Kurkistan

Motivation, Execution, Consequence: A Realmatic Theory

135 posts in this topic

Critics Rave:
"That's a very interesting way to look at it. The theory isn't all there, but it's thinking along the right lines."
-BRANDON SANDERSON

"a surprisingly coherent theory considering everything we don't know"
-dj26792

"while I don't completely agree with the terminology you say, the ideas here are extremely extremely good."
-Chaos

"it's a great theory that makes sense with the Cosmere so far"
-Straff Venture (before being cut in half, presumably)

"supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
-Observer

"good theory! Well presented and excellent concept, at least."
-Odiums_Shard

Table of Contents:
Main theory (this post)
Awakening
--Start of the Greate War of Nepene (~25,000 words. You have been warned)
--End of the Great War of Nepene
---New Orleans of the Great War of Nepene (Hint: I'm Jackson)
Start of discussion about:
-Cognitive/Spiritual interaction
-Spren
-Hemalurgy and Memory/Intelligence

To Be Discussed in Depth:
-Mostly Cognitive beings
-Spren
-Hemalurgy, specifically concerned with Memory and Intelligence theft
-The relationship between Spiritual energy and Cognitive complexity
-Predictions for how Forging works.
-Senses of Awakened objects

Related Theories:

-Forms:

--Forms: Simplified
--Spren as Forms
--Nature of Forms & Forgery
---Spiritual Realm as a Network of Connections
-Realmatic Theory, Satsuoni edition
--A bit divergent, but mostly on the same tack as mine.

----

Summary of theory so you can "get it" without reading the equivalent of a paper.
-Lacks reasoning, evidence, and length.

The Spiritual realm is the source of all motivation within the Cosmere, from gravity to punching someone in the face. It may or may not also provide the energy to enable these actions. Every object has it's own unique sDNA which specifies how it interacts with other objects and the Cosmere at large, once again from gravity to the sDNA of a Thug allowing him/her to burn pewter. Magic depends on this sDNA and can, on occasion, change it.

The Cognitive realm (the least well-defined of the three so far under my theory) is where all of the computations and permutations of spiritual rules are considered--in the context of the layout of the Physical realm--on a moment-by-moment basis. It is, quite literally, where the cogitation takes place. Alterations to the Cognitive realm can alter how objects react to certain Spiritual directives, but not the directives themselves. It may, however, also serve as a natural interface between the Spiritual and Physical realms, allowing one to indirectly affect the other.

The Physical realm is where everything actually happens, changes coming about in it as an end result of Spiritual directives being interpreted by the Cognitive realm. The results of those directives then affect the other two realms in turn and go on to determine what happens in the next "cycle."

Main Block (Ridiculously Long):


Introduction:

First, some background. I had started a thread discussing the borders of time bubbles, and was invited by Satsuoni to provide some analysis on how time bubbles affect all three realms. The result, plus or minus a few tweaks as I've thought some more about it and to adjust it for being its own thread (as well as adding some citations for the uninitiated), is my Realmatic theory of Motivation (Spiritual), Execution (Cognitive), and Consequence (Physical).

I here spell out my theory of how the three realms may interact and what the nature of these interactions mean for the Cosmere at large and for the nature of magic systems. I've tried to use as much Realmatic information as I know of, and I don't think I've managed to contradict anything yet; I do encourage people to chime in with quotes and facts supporting, contradicting, or expanding on my theory, since I currently lack access to my copies of the books.

I'm also still trying to think of a test condition we look for in future books to establish falsifiability. My methodology and, to some extent, reasoning is all very primitive and has an undue amount of "what if" and "assuming this is the case" reasoning, but it's really just the price we pay at this point, since we know so little about the underpinnings of the Cosmere and, obviously, lack the ability to walk out of our doors and test this kind of stuff.

Now, on to the fun:

Main Theory:

We already have confirmation that the anchoring of a bubble is based, at least partially, upon its caster's spiritual gravitational connection to the planet. I'm still a bit hazy on how gravity is a spiritual force, but we do have both in-world and Word of God confirmation that this is the case. We need to solve how gravity, a fundamental Physical force is somehow fundamentally tied to the Spiritual realm. (1, WoK Hardcover pg 1006)

Massive Realmatic theory to make the above fact not-absurd:

That actually brings up an interesting question of what exactly the spiritual realm is. I have tended to shy away from Realmatic discussion up 'till now, but after a quick Google I didn't really find much discussion on the nature of the Spiritual realm.

While the answer, "it's where the souls go, duh" is obvious, we know that Shardblades are also stored there, so it's not just a realm of ethereal floatiness with Kelsier jogging Sazed's elbow occasionally. We also know that "Spiritual DNA" is a vital component of all of the magic systems, to the point where the entirety of hemalurgy is simply appropriating other people's sDNA. (3)

Given this, I would hazard that the Spiritual realm is the realm of motive force, the cause of all motion, change, growth, decay, etc. This is all very pre-Socratic, but essentially there is no fundamental difference between the human soul motivating action and an apple falling to the ground. Both are necessitated by rules and connections in the Spiritual realm.

As I conceive of my Realmatic schema, the nature of the Spiritual realm is such that it filters its directives through the Cognitive into the Physical realm, with the Physical realm then altering the state of the Spiritual and Cognitive realms in turn. Each and every object has its own spiritual nature determining how it interacts with every other object (gravity, thermodynamics, etc.). Most of these objects have the same rules written into them, but you can sometimes use magic to alter the properties of specific objects.

So while Rock_3.125x10^56 might normally have the rule "accelerate towards other objects based upon mass," a Basic Lashing at a 90 degree angle from the ground turns that rule, temporarily into "accelerate parallel to other objects based upon mass" for Rock_3.125x10^56 and Rock_3.125x10^56 alone. Or possibly it's changed to "accelerate towards other objects based upon mass; except for the planet Roshar, in which case accelerate towards point 253644.521 [Lashing target] with the same energy as if it were Roshar." Or some variation: you get the point.

So while the Spiritual realm has the general rules and is (possibly) the source of power for motion, the Cognitive realm takes these rules as input and acts upon them based upon the situation at hand and the surroundings of each object. The Physical realm is where all of this is actually enacted and where the Cognitive realm gets its data for acting on the Spiritual realm's directives. As we've seen with people thinking and using magic, the Physical realm also appears to have some impact on the other two, at least on some small scale.

Summary of Structure of the Cosmere:

So:
Spiritual: Motivating forces, rules, physical laws - the logos of the system.

Cognitive: Middle ground between Spiritual and Physical. Interprets Spiritual directives in the context of the Physical realm, alters the Spiritual realm on occasion (soul-changing (?) and magic) as a result of behavior in the Physical realm, and has its own (malleable?) set of rules on how to interpret directives from either of the other realms.

Physical: Where the directives of the Spiritual/Cognitive realms come to fruition, with these directives altering the nature and layout of the Physical realm and so being altered in turn. Where you see everything happening, while the other two realms are more behind the scenes.

To put it in unnecessarily computer-architectural-ish terms:

The Spiritual is the rule set and command line, the Cognitive is where the computations are actually executed based upon inputs from the Spiritual, and the Physical is where the results of these actions are displayed and stored. Changes introduced in the Physical realm then alter the state of the Cognitive and, possibly Spiritual realms during the next cycle. Magic, in particular, hijacks the Spiritual realm and hacks in new rule sets to enable non-normal changes in the Cognitive and Physical realms.

Nature of Magic as Relates to Spiritual Realm:

Some magic might directly influence the Spiritual realm, such as the Lashings, while others might simply be enabled by them. A Thug using Pewter is not necessarily changing the Spiritual realm, but his "specification" in the Spiritual realm will include, along with all the normal human specifications and his soul, "can 'burn' pewter for increased physical endurance and generally enhanced physical abilities." That's the Spiritual DNA that Brandon loves talking about, and fits perfectly with how vital sDNA is to the operation of the magic systems. This is especially obvious, once again, with hemalurgy, where--under my system--spikes are used in the Physical realm to take away a portion of the victim's sDNA and then transfer that "specification" to the sDNA of the spike's recipient, giving a Seeker like Marsh "can 'burn' <metal>" specifications galore.

If my theory is the case, then accessing Shadesmar (a manifestation of the Cognitive realm) would allow consciously moving, creating, and/or altering values in the Physical realm, which would explain why it enables travel between Shardworlds and why accessing Shadesmar enables the transmutation of objects in the Physical realm. If my theory is true, then I think that Shallan will never come back from Shadesmar with beads stuck in her hair, because she was never actually there. Likely, she was simply standing in place while her mind took an adventure, Matrix style.

Shardblades, as suggested in this thread, are essentially Physical manifestations of the power of the Spiritual realm, "admin weapons," as it were. Shardblades are triggered into existence by a certain Physical/Cognitive key (enabled by alterations to the Spiritual DNA of its wielder), and then manifest as essentially a miniature bundle of violations of the laws of nature. They are not, then, actual persistent Physical objects which just happen to be stored in the Spiritual realm. They are simply tangible manifestations of crude Spiritual manipulation which did not exist at any point prior to their fashioning in the Spiritual realm, and can never exist in the Physical realm without magical intervention of some kind.

EDIT: Actually, now that I think more on this, Shardblades could be Physical objects with an unholy number of specification changes. Still, they're "soul-shearing" activity suggests a stronger Spiritual connection (although Nightblood also does that. . .) and even with extra specifications they should require massive amounts of power to be so actively rule-breaky, which power we have not seen the source of yet.

So when we look at gravity somehow being a "spiritual bond," it makes sense because the law of gravity, the gravitational constant, etc. is actually recorded in the Spiritual realm. So "reassigning" the bond, as discussed, is simply a matter of editing the parameters of a single object as I described above (I here presume that aggregates in the Cosmere are lumped together in the Realms, to avoid having to think about quarks and whatnot).

Time Bubble Applications and Permanency:

I would hazard that the temporal metals probably fall under the Spiritual category, just as the mental ones are Cognitive and physical are Physical. All magic comes from the Spiritual realm enabling certain extra-real behavior, but the temporal metals in this case would be primarily affecting the Spiritual aspects of the world. Bendalloy and Cadmium might actually function by re-writing the Spiritual aspects of everything in within the bubble, altering some "this is how fast you move" variable that they all have. This flows down to the Cognitive realm, which sees how much power it has at its disposal and how big/time-altery the Misting wants the bubble to be, then pours re-write power into everything it can reach in the Physical realm.

Unlike stormlight, which sticks with the objects over time to keep their Spiritual aspects from reverting, essentially serving as a capacitor, time bubble's must provide constant fuel to maintain the timey-wimey effect on their surroundings. So as soon as an object gets too far away from the center of bubble--which is in turn fed by the presence of a Misting with the appropriate sDNA triggering the appropriate metal--the entire object is released from the effect.

This could either work through my "distension" theory (see thread linked to at the top of post) or actually legitimize a scenario where an object is half-in, half-out of a bubble yet remains either entirely affected or entirely unaffected: the surface of the "bubble" is simply a manifestation of the rough range of the metal's effect. This could also explain why light remains unaffected without relying on an alloy of Handwavium--light particles mightn't be considered objects in the Cognitive/Spiritual realms, at least as far as Bendalloy/Cadmium go, so they get a free pass.

As for FTL, this might actually does give hope to my off-the-cuff suggestion that "teleporting FTL" would work in space as time bubbles suddenly expand without an atmosphere. Without having to worry about all that pesky air moving in and out and in and out, and swirling around, and just being there, there might be a lot more power available for time bubbles to expand.

Alternatively (although this goes against the RPG), you might be able to pour the extra power from nicrosil (both feruchemical and allomantic) into expanding the bubble rather than speeding it up, since it makes sense that you can either speed up 10 things to x2 speed or 5 things to x4 with the same amount of power, allowing the expansion of bubbles to include more objects.

