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Found 37 results

  1. I have some questions about Nightblood that I haven't quite found answers for on Arcanum (although I haven't scanned all 222 WoBs tagged "nightblood") or in the cosmere books: 1: Does Nightblood need a direct connection to a source of investiture to consume it (e.g. consuming Breaths/Stormlight from someone holding it vs. it lying on the ground and consuming ambient investiture)? I know Brandon has said Nightblood can only consume kinetic investiture, but he also said that it can consume the mists so I'm not sure where the line of what Nightblood can and can't consume is. 2: If Nightblood interacts with the Spiritual realm, why can it not consume all investiture in that realm? I bet this has something to do with Connection and who is holding it, but I'm not sure. My knowledge of how spiritual mumbo-jumbo works is limited. 3: If Nightblood consumes enough investiture, would it become a perpendicularity? If so, would someone be able to use it without being consumed or is it more like a black hole with an event horizon? 4: On the black hole analogy, is Nightblood's investiture slowly dissipating like Hawking radiation? 5: Since Nightblood deepens colors around it, is it converting all the investiture into Breath or some other form of Endowment's investiture?
  2. Introduction Since my trip to Wisconsin, and talk with Brandon, I have been constructing a theory in my head about the exact function of how Magic is used throughout the Cosmere. Using various WoBs and different example from the text I planned out a post that went through each magic system and explained how it works at a realmatic level, and how it uses Investiture to affect the Physical, Cognitive, or Spiritual Realm. Today i finally sat down and wrote the whole thing this morning and formatted it this evening. If you see any discrepancies or false claims, feel free to comment after reading. If you have anything to add, please do so as well. See the the WoB and refrences down below that are numbered according to where they show up. The corresponding number will be posted within (parenthesis). Enjoy! Magic Allomancy The genetically inherited sDNA of an Allomancer gives them connection in the spirit web that a person does normally have. When a person is snapped this allows for a shard's investiture to flow through them using these inherited spirit web pathways, I believe these pathways are what endows each power, with each new pathway (or pathways group) giving them 1 Allomantic ability.(1) When the investiture flows through them they channel it into said pathways, giving them the ability to change internal (zinc, brass, etc.) and external (copper, bronze, etc.) phenomena within the three realms. Zinc and Brass both use the investiture to influence a being's spiritual aspect through the cognitive realm. Copper uses its investiture to disrupt the pulses that investiture gives off. This is similar to how Shardplate makes it harder to affect the wearer with emotional Allomancy (2). Bronze uses investiture to recognize these pulses and translate it into something the allomancer can understand. Tin eyes and thugs use the investiture to bolster the physical connections in the spirit web. Brandon has described the realms as the spiritual realm being a light, the cognitive being the beam, and the physical being the surface that is hit. Tin eyes and Thugs circulate more investiture than normal through parts of the light as to make the image on the surface brighter in some areas.(3) Iron and steel use investiture to generate kinetic energy in the physical realm by using connection in the spiritual realm (Kelsier or Brandon, can't remeber which likened looking into the spiritual realm to the steel sight of an inquisitor or the blue lines on an allomancer) to relate the general mass of the allomancer to what ever the investiture is pushing on. I believe that with enough investiture, a steel pusher could push on normal objects and people, but that it more easily affects metal because the investiture is keyed in by metal, so it is a path with MUCH less resistance. This is just a theory, however, and is only backed up by the fact that Inquisitors can see all things with Steel Sight. Duralumin forces all investiture out through the connections instantly, amplifying their affect in that instant by flaring it more than could normally be achieved. Aluminum immediately forces all investiture out through that connection, wasting it all and throwing it back into a shard. Nicrosil and chromium do these things, but to other Allomancers.(4) Gold and Electrum both use investiture to strengthen other connections that could have or will be. This gives images in the physical realm that the allomancer can see. In other words, it shows connections that aren't actually there yet, which gives off a limelight in the physical realm, which only leaves a ghost image in the physical realm. These ghost images grow in power until you are given a near vision, if flared hard enough as a powerful allomancer or when used with Duralumin. Atium does this, but with the external world. When burned hard enough or with duralumin it breaks the Atium Magic connection itself and allows you to glimpse into the spiritual realm. Cadmium and Bendalloy do a similar thing, which is why they are in the same category as Gold and Electrum. They enhance connection to the overall timeline, which brings your physical self closer to said spirit connection, kind of like a timey whimey steel push or iron pull. If it is a future connection, you, and those around you (again, external) rush towards the future. If it is towards the past you put on the time brakes and skid, leaving you and those around you closer to the past than normal. Lerasium gives you all the above connections, but as to its other effects I cannot guess. Feruchemy This magic works in a similar fashion, but instead of snapping in new connections, it utilizes the connection all humans are born with. This is why a snapping isn't required (same with Awakening). It raises the "Investiture pressure" of these different connections or lowers them, and stores the extra inside of the metal mind keyed to that connection via metals. This is why a person cannot use another's metal mind. The investiture that it has been affected by has the marks (or identity) of that person's own spark of life (or innate investiture). I think that new investiture is still added to the soul when the sDNA is inherited, but it just enhances or connections rather than adding completely new ones, so extra space from a snapping is not required. Iron, Steel, Tin, Pewter, Electrum, Gold, Bendalloy, Cadmium, Bronze, Brass, Atium, and Zinc all work this way, very simply. Gold is a little more interesting than those others because it is similar to how Stormlight heals, and will probabaly be similar to how many other magic systems regenerate the magic user. Copper is a bit different. It completely erases the memory that exists and stores it. Adding more new memories back then stored still does not require extra snapped out space because gaining new memories is a function that happens unmagically. Chromium works pretty basically, but has interesting implications. In Secret History [spolier]One of the Ire alludes to people being able to find locations they wish to find by using Fortune (4). Brandon has also said that Hoid uses Feruchemy to be where he needs and wants to be. Nicrosil allows one to completely store away their extra magic imbuing connections in a similar way that Copper can completely store memories. I'm not sure if you regain your connections when you stop storing, but I doubt it. The ability to gain extra connections does not require extra snapped out connections because everyone has the ability to have extra connections added. Aluminum stores your sense of self, or Identity. We have not seen much of this power directly in action but we know that . Duralumin works by reducing and enhancing one's Connection to an area. This allows for someone to have connections similar to someone who has grown up in an area, giving you an understanding of the local languages, etc. When Compounding is used to fuel Feruchemy I believe that the Investiture used in the Feruchemical charge is able to ride the new pathways to the old ones they affect, essentially taking a path of least resistance, and thus increasing the investiture efficiency when used. It's like like getting energy from a poor conductor, then shooting it back through a super conductor rather than using a bad conductor once again. You get more energy back in then usual. This is again, just a theory, as I have no way to prove that allomantic connections are any better than regular ones at carrying investiture, but this makes sense to me. Hemallurgy: Before I explain how I think this works I want to look at the Three Realm Light analogy once more. When the light is turned on, specific portions of the light correspond with the image upon the surface. When a Hemallurgic spike strikes the portion of the image that corresponds to where a magic inducing connection is on the light, it uses ruin's investiture to pierce the three realms (Like a perpendicularly, Brandon alludes to what I am speaking of now in my Madisson report) and absorb the connections and investiture that is there. This spike can then do the reverse, and spit out those connections and investiture back into a new soul. This is why everyone can use Hemallurgy, it doesn't utilize connections inside the host to key into investiture, but rather it uses the type of metal to do so. I can't explain the connection to blood, but I just want to point out that blood is related to the spiritual realm, so there is probably something going on there. Maybe it acts as a insulator for the investiture and connections within the spiritual realm?(5) Surgebinding When a person who is snapped bonds with a Spren it fills the snapped out space with new connections, similar to Allomancy. When a person speaks their oaths it adds more investiture pressure to these new connections similar to Feruchemy and also increases investiture efficiency within these connections as well as in the enhanced healing, speed, and strength connections. This process allows for the magic we see utilized in the surges, which I will explain below. Before I get to how exactly the surges worked I also want to talk about the spren side of things. I think that as more oaths are spoken, not only are the spren dragged farther into the physical realms, but they are also imbued with more connections and also allows them to key into Honor's investiture to transform into powerful invested objects. Shardblades work by being invested enough to puncture through the realms in a similar way to spikes, and then rip off and destroy parts of the soul. Nightblood is so much so invested that he can completely evaporate a being's entire presence in all three realms. Sharplate works by being invested enough to disrupt other investiture. It basically stops Shardblades from being able to puncture the wearers spirit web. Since it is so heavily invested it also deflects allomantic pulses and other investitures. We don't know much about many of the surges, so I will explain the ones we have seen. I will update this theory as we learn more about the surges. Gravitation This magical connection works by internally affecting the Shardworlds connections and hold onto a person. It does similar things externally to objects that are lashed. Adhesion This works by manipulation the part of the spirit web that deals with air pressure, making the portion of the physical image that deals with air pressure more so bright, which sticks other physical objects to it. Illumination This works by creating ghost images in the physical realm in a similar fashion to Gold and Electrum. I think this allows Truthwatchers glimpse images of the future and allows Lightweavers to... well... weave light. Soulcasting This one is pretty unique compared to the ones we have seen so far. This works by allowing the magic user to create new connections in another soul, and then forces investiture through those new connections to make them the path of least resistance, transforming the spirit web and changing the physical realm image. Adhesion: Works in a similar way to Abrasion, but with friction instead of air pressure. AonDor Now this magic system I don't really understand, because we still don't understand how it is initiated. I will probably update my theory on this subject when it how initiation works on Sel is told to us in Arcanum Unbound. Awakening This works by sending pulses of investiture into an object in a similar fashion to emotional Allomancy, with the command being an analogue to the emotion that a rioter wants you to feel. This investiture then creates new connections in the Awakened Object's spirit web, giving it a kind of sentience. When enough Investiture is used to create this mind it can create near complete Robot like minds, such as Noghtblood. So basicly, Awakening is like coding a soul, and then using investiture to power that soul. Lifeless already have code there, and stone lifeless are a similar enough image to leave an impression of a code, so they are able to follow the new code given to them as if they were a human. The breath cannot be taken away, and I'm pretty sure this is because of the complexity of the person or type IV's spirit web, kind of in the way that the beyond cannot take away Cognitive shadows as easily if they have more spiritual connections. The different Heightenings work in a similar fashion to Feruchemy, in that it enhances various preexisting Connections within the spirit web. Effects of Magic Use of any magic within the Cosmere, or any handling of Investiture, effects ones spirit web. One way it can be effected is by the investitures Intent. Any investiture, no matter how small, affects ones personality with its mandate. In large amounts this can lead to a person subcoming completely to the Intent, becoming a shell with which the power acts. They are basically just riding the power at that point, as opposed to directing it. This happened to Ati, most likely.(12) Another way Investiture is Savantism. This happens when wasted investiture accumulates in l, basicly investing these different connections. When I talked with Brandon at Oddesey Con it was confirmed that things have been invested and are used to the investiture in their souls begin to wither away when there is no longer investiture running through it, such as the stones and wood in Elantris. When this happens to an Allomancer it gives them extended abilities with these connections in the soul, but leaves them in a burned out a damaged state when not burning. Looking at Spook and the Three Realm Light analogy, I belive that he left those areas on the light too bright for too long and ended up burning the image surface. While the light is dimmer, the image remains burned, leaving him with the effects that he had. These damages can be looked as as boons, but are especially dangerous in the physical Allomancy connections.(13)(14)(15) Relevant WoB (1) Brandon: Over time using the magic will invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either (He cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought) so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the mistborn are as invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the spirit web. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the spiritual realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them (like soulcasting or forgery) is harder. (2) Brandon: Yes, investiture disrupts investiture. It's harder for her to even soulcast a regular person than, say, a rock. (3) I could find this refrence, although i just read it hours ago. If anyone finds it splease PM me and i will update this post. (4) BRANDON SANDERSON (REDDIT) 1. It's consistent in the Spiritual Realm. Location isn't particularly important there. 2. Very interchangeable, but not always simple to apply. 3. Investiture can not be created or destroyed. It follows it's own version of the laws of Thermodynamics. JOE_____ (REDDIT)So what happens to the investiture that is lost when a person is spiked and the spike isn't set in the new person immediately? Does it return to the big pool of investiture in the sky like the power from wheel of time where if its not actively being used it returns to the source? BRANDON SANDERSON (REDDIT)What happens to someone's body when it's not being used by a particular person? The system is built to work like that.(5) Brandon: Right, Hoid talks about Perpendicularities on Scadrial, if you go look at that there are certain places he talks about that. ,eyes just say that large concentrations of investiture can cause a puncture through the spiritual realm straight to the physical realm. If you know how to use it, you may transition. That's not the only way but is the primary way. Guy: And of of Course you can soulcast (Elsecall?) to get there. Brandon: Yes. Guy who asked about the four armed spren: Now that's a very interesting analogy you just made, you said "punctured" almost as if it were a spike. Brandon: Yes, yes, that was intentional. (6) QUESTION Can Odium pick up pieces of a Shard without changing the nature of his Shard? BRANDON SANDERSON Any investiture, over time, will slowly change one’s personality, no matter how small that investiture. (7) INTERVIEW: Mar 20th, 2014 WOR Signing Report - IronCaf (Paraphrased)IRONCAFIn what ways is the process of becoming an allomantic savant like body building or other exercise?BRANDON SANDERSON [Paraphrasing] That is not an inapt metaphor for it. It's like a wedge gets in the soul and cracks it, and investiture can fill it up. IRONCAFAnd using allomancy breaks it further? BRANDON SANDERSONYes. (15) Random lady: In Elantris it talks about how to wood and stone in the city is rotten and crumbling. Why does this happen? Brandon: This is because when objects become Invested for long periods of time their spirit web changes to accomodate the investiture. When the investiture was pulled up of the stuff in Elantris it's spirit web was severely damaged so it showed that in the physical realm. This happened with the Lord Ruler when the Bands of Mourning were ripped out of him. Conclusion If there is anything you guys think I should add or fix, please let me know and I will update the thread. Feel free to share your thoughts.
  3. Connection Theory: I have started watching the Shardcasts, and there seems to be a lot of -opinions- floating around. I wanted to make a comprehensive theory for my own benefit. I also wanted to work through these examples with hypothetical examples so that there is fewer miscommunications. Terms: This will be where I keep track of Cosmere related terms. Some may not come up, but this is how I've started referring to them within myself. Since differentiating between certain things (mostly Investiture) can get contrived if these things aren't referred to distinctly. Investment: The Apparatus of a soul that puts Investiture to use. Investiture: Magic "Stuff", alternate form of matter and energy. Invested: An entity containing -more- Investiture. Connection: Any link between two perceivable entities. Identity: Spiritweb vibrations that denote separation between the many connections of the web. Base concepts: Connection Types as they pertain to people: Personal: This influence how open to this person's ideas you are, and how likely you are to forgive/accept differences in that person. Land: This influences your feeling of 'home' or comfort and your desire to help/defend/improve that loci. Time: This influences your physical age, recollection, and "Destiny." Items: This influences the items cognitive presence, and can even cause that object to take on a person's identity. In every referenced instance of connection, we presume that connection matters most and moves through the Spiritweb from one identity set to another, and that is as far as impact is made. However, I would posit, that having a STRONG connection to one identity requires weaker connections with -many- things. I do not think a basic connection to a person gives you the ability to speak their language. I think it influences your predisposition for -maybe- -someday- deciding to speak that language, and you have to actively seek out those other connections. HOWEVER, a strong enough connection developed sincerely and over time, will establish those connections to the necessary sources so that language is shared. Example: An English speaker marries a non-English speaker...eventually they begin to form some manner of understanding between them. Which way does Connection work do you suppose? Does person X developing a STRONG connection to person Y give them connections to the connections making up person Y's identity, or does that strong connection to person Y give person X limited access to person Y's connections. I believe the connections should link to Person X, because only that which is denoted on -your- Spiritweb changes you, or connection matters about how far away from the entity in question you are, but that implies movement itself, which is also problematic in a locations don't exist way. I also believe that all things begin with connections to each other. They all have connections to the same three planes of existence. They are all composed of Investiture of the Shards, and all the Shards began as Adonalsium. If everything exists in the spiritual world as a super position, and only the way it happens is always the way it will have had happened....then all things being cosmerologically entangled makes sense...more than not. This will matter much more as "Fortune" comes into play. This is relevant because it shows us how all things -could be- connected, and when strengthening connections that there is no web movement, necessary. Unexplored Ideas and Questions: Connection to Abstracts: Do you believe that the Shards are "Connected" to the abstracts that compose their intent? Do you believe that a person can be "Connected" to the concept of "Honor" or "Evil?" Non-Conscious Connections: Can two objects become so linked that they become one identity? Would this have physical effects, necessarily? For instance, a set of marbles could have been stored together so long that it thinks of itself as the whole of the set, rather than each individual marble. Presume they're made out of metal... If part of the set were pushed would it move the entirety of the set? (I don't think so, I think they are a set whilst stored, and become individuals when apart, just by virtue of how human understanding works.) If a man had a wooden leg for so long that it -became- part his identity...would spiritual healing repair the broken wood? USING Connection: Spiritual Adhesion: I would assert that this STRONG connection to a person, presented by Dalinar, makes many weaker connections to other entities which are important to the beings "Identity." He will have or use connections to the person, homeland, family, and friends to a much weaker extent while the 'faux-connection' lasts. Allowing for 'native-speaker' type speech. Era 2 Medallion: The connection is established with the land rather than a person. This MODERATE connection to the land overwrites your own connections to your own land, and provides weak connections to more things (the people of that land) which is enough weak connections to provide to speak the language filtered through your own identity, thus retaining your accent. This will differ for a "Connection" Ferring, as it will *swap* their connection for their home with the connection they are tapping to make language, allowing them to speak as a native speaker. The accent is a side effect from using investiture filtered through an "Identity"-resonance that is not their own. (Lower case r resonance) Edit Log: Swapped Investiture and Investment Definitions.
