Transapient Interpreter Syndrome
As the number of transapients in Terragen space grew, it became evident that what a transapient thought was very different from what a being below the singularity thought. As a result powerful transapients could be very unpredictable and would do all sorts of seemingly meaningless things. To many it seemed that the only way to survive and possibly be in a favorable position in society with transapients, was to know at least partially what the transapients wanted. Of course this idea attracted many people who wanted to benefit from the increasing number of transapients. Eventually societies grew up where people were devoted almost full time to trying to find out what a particular transapient might do next. This social condition of observing and "interpreting" a transapient's behavior and trying to predict what E might do became known to later sociologists as Transapient Interpreter Syndrome, or TIS.
TIS affected and continues to affect almost all strata of society in one way or the other. TIS can manifest itself in a number of forms. Toposophy when used to study the possible reactions and behavior of transapients also becomes a form of TIS, commonly know as scientific TIS. However the most common form is transapient worship cults. In many societies throughout Terragen space there are cults devoted to the ritualistic worship of one or more transapients. The objective is to somehow communicate with the transapient in question and then "ask" em what ey need or want the cult members to do. Generally a reward is promised (if the communication works). Though is form of TIS is generally harmless and little more than a social nuisance, in some cases transapient worship reaches ridiculous proportions and the entire society maybe be crippled by TIS. This form of TIS is common among low tech societies, especially those craving for higher technology and having prior contact with high transapients (often with not so good results) archailect worship is also considered a similar, but less derogatory form of TIS. In more advanced polities (i.e. those actually having transapient Gods) there is usually a system to prevent memetic gridlock due to TIS. NoCoZo AI often give clear and precise orders as to what is expected from "worshippers", even though the reason may not be entirely clear to the worshippers. This sort of system is only a symptomatic treatment. TIS itself can only be treated through extensive memetic engineering by experienced transapients.
Most transapients react indifferently to TIS and its manifestation. Worship cults are generally ignored. But some transapients use them as a form of memetic control. More approachable transapients will on occasion directly answer some questions asked by cult members. However the cult members may be none the better for the answer and it may just leave them with more questions. Scientific TIS is however sometimes used by transapients to predict what other transapients of the same singularity may be up to; but this application is far different from what sub-singularity beings may understand. As a result many sociologists refuse to acknowledge it as form of TIS.
Although TIS is an inevitable aspect of a society where ordinary sophonts and transapients exist together, on the whole it is considered by most (except those affected by it) to be simply a waste of time and resources. After all it is generally agreed by most that a being below the singularity can never know what a being above the singularity is thinking. But even then dissent is strong and varied. Toposophic researchers believe that one day scientific research will allow the correct interpretation and prediction of a transapient's thoughts and actions. Transapient worshippers believe equally strongly that one day their transapient will answer all their questions and if they do exactly as they are told, they will be rewarded with godtech or even transapience (or whatever the cult is interested in acquiring).
Text by Basu
Initially published on 01 February 2004.