My theory might also account for cadmium bubbles being larger, since it's conceivable that the bubble co-opts some of the energy from objects it slows down. Entropy would kick in at some point so the bubble wouldn't just constantly expand, but it would still be cheaper than a speed bubble.

As far as the permanency of effects go, as I hinted at two paragraphs ago, we do seem to face a problem of why Soulcasting and planet-hopping appear to "stick" whenever you do them while Lashings/time bubbles do not. I hazard that it could be the case that Lashings/bubbles, besides changing the instructions of objects, also have to provide the energy to affect and/or maintain the changes they demand, due to the continuing violations of the normal laws of the Spiritual (and Physical?) realms that they cause. Although I lack my book to pull a quote for support, we've seen multiple instances of stormlight "running out" and Lashed objects reverting to their normal state, supporting some kind of "capacitor" role for the stormlight a surgebinder puts into an object.

It could therefore be the case that, while the Spiritual realm usually provides the motive force (or simply has unique access to the energy of the other two realms?), magical power is required to maintain "hacked in" instructions that co-opt existing instruction sets (Lashings/bubbles) to continually do otherwise impossible things. Soulcasting, however, simply switches out one valid set of specifications (the type of object the target is) for another, equally valid set of specifications (the type you want the target to become).

Planet-hopping, presumably, is also just an edit on the location of an object (carried out in the Cognitive realm where such mundane details are dealt with), and would also not require energy to maintain. Energy is required to initiate any unnatural change, but is no longer required once the laws of physics are done being violated. So Lashed objects don't bounce back to where they would have been if a Windrunner had never touched them and Soulcast goblets stay as blood.

FIN



EDIT: Actually, my explanation for time-bubbles is far too simplistic. It may be that there are some rather sophisticated methods for determining what's in and what's out of a time bubble, and we have to account for frame of reference. Ugh.

I suppose the "go faster" variable could be altered as a function of the frame of reference of the anchor, with an additional "time passes this fast" variable which is altered the same way no matter what (except for relativistic effects, perhaps. . .).

EDIT 2: According to a Harmony quote, the Spiritual realm definitely provides the energy.

EDIT 3: Unearthed another quote, this one from Elantris. A bit suspect, due to theological underpinnings, but the first concrete "the Dor/Spiritual motivates stuff" quote I've seen.

So there's the theory. Read, gush over, criticize, analyze, substantiate, annihilate, and permutate to your hearts' content.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Wow. Nicely done Kurkistan, nicely done. Perhaps planet hopping can be done simply by entering the Shadesmard and walking there. I'm guessing that there's not a whole lot of cognitive aspect going on in-between planets, so it's possible that those gaps are represented by nonexistence in shadesmar, meaing that instead of a gap, there's just a different world that begins where one leaves off.

Erm... supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Edited by Observer
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Wow. Nicely done Kurkistan, nicely done. Perhaps planet hopping can be done simply by entering the Shadesmard and walking there. I'm guessing that there's not a whole lot of cognitive aspect going on in-between planets, so it's possible that those gaps are represented by nonexistence in shadesmar, meaing that instead of a gap, there's just a different world that begins where one leaves off.

Erm... supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

I'm not sure how the rules work in Shadesmar, or if "walking" is a thing there. We saw Jasnah just saunter in with her raft-o-beads without, if I recall, anything keeping those beads together, so movement/change in the Cognitive realm might simply be a matter of power, knowledge, and will. A sufficiently strong, wise, and determined individual might be able to "imagine" themselves half-way across the world.

Kind of like a Green Lantern, actually. :)

Thanks for the "wow." Either this will be my opus or it will be the most time I've ever dedicated to making myself look foolish.

EDIT: I'm really just waiting for one of the guys who's been thinking about this since Elantris to drift by and crush it all to dust.

On a related note, I would like it if someone else could try to logically permutate what my theory (MEC, anyone?) means for some of the other magic systems (Nalthis and Sel's, to be precise). It would be a good test of how well I explained my theory, how much of the "theory" is just me making my own assumptions and artistically arranging them, and whether or not the theory is actually universally applicable (as it needs to be) without branching into the absurd (as it did a few times while I was trying to formulate it).

Edited by Kurkistan
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You asked me to take a look so here I am :)

I think its a great theory that makes sense with the Cosmere so far, but what are your thoughts on why some shard powers involve travelling to shadesmar (eg soulcasting) while others don't? Do you think its the strength of the magic system or maybe just the systems nature?

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You asked me to take a look so here I am smile.gif/>

I think its a great theory that makes sense with the Cosmere so far, but what are your thoughts on why some shard powers involve travelling to shadesmar (eg soulcasting) while others don't? Do you think its the strength of the magic system or maybe just the systems nature?

Thank you.

As for Shadesmar, that is quite an interesting question. Either soulcasting doesn't always require a jaunt to shadesmar, since Jasnah basically did battle-casting in that alley, or jaunts to shadesmar are simply instantaneous.

Soulcasters' unique access to Shadesmar may very well be because soulcasting is such a powerful system (powerful in terms of possibilities, as well as raw power). You're messing with the fundamental stuff of the universe and making of it what you will. All of Brandon's other magic systems so far have been fairly limited so far as the choice of the user goes.

The Metallic arts are all choices of degree within a relatively limited system, Elantris's magic requires complex runes for every spell, and Awakening requires precise Commands (although I think Awakening may end up being one of the more flexible systems). Soulcasting, on the other hand, appears to allow conversion to and from just about everything at the will of the user. It makes a certain amount of sense that those kind of options would necessitate a richer control interface, a more fundamental access to the system which Soulcasting affects.

Speaking of Awakening. . .

Magic Analysis - Nalthis (Warbreaker); Awakening:

Summary for the lazy and/or those with lives:

Breaths are a portion of the power behind the Spiritual aspects of living beings, fuelling mainly Spiritual interactions (as well as Physical health, apparently), but are not actually peoples' "souls" in that they neither retain nor impart any sense of identity to their holders.

I also briefly discuss purely Spiritual traits.

Commands are comprised of two parts, Vocalization and Visualization, with the Vocalization defining a task and the Visualization laying out how to go about achieving that task, in the general sense. The act of Awakening is to copy some amount of your Cognitive aspect onto the Cognitive aspect of your target (the Cognitive transfer fueled by color-draining), the effectiveness of that Cognitive aspect determined by the precision and utility of your Command. Breaths, being Spiritual energy, give motive force to Awakened objects which then try their best to carry out their Commands. Poorly given Commands are those which cannot be carried out due to imprecision or logical errors, and result in the Awakened objects "erroring out" and simply eating your Breaths and copying your (flawed) Cognitive specifications without actually doing anything in the Physical realm (besides draining color as a side-effect).

Main Block:

Note: I'm aware that other theories exist on Awakening, but I'm actually trying to not look up, remember, or think of those theories at this point, since I want to see how far my overarching "MEC" theory can take us before I run into an inescapable obstacle that requires an outside framework to fix.

Breaths:

Breaths. Oh, Breaths. I'm rather surprised it took me this long to get around to you guys. You're kind of awesome, and I look forward to using you to support my theory.

So Breaths are heavily analogous to people's souls--or at least parts of their souls--in their presentation and seeming effect. Removing someone's Breath decreases their "presence" as compares to normal people, as well as making the world altogether "drab" to Drabs' perceptions. Say it with me: "Spiritual energy." But Drabs don't stop being themselves while they are Drabs and recover completely upon receiving a Breath. Breaths also don't appear to retain any sense of personality--although they do have different power levels for different people, with Siri having "a very strong Breath" (Hardback pg. 76)--with one Breath being as good as any other for getting back to normal. So Breaths are not actually peoples souls, they are just the power behind those souls, the motivating force of the Spiritual realm.

A person's Breath cannot be the motivating force, at least not in its entirety, because we don't see people drop dead or become physically weak when they give up their Breath. What they do become, however, is slightly more susceptible to disease, just as people become less susceptible the more Breaths they have. Breaths, then, are most likely a small fraction of élan vital of any given person, apparently only Physically affecting health, not strength or the senses (besides color, but that's always acted odd around Breaths). As far as the Spiritual aspect goes, it appears that Breaths are a lot of, if not all, of the motivating power behind purely Spiritual connections, such as Determination and Connection, to draw upon Feruchemy.

Drabs are drab, then, because they lack the juice to be properly present in the Spiritual realm, and so the strength of their interactions with others is suitably decreased. Other Spiritual traits, such as Determination, might also be affected, but we do not have any real evidence that Drabs are particularly de-motivated moreso than any poor person who sold his/her soul would be. While a normal person sends out and receives "I'm here!" vibes, powered by their partial presence in the Spiritual realm, those vibes have far less power for a Drab (and presumably increased power for those Invested with multiple Breaths).

Digression on Purely Spiritual Traits:

I haven't touched much upon purely Spiritual traits as of yet, such as Luck (which is apparently Spiritual), Determination, Connection, and Identity. I suppose that those traits which interact with other people's Spiritual aspects directly (knowing when someone is looking at you, empathy) actually terminate in the Cognitive realm, never having to actually affect the Physical. Determination and Identity could, once again, stop at the Cognitive realm. Luck is a bit trickier, but I imagine that it could play havoc with probability ala ta'veren by nudging the Spiritual (or Cognitive?) aspects of objects/people near to the Lucky individual.

EDIT 2: Actually, the purely Spiritual traits don't have to interact directly with the other two realms at all (duh). They don't have to "terminate in the Cognitive realm," they can simply alter Spiritual directives at the source. This change to the Spiritual realm would necessarily causes changes in the other two realms, but is still based entirely in the Spiritual, with the effects in the other two simply being a side-effect.

Awakening:

As for Awakening, which is far more interesting as far as my theory goes, I would posit that Breaths provide a persistent motive force from the Spiritual realm while the Awakener provides a basic framework for an Awakened object's increased Cognitive aspect. We now fall afoul of my poor distinction between "Spiritual realm as motivator" and "Cognitive realm as interpreter." Are Commands stored in the Spiritual realm as directives or in the Cognitive realm as interpretations of a general "do what the Awakener said" Spiritual directive? I'm leaning towards the later, but it's still unsure.

General Nature of Awakening:

Now to get back to the impact of the Awakener's own Cognitive aspect and its place in Awakening. We know from the books (pg. 459-463, Vasher's lecture) that specific commands (spoken in your native language) and the "imagination" of the Awakener are required to properly awaken objects. Despite my attempt to remain somewhat independent of other discussions about Awakening during this analysis, I know that I would not be the first to compare Awakening to computer programming.

The commands are instructions (rather obvious, that), but the more interesting part (I do promise that this will get interesting eventually) is the way these commands are implemented, internal to the "reasoning" of the Awakened object. I can vocalize "sort these rocks" all day of the week to a ribbon, but unless I "imagine" how to go about it (quicksort is better, but merge sort is so much more intuitive, wouldn't you say?), that piece of ribbon is just going to return "ERROR" (soaking up your Breaths and not doing anything, in this case). If commands are high-level functions and Vasher's ultimate dream is to build a really big API, how exactly are these functions implemented?

Before we get back to that interesting part (muwhaha!), a small digression on the language of Commands and what it means that all commands must (and, more importantly, can) be given in the native language of the Awakener. Vasher talks about arduous research to find very specific Commands, but Commands requiring a set, "Endowment Approved" syntax doesn't make much sense when combined with the language requirement. "My life to yours. My Breath become yours" might be an exception to the rule, but then again it isn't proper Awakening, just transference, so we oughtn't to expect it to. "Breathe return" may be an exception as well, but it falls under the same category of transference and it's a simple enough Command, intuitive and easy to visualize.

Vasher also talks about how part of a Command is the visualization of what you want that command to do, so I think it more likely that the semantics of a Command--even if the meaning of the words doesn't match up 1:1 between languages (which it never will)--are more-so linked to the mind of the Awakener then to any quirk of the magic system or Cosmere. A sufficiently strong-willed (or mad) individual might very well be able to say "Rutabaga!" and Awaken a piano to play Chopsticks, if, in his (very twisty) mind, he believed that "Rutabaga" means "play Chopsticks" and he used the proper visualization.

