Flow, The
The Flow
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A unique symbiosis-based economic/spiritual system that is unique to the Biopolity; a network that links Biopolity citizens together in an ultra-holistic eco-economic harmony.

The Zoeific Biopolity is defined by Zoeticism and its Seven Axioms. In order to manifest these axioms in the everyday life of the citizens of the Biopolity, a unique holistic system has been constructed. This system is known as The Flow and is present in all Biopolity systems. It allows for a society based upon symbiosis rather than competition and predation.

At its core the flow is an inter-entity behavioural protocol that allows every living component of the Biopolity, including sophonts, to recognise needs in the society and coordinate activity to meet those needs. The physical components of the flow consist of a network of biotech/engineered communication organs present in all elements of a Zoeific society, from its organic infrastructure to the sophonts and Biopolity transapients. These organs detect the needs and desires of their host, whether they be the abstract requirements of a sophont for entertainment or the mundane need for a hab to have an atmospheric recycler. Using a plethora of means these requirements are transmitted to everyone and everything else; through bioradio, sonar, pheromones all the way up to more complex uses of physical language be it song, dance or otherwise. All entities connected to the Flow process the deluge of information in their environment and based on that input will follow a set of behavioural rules that will emergently lead to the correction of problems and the provision of needs. The rulesets are created and disseminated through the Flow by the ruling archai of the Zoeific Biopolity.

The Flow creates a Bio-socio-economic structure that insures that the consumption of resources stimulates the generation of the consumed resource by the replication of biota that supply said resource. This ensures a stable and thriving biont-friendly environment. It is important to note that this includes sophont entities who are often influenced to alter their bodies and minds in ways that make them suited to performing a needed Role. This is referred to as a Calling and the vast majority of biopolity citizens have several. As with vocations across the Terragen Sphere there is no limit to the variety of Roles; some sophonts may answer their call and be modified by the Flow into a sessile, transavant coordinator for spacecraft traffic management, others may simply accept a modification that makes it possible and enjoyable for them to consume waste products of other people/processes. In many ways this makes The Flow the one of the most advanced and unique forms of envirotech in Terragen civilization. While in most other empires envirotech exists purely to serve the citizens in the Biopolity the distinction is blurred. Consequently, given such an active role in maintaining their physical and social institutions the Zoeific Biopolity has a rate of economic participation that approaches that of the NoCoZo. However, most Biopolity citizens would scoff at the notion that they are labourers to a simple life support system; to the adherents to Zoeticism The Flow is the divinity of The Blue and Green Goddess made real. It is the ultimate expression of living as a holistic, connected ecosystem.

For many sophonts not from the Biopolity the fact that the Flow alters the mind of its sophonts to like the tasks they are being called to do waveres worryingly close to hive mind domination. The opinion of the Biopolity is quite different and defenders of the Flow point to its benign nature. No one is required to answer a Calling, if the instinct to accept a new role is ignored for long enough (or mentally pushed to one side) the Flow will move on. Eventually a suitable candidate, sophont or otherwise, will be adapted or simply grown outright for the task. Even once in a Role sophonts in the biopolity are only ever weakly bound to them. Despite mental and physical augments ensuring that no role is ever considered a burden the mental architecture of sophonts is left in a state where they are free to let their interests wander to the point another Calling may take them. Biopolity citizens receive feedback and guidance from The Flow as to what actions an individual has to take in order to do his/her part. These can include instinctual drives, pleasurable sensations, feelings of mental satisfaction, or outright advice from other Sophonts or a local Lifegiver. A simple example could be a gentle subconscious reminder to water or tend important plant life, followed by a sensation of satisfaction during and after doing the work. Consequently leaving Roles and answering new Callings is a frequent phenomenon in the Biopolity. Despite these assurances many societies throughout the Terragen sphere are wary of the Biopolity, even going so far as to exile citizens that visit in order to prevent "a plague of mental domination" (as one nation famously put it).

The web of symbiotic relationships managed by the Flow usually increases with the complexity and intelligence of the biota in question. Sophonts can serve a number of roles depending upon their skills and even their bodies with Calls for Roles directed at those who would require the minimal level of augmentation to serve crossed with those who would be more interested or would be more benefited by the experience. Roles for sophonts include:

  • 1 Being augmented to digest a certain quantity of material each day that is digested into waste with powerful fertilizing properties for other organic entities in the hab.
  • 2 Developing language and empathy to a heightened state in order to mediate social interactions with those who request such intervention.
  • 3 Growing large with a migrationary lifestyle and an interest in socialising so as to serve as personal transport for entities that need it.
  • 4 Using one's womb to incubate the spores of various sophonts and biotech components that require an environment for replication.
  • 5 Remodelling one's brain for a heightened state of creativity in order to create pleasing and thought provoking artistic arrangements for the community.
There is no easily accessible accounting system within the Flow, however those who reject Callings for too long may find themselves being less able to acquire physical goods, services or even rewarding social relationships (non-sophont entities cannot resist the Flow in this manner). The Flow tries to correct for situations like this by searching for and even creating new Roles for these individuals that they would find fulfilling to accept. In the rare case where nothing is accepted for too long these individuals may be slowly marginalised socially as well as geographically, along with others in a similar situation. Some critics decry this as "ghettoisation" but Biopolity defendants point out that in many cases these non-participating communities eventually formally split into their own polities to pursue their own lifestyles. Visitors to the Biopolity should be aware of this, even without suitable modifications to directly participate the Flow will still attempt to Call visitors to Roles, often using more subtle means such as social engineering. It is not possible to stay in the Biopolity indefinitely without eventually participating or being pushed out/to another part of the empire.

The greatest actors within The Flow are the Transapients such as the famous polymorphic Zoea. They control and often design the entire ecosystem of a particular biome or Biopolity habitat. It is for this reason that Zoea and similar Zoeific agents are called Lifegivers.
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Development Notes
Text by Rhea 47 and Ryan B
Initially published on 19 January 2018.