forces are as culpable as capsule technology itself, this work will primarily focus upon the latter.
It behooves us to revisit exactly the process of how a capsuleer “dies.” Fortunately, what occurs at the “moment of death” is a well-understood phenomenon that has been explored by biologists, physicians, neurologists, and capsule engineers. As soon as the capsule’s sensors detect a sudden depressurization and extreme environmental shifts–typically brought on by a breach in the capsule’s hull–the hardware of the capsule records and digitizes the exact structure of a capsuleer’s entire neurology. It is a marvel of modern technology that every neuron is recorded, digitized, and then transmitted directly to the clone facility. However, this process results in major physical and psychological trauma in a two-step process: First, by the destruction of the capsuleer’s brain tissue to create the digital imprint, and second, by the injection of a neurotoxin directly into the brain that euthanizes the capsuleer.
Although many capsuleers recover quickly from this incident, the fact that the exact neurology is recorded and imprinted onto the clone, implies a lingering memory of the experience. As complex as a long-form game theory tree in application to cognitive behavioral studies, this vestige of the experience leads to myriad outcomes. Some capsuleers are adept at coping, other capsuleers fear the experience, still others function as if the event never happened at all. But of this subpopulation, I am most interested in the capsuleers who seek to experience the event again.
The psychological and spiritual ramifications of an addiction to dying are severe. The condition goes beyond mere suicidal tendencies, as the cloned pilot (or dropsuit specialist) is the only human being in the history of the universe that can act on those tendencies without consequence given the proper circumstances. The phenomenon of “suicide ganking”–or the act of utilizing a ship outfitted for pure damage at the expense of any other attribute–in highsec is evidence enough that the addiction to death is rife through the ranks of capsuleers. Such incredible disregard for life, in many cases, innocent life, while exposing oneself to the extremes of space, is a major threat to the stability of the psychological well-being of the capsuleer population. Examining the issue closely, these constant acts of selfish addictive suicide lead to casualties and fatalities beyond just the capsuleer at the helm.
As an interesting case, the reason for the “sacred flesh” doctrine adhered to by the Imperial Heirs and enforced by the Theology Council may lie in the possibility of an undying yet suicidal Empress taking power. This is one of the major contradictions of current Amarrian theosophy, as the argument of “God wills it” can essentially be applied to any exception and seemingly, it is applied to this possibility against the backdrop of the fact that the reigning Empress did not perform the ritual suicide as is customary. Further elaboration on this point will require a separate venue, as I do not want to waste time on important psychological research by engaging a tangent regarding a tertiary subject such as religion.
I recognize that my contribution to the research of the condition is limited, as I have not conducted any clinical trials of my own on the matter. Merely, I have identified the condition in qualitative terms. As such, research organizations such as the Servant Sisters of Eve should commence medical inquiries and studies to determine both the impact of the condition on the capsuleer population, as well as its prevalence within the same.