Commands and Cognitive Aspects:

Now, (interestingly), onto why Mr. Rutabaga is more likely to be mad than strong-willed. As determined by MEC (hopefully) and as I myself see it, it is natural that the act of Awakening an object involves some degree of copying the Cognitive state of the Awakener onto that of the Awakened object. So when you awaken that rope to hold something, you vocalize "hold things" while holding firmly in your mind an image and/or process of how it would go about holding things.

This visualization is foremost on your mind at the moment of Awakening, and the process of issuing the Command actually copies over that Cognitive state from the Awakener's Cognitive aspect onto the Cognitive aspect of the heretofore inanimate object. The Cognitive aspect of the Awakened object then continuously reinterprets the meaning of your instruction ("hold things") in the context of what exactly you meant when you said it, with the combination of the two being an actual Command, with the motive force for this reinterpretation and any action derived from it coming from Breaths now loosely attached to the Spiritual aspect of the object in question.

Digressions:

Or, to digress: for inanimate objects, are the Breaths actually still attached to the Awakener? Have we seen an Awakened object stay Awakened after its creator's death? If they don't stay Awakened, that would explain why only the Awakener can retrieve his Breaths from an object. If objects do stay Awakened regardless of the life of their creator, then their Breaths might simply have a "can be retrieved by Bob" specification.

Another digression: Looking through Warbreaker, we see Vivenna vocalize "hold when thrown" to a piece of rope at Vasher's instruction, with no explicit visualization step, and Vasher did not act surprised when it worked (pg. 457). There are two answers to this, and I believe the real answer is actually a combination of the two.

One: "hold when thrown" is a relatively simple command with a relatively simply, perhaps even unconscious level of visualization. Two: Vivenna cheats, due to her Royal blood. She said "protect me" while "imagining [a cloak] grabbing people who tried to attack her" (pg. 531) and it actually worked, despite Vasher saying "‘Protect me,’ though only two words, is extremely complicated" (463). Most likely, as I said, it is a combination of the two: Vasher didn't comment because either "hold when thrown" is intuitively visualized or because he simply assumed that Vivenna had visualized it, and didn't want to get into it at that point.

End Digressions:

If the command is "hold things when thrown," then a more complex image of the rope being thrown, flying through the air, impacting any object, and then holding that object would have to be held in the mind of an Awakener. Commands fail, then, when Awakener's fail to provide proper "pseudo-code" for what exactly they want objects to do. If I vocalize "hold when thrown", and then only provide a visualization of the rope flying through the air without any holding to be seen, then there will be an "error" (eat up the Breaths, but don't do anything) where the Awakened object tries to execute the meaning of my "hold when thrown" Command but lacks a clear means by which to achieve my directive.

Directives, huh. This is starting to sound a bit like the normal Spiritual->Cognitive->Physical interaction, isn't it? With the failed Awakener providing an incomplete Cognitive aspect (which would not occur in nature) and so shutting down the loop prematurely.

The Importance (?) of Vocalizations:

Now onto why even vocalizing "hold when thrown" while only then visualizing the rope holding something (the visualization for a simple "hold things") will not work. Besides the method by which we would hope to achieve our Commands (the visualization), the spoken directive itself (the vocalization) and what that directive means in and of itself is also copied into the Cognitive aspect of an Awakend object; and we as lingual being have a natural understanding of what certain words mean, which understanding is also copied.

Now, you might say that that's redundant redundant, that the visualization is enough by itself and the vocal command is simply a tool to help you visualize properly. Maybe, *sniff*, maybe. I doubt it though. This traces back to the lack of clarity on the boundary between the Spiritual and Cognitive realms. It makes the most sense to me, intuitively, that the "program flow" for awakening goes: Spiritual(motive force, directive to "Follow Vocalization of Awakener")->Cognitive(Read Vocalization of Awakener, Apply within the framework of the Awakener's visualization and the object's status in the Physical world).

Looking at the simple cases, it seems that we could get away with straight visualization. "Hold when thrown" could be reduced to a linearized: "Rope being thrown, rope flying through air, rope contacting an object, rope contracting about that object." The basics; you might imagine the rope simply following that command structure, watching for each step, from start to end, until it finally reaches the "contract" section and the function terminates.

When things get more complex, though, the mind quails at the thought of simply visualizing each and every step. I mentioned sorting as a possible command. I can vocalize "sort rocks" to a ribbon while visualizing splitting a pile in two until each sub-pile only had one, then merging the piles back together from smallest on the left to largest on the right, in sequence. That's merge-sort. It's not simple, but it is relatively intuitive.

The problems begin to pop up when you consider possible complications. What are you going to do when you have an odd number of piles? What about rocks of the same size? What if there's an acorn in the pile with the rocks? If the only thing the Command has to go on is my visualizations, then it's doomed to failure, erroring out at the first sign of trouble.

If an overriding vocalization of "sort rocks" is embedded in the Command, though, with all of the intuitive understanding of what it is to "sort," what is and is not a rock, and how to apply these exceptions to the situation at hand, then these problems can be averted. The visualization, then, simply provides the blunt method while the vocalization provides the more nuanced understanding of how to apply the method and what the method's actual purpose is. We see the distinction between syntax and semantics again, with the meaning behind a speaker's words embedding a rich understanding of the subtleties of language and meaning, while the syntax of the visualization enables the actualization for that meaning.

Not to draw upon in-universe evidence (shudder), but we also have the fact that an Awakener must use their native language, the language they truly understand, when giving commands. If I can simply visualize "hold when thrown," then why can't I say it in Klingon and throw ropes 'till the cows come home? While I think it makes a certain amount of sense that vocalizations should be a vital part of Commands (though I may be a bit open to persuasion), the linguistic restrictions of Commands offer nigh-irrefutable evidence that this is the case.

And that's why our "Rutabaga" Awakener is probably mad. If he can say "Rutabaga" and sincerely mean "play Chopsticks," then something is seriously wrong with how he perceives the world.

Color Draining Explained

The energy required for copying could also explain the draining of color as part of Awakening. If the Breath provides a continuous motive force for the Awakened object, why also have a (seemingly unrelated) color-draining affect; and that only at the moment of awakening? That Awakened rope will keep "Holding" until it disintegrates, just as effectively on day 1000 as second 1, so the color used only at the moment of awakening can't have anything to do with the actions of Awakened objects. What if, then, the color is drained to fuel the Cognitive transfer from the Awakener onto the Cognitive aspect of the Awakened object? A separate power source for a fundamentally separate behavior, since the transfer of Breaths is an entirely Spiritual matter.

Length is fun. biggrin.gif/>

EDIT: Edited a bit for clarity. Now I just need someone else to post, then I can ambush them with a 5 page analysis of why the flaws in my theory of Awakening aren't really flaws. Or, alternatively, someone could try and take a club to my theory and we could all have a merry time watching me try to salvage it, maybe refining it a bit in the process.

EDIT 3: More stuff incoming!

Side note: looking at the Warbreaker annotations, it's confirmed that Breaths affect Determination and "irritability" (Connection, perhaps).

Ch 22.2 Annotation

Summary for sake of time:

I examine the discrepancy in the number of Breaths required to awake different objects and its possible cause, concluding that power is imperfectly transferred as a proportion of the "life-like-ness" of the target, while color drain ought to remain the same because the same Cognitive aspect is being transferred. Mostly just pulling quotes and tidying up corners that I hadn't gotten to before.

The fun begins when I talk about the Lifeless and why they can be reprogrammed, pulling quotes galore (the PDF is nice for that) and concluding that Lifeless retain a large part of their original Cognitive aspect, if not their Spiritual aspect, and so provide a much firmer, more robust and flexible foundation for Commands than inanimate objects. The initial Lifeless Command, which awakens it, is thus mostly about buttressing the Cognitive aspect of the target so that it is intelligent enough to accept and adapt to new Commands.

I then briefly address why Lifeless are necessarily colorless (because the Cognitive aspect you're tacking onto them is actually a revival of what originally attached to them) and move on to bang my head against Nightblood's weirdness, concluding that he (yes, he's a he in my mind) actually did successfully import a definition of "evil" from his Awakener, as evidenced by his perfect ability to judge people and attract/repel them accordingly based upon their "evilness." Everything else about him is nigh incomprehensible, though, so I'll leave Nightblood analysis to another day.

I've neglected to address a few things about Awakening and now notice a hole or two in my original specification. I would also like to note that, up to this point, I have only really discussed Type III BioChromatic entities (regular Awakened objects). The rules may differ for the other types, although I don't think that they do.

Breath Requirements and why they Differ:

Law of BioChromatic Parallelism: the closer a host is to a living shape and form; the easier it is to Awaken. BioChroma is the power of life, and so it seeks patterns of life.

Law of Comparability: The amount of Breath required to Awaken something isn’t necessarily indicative of its power once Awakened. A piece of cloth cut into a square and a piece of cloth cut into the shape of a person will take very different amounts of Breath to Awaken, but will be essentially the same once they have been Invested.

(Paraphrased, 459-460)

In short, it can take 10 Breaths to Awaken a woolen dummy of a person and 100 to awaken a dead stick, both with the Command "hit people." There's no evidence that I can think of as to whether or not it affects the amount of color drained. How does this impact my Cognitive/Spiritual dichotomy for Commands and Breaths?

As far as I can remember (and as far as the search function has taken me on the PDF), the complexity of a Command doesn't affect the number of Breaths required for Type III entities, leaving only the target to decide how many Breaths are needed.

EDIT 4: Tell a lie! Page 575 455, more complex commands equal more Breaths. Thanks for pointing that out, Nepene. Doesn't really affect much, though. It reveals that Cognitive aspects need more Spiritual fuel the more complex they are, though, which could have interesting implications.

There is still a question as to whether the physical demands of the command might require more or less Breaths--"Lift feathers" demands more power than "lift rocks," perhaps also scaling with regards to parallelism. "Hold things," however, doesn't particularly seem to care what you want it to hold when you Awaken an object. It may come down to Visualizations, which we still lack a proper POV for (Vivienna downright cheats, I maintain, and Vasher doesn't give us much detail).

I would hazard that color drain ought to remain constant because the same Cognitive information is being transferred each time. As to why you need more Breaths to do the same action, it may simply be that these Laws are a reflection of power-leak in Awakening, because, as Vasher noted, Breaths are tuned towards powering living objects. So the closer you get to a (dead) living creature, the more power from each Breath can be effectively utilized. The woolen dummy might be able to take advantage of 10% of each Breath's power, while the stick might only get 1%.

The section of the quote below about Breath's providing more energy in a damaged body may or may not apply to the power required for Type II objects. Since all Type III's lack any type of musculature or the like, none should have any real advantage on that count.

Lifeless might be a bit odd: "Lifeless can be created at will, and require only a few Breaths to Awaken—anywhere between one and hundreds, depending on the Commands used." This is somewhat ambiguous: either the more/more complex the Commands, the more Breaths required, or less efficient methods of Awakening Lifeless (aka, before the uber-Lifeless Command was discovered) simply require more Breaths.

 

[W]hen one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won't come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too "sticky" for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it. [...]

However, the more the Lifeless is damaged, the less like the shape of a living person it is, and the more difficult it is for the Breath to keep that body going. Powering a body with only one Breath is hard--it requires the body to work mostly on its own. When you power a cloak or something like that, the Breaths need to provide a lot of energy, since there's no real muscles to use or skeletal structure to rely on.

So the more wounded a Lifeless becomes, the less well its Breath can keep it going. Eventually you’ll need to stick a second Breath into it, then a third, all the way up until that Lifeless is nothing more than a bunch of bones you’ve Awakened. At that point, you might as well be using sticks or cloth.

