Ookla the Perpetual

Rosharan FTL and the Quantum Properties of Spren

25 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I'm putting this under Cosmere discussion, even though it only really pertains to stuff in the Stormlight Archive.

First of all, thanks to @Ranryu for reminding me about the weird things spren do, which led to this theory.

Brandon has said that all the planets in the Cosmere could one day develop faster than light (FTL) travel, though Scadrial is expected to achieve it first of all. This is really interesting to me. We can see how Scadrial, most likely with some applications of speed bubbles, access to the spiritual realm, and the handy technology of Ettmetal, could achieve this pretty soon.

But what always interested me was the other planets. How could worlds like Roshar or Nalthis achieve FTL? Their magic systems don't really have anything that could be used in that way, and it seems incredibly far off. (Sel technically already has it (Aon Tia), they just need to work out some kinks and figure out how to use it offworld. Can't be widely applied at this point.)

Now focusing on Roshar. I think, with many of the technological developments that are coming around as we read, it's safe to assume that Rosharan FTL will be fabrial based. And what do you need to power fabrials? Spren.

In an interlude in Words of Radiance (I think it's WoR, anyway) we see a pair of ardents conduct some experiments on some flamespren. They find that once you define a specific value for a measurement of the spren, the spren has to stay that value in that specific measurement. This coincides exactly with our current understanding of quantum mechanics: particles exist in a fluid state, in multiple locations or states of being at once, until they're observed. After observation, they're stuck in the position or state they were observed in.

I think it's safe to assume that other spren share this attribute, but right now, only flamespren are confirmed to have these strange quantum properties. And, unless I'm remembering wrong, flamespren are the most commonly used spren when creating conjoining fabrials.

Conjoined fabrials are very handy, as we see with the Fourth Bridge in Rhythm of War. Using some clever tricks involving Aluminum, a latticework of conjoined fabrials are effectively able to create an airship. This kind of fabrial is probably the future of Rosharan transportation.

Now here comes the long shot.

My theory is that if a fabrial were to be created that somehow exploited the quantum properties of spren, they would be able to use that "multiple locations at once" function to effectively transport a vehicle using the fabrial to another location faster than the speed of light.

I have no idea how you'd do that. You'd probably have to use some kind of trick to amplify very small scale effects to an incredibly large scale, and Aluminum to isolate variables and make sure your spaceship actually appears where you want it to be. 

It's a long way off, if it's even possible. But Brandon is hinting at something with those flamespren, and it seems likely that it's something along these lines.

What do you think? Am I grasping at straws, or am I onto something? Tell me below!

Edited by The Bookwyrm
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Hmm.

This makes my brain go places. FTL and "Space Age" tech for the Cosmere as a whole is honestly mind breaking by itself, but to think specifically in Rosharan ways is even more mind breaking.

FTL Fourth Bridge... exploiting quantum spren properties... I can't wrap my head around it, I'm no theoretical physicist, I'm just some random teen who likes weather, but I think it could work. We've seen some flying spren (Windspren, Honorspren) achieve incredible speeds, but that's during observation. Theoretically, they could be capable of near light-speed travel. Theoretically.

Now, if we have a conjoined fabrial using unobserved Windspren in the split gemstones, then somehow observe them as they go near light-speed or FTL speed, then we have something.

But i'm spitballing here.

I think it is possible, and it is a really cool theory.

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38 minutes ago, The Bookwyrm said:

Now focusing on Roshar. I think, with many of the technological developments that are coming around as we read, it's safe to assume that Rosharan FTL will be fabrial based. And what do you need to power fabrials? Spren.

True enough, but it strikes me that Roshar already has FTL: the Oathgates. Transportation is effectively instantaneous across Roshar, and the Oathgates are already known to be spren. I think that the major issues are that:

  1. Spren are bound to Roshar, and so setting up another spren off-world is a challenge that they haven't solved yet. The fix for this may or may not involve a fabrial, so we'll see.
  2. Oathgate travel may not really be instantaneous but rather very, very fast, such that it seems to take no time at all over the distances covered by Roshar's Oathgates. If the latter is the case then Roshar is at square zero on FTL.

If Oathgate travel is instantaneous and Oathgates can be set up in other parts of the Cosmere than Roshar then the Stormlight trade is really going to take off. Imagine if the Ghostbloods make a serious play to control all off-world Oathgate travel in order to monopolize the easy Investiture trade...

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There are a couple of problems with this model, first off being that of taking passengers. I'm more inclined to agree that Oathgates are Roshar's FTL.

However the quantum nature of spren is definitely mentioned as having possible fabrial ramifications, so there might be something here.

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Roshars FTL imo will likely have to do with mechanized Elsecalling.  Move the ship into Shadesmar, skip all the empty spaces and presto!  Effectively FTL travel.

