First, a disclaimer:
This theory represents my interpretation of the structure of Brandon's Cosmere. As much as possible, I tried to base it on known facts from the books and interviews, but I am not infallible. Therefore, while everybody is welcome to discuss it, and everybody if entitled to their own interpretations, my opinion may only change if the direct, factual evidence is presented that contradicts my opinion, ad not interpretation of the fact that contradicts it. In other words - I am stubborn .
OK, I've tried to collect some data, but that was taking too long. So without further ado:
Concept of energy
One fundamental part of my theory is that in cosmere, like in our world, there is no true distinction between energy and matter. Therefore, in cosmere also, energy can form stable formations, on which I shall expound more in the Pathways and Cycles section. That also means that such formations can be broken and used to fuel other abilities.
The three realms
One of the fundamental differences between my and Kurkistan's theories is that I assume that all realms are equally important (does not hold true for all beings, but on the average). Any change on any realm results in the corresponding change in the other realms by the connection (see Pathways) between realms. Some changes, however, are easier to make in one realm over the other.
Now, for the Realms:
Let us assume that ShaiLu knows at least a little what she is talking about. That, as well as other evidence (which I may quote after edits) results in me defining Realms thusly:
All things exist in three Realms, Gaotona. Physical, Cognitive, Spiritual. The Physical is what we feel, what is before us. The Cognitive is how an object is viewed and how it views itself. The Spiritual Realm contains an object’s soul—its essence—as well as the ways it is connected to the things and people around it.
Primary(the main form or function of the realm):
The spiritual realm contains connections that define the way the object interacts with others. Stores interactions from past, present, and future. All of them can be changed. Connections are not strictly bidirectional - one object may be connected to the other but not vice versa. Ghost-like entities, for one, may see the world, but most of the world won't see them.
Therefore the presence of the physical object consists of its molecular and atomic bonds, as well as the connections between it and other objects, like gravity, EM, etc. Some bonds are reinforced naturally by both sides, and therefore regenerate (like gravity). Some do not.
Living objects are much more complex, and contain a "soul" which gives not only additional connections to Cognitive and Physical realms, but also additional ties to other living objects.
Secondary: You can store physical objects in there, like the full physical form of Shardblade. In fact, that seems to be true for all realms.
Cognitive Realm - Shadesmar
Shadesmar, unlike other Realms, is connected for all cosmere, instead of forming separate islands for each world, therefore enabling Worldhopping. I am of the camp that thinks that 1. There is no true vacuum in Shadesmar, so that the objects separated in Physical realm, like planets, are clumped together in Cognitive, and 2. Objects that see themselves, however vaguely, as parts of the whole -like Shards - tend to be closer together. Therefore, the whole cosmere forms a distinct part of the Shadesmar, rather than being in separate pieces.
Shallan screamed as she found herself in midair, falling backward in a shower of beads. Flames hovered nearby, dozens of them, perhaps hundreds. Like the tips of candles floating in the air and moving in the wind.
Now, my theory is that Cognitive realm is, in a way, a Realm of the Form. What the objects think of themselves, and what they are thought of by others. It does not mean that the form is presented in this realm - I highly doubt that objects see themselves as small beads. This is also the realm where all object are sentient, and contains their memories - not history, but memories. Increased connections between Cognitive and Physical make object sentient, although not necessarily alive.
Physical is the realm where, as evidenced by the name, most physical things reside. In a way, the most active Realm, certainly most important to the story. IMO, it is the default interaction Realm,where connections from Spiritual and choices from Cognitive come into play.
The pathways and cycles
You are standing in a maze of twisty passages, all alike
Another fundamental part of my Realmatics theory is introduction of pathways and cycles.
Pathways are "solid" energy forms that can direct more traditional energy. They can run both inside the boundaries of a Realm and across the boundaries, carrying energy from one realm into the other. The spiritweb, for example, is a network of pathways. The "form" ,the location(within or across realms) and the connection to other pathways define what effect the pathway can provide when it is filled with energy.
Cycles are loops of recoverable energy. A human soul is a cycle. A breath is a cycle, so that while the absolute power of a single Breath is limited, Breath never runs out unless broken somehow.
Some cycles can be broken, so they would leak energy and weaken over time. Even the pathways making up the cycle can leak over time, although that generally takes longer than simple energy leakage.
Odds and ends: positive, negative, neutral
Going by my theory above, the separation of Investitures into end-positive, negative or neutral depends on the sum total of the energy given to a cycle of user's well, soul, I guess, over time.
Hence, Allomancy forces more energy into your cycle, and though it leaves after usage, the sum total is positive. Hemalurgy breaks the cycle so it leaks until reconnected, so it is end-negative, etc.
Now, given the above theory, this is how I think the common magical systems in Cosmere work:
(Also, I am adding links to my old ASD again. If somebody is going to downvote them, at least post why. Keep in mind that not all ASD are up to date, but they (IMO) are still close enough)
This one is relatively easy:
Snapping creates a weakness in Spiritual makeup. Swallowing metal makes it part of Spiritual makeup as well (touching blood even more so). Metal provides additional pathways connecting parts of your Spiritweb with the wound and possibly reaching outside. Enough of the energy goes inside for you to feel the connection. When activated (burned), the metal channels energy from Preservation or Harmony into the pathways of your Spiritweb and those connected to it, strengthening them (tin, pewter) or even activating the ones that were passive (iron, etc). The metal gets ripped apart by the power going through it.