Warbreaker Annotation, Ch. 33

This quote heavily suggests that it's always just one Breath for a properly Awakened Lifeless, with more Breaths only required the less lifelike the corpse becomes.

Lifeless:

Scaling this up, a 100% pure target (aka a corpse) should only take 1 Breath to Awaken. This maps to how Lifeless work, but doesn't actually jive with the extra functionality (re-write-ability, in particular) that we see in Lifeless, so more has to be going on there. Perhaps Breaths used to Awaken Lifeless are actually doing more than just powering the Awakener's Commands: it could be the case that the Breath also reawakens/recreates the original Cognitive aspect of its new host. The original Spiritual aspect of that host (read: soul, identity, etc.) is already long gone, though, which would explain why Lifeless aren't actually just Living.

 

[W]hen one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won't come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too "sticky" for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it.

Warbreaker Annotation, Ch. 33

I would say that this quote backs me up: the "remembers living" part would function as my revivafiable Cognitive aspect, perhaps still largely coherent and attached to its corpse shortly after death.

EDIT 3: This is also backed up by Lifeless retaining skills they had while alive, like Clod still being an excellent swordsman. That could break down to muscle memory, I suppose, but my impression is that retention of skills is somewhat more complete than that.

"[T]he Lifeless are far more aware than everyone assumes."

Ch 47 Annotation

This quote could either hint at a dormant Spiritual aspect or to just a very robust Cognitive aspect in Lifeless. Clod acting independently is a hint of this.

Implications of a ReAwakened Cognitive Aspect:

Normal Awakening (Type III) is simply copying the Cognitive aspect of the Awakener onto an otherwise blank slate. The Awakener provides the complete template for everything the Awakened object can do or ever will do. They cannot "change their minds" because the scope of their Cognitive aspects are severely limited by what the Awakener can effectively Vocalize and Visualize at the time of Awakening.

Lifeless, on the other hand, already have a fairly complete Cognitive aspect, one which is flexible and robust by the very fact that it is the Cognitive aspect of a once-living creature. So Commands for Lifeless actually just hack onto the existing (though dormant without a Spiritual aspect) Cognitive aspect of the target corpse. Living (although now dead) creatures, having a fundamental flexibility, would thus be more programmable than inanimate objects.

 

The better your imagining of the Command when you make it (not the orders you give it, but the one when you give it the Breath), the more intelligent and capable of following orders the Lifeless is.

Ch 22 Annotation

Squirrels are squirrels and dead people are dead people, though, so the Cognitive aspect of a Lifeless will most likely be insufficient without a bit of a boost, either due to a low starting point or due to the aspect decaying during death. The better the Command (the Visualization, specifically), then, the more thoroughly the copied Cognitive aspect of the Awakener is integrated with the remaining Cognitive aspect of the target, shoring up shaky sections and maybe even adding some more on the top.

Presumably, an impossibly skilled Awakener could actually Awaken a Type III object with the flexibility of a Lifeless. That Awakener would somehow have to describe and/or Visualize the entirety of a complex living creatures thought processes, though, and since we can't even understand ourselves half the time, let alone describe ourselves completely down to the smallest level of our thought processes, that's highly unlikely.

Lifeless Greyness:

The fact that color is drained from the body and only the body of an Awakened Lifeless is also interesting:

 

The draining of color happens in a slightly different way than in regular Awakening, though it's similar. In this case, the creature draws color from its own body in order to come to life.

Ch 22 Annotation

It could be the case that the "new" Cognitive aspect of the Lifeless creature is uniquely associated with the body. Whereas inanimate objects have no real Cognitive aspect to begin with, and so draw upon just about anything (including, but not limited to themselves) to transfer the Cognitive aspect of their Awakener, Lifeless may be predisposed to draw upon the color of the form originally associated with the Cognitive aspect that is being revived.

Nightblood

Nightblood. Eh. One thousand Breaths, one sentient sword with "Destroy Evil" embedded in his non-existent noggin and no concept of what evil is. Kind of torpedoes my whole "you copy the Cognitive understanding of the words when you Awaken an object" thing, doesn't it? Or does it? cool.gif/>

Remember that Nightblood does actually have a very finely honed ability to attract EVIL people to himself and repel GOOD people, to such an extent that Vasher uses Nightblood to test random passerby for evilness (okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and actually seriously considers tossing Nightblood in a room with Susebron to decide whether or not he deserves to die.

 

Just throw me in there, Nightblood said. If he’s evil, he’ll kill himself.

This gave Vasher pause. Colors, he thought. The sword seemed to be getting more subtle each year, though Vasher knew he was just imagining things, projecting. Awakened objects didn’t change or grow, they simply were what they were.

It was still a good idea.

(Warbreaker 508)

Unless "evil" is actually an objectively measurable attribute in the Cosmere (and given Brandon's predilection towards never having truly "evil" villain, probably not), Nightblood reads minds and/or Spiritual aspects (somehow) to judge the quality of peoples' characters on some subjective scale. This scale, then, was what was copied over from the Cognitive aspect of Nightblood's Awakener, with her understanding of "evil" embedded in her Vocalization and, perhaps, her Visualization. Nightblood then exudes a "draw me" or a "run away" vibe towards the person in question based upon that judgment.

Nightblood does lack a real ability to discriminate between Good and Evil based on simple observation, which is a fault, but his Awakener did at least partially succeed in Nightblood's perfect mind/soul-reading ability. If he wasn't sentient, he may have functioned exactly as ordered.

The fact that Nightblood is sentient instead of just being an inanimate object is, as Vasher notes, highly abnormal. Also his ability to turn people and other such solid objects into black smoke and the connection between Nightblood's black smoke and that produced by Shardblades during soul-shearing. And how he eats Breath. And everything else about him. Nightblood might well remain a mystery for another day. I'll have to give him some thought and maybe get back to you later.

Length is still quite fun.

EDIT 5: I realized that I hadn't incorporated the fruits of my discussion with Nepene. They are as follows:

1) Instinctive Awakening as intuitive communication:

 

...What I'll take and run to the bank with, though, is Breaths providing increased "emotional intelligence" to their holders. We know that Mab was less capable of courtesan-ery as a Drab, and I've already posited that Breaths could increase/decrease Connection. What if the nature of this effect on Connection (although it might not be so narrow as the Feruchemical affect), is that Breaths affect intuition about Spiritual matters, both in interactions with other people and, more importantly, in the communication of Commands during Awakening: just as you said.

So "emotional intelligence," in this case, is non-introspective intuition, the ability to understand and influence aspects of the Spiritual realm on an instinctive level. This perfectly accounts for the both the general ease with which the higher Heightenings can Awaken and even non-verbal Awakening: Whereas the low-level Awakener with few Breaths has to work at it to form and communicate their Command, a high-Breath Awakener gains a natural understanding of how to shape and communicate Commands as a function of the number of Breaths they hold (although not scaling linearly, it seems), to the point where they have such a thorough intuitive ability to communicate their desires that their Commands are mere exercises of will.

While I hold that Susebron could conceivably have just learned to read as any bright person would have, it could also be the case that he has a "natural" intuitive connection with Siri, enabling him to understand the unspoken nuances that she was trying to teach him, and respond perfectly to even the most subtle things she was trying to say.

2) Breaths possible bring over some small smidgen of Identity.

Edited by Kurkistan
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I have yet to read your reply on Breath just yet (I intend to soon), but I would like to say that while I don't completely agree with the terminology you say, the ideas here are extremely extremely good.

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I have yet to read your reply on Breath just yet (I intend to soon), but I would like to say that while I don't completely agree with the terminology you say, the ideas here are extremely extremely good.

Well it's quite a relief to get a positive review from one of the old-timers. I'm glad people like it so much. I think I'll add a few more "critics rave" quotes to the OP while I wait with baited Breath for your reply after you read about Awakening.

Edited by Kurkistan
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I'm honoured to be a chosen critic of something as thought through as this :)

Just keep saying good things about me and you can get quoted all you like :D.

Also, I just added a new section to the Awakening post, to keep it all in one place.

EDIT: I also also need some help generating falsifiable claims from MEC to apply to Forging in TES. Limitations or likely aspects would be nice.

EDIT 2: I just yoinked this quote from the "Everything has three aspects" thread.

We know that the Cosmere is comprised of three separate realms, namely the Physical realm the Cognitive realm and the Spiritual realm. We also have this from the ascended Sazed:
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 which controlled that energy.

I didn't remember that quote, and it actually lends a rather astounding amount of credence to my own theory. There remains the problem that Sazed attributes the entire decision-making process to the Cognitive realm, but I think we can chalk that up to inexperience, since we know for sure (Word of God and all) that gravity is Spiritual, the distinction from which most of my realm-dividing flows.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Thank you.

As for Shadesmar, that is quite an interesting question. Either soulcasting doesn't always require a jaunt to shadesmar, since Jasnah basically did battle-casting in that alley, or jaunts to shadesmar are simply instantaneous.

Soulcasters' unique access to Shadesmar may very well be because soulcasting is such a powerful system (powerful in terms of possibilities, as well as raw power). You're messing with the fundamental stuff of the universe and making of it what you will. All of Brandon's other magic systems so far have been fairly limited so far as the choice of the user goes.

The Metallic arts are all choices of degree within a relatively limited system, Elantris's magic requires complex runes for every spell, and Awakening requires precise Commands (although I think Awakening may end up being one of the more flexible systems). Soulcasting, on the other hand, appears to allow conversion to and from just about everything at the will of the user. It makes a certain amount of sense that those kind of options would necessitate a richer control interface, a more fundamental access to the system which Soulcasting affects.

Speaking of Awakening. . .

Magic Analysis - Nalthis (Warbreaker); Awakening:

Summary for the lazy and/or those with lives:

Breaths are a portion of the power behind the Spiritual aspects of living beings, fuelling mainly Spiritual interactions (as well as Physical health, apparently), but are not actually peoples' "souls" in that they neither retain nor impart any sense of identity to their holders.

I also briefly discuss purely Spiritual traits.

Commands are comprised of two parts, Vocalization and Visualization, with the Vocalization defining a task and the Visualization laying out how to go about achieving that task, in the general sense. The act of Awakening is to copy some amount of your Cognitive aspect onto the Cognitive aspect of your target (the Cognitive transfer fueled by color-draining), the effectiveness of that Cognitive aspect determined by the precision and utility of your Command. Breaths, being Spiritual energy, give motive force to Awakened objects which then try their best to carry out their Commands. Poorly given Commands are those which cannot be carried out due to imprecision or logical errors, and result in the Awakened objects "erroring out" and simply eating your Breaths and copying your (flawed) Cognitive specifications without actually doing anything in the Physical realm (besides draining color as a side-effect).

Main Block:

Note: I'm aware that other theories exist on Awakening, but I'm actually trying to not look up, remember, or think of those theories at this point, since I want to see how far my overarching "MEC" theory can take us before I run into an inescapable obstacle that requires an outside framework to fix.

Breaths:

Breaths. Oh, Breaths. I'm rather surprised it took me this long to get around to you guys. You're kind of awesome, and I look forward to using you to support my theory.

So Breaths are heavily analogous to people's souls--or at least parts of their souls--in their presentation and seeming effect. Removing someone's Breath decreases their "presence" as compares to normal people, as well as making the world altogether "drab" to Drabs' perceptions. Say it with me: "Spiritual energy." But Drabs don't stop being themselves while they are Drabs and recover completely upon receiving a Breath. Breaths also don't appear to retain any sense of personality--although they do have different power levels for different people, with Siri having "a very strong Breath" (Hardback pg. 76)--with one Breath being as good as any other for getting back to normal. So Breaths are not actually peoples souls, they are just the power behind those souls, the motivating force of the Spiritual realm.

