A metamummy is the mind of a deceased organism that has been preserved with the use of Ischerite on Coracan. After death, the mind, separated from the no-longer-working body, decays quickly. Normally, a new mind is created from the remnants of the old one and reconstituted with the memories of others. The drawback is that as a metabeing, this new mind is reliant on the attention of other beings to continue existing. This means that the deceased are typically subject to changes over the period of time that people remember them that closely resemble the process of ageing while they were alive. Eventually, their consciousness, appearance and abilities will degrade to the point where they can be considered dead. Metamummification is the practice of stopping this decay and preserving the person's mind forever with ischerite, which serves as a surrogate body.
There are two main types of metamummy: spontaneous and anthropogenic. Anthropogenic metamummies were created deliberately for those people after post-death immortality, while spontaneous metamummies were created unintentionally, due to natural conditions, such as a highly remote place of death with high concentrations of ischerite.
The meta-embalmer's priority is to preserve the mind as quickly as possible, before any decay. This ensures that the mind has a maximum continuity of memories and behaviour after death.
Ideally, any person wanting to be metamummified would expose themselves to a chosen piece of ischerite their entire life. This would create an affinity between the person and their ischerite, allowing the person's mind to easily transition easily into the ischerite, without the need for a meta-embalmer.
More often, however, the meta-embalmer would be called to the house of the dying person and they would expose the person to a piece of ischerite. The soon-to-be-deceased would undergo a more intense program to ease the mind's transition into the ischerite. Unfortunately, the exact method of this is lost.
Despite the preference for quickness in metamummification, after-death metamummification is still possible, such as in cases of sudden death. Ancient sources describe that the meta-embalmer would rub a cut of fur on a piece of amber to make the ischerite more receptive to storing the mind of the deceased. This method of metamummification, while the quickest, is the most likely to have imperfections.
The first recorded instances of intentional metamummification date back to the Brontic civilisation, more than 10,000 years ago. These practices themselves probably originated from observing cases of natural metamummification and then learning to engineer situations by placing the dead in areas where this happened.
Decline of the practice
Metamummification was still practised at the start of the current era, 4300 years ago. It continued as a mainstream practice in many parts of Coracan up until around 2000 Fa. Historians attribute much of the decline of the practice to the growth of anti-metamummification sects in Ngamarakadanism. Between then and the early 4100s, it continued in some areas and ethnic and religious groups. Since then, almost zero people worldwide have been metamummified; the process is unheard of in Coracan except in some isolated groups and very few people know how to metamummify a person.
Reasons for metamummification
Some reasons are cultural, others personal. In the Brontic civilisation, for example, they believed that death is merely another landmark in life, like being born or getting married. They believed, therefore, that there was no reason why the body and mind should be left to decay and so they practised the preservation of both. Many other cultures, particularly ones in Torica or those historically culturally connected to it (like the Nokola'I), also believed that the mind should be preserved whenever possible.
People who have chosen to be metamummified historically often cite the belief that there should be no reason for their mind to be significantly altered upon death since the process of metamummification exists.
Criticism and drawbacks
Opponents of metamummification typically accused their opponents of an excessive fear of death. They pointed out that the existence of a metamummy is extremely limiting, considering that the mind of the person is trapped within the ischerite. The mind of the person is also vulnerable to the physical destruction of their crystal.
Further criticism argues that metamummies are vulnerable to extreme loneliness as, after a few generations, nobody will remember them anymore and, at the point that detached minds would have died.
Also, if a metamummy leaves their crystal, or their crystal is destroyed, all the years will come down on them all at once.