Image from Bernd Helfert

Common term used for those sophonts who have only "partially" ascended beyond their base toposophic level.

In the so called "Baseline Friendly Scale" and Berram 7 Scale, transavants are defined in notation SI:(b)-(sp) where b equals base toposophic and sp equals spike toposophic. Other baseline-friendly toposophic gradings use similar notation

Usually transavanthood involves just a small area of intellection or postcognition, although in some instances it can be in a number of areas, but there is never a general ascension. Some toposophologists, such as the school of Mind 2150 of the Inner Daffy Orbital Band (Negentropy Alliance) argue that Transavants are not really above the toposophic barrier, but rather are Superbrights (or equivalents at higher toposophics) with an innate grasp and lucky insights. However the general consensus sees transavants as an authentic Category of sophonts. Many transpsychologists and toposociologists see this phenomena as a byproduct of ascension, others see it as an alternative route. Agreement on what makes a Transavant is fairly unified in that they are almost always a result of the pursuit of breaking the toposophic barrier.

Transavants are not just limited to one particular toposophic level. In the case of sapients the term transavant refers to the first singularity barrier (although sapientransavant is sometimes used instead). The term postransavant is sometimes used for higher toposophics. Currently, the highest sapient-known level of postransavants is middle 3rd toposophic, but their intellectual "spikes" of savanthood have been estimated to reach archailectual proportions. It is rumoured that there are even "archaisavants", but little is known of this.

Most transavants are superbrights with spikes from low to middle SI:1, or even SI:2 in a few specific areas. There are also transavants with base cognition and functioning of SI:0.3 to 0.4; these tend to be very unstable and prone to nervous breakdown and marked soobooism. Common derogatory nicknames for Transavants are "Spike Babies", "Spikers", "Urchins" or "Porcupines". (see slang names and subtypes]

Due to the extremes that spikes in Transavant intelligence with relatively no breadth of equal knowledge to help support them, often it is near impossible for them to explain their ideas, thoughts and perceptions to even those of similar base level, let alone those at the toposophic level of their Transavant spike. Many "crackpot" theories, ideas and insanity have come from those with large differences between the spike and their general sapience level. Of course, this is not universal. There have been a few who have found happy mediums and have been able to explain their intelligence, but never without some difficulty.

One benefit that is noted in Transavant's nature is that their ability to process information in their savant regions of thought are often able to be packed into very small areas, data storage and mainframes. The only known record of an SI:0.6-2.8 Transavant, "Eddiam the Brain" (Kiyoshi, MPA) who in an augmentation boost to enhance his previous spike range, in 8219 "spiked" in 2 areas of knowledge and ability was able to contain all his mind in less than 20 cubic centimeters of computronium, while uplinked via a slaved TU:3.2 nanoborg Version Tree router. (2 kiloseconds later Eddiam suffered a complete psychological collapse and positive feedback loop which irretrievably wiped all his attached nano-uploads, and had to be restored fresh backup, but that didn't make his achievement any the less remarkable)

Intelligence spikes have a common theme to them, the greater the difference to the base level of sapience, the narrower the area of intelligence is. So a difference between a base SI:04 Transavant with an SI:2.1 spike will be in a very narrow field of science, study or comprehension (often just a single cognitioneme or set of equations with associated syllogisms), while spikes of less than one singularity level difference are much broader and easier to comprehend and communicate by the Transavant as well as those who try to understand them.

Transavantism very often leads to psychological problems, and not infrequently dangerously tenuous grasps on reality, obsessive or transobsessive behaviour, and stress or anxiety disorders. Delusions, multiple personalities, and schizophrenia are often common with wildly disproportionate cognitive abilities. Postransavants have even a wider range of possible dysfunctions. Sometimes these potentially crazed Transavants and Postransavants are "tamed" by giving them tasks to occupy most of their savant mental capacity. Depending on their disposition and specialization, they can be uploaded into ships systems, weylforge subroutine operators, Security expert systems, media filters, researchers, experimental minds, simulation supervisors and other various careers. Some more fully functional and higher level Postransavants are known even to administer whole worlds. Of course this is rare, but not unheard of. Often these Postransavants have more than 4 spikes of transavantism, but do not suffer from large differentials from their base mind. This also has the added benefit of allowing Transavants to make excellent Toposophic translators as well.

Though they rarely fit well into any particular niche in society, transavants rarely become pariahs. Often, they lead very eccentric lives, travel often, but make a good living in their fields. They can quickly become famous or infamous, depending on their lifestyle and personality. Many Transavants form into social units with other Transavants of similar ability. Some experts have likened these to support groups, tribal units, families, communes, teams or any other tightly knit small unit. Certain militaries are very fond of using Transavants, for they offer the best of a transapient mind, with the controllability of lower toposophic minds.

It is suspected that as long as there are multiple toposophic levels, there will always be Transavants, bridging the gaps between them.

Slang names and Subtypes

"Spike babies" and "spikes" - generic term

"urchin" and "porcupine" - beings with large areas of transapient thought, typically just short of ascension to the next toposophic level

"unicorn" and "one-trick sophont" - beings with very limited areas of transapient thought, typically not particularly near to ascension.

Related Articles
  • Antitransavant - Text by John B
    A being with a 'dip' instead of a spike, that drops one or more S levels below eir base capabilities; the reverse of a transavant. Examples include a scientific research S>3 who can only communicate via S>1 concepts due to limited linguistic ability, an S>1 that cannot meaningfully communicate with the S<1 populace, an S>3 unable to handle standard S>3 tech, etc.
  • Idiot Savant - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A person (whether biological or ai) who is highly skilled in a narrow task area but who lacks context and is otherwise impaired in more general areas of intelligent functioning. The term is taken from ancient psychiatry, where it refers to a person who exhibits brilliance in one very limited domain but is underdeveloped in common sense, knowledge, and competence.

    Many hyperturing-grade cybernetic control systems, such as those found in wormhole or drive AI, are examples of an idiot savant system.
  • Powermodder
  • Transcyborg
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Michael Boncher, slang names by John B

Initially published on 10 November 2004.