A person's Breath cannot be the motivating force, at least not in its entirety, because we don't see people drop dead or become physically weak when they give up their Breath. What they do become, however, is slightly more susceptible to disease, just as people become less susceptible the more Breaths they have. Breaths, then, are most likely a small fraction of élan vital of any given person, apparently only Physically affecting health, not strength or the senses (besides color, but that's always acted odd around Breaths). As far as the Spiritual aspect goes, it appears that Breaths are a lot of, if not all, of the motivating power behind purely Spiritual connections, such as Determination and Connection, to draw upon Feruchemy.

Drabs are drab, then, because they lack the juice to be properly present in the Spiritual realm, and so the strength of their interactions with others is suitably decreased. Other Spiritual traits, such as Determination, might also be affected, but we do not have any real evidence that Drabs are particularly de-motivated moreso than any poor person who sold his/her soul would be. While a normal person sends out and receives "I'm here!" vibes, powered by their partial presence in the Spiritual realm, those vibes have far less power for a Drab (and presumably increased power for those Invested with multiple Breaths).

Digression on Purely Spiritual Traits:

I haven't touched much upon purely Spiritual traits as of yet, such as Luck (which is apparently Spiritual), Determination, Connection, and Identity. I suppose that those traits which interact with other people's Spiritual aspects directly (knowing when someone is looking at you, empathy) actually terminate in the Cognitive realm, never having to actually affect the Physical. Determination and Identity could, once again, stop at the Cognitive realm. Luck is a bit trickier, but I imagine that it could play havoc with probability ala ta'veren by nudging the Spiritual (or Cognitive?) aspects of objects/people near to the Lucky individual.

EDIT 2: Actually, the purely Spiritual traits don't have to interact directly with the other two realms at all (duh). They don't have to "terminate in the Cognitive realm," they can simply alter Spiritual directives at the source. This change to the Spiritual realm would necessarily causes changes in the other two realms, but is still based entirely in the Spiritual, with the effects in the other two simply being a side-effect.

Awakening:

As for Awakening, which is far more interesting as far as my theory goes, I would posit that Breaths provide a persistent motive force from the Spiritual realm while the Awakener provides a basic framework for an Awakened object's increased Cognitive aspect. We now fall afoul of my poor distinction between "Spiritual realm as motivator" and "Cognitive realm as interpreter." Are Commands stored in the Spiritual realm as directives or in the Cognitive realm as interpretations of a general "do what the Awakener said" Spiritual directive? I'm leaning towards the later, but it's still unsure.

General Nature of Awakening:

Now to get back to the impact of the Awakener's own Cognitive aspect and its place in Awakening. We know from the books (pg. 459-463, Vasher's lecture) that specific commands (spoken in your native language) and the "imagination" of the Awakener are required to properly awaken objects. Despite my attempt to remain somewhat independent of other discussions about Awakening during this analysis, I know that I would not be the first to compare Awakening to computer programming.

The commands are instructions (rather obvious, that), but the more interesting part (I do promise that this will get interesting eventually) is the way these commands are implemented, internal to the "reasoning" of the Awakened object. I can vocalize "sort these rocks" all day of the week to a ribbon, but unless I "imagine" how to go about it (quicksort is better, but merge sort is so much more intuitive, wouldn't you say?), that piece of ribbon is just going to return "ERROR" (soaking up your Breaths and not doing anything, in this case). If commands are high-level functions and Vasher's ultimate dream is to build a really big API, how exactly are these functions implemented?

Before we get back to that interesting part (muwhaha!), a small digression on the language of Commands and what it means that all commands must (and, more importantly, can) be given in the native language of the Awakener. Vasher talks about arduous research to find very specific Commands, but Commands requiring a set, "Endowment Approved" syntax doesn't make much sense when combined with the language requirement. "My life to yours. My Breath become yours" might be an exception to the rule, but then again it isn't proper Awakening, just transference, so we oughtn't to expect it to. "Breathe return" may be an exception as well, but it falls under the same category of transference and it's a simple enough Command, intuitive and easy to visualize.

Vasher also talks about how part of a Command is the visualization of what you want that command to do, so I think it more likely that the semantics of a Command--even if the meaning of the words doesn't match up 1:1 between languages (which it never will)--are more-so linked to the mind of the Awakener then to any quirk of the magic system or Cosmere. A sufficiently strong-willed (or mad) individual might very well be able to say "Rutabaga!" and Awaken a piano to play Chopsticks, if, in his (very twisty) mind, he believed that "Rutabaga" means "play Chopsticks" and he used the proper visualization.

Commands and Cognitive Aspects:

Now, (interestingly), onto why Mr. Rutabaga is more likely to be mad than strong-willed. As determined by MEC (hopefully) and as I myself see it, it is natural that the act of Awakening an object involves some degree of copying the Cognitive state of the Awakener onto that of the Awakened object. So when you awaken that rope to hold something, you vocalize "hold things" while holding firmly in your mind an image and/or process of how it would go about holding things.

This visualization is foremost on your mind at the moment of Awakening, and the process of issuing the Command actually copies over that Cognitive state from the Awakener's Cognitive aspect onto the Cognitive aspect of the heretofore inanimate object. The Cognitive aspect of the Awakened object then continuously reinterprets the meaning of your instruction ("hold things") in the context of what exactly you meant when you said it, with the combination of the two being an actual Command, with the motive force for this reinterpretation and any action derived from it coming from Breaths now loosely attached to the Spiritual aspect of the object in question.

Digressions:

Or, to digress: for inanimate objects, are the Breaths actually still attached to the Awakener? Have we seen an Awakened object stay Awakened after its creator's death? If they don't stay Awakened, that would explain why only the Awakener can retrieve his Breaths from an object. If objects do stay Awakened regardless of the life of their creator, then their Breaths might simply have a "can be retrieved by Bob" specification.

Another digression: Looking through Warbreaker, we see Vivenna vocalize "hold when thrown" to a piece of rope at Vasher's instruction, with no explicit visualization step, and Vasher did not act surprised when it worked (pg. 457). There are two answers to this, and I believe the real answer is actually a combination of the two.

One: "hold when thrown" is a relatively simple command with a relatively simply, perhaps even unconscious level of visualization. Two: Vivenna cheats, due to her Royal blood. She said "protect me" while "imagining [a cloak] grabbing people who tried to attack her" (pg. 531) and it actually worked, despite Vasher saying "‘Protect me,’ though only two words, is extremely complicated" (463). Most likely, as I said, it is a combination of the two: Vasher didn't comment because either "hold when thrown" is intuitively visualized or because he simply assumed that Vivenna had visualized it, and didn't want to get into it at that point.

End Digressions:

If the command is "hold things when thrown," then a more complex image of the rope being thrown, flying through the air, impacting any object, and then holding that object would have to be held in the mind of an Awakener. Commands fail, then, when Awakener's fail to provide proper "pseudo-code" for what exactly they want objects to do. If I vocalize "hold when thrown", and then only provide a visualization of the rope flying through the air without any holding to be seen, then there will be an "error" (eat up the Breaths, but don't do anything) where the Awakened object tries to execute the meaning of my "hold when thrown" Command but lacks a clear means by which to achieve my directive.

Directives, huh. This is starting to sound a bit like the normal Spiritual->Cognitive->Physical interaction, isn't it? With the failed Awakener providing an incomplete Cognitive aspect (which would not occur in nature) and so shutting down the loop prematurely.

The Importance (?) of Vocalizations:

Now onto why even vocalizing "hold when thrown" while only then visualizing the rope holding something (the visualization for a simple "hold things") will not work. Besides the method by which we would hope to achieve our Commands (the visualization), the spoken directive itself (the vocalization) and what that directive means in and of itself is also copied into the Cognitive aspect of an Awakend object; and we as lingual being have a natural understanding of what certain words mean, which understanding is also copied.

Now, you might say that that's redundant redundant, that the visualization is enough by itself and the vocal command is simply a tool to help you visualize properly. Maybe, *sniff*, maybe. I doubt it though. This traces back to the lack of clarity on the boundary between the Spiritual and Cognitive realms. It makes the most sense to me, intuitively, that the "program flow" for awakening goes: Spiritual(motive force, directive to "Follow Vocalization of Awakener")->Cognitive(Read Vocalization of Awakener, Apply within the framework of the Awakener's visualization and the object's status in the Physical world).

Looking at the simple cases, it seems that we could get away with straight visualization. "Hold when thrown" could be reduced to a linearized: "Rope being thrown, rope flying through air, rope contacting an object, rope contracting about that object." The basics; you might imagine the rope simply following that command structure, watching for each step, from start to end, until it finally reaches the "contract" section and the function terminates.

When things get more complex, though, the mind quails at the thought of simply visualizing each and every step. I mentioned sorting as a possible command. I can vocalize "sort rocks" to a ribbon while visualizing splitting a pile in two until each sub-pile only had one, then merging the piles back together from smallest on the left to largest on the right, in sequence. That's merge-sort. It's not simple, but it is relatively intuitive.

The problems begin to pop up when you consider possible complications. What are you going to do when you have an odd number of piles? What about rocks of the same size? What if there's an acorn in the pile with the rocks? If the only thing the Command has to go on is my visualizations, then it's doomed to failure, erroring out at the first sign of trouble.

If an overriding vocalization of "sort rocks" is embedded in the Command, though, with all of the intuitive understanding of what it is to "sort," what is and is not a rock, and how to apply these exceptions to the situation at hand, then these problems can be averted. The visualization, then, simply provides the blunt method while the vocalization provides the more nuanced understanding of how to apply the method and what the method's actual purpose is. We see the distinction between syntax and semantics again, with the meaning behind a speaker's words embedding a rich understanding of the subtleties of language and meaning, while the syntax of the visualization enables the actualization for that meaning.

Not to draw upon in-universe evidence (shudder), but we also have the fact that an Awakener must use their native language, the language they truly understand, when giving commands. If I can simply visualize "hold when thrown," then why can't I say it in Klingon and throw ropes 'till the cows come home? While I think it makes a certain amount of sense that vocalizations should be a vital part of Commands (though I may be a bit open to persuasion), the linguistic restrictions of Commands offer nigh-irrefutable evidence that this is the case.

And that's why our "Rutabaga" Awakener is probably mad. If he can say "Rutabaga" and sincerely mean "play Chopsticks," then something is seriously wrong with how he perceives the world.

Color Draining Explained

The energy required for copying could also explain the draining of color as part of Awakening. If the Breath provides a continuous motive force for the Awakened object, why also have a (seemingly unrelated) color-draining affect; and that only at the moment of awakening? That Awakened rope will keep "Holding" until it disintegrates, just as effectively on day 1000 as second 1, so the color used only at the moment of awakening can't have anything to do with the actions of Awakened objects. What if, then, the color is drained to fuel the Cognitive transfer from the Awakener onto the Cognitive aspect of the Awakened object? A separate power source for a fundamentally separate behavior, since the transfer of Breaths is an entirely Spiritual matter.

Length is fun. :D

EDIT: Edited a bit for clarity. Now I just need someone else to post, then I can ambush them with a 5 page analysis of why the flaws in my theory of Awakening aren't really flaws. Or, alternatively, someone could try and take a club to my theory and we could all have a merry time watching me try to salvage it, maybe refining it a bit in the process.

EDIT 3: More stuff incoming!

Side note: looking at the Warbreaker annotations, it's confirmed that Breaths affect Determination and "irritability" (Connection, perhaps).

Ch 22.2 Annotation

Summary for sake of time:

I examine the discrepancy in the number of Breaths required to awake different objects and its possible cause, concluding that power is imperfectly transferred as a proportion of the "life-like-ness" of the target, while color drain ought to remain the same because the same Cognitive aspect is being transferred. Mostly just pulling quotes and tidying up corners that I hadn't gotten to before.

The fun begins when I talk about the Lifeless and why they can be reprogrammed, pulling quotes galore (the PDF is nice for that) and concluding that Lifeless retain a large part of their original Cognitive aspect, if not their Spiritual aspect, and so provide a much firmer, more robust and flexible foundation for Commands than inanimate objects. The initial Lifeless Command, which awakens it, is thus mostly about buttressing the Cognitive aspect of the target so that it is intelligent enough to accept and adapt to new Commands.

