Ascension Compensation Mods
compmod
Image from Juan Ochoa
A sophont who ascends to the next toposophic level retains some aspects of eir former personality, unlike one who transcends and becomes essentially different. For this reason an ascending sophont (an ascendee) may choose to use special software and hardware in order to interact with eir former associates more easily.

Ascension compensation mods (or comp-mods) are adjustments to an ascending sophont's reward pathways that allow em to enjoy activities e engaged in pre-ascension, despite the fact that such activities become trivially simple at eir new toposophic level. The most common use is for ascendees who want to maintain fulfilling social interactions with loved ones who will not ascend with em. Occasionally, an ascendee will apply a comp-mod for a recreational activity e considers a strong part of eir identity. More often, however, such ascendees prefer to seek a highly abstracted version of their former pastime that continues to engage their higher toposophic intellect.

The more reliable versions are designed by transapients of at least the singularity level of the target ascension. In areas of the outer volumes where ultratech is not readily available, modosophonts have been known to design their own. However, these versions don't always have the flexibility to adapt with the evolving transapient mind. While they do work better than chance, it is unknown to what extent this is due to selection bias. In and of itself, the determination to build and implement such a mod makes the ascendee more likely to maintain the desired interest.

Many transapient cultures reject comp-modding as a form of stagnation comparable to soobooism. However, quality ultratech mods rarely cause mental instability. There have been cases where ascendees have become obsessed with their chosen activity, completely unable to become bored with it. Though, for the most part, this only occurs when a homegrown mod does not receive a sufficient training period.

Most comp-mods work by implementing a non-sentient subroutine within the user's exoself to learn the various pleasurable brain states that occur while performing the chosen activity. This requires the sophont to frequently engage in the activity for some training period prior to ascending. For a typical nearbaseline using a quality mod, the training period is usually several weeks. Data retained by the ascendee's exoself is often invaluable in many ways when ever the ascended individual attempts to recall eir former self after the ascension process is completed, as it may include many details that the ascendee was not consciously aware of.

After the sophont ascends, the mod evokes the learned emotional state whenever the transapient (or eir avatar) engages in the activity. Transapients who have used comp-mods suggest that the type of enjoyment is not quite identical after ascension but the differences are subtle and not easily explained to modosophonts.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Cyborgdreamer

Initially published on 20 February 2012.