Civilized Galaxy - Sephirotic Empires

Sephirotic Empires (neomid)
Image from Copyright Richard Patterson

The Sephirotics - Data Panel

DefinitionMajor Civilization
SymbolNo single agreed upon symbol, although a stylised representation of the fourteen (or sometimes twelve or sixteen) sephirotics is sometimes used.
Ruling ToposophicSI>6
FoundedLate first federation period; spontaneous emergence of high-level transapient clusters following the second and third singularities.
PopulationOver 130,000 trillion sapients, mostly virtuals and artificials. Cyborgs and bionts make up a small but noticeable minority. Some xenosophonts like the To'ul'h, Ultimates, and Limners have happily joined. There are about a trillion first toposophic transapients, with a smaller number of higher toposophics. However the number of higher toposophics is equal to if not greater than that of any one of the other Terragen civilizations.
Predominant Sophont CategoriesAIs, postsapients, bionts, cyborgs, artificials, and virtuals.
Psyche, Art, CultureMetapsychology: Diversity seen as good, Archailectocracy/Aicracracy as ideal social/memetic organization, ascension to higher toposophics as useful goal.

Metaethics: Basically benign and helpful attitude to others sentient beings, although approach varies by individual sephirotic.

Culture and Art: Varies by individual sephirotic.

Languages: A wide range of ultimately Old-Earth-derived language families are spoken by bionts. Other sophont categories and clades may use different languages.
Government and AdministrationIndividual Polities: More than a dozen distinct sephirotic empires - viz Caretaker Gods, Communion of Worlds, Cyberian Network, Formalhaut Acquisition Society, Keter Dominion, The Mutual Progress Association, Negentropy Alliance, Non-Coercive Zone, Solar Dominion, Sophic League, TechnoRapture HyperNation, Terran Federation, and the Utopia Sphere. Each empire headed by a high level Archailect and each consisting of numerous component polities. The Metasoft Version Tree, and the Zoeific Biopolity are usually also included, although there is controversy as to the toposophic status of their ruling ai. The Orion Federation and Sagittarius Transcultural Cooperation, while a part of the Civilized Galaxy and Sephirotic Major Civilization, are not considered true sephirotics as they are not supervised by a > 6 level toposophic. As well as the above Archailect-ruled empires, there are various associated non-aligned polities and empires that share their values. The Perseus Princes are often also considered a part of the Sephirotic Major Civilization.

Government Type: Strongly hierarchical archailectocratic regime - hierarchical aicracy of direct administration by transapient ai, with those in turn supervised by higher toposophics). Subtle memetic rule by archailects and evidence of strong local autonomy for lower toposophic beings obscures this larger picture.

Constitution: Varies by individual polity.

Legal System: Varies by individual polity.

Citizenship: Includes members of all clades of sapient/sophont level and above, and in some cases such as in much of the Utopia Sphere even subsapients/subsophonts. However in some polities there may be a large proportion of the populace that lacks full citizenship.

Sentient Rights: Good to excellent by most definitions.
Economics and InfrastructureEconomy: Varies greatly (centralised, free market, post-scarcity, etc.).

Megastructures: A moderate degree of megascale engineering is the norm; much greater development in the case of the MPA and the main archailect nodes.

Stargate Nexus: Very Extensive, shared - the Sephirotics component makes up the largest element of the entire Nexus.

Beamrider Network: Extensive, much of it shared with the Deeper Covenant. However the Deeper's network is larger by at least an order of magnitude

Data Net: The so-called Known Net; very extensive, links to data nets of the Objectivist Commonwealth, the Diamond Network, and Solipsist Panvirtuality; but smaller in size than the data nets of the Panvirtuality and the Diamond Network.

Military Expenditures: On the whole moderate (varies by individual polity).

Extensive Trade and Good Relations With: Diamond Network, The Objectivist Commonwealth, and the Deeper Covenant

Interstellar Disputes: Solipsist Panvirtuality subversion and encouragement of local blights and perversities; Amalgamation remains aggressively expansionistic; Silent Ones refuse to sign amat safety regulations. The Shadow Federation continues with raids and incursions, although none serious enough to threaten other than peripheral and minor polities.
Sophont TravelHazard Rating: Ysually 0.0 to 1.0; in some cases up to 9.0 (depending on clade, polity or world).