I then briefly address why Lifeless are necessarily colorless (because the Cognitive aspect you're tacking onto them is actually a revival of what originally attached to them) and move on to bang my head against Nightblood's weirdness, concluding that he (yes, he's a he in my mind) actually did successfully import a definition of "evil" from his Awakener, as evidenced by his perfect ability to judge people and attract/repel them accordingly based upon their "evilness." Everything else about him is nigh incomprehensible, though, so I'll leave Nightblood analysis to another day.

I've neglected to address a few things about Awakening and now notice a hole or two in my original specification. I would also like to note that, up to this point, I have only really discussed Type III BioChromatic entities (regular Awakened objects). The rules may differ for the other types, although I don't think that they do.

Breath Requirements and why they Differ:

Law of BioChromatic Parallelism: the closer a host is to a living shape and form; the easier it is to Awaken. BioChroma is the power of life, and so it seeks patterns of life.

Law of Comparability: The amount of Breath required to Awaken something isn’t necessarily indicative of its power once Awakened. A piece of cloth cut into a square and a piece of cloth cut into the shape of a person will take very different amounts of Breath to Awaken, but will be essentially the same once they have been Invested.

(Paraphrased, 459-460)

In short, it can take 10 Breaths to Awaken a woolen dummy of a person and 100 to awaken a dead stick, both with the Command "hit people." There's no evidence that I can think of as to whether or not it affects the amount of color drained. How does this impact my Cognitive/Spiritual dichotomy for Commands and Breaths?

As far as I can remember (and as far as the search function has taken me on the PDF), the complexity of a Command doesn't affect the number of Breaths required for Type III entities, leaving only the target to decide how many Breaths are needed.

There is still a question as to whether the physical demands of the command might require more or less Breaths--"Lift feathers" demands more power than "lift rocks," perhaps also scaling with regards to parallelism. "Hold things," however, doesn't particularly seem to care what you want it to hold when you Awaken an object. It may come down to Visualizations, which we still lack a proper POV for (Vivienna downright cheats, I maintain, and Vasher doesn't give us much detail).

I would hazard that color drain ought to remain constant because the same Cognitive information is being transferred each time. As to why you need more Breaths to do the same action, it may simply be that these Laws are a reflection of power-leak in Awakening, because, as Vasher noted, Breaths are tuned towards powering living objects. So the closer you get to a (dead) living creature, the more power from each Breath can be effectively utilized. The woolen dummy might be able to take advantage of 10% of each Breath's power, while the stick might only get 1%.

The section of the quote below about Breath's providing more energy in a damaged body may or may not apply to the power required for Type II objects. Since all Type III's lack any type of musculature or the like, none should have any real advantage on that count.

Lifeless might be a bit odd: "Lifeless can be created at will, and require only a few Breaths to Awaken—anywhere between one and hundreds, depending on the Commands used." This is somewhat ambiguous: either the more/more complex the Commands, the more Breaths required, or less efficient methods of Awakening Lifeless (aka, before the uber-Lifeless Command was discovered) simply require more Breaths.

Warbreaker Annotation, Ch. 33

This quote heavily suggests that it's always just one Breath for a properly Awakened Lifeless, with more Breaths only required the less lifelike the corpse becomes.

Lifeless:

Scaling this up, a 100% pure target (aka a corpse) should only take 1 Breath to Awaken. This maps to how Lifeless work, but doesn't actually jive with the extra functionality (re-write-ability, in particular) that we see in Lifeless, so more has to be going on there. Perhaps Breaths used to Awaken Lifeless are actually doing more than just powering the Awakener's Commands: it could be the case that the Breath also reawakens/recreates the original Cognitive aspect of its new host. The original Spiritual aspect of that host (read: soul, identity, etc.) is already long gone, though, which would explain why Lifeless aren't actually just Living.

Warbreaker Annotation, Ch. 33

I would say that this quote backs me up: the "remembers living" part would function as my revivafiable Cognitive aspect, perhaps still largely coherent and attached to its corpse shortly after death.

EDIT 3: This is also backed up by Lifeless retaining skills they had while alive, like Clod still being an excellent swordsman. That could break down to muscle memory, I suppose, but my impression is that retention of skills is somewhat more complete than that.

"[T]he Lifeless are far more aware than everyone assumes."

Ch 47 Annotation

This quote could either hint at a dormant Spiritual aspect or to just a very robust Cognitive aspect in Lifeless. Clod acting independently is a hint of this.

Implications of a ReAwakened Cognitive Aspect:

Normal Awakening (Type III) is simply copying the Cognitive aspect of the Awakener onto an otherwise blank slate. The Awakener provides the complete template for everything the Awakened object can do or ever will do. They cannot "change their minds" because the scope of their Cognitive aspects are severely limited by what the Awakener can effectively Vocalize and Visualize at the time of Awakening.

Lifeless, on the other hand, already have a fairly complete Cognitive aspect, one which is flexible and robust by the very fact that it is the Cognitive aspect of a once-living creature. So Commands for Lifeless actually just hack onto the existing (though dormant without a Spiritual aspect) Cognitive aspect of the target corpse. Living (although now dead) creatures, having a fundamental flexibility, would thus be more programmable than inanimate objects.

Ch 22 Annotation

Squirrels are squirrels and dead people are dead people, though, so the Cognitive aspect of a Lifeless will most likely be insufficient without a bit of a boost, either due to a low starting point or due to the aspect decaying during death. The better the Command (the Visualization, specifically), then, the more thoroughly the copied Cognitive aspect of the Awakener is integrated with the remaining Cognitive aspect of the target, shoring up shaky sections and maybe even adding some more on the top.

Presumably, an impossibly skilled Awakener could actually Awaken a Type III object with the flexibility of a Lifeless. That Awakener would somehow have to describe and/or Visualize the entirety of a complex living creatures thought processes, though, and since we can't even understand ourselves half the time, let alone describe ourselves completely down to the smallest level of our thought processes, that's highly unlikely.

Lifeless Greyness:

The fact that color is drained from the body and only the body of an Awakened Lifeless is also interesting:

Ch 22 Annotation

It could be the case that the "new" Cognitive aspect of the Lifeless creature is uniquely associated with the body. Whereas inanimate objects have no real Cognitive aspect to begin with, and so draw upon just about anything (including, but not limited to themselves) to transfer the Cognitive aspect of their Awakener, Lifeless may be predisposed to draw upon the color of the form originally associated with the Cognitive aspect that is being revived.

Nightblood

Nightblood. Eh. One thousand Breaths, one sentient sword with "Destroy Evil" embedded in his non-existent noggin and no concept of what evil is. Kind of torpedoes my whole "you copy the Cognitive understanding of the words when you Awaken an object" thing, doesn't it? Or does it? B)

Remember that Nightblood does actually have a very finely honed ability to attract EVIL people to himself and repel GOOD people, to such an extent that Vasher uses Nightblood to test random passerby for evilness (okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and actually seriously considers tossing Nightblood in a room with Susebron to decide whether or not he deserves to die.

(Warbreaker 508)

Unless "evil" is actually an objectively measurable attribute in the Cosmere (and given Brandon's predilection towards never having truly "evil" villain, probably not), Nightblood reads minds and/or Spiritual aspects (somehow) to judge the quality of peoples' characters on some subjective scale. This scale, then, was what was copied over from the Cognitive aspect of Nightblood's Awakener, with her understanding of "evil" embedded in her Vocalization and, perhaps, her Visualization. Nightblood then exudes a "draw me" or a "run away" vibe towards the person in question based upon that judgment.

Nightblood does lack a real ability to discriminate between Good and Evil based on simple observation, which is a fault, but his Awakener did at least partially succeed in Nightblood's perfect mind/soul-reading ability. If he wasn't sentient, he may have functioned exactly as ordered.

The fact that Nightblood is sentient instead of just being an inanimate object is, as Vasher notes, highly abnormal. Also his ability to turn people and other such solid objects into black smoke and the connection between Nightblood's black smoke and that produced by Shardblades during soul-shearing. And how he eats Breath. And everything else about him. Nightblood might well remain a mystery for another day. I'll have to give him some thought and maybe get back to you later.

Length is still quite fun.

http://brandonsander...ter-Thirty-Five

"This, of course, isn't an easy thing to determine. In fact, I don't think it's a black or white issue for most people. When Nightblood was created, the Breaths infused in him did their best to interpret their Command. What they decided was evil was someone who would try to take the sword and use it for evil purposes, selling it, manipulating and extorting others, that sort of thing. Someone who wouldn't want the sword for those reasons was determined to be good. If they touch the weapon, they feel sick. If others touch the weapon, their desire to kill and destroy with it is enhanced greatly."

I'm not sure that your theory is correct. As the above annotation notes, the breaths, the souls of people, are what does the deed, not your cognitive aspect. I am sure cognitive/spiritual/physical stuff comes in somewhere, but it is done by the souls that you have, not by your cognitive aspect. They interpret your command and carry it out as best they can. As such, I dunno if the number of souls you use has much to do with your skill. You can do more complex things with more skill, but no matter how strong your cognitive aspect is you can't do the old things better. It's dependent on the strength and will of the souls you use.

My general impression from my readings is that Brandon Sanderson likes the idea of everything having a soul, or a spren. All objects have some sentience. My guess is that your breaths reprogram the soul of the object. The wood remembers what it was like to be alive so it can move again when you have enough souls to remind it.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/411/Warbreaker-Chapter-Thirty-Three

You see, when one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won’t come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too “sticky” for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it. (Assuming you have the right Commands and can picture them correctly in your head when you make the Lifeless.)

So the body remembers being alive- everything is alive.

But it could be that the souls serve to animate the object directly. Regardless, there's probably going to be some sort of big reveal in the second book that all awakened objects are conscious somehow. He said he was going to do a chapter from the perspective of one of the Lifeless.

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http://brandonsander...ter-Thirty-Five

"This, of course, isn't an easy thing to determine. In fact, I don't think it's a black or white issue for most people. When Nightblood was created, the Breaths infused in him did their best to interpret their Command. What they decided was evil was someone who would try to take the sword and use it for evil purposes, selling it, manipulating and extorting others, that sort of thing. Someone who wouldn't want the sword for those reasons was determined to be good. If they touch the weapon, they feel sick. If others touch the weapon, their desire to kill and destroy with it is enhanced greatly."

I'm not sure that your theory is correct. As the above annotation notes, the breaths, the souls of people, are what does the deed, not your cognitive aspect. I am sure cognitive/spiritual/physical stuff comes in somewhere, but it is done by the souls that you have, not by your cognitive aspect. They interpret your command and carry it out as best they can. As such, I dunno if the number of souls you use has much to do with your skill. You can do more complex things with more skill, but no matter how strong your cognitive aspect is you can't do the old things better. It's dependent on the strength and will of the souls you use.

My general impression from my readings is that Brandon Sanderson likes the idea of everything having a soul, or a spren. All objects have some sentience. My guess is that your breaths reprogram the soul of the object. The wood remembers what it was like to be alive so it can move again when you have enough souls to remind it.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/411/Warbreaker-Chapter-Thirty-Three

You see, when one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won’t come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too “sticky” for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it. (Assuming you have the right Commands and can picture them correctly in your head when you make the Lifeless.)

So the body remembers being alive- everything is alive.

But it could be that the souls serve to animate the object directly. Regardless, there's probably going to be some sort of big reveal in the second book that all awakened objects are conscious somehow. He said he was going to do a chapter from the perspective of one of the Lifeless.

Thanks for pulling this over from your thread: it's nice not to be theorizing at myself sometimes :).

I did ask people to try and find evidence to go against my theory, so I suppose I deserve this.

