The act of dividing a transapient mind into many separate subminds of a lower toposophic level
A form of temporary abdication from a higher toposophic level to a lower one, sometimes done voluntarily but usually a form of punishment that higher transapients inflict on lower transapients for overstepping their bounds in dealing with nearbaseline humans or other modosophonts.
The idea is to make the transapient realise what it is like to be a nearbaseline, by directly experiencing life at a modosophont level. The transapient would of course not be able to fit into a single nearbaseline brain without extensive deletions. So, many copies of the transapient are made, and different areas are deleted from each one. Then each is downloaded to an ordinary nearbaseline body manufactured/grown for that purpose. The new being also contains the basic mental functionality needed to survive in er environment. These nearbaseline fragments are then usually dispersed throughout a polity or even volume. Each has a vague recollection of once being part of something greater but is otherwise an ordinary nearbaseline.
The point of fragmentation is that it is reversible. When the sentence is over, the fragments may be summoned back together and reunited. Alternatively, it may be up to the fragments to find each other and reintegrate one-by-one.
Alternatives to fragmentation exist, such as sending out partial replicas in nearbaseline bodies and periodically reintegrating them, or simply assimilating nearbaseline volunteers into an transapient consciousness. Fragmentation is reserved for the very extreme cases because, by its nature, it insures that the transapient develops empathy (though not necessarily a liking) for nearbaselines in many different areas and levels of their psyche at once.
In a few instances, a very sophisticated form of fragmentation involving nearbaseline substrates completely indistinguishable from ordinary ones has been used by transapients to hide from each other or to infiltrate each other's polities. There is an (almost certainly) nearbaseline cargo cult among the Sephirotic systems that claims to be such an entity. Detractors point out that such an entity would never publicly admit to existing, but then again this may be yet another level of misdirection.
Text by You can call me Al for now
Initially published on 20 September 2004.