This is getting deep into the issue, but it has to do with a person's spiritual makeup and a 'wounded' spirit being easier to fill with something else, kind of like a cut would let something into the bloodstream.
You actually modify the pathways within (likely) spiritual makeup of the metal, in a way unique to your spiritweb (the part responsible for feruchemy, anyway) This also allows compounding, since altered pathways now provide the same power that was stored in them, but only for you (or the person who happens to have piece of your soul, see Hemalurgy).
OK, metal becomes part of Spiritual makeup - it is from fairly recent bit of info, not sure where exactly.
Anyway, in my realmatic theory the metal bonds to certain pathways (in addition to all physical damage it deals) and when extracted, carries that part of the spiritweb with it. The bonding isn't perfect - at least at first. The energy leaks out quickly, and the pathways start to decay and probably separate from metal. When the spike is inserted at the right place in acceptor, however, it connects to his/her cycle and receives enough power from that to stabilize. Becoming part of the whole cycle also helps with stabilization. My theory is that bound spike actually decays slower then simply harvested (since Vin's spike seemed OK with her not wearing it for years at time)
According to my theory, a Breath is a full cycle, which is pretty weak, compared to the actual soul. It has better connection (wider pathways) to the Physical realm, and can therefore be seen a little. While Breath by itself does not have a lot of Cognitive-Physical connections, it still has some, and that is why a lot of Breaths change your perception(perfect pitch, color perception, etc) in addition to improving some of your physical attributes (no illness, no aging). Also, Breaths are relatively malleable, since they have little to no physical form, probably, and their pathways can be altered.
Breaths stick better to object that already have pathways predefined in a way similar to their origin.
Since physical forms partly define Spiritual human-shaped objects work better. Objects that have remainder of the pathways from being alive work better. Human corpses, with proper commands, work too well, since the Breath sinks into the existing pathways and won't come out again. Since one Breath is not enough to power/recreate all pathways between Cognitive and Spiritual that a human has, Lifeless are pretty stupid. It is quite probable, that with enough Breaths and proper Commands they can be brought to life.
Incidentally, this theory explains sentience of Nightblood - they simply created enough connection between his Cognitive aspect and Physical one, as well as molding those aspects by their own Cognitive input (Command)
Ok, this image is more of a joke than anything…
The theory I have about Rosharian Radiants in general is that a bond with a spren allows them to use some of the spren's abilities.
Here, my theory is that truthspren are those beings that mainly exist in the Cognitive realm:
They are only seen in Physical Realm as shadows in somebody else's mind, in memories of Shallan and reflections in case of Elhokar.
Entities exist on all three realms that are only vaguely shadowed on the other realms. You have seen entities who exist primarily on the Cognitive Realm + are shadowed on the Physical.
If we assume that the bodies of Shallan and Jasnah were still in the Physical Realm (we are certain about Jasnah, since she doesn't disappear when soulcasting) then in this case, these spren give them temporal usage of their own bodies and perceptions, or something similar. That also gives them ability to alter the way object views itself (and as other people, even reality itself see it), which in turn changes their Physical and Spiritual makeup. Note that the spiritual protection afforded by "being alive" does not seem to apply - humans turn into whatever without dying first (and can be transformed in parts, like Shallan was).
Another variety of Surgebinding.
In this case, a spren gains additional connections between Cognitive and Physical realms, and a human gains additional connection to the Spiritual realm, where he can absorb more or less raw power into his own spiritweb (infusing, perfecting themselves) and then direct that power into pathways of Gravity connections (bending or redirecting them) and apparently something like Pressure connection. Once again, it can be noted that a spren had those abilities originally (Sylphrena sticking objects together)
OK, I am getting tired.
Anyway, a Shardblade is a tool that can apparently cut through the Spiritual makeup. In case of living beings, it first cuts through additional overlay - the soul. If the main connections from the soul to the body (apparently locates in the nervous system) are severed, the resulting backlash of no longer ordered energy damages the nervous system (yes, eyes are part of the brain), and the energy itself escapes into physical realm in the rawest form it has - the mist (black mist that looks like smoke in this case). This is similar to the black smoke emitted by Nightblood, and those destroyed by it:
In case of a non-living object, the blade severs connections between atoms instead, resulting in clean cut.
Is there any relation between the smoke that is emitted when a Shardblade cuts somebody and the smoke that Nightblood emits in Warbreaker?
Yes, there is. You've been...are you a 17th Sharder?
The blade itself is attached to the spirit of the wielder, and that place of attachment can be ripped off and transferred to another person my Hemalurgy. Furthermore, it should seem that this spirit is what keeps the Blade in the Spiritual Realm in the first place, since it drops when a person dies.
In case of AonDor, somebody close enough to Dor (Elantrian) - draws an outline of the pathway from Spiritual into Physical (possibly with modifiers into Cognitive). If the outline is close enough to the one accepted by the Dor in the current location, it activates, taking power from the Dor, morphing and hopefully doing whatever it was going to do, either dissipating, or creating a stable channel of formed power afterwards.
Similar to the above, except that the patterns are somehow made into bones, making a monk a mobile Aon (possibly the reason a monk dies when used up). It is unknown whether the patterns are given by the one who initiates the transformation or etched by the Dor itself.
Gates some power of the Dor to bridge the pathways that make up the history of an object in Spiritual Realm. Only the history of the object's connections/interactions is changed, other objects still have the history as it actually was. Thanks to the changes in the perceived history, the object changes its appearance and properties.
So, questions? Err.. more questions?
Edited by Satsuoni, 22 December 2012 - 09:31 PM.