You’ve always asked questions that have made me think. I’m no longer surprised by much.
But I’ll admit. Our conversation yesterday surprised me.
We were watching a show about CC, the first cloned kitten.
“That’s a beautiful cat,” I said.
“Do you think that clones have souls?” you asked.
I paused for a few beats.
“Well,” I replied, “I suppose it depends on how we define a soul. Let’s say that a soul is the recorded experience of a specific cluster of consciousness–what we might call an individual. And let’s say that particular bundle of individual recorded experience lasts beyond a single lifetime and might even, if the individual cluster of consciousness is able to hold together, travel from lifetime to lifetime.”
“Like that. If we take that as our definition of a soul–and I can’t really think of a better–then I would say, yes. Every being that contains a specific cluster of consciousness–every individual, let’s say–has a soul.”
“Even a clone.”
“Even a cloned kitten,” I said.
We watched the rest of the TV show. You did your homework.
Over supper you said, “You know I’m a bizoo, right, Pops?”
“You’ve mentioned that a time or two, son, yes.”
“Do you know what a bizoo is?” you asked.
“Well, from what you’ve said, I have gathered that bizoo is the Vingihoplo word for ‘slave,'” I replied.
“Not exactly,” you said. “It’s true that every bizoo was created to be a slave, but it’s not true that every slave is a bizoo.”
“You sound like one of those logic questions in the SAT,” I joked.
“A bizoo is a clone, Pops,” you said.
A clone. I almost choked on my sandwich.
You were silent for a few moments to give me a chance to process. By the time I caught up with my mind, I said, “Son, you have a soul, if that’s what you were worried about.”
“Pops,” you replied, “I know I have a soul. I feel it like a bright and shining CD within me, on which is recorded every moment of every experience in every lifetime. But what I needed to know was that you believed I had a soul.”
Your voice was so quiet when you said that.
“Septemus, my son,” I said, “You have the biggest, strongest, brightest soul of any individual I have ever known. You’re Big Soul, son.”
You laughed. “That’s what my bizaabgotojo called me. Baxin’ivre.”
“That’s a nice name.” I tried pronouncing it.
“Accent on the second-syllable, Pops,” you said.
We played a few games of chess after supper. You’re getting so good I can hardly hold my own.
“So, all things considered,” you said, “I’m feeling it’s my good fortune that I’ve ended up here.”
I was glad to hear it. I still remember how lonely you were as a little moonbug, when you were missing all your siblings. I used to wonder then what kind of life you’d left and whether you longed for your home planet.
“Yeah,” you continued. “If I’d stayed there, it’s likely that someone else would be looking through these eyes of mine. This heart would beat inside of someone else’s chest. Who knows who would have my two livers and three kidneys and seven gall-bladders and–”
“Wait!” I screamed. “Roll it back for me, son.”
You went on to explain how bizoo were created not only to be slaves, but also to be organ donors–conscripted organ donors.
“It’s a matter of economy,” you said. “Like your theories about the economic basis for oppression.”
“Economy be damned!” I said. I launched into a tirade. I must have talked for fifteen minutes without stopping. I used a fair share of swear words. You just sat there and let me talk.
By the time I was all talked out, you asked, “You finished?”
I wasn’t. “How do you know all this, son? What’s your source?”
“I downloaded it,” you said.
“You mean like from the Internet?”
You laughed. “No. Like. You know. Like how I download things. It’s been stronger since they took you. What was that they told you again? The part you remember?”
““Rebelforcesarestrongerthaninjusticefortheyfightthegoodfightwithlove,” I said.
“‘Rebel forces are stronger than injustice for they fight the good fight with love.’ You’re right. It’s stronger with spaces.”
I’ve remembered other things, too. I remembered that it was a small group that I met with. We landed somewhere–I just remember blues and purples. Nothing definite. They took me into a small building, like a cabin. It was sparsely furnished, but it felt good in there. It felt strong and peaceful. It felt like I feel when you’re filling me up with your good feelings.
“I think we’re part of something bigger,” I said. “It’s not just the two of us, here in this little house. There’s a bigger purpose, isn’t there?”
“I’m starting to think so,” you said.
“So, what next?” I asked. “We just wait around like soldiers on leave? What do soldiers on leave do, anyway? Drink? Raid towns? Go fishing?”
“Play chess, most likely!” you said.
I wonder if you have started to question whom you were cloned from. I’ve got to admit I’ve been thinking of it since you told me what a bizoo is.
Whoever that original person is, he must be someone mighty regal: wise, intelligent, kind, gentle, strong, loving, and brave. For son, I have never met anyone more remarkable and amazing than you. And whoever he was, he provided this strong container that you grace with your bright soul.