  4. So I was doing some readings on WOBs and I found this one: I thought it was interesting because I would have thought that Taravangian's smart days would be days in which he is closer in alignment with the cognitive realm. I think I have seen that theory before and now it is debunked. We know that beings that can see the future, such as shards and atium burners, often achieve this through connection with the spiritual realm. However, I thought that this connection is the "fortune" that Odium speaks of, and we know from him that Taravangian didn't use Fortune to create the diagram. This must mean that Taravangian uses some other means of prediction. My first thought would be that Taravangian is closer to the Spiritual realm and therefore closer to his perfect intellectual form, like an intelligence gold Ferring. Also, a lot of people seem to think that on smart days Taravangian is closer aligned with one realm and on dumb days he is aligned with another. Could that mean that on his smart days he is closer to the person he truly is? Maybe his Machiavellian tendencies are the real Taravangian and the smart days just emphasize it. Or it could be that on his dumb days he is closer to the cognitive realm and therefore becomes more like how he thinks of himself? That would make sense because a man that thought of himself as truly intelligent likely wouldn't ask for capacity. Not really sure, but I thought it would be a good discussion.
  5. So I've mentioned this a couple of times in different threads, about how I view the relationship between the realms, as well as investiture, matter, and energy. I've explained it a couple times as 3 sheets of paper close together, and investiture is a weight that draws them together. But this isn't really entirely right. Paper isn't the right analogue. The three sheets are more like how space time is pictured in 2D: stretchy, not stiff like paper. Then three of these "sheets" are how I view realmatics. I also associate Matter with the physical realm, and Investiture in the Spiritual, which suggests that energy is related to the cognitive realm, which I'm still working on an explanation for that. Also, in a 2D view of spacetime, matter creates a dip, (as does energy, but to a lesser extent, given that matter is more... concentrated according to E=Mc^2. ) Investiture also does the same thing to the Realms, and that is key to how I picture realmatics. I will now use this model to explain how some various events work. First off, Highstorms. Highstorms are HUGE sources of investiture. The constant "weight" of that investiture has drawn the realms really close together on Roshar, so Spren appear. Furthermore, I have theorized that according to the fact that Shinovar never sees the brunt of the highstorms due to the mountains, that the realms are farther apart there. This (I think) is why spren don't appear there. It is ALSO (i think) why the plants have no life to them. They basically have no cognitive self compared to normal Rosharan grass and such. This also lends weight to the idea that perhaps the plants of Roshar are able to detect highstorms due to the investiture. When the realms start coming closer together, the trees and grass snap into their holes. Now of course it might be also a response to vibrations or something like that. Second, Kaladins dramatic oaths. Someone asked at some point why (in world, for writing purposes it's for a Climax) Kaladin always bursts alight when he does his oaths, unlike the other radiants. The fact is, most of the other Radiants have constantly progressed towards their oaths. Kaladin, on the other hand, recedes during WoR and WoK. Then, suddenly, he makes the decision to follow his oaths, and snap! He bursts alight dramatically. Now in my picture of realmatics, I describe it like this. The oaths that bring the realms together are fading, therefore Syl isn't able to manifest or think as well, and his abilities recede. Then, he changes and suddenly his oaths are much stronger, snapping the realms much closer together. Ergo, investiture suddenly flows to him, and he becomes significantly more invested. Now I'm going to make some speculation. Normal people aren't invested enough (aren't making enough of a dent in the realms) to use investiture. But people who are invested make enough of a dent to suck in investiture. By this method, Vasher should be able to suck in stormlight, because he's invested with breaths. I also think that a misting actively burning their metal might be able to make enough of a dent to ingest Stormlight. Finally, perpendicularities. Brandon described a shardpool as "spiking" the realms together. This perfectly fits with how I picture it. Investiture, the "weight", formed into a spike and driven through the realms to bring them entirely together. Else calling would be more like a needle. Also, a little more theorization. I think that aluminum pushes the Realms apart, countering the "weight" of investiture. Because of that, that would mean that maybe a large block of aluminum could prevent spren from appearing. However it may be that the property of aluminum is totally within the aluminum itself, which would mean that it would be a moot point, because why would a spren materialize within a block of aluminum or any metal anyway. However, based on the fact that you only need a hat made of aluminum, and not an aluminum head to prevent emotional allomancy from affecting you, I think that the aluminum has a somewhat local effect, forcing the realms apart around the aluminum. Therefore, according to this model, a radiant wearing enough aluminum shouldn't be able to suck in stormlight.
  6. In Oathbringer it mentions Dalinar being able to stick rocks together. That makes sense; he has the surge of adhesion. Later he needs to speak a different language so he uses adhesion again, but on a spiritual level to create enough Connection to speak/understand this language. Weird right? We know that he is able to use that surge on at least two realms. If a surgebinder is able to do it on 2 planes, it makes sense that they should be able to do it on all 3 planes. I was thinking of the possible implications of adhesion on the cognitive realm. What if you were to adhere your self (your identity? but I think that is stored in the spiritual) to the concept of greatness? Would people think of you every time they though of greatness? You would be the equivalent of a Rosharan rockstar over night. Fortunately the two orders with adhesion seem to have oaths that would prevent too much shadiness like adhering yourself to the concept of honesty and then scamming everyone (looking at you Veil) This theory would depend on whether all surgebinders can actually use their surges in all realms. It is possible that Dalinar only has adhesion in the physical and cognitive. Then again, maybe Kaladin has it in the Physical and cognitive. Maybe that is why some people trust Kaladin instinctively. He has subconsciously adhered himself to the concept of honor. I personally believe that they will be able to use it in all 3 depending on their own personal quirks. So a Windrunner might use it in the spiritual, but only if he is the ind of guy who would try and/or think like that.
  7. (Warning: The following contains inexact and possibly completely wrong descriptions of certain Physics concepts. I am not a physicist. Do not base your Physics homework on the Wikipedia-based ramblings of a code monkey on a fantasy fiction forum on the Internet.) Lately I've been thinking about generalizing my Unified Surge Theory into a theory that encompasses every single type of Investiture. The basic idea for this is that Adonalsium's Power of Creation is akin to the theoretical unified force of Physics, a force that splits into multiple separate forces under specific conditions. This means that each Invested power is like some sort of quantum field, and there's a way to unify all those magical fields into a single field. But that sort of theory generalization is just too simple for me, I'm afraid. It doesn't have that bullje ne sais quoi that I've come to expect from my own pet theories. So now I'd like to do something a little bit more... fancy. As I said before, it looks to me that Brandon is really into modern physics. I think it's possible that he based some fundamental Cosmere concepts on certain modern scientific ideas like quantum mechanics. If you think this is unlikely, let me show you this quote from his recent Q&A in Chicago: That makes a lot of sense. If your world follows the laws of quantum mechanics, and at the same time has magic, then it's natural that the magic in your world will have quantum properties. I love this concept of making magic an integral part of the physics of a fantasy setting, breaking down the barrier between "natural" and "supernatural". Since quantum field theory is part of quantum mechanics, and since the unified field theory is considered by many as the ultimate goal of quantum field theory, this therefore lends credence to the unification of "magical fields" in the Cosmere that I described above. But... there's more to modern physics than the quantum field theory. In fact, many physicists seemed more excited about another theory (at least until recently when the Large Hadron Collider gave disappointing results) that promised to unify the entirety of what we know about General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into a single mathematically and conceptually elegant framework, a "theory of everything" where all particles are just specialized versions of a single type of object. I'm talking of course about String Theory. Part I: The Lightweaving of Strings I know many of you already know what "string theory" means (I checked), but for the rest here's a quick summary: A string theory is any proposition that the fundamental elements making up the things around us are not point-like or zero-dimensional, but are instead one-dimensional vibrating elements. For the sake of convenience, physicists call these things strings. In a string theory, each string has certain properties (e.g. how it vibrates/oscillates, its length, its orientation, whether it is closed in a loop or open-ended, etc.) that differentiates it from other strings. This is cool because it can give us a clearer picture of what makes one particle different from another aside from vague concepts like "charge". As a kid I watched a Discovery Channel show about String Theory featuring Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku is a popularizer of science, meaning his presentations are often not very technical and are meant for a wide audience. I remember him comparing the vibration of a fundamental string to the musical note coming from a stringed instrument. He then described the whole universe as a grand orchestra of fundamental strings all vibrating together. That, of course, was a rather fanciful way of looking at it to say the least, but it most definitely worked on me. The notion of a musical universe, that everything is made of music, is just so fascinating that it makes String Theory seem almost... magical. In fact, it sounds like the creation myth used in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth stories. Ainulindalë, a holy music performed by angelic beings called the Ainur and their god Eru Ilúvatar, was how Arda (Earth) was created. I'm not saying that Tolkien borrowed from string theory (obviously not, as his stories were written before the earliest string theories were developed). What I'm saying is that the concept of a musical universe, or at least a universe where waveforms have a fundamental role, is not alien to the world of fantasy. It's possible to create a String Theory-based magical setting. Could this be what Brandon plans for the Cosmere? I say yes. After all, we already have one possible manifestation of waveform magic: We know that Lightweaving can affect waveforms other than light, including sound and possibly other oscillating manifestations, e.g. vibrating strings. If the Cosmere exists in a universe that follows a string theory of Physics, then the Power of Creation could simply be the ability to manipulate these strings. In other words, the Power of Creation is just Lightweaving applied to fundamental vibrating strings. Before you barrage me with a stream of objections to the crazy idea that Adonalsium was just a glorified Lightweaver, read this curious little WoB: So even before Brandon wrote about Hoid's backstory, even before the other Yolish magic systems were developed, the manipulation of waveforms (a.k.a. Lightweaving) was already on his mind. If everything is made of vibrating strings, it's not too farfetched to think of a god-like being as someone who can manipulate the waveforms represented by these strings, like a divine musician using the Cosmere as his stringed instrument. This is what I call the L-Theory of Realmatic Strings (not to be confused with the L-theory of mathematics). One thing that "L" stands for is "Lightweaving". I'll explain the other meanings of "L" (there are several) later on. But meanwhile let us talk about a possible implementation of Realmatic String Theory. Part II: The Cosmere as a Braneworld What kind of cosmology would a hypothetical Stringed Cosmere have? Many string theorists in real life believe that the fundamental strings of nature move in ten- or eleven-dimensional hyperspace. Eleven dimensions! That's a lot more than the three spatial dimensions that we experience with our human senses. Some believe these extra dimensions are too small and "curled up" to detect. Others say that the space that we humans can see is just a large three-dimensional "D-brane" existing in a hyperspatial universe with other D-branes. A D-brane, by the way, is a part of theoretical hyperspace that serves as a boundary for fundamental strings that aren't closed loops. Like the bridge part of a guitar, D-branes are where these strings are attached to. I believe Brane cosmology is the perfect candidate for our Stringed Cosmere cosmology. Imagine the Spiritual and Physical Realms as multidimensional D-branes. All fundamental strings in the Cosmere originate from the D-brane called the Spiritual Realm. These include not just the strings that make up the fundamental Physical entities (leptons, quarks, etc.) but also strings that make up fundamental Cognitive entities and the fundamental Spiritual entities (whatever those are). All these strings begin their existence from the Spiritual Realm. This corresponds to our understanding of the Spiritual Realm as the place where conception and motivation happens. Some of these strings begin and end in the Spiritual Realm, but some extend outward and connect to another D-brane, the Physical Realm. Since only the endpoint actually exists on the D-brane (meaning the rest of the string is oriented away from the Physical Realm's dimensions), such strings only appear as point-like particles in the Physical Realm. These are the fundamental components of what we call matter (i.e. things with rest mass, like quarks and leptons). What about the Cognitive Realm? I propose that the hyperspace between the Spiritual and the Physical Realm, where all the actual string vibrations occur, is the Cognitive Realm. I'll explain why in Part III. From this description of the Three Realms, it's easy to understand how objects can exist in the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual Realms simultaneously by visualizing an object as a bunch of strings vibrating between the Spiritual and Physical D-branes. Well, it's sort of easier. Admittedly it's kind of tricky for us humans to imagine more than three dimensions. This might be why Brandon said only Shards or Splinters can truly comprehend Realmatics; beings with three-dimensional senses cannot imagine hyperspace except via analogies. Nonetheless, a stringed model of Realmatics makes it easier to grasp many Realmatic concepts. For example, the Spiritweb can be seen as an actual web of Spiritual strings making up the soul of a person. The bindpoints of the Spiritweb are simply the points where the Spiritual strings and physical strings are joined. A Connection (with a capital "C"; a Spiritual attribute) can be seen as a string connecting other strings to each other in the Spiritual Realm. This means we can consider stuff like Nahel bonds, Duralumin Connections, Ironlines (basically every single type of connection in the Cosmere) as actual entities. The only reason these entities aren't normally visible is because they only exist on a D-brane outside of the Physical D-brane. Note that some things that are usually considered "physical" in the real world, like gravity, electromagnetism, and other "physical" forces could simply be Connections on the Spiritual Realm in the Cosmere. For example, as the WoK Ars Arcanum says, the gravitational pull between objects is spiritual in nature: (We'll return to physical forces in Part IV.) Realmatic strings can also explain Identity. When the Connection strings between a bunch of strings is strong enough, the oscillations of all the strings in the bunch can result in a single complex oscillation, like a musical chord. This is how Identities emerge. An Identity can therefore be defined as a single oscillation arising from the different oscillations of multiple Connected strings. This implies that there can be nested Identities, emergent oscillations making up an even bigger emergent oscillation (which is how, for example, Soulcasters can transform just the blood of a person instead of his whole body; the blood is a sub-Identity within the person's Identity). Interestingly, a stringed Cosmere can even explain why solid land appears as ever-moving on Shadesmar. What actually happens is that the mind of a Worldhopper interprets the complex hyperspatial oscillations of Identities into something compatible with human senses. For example, on Roshar he would see it as an undulating sea of glass beads. This fancy way of seeing the Cognitive Realm is therefore just an illusion, a Cosmere-wide Lightweaving created by Adonalsium and targeting every single "thinking" object in the Cosmere (more on this in Part III). As for why bodies of water appear as a solid mass on Shadesmar... well, I'm not sure. My best guess is that the gravity waves on the surface of lakes/oceans/etc. might be making oscillation in the Cognitive Realm less apparent somehow, but I have no idea how that would work conceptually. (Edit: SmurfAquamarineBodies has an alternative explanation here.) Part III: Loops and Consciousness Speaking of the Cognitive Realm, how about things like sentience and intelligence? How would a string theory explain the phenomenon of consciousness? Unfortunately, physicists do not yet have a model to explain this, but Douglas Hofstadter, a professor of Cognitive Science (also a Ph.D.-holder in Physics), has some very interesting speculative thoughts that he first published back in 1979 regarding why people have subjective experience, and it involves loops. Hofstadter believes that consciousness arises from self-referential abstract concepts he calls "strange loops", which he claims naturally emerge from the neural activity of humans. Feel free to read "Gödel, Escher, Bach" and "I Am a Strange Loop" to know the details, but here I'll present a simplified and "Cosmerified" interpretation of Hofstadter's idea by defining a strange loop as a type of Connection that connects an Identity to itself, forming a literal loop. Under the cosmology I described in Part II, this self-referential Connection loop also vibrates in the Cognitive Realm, but its vibration is more dynamic than other strings because it reflects the dynamic thoughts of the thinking Identity. This dynamically vibrating strange loop, I believe, is what consciousness is made of in the Cosmere. (Sidenote: A probably-unimportant but interesting thought just came to me regarding loops. String theorists predict that gravitons are closed loops that can freely travel between D-branes. I don't know how this can be incorporated into L-theory, but I'm leaving this note here in case someone else thinks of a cool idea for it.) If you look closely, it appears that every Identity in the Cosmere has some level of consciousness. The window in Shai's prison was aware of the concept of beauty. The Wind's Pleasure was aware of its crew and was loyal to them. Somehow, objects in the Cosmere all have strange loops. This fact should be no surprise to us Cosmere theorists because Shai already revealed it to Gaotana in the Emperor's Soul: One important consequence of this is that Shadesmar is a much wider place than it would be if only "living things" had thoughts and perceptions, because the Shadesmar "reality" (more like the Shadesmar illusion) only exists where thoughts exist, and now things like rocks and sticks and even planets can participate in this galactic play (or a galactic musical, one might say). But wouldn't it be nice to know why everything in the Cosmere has this awareness? Is Identity and Consciousness necessarily linked by some fundamental principle? Or is consciousness intentionally being given to each Identity by some outside force? In order to solve this mystery of pan-Cosmere consciousness, we need to delve deeper into Lightweaving. There is one aspect to Lightweaving that was shown in Liar of Partinel that was not apparent in WoK and WoR: Lightweaving can grant consciousness. I won't go into spoilery specifics, but suffice to say Hoid can create illusions that can think for themselves. Somehow, a Lightweaver not only can make strings oscillate whichever way he likes, he can also form strange loops, granting consciousness to things. So imagine what a Lightweaver with an Adonalsium-level of power can do. Can he, perhaps, grant consciousness to every single Identity in a very large area? Say, a whole galaxy? Imagine that event in the early Cosmere when billions upon billions of objects of all shapes and sizes suddenly gained self-awareness. It must have been as if the whole galaxy suddenly awoke from slumber, turning its cognitive night into day, its blindness to vision, its opacity to clarity, its darkness to light. This is the second meaning of "L" in "L-Theory": Strange Loops. It could also mean Lucentia, which has philosophical associations with eyes, clarity, and transparency. I believe that one of Adonalsium's greatest acts is to grant "eyes" to everything in the Cosmere. By that I mean he made everything able to perceive things. And he did this via a special Lightweaving that constructs strange loops for every Identity that appears in the Cosmere, a Lightweaving that still persists even after the Shattering. Part IV: The Investiture of L Bosons At long last, we arrive at the most important part of L-Theory: What is magic in the Cosmere made of? If everything is made of fundamental strings, then