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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Empty Man  
  A fully-functioning body, the personality of which had been wiped clean.  

...there came a young criminal. His name is forgotten and his crime is secret, but it must have been a terrible one. The State wiped his personality for it.

Afterward, he was a dead man: still warm, still breathing, even reasonably healthy - but empty.

The State had use for an empty man.

From A World Out of Time, by Larry Niven.
Published by Random House in 1976
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