Here's some brief thoughts on how I might be able to resolve this, but I've gotta' go right now so it all might be a bit rough;

Honestly, my only response to this is to hope that Brandon was just being a bit coy and/or simplistic about how Awakening works. If my theory--at least as far as Awakening goes--is not to fall down in tatters, then Breath’s simply cannot be thinking entities in and of themselves. They cannot run around “doing their best to interpret” or “deciding” anything.

If Breaths can reason, then they are either not purely Spiritual entities or purely Spiritual entities can reason. Purely Spiritual entities cannot reason simply because that would leave absolutely nothing for the Cognitive realm to do, and we know that the Cognitive realm exists (thanks, Word of God). So reasoning Breaths of this type must be of some mixed variety.

Purely Physical objects cannot be reasoning for the same reason as why Spiritual cannot, so this leaves Breaths with some form of Cognitive aspect mixed with Spiritual (or Cognitive but not Spiritual, which I doubt both because of my previous analysis as to why the Spiritual realm provides power and because of how “souly” Breaths are). That doesn’t make sense either, though, because we don’t see people with more/less Breaths become more or less intelligent. Therefore, Breaths don’t actually add or take away from the Cognitive aspects of those who use them.

Despite this, a well-Awakened Lifeless is more adaptable than a poorly Awakened one. A 200 Breath rope will “hold things” just as well as a 100 Breath man-shaped cloak. The same number of Breaths go into an object regardless of the complexity of the Command (I’m fairly sure on that one). None of this makes any sense in a world where Breaths cogitate.

An alternative which comes to mind (and I am a bit biased at this point, so I’ll need a third party to judge whether or not it holds water) is that Awakening bundles the Cognitive aspect of the Command directly into the Breaths as an aggregate at the moment of Awakening; transferring the Spiritual and Cognitive modifications onto the target as a single package, instead of separately. This Cognitive aspect, once again, is copied from the Awakener, not actually taking anything away and so working in a positive-sum manner so far as Cognitive resources go. This would also demand that this Cognitive/Spiritual meshing be revoked when the Breaths are reclaimed.

Another alternative was that Brandon simply misspoke (miswrote?) and/or didn’t want to get into the details. The focus of that passage was about Nightblood’s “evil sense” and explaining how exactly Nightblood defined such a subjective notion as “evil,” not in plumbing the depths of Awakening. It’s vaguely possible that Brandon might have meant that Breaths bundle Cognitive aspects during Awakening, or might have meant what he said--that Breaths are themselves reasoning entities (which still makes very little sense)--or he might have meant something completely different that I can’t even begin to grasp.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Thanks for pulling this over from your thread: it's nice not to be theorizing at myself sometimes :).

I did ask people to try and find evidence to go against my theory, so I suppose I deserve this.

Here's some brief thoughts on how I might be able to resolve this, but I've gotta' go right now so it all might be a bit rough;

Honestly, my only response to this is to hope that Brandon was just being a bit coy and/or simplistic about how Awakening works. If my theory--at least as far as Awakening goes--is not to fall down in tatters, then Breath’s simply cannot be thinking entities in and of themselves. They cannot run around “doing their best to interpret” or “deciding” anything.

If Breaths can reason, then they are either not purely Spiritual entities or purely Spiritual entities can reason. Purely Spiritual entities cannot reason simply because that would leave absolutely nothing for the Cognitive realm to do, and we know that the Cognitive realm exists (thanks, Word of God). So reasoning Breaths of this type must be of some mixed variety.

We know breaths have physical manifestations, like their increase in life span and disease resistace as you said. They can repair physical damage on lifeless to some degree. They can return to them some level of cognition- Clod can fight extremely well.

It might be better to enhance your theory.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FunctionalMagic

This is more theurgy than force magic. The souls aren't programs, they are AIs.

The awakener has to make the host as hospitable for the spirit as possible. This means physical things, like making it human shaped and giving straw dolls eyebrows. This makes it easier for the spirits to possess a body.

You assume that it's a pure aspect of force magic making something move- you impose your cognitive aspect on the soul. I'd assume that the souls are already under your control and don't need force- the job of the practitioner is to offer them clear commands and orders.

You are not programming the souls. You are giving a set of advanced AIs instructions to do something. Then the souls use their force magic (spiritual power) to impose your will on the object. You make your cognitive aspect interact with theirs (visualisation), they get some set of instructions, they try their best to follow your orders. If you are mad it would be rather hard to give them orders.

Purely Physical objects cannot be reasoning for the same reason as why Spiritual cannot, so this leaves Breaths with some form of Cognitive aspect mixed with Spiritual (or Cognitive but not Spiritual, which I doubt both because of my previous analysis as to why the Spiritual realm provides power and because of how “souly” Breaths are). That doesn’t make sense either, though, because we don’t see people with more/less Breaths become more or less intelligent. Therefore, Breaths don’t actually add or take away from the Cognitive aspects of those who use them.

Conventionally, souls are supposed to take your entire being to the afterlife to live with god or any spirits. It's perfectly reasonable that they would have spiritual and cognitive aspects.

Despite this, a well-Awakened Lifeless is more adaptable than a poorly Awakened one. A 200 Breath rope will “hold things” just as well as a 100 Breath man-shaped cloak. The same number of Breaths go into an object regardless of the complexity of the Command (I’m fairly sure on that one). None of this makes any sense in a world where Breaths cogitate.

If they cogitate then they presumably would be confused when they were told to animate something that wasn't human shaped because they were used to manifesting human shaped things.

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Thanks for pulling this over from your thread: it's nice not to be theorizing at myself sometimes :).

I did ask people to try and find evidence to go against my theory, so I suppose I deserve this.

Here's some brief thoughts on how I might be able to resolve this, but I've gotta' go right now so it all might be a bit rough;

Honestly, my only response to this is to hope that Brandon was just being a bit coy and/or simplistic about how Awakening works. If my theory--at least as far as Awakening goes--is not to fall down in tatters, then Breath’s simply cannot be thinking entities in and of themselves. They cannot run around “doing their best to interpret” or “deciding” anything.

If Breaths can reason, then they are either not purely Spiritual entities or purely Spiritual entities can reason. Purely Spiritual entities cannot reason simply because that would leave absolutely nothing for the Cognitive realm to do, and we know that the Cognitive realm exists (thanks, Word of God). So reasoning Breaths of this type must be of some mixed variety.

We know breaths have physical manifestations, like their increase in life span and disease resistace as you said. They can repair physical damage on lifeless to some degree. They can return to them some level of cognition- Clod can fight extremely well.

The Physical improvements due to increased Breaths can be quite reasonably seen as a side-effect of an excess or deficit of a small subset of Spiritual energy: Breaths themselves, while they might cause Physical affects, are certainly not Physical entities, given their weightlessness and how just about everything that they cause is indirect, acting through other, Physical agents.

Cognition is, basically by definition, within the Cognitive realm, so I don't think that falls under Physical manifestations. Also, to my knowledge, Lifeless do not heal.

Besides this, I don't see any merit in or reason to discuss to what degree Breaths are Physical, at least at this point in time, since the current crisis is their seeming ability to reason.

It might be better to enhance your theory.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FunctionalMagic

This is more theurgy than force magic. The souls aren't programs, they are AIs.

The awakener has to make the host as hospitable for the spirit as possible. This means physical things, like making it human shaped and giving straw dolls eyebrows. This makes it easier for the spirits to possess a body.

You assume that it's a pure aspect of force magic making something move- you impose your cognitive aspect on the soul. I'd assume that the souls are already under your control and don't need force- the job of the practitioner is to offer them clear commands and orders.

You are not programming the souls. You are giving a set of advanced AIs instructions to do something. Then the souls use their force magic (spiritual power) to impose your will on the object. You make your cognitive aspect interact with theirs (visualisation), they get some set of instructions, they try their best to follow your orders. If you are mad it would be rather hard to give them orders.

Purely Physical objects cannot be reasoning for the same reason as why Spiritual cannot, so this leaves Breaths with some form of Cognitive aspect mixed with Spiritual (or Cognitive but not Spiritual, which I doubt both because of my previous analysis as to why the Spiritual realm provides power and because of how “souly” Breaths are). That doesn’t make sense either, though, because we don’t see people with more/less Breaths become more or less intelligent. Therefore, Breaths don’t actually add or take away from the Cognitive aspects of those who use them.

Conventionally, souls are supposed to take your entire being to the afterlife to live with god or any spirits. It's perfectly reasonable that they would have spiritual and cognitive aspects.

But that's just the question, really. I think we're having a misunderstanding on the Realmatic nature of the Cosmer. If we were having a straight metaphysical debate where I said, "What if people could give up 'Breaths' that could then be used to animate human-shaped organic material, and..." and so on, all in what is otherwise assumed to be the real world, then saying "this 'Breath' of yours is most certainly people's souls!" would be quite reasonable.

However, Warbreaker takes place in a universe which we know to be made up of three distinct, but interwoven realms, the Physical, the Cognitive, and the Spiritual. This is basically cheating on my part, philosophically speaking, since I'm doing the equivalent of saying, "oh wait, but Apollo told me the other night in a dream that..." and then expecting you to roll with it. Either way, though, you can't just claim everything for the soul and leave the Cognitive realm barren. As I've postulated, and as Brandon says, Breaths are part of people's souls, but by no means the entire thing or even a large part.

There also stands the problem that, if Breaths were people's entire souls--or a significant portion of them, at least--with a near-complete sense of identity and/or cognition, we would see far greater harms to Drabs and far greater benefits to Awakeners (while holding Breaths) then we do in the book. Drabs aren't dumb, identity-less drones (Brandon quite clearly outlines the negative effects of Drab-hood) and Awakeners aren't super-geniuses with a score of warring personalities driving them mad.

This analysis cross-applies to your alternative conception of Breaths as AI's and/or being equivalent to very domesticated spirits. They simply aren't whole enough to be anything so sophisticated on their own. The "advanced AI receiving instructions" part of Awakening can just as easily come from the Cognitive aspect of the Awakener.

I would like to see some further analysis from you as to how Breaths, if they're only "part of your soul", can be intelligent enough to actively interpret complex instructions whilst, paradoxically, displaying no sign of intelligence, individuality, or identity when held by an Awakener. There is also the fact that, as far as testimony goes (although it is from Denth & Co.), people who give up the Breath they were born with and then buy another later don't report any ill-effects with the "wrong soul;" the same applies to Awakeners who pour out and take back Breaths willy-nilly without any concern as to which one is truly "theirs."

P.S. Nice use of TvTropes. And so many hours were wasted...

Despite this, a well-Awakened Lifeless is more adaptable than a poorly Awakened one. A 200 Breath rope will “hold things” just as well as a 100 Breath man-shaped cloak. The same number of Breaths go into an object regardless of the complexity of the Command (I’m fairly sure on that one). None of this makes any sense in a world where Breaths cogitate.

If they cogitate then they presumably would be confused when they were told to animate something that wasn't human shaped because they were used to manifesting human shaped things.

I'll accept that one, actually. While I disagree about Breaths getting "confused," it makes sense that, if Breaths were sentient human minds, you would need more of them to operate a more alien object, as well, perhaps, as the energy-spillage problem I've already brought up.

This does raise the very troubling question of of why it only takes one breath to animate a very alien dead squirrel (pg 209), though. Shouldn't that be more confusing than a human body, and thus require at least 2 or 3 Breaths?

-End Rebuttal

Looking back, this is all rather combative. Sorry about that :P. You rattled me with that first annotation quote, and I'm trying to get back on solid ground. It's nice to have a good challenge to the theory. Well-wishers are quite nice, but a good foe is the best thing for tempering a theory. You've made a solid impression in your first few posts on this forum, I can say.

Edited by Kurkistan
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My thinking on breaths were that they were sort of like batteries or conduits for spiritual power more breaths and your body can draw more power through the spiritual realm causing all of the benefits we see and being a drab is just the end result of that you still have a spiritual aspect but its so starved for power that not everything works properly.