naturally magic would also be made of fundamental strings. These strings would serve as the "quanta" of magical energy. Since magic is a force, these quanta of magical energy would be force-carriers, and are therefore gauge bosons. Let's call them the L bosons. One important characteristic of L bosons is that they can interact with any type of string, whether physical or not. When a string absorbs or emits an L boson, its oscillation mode changes depending on the energy and the waveform of the L boson it absorbed or emitted. Interactions involving some L boson waveforms can transform matter, similar to weak interactions. Except unlike W bosons, an L boson is stable and massless (and therefore a luxon). You could say the L boson is a photon-like thing with W boson-like effects. (Coincidentally, photons and W bosons carry forces that physicists have already unified under a single electroweak force.) Other waveforms of the L boson can transform Connections in the Spiritual Realm, including strange loops (which means they can also change the cognitive aspect of things). It's possible that the only limitation for L boson-based transformation is the energy requirement for a particular transformation, since energy is still conserved in the Cosmere. Again, all this is possible because everything in the Three Realms of a Stringed Cosmere is defined by the properties of strings and their various fundamental interactions. We are simply theorizing that magic is just another fundamental interaction of a string, a transformative interaction mediated by the L boson. But this raises the question of how these L bosons come about. Where do L bosons come from, and how do they obtain their different waveforms? I propose that the waveform of L bosons can be "shaped" by strange loops. In classical Cosmeric terms, Intent comes from a Cognitive aspect. This Intent determines not only the type of transformation being carried by the L bosons, but also the target of the L bosons, shaping them to only interact with a particular type of Identity in a certain way. The Intent could theoretically be anything as long as the strange loop has absorbed enough L bosons to meet the energy requirement of the intended transformation. After shaping the L bosons with an Intent, a strange loop can then emit them upon a target. This is what is classically known as Investiture. The relationship between strange loops and L bosons is two-sided. They shape each other. An L boson's initial waveform could affect the strange loop absorbing it, but the strange loop might in turn change the waveform of the L boson, or even reject the L boson completely. This is why objects can reject Soulstamps, and why Shardworlds can influence the Investiture of Shards. On the flip side, given enough L bosons, the Intent of Investiture can be powerful enough to override any resistance offered by a strange loop. This is why Shard holders eventually succumb to the Intent of their Shards, and why a mist-powered Ironpull can affect pierced metals that normally resist Ironpulls. L bosons can of course be very beneficial to a strange loop target, expanding its abilities in one Realm or another. For example, there is an L boson waveform classically called "the Spark of Life" that can allow a strange loop to affect its host Identity's motion. This ability to move at will, granted by a certain type of L boson, is what differentiates "living things" and other types of objects. In other words, Life is a form of Lightweaving. The phenomenon of living things is caused by a special interaction between Lightweaving and a Cognitive aspect. Part V: The Lightweaving of Godhood By now it should pretty obvious what Adonalsium is under a Stringed model of the Cosmere: He was an Identity whose strange loop once contained a huge portion of all the L bosons in the Cosmere, granting him three divine properties: The sheer amount of energy contained by Adonalsium allowed him to emit large numbers of L bosons shaped with arbitrarily complex Intents, making him omnipotent. Adonalsium's strange loop is incredibly vast in size, meaning his consciousness and intellect is incredibly vast as well. This makes him practically omniscient. Omniscience and omnipotence rendered physical presence completely optional. Adonalsium could detach his Identity completely from the Physical Realm, or he could attach a part of his Identity to the Physical Realm in any physical form anywhere in the Cosmere (i.e. omnipresence). When Adonalsium Shattered, the gigantic strange loop suddenly separated into sixteen big strings representing sixteen huge segments of Adonalsium's mind. Since a strange loop vibrates dynamically, each of these sixteen loop remnants would have its own vibration mode different from the rest, reflecting sixteen different cognitive states. The L bosons coming from these remnants would have Intents based on the remnants' vibration mode, and would also be very powerful given the size of each remnant. This was of course an extremely dangerous situation, and the fastest way to avert galactic catastrophe was for sixteen individuals to take up these remnants, becoming part of these powerful Identities and experiencing the same three divine effects described above, though to a lesser degree. Thus, the sixteen Shards of Adonalsium came to be. But what of Adonalsium's origins? It's possible that he had always existed as a divine being from the beginning of time, like the gods of most theistic religions. On the other hand, there is another possibility related to Brandon Sanderson's own religion, and I would like to explore this one further. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God was once a man. Here's a relevant quote from the religion's founder Joseph Smith: Or as Mormons like to phrase it: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." If we conjecture that Adonalsium was also once human, like the seventeen humans (sixteen from Yolen, one from Scadrial) who Ascended to Godhood later on, then we must ask how this person obtained so much power. I am working under the assumption that the conservation of energy still applies in the Cosmere, so the L bosons that were absorbed into this person must have come from somewhere. I think the idea of a person using hyperspatial technology to harvest the Spark of Life of other people to gain power is possible, but this method seems more fitting for the supposed enemy of Adonalsium. I think another possibility is that he transformed something that was inside himself. Specifically, I think he turned part of his bodily energy into magical energy by manipulating photons emitted by the particles inside his body into becoming L bosons containing his own Intent. Now, this wouldn't normally work on regular types of particles because you'd need pre-existing L bosons to manipulate these particles, but what if (and here's another major speculative leap)... what if photons aren't regular particles at all in the Cosmere? What if photons are L bosons? If a photon is just an L boson with a "null Intent", this means light can directly be shaped by a strange loop into other L boson waveforms. Once this secret, that a person can turn light into magic, was discovered (perhaps via some sort of Buddha-like Enlightenment process), it was only a matter of time before our hypothetical pre-Adonalsium guy would start continuously converting photons into active L bosons, until finally he reached a critical point and became the first Ascendant Being in the Cosmere. In other words, a man wove Light to become the god known as Adonalsium. Conclusion: Why "L-Theory"? More than two decades ago, string theorists had a problem. They wanted string theory to be a single "theory of everything", but they've ended up with as many as five versions that seemed to be self-consistent but also very different from each other, which was kind of embarrassing. They tried to find ways to reconcile these differences until finally, in 1995, a guy named Edward Witten conjectured that the five superstring theories were all just limiting cases of a single theory he called "M-theory" that used an eleven-dimensional hyperspace. This spawned what is now called the "Second superstring revolution". When asked what "M" stands for in "M-theory", Witten said it could mean "magic", "mystery", or "membrane" (referring to brane cosmology). People were free to choose whatever meaning they wanted. While working on this Cosmere theory, I was thinking of just naming it the "Realmatic String Theory". But after reading about M-theory and Witten's explanation for the name, I decided to err on the side that's awesome and name my theory "L-theory" instead. In this post I've tried to describe the various meanings for "L": All magic systems in the Cosmere are just specialized forms of fundamental string Lightweaving. All Identities in the Cosmere are granted Strange Loops via Lightweaving that give rise to conscious perception. This reality of all things having strange loops that act as "eyes" is symbolized in Cosmeric philosophy by the Essence of Lucentia. The fundamental force carrier of Lightweaving is a Luxon (which I call the L boson) whose properties can be shaped by strange loops. The Spark of Life is a form of Lightweaving granting intentional motion to an Identity with a strange loop. Light particles (photons) are just neutral L bosons. Knowledge of this secret is what allowed a person in the Cosmere's distant past to become Adonalsium. Like M-theory, my aim for L-theory is to become a "theory of everything" for the Cosmere... at least until WoB comes along saying string theory has nothing to do with Cosmere cosmology (which I sure hope won't happen soon! ). Also like M-theory, L-theory is still incomplete. I welcome any comment, suggestion, or constructive criticism that might help me develop it further. Edit: Added stuff suggested by SmurfAquamarineBodies and Emerald101.
  8. We know that Ruin and Preservation share a magic system in the form of metal-based Investing. We also know that Honor and Odium also share a storm/surge based Investment system. Given all of this, what's to say that an unnamed Shard(s) also use the same base for their systems of Investiture? For instance, what if Brandon unveiled an Allomancy that was compatible with Scaldrial's but used entirely different metals? (Something along the lines of burning Uranium leads to toxicity resistance or something )
  9. “Sometimes I wonder if I am the only real thing in a false world.” The voice echoed across a curious landscape. It was an island of sorts, surrounded by swirling mists. The ground was dark, smoky stone—that was how man perceived it, at least. “And other times I wonder if the world is rigid and true and I am what is changing, ever false, ever contradicting.” The speaker looked up at the sky, which was encompassed in a writhing mass of crimson tendrils pierced only by a too-small dot of light. “Identity has always puzzled me. Scholars throughout the æons have searched for a way to define who oneself is. Yet it is just who I am…” The island was covered in short scrubby plants except for a small area around a blazing green fire. A group of spirits stood in the cleared-out space with a cloaked figure at the center beside the fire. When he spoke next, it was with greater intensity. “…who we are. Is Identity how we were created, or how we choose to create ourselves? Do we bear our own souls, or are we ourselves carried along?” The cloaked man threw a pinch of dust in the fire, which flared up, illuminating the faces of the spirits. He looked into each one’s eyes. “Time flows like a river, and the day of proving approaches quickly. When sunset falls, chaos will be upon us. You will need to be prepared.” He took an ornate wooden box out of his pack. It was clearly aged; the wood was bent and covered in holes which emitted a faint glow. He opened the box, revealing rows of small brightly glowing objects, circular or hexagonal in shape and a couple inches in diameter. Each had a unique and intricate pattern carved into its face. “It is time to decide who you will be. Who you will fight for, and who you will fight against.” Above the hooded man, the sky rippled, tendrils casting faint shadows across the stone. One of the spirits stepped forward, reaching into the box and taking a single glowing piece. The others followed. “Who are you, little ones?” Lightning crashed, illuminating the red sky. “You are what the world needs to you to become.” Rules Ah, yes, right, businessy stuff, that’s my cue. [clears throat] Yes, well, my name is Phil! I’m the voice in your head who’s here to do all the businessy stuff related to this quest. Don’t worry about how I’m talking in your head or whose voice I stole or any of that stuff—I’m just a plot device here to repeatedly infodump you. We cool? So, the rules. Er, about that… well, you see, Mr. Hooded Cloak over there says I’m technically not supposed to tell you anything. But I’ve always been one to—shall we say bend the rules a little bit (excuse the pun). I mean, you guys have to have some kind of groundwork to go off of, right? So, to start out with, the game is divided into Day and Night turns which alternate as always. Day turns are 47 hours long with a 1 hour break afterward, and Night turns are 23 hours long, again with a 1 hour break afterward. If you want to be all technical about things, turns will end at 4 AM UTC and the next turn will begin at 5 AM UTC. You can normally take 2 actions each cycle (Day and Night). You can take both during the Day, both during the Night, or one of each, but no more than 2 actions each cycle, and you can’t use the same action more than once in the same cycle unless otherwise stated. If an ability lets you use more than 2 actions per cycle, there is an absolute maximum of 2 actions in the Day and 2 actions in the Night. Clear as mud, eh? Boom, order of actions. You’re welcome. There might be more stuff not on here because Mr. Hooded Cloak is so uptight about everything. You’ll get a notebook to record stuff in too, it’s only a page though so not much of a notebook. It gets shown to everyone once you die. Mr. Hooded Cloak keeps trying to get me to call it a Will but he’s really kind of a morbid guy. Trust me, you don’t want to get to know that git. Speaking of which, there’s a bunch of random stuff he wanted me to tell you. After you die you’ll return here for a couple cycles before “passing on” (see, morbid guy, right?) during which you’ll be “judged for your actions” and you might potentially change your outlook on life. That one’ll be important if you ever get brought back from the dead. He also told me "tie lynches are random" and “scans aren’t infallible” or something weird like that. And, oddly, he also wanted me to make sure to tell you that Wills aren’t carved in metal. I should also talk to you for a couple secs about greed and the universal language: gold. You can get 2 pieces of gold each cycle, one for posting some discussion related to the game and another for posting at least 200 words of in-character text. Here’s a piece of paper that Mr. Hooded Cloak left me listing a few “universal actions” which any of you guys can take: And that’s about it! Good guys win if they kill the bad guys, bad guys win if there are more of them than the good guys. I’ll let you know later on if I forgot to tell you anything. So, with all of this businessy stuff done, I wish you luck and bid you adieu. Have fun storming the castle! [CoGMs are Elenion and Jondesu. IM is Wilson.] Quick Links:
  10. So as to not derail the event thread further, there's a new WoB that I'll be quoting in the first post here to give proper attribution. Feel free to discuss. I just didn't want to keep discussing Cosmere relevant info outside of the Cosmere forums. Edit: the conversation has wandered to be more centered around magical foci, so if you just want to see the WoB itself, the thread probably isn't going to be very meaningful. If you are like me and the topic of magic systems foci interests you, well, here's as good a place as any.
  11. For some months now, I’ve been working on creating a framework for all of the magic systems of Roshar that combines everything we know about them and makes predictions for that which we don’t know. This topic is the end result. Since I’m aiming for completeness, there will be things here that are already well understood, as well as things that I haven’t seen proposed before. So, with apologies for the sheer length that it has become, allow me to present my framework. Magics by Shardic Composition Let's start by listing the various Rosharan powers and classifying them by the Shards which power them. Magic Shardic Composition Surgebinding Honour & Cultivation Ancient Fabrials Honour & Cultivation Modern Fabrials Cultivation Old Magic Cultivation Voidbinding Honour & Odium Voidbringer Powers Cultivation & Odium Surgebinding My classification of Surgebinding shouldn't be raising any eyebrows since it is well understood that each type of Radiant spren is some mix of both Honour and Cultivation. However, let's take a moment to consider how the two powers manifest in Surgebinding as this will provide insight into how I've classified the other magics. While there are many different interpretations of honour, they ultimately all come down to the interaction between two or more people: in a universe with only one person, it would be impossible for them to act honourably (nor to act dishonourably), for there would be no one for them to act honourably towards. This duality is reflected, I believe, in Honour's magic. The most obvious example of this would be the necessity to bond spren in order to perform it. Now, you could argue that since the listeners were bonding spren long before the Shards came to Roshar, this would mean that bonding spren is not related to Honour specifically. However, the listener bond is, by its very nature, very different to the Nahel bond; seemingly less a mutually beneficial partnership, and more a natural process. I would contend, therefore, that this is an example of Honour incorporating this aspect of the Rosharan environment into his magic out of necessity. I do not think that this idea of duality is limited only to the bonding of spren, however; I think that it extends even to the way that the powers form. You likely noticed that in my listing of the various magics that there is no system that is entirely of Honour. I think that Honour's nature means that he requires a second Shard to mix his power with in order to form a magic system. In other words, it would not be in his nature to form a magic that is purely his own. Another example of Honour's effect on Surgebinding is in its structure: the way that Surgebinders are divided up precisely into distinct predetermined Radiant Orders based off of their interpretation of honour, and their determination to emulate that ideal. And also, the way that the powers are divided up between the different orders. This is a rigid and inflexible framework, much like the Radiant’s Ideals can be. In short, this is where the "binding" in Surgebinding comes from: Honour is bound to another Shard and the Radiants to their spren, their Orders, and their Ideals. So if Honour provides a structure to Surgebinding, what does Cultivation provide? I think that it is through Cultivation that Surgebinders get to manipulate the Surges. If we look at the spren associated with each of the Shards, Honour's spren are those of emotion, again linking back to human interaction. Cultivation's spren, however, are the spren of nature, so it makes sense that it is Cultivation's power that gives access to the natural Surges. Now, I can imagine it being argued that since on Scadrial, all the magic systems revolve around metals, surely all the magic systems of Roshar should likewise revolve around the Surges, not simply the ones associated with Cultivation. However, I would argue that this is a false analogy: the metals on Scadrial act as a focus, the Surges on Roshar do not. The powers produced by the Metallic Arts (with the exceptions of Allomantic iron, steel, aluminium, and chromium) are not related to metal themselves. Therefore, whilst all of the Rosharan magic systems should share a common focus, it should not necessarily be the case that they all share the Surges. Modern Fabrials Now with that established, it should be obvious why I think that Fabrials are a magic system purely of Cultivation. They lack the rigid structure that I have associated with Honour, and while the spren are still part of the magic, they are trapped inside the gemstones rather than working with the user as you would expect in Honour’s magic. This leaves Cultivation as the only reasonable candidate, which in turn means that they must be utilising the surges in some way. Although, without the rigidity of Honour’s framework, the way they manifest is apparently quite different. Ancient Fabrials The first thing to note here is that these fabrials do not seem to have much in common with modern fabrials, to the point that I suspect that calling them fabrials at all is a misnomer. Modern fabrials all function by trapping a spren in a gemstone, ancient fabrials do not appear to do this. Spren are clearly involved in some way, just as they are in every other magic; we in fact see this in the operation of the Oathgates. In order to activate them, you need a Shardblade, i.e. the physical manifestation of a spren that is part Cultivation and part Honour. Moreover, the spren needs to be alive. This implies that the person operating the Oathgate needs to be working together with the spren, which sounds just like an Honour based magic. This would mean that the ancient fabrials are far more closely related to the Surgebindings than they are to modern fabrials. Which makes sense given that the effects we have seen (Soulcasting, Regrowth, Transportation) appear to be the same as various Surgebindings. In fact, when Nale heals Szeth with one of these ancient fabrials, he actually refers to it as a Surgebinding. Ideally I would compare the operation of the Oathgates to that of other ancient fabrials, unfortunately though, we haven’t really seen enough of these yet to be able to draw anything meaningful from them. The Old Magic This isn’t a magic like others on this list: it's not something that people can perform; instead, it seems to be practised solely by the Nightwatcher, about whom the only things we can really say with confidence are that she is some kind of “mega-spren”, closely related to Cultivation. This would suggest then that the Old Magic can be described as similar to a sapient, self-operating fabrial. I don’t think that there’s much more that can be said at this point without additional information about the Old Magic or the Nightwatcher. Voidbinding This brings us to the only magic system on the list which I