What is Sentience: Sentience describes that something / someone is aware of the world. Meaning, they know of what the world is like, and what is in it, and how to influence it and how it influences them; this knowledge is belief, or faith. Hence, sentience describes something / someone who holds faiths about reality. Sentience simply is, though it can be brought into being (such as upon birth and awakening) and extinguished (by sleep or death). Beyond that, it is poorly defined;(which is to say it lies outside of consensus); depending on the observer’s faith on what sentience is, it can seem to be spirit energy to some, souls to others, a mechanical result of brain activity to others, etc. The particular faith one uses to understand what sentience is, holds no truth in it except that it allows them to manipulate sentience; for example, a person who believes in sentience as souls can collect souls; a person who believes sentience as a product of the workings of the mind can alter the brain to create an altered sentience.
Levels of Sentience
Not all sentience is the same. The extent to one is sentient has significant impacts on reality:
Sentience of Self: One’s being sentient is perpetuated by one’s own sentience.
Temporary Insentience: One’s sentience is inactive while asleep or unconscious or comatose; but in the case of sleep, their faith, upon going to sleep, that it is merely sleep that will end in a few hours, helps to bring them out of sleep thereafter, thereby perpetuating their sentience. It is easier to kill someone by faith, if they’re not being sentient at the moment, ie they’re sleeping or unconscious or comatose; and to a lesser extent if they’re not fully aware of themselves, ie if they’re drunk; as at that time the sentience most important in perpetuating their own existence is inactive. This is one reason (among several) that people tend to die in their sleep.
Sentience of Nonhumans: Species that are highly developed, similar to humans, have some degree of sentience as well. However none have the degree of sentience necessary for magic, or for spreading rumors and memes; they essentially help to maintain the status quo of reality. They also lack the techniques for manipulating faith (such as derogation), and so their faith is pariticularly weak.
Sentience at Birth: All peoples’ sentience originates from others perceiving them as sentient. This generally happens at birth, as only then is the apparent human-ness of the baby evident, and the baby is able to act on its own, and so other people are able to associate them as being part-human. Before birth, this is not at all apparent, so before birth babies are not sentient..
Artificial Sentience: Much as people can give sentience to newborns via their faith, so one strong in faith can project their faith of a sentience into an inanimate object (such as a homunculus, conjuration, illusion or corpse), and bestow it with sentience. This is usually a very difficult thing to accomplish on one’s own, and especially when one is trying to create a sentience that is already educated, but various techniques can make it more likely to be successful. Depending on the particular faith of the caster, the artificial sentience may be either self-perpetuating or not; capable of learning or not; capable of free will or not; etc.