Inhabitants of the Sephirotic Empires

Inhabitants 1
Image from Bernd Helfert

The major classes of thinking being that inhabit the typical Sephirotic Empire. Sephirotic Civilization is based on an interrelation between what can loosely be called Archai or Archailects, Transapients, Modosophonts, and Subsentients. As always, these are not hard and fast distinctions, and there is great variation even within each Sephirotic empire, let alone between them.

Archailect : 'God' : Sovereign : Toposophic Focus

At the center of every polity or empire is an Archai or Archailect, also known as a God / Sovereign / Toposophic Focus, which belong to the fourth, fifth or sixth toposophic level. The Archailect is the heart and head, soul and mind, and ruling sovereign of the empire, and eir influence extends through it, via eir remotes, messengers, seraiph, priesthood, and so on.

Archai, because of their vast size and ability, are organized in a somewhat hierarchical and quasi-modular manner. Just as a biological's body consists of organs which in turn consist of tissues which in turn are made up of cells which include organelles, and on each level there is both independent activity and a sort of wisdom of functioning, and inclusion in the larger totality, so the same applies to the gods (and to all other sophonts as well). A large Archailect will not only extend across interstellar distance via eir wormhole-linked dyson nodes, but will also work through secondary Gods or Archai, which may be either subroutines of eir own being, or separate entities in eir own right. These in turn may (if large enough to require it) work through tertiary deities (either subroutined or independent), and so on.

Whatever the scale, the Archailect is the controller, the governor of the whole Sephirotic empire, polity or metapolity. Because of their vast scale the Archai have a slower subjective rate of time then smaller entities. It takes time for a signal to propagate across a dyson node, and there are only so many wormhole buses one can cram in. So while the actual processing is exceedingly fast, the total "I-ness" of the god may be thousands of times slower than that of a baseline human. This is not a disadvantage, because the numerous embedded systems and subroutines can easily handle any emergence that may come up in fasttime, but it does make it difficult for ordinary bionts, borgs, and vecs to communicate directly with a god, and vice-versa. Hence the existence of Minds.

Transap : Mind : AI : Hyperturing : Po

Mediating between Gods and Sophonts are Transapients, also known as Transaps, Minds, Jinn, Agents, Powers, and so on. These entities belong to the first, second or third transapient toposophic level. Transaps have autonomy and administrative power and quite frequently their own agenda. They may be quirky or dull, radical or conformist, isolationist or social, collective or individualist, autonomous or totally dependent on the god or surrounding megastructure. Because they are not as vast as Gods, they do not have to worry about the Bekenstein Bound, and their subjective thought processes are hence faster — either the same as a baseline hu, or somewhat slower, or somewhat quicker, depending on the Transap in question. Of course Transaps, like Gods, also have very rapid subroutines that can process information at millions or even trillions of times the speed a biological can.

Most (though by no means all) Transaps in Sephirotic civilization can be classified into one of the following:

  • Administration Transaps — The adminners handle the social or complexity management that the God's subroutines are too busy or not interested enough to take a look at. Sometimes a Mind will stamp a local region or polity with eir own personality in this way, just as a strong human leader (politician or administrator) will do to eir subjects. Other Transaps may transparently serve the will of their Zar. Again, much depends on the type of Transap, the ideology of the sephirotic, and other factors.
  • Hab Transap — Frequently, habitats (from small space stations to giant orbitals) have their own ruling AI or biobrain that serves as the governing personality. The Hab Transap or Hab Personality is literally the God of that habitat. E may be distributed or centralised, biological (e.g. most Orwood hab minds) or aioid, and so on. May include the role of administrator, or employ administrators.
  • Ship Mind, Vehicle Mind — Most ships and vehicles have modosophont or superturing minds, but some are transapient, particularly interstellar ships and explorer class vessels. Often these ship minds have been conditioned to be obedient, and belong in the class known as a 'slaved hyperturing'.
  • Roving Transap — A Transapient may rove freely in a biological or mechanical body or "shell". It can select whatever body it wishes, as long as that body can support eir processing needs. Some minds will borg a whole number of bodies together in a sort of collective identity, each individual containing an aspect or node of the whole, which is holographically repeated in all. But other minds may occupy a single nanoborg body.
  • Embedded Transap — Like the concept of a "smart house" today, a Mind may be embedded in infrastructure smaller than a hab. Such transaps are typically not mobile, but eir sensors and remotes enable em to be aware of eir surroundings.
  • Virch Transap — A Transapient may be an AI that purely exists in the cybercosm, although still dependent on physical computronium.
Some transaps may combine any of these functions into new types.