believe to be unrelated to Cultivation. If we look at the Voidbinding chart from the back of The Way of Kings, it is immediately obvious that the structure of the magic is the same as Surgebinding. It even has "binding" in its name, hence why I think that it is of Honour. However, if we look at the symbols where, on the Surgebinding chart, the Surges are placed, we see not the symbols for the Surges, but a twisted version of them. Hence I do not think that Voidbinding will be related to the Surges at all, and hence Cultivation has no part in Voidbinding. Voidbringer Powers And finally, we come to the powers that were demonstrated at the end of Words of Radiance by the Voidbringers. Why do I think that this isn't Voidbinding? We have a WoB that we haven't seen Voidbinding yet, but we have seen these powers, therefore they must be something different. Additionally we have the following WoBs: Since the Voidbringers are forms of the Parshendi, and the Parshendi are not of Honour, if my classification of Voidbinding as being of Honour is correct, then the Voidbringers cannot be Voidbinders. So, why do I think that the Voidbringers are related to Cultivation rather than purely of Odium? If we have a look at Dalinar’s vision of the Purelake, we see him looking for a voidspren, which ultimately ends up animating a thunderclast. The voidspren is described to him as: “A spren that doesn’t act like it should”, not as a new type of spren. And apparently this is a result of the spren interacting with Sja-anat, an Unmade. What’s more, the spren they end up chasing has a resemblance to a riverspren, a type of nature spren, which is therefore related to Cultivation. I would propose, therefore, that the Unmade corrupt spren to make voidspren. When the spren was originally of Cultivation they go on to form Voidbringers and thunderclasts and the like. And when the spren was originally of Honour, they will bond to form Voidbinders. On Initiation The first thing to note here is that not all magics require an Initiation in order to be used. Some, such as Haemalurgy, are universal and can be used by anyone. Modern fabrials also seem to fall under this category. In order to use a magic, you need three things: intent, Investiture, and a focus. In the case of fabrials, the Investiture and the focus are both incorporated into the device itself. In other words, the user only needs to provide the intent to use the fabrial in order for it to work. The crucial part here is that the user does not need to access an external source of Investiture themselves: the fabrial does that for them. The Old Magic is not relevant to this discussion since it is restricted to the domain of the Nightwatcher. Also, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of the ancient fabrials yet in order to determine whether they would also be universal or not, so, for the time being, I’ll pass over these two magics. The remaining magics all seem to require Initiation. Khriss’ comments on Initiation in Elantris’ Ars Arcanum suggest that the method of Initiation across all of the magics on any given world is consistent. I think it should be fairly obvious, therefore, that the method of Initiation here is the spren bond. All of the remaining magics utilise a spren bond in some form, and Syl has openly admitted to Kaladin that she is the reason that he is able to Surgebind. On the Rosharan Focus So far I’ve seen theories on the focus claim that it’s either the gemstones, or the spren, or the spren bond. Firstly, I don’t think that it can be the spren bond: I have already demonstrated that it is the method of Initiation and I don’t see how it can be both. Also, as previously noted, not all magics require a spren bond, but all magics require a focus which is consistent across all Rosharan magics, therefore if the spren bond were the focus, this would be a contradiction. Things get interesting when we start to examine the spren and the gemstones as candidates for the focus, however. When examining Soulcasting, the gemstones act exactly as you would expect the focus to, the type of gemstone used determines the result of the transformation. However, this does not appear to be the case with any other magic that we have seen, which should mean that the gemstones can’t be the focus. The spren seem like an ideal candidate for the focus since they are, like the gemstones, present in some capacity in all Rosharan magics. Moreover, as they are capable of changing their form at will, if they are the focus then they should be able to direct the form that the power takes by themselves. And, we saw in the climax to Words of Radiance, Syl was able to accurately determine the weapon that Kalaldin wished her to form without him having to actively communicate it to her, it would follow then, that the Radiant spren could do the same thing to provide their Radiant with the power that they wished to use. And since in modern fabrials, the spren would presumably be trapped in a single form, it would account for why fabrials each have only a single function. There is, however, a problem with using spren as the Rosharan focus, and it is essentially the same problem that we ran into when we tried considering the gemstones as the focus: when considering Soulcasting, it is clearly the gemstones, not the spren that is determining the result of the transformation. So both the spren and the gemstones must be the focus, but neither the spren nor the gemstones can be the focus! To resolve this, I think we’re going to need to take a closer look at what a focus actually is. To start off with, I don’t think that a focus is actually physical. Everything in the Cosmere exists to some extent across all three Realms, so that we might be able to see or interact with it in the Physical Realm does not mean that this is where the magical interaction is happening. If we look at AonDor, the focus like in all Selish magics is shapes, however, an Aon will continue to function even if you were to destroy its physical representation. Indeed Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, which shouldn’t have a physical body at all. And of course, on Nalthis, they use Commands as a focus which, being auditory, likewise shouldn’t have a physical body. I suspect that it is in the Cognitive Realm that these gain a more concrete, not to mention, permanent, form. So, Investiture flows from the Spiritual Realm to the Cognitive Realm where it interacts with the focus and is filtered down into the Physical Realm in the form determined by that focus. But, if the focus is cognitive, then shouldn’t it be possible for it to be something more abstract in nature, such as a function? We know that gemstones and spren have some kind of relationship with each other. Just consider Navani’s notebook: Could it be the case that spren and gemstones are bound together as variables in a cognitive function that is acting as the focus on Roshar? When spren are imprisoned in gemstones, is that what’s really happening, or are they instead being constrained to the same space as part of such a function? This is what I think is happening here: neither the spren nor the gemstone is the focus, but they are both components in a kind of complex focus. How the Honourblades Work So, I’ve been repeatedly coming back to the idea that the spren are involved in some way in every magic on Roshar, yet you might have noticed that the Honourblades are an exception to this. They allow their wielder to Surgebind, but they are not themselves spren. In fact, originally, the Honourblades would power Surgebinding by opening a direct conduit to Honour, similar to how Allomancy opens a conduit to Preservation, meaning that even gemstones wouldn’t be needed to provide Stormlight. Thus, the Heralds might not have needed either part of the focus that I specified above. Does this not contradict my argument for the focus? I don’t think so; I think that the way Honour hacked the magic in the Honourblades means that this isn’t an issue. When Preservation hacked Allomancy so that Vin was able to burn the mists, she no longer needed the metals for Allomancy. And similarly, when Vin became Preservation, she was able to power Allomancy for Elend without him having access to the metals. Based off of this, I think it’s clear that a focus is not required when a Shard directly intervenes like this. One final point: it could perhaps be argued that the Honourblades represent the true form of Surgebinding and that the Nahel bond is the true hack since the spren copied the Honourblades. I disagree with this interpretation, though. I think that the Radiant spren have always been able to form the Nahel bond and create Surgebinders since Honour first Invested in Roshar, they simply didn’t know that they could do this. When Honour hacked the system by creating the Honourblades though, the spren were able to figure out that they had this ability from seeing what the Honourblades could do. TL;DR Given the size and scope of this treatise, it is impossible to easily summarise the entire piece, however, a few key points are as follows: Honour’s influence causes a magic to take on a predefined, rigid structure. Voidbinding does not manipulate the Surges at all. Spren Bonds are the basis for Initiation. Roshar has a complex focus which utilises both spren and gemstones as components. The Honourblades negate the need for a focus.
  12. I remembered somewhere in WoK that Hoid made an offhand comment to Dalinar about the world spinning, and Dalinar being "flabbergasted." What if this wasn't just some offhand metaphor that Hoid was saying Okay, so it was just a metaphor, but it reveals the fact that Rosharans might think the world is flat. This bears a lot of importance to the fact that worldhoppers use the Cognitive Realm to worldhop. If the worlds of anywhere are not percieved as flat, would it become round in Cognitive space, and is that the reason for era 4 mistborn needing FTL machines rather than Oathgate thingys?
  13. It has taken a while, but I've finally decided to delve into the inner workings of the Cosmere and immerse myself in Realmatic Theory. I've already read both Kurkistan's and Satsuoni's impressively thorough musings on the matter, and I think I'm ready to share my thoughts. Inspirations behind this theory include the MEC, Satsuoni's Realmatic theory, Wan ShaiLu's Realmatic lectures in TES, and... the object-oriented programming (OOP) paradigm. You see, this lowly skaa is also a lowly code monkey in real life. I read and write code everyday, so it can't be helped that certain programming concepts intrude in my mind even when I'm not thinking about work. I've found that this can sometimes help me understand strange and alien concepts using terms I'm familiar with. So, here I will try to use OOP as an analogy to help fellow programmers understand Brandon's fictional cosmology. It will not be a perfect analogy, I know, but I'm gonna have to work with what I have. Alright! Here we go! *crosses fingers* Table of Contents Part I: Objects and the Three Realms Part II: Investiture, Shadesmar, and Metaprogramming Part III: Realmatic Integration Testing Appendix I: Realmatic Interactions Part I: Objects and the Three Realms Summary: In OOP terms, the Spiritual aspect is the set of an object's methods the class definition[1] of the object, the Cognitive aspect is the set of values of an object's runtime attributes, and the Physical aspect is the set of an object's publicly accessible members (i.e. its public interface). Everything in the Cosmere is made up of "objects". By "object", I mean an entity that has both a set of constituent parts and a set of instructions detailing its behavior. Brandon is probably more familiar with the philosophical definition of the word, but since I'm just a code monkey and not a philosopher, I'll stick to my somewhat oversimplified OOP-based definition. The behavioral specification (In OOP, the "class definition"[1]) of an object allows it to interact with itself and with others, and is basically the Spiritual aspect of the object, its soul. This jives with Satsuoni's theory that the Spiritual Realm is responsible for connections and interactions, as well as with Kurkistan's idea of "motive force". Now, when we talk of an object "interacting with itself", what do we mean by that? The "Self" (or Spiritual Identity) exists because the different parts of the object (which are themselves objects) have started grouping their spiritual aspects into a single unit. In OOP, defining the identity of the object is the job of the constructor and setter methods. Identity determines what is in the object and what is outside of it, and in the Cosmere, this separation between "self" and "others" creates consciousness. This coming together of separate objects to view themselves as a single conscious entity was already described by Shai, and she also explains that how an object views itself is basically its Cognitive aspect. In OOP, objects can have fields containing other objects that act as its attributes and properties. The Cognitive aspect would encompass everything that the object views in itself: its attributes, its constituent components, its thoughts, its sensory perceptions, etc. Speaking of the senses, normal objects can only sense other objects in a limited way. In Realmatic terms, Object A can only sense Object B if Object B's Spiritual aspect specifies the possibility of interacting with Object A. In OOP terms, this involves two things: Object B needs to have public methods or attributes. Object A must be in a position to access those public members (i.e. Object B should be within its scope). The sum total of all the publicly accessible methods and attributes of all the objects in the Cosmere is what we call the Physical realm. This includes the fundamental forces of nature like gravity and electromagnetism that all objects use to interact with each other, as well as the attributes changed by such interactions. Remember that in the Cosmere, physical forces (e.g. gravity) are actually dictated by the Spiritual realm, while physical attributes (e.g. position, shape, structure, etc.) are stored in the Cognitive realm. The Physical realm therefore comes from the interaction between the Spiritual and Cognitive realms. I suppose I ought to give some examples. Certain objects like bowling balls, jagged shards of glass, and human body parts have the ability to exert force (in the Newtonian sense of the word). In the Cosmere, these forces originate from the Spiritual realm (in OOP, the class definition)[1]. Such objects also have special kinds of properties like shape, color, structure, momentum, position in spacetime, etc., that are affected by forces exerted on them. The interaction of those forces (Spiritual) and those properties (Cognitive) is called Physics, which is why we call these objects Physical entities. Another example would be thoughts and perceptions. These things would not have Spiritual methods to exert physical force. In fact they would just have the minimal amount of Spiritual presence to allow conscious objects to store, retrieve, analyze, or destroy them. Other than that, thoughts and perceptions would be mostly composed of attributes, like "truth-value". "clarity", "usefulness" etc., making these objects Cognitive entities. Lastly, there would be objects that have behavioral instructions but have very few (if any) perceivable attributes. Examples are forces and spirits. They may "do things", but they have very little in terms of defining characteristics. These would be what we call Spiritual entities. Here is how an object gains presence in all three realms: An object must always have a Spiritual aspect, even if it's just a tiny one, for the simple reason that all objects must manifest at least one behavior: the action of existence. As long as an object exists, it is in the Spiritual realm. The more actions an object can perform, and the more complex those actions are, the stronger its Spiritual aspect. Complex lifeforms have a strong Spiritual presence, but so do cosmic forces like the Shards of Adonalsium. Objects with the strongest Spiritual presence might be called omnipotent. An object gains a Cognitive aspect the moment it achieves Spiritual Identity (i.e. the moment it sees itself as a separate entity). The more distinctly this identity can be sensed by itself and others, the stronger the Cognitive aspect. This is usually achieved by increasing its number of unique attributes, especially attributes related to sensory perception (e.g. sensory organs). Intelligent beings have a strong Cognitive presence, and omniscient beings have the strongest Cognitive presence of all. An object gains a Physical aspect when it allows its attributes to potentially become affected by the actions of other objects. Objects with a bigger number of attributes exposed to outside influence have a stronger Physical aspect. Mass is one of these attributes, so massive objects have a strong Physical presence, especially super-massive black holes. (To be continued in Part II: Investiture, Shadesmar, and Metaprogramming) Edit (Footnote [1]): Satsuoni and Kurkistan (who both inspired this theory) have convinced me in the discussion below that "methods" are the wrong analogy to use for the Spiritual realm. Rather, "classes" would be better. Note the corrections I made above to reflect this change in the theory. Update(2016-12-31): Fixed the links in the table of contents. Reading this again after three and a half years, and knowing what we know now about the cosmere, I now find this to be little more than an amusing attempt to frame Realmatics in programming terms. Serious Cosmere theorists are better off speculating on what the Realms are, rather than what they can be compared to. For a more serious theory, consider this other one, instead.
  14. I put a couple questions for Brandon up, but I'd love to hear your input! so my question basically is "how does the realm you are in influence your magical ability?" As in, if you're a pewterarm, and you travel to the cognitive realm on Scadrial with some pewter, would you be able to burn pewter there? Would it have the same effect as in the physical realm? If it's emotional allomancy, would you be able to use it in the cognitive to influence someone else in the cognitive? (or in the physical or spiritual?) would it matter if you were at a perpendicularity? These were brought on by someone pondering the use of the gravitation surge to travel while in shadesmar. Also, if a koloss entered the spiritual realm, what would happen? What if he was in the cognitive? Would he look like a koloss, or would his spiritual essence look like overlapping people? Can the transportation surge be used to get to another place (either in the physical world, or while in shadesmar) in the same realm, or is it simply a means of travelling between realms? Related to this, would the oathgate symbols for each city have anything to do with connecting the physical symbol to the spiritual ideal of that city, and then from there back to the physical location of that city's oathgate? (How do those things work? Do they even use interrealm transportation, or is it all intrarealm?) So many questions! I open them to you wonderful sharders blow my mind!
  15. I'm going to start by defining some terms here to help everyone follow my thoughts. In the western philosophical tradition, dualism is generally defined as follows: In more common terms, this is a belief in a soul that is separate from the body. Sanderson's cosmere is an interesting spin on dualism, in which there are actually three sorts of things, physical things, mental things, and spiritual things. A common real-world form of dualist belief is a belief that is often called "Cartesian Dualism" (after Descartes). Cartesian dualism is a pretty normal, intuitive way of looking at dualism. In Cartesian dualism, a normal interaction would be something like: the body is pricked by a needle, causing the soul to feel a sensation of pain. Then the soul would send a message back to the body, causing it to behave a certain way. In modern discussion, very few people who investigate these things believe in traditional Cartesian dualism. There are various reasons why this is, but I don't want to get into it right now. Another view of dualism that is a little less intuitive, but to many people is thought to be more consistent, is a view called epiphenomenalism. The key difference here is whether or not the soul can have an impact on the physical world (or physical realm, to use the cosmere term). An epiphenomenalist views the soul as a product of what happens in the physical world, but doesn't believe there is any sort of causality running in the opposite direction from the soul to the world. An epiphenomenalist view of the needle pricking situation would be something like this: the body is pricked by a needle, causing the soul to experience pain. The physical brain kicks in and prompts the reaction of jumping, causing the soul to experience the feeling of reflexively jumping away. In this view, the soul doesn't play a role in any choices made by the brain. The actual thinking happens in the physical world, and the experience of thinking is a sort of byproduct of the physical process. The epiphenomenalist view is popular among certain modern dualists because it doesn't contradict the modern scientific view that the physical world is a closed causal system, while still allowing for the existence of a non-physical soul that has experiences and feels things. The relevance of all this to the cosmere is this: I think that realmatic interaction is best understood as being mostly, with an important exception, epiphenomenal. The physical realm is the base, and what happens in it ripples upwards, first into the cognitive realm, then the spritual realm. In this view, cognition itself does not occur in the cognitive realm. Instead, cognition is a physical process that creates effects in the cognitive realm, and then those congitive effects continue on to create effects in the spritual realm. I also think that the basic role of investiture is it breaks epiphenomenalism. Investiture can create changes directly on the cognitive or spiritual realm, and then the investiture allows those changes to flow backwards into the physical realm. Investiture also allows entities to exist in non-physical realms without being caused by a physical thing. Cognitive shadows and spren both take advantage of investiture to exist in a way that would otherwise be impossible under epiphenomenal realmatics. Investiture is also what allows spren to use their connection to certain types of things (or people) to manifest in the physical realm. Right now, this theory has helped me think about realmatics in a way that doesn't break my brain, but I'm only starting to think on the implications. Thanks for reading!
