Transcendence is a step in the evolution of sapient species in which members of a species abandon physical bodies to become beings of pure energy. The term comes from the concept of "transcending" existence as physical matter and is sometimes referred to as "becoming". As stated by Captain Elizabeth Lochley, it is "the pinnacle in the evolution of any race".
With this achievement, members of the species gain vast knowledge of the universe and are able to freely travel in space without life support. They also become semi-immortal, potentially living for billions of years but are still capable of being harmed or even killed by certain methods.
Transcendence is usually achieved through natural evolution, but at least one individual has achieved it through genetic and telepathic manipulation. There is also the case of the First Born, wherein a member of that species manages to achieve transcendence through an exceedingly-long lifespan.
Known transcendent races and individuals
- First Born (billions of years ago)
- Ralgan (circa 7800 B.C.)
- Human (sometime before 1002262)
- Minbari (sometime before 1002262)
- In 1998 River of Souls Lochley says “ We know from the Vorlons and others, that when a race evolves beyond a certain point they no longer need a physical body” this some have interpreted that to mean the Vorlons when it has already been established by J. Michael Straczynski that they were actual physical life-forms.