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Thoughts on Lapism

Lapism isn't a religion in the usual sense, there's no specific deity to be worshiped, no teachings on the afterlife and no divinely inspired holy book.  There is no clergy, no idols or icons, no proselytizing, no tithing and no formal prayers.  Rather it's a form of transhumanism, a movement that uses science and technology to improve humanity.  Lapists have their bodies genetically transformed into anthropomorphic rabbits.  The alteration isn't merely cosmetic, the changes include modifications to the brain to reduce aggression and increase sociability.  The rabbit form also acts as social reinforcement; people expect a rabbit to be peaceful and gentle so that stereotype and peer pressure help insure that this remains true.  The transformation is quite expensive (the actual price isn't mentioned in the stories, but from various comments I'm guessing it's in the $100,000+ range) and while it is reversible, the process to be returned to human form is substantially more expensive.

Now the question I put to you, dear readers, is would you undergo such a procedure?

You would have a new body, shaped like a humanoid rabbit, with fur and claws and buck teeth, with increased strength, speed and agility, improved senses of smell and hearing and faster reaction times.  On the other hand, your brain would be altered, slightly tweaking your fight-or-flight response towards fleeing and increasing your need for physical contact with other Lapists (hugging, snuggling, etc).  You would also be strictly limited to a vegetarian diet, the mere thought of eating meat would make you ill.  You would also likely be forced into considerable debt to pay for the transition.  You would then have to wear this new form for the rest of your life, with people stereotyping you and judging you and your actions based on it.  You'd even be expected to take a new name.  And it's lapine only, you'd have no other choice in species.

Would you go through with it?


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Sep. 19th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think I'd want to make the change. I like myself the way I am and can't imagine doing anything so drastic as to mess with that. I once answered the furvey questionnaire that I would change into a bunny if I could change back, but that was a different circumstance.

...it was enough of a decision to get a tattoo.

I vaguely recall an article about people who have surgery to enhance their furry looks (horns, facial rearrangement) but can't find it in a quick hop on the net.
Sep. 20th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
There was a time when I would have liked to have been a rabbit. This was shortly before "horse fever" hit me, and shortly after being absolutely enthralled by the novel "Watership Down" (which remains one of my very favourite books - I have four copies, and the movie on LaserDisc and DVD!) :)

These days however, no, I don't think I'd want to be a humanoid bunny. Horse maybe, or better, a Unicorn, but not a bunny. Too many dang kids demanding Easter Eggs all the time! ;)
Sep. 20th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
Have you read Fox Bunny Funny? It's a graphic novel about a fox who wants to be a rabbit.
Sep. 20th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
Though I'm born in the year of the Rabbit, and I loved Watership Down, I don't know if I'd go through with it.

It's tempting, but there are a few detractions. For one thing, I'm not well socialized, so I'd probably suffer for lack of snuggles. I'm fearful enough as it is, I don't need more of that. I like meat way too much; I'd hope the change would make me actually like vegetables.

The real rough part would be reingesting my soft pellets.

There's a good side and a bad side for everything, I suppose. Would it be worth the soft, warm fur? Maybe, maybe not.

Oh, I see this comes from Phil Geusz. He's pretty clever.
Sep. 21st, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
You should read Phil's book. It's very well done.

Yes, the physical change would make you crave veggies. He never mentions recycling partly digested stuff, but if it were necessary you'd crave that too just as a real rabbit does.

The cuddles part is also near instinctive and the transformation makes lapists want to hug each other and snuggle, even with their political enemies.

It's far from being all sugar and cream, though. (Or should I say carrots and celery?) I recommend the book highly, and have been intending to do a review of it.
Sep. 20th, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
I think I'll wait for the rat model. Plus, where would I get $100,000?
Sep. 21st, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
I've read Phil's book and liked it a lot. As usual, there is considerable depth and complexity to the images and concepts he uses, and they can be interpreted in multiple ways.

At this point, no, I wouldn't choose to be gengineered into anything. But I certainly would like to be able to read the whole of The Book of Peace. The context here is about perception and response, I think, rather than the real physical transformation. A lapist does transform himself, yes, but largely as an outward symbolic representation of the transformation he is trying to undergo internally. While I agree that the physical transformation would help to enforce the desired spiritual and mental transformation, I don't believe it is essential to the process. And I do believe that the mental refocusing is the real goal of the whole thing. ;D
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