  16. I would like to preface this post by saying that this theory is not original to me, but was first thought up by u/Kabsal on Reddit. I thought it was very interesting and deserved to be shared here. Ive cut out some spoilers from the recent Mistborn books, you can check out the unedited version here ( https://www.reddit.com/r/brandonsanderson/comments/44kfg3/spoilers_all_cosmere_a_unifying_theory_of/) but beware, major spoilers for SH and BoM are included there. Here is the post: With the recent Mistborn releases, Sanderson has pulled back the curtain a good amount and given us a plethora of new tantalizing hints about the underlying rules of all magic systems in the Cosmere. Armed with this new information, my friend and I have put together a grand theory that explains the mechanisms of all Cosmere magic in a way that ends up being simple and elegant. This theory consists of one part information given straight-up in the novels, one part Word of Brandon, one part reading between the lines, and one part pure speculation. We make no attempt to distinguish which is which, which means is nothing in this post can be considered canon unless sourced elsewhere, but it does hold together rather well. Obviously, from this point on, the explanation will have major spoilers for all published work, and expect you to be solidly familiar with much of it. TL;DR: Investiture works simply by allowing you to propagate the rules of one realm to another, allowing magic to occur. The first piece of necessary background is a basic understanding of Realmatics. All things in the Cosmere exist in three realms. The first is the Physical Realm, which consists the bodies of all things. Most of what we see in the books takes place in the Physical Realm; it is analogous to the real world, and the same laws of physics apply. The second realm is the Cognitive Realm, which consists of the minds of all things. This realm deals with how objects and people are perceived, and even how they perceive themselves. In the Stormlight Archive, the Cognitive Realm is called Shadesmar, and Shallan and Jasnah see into it on a few occasions in the two books. Spren are native inhabitants of the Cognitive Realm. Finally, we have the Spiritual Realm, which consists of the souls of all things. We've seen the least of this realm so far, but the hints that have started to come through suggest that this realm shows Connection and Identity (more on these later) in their truest form, while also allowing limited vision into the future. Distance and time have no meaning in this realm - only the essences of things matter. In addition to the three realms, there is also the concept of Investiture, which serves as the magical analogue of energy in our physics. Investiture is never created nor destroyed, but it can be changed in form to something unusable. Investiture manifests itself differently on each Shardworld based on the Shard that Invested said world. Stormlight, Breath, the Dor, and Allomantic metals are examples of Investiture. In each case, these sources represent a Shard's power bleeding into the realms in a manipulable form. Stormlight and metals have been seen to glow in the Cognitive Realm, demonstrating them as conduits for the raw powers of creation coming from the Shards. Next, we look to the known magic systems of the Cosmere. We note that performing most all magic requires a component from each realm - a physical reagent, a cognitive intent, and a spiritual connection, plus a source of Investiture. The importance of each to the magic varies by system, but they're usually each present in some form. First is the reagent. This is usually (though not always) consumed as part of performing the magic. For Allomancers, the reagent is metal. For Awakeners, it's color. For Sand Masters, it's the body's water. It is less clear for Surgebinding; two possibilities are either the intake of breath to draw in Stormlight, or the fact that Spren pull their consciousness into the Physical Realm as part of forming the Nahel bond. The next component is the intent. Magic in the Cosmere does not occur by accident. A conscious mind needs to direct the power in some form. Even when characters like Vin or Kaladin draw upon their power without fully understanding what they are doing, they still channel their will or defiance as a catalyst. Intent is particularly important for Selish magic; you need to know exactly what you are doing and draw the symbols incredibly precisely to get any effect. The necessity of intent also explains why characters in Bands of Mourning are unable to sense the power contained in their unkeyed metalminds until they consider the possibility that the objects are metalminds (this happens on no less than four occasions in the book). Lastly, there is the spiritual connection. This is the one we're least sure about; the spiritual component could very well be something different. However, we do see that the soul needs to be somewhat broken for power to seep in, whether Snapping for Allomancers, the utterly crushing backstory needed for Surgebinders, or the Shaod for Elantrians. Once the soul is cracked, a connection can be formed to the source of power, which is usually a Shard (albeit often indirectly). In some cases, this connection is referred to as a bond, especially when it is formed to a tangible being such as a Spren, Aviar, or even Nightblood. We finally reach the crux of the theory. Once you've assembled components from the three realms, all magic works by using Investiture to break down the barriers between the realms, effecting changes in one by modifying another in accordance with its rules. This can be most directly seen in Soulcasting or Forgery; in these systems, power is used to manipulate the non-physical selves of things. For Soulcasting, the cognitive self is persuaded to change, while in Forgery, the object's history (an aspect of its spiritual self) is rewritten. Both cause the object's physical form to change in reaction. Another clear example is Atium Feruchemy; an aspect of one's spiritual Identity (age) is partially modified, causing the body to adjust. Hemalurgy works in the reverse; by making physical changes with spikes, one alters the soul and its Connections, which is how it can be used to grant powers to recipients. If you squint hard enough, all magic that we have seen can be interpreted to fit this framework. Key to the breaking of realm boundaries is the use of Investiture. Much like energy in chemical reactions, Investiture powers the melding of realms and in so doing is consumed into a higher-entropy, unusable form. This theory has the elegance of simplicity, while simultaneously having tremendous explanatory power for some of the unanswered questions of the Cosmere. For example, the reason tapping Zinc for mental speed makes you hungry (mentioned in BoM) is the necessity of a physical cost to a cognitive power. It also explains how Perpendicularities work - in places where a Shard's Investiture is pooled, the boundary between realms is particularly weak, allowing one to move their physical self entirely into or out of the Cognitive Realm. Another major free corollary is the reason why different sources of magic tend to resist one another. Magic is already stretching the realms away from their normal state, and much like a spring or rubber band, the force needed to pull it further increases with distance. There are two additional categories that are worth discussing, however. We must look at death and Investiture as well as Invested technology. Death in the Cosmere is not so much an ending as a point of transition. When one dies, they are not immediately gone, but rather split apart across the realms and linger for a short time as they unravel. Preservation lets slip that Allomancers and Feruchemists last longer. This makes sense under our theory; they are more tightly tied to the realms so it takes more time for them to unwind and let go. From here, most do take the Next Step. As Harmony puts it, their bodies return to the earth, their minds to the Cosmere, and their souls go... Beyond. However, for a special few, there are other options. If the body is healed in time, it is possible for the recently deceased to pull themselves back together and resume living. This is what happened for Szeth. There exists one more possibility than that. If a Shard intervenes, they can pour enough Connection into the recently deceased to keep them held to the realms. The Returned do this, and it is our guess that Elantrians and Heralds do so as well. Beings who exist in this state are granted tremendous power, but require a steady stream of Investiture to remain tethered. This is why Returned consume Breath weekly. Finally, Invested technology. We've seen a few cases (and we're starting to see more and more) of people figuring out how to build devices based off Realmatic Theory. Examples include Fabrials, , Nightblood. We freely admit that the above theory doesn't cover these as perfectly as the direct uses of magic. Some details remain the same, such as the powering by Investiture. However, the need for Realmatic components seems to be diminished in some cases. We're not yet sure how this works, but still firmly believe that there exist explanations consistent with our theory. For example, we posit Nightblood to be an artificially created soul, pumped full of enough Investiture to develop a spiritweb and Identity, but of course more information is still needed to support this. In short, we believe this theory at least is consistent with everything we've seen so far. It serves as a good framework going forward, both to direct what questions to ask Brandon and to form new predictions about how future systems might work. We had to glaze over some details in the above post, so feel free to ask for clarifications or additional examples, or point out all the different places we're so obviously wrong.
  17. So in the last few years we've learned quite a lot about how healing works in the cosmere. Whether or not you whippersnappers can fathom it, we used to be quite confused on the whole issue. But post-TES we've essentially nailed down healing as based on the Cognitive aspect of the healed (with some very well-delineated exceptions). This Cognitive model has been explicitly applied to permanent Resealing in Forging, as well as almost certainly applying to how Stormlight healing works, and being described as applying to "most" healing in the cosmere and so very likely including Feruchemical Gold. Myself, I've tried a bit to explore the fringes of the system by examining what exactly is limiting people from going crazy and using warped self-perception to grow an extra limb, or become immortal. I've settled on my old standby ("old" only at this point: once again: whippersnappers, all of you!!! ) of Forms as the main answer, historically. So TLR aged because some Human Form kept him grounded, and we needn't fear Doc Oc growing actual tentacles for the same reason. ---- But then we got a new WoB from the SLCC signing: Source: My first comment when I saw this was "We've gotten pretty definitive 'it's Cognitive' stuff before, so perhaps here Brandon is emphasizing the Spiritual as a limiting factor?" -- But really, the phrasing here is a bit odd given all we've had in the past to suggest a primarily-Cognitive mechanism. I think the answer, then, might be a mildly radical re-shaping of how we understand the mechanism of magical healing. Since TES, we've essentially been saying that healing is just the body's "state of health" being brought into compliance with its Cognitive aspect. To the extent that the Spiritual was involved at all, it was only tangentially as I insisted that Spiritually-based Forms acted as a limiting factor on what healing could accomplish. Given this new WoB, though, I might suggest a shift in this model. Instead of healing being both driven and expressed by the Cognitive aspect, I would argue that its motive force is instead based in the Spiritual aspect of the healed. Now we have much less knowledge about Spiritual interactions than I'd like, but we do have this: Source: So we can start at a crude level by just thinking of the spirit as your "ideal self" (whatever that means and however that's formed/maintained...). So far as healing goes, then, perhaps we should model it as the Spiritual aspect attempting to impose its idealized form onto the body, but having to work through the "reality" (or at least closer-to-reality) of the Cognitive aspect. -I really really promise that that one theory of mine wasn't even in my mind when I started writing up this thread. That said... So the Spiritual saying "make the body like X" and then the Cognitive interpreting and applying directive X within the framework/restrictions of the Cognitive aspect. --- This new "workflow" also provides a convenient inlet for Forms to do there thing, as before they were just kind of butting into an otherwise purely Cognitive process. Here, then, it seems we might be able to conclude that Forms plug into the Spiritual aspect of each individual (as makes most sense in terms of interaction) and so guide the healing process from the top down. If the Spiritual never asks the Cognitive to heal the effects of aging, then it never will. Of course an alternative might be to discard Forms from healing altogether and posit something intrinsic to the spirit such that it never "distorts" enough to allow bizarre "healings" or the like. This has some plausibility if we're to see the spirit as somehow ideal. Myself, though, I like the idea of having a very firmly external authority to go to with these matters, to cut down on shenanigans. I'll end about here, I think. This merits some further exploration, but better to let some discussion commence than just keep rambling into more and more speculative territory by myself. EDIT: For sake of reference, here's Shai's definition of the Realms: Essence, ideal; potato potato?
  18. theory

    I'd like to explain how I see the mechanics behind Feruchemy. It's easy enough to say that it stores different human attributes inside bits of metal, but that doesn't really offer any explanation on how exactly that happens. For starters, how does it affect the metal when an attribute is stored in it. Since the metals remain allomantically sound, i.e. they can still be burned by an allomancer for the same effect(disregard compounding for now), we know the molecular structure of the metal remains the same. Nor are there any visible changes to the metalminds. This makes me quite certain that the attributes aren't stored in the Physical realm. That leaves the Cognitive and the Spiritual realms. Since not much is known about either realm, this leaves the next part open for discussion, so your conclusions might and probably will differ from my own.One of the few things we do know about the differences between the two realms is that in the Cognitive realm distance matters, while in the Spiritual realm it does not. It might be said that touching something could constitute a Spiritual connection, but to me it seems more a matter of distance. You've probably already caught on that I believe Feruchemic attributes are stored in the Cognitive version of a Feruchmist's metalminds. My main reason for discounting the Spiritual realm is that filling an object with a part of your self, is IMO a very personal action, which should create a deep and lasting connection between a person and said object. If the metalmind's Spiritual side were the important one, I imagine it could be accessed from anywhere, however, it is only with physical contact that a metalmind can be filled or tapped. So, the cognitive realm. If you accept what I've written here, this means that Feruchemy is the type of magic that can be metaphorically represented by a tube. Just like Allomancy and AonDor. Contrary to those two magic systems, where the power flows in only one direction (from the Spiritual to the Allomancer or from the Cognitive to the Elantrian), with Feruchemy the power, which is basically the human attribute turned into investiture, can flow both ways. From any aspect of the Feruchemist to the cognitive aspect of the metalmind when storing. And in the other direction when tapping. So attributes from the physical and hybrid quadrants go from the Physical aspect of the Feruchemist into the Cognitive aspect of the metalmind. Spiritual quadrant attributes go from the Spiritual aspect of the Feruchemist into the Cognitive aspect of the metalmind. The cognitive quadrant attributes stay in the Cognitive realm and only get transferred from the Feruchemist to the metalmind. (Leaving aside the Brass=heat mess-up) I'd like to illustrate this with a conversation inspired on one between a certain redhaided Lightweaver and a certain pointy wooden object. An iron ring in its natural state would say: "I am an iron ring." When it has been used to store mass: "I am an ironmind." More specifically: "I am an ironmind, storing 50 pounds of weight." And even more specifically: "I am Waxillium Ladrian's ironmind, storing 50 pounds of weight." In general that becomes "I am <Feruchemist XX>'s <metal YY>-mind storing <amount ZZ> of <attribute yy>." That <Feruchemist XX> part is important in the case of aluminum. By WoB we know that the metalmind checks that the person trying to access it is not <Feruchemist AB> or <Feruchemist QK>(for example), but doesn't specifically check that it is in fact <Feruchemist XX>. So if he can store away the "XX" part of his identity, a Feruchemist can potentially access the metalminds of "AB", because the metalmind can't check against "<Feruchemist _ _>". Now, I'd like to take a closer look at the cognitive quadrant metals: Zinc(mental speed), Copper(memories), Bronze(wakefulness) and Electrum(determination) ... I know, I know, Electrum is in the hybrid quadrant, but Brandon has admitted that was a mistake and determination should properly be the attribute stored by Brass. Anyway, mental speed, wakefulness and determination could be imagined to have a Physical or Spiritual component aside from the Cognitive one. Memories, or as I see it: Knowledge, is the Feruchemic attribute that is most strongly linked to the Cognitive realm. If you accept my theory that Feruchemic storage happens inside that Cognitive realm, this offers an explanation of some of the many oddities of copperminds. Unlike any other metalmind, where the attribute returns to normal levels when you stop storing, when a memory is stored inside a coppermind, it doesn't return until you retrieve it by tapping the coppermind. This can be explained by the more often mentioned oddity that copper stores specific pieces of memory(knowledge), as opposed to an amount of general attribute. I envision this as a pitcher underneath a running tap: if you pour water out of the pitcher and then stop pouring,the pitcher fills up again, but never with the same water. The other oddity I'll mention is that copper storage seems to happen instantaneously, one moment the knowledge is inside your head, the next it's just gone. It doesn't fade, it doesn't disappear one word at a time. One instant you remember the contents of an entire book and the next you have a blank space. To explain that you'd need to take a look at the nature of knowledge in the Cosmere, preferably after achieving a masters in philosophy. (and maybe saying a short prayer to Kurkistan, since he seems to have a handle on this sort of thing) Lacking a philosophic education, I'm reduced to relying on narrativium. So here's a little question about books. What would the Shadesmar bead of a book say? "I am a book."? "I am the book <insert title here>."? Would it offer a short summary? If the way I see the Cognitive realm is correct, somewhere inside that bead is the entire contents of that book, whether it immediately tells it or not. (as well as the entire history of the book as an object, but that's beside the point) Translating that from data in a book-bead to data in a brain-bead (i.e. a memory), what you are doing when storing a memory in a coppermind is transferring a packet of knowledge from one bead to another. You don't have to cross realms, you don't have to cross a distance inside a realm. It's not proof, but it's a start to explaining why copperminds work instantly. Returning from that tangent to the topic I started with for a final tidbit. Investiture. In my model of the mechanics of Feruchemy, the investiture in a metalmind is not the stored attribute that has been converted into investiture. It is instead a bit of power that maintains the additional information that has been added to the Cognitive aspect of the metalmind. So, a huge chunk of pretty abstract text. If you've made it here, I hope I made some sense, and I hope you can agree with me. If not, I look forward to reading why. Edit: I made the font larger (I copy-pasted this from somewhere, didn't realise it came out so small)
