I have a slightly more nuanced view of the clones…
Think of the clones as a kind of Rough sketch copies made using more or less the same physical appearance and abilities, but for whatever reason, they only seem to be imparted with a fraction of the mind or soul of the original.
I think they have whatever kind of soul Pinkie has, but only a sort of pale imitation; created using the most “energy efficient” method for creating souls possible, which makes me want to compare them to some kind of new-born. So they are alive, but only just.
I evidence the first clone for this. She obviously gets a little bit of mental distress of her own when she realizes that she has to choose between Fluttershy and Applejack (Applesauce she called her, but not the point).
If the clones had stuck around a bit longer, maybe they might have developed much more. They definitely have the capacity to learn and feel, it’s just they are a near mental blank canvas with a few minor construction lines imprinted on it.
I keep imagining a scenario where the first clone may have begun to realize what was happening and skipped town. Possibly to find its own place in the world. If it can go from fun-loving to panicking, why can’t it learn how to love, make friends, and most importantly, fear for its life.
Of course, another possibility is that since the mirror pool absorbed the fledgeling, still developing energy of all the clones… and that have probably all developed a small amount of extra experiences from their short lives; their energies returned to the mirror pool gave the mirror pool a net profit from the en-devour of creating them; empowering the pool more than it would have worked on with only background energy to work with.
… meaning, a there’s a small possibility of the next clone to come out of that thing being a super-clone, with a much better faithfulness to the original, created by weaving together all the faulty copies of pinkie, their souls, and their minds.
Think of that last thought this way:
Alpha copies (Phase one, prototyping), this would be the first clone, and probably the second clone of the original. Used primarily for developing new experiences, diversifying from a single point of origin. These are the most alive of the early clones. These develop quickly mentally, becoming …almost… functioning individuals for their short time alive. These clones once returned to the pool improve the functional quality of future clones.->
Beta Copies (Phase two,“funding”), the copy’s copies. They are created with most of their usefulness coming from being that they are even more energy efficient in creation that the originals. As such, they only need a short time in the world before their act of creation has yielded a net growth of soul, needing only a few basic quirks to have been picked up to develop a net energy profit. As such, when they return to the pool, they mostly serve as “supplies” for the next set of clones; so the pool doesn’t have to sort of “Wing it” by Magyvering up a soul from the spiritual equivalent of a roll of lint and a paper bag.->
Gamma Copies (Phase three, testing), these are the next set of alpha Clones, or sometimes the beta clone of an exceptionally developed Alpha Clone. They are likely to be more faithful to the original, and are empowered by the large amount of energy and “Prototypes” that have been returned to the pool. Only a few need to be created. But they need to spend a fair amount of time in the outside world to gain maximum efficiency of their “Production cost” accrued from the Beta copies. These copies soon become incredibly able, rivaling, but not surpassing, the originals. (These would be what would come out of Pinkie trying to make a new clone now.)->
Delta Copies (Phase four, refined), these are the ultimate copies. Once the Gamma Clones have been returned, there is enough resources and “Test data” for these. There is a small possibility they will be what the pool’s automated processes have deemed “better than the original”, containing ALL
the traits of the original turned up WAY
past their usual parameters, and the combined experiences of hundreds of copies. The only fault with these copies is that they aren’t so much an attempt at recreating the original, but an attempt on improving on them. However, these are likely to be critically unbalanced and unadjusted to their new abilities. As such, these are the most likely to be “insane”, and also need the longest time to adapt and evolve (regardless of whether this is so they can return to the pond or to live in the world as the final copy). Also, I’m assuming that great care would need to be taken at this point to ensure that the being this is a clone of is the same one that created all the previous clones. Otherwise, rather than a “Perfect” clone, you get a “Mutant” clone… meaning that if Rainbow Dash ended up receiving a Delta Clone comprised of previous efforts of a Pinkie Pie clone, the result would be Firefly-esque in appearence, and likely to incorporate a large majority of Pinkie’s experiences and personality. Stopping the clone refinement processes at Delta is perfectly fine.
-> Omega Clones (Final Phases): Theoretically, if one goes further than a Delta Clone, you end up with an Omega clone. They aren’t mentally unhinged, they won’t have trouble adjusting. They are essentially a brand new being in and of themselves. They could have near- divine abilities, and be so powerful one would not be able to go against them without being similarly ascended in power. The best comparison to anything I can make is that they’d be on par with Celestia or Luna. And in fact, you could probably get a close approximation of Celestia by having the 6 Delta clones that come before roughly correlate to Surprise (Pinkie+Fluttershy), Faust’s early concept for Twilight (Pinkie + Twilight), Firefly (Rainbow Dash +Pinkie), a green haired Crystal Pony clone, a horse clone, and some kind of Misty maned pony Clone.
Also, I am now considering it theoretically possible that Sombra is some kind of Delta Clone of a Misty Maned Pony and a Unicorn.
Congratulations, if you read what should be in that button, I want you to know… I feel like i just gave a lecture on Ecto-biology. Which is kinda what this is.