Ascension Compensation Mods

Image from Juan Ochoa

A sophont who ascends to the next toposophic level retains continuity with eir former identity, unlike one who transcends. However even ascendees are by no means guaranteed to retain a similar personality or interests. For this reason an ascending sophont (an ascendee) may choose to use special ultratech software and hardware in order to attempt to retain a goal and/or 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 retain goals or enjoy activities e engaged in pre-ascension, despite the fact that such may activities become trivially simple at eir new toposophic level. The most common use is for ascendees who want to maintain fulfilling social interactions with their origin culture. 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, but for a real guarantee the mod must be designed by an entity at least one level above the target. In areas of the outer volumes where ultratech is not readily available, modosophonts have been known to design their own. However, these versions rarely have the sophistication to adapt with the evolving transapient mind (in cases where they do it is likely by accident). Even in regions where such mods are offered by transapient patrons/institutions many are wary of them as a lower toposophic mind has no ability to verify if all they will do is maintain an interest in the desired goal (similar to the beliefs of some that ascension mazes are designed to generate higher toposophic entities with values in-line with the maze creator).

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, even to the point of perversion. Though, for the most part, this doesn't boil over into a full blown instability.

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.

During ascension the mod evolves along with the increasingly complex reward algorithms of the individual, attempting to maintain a comparable devotion despite major cognitive differences. 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.