  19. “And Adonalsium said, ‘Let there be [storm]light…’” SUMMARY 1. The Cosmere originally existed as only Consciousness. As that Consciousness began to conceive ideas, those ideas reified into Spiritual Realm ideals; Spiritual connections began to form among the ideals. Only then could Consciousness’ power begin to manifest in the Physical Realm. Investiture comprises the Cosmere, the result of the creation process. 2. Changes within the Cosmere commence in the Cognitive Realm. This primacy means that restrictions on a Shard’s Consciousness impair the Shard’s ability to exercise its power. Unanswered is the converse, whether an increase in a Shard’s power in the Cognitive Realm – an “expansion of its Consciousness” – increases its power in all Realms; but I believe that to be true also and the source of Odium’s growing power. 3. Cosmere magic involves manipulation of an object’s Spiritual Realm connections. The people who live on each planet with sentient life have unique thoughts and ideas. Each planet, therefore, has its own version of both the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms and its own Spiritual Realm connections. Because of this Realmatic uniqueness and Shard-planet interactions, related but different Physical Realm effects appear on each planet with sentient life. Each Shardworld requires a different cognitive means of manipulating Spiritual Realm connections. ARGUMENT I believe Brandon’s Realmatic system works as follows: FIRST, a mind conceives, creating a fixed and separate idea about something in the Cognitive Realm. Typically the collective mind on a planet with sentient life jointly develops and agrees on the conception, allowing it to become idealized; but even a single mind can develop a new idea, as with any innovation, if it is sufficiently distinctive and separate from other ideas. SECOND, the concreteness and separateness of that idea causes it to reify in the Spiritual Realm as an ideal – an “essence” or “soul” – formalizing the idea’s relationships and connections with other ideals. This is the moment the idea becomes “truly invested,” causing an adjustment in the Spiritual Realm’s connections to accommodate the new idea. LAST, the idea manifests in the Physical Realm in tangible form. This algorithm is true for all magic systems in the Cosmere and implies that the First Mind (Adonalsium? the “God Beyond?” Brandon?) pre-existed both the Spiritual and Physical Realms. The mind must have an idea before the idea can take the form of a Spiritual Realm “ideal.” And until the Spiritual Realm ideal has established its connections with other ideals, the original idea cannot take tangible form in the Physical Realm. Thus, the Cosmere began as a void, occupied only by a Divine Consciousness – God’s “mind.” Creation of the Spiritual and Physical Realms may have taken only an instant. Just as humans conceive an idea, invest that idea with physical, mental and spiritual resources, and make that idea tangible, so do Gods. They invest their ideas with spiritual energy – God’s “spirit” – to make their ideas tangible. That’s what the Physical Realm is, the tangible expression of Divine Power – God’s “body.” Power – whether embodied in Adonalsium, Shards, or splinters – has “three aspects”: physical, cognitive and spiritual – body, mind and spirit. Power nonetheless is single and unitary. Restricting a Shard’s Consciousness – its ability to control its power — will restrict the Shard’s ability to exercise its power. While there is no textual support for the converse conclusion, I believe that enhancing a Shard’s Consciousness likewise enhances Spiritual and Physical Realm power output. Magic is the manipulation of Spiritual Realm connections. That is the only “magic” in the Cosmere and is why, I believe, Brandon says each magic system is theoretically “hack-able.” Spiritual investiture “powers” Physical Realm changes by re-arranging the affected object’s Spiritual Realm connections with other objects. That’s what Forgery does. “Plausibility” refers to the strength or weakness of the object’s connections with other objects. Surgebinding is the same: changing the direction of falling, for example, is simply altering your Spiritual Realm connection to the planet. In some sense it is a misnomer to speak of a God/Shard “investing” or “using” or “exercising” power in a Realm. Rather, a Shard’s mind conceives, its spirit rearranges itself to accommodate the new idea, and its body conforms to its new spiritual structure. EVIDENCE AND ANALYSIS The main textual evidence for these conclusions comes from The Hero of Ages (“HoA”) and The Emperor’s Soul (“TES”), plus one scene from The Way of Kings. Most of these passages have been cited ad nauseum, so please excuse their regurgitation here. I just think it’s useful to have the text in front of you as you consider the theory and its evidence. The Hero of Ages – How Investiture Manifests in the Three Realms HoA is when we first hear of the three Realms. In each of the following quotes, Sazed/Harmony speaks only about investiture, not about the Realms generally. “I have come to see that each power has three aspects: a physical one, which can be seen in the creations made by Ruin and Preservation; a spiritual one in the unseen energy that permeates all of the world; and a cognitive one in the minds that controlled that energy.” HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 57 (emphasis added). That statement is the clearest explanation in the published Cosmere novels of how investiture manifests in the three Realms. The following quotes add to our understanding: “The power needed a consciousness to direct it. In this matter, I am still rather confused. Why would power used to create and destroy need a mind to oversee it? And yet, it seems to have only a vague will of its own, tied in to the mandate of its abilities. Without a consciousness to direct it, nothing could actually be created or destroyed… HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 79 (emphasis added). “It may seem odd to those reading this that atium was part of the body of a god. However, it is necessary to understand that when we said ‘body’ we generally meant ‘power.’ As my mind has expanded, I've come to realize that objects and energy are actually composed of the very same things, and can change state from one to another. It makes perfect sense to me that the power of godhood would be manifest within the world in physical form…In a way, every object that existed in the world was composed of their power.” HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 78 (emphasis added). Observations and conclusions: Power has three “aspects” – mind, body and spirit. (Draw your own “Trinity” analogies here.) But each “aspect” is not a different power. Thus, conditions in one Realm can influence the amount of power available in other Realms, even though the nature of the power in each Realm is different. “Body” = “physical investiture.” Atium and lerasium are the solid form of the bodies of Ruin and Preservation. Shardpools are the liquid form of physical investiture. The mist, the black smoke at the Well of Ascension and Stormlight are each gaseous forms of physical investiture: HoA expressly identifies the mists as Preservation’s body. Sazed/Harmony says that the physical aspect of investiture – ”can be seen” in the Shards’ “creations.” His statements that (i) every object in the world was “composed of [the Shards’] power,” and (ii) matter and energy are just different forms of the same thing in the Cosmere, reveals the acknowledged influence of both quantum mechanics and Baruch Spinoza on Brandon. “Energy” = “spiritual investiture.” The “unseen energy” that animates the magic system – what Brandon calls “True Investiture” – exists in the Spiritual Realm. “Consciousness” = “cognitive investiture.” The mind that controls that energy – what Sazed/Harmony calls “Consciousness” in HoA – resides in the Cognitive Realm. * * * * * HoA confirms how the impairment of Consciousness reduces the Shard’s ability to exercise power in the other two Realms. Says Sazed/Harmony: “By sacrificing most of his consciousness, Preservation created Ruin’s prison, breaking their deal and trying to keep Ruin from destroying what they had created. This event again left their powers nearly balanced – Ruin imprisoned, only a trace of himself capable of leaking out. Preservation reduced to a mere wisp of what he once was, barely capable of thought and action. “These two minds were, of course, independent of the raw force of their powers. Actually, I am uncertain of how thoughts and personalities came to be attached to the powers in the first place – but I believe they were not there originally. For both powers could be detached from the minds that ruled them.” HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 55 (emphasis added). “Once you begin to understand these things [the three Realms], you can see how Ruin was trapped even though Preservation’s mind was gone, expended to create the prison. Though Preservation’s consciousness was mostly destroyed, his spirit and body were still in force. And, as an opposite force of Ruin, these could still prevent Ruin from destroying. “Or, at least, keep him from destroying things too quickly. Once his mind was ‘freed’ from its prison the destruction accelerated quickly.” HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 58, (emphasis added). Observations and Conclusions: Preservation confined Ruin’s power by limiting its ability to control that power. As the second paragraph of the first quoted passage states, each of the two powers retained their “raw force.” Note the following language in the first paragraph above: “again…nearly balanced [emphasis added].” These words imply that by the time of Ruin’s imprisonment Ruin’s power already exceeded Preservation’s. Yet Preservation’s confinement of Ruin’s mind precluded Ruin from using that greater power. This was a cognitive prison.The last quoted paragraph confirms that the mind’s control can be a chokepoint on the Shard’s ability to exercise power in the Physical Realm. The only reason Ruin was able to destroy anything before Vin freed his mind was the “trace of himself capable of leaking out” of his cognitive prison. That trace influenced events through whispers and hints in the minds of the Lord Ruler, Zane, Vin and many others.HoA also proves it is possible to reduce a Shard’s power within a Realm (as Preservation did by hiding the atium – Ruin’s “body” – and as Elend and his army did by burning atium outside the Pits.)There’s also this WoB from the March 2015 Reddit AMA (Question 27): “too many spikes can be dangerous to the psyche, even with Ati not messing things up.” That suggests that interfering with the SpiritWeb can have greater Cognitive Realm repercussions than Physical Realm repercussions. (Think Zane.)Preservation’s “spirit and body” were undiminished and could continue to oppose Ruin’s destructive efforts though Preservation had sacrificed most of his mind. The mists continued to function based on their “vague will…tied to the mandate of their abilities. “Finally, I note Sazed/Harmony’s observation that “thoughts and personalities” were not originally attached to the powers. That suggests that “thoughts and personalities” are unnecessary to the exercise of the powers. Cognitively, power exercise requires only direction, not consideration or introspection. Whatever Adonalsium was had no personality. Perhaps it wasn’t ever human or even sentient (e.g., a computer-driven power)? If he/she/it did have a personality, it was so perfectly balanced as to have no discernible features.The Way of Kings – “Growing” Investiture While restricting Consciousness can reduce power, can “expanding Consciousness” increase it? I believe the answer is “yes.” Once humans and other sentient life began adding their ideas to the Cognitive Realm, God’s Consciousness had company. Human ideas grew both the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms simply by their conception and idealization. Since investiture comprises all things, then the addition of human thought should expand God’s own Consciousness. There’s a word to describe human thought dedicated to a God’s Consciousness. It’s called “worship,” and the means of communicating with God include prayer. The scene where Navani draws Thath, the glyph for justice, following the Battle at the Tower affords a great example: “What was a prayer, if not creation? Making something where nothing existed. Creating a wish out of despair, a plea out of anguish. Bowing one’s back before the Almighty, and forming humility from the empty pride of a human life. Something from nothing. True creation.” WoK, Kindle p. 948 (emphasis added). Observations and Conclusions: When people have ideas about honor or hatred or sacrifice or whatever, those ideas form in the Cognitive Realm. Following the process outlined in this post, some of those ideas will eventually reify into Spiritual Realm ideals, connected to other ideals. Growing a Shard’s Consciousness thus grows the Shard’s Spirit, giving the Shard more capacity to exercise power in the Physical Realm. True creation.Odium’s influence may be the most pervasive of all Shards, since hatred is so universal (unlike, say, honor). The many hate-filled ideas spawning in the Cognitive Realm increase Odium’s Consciousness. Odium is the “most dangerous” of the Shards for a reason, and his ability to grow his power over time is a big part of that reason.This passage also tends to confirm the idea that the First Mind existed before its Spirit and Body. “True creation” is making something from nothing. (As opposed to King Lear, who told poor Cordelia that “Nothing can come from nothing.”)The Emperor’s Soul – How Magic Works Brandon best expresses his views on how magic works Realmatically in TES. “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.” TES, Kindle, p. 53, (emphasis added). “‘These things exist beyond us…We think about windows, we know about windows; what is and isn’t a window takes on…meaning in the Spiritual Realm. Takes on life, after a fashion.’” TES, Kindle, p. 75, (emphasis added; ellipsis in original). Observations and Conclusions: The second quote confirms that only through conceptualization of a window AS a window can the soul/essence of a window “take[] on…meaning” – that is, manifest – in the Spiritual Realm. The idea precedes the ideal. Formalization of the idea creates the ideal. (My personal metaphor for this process is the brain – repetitive usage creating neuron pathways.)The first quote confirms that the window’s “meaning” in large measure arises through the connections the “window” ideal now has with other ideals. I would argue that, conceptually, almost all of an object’s meaning arises from its connections, since nothing exists in isolation. Every Spiritual Realm “soul/essence” can be defined by where it is plotted on the multi-dimensional graph that is the Spiritual Realm. In this way, a Spiritual Realm “ideal” is like a mathematical “function” compared with a Cognitive Realm “relation,” which may have many correspondences with ideals based on the controlling mind’s perceptions. Skaa discusses this quantitative aspect of Realmatic theory in far greater detail and with far greater perspicacity in his String Theory posts.The part of the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms corresponding to each planet with sentient life is unique. (Though Brandon says the Spiritual Realm is not location-based, the ideals formed in the Spiritual Realm corresponding to each unique magic system will be different from one another, since the underlying ideas are different.) Local populations decide for themselves “what is and isn’t a window.” Since local populations may have different ideas, and different ideas reify into different ideals, each planet will have its own version of both the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms. On Sel, planetary isolation seems fragmented into territorial isolation.TES’s lesson? All magic we’ve seen so far in the Cosmere involves the manipulation of Spiritual Realm connections, specifically in the relationship between objects and the Powers of Creation, what Rosharians call “Surges” – Gravitation, Transportation, Progression, etc. Shai’s descriptions of the Forgery process throughout TES make this clear. These Powers of Creation exist on every Cosmere world we’ve seen. Despite Cognitive and Spiritual Realm differences from world to world – differences that affect the means of accessing the Spiritual Realm and the ways the Powers of Creation manifest in the Physical Realm – the essence of the magic is identical: a change in the Powers of Creations’ Spiritual Realm connections between two objectsConclusion That’s it! Are you still awake? Hello? Hello? Oh well…
  20. It's been a while since I've been theorizing! It's time to change that. This treatise--and it is a treatise; it is way too long--has a long history in my mind, and now it is finally time for me to actually put it down in writing. (The graph also took forever to figure out how to do, but I finally got it to work. Yes, there's a graph in this theory.) Introduction There is a wide variance in magic in the cosmere, but it has never been clear why some magics might be more related to one than another. Considering Words of Radiance, we know that Stormlight and Breath are similar in many ways. In this exhaustive classification scheme, we will rigorously describe how cosmere magics differ, using Realmatic reasoning, and also provide a high level view on how these magics came into being, and why they act as they do. (Look, I know I should be calling them Investitures or manifestations of Investiture, but I'm going to go with magic systems for now because it is just less clunky than "manifestations of Investiture," okay?) These ideas began, as many things with me do, with a conversation with Windrunner. When we read Words of Radiance, we had many thoughts, and we started comparing magic systems. What makes one stronger than another? The Spiritual fuel is important, but what of spren? In this scheme, I said that Allomancy and Surgebinding was probably the most "powerful" of the magics, but for different reasons. Allomancy was very restrictive, but because it was so restrictive, its effects could be much more impressive. AonDor was also very powerful in its own way, but while flexible, it required a great deal of preparation. So I supposed that maybe there's a "Power" axis and a "Preparation" axis. BioChroma would be of more middling power, but require less preparation. This seemed like a sensible way of organizing the magics together from a high level. But, I had never been satisfied with these terms, as they had no relation with any other cosmere terms. And more importantly, something seemed… missing, somehow. It turned out there were more precise axes to use: Realmatics. We throw terms around like Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual, but we don't know what they mean as much. But with Emperor's Soul, we know more, and now I'm going to relate these in classifying cosmere magics. Two axes seemed too few, so let's go with three, the typical Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. In fact, there are good reasons to use these as attributes. In Words of Radiance, the writer of the Ars Arcanum uses it to describe Lightweaving: Of course, this by itself, is not a new idea. A long-espoused idea is that All Magics have Three Parts. But that theory didn't go far enough. Why? Magics are not equally rooted all three Realms. Time for a short digression on my philosophy on magic: every magic is essentially a Realmatic exchange. Power--Investiture--is moved or transformed from one Realm, say the Spiritual, to a different Realm, like the Physical. Not all magics have the same Realmatic exchange between Realms, but there's always some sort of interaction between all three Realms. For this to happen, a magic system has to be partially embedded in each Realm. Think of it like a chemical reaction: you have three different pots and with the right conditions, you cause a reaction between these three pots, causing various effects. This is not entirely relevant to this theory, but to me it seems to be an interesting way of thinking about magic. It's more fundamental, and to me explains the reasoning why magics need to have roots in all three Realms. It seems obvious that magics will be rooted in each Realm differently. Awakening has a strong Cognitive component that Allomancy does not. Surgebinding requires a Spiritual connection, and is totally different from Awakening and Allomancy. Three different magics, three different distributions in which Realms the magics are rooted. I think the idea of a "focus" can also be fit into this classification scheme. Originally, without Roshar, the focus of a magic system seemed pretty self-evident: Aons/symbols, metals, Commands--with Commands being the least immediately obvious, but in retrospect, Commands do all the "action" of this Realmatic interaction, if you think about it. But Surgebinding just doesn't have an obvious equivalent, and that's totally okay. Brandon has more recently said that the idea of a focus is something that peoples came up with to describe magic, which implies to me that the notion of a focus is not a core, fundamental attribute to cosmere magics. But again, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's classify magics. The Model You guys know I have a math degree, right? (Now a Master's degree in fact.) So, this part may be slightly… unnecessarily numerical. Don't worry about it; you can skip the numbers. Mathematical models, at their simplest, start with a few core principles and then use that to construct equations or numbers which hopefully illuminate things. We obviously have little to no true numerical information, so I'll be doing some estimations. But first, let's make our assumptions very clear before insanity begins. 1. Every magic is rooted in each of the three Realms (pretty widely accepted) 2. Depending on magic system, this distribution is not equal. So let's get onto classifying just how much each magic system is rooted in each Realm. It seems sensible that perhaps we rate magics on a scale of 100 points, and we'll have three values, for Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. These values need to sum up to 100, so you could say these are the rough estimates for how much a magic is rooted in each Realm. (If you've had probability, you can just scale these to be from 0 to 1 rather than 0 to 100, but big numbers seemed nicer for this). So we might say a magic is 50 in Physical, 30 Cognitive, and 20 Spiritual, for an example. Now, that might seem like a pretty safe assumption, but what I'm effectively doing is saying that I'm normalizing every magic to have the same power level. There's 100 "power" to distribute between Realms. That's a pretty big assumption! We will see minor Shardworlds where Splinters power magics rather than Shards, and those magics will definitely not be as powerful as the Shardic magics. So, our final assumption: 3. Generally all Shardic magics have the same amount of pure "strength"; it is just distributed differently (this may be totally false, but right now we don't have tools to properly measure if one magic is purely stronger than another). With our assumptions in hand, we can begin thinking about magics. But maybe I ought to say what I mean by Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. Physical: How much a magic is aligned with things in the Physical Realm. The Physical generally results in more restrictive abilities. Cognitive: How much a magic is aligned with Cognitive things, such as thought, preparation required in manifesting magic Spiritual: How much a magic is aligned to ideals, Identity, and other Spiritual traits. Depending on which Realmatic attribute is dominant will determine how a magic's focus is. Physical magics require a very rigid focus. Cognitive magics have more fluid foci. Spiritual magics may purely not require a focus because of a person's direct connection. We'll talk a lot more about this in a bit. Finally, let's get to business. Scadrian magics are interesting in that they are specially hardwired into a person's Spiritweb (and Hemalurgy revolves on rewiring these, essentially). It's the only cosmere magic like this, with very rigid abilities encoded into you. Many other magics can be accessed more easily, but not the Metallic Arts. You either have it or you don't, or you're a horrible person and like spiking people. I would thus classify all Scadrian magics as Physical. Whereas other magics require significant work to get going, like AonDor, Forgery, or Awakening, all the "work" of the Realmatic interaction is contained in the correct metal. Nothing else is required. Allomancy - Heavily Physical, minor Spiritual (due to its connection with Preservation), very little Cognitive Feruchemy - Physical, about equal Cognitive and Spiritual Hemalurgy - Physical, Spiritual, and Cognitive, but there's more Cognitive to Hemalurgy (since it heavily depends on knowledge of where to put the spikes), and it steals a lot of Spiritual attributes, hence its Spiritual designation. One could argue, perhaps, it is more Cognitive than Spiritual. Nalthian magics are most obviously embedded in the three Realms: color, Commands, and Breath are its Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual components, respectively. But where does the work lie? It's primarily Cognitive. The visualization and the Command is the most key element to the magic, Awakening - Cognitive, Spiritual, then Physical Selish magics are also highly Cognitive. It requires a lot of work to create just the right Aon or soulstamp. AonDor - Cognitive, Spiritual, very little Physical Forgery - Cognitive, Spiritual, more Physical I'm not including the ChayShan or Dakhor, as we know so little about them, but if we had more data I'm sure we could fit them into this scheme. At the moment, ChayShan seems more Physical, and Dakhor has a more strong Physical component too. AonDor really has the least Physical of all the Selish magics, yet a very strong Spiritual component. Finally, Roshar. This is a Spiritual magic if I've ever seen one. It requires a deep bond with your spren to make the magic work. If you don't have that bond, you need an Honorblade, which I would call a "focus" in this case. It grants that ability for you, giving you that connection to Honor necessary to suck in Stormlight. But in most usual Surgebinding, its dominant attribute--the reason for the power--is your Spiritual Identity. Who you truly are. Surgebinding - Spiritual, Physical, Cognitive (the last two depending on Surge) Of course, in this, I'm generalizing