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I agree. I feel like they would involve the other realms more, sorta like (skyward spoilers kinda)

Spoiler

The nowhere aka the alternate dimension cytonics use to teleport around.

Something like using the so called mechanized elsecalling would make a lot of sense, at least currently. I like the fabrial ideas though, i really want to see the full extent of fabrial science.

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To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the Surge of Transportation.

And while it doesn't invalidate the theory, it creates a much easier alternative.

Still, I think the quantum properties of Spren are something to keep an eye on.

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This is only tangentially related, and highly impractical, but remember in RoW when Rabionel and Navani are experimenting with aluminum? They find a way to make a conjoined fabrial that moves exponentially rather than incrementally. If you take that to its logical conclusion...

...you would end up running into Relativity. Sorry.

You could put one of those together with Scadrial tech (etmettal speed bubble), and create a very weird FTL gemstone.

Elsecalling is FTL already, so mechanized elsecalling probably should work well.

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So, the question becomes how to unbound spren. The answer might surprise you. 
I say a cultural takeover could actually make people think spren are a natural part of nature and that could unbound them. 


shattering cultivation and odium might unbound them. 


spren could wear something like an aluminum alloy outfit for the connection problem. 


maybe (reforged) honor and cultivation could invest other planets and that could help.

 
maybe you can “gain” a connection with a planet with enough investiture. And the spren can do it but they dont know so they don’t. 

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21 hours ago, Brgst13 said:

Roshars FTL imo will likely have to do with mechanized Elsecalling.  Move the ship into Shadesmar, skip all the empty spaces and presto!  Effectively FTL travel.

Why do that when Oathgates are actually FTL rather than just mimicking it?

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Yeah ships might be more a Scadrial thing. Sel and Roshar might be "stargate" based.

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13 hours ago, Frustration said:

Why do that when Oathgates are actually FTL rather than just mimicking it?

Because we don't even know if there are more Oathgate spren?  Because you want to get to a place to set up an Oathgate?  Because it might have a lower Stormlight cost?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Brgst13 said:

Because we don't even know if there are more Oathgate spren?  Because you want to get to a place to set up an Oathgate?  Because it might have a lower Stormlight cost?

Oathgates can be moved, and Oathgate spren appear to just be modified ink/light spren.

Additionally, the stormlight cost can be considered negligible, as even after the weeping they had enough stormlight to operate one.

Edited by Frustration
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Do we know Oathgates can be moved?

Also it occurs to me that speculating about this prior so SA5 is kinda pointless as there seems to be some major shift that may fundamentally alter the assumptions we are working from.

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1 hour ago, Brgst13 said:

Do we know Oathgates can be moved?

Yes, Odium said that so long as the spren's housing isn't damaged the Oathgate can be destroyed and rebuilt, in OB.

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19 hours ago, Frustration said:

Why do that when Oathgates are actually FTL rather than just mimicking it?

Oathgates need to be set up in order to make proper use of them. So using an elsecaller ship to transport to the CR travel great distance then  pop out a much grander distance to set up shop to build an oathgate sounds like a viable strategy 

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Can elsecallers transport within the same realm?

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4 hours ago, EmulatonStromenkiin said:

Can elsecallers transport within the same realm?

It is theoretically possible as Oathgates we're based off of the surge of Transportation.

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52 minutes ago, Frustration said:

It is theoretically possible as Oathgates we're based off of the surge of Transportation.

It's probably some mechanic using the Spiritual realm as a bypass.

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Quantum spren may just be a mechanism for FTL communication instead of transportation.

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2 hours ago, drunkenbotanist said:

Quantum spren may just be a mechanism for FTL communication instead of transportation.

That's just spanreeds though.

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I think Roshar, scadrial and elantris will be the superpowers of the space age because they figured out FTL with their own magic systems. I would be very surprised if nalthis somehow used breaths to go FTL. I think the only way the other planets get FTL is by borrowing technology as colonies of one of the three main planets

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On 10/10/2022 at 0:59 PM, Frustration said:

That's just spanreeds though.

I figured eventually they will have something more advanced that isn't a pen but yeah

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2 hours ago, drunkenbotanist said:

I figured eventually they will have something more advanced that isn't a pen but yeah

With taunt membranes you can make a phone.

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Wouldn't thinking about teleportation create teleportation spren?

Quote

Spren are generally personification of certain cognitive ideals and concepts;[16] as such, they come into being in the realm of thought, the Cognitive Realm. In the Cognitive Realm, loose Investiture left behind by the Shards comes alive, shaped and given cognizance by the ideas and concepts of the collective experience of sentient creatures. Over time, those ideas and concepts, imprinted upon scraps of Investiture, become personified as an external entity, becoming spren.

(From the Coppermind)

 

Edited by Thanatos
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