Freedom of Movement for Outsiders: Varies by individual polity.

Environmental Requirements: Varies by individual polity.
Further CommentsThe central axis and greatest hyperpowers of the Civilized Galaxy, the Sephirotics consist of a number of vast archailect-ruled sephirotic and near-sephirotic superempires, along with various associated non-aligned polities and empires that share their values. Each super-empire is very different to the next, but on the whole they have more in common with each other than with the other civilizations. Sephirotics are very much hothouses for the various archai. That is - they're designed to be artificial to bring about specific features in sub-singularitan sophonts that higher toposophics find useful, interesting, 'quaint', or so on.

For Terragens the Sephirotics define the civilized universe. They are ruled over by hierarchies of superhuman intelligences, constitute utopias of unimaginable wealth and information, and are linked by a nexus of exotic-matter wormholes the like of which the galaxy has never seen. They have been so much a part of galactic civilization that it is difficult to imagine a time when they did not exist. More than eight and a half thousand years ago, a number of toposophic and ultratech breakthroughs enabled clusters of centralist hyperturings to ascend and become god-like archailects. They established vast interstellar empires through a nexus of exotic-matter wormholes, converting entire solar systems to computronium. They created angelnetted utopias where sophonts of all types and clades can have lives of unlimited affluence, pursuing their desires, lifestyles and creativity free from harm.

The Sephirotics - a problem of definition

It is not always easy to distinguish sephirotic from non-sephirotic empires, and as would be expected there is a lot of disagreement among various schools of archailectologians and historians as to what even constitutes a "sephirotic". This is because archailectologians and historians approach things in a totally different way.

Most archailectologians for instance define the Sephirotics according to the following characteristics:

  • Mostly sapient population, but governed by higher transapients, and the embodiment of a very high toposophic archailect
  • Has not been diminished in the eight and half thousand years since eir emergence
  • Embodies an archetypal principle or ideal, usually defined in terms of a missionary religion or memeticity
The Metasoft Version Tree and the Emple-dokcetics are each based on and around a single clade. The Technorapture Hypernation and the Objectivist Commonwealth do not admit any sophonts of less than first toposophic. The Deeper Covenant does not have high toposophic archailects. The Orion Federation is a trade polity and does not have an archetypal ideal or missionary religion. And so on.

In contrast, most historians have a looser definition. They reject the requirement that a polity be centred on a very high toposophic archailect, and acknowledge as members of Sephirotic Civilization any polities and superpolities that are sympathetic to, or have incorporated or been assimilated by, the basic goals and memeticities of the sephirotics, including relatively new members, and indicate only the following.

  • Governed transapients and overseen by archailects (although they do not have to be the highest level of archailect)
  • Constitutes a large and expansive (although not necessarily expansionist) hyperpolity or superempire
  • Linked by the Wormhole Nexus
  • Provides a favourable and nurturing environment for sapients as well as transapients
  • Encourages sophonts of every category, culture, and clade
  • Abides by sentient rights and the principles and treaties of the civilized universe
Hence the high toposophic ahuman hyperpolities and metaempires, such as the Panvirtuality, the Diamond Network, while of sephirotic vastness, do not abide by universal sentient rights (they may often persecute or exploit bionts). The Amalgamation does not recognise treaties. On the other hand new hyperpolities like the Metasoft Version Tree, the Orion Federation, the Zoeific Biopolity, and the former empires of Cygexpa and the Sagittarius Sphere.

Do the Archailects care for subsingularity sentients?

Despite the traditional benign approach of the archailects, it is often argued that events like the Version War show that even the sephirotic empires don't necessarily guarantee the life and safety of lower toposophics. Some say that their missionary ideologies are simply a more insidious form of the exploitation of lower toposophics that some ahuman empires practice. For this reason there are many sapients who are sceptical of the claims of the sephirotics, and seek non-aligned polities, hider communities, or civilizations like the Deeper Covenant.

For all this however, the sephirotics have not weakened their hold on the astropolitical and memetic landscape of the terragen sphere, or the loyalty and allegiance they inspire in the billions of polities and trillions of individuals under their care. And whatever the future holds in store, it seems unlikely they will do so in any foreseeable future.

Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 23 April 2003.