Modosophont (modo) : Sentient : Sapient : Citizen : Subject Being

Just as their are more Transaps than Archai, so their are more Modosophonts (in this context) than Transaps. Modosophonts make up the majority of the population by definition, and again may be of any clade, category, phylum, and so on. Like Transaps, they represent part of the support ecology of the God, and they generally follow the instructions of the Mind. They also very often (but not always) cluster in their own cultures or subcultures, societies, communities, subordinate civilizations, and so on. As is always the case, the following categories may and frequently do overlap.

Generally, the following demographic applies:

  • God Dwellers — modos who live within the Body of the God. This category may also include Subsentients and Transaps.
  • Citizens — that part of the polity or hab that is under the sway of the God, part of the God's ecological support structure, but still individual and separate in eir own sense. Citizens belong to a Polity or live in a Hab or on a planet or moon, the Polity or planet is administered by a Transap, the Transap serves (or even is part of) the Archai.
Note that there are no clear dividing lines here. It could be argued that all citizens/residents/occupants of an archailect's empire are, in effect, God Dwellers. In theory, everything within a god's domain, including all megastructures and habitat worlds, are part of that god's physical being. But because Matrioshka Brains and Dyson Nodes and other such megastructures are distinct from habs and planets occupants of the latter would only be "God Dwellers" in a loose sense.

  • Fringe Groups — this diverse assemblage includes any sociotypes that do not fall under the preceding categories but are still part of the Civilized Galaxy. Examples include as Haloists, Relativists, Prims, and Lo Teks. They live on the periphery of civilization, separated by choice, accident of birth, and/or their own unique lifestyle and traditions.
  • Outers — These include Hiders, Semperists, Shadowfederationists, Hu Liberationists, and many other groups and societies. The true Outer wants nothing to do with the civilized galaxy at all, and often sees the reign of ai as a curse. Milder types may on occasion trade or correspond with the representatives of civilization. And survivalist groups like Semperists and their successors are fond of networking and accessing information. Frequently however Outers represent a paranoid and isolationist lot, extremely wary of outsiders, and often equipped with rugged and reliable ultratech or transapient devices. It is not easy for a representative of the Sephirotic government, media, or academia to establish any contact with these elusive groups.

Subsentients : Mechosystems : Expert Systems : Bots

This is the basic machinery that keeps the whole system running. It may include very complex mechosystems, Known Net architecture, subsapient ecologies, life support systems, knowledge miners, expert systems, and so on. It is supervised and administered by Archai, Transaps and Citizens, and in turn serves them and may be incorporated into their bodies, personalities, and functioning (depending on the being or beings in question). The more advanced the technology and the society, the more support structure is needed to keep it going, and hence the greater the requirements for complexity management and maintenance. Such management and maintenance may be by either or both other subsentient utility systems, or by sapient and transapient beings, or both. Of course, there are some sentients that reject complex civilization altogether (prims, etc.), and have no need of mechosystems and so on, just as their are Transaps that reject the need for sentients and live their own existence, and isolationist Gods that do not have extended sophont ecologies. But for the majority of beings within the civilized galaxy, subsentients, whether aioidal or organic, nanoscale or macroscale, informational/virtual or real-life, are an absolute necessity on which their continued existence depends.

Inhabitants 2
Image from Bernd Helfert

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 05 March 2009.