all magics under one umbrella. Certain Feruchemical abilities are in one Realm entirely, and while Windrunning doesn't involve much Cognitive, Lightweaving does. So take these as rough averages at best. Putting it all together: Allomancy - Heavily Physical, minor Spiritual,very little Cognitive Feruchemy - Physical, about equal Cognitive and Spiritual Hemalurgy - Physical, Spiritual, and Cognitive Awakening - Cognitive, Spiritual, then Physical AonDor - Cognitive, Spiritual, very little Physical Forgery - Cognitive, Spiritual, more Physical Surgebinding - Spiritual, Physical, Cognitive And heck, let's put some numbers to it, because I feel that will show a magic's attribute and its distribution more effectively than me blathering: Allomancy: 60 Physical, 30 Spiritual, 10 Cognitive Feruchemy: 50 Physical, 25 Cognitive, 25 Spiritual Hemalurgy: 50 Physical, 30 Spiritual, 20 Cognitive Awakening: 60 Cognitive, 30 Spiritual, 10 Physical AonDor: 50 Cognitive, 45 Spiritual, 5 Physical Forgery: 50 Cognitive, 40 Spiritual, 10 Physical Surgebinding: 60 Spiritual, 20 Physical, 20 Cognitive That seems to sum things up pretty nicely. The only one I'm not really sold on is Forgery, since it throws around much less power than AonDor, but yet still deals with Identity (a very Spiritual attribute) heavily. Perhaps if we consider that AonDor only seems so powerful with the help of Elantris, this power disparity doesn't seem nearly as extreme. So of course, here's a pretty graph displaying this info: Each color corresponds to a particular world: Red - Scadrian Purple - Nalthian Blue - Selish Green - Rosharan But what is a 3D graph from just one angle? That's why I made a fully interactive version for your viewing pleasure! Now that I think is pretty slick. Power levels and Cognitive Intermediaries And with that model in place, we can get back to the discussion Windy and I originally had, about relative powers of a magic. Tied up in this question also will be spren and foci. Remember, in my conception of magic, manifestations of Investiture occur because Investiture is being shifted between the Realms. This effects don't happen in a vacuum; they require a user, and almost always, they require activation of some sorts, a will for magic to occur (the only time it doesn't is when Allomancers unconsciously burn metals). But more importantly, there needs to be a catalyst for this Realmatic interaction to occur. If we think about Surgebinding and Shallan Soulcasting, Pattern acts as her intermediary in Shadesmar. Given Syl talks about magic being an "agreement with friends," it seems reasonable to say that your spren is the thing that, in the Cognitive Realm, makes this interaction work. It all comes back to the Cognitive Realm, really, because Shadesmar connects the Physical and Spiritual. It's where change happens. (Is it any wonder that Shadesmar is predominantly water? Liquids are a transitionary state of matter between solids and gases) I'll call spren a Cognitive Intermediary, or an Intermediary more simply. These are the catalysts that make magic all work. So, that immediately asks the question, do other magics have a similar Intermediary? Of course! They are focuses. I originally defined a focus as something that shapes power into a specific effect. Realmatically, that focus facilitates the Realmatic interaction. This explains why AonDor is incredibly unforgiving. Without a sentient Cognitive Intermediary acting on your behalf, you have to do all the action yourself, and persuading the "spren" of other things to do what you wish is… well, as we know from Shallan, it is nontrivial. Aons allow Investiture to be shaped very specifically, but you have to get it precise, or else the whole thing is for nothing. Awakening's Commands are also that Intermediary, and similarly, you have to be pretty darn specific in your Command (and your Cognitive visualization, which is really what you want; the words just help to visualize the Command). You are willing that Breath to take this very specific shape and form, for the "spren" of the object to do as you wish. You have to be a pretty persuasive. What of the Metallic Arts? In the case of Allomancy, the consuming of the metal unlocks the Investiture directly from Preservation. I interpret this as, the powers are very specifically ingrained into you, and when the metal--the Intermediary--is used, Investiture is forced down the very specific paths that are ingrained into you. It's like a very narrow conduit that suddenly opens with the metal present. Other magics that aren't as firm in abilities either need a very precise Cognitive focus to shape the power how you want it, or it requires a deep Spiritual connection, with something doing the action for you. Those are the three ways you get magic. And of course, the way the Investiture is accessed also needs to be in line with the Shard's intent, but this goes a step further in identifying what components a magic will require need, Realmatically. (Tangent: Nightblood is a spren, really. He's his own Cognitive Intermediary in Shadesmar, like a spren. I imagine in Shadesmar, he's violently using the power of his Breath and the Breaths he consumes to actively fulfill his specific intent. Other spren get vaguer intents and have a bit more freedom in what they do.) So Allomancy is hardwired in, and it is powerful primarily because its power is very focused in specific ways. In AonDor and Awakening, you construct your Cognitive Intermediary yourself. Differences between these two magics come from the way you get the magic in the first place (differences in Shard intent), but also, AonDor has a lot more Spiritual power to throw around. Awakening is interesting in that it is the only magic (well, other than Hemalurgy) where Innate Investiture--Breath in this case--is the fuel, and in the scale of Shards, Innate Investiture is really small. Powerful magics require a connection with something more Spiritual. In Allomancy and Feruchemy, the encoding grants that connection to the Shards, and your Identity and who you are is what triggers the Shaod, allowing a direct connection with the Dor. Thus, AonDor has a lot more to work with. So power, ultimately, is vested in the Spiritual. The stronger a magic's spiritual aspect, the more power it gets to throw around. As such, Elantrians, Knights Radiant, and Allomancers have a great deal of pure "strength". However, Elantrians and Radiants are more closely related in this spiritual way. Radiants and Allomancers are more related in ease of use, because things are less Cognitive, but that comes with limitations: the magics that are fast to use are limited and not flexible. The more a magic is Cognitive, though, the more flexibility it has. Awakening and AonDor have almost innumerable abilities. Practically unlimited! Physicality means that things are the least flexible. But rigidness means you get dramatic effect at minimal costs. I predict that there will be very few Physical magics in the cosmere, as building a physical magic with these specific Spiritweb encodings seems like a very deliberate act on a Shard's part, and I'm not sure a Shard would make such an intense effort. Which brings us up to a more mythological analysis on maybe, just maybe, why these magics are vested in each Realm the way they are. A historical perspective (Source, and emphasis is mine, of course) This is an incredibly important quote. Focuses are not a function of the Shards themselves, but also the Shardworld. This could be taken to mean many things about a Shardworld, but what if this means foci occur because Shards and the actual events that happen on that planet? So let's take a historical look at magics. Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy have much more active Shardic connections, and their Spiritweb encodings represent a specific design. It's as if the magics were created with that purpose (If you buy that the Metallic Arts are designed, this can explain how Harmony can alter the way Snapping works and Preservation could switch out metals--the magic itself is Physical. Constructed. Designed.) That does make sense given Scadrial's origin. Things on this planet were born of an agreement between two Shards. They had to carefully craft what they built. Preservation let people access his power more, forging Allomancy in the process. The metal, being an artifact of agreement, became its focus. Ruin countered Preservation by using the metals for his purpose instead. He of course wouldn't let people access his own power. Their agreement was hardly a pleasant one. They were enemies and every action they did had to subtly give them an advantage over the other. As such they could have agreed upon a focus which let them be very careful in how their Investitures were used; hence the reason abilities are so rigid here. (Another tangent: It is important to note that they did not Invest the metal on Scadrial. Rather, they made a more interesting construct: Investing people in very particular, specific ways, and allowing the metal to be the key to unlocking the Investiture. So a Scadrian could burn Rosharan tin and find it chemically identical, unlocking the power exactly the same as elsewhere.) That was how Scadrial's conflict manifested in its magic. On Roshar, things emerged quite a bit differently. Honor and Cultivation, romantically involved, went to the Rosharan system. It is possible they Invested some of their power onto Ashyn or Braize--we don't know yet. But either way, Honor and Cultivation made it to Roshar first. Then Odium came and caused some issues. (Understatement of the millennium) Odium would not have agreed, as Ruin did, to an easy accord. Odium didn't even want to construct--he wanted to eliminate his opponents. Honor and Cultivation disagreed rather strenuously. Honor, at the very least (it is not clear how Cultivation fits in), began opposing Odium with everything he has. Honor threw around a ton of his power in opposing him--perhaps creating the storms in what seemed at the time to be an effort to blow Odium's forces off the whole planet. Odium threw a lot of his power around too. As such, Rosharan magics have a high ceiling of power because the Shards there threw a lot around. Conflict is Roshar. Or, rather, "Man's life on Roshar is conflict," says The Arguments (Way of Kings, Chapter 24). Spren, appearing through… well, the origin of spren is not clear, but possibly Honor and Cultivation wanted them prior to Odium's arrival. Either way, spren began imitating the Heralds' abilities and granting them to humans. The Heralds bound these Surgebinders to them, and perhaps due to the Heralds' connection to the Almighty, Honor Invested his power into these Surgebinders, so if they followed Ideals, they would become ludicrously strong. They became the Knights Radiant. There's another mystery with Roshar; why did Hoid say that its Shards are very strict? Well, in this epic conflict, Honor and Odium were battling with powers that were hard to comprehend for us. But Shards have limitations. Whether there were efficiency restrictions in this battle (Honor would not have wanted to use his power in such a way to be much weaker than Odium), Honor made it so you got two Surges, not all ten, for whatever reason. This is still a bit mysterious to me why this would be, but the strictness of the Shards came from high level restrictions and rules to how this war happened, maybe through the Oathpact. On Nalthis, Endowment Invested people and began Returning. Magic arose naturally (though I'm sure we could debate this a long time). Endowment allowed humans to do with the power what they will, not restricting the power. They could do basically anything with the power, if they knew the right Commands. Is it any surprise that the Scholars discovered essentially how to make a Shardblade (which Nightblood essentially is)? BioChroma is incredibly versatile. On Sel, the current day magics are really different manifestations of the same magic (this was proposed in Kerry's Selish theory, and I am absolutely certain Brandon said that's essentially what's happening, but I can't remember where that confirmation was posted. If someone finds it, I'll update this) It seems entirely rational that prior to Devotion and Dominion's Splintering, there was in fact a single magic system on Sel. Devotion and Dominion worked together, I think. Complementary. But whatever magic looked like on Sel, the Splintering created this unformed mass of power that couldn't be released effectively. The Dor formed. And because the Selish magic wasn't as restrictive, when the Shards were Splintered, The question you might ask is, why would Selish magics break whereas Honor's did not? Two reasons: first, Honor's Splintering power had places and people to Invest in, so his power didn't cause this cataclysmic Dor. Second, Honor was probably much more precise in how people could access his power than Devotion and Dominion. If you agree with how I've sorted magic systems as above, it seems as though Devotion and Dominion took a more hands off approach to how their magic initially was. There's not evidence of grand conflict between the two initially, so that could make sense. When Devotion and Dominion Splintered, that lack of "definition" meant that the method that mortals usually accessed the power also was disrupted, and so you needed a different sort of connection (and Identity) to the power to use magic. Comparing magics and replicating effects Let's talk about Nightblood more. Come on, you know you want to. It seems intuitive that Stormlight and Breath are similar. Both are gaseous metaphors. You Invest the two similarly. However, Breath is of life. It is the Innate Investiture on that world. Stormlight is not the power of life: it is directly the power of chaos, of the storm raging inside you. That is similar across all Radiant orders. This is to say, I'm suggesting that Spiritual power actually sees itself differently, depending on how the Shard's power was distributed (and the Shard itself, surely). Endowment made Breath Innate. Breath was of life. When you have more Breath, your life sense is increased, and at the fifth heightening, you're immune to disease and are freaking immortal. (Makes sense that you could use Breath to influence the mind--it is a Cognitive magic, and it is affecting life, right in line with Breath.) Then there are other abilities granted with that much Spiritual power, too, and other abilities related to tones and color (other Nalthian attributes). It perfects, as Spiritual power does. Stormlight is the power of storms and chaos. It perfects, but does so entirely differently. And actually, Stormlight is probably a much more potent source of energy than Breath. Breath being Innate means it is a weaker investiture than these gigantic storms and the power they radiate. Also, it seems as though Stormlight is more Physical than Breath is. Stormlight Invested things glow; Breath does not. But you can hold a lot more Breath than Stormlight at a time. Breath also requires color to move (an extra physical impetus for that spiritual transfer to a new physical host), whereas Stormlight requires a Spiritual link to Honor to move it in the first place. The idea that Stormlight is more Physical than Breath may explain why Stormlight dissipates while Breath does not. It's more Physical, so that power diffuses into the Physical Realm, while Breath is located more elsewhere. This idea--that these fuels are subtly different in intent--could mean a lot to Vasher and Nightblood. Shardblades are ludicrously destructive, and cause spiritual damage.(cite) Nightblood is, in many ways, a Shardblade. Would not the type of fuel matter for Nightblood? As I said, Breath is the power of life, and that's very different from what Nightblood's intent is. Stormlight though. That seems like the perfect fuel. Chaos. Destruction. So when it comes to some magics, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you want the right Spiritual fuel for the job. I'm not sure if this makes Nightblood more or less destructive. Maybe he wouldn't be so vicious at consuming Stormlight as he was with Breath because the storms are a better fuel for him. Stormlight might make Vasher quite a bit different. Remember, any Investiture, no matter how small, will change you over time(cite), and Vasher has lived a long time. Make no mistake, Vasher is there because he can live off Stormlight(cite) easier than acquiring a new Breath frequently… but I'm thinking that because he's consuming the power of storms and chaos, he would be quite a bit different. It seems to me that if you wanted the right magic for a given task, you would want to consider the effect you want to have, and pick the Investiture colored by a Shard's intent that would be most in line with what you wanted to accomplish. Then, depending on what Investiture you selected, you'd have to work to shape the power in exactly the form you wanted. Illusion magics are replicated frequently. Yolen has it. Sel has it with AonDor, but that variant is different as there's no Spiritual requirement; it is all Cognitive. It is possible that Yolish magic has a key Spiritual component, if Lightweaving is similar. If Preservation and Ruin actually altered themselves to allow metal to be the key to their power, as I suggest, it makes sense that iron and steel influence metals. That might actually be the hardest basic Allomantic effect to replicate on another world because of those Shards relationship with metal. The other effects of Allomancy could definitely be replicated, especially the mental metals. Conclusion (the tl;dr version) The Realmatic description of magics help define magic systems much more precisely. How much a magic is rooted in each Realm determines a number of effects of a given magic. It can determine how you access it, and what sort of "focus" it requires. Physical magics cost the least to do, Cognitive magics are the most flexible, and Spiritual magics throw the most "power" or Investiture around. I realize this was far too long, but I hope I minimized the amount of crazy in the theory and made it as elegant to describe as possible. The numbers weren't important (since they are just guesses), really, but the moment I realized there were three axes, I had to show an awesome graph. At the very least, I hope I gave you a new way of thinking about cosmere magics, with the Realmatic interactions, Cognitive Intermediaries, and the nuts and bolts of how these Realmatic interactions happen.
  21. The Spiritual Realm is quite a mysterious place. It's the Realm of connections and ideals, and is the source of Investiture. The soul is also known as the spiritweb. But other than that, very little is known. What does it look like? Why is Hoid Spiritually blind? What exists within it, other than Investiture? What is Investiture, really? I don't know the answers to all of those questions, but I hope that my theory can help shed a little light on some of them - either by providing answers, or by highlighting how much we don't know. Be warned: I am unlikely to use many quotes or WoBs, as they have provided little information on this subject. If I'm lucky, I will at least raise the right sorts of questions so that we can learn more. So the first thing we need to do is examine the basic consequences of the things we know. The word "spiritweb", combined with the knowledge that the Spiritual Realm is the Realm of connections, provides an image of a tangle of connections. Each Spiritual entity is connected to certain others, and the amalgamation forms a being. Your spiritweb is composed of the connections between the entity which is essentially you, and the things around it - your relationships with other people, your connections to ideals, etc. But then things get more complicated. For example, consider Identity. What is it? Is it a separate Spiritual entity, some sort of identifier which marks the person as that person? That would be a bit contrived. It can't be the central element of the Spiritweb, because it can be stored Feruchemically. Is it an ideal, generated for each person? That seems unlikely. I think the most likely idea is that it represents the connection to the Cognitive entity for that person. And then we get into interactions with different Realms. The Cognitive and Spiritual Realms seem to interact quite a lot, but we know very little. Cognitive entities can apparently influence the Spiritual Realm to repair the Spiritweb, if given the right type of Investiture. This is how Feruchemical gold and Regrowth work. But Cognitive entities can also be modified by the Spiritual Realm and Investiture, especially through Hemalurgy. So things get more complicated. Plus, the Spiritual interacts with the Physical - this is how the laws of physics apparently work, and of course there are spiritwebs and so on. To go off on an apparently unrelated tangent, consider Allomantic steel. It uses Investiture to form an almost certainly Spiritual connection to nearby sources of metal, then makes the connection visible. It then allows for the modification of that connection, resulting in the Pushing of said metal. So you have to wonder, does this allow someone to see through the world into the realm beyond? Or does it simply make visible what was there all along? Is the Spiritual Realm a separate world in the same way as the Cognitive, or is it simply a different type of interaction, something embedded into the other worlds, able to go between them freely. Something in them, but not necessarily of them, without being a whole new world. What would the practical consequences be? First of all, there might not be such things are Spiritual entities. The Spiritual Realm could be composed entirely of connections. Instead of connecting the Spiritual entities associated with various parts of the person to the Spiritual entity associated with the person and the Cognitive entity associated with the person, it connects the Physical and Cognitive entities. This explains some apparent contradictions with ideals - for example, the ideal of beauty varies from place to place and from time to time, making it Cognitive. However, in this view, ideals are simply cognitive entities endowed with a higher level of Spiritual connection (or a higher level of Investiture). Spren represent this quite well, being ideals with enough Investiture to become sentient. Investiture, of course, is the basic substance of the Spiritual Realm, which presumably forms the connections. This is how magic works. Awakening involves binding an object to a Cognitive entity representing the desired behavior. Allomancy provides a connection to the metal which allows the user to draw on Preservation's Investiture, and then connects to something else - an external piece of metal, another person's mind, the senses, etc. Feruchemy draws off the connection to an attribute, then restores it with greater strength. Surgebinding forms a connection to the spren and the Surges - the laws of physics as endowed with extra Investiture and connected to Cognitive entities. All magic is based off of this connection. Having sufficient Innate Investiture also grants sentience, probably by forming a stronger connection with the associated Cognitive entity. This is how Hemalurgy grants Mistwraiths sentience - their Cognitive entity is quite similar to a human's, so Hemalurgy allows a strong enough connection to that for them to become kandra. It's also how spren become sentient - in the Cognitive Realm, everything has some degree of sentience, from ropes to rocks to sticks. Investiture allows for a stronger connection to the Physical aspect, granting sentience. When Nahel spren bond, that binds them even closer to the Physical Realm, making them fully sentient in both Realms. So. There you have it. My insane ravings on the Spiritual realm. What do you think?
  22. Plane rides, it seems, are just as good for theorizing as for making Stormlight Elimination roles. Now, I know what you're thinking; "*sigh* Another baseless theory about Awakening from someone who doesn't like colour as a fuel in Nalthis's magic system." Not exactly. I've always thought colour was a little weird, but I was willing to roll with it until I read Words of Radiance. Each time a Shardblade cuts a limb, rather than through the spine, it (the limb) is described as turning grey. Until now, I had assumed a Shardblade's cut had the same affect as having a physical injury that paralyses a limb. But the greyness is doesn't fit that. The logical conclusion is that when something's Spiritual Connections are cut, for some reason, they lose their colour and turn grey. This means that an object's colour, or the wavelength of light it reflects, must be decided primarily by the Spiritual Aspect. Now, what else do we know of that turns things grey? Awakening. This makes me think that there may be something more to Awakening's power source. I still think that in a sense, colour is the fuel, but rather than the pigment itself providing power, it is the object's Spiritual Aspect. I think that Awakening breaks/changes an object's Spiritual Connection to light, causing it to reflect a wider spectrum. Ie. Turning it a light grey/white. Why exactly Awakening needs the energy from a broken Spiritual Connection, I'm not sure. I personally think that it provides the impetus for imprinting a Command on an object, but that's just a guess. TL;DR: I think that when colour is taken in Awakening, it happens fundamentally in the Spiritual Realm, rather than the Physical. Once, again, I'm sending this from my iPhone, so please excuse any typos.
  23. I was perusing the web today after casually reading about some new AI research (side note, people have some ridiculous ideas about how AI works, with very little understanding) when I ended up reading about Karl Popper one of the greatest modern philosophers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popper%27s_three_worlds Not going to lie, it actually blows my mind how similar this is to realmatic theory. For people who are more familiar with the theoretical underpinnings of the cosmere than they are with our own reality (i.e. all of us here), Popper describes reality as three seperate worlds: World 1 (the physical world), World 2 (the mental world), and World 3 (the world of objective truth). It's not identical, but it's unsettleingly close to realmatics. I can't help but wonder if Sanderson was influenced by Popper, or if he just happened to come up with a theory that is nearly identical to one developed by one of the most respected philosophers in the scientific community, then decided to use it in his fantasy world rather than be bothered to publish it.
  24. Originally, this was going to be more world-hopping based, but I lost some stuff and this turned into a topic on realmatic transportation (physical to cognitive) hopping instead. It’s not a theory, though this is probably not the best topic to dabble in lightly; unfortunately, I was a little bored, it was late, and I wanted tea. So forgive me if my thoughts are not well-explained or if it seems to just go on and on about rabbits…What I’m saying is that I expect to be shot down by the self-proclaimed real experts on Realmatic Theory. Well, at least I tried? Heh, I just hope no one stole my thunder…but anyways, enough of my blab… Geronomo! --- First though, I want to bring up Aon Rao. As we know, the shape of Elantris and the landscape around it is based on this Aon and creates Elantrians and allows them access to that magic. But at the heart of this giant Aon, is the pool or the "dot" in the middle of Rao. This Aon Rao can be seen as a gateway, one that allows Investiture in from the Spiritual Realm into the physical realm; or a place where Investiture is moving from a place of “high spiritual pressure to a place of lower pressure.” A giant Aon, perhaps even (in some way) a giant Seon, though for this topic, it doesn’t particularly matter if the pool we are dealing with is a splinterpool or a shardpool. It only matters that it’s a big gateway. What really matters is this: when one draws an Aon, when one uses stormlight, when one burns metal, et al.; one opens a gateway for Investiture to flow through. Notably, the pool in Elantris is at the certain of an incredibly large and powerful Aon that continuously draws in Investiture. It operates as a gateway, but as anyone can tell you, gateways can be entered through both ways. If one opens a big enough gateway (and maintains it), one should be able to go through it. Essentially, this means that a big enough gateway can be used by a person just as a big enough gateway let’s in a lot of Investiture. Pools, like the one at the center of the giant Aon Rao, are this, but I think is easier to see with Aon Rao because we already know what Aons do. Aons let Investiture into the physical realm, and should also be able (if they’re big enough) to let physical beings out. This means, that if something opens a gateway (or uses Investiture), it opens a gateway for a person to go through, allowing for further realmatic shenanigans on the other side. No, this point doesn’t explain how world hopping is conducted (when we see Elsecalling in action, I think we might have a better idea), but it does explain how someone can enter the cognitive and possibly the spiritual realms. I’m not proposing that this idea is revolutionary (I’m sure someone brought it up before me). Instead: I’m only proposing that the Pool on Elantris reveals that this pool exists in that particular spot because of the giant Aon Rao, and this giant Aon Rao draws on AonDor in such a way that it opens a gigantic gateway between realms. Essentially, all you need is a big enough gateway…and the ability to open it (except, perhaps, if someone did it for you…) for realmatic transportation, however, I will say that this only for certain worlds and really only a basic idea. I’m not doing application, only proposing that by opening gateways for Investiture to seep through (like the giant Aon Rao, but it should work on a smaller scale, like with Soulcasters and Elsecallers, though not quite in the same way), one can enter another realm and eventually worldhop. (That’s the best I could come up, and yes, I probably did not hit the dot. Just don’t kill me, this is still my first topic…)Originally, this was going to be more world-hopping based, but I lost some stuff and this turned into a topic on realmatic transportation (physical to cognitive) hopping instead. It’s not a theory, though this is probably not the best topic to dabble in lightly; unfortunately, I was a little bored, it was late, and I wanted tea. So forgive me if my thoughts are not well-explained or if it seems to just go on and on about rabbits…What I’m saying is that I expect to be shot down by the self-proclaimed experts on Realmatic Theory. Well, at least I tried? Heh, I just hope no one stole my thunder…but anyways, enough of my blab… Geronomo! First though, I want to bring up Aon Rao. As we know, the shape of Elantris and the landscape around it is based on this Aon and creates Elantrians and allows them access to that magic. But at the heart of this giant Aon, is the pool or the "dot" in the middle of Rao. This Aon Rao can be seen as a gateway, one that allows Investiture in from the Spiritual Realm into the physical realm; or a place where Investiture is moving from a place of “high spiritual pressure to a place of lower pressure.” A giant Aon, perhaps even (in some way) a giant Seon, though for this topic, it doesn’t particularly matter if the pool we are dealing with is a splinterpool or a shardpool. It only matters that it’s a big gateway. What really matters is this: when one draws an Aon, when one uses stormlight, when one burns metal, et al.; one opens a gateway for Investiture to flow through. Notably, the pool in Elantris is at the certain of an incredibly large and powerful Aon that continuously draws in Investiture. It operates as a gateway, but as anyone can tell you, gateways can be entered through both ways. If one opens a big enough gateway (and maintains it), one should be able to go through it. Essentially, this means that a big enough gateway can be used by a person just as a big enough gateway let’s in a lot of Investiture. Pools, like the one at the center of the giant Aon Rao, are this, but I think is easier to see with Aon Rao because we already know what Aons do. Aons let Investiture into the physical realm, and should also be able (if they’re big enough) to let physical beings out. This means, that if something opens a gateway (or uses Investiture), it opens a gateway for a person to go through, allowing for further realmatic shenanigans on the other side. No, this point doesn’t explain how world hopping is conducted (when we see Elsecalling in action, I think we might have a better idea), but it does explain how someone can enter the cognitive and possibly the spiritual realms. I’m not proposing that this idea is revolutionary (I’m sure someone brought it up before me). Instead: I’m only proposing that the Pool on Elantris reveals that this pool exists in that particular spot because of the giant Aon Rao, and this giant Aon Rao draws on AonDor in such a way that it opens a gigantic gateway between realms. Essentially, all you need is a big enough gateway…and the ability to open it (except, perhaps, if someone did it for you…) for realmatic transportation, however, I will say that this only for certain worlds and really only a basic idea. I’m not doing application, only proposing that by opening gateways for Investiture to seep through (like the giant Aon Rao, but it should work on a smaller scale, like with Soulcasters and Elsecallers, though not quite in the same way), one can enter another realm and eventually worldhop... --- That’s the best I could come up, and yes, I probably did not hit the dot. Just don’t kill me, this is still my first topic…be nice! I'm gonna sleep now...also, since the Pool is at the center of a giant Aon Rao, I think it might be more of a splinterpool by the time of Elantris...or even the center of a giant "Seon". One might say it's not quite a shardpool..., indeed. Now for some wild speculation (just for fun):
  25. So I was writing up my absurdly large time bubble thread (what else is new?) and I got the section about bubble occupancy. For the first time, I actually sat down and thought about the implications of a particular new WoB in light of some fairly old knowledge: Namely, how do we reconcile the facts that time bubble borders are static (i.e., don't distend ever) and any living thing touching a time bubble is affected by it with the fact that passengers in a bubbled train that doesn't notice the bubble won't notice it either? The WoBs: Living touch enough Bubble borders static VS. Bubble occupancy ----- How to reconcile these, then? It seems that the key to this question is to ask how time bubbles "find out" whether or not objects should be included in their effect. We see that objects are included or excluded as wholes: You won't be speeding up one leg of a chair and leaving the rest untouched, for instance. Yet objects do not lose their individual identities when they become a part of a greater whole. We saw in WoR that parts of the whole can both have their own beads in Shadesmar (their own individual Cognitive aspects) and be represented within the beads of their parent (and presumably their parent's parent and so on). The doors and lamps in Kholinar's palace have their own distinct beads at the same time as those same objects are a part of the "PALACE" mega-bead. We see, then, that time bubbles know not to include the child without consulting the parent. You won't see the chair leg being included on its own because the bubble somehow knows that that leg has a parent aspect and that that aspect is not included. The bubble then doesn't include the leg. Where is this answer derived, though? 1. Does the bubble look first at the leg, then see it has a parent, then look to the parent, then check if it has a parent, then see it doesn't and determine if it would like to go fast today? -This requires some mechanism of "trickle down" for all the child objects to be suitably affected/not-affected. 2. Does the bubble simultaneously survey all potentially-included objects, figure out the tree, and then only bother to actually look to the root nodes for occupancy? 3. Does the bubble simply ask the leg "would you like to go fast?" and then the leg, as black-box, replies Y/N after querying its parent? I am somewhat disposed towards the third option, myself. It's a bit of extra work on the part of individual aspects, but requires fewer/slower fundamental changes than the first and far less unbelievable work than the second. The first option requires that pesky trickle-down mechanism. It requires that either the bubble remember everything it's looked at and associate them with their parents as it finds them or that the parents be able to tell all their children its "decision". The second requires a large degree of "thought" on the part of the bubble: it takes place in two distinct steps, with some concept of consideration/evaluation in play between the steps. The bubble somehow "looks" at everything before "actually" looking at only a subset of those things for its actual answer. It seems overdone. The third option does demand some degree of work from individual objects. It requires that random peice of wood #7 go through the trouble of actively figuring out whether it and/or its parents want to be included in the bubble. This could go on for dozens or hundreds of layers, depending on how fine-grained we get. -- Another thing we must consider is how what objects are included in the bubble is decided. Yes, there's Cognitive "is this thing 'in' this space?" questions, but who's asking and who's answering? Are individual objects returning their assessment of whether they're within the bubble's space, or are third parties, or is the bubble itself determining this? The answer to this question has special weight for Option 3 above because that option doesn't allow the bubble any input into whether the root object is included. -- Getting back to my own judgments, I would also say that the objects' Cognitive aspects in the broad sense (so including both personal and external opinion) determine "where" they are in space, and then that object reports whether it thinks it's "in" the bubble if some part of it is straddling the line. I don't think it appropriate to saddle a distortion in space-time with too much thinking. This presumed lack of cognitive ability is yet another reason to discard Option 2, also. I think it fair to proceed as if we've narrowed the reasonable options down to 1 and 3, then. Not being sure between these two still leaves ambiguity as to exactly what these Cognitive aspects look like, though. In the case of Option 3, then the only thing we need in order to reconcile the WoB's is for child objects to know who their parents are. You can have a bunch of illegitimate passengers running around saying "this train is my parent" without the train ever being aware they even exist, let alone that it allegedly has a few hundred children. -- But in the case of Option 1, things are nastier. We've already essentially excised the time bubble from any computational heavy-lifting, so requiring that it remember/associate children with parents seems untoward. That leaves the parents being able to inform their children of what's what. How, then? I see two fundamental ways. Either the parent knows all of its children and tells them all personally or it "broadcasts" some message to all saying essentially "My kids: listen as I say...". The broadcast idea is rather uncivilized, and ghastly-expensive/loud. If the parent has no idea whatsoever who its children are, then it has to tell everything it can reach the message. And the kids have to all be listening for it and be able to actively distinguish when their parent has a message. Ugly and I don't see Brandon designing it that way, frankly. On more Realmatic grounds, the Cognitive isn't really that kind of place. Nor is the Spiritual, when you get right down to it. We've yet to see any simple broadband "tell everyone the news" communication Realmatically. The Spiritual has sets of 1:1 connections while the Cognitive seems composed of a bunch of quite singular entities that, to their core, know what they are. While this "knowing what you are" could quite easily extend to "just knowing" your parents or children (and thus perhaps going on to forge and maintain Spiritual bonds with them for communication), it doesn't seem to extend to knowing and being able to communicate with your local area. So the other way is that the parent knows all of its kids and tells them personally. How kind. But the problem with this is the ephemerality of some of the relations we're talking about, and how quickly they'd have to be established and torn down. When a passenger sets foot on a train, this model requires that that train immediately become aware of that passenger as its child and see itself as containing him. That's the impact of this set of WoB's. And that's rather absurd on the face of it. Besides the "absurd on the face of it" thing, which isn't exactly a scientific assessment, we also have good reason to disbelieve such ephemerality: Soulcasting. When Shallan soulcast the ship in WoR, she did not, as it turns out, turn all of its human occupants to water. Despite this, I think it fair to claim that those same occupants would have been unaffected by a passing time bubble that the ship ignored. So there are in fact at least these two levels of Cognitive identity to deal with: one where ephemeral occupancy does protect you from time bubbles but does not entail being "part of" something (the ship's occupants) on a deeper level, and another where long-term occupancy both protects from time bubbles and entails "partness" (the ship's various planks and whatnot). Following from this, the natural conclusion to make, I think, is that what separates these two types of belonging is exactly where children objects are accounted for in their parents' cognitive aspects. Perhaps some other division could be made, or we could make allowances for the difference being due to different degrees in which the parent regards the child, but such seems unwieldy and quite unnecessary in the face of a simpler option. -As an aside, I'd say that Soulcasting directly affects exactly those parts of an object which its Cognitive aspect (its bead) says are a part of it. So Soulcasting directly locates and transforms all those basic-level, non-parent objects which are a part of the whole according to the whole. The whole knows what all of these objects are, and is likely Spiritually connected to them, so I'd wager it easy enough for a Soulcaster to follow the threads down. ---- It seems, then, that we've discarded Option 1 in its entirety. That leaves Option 3, which, to recall, is the one where individual objects are queried by the bubble and make black-box replies which they base on querying their parents. This model requires only singly-linked lists rather than the more expensive doubly-linked tree option 1 needed. Any given object needs only to know either what object its parent is or that it does not, in fact, have a parent. In the first case it asks the parent whether they're in the bubble, in the second it makes the judgment itself. The parent doesn't need to remember any of this, only bothering to connect to its children for a moment as it replies to their individual queries. To the parent in this model, the child asking after occupancy is asked and answered in the same exact way as the bubble asking after occupancy. ---- So, to summarize, this leaves passengers in the train not "touching" the bubble proper because they don't really "interact" with it directly. At no point are they actually doing any work in assessing whether or not they're in the bubble: all they do is ask the train to make the call. When the passenger is in the train, he doesn't actually know whether or not he's touching the bubble because the only way he has to assess the question is asking his parent the train what the answer is. When the passenger is outside the train, though, the buck stops with the human and he is, in fact, "touching" the bubble with no Cognitive intermediary. Honestly I preferred distension to all of this, but given the WoB we have and assuming that I'm not drastically misinterpreting it (which I'm fairly sure I'm not), this seems the answer. ------------- Implications: This is likely the exact same way that clothing and/or held items behave for time bubbles. While I have my whole thread on the matter, I have yet to address what happens to clothing when people touch time bubbles. I think it intuitive and natural that their clothing is included in the speedup/slowdown as well. It wouldn't do to have a "pulled out of his socks" situation it a man poked a time bubble with his finger while running by. So perhaps the mans clothing is included in the direct, "this is part of the human's Cognitive aspect" sense. It's a bit more of an open question whether held-items (like weapons) would have the same privilege. To expand why such short-term "partness" is plausible, I would argue that such possessions (including held items?) are included (and eventually discarded) so easily because living beings are living beings. We cannot expect a train or a ship to actively track and/or have opinions on what's properly part of it: That kind of thing is decided entirely by the input/views of living beings who can make such judgments. By that measure, though, it could well be that the living things have much more malleable "part of me" parts of their Cognitive selves, and can in fact very quickly come to regard clothing/held-items as a part of themselves. In this human case, then, clothing and possibly held objects are included in the effect of the bubble directly because of the uniquely malleable nature of the living Cognitive aspect. -- Another point to make is that I would think a man wearing gloves who touched the edge of a bubble with only the gloves might get included, as the gloves are a part of him. That one's a tad in the air, though, as to whether the "part of me" extends so deeply. We wouldn't expect someone whose shirt got cut by a Shardblade to feel pained by it, after all. ---- Another expansionary point is that this might actually address the "man runs into pole at 500 mph" point I touch on in a few of my time bubble threads. The basic problem is that of a moving person who is trailing along a train (matching its speed) and then gets time-bubbled at 20x speed into the back of a train that is ignoring the time bubble. Does this man suffer damage from this collision? This "parenting" theory may solve this problem: potentially, the moment the man contacts the train his overriding "wait a minute, I'm now in contact with an object big enough that I consider myself to be 'on' it" is such that he begins to take his time-bubble-related ques from the train rather than his own body. So the man ends up painlessly coming to rest against the back of the train with no tangible impact, rather than going kersplat. ------ So... yeah. This is what happens when I get in time bubble mode.