Another awakening problem however, the 10th heightening includes awakening with mental commands. Thats what makes it possible for the God-King to pass on his breaths. The way it was explained last time I saw it come up was that the spoken command was never necessary but you needed a thought feedback/reinforcement loop caused by speaking until you were sufficiently powerful... I should just link to it but Im on my phone so some one else should, I think it can still fit your theory

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The Physical improvements due to increased Breaths can be quite reasonably seen as a side-effect of an excess or deficit of a small subset of Spiritual energy: Breaths themselves, while they might cause Physical affects, are certainly not Physical entities, given their weightlessness and how just about everything that they cause is indirect, acting through other, Physical agents.

Cognition is, basically by definition, within the Cognitive realm, so I don't think that falls under Physical manifestations. Also, to my knowledge, Lifeless do not heal.

Besides this, I don't see any merit in or reason to discuss to what degree Breaths are Physical, at least at this point in time, since the current crisis is their seeming ability to reason.

http://brandonsanderson.com/library/84/Warbreaker-Chapter-Thirty-Three

Denth nodded. “Right into the bone. It works all right. Not perfectly, but all right. No wound can ever be perfectly fixed on a Lifeless, though he will heal some. You just sew them up and pump them full of fresh ichor-alcohol. If you fix them enough times, the body will stop working right and you’ll have to spend another Breath to keep them going. By then, it’s usually just best to buy another body.”

The spiritual power causes a physical effect.

I wasn't interested in an in depth discussion on to what degree breaths were physical either. I am just saying, it's best not to say that a breath is limited to being spiritual alone. It clearly has an impact on the cognitive and physical realms. It's not some weird abstract thing.

But that's just the question, really. I think we're having a misunderstanding on the Realmatic nature of the Cosmer. If we were having a straight metaphysical debate where I said, "What if people could give up 'Breaths' that could then be used to animate human-shaped organic material, and..." and so on, all in what is otherwise assumed to be the real world, then saying "this 'Breath' of yours is most certainly people's souls!" would be quite reasonable.

However, Warbreaker takes place in a universe which we know to be made up of three distinct, but interwoven realms, the Physical, the Cognitive, and the Spiritual. This is basically cheating on my part, philosophically speaking, since I'm doing the equivalent of saying, "oh wait, but Apollo told me the other night in a dream that..." and then expecting you to roll with it. Either way, though, you can't just claim everything for the soul and leave the Cognitive realm barren. As I've postulated, and as Brandon says, Breaths are part of people's souls, but by no means the entire thing or even a large part.

I am not claiming the cognitive realm. Drabs are clearly intelligent and can see colour. Their bodies apparantly have a physical, spiritual, and cognitive aspect. Just less of all three due to lacking a breath. Didn't you say something about this?

"Drabs are drab, then, because they lack the juice to be properly present in the Spiritual realm, and so the strength of their interactions with others is suitably decreased. Other Spiritual traits, such as Determination, might also be affected, but we do not have any real evidence that Drabs are particularly de-motivated moreso than any poor person who sold his/her soul would be. While a normal person sends out and receives "I'm here!" vibes, powered by their partial presence in the Spiritual realm, those vibes have far less power for a Drab (and presumably increased power for those Invested with multiple Breaths)."

Also they are depressed, so they have decreased motivation.

I know about the three aspects. The souls are presumably the main manifestation of the spiritual realm, but not the only one. I'd guess the bodies have souls of some sort that can be reawakened as lifeless. I suspect in the sequel Clod may be awakened to about the level of a drab.

There also stands the problem that, if Breaths were people's entire souls--or a significant portion of them, at least--with a near-complete sense of identity and/or cognition, we would see far greater harms to Drabs and far greater benefits to Awakeners (while holding Breaths) then we do in the book. Drabs aren't dumb, identity-less drones (Brandon quite clearly outlines the negative effects of Drab-hood) and Awakeners aren't super-geniuses with a score of warring personalities driving them mad.

We have seen clearly that the breath's power and effects do not fully manifest in people. The god emperor, for example, can rip hosts of lifeless to shreds with his power but is physically no more adept than the average person.

I suspect that the magic that is Austre and the author arranged the magic system so that it would be functional for the average person. People with lots of breaths get some awesome powers and no ill side effects. In theory it could go badly being the storage of hundreds of souls, but in practise it doesn't.

And yes, I suspect that a drab still has some cognitive, spiritual and physical presence.

This analysis cross-applies to your alternative conception of Breaths as AI's and/or being equivalent to very domesticated spirits. They simply aren't whole enough to be anything so sophisticated on their own. The "advanced AI receiving instructions" part of Awakening can just as easily come from the Cognitive aspect of the Awakener.

As you saw from my quote, they are able to interpret a command, rather than the awakener's command doing it. That quote is clear enough that the breaths interpret a command.

I would like to see some further analysis from you as to how Breaths, if they're only "part of your soul", can be intelligent enough to actively interpret complex instructions whilst, paradoxically, displaying no sign of intelligence, individuality, or identity when held by an Awakener. There is also the fact that, as far as testimony goes (although it is from Denth & Co.), people who give up the Breath they were born with and then buy another later don't report any ill-effects with the "wrong soul;" the same applies to Awakeners who pour out and take back Breaths willy-nilly without any concern as to which one is truly "theirs."

Magic works that way. Austre wanted a functional magic system, not one that drove people insane.

We don't see any exploration of whether people suffer side effects from not having their own soul, it never occurs in the novel due to the high returned population. Denth isn't a reliable witness what with his divine breath. I remember in a deleted scene we were supposed to meet a woman who was a prostitute and gave her breath away to some man she loved (who then ran away) and then became a madam and earned enough money to get a new breath. That scene never got made sadly so we don't get to explore it.

P.S. Nice use of TvTropes. And so many hours were wasted...

Thanks, awesome site.

I'll accept that one, actually. While I disagree about Breaths getting "confused," it makes sense that, if Breaths were sentient human minds, you would need more of them to operate a more alien object, as well, perhaps, as the energy-spillage problem I've already brought up.

Yeah, I agree.

This does raise the very troubling question of of why it only takes one breath to animate a very alien dead squirrel (pg 209), though. Shouldn't that be more confusing than a human body, and thus require at least 2 or 3 Breaths?

We see often enough that the breaths you need depend on the shape, the material, and the size. A squirrel is much, much smaller than a human so requires less breath. It has similar biochemistry and internal stuff so it requires slightly more breath. In the author's mind, that cancelled out to one.

-End Rebuttal

Looking back, this is all rather combative. Sorry about that :P. You rattled me with that first annotation quote, and I'm trying to get back on solid ground. It's nice to have a good challenge to the theory. Well-wishers are quite nice, but a good foe is the best thing for tempering a theory. You've made a solid impression in your first few posts on this forum, I can say.

It's fine, I am happy to help and shape your theory.

I had another thought. The returned go to austre when they die. Presumably their breath is what goes since their body remains. Their breath is then pumped full of divine juice and they return with a super soul and some memories of the future. That implies that their soul can retain some memories (if poorly, only returning in dreams) and can make decisions.

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My thinking on breaths were that they were sort of like batteries or conduits for spiritual power more breaths and your body can draw more power through the spiritual realm causing all of the benefits we see and being a drab is just the end result of that you still have a spiritual aspect but its so starved for power that not everything works properly.

Another awakening problem however, the 10th heightening includes awakening with mental commands. Thats what makes it possible for the God-King to pass on his breaths. The way it was explained last time I saw it come up was that the spoken command was never necessary but you needed a thought feedback/reinforcement loop caused by speaking until you were sufficiently powerful... I should just link to it but Im on my phone so some one else should, I think it can still fit your theory

Colors! I had forgotten about instinctive Awakening all together somehow. I quite eagerly await your solution, since I don't see one at the moment.

http://brandonsanderson.com/library/84/Warbreaker-Chapter-Thirty-Three

Denth nodded. “Right into the bone. It works all right. Not perfectly, but all right. No wound can ever be perfectly fixed on a Lifeless, though he will heal some. You just sew them up and pump them full of fresh ichor-alcohol. If you fix them enough times, the body will stop working right and you’ll have to spend another Breath to keep them going. By then, it’s usually just best to buy another body.”

The spiritual power causes a physical effect.

I wasn't interested in an in depth discussion on to what degree breaths were physical either. I am just saying, it's best not to say that a breath is limited to being spiritual alone. It clearly has an impact on the cognitive and physical realms. It's not some weird abstract thing.

Yeah, forgot that too. Okay, Breaths impart some small ability to heal. Already got that. Still no proof of a Cognitive effect there.

I am not claiming the cognitive realm. Drabs are clearly intelligent and can see colour. Their bodies apparantly have a physical, spiritual, and cognitive aspect. Just less of all three due to lacking a breath. Didn't you say something about this?

"Drabs are drab, then, because they lack the juice to be properly present in the Spiritual realm, and so the strength of their interactions with others is suitably decreased. Other Spiritual traits, such as Determination, might also be affected, but we do not have any real evidence that Drabs are particularly de-motivated moreso than any poor person who sold his/her soul would be. While a normal person sends out and receives "I'm here!" vibes, powered by their partial presence in the Spiritual realm, those vibes have far less power for a Drab (and presumably increased power for those Invested with multiple Breaths)."

Also they are depressed, so they have decreased motivation.

I know about the three aspects. The souls are presumably the main manifestation of the spiritual realm, but not the only one. I'd guess the bodies have souls of some sort that can be reawakened as lifeless. I suspect in the sequel Clod may be awakened to about the level of a drab.

Already caught that first one, thank you anyway, though:

Side note: looking at the Warbreaker annotations, it's confirmed that Breaths affect Determination and "irritability" (Connection, perhaps).

Ch 22.2 Annotation

I don't really see the need for multiple manifestations of each realm in a single individual. You're a person. Congrats, you've got a Spiritual, a Physical, and a Cognitive aspect. I seriously doubt that "bodies" have souls all their own, independent of that of their "wearer," as it were. A corpse does indeed have a Spiritual aspect (as well as the other two), but only as crude matter. We saw from Sazed fixing Elend and Vin's bodies--repairing them perfectly but still needing to put their souls back in to accomplish anything--that the soul is all you get.

We have seen clearly that the breath's power and effects do not fully manifest in people. The god emperor, for example, can rip hosts of lifeless to shreds with his power but is physically no more adept than the average person.

I suspect that the magic that is Austre and the author arranged the magic system so that it would be functional for the average person. People with lots of breaths get some awesome powers and no ill side effects. In theory it could go badly being the storage of hundreds of souls, but in practise it doesn't.

And yes, I suspect that a drab still has some cognitive, spiritual and physical presence.

Yes, it's possible that a benevolent god is tweaking the magic system (which, as you so strongly agree, works by eating peoples' souls, so maybe not too benevolent) to tone down negative effects. I can't say that that wouldn't happen, but there's little point in discussing a magic system where Shards are tweaking away every inconsistency. You get the health boost, you get pretty pretty colors and life sense, you get everything else, but for some reason you don't hear the screams of sorrow from the scores of souls that you're the warden of? We also know from Hemalurgy that holding onto someone else's soul is bad for you, so why shouldn't it happen in BioChroma?

As you saw from my quote, they are able to interpret a command, rather than the awakener's command doing it. That quote is clear enough that the breaths interpret a command.

I'm kind of actively battling against a literal interpretation of that quote, since it destroys my theory from the get go; it's also nonsensical to boot, since it throws the Cognitive realm under the bus and, once again, doesn't account for Awakeners not being geniuses.

Magic works that way. Austre wanted a functional magic system, not one that drove people insane.

We don't see any exploration of whether people suffer side effects from not having their own soul, it never occurs in the novel due to the high returned population. Denth isn't a reliable witness what with his divine breath. I remember in a deleted scene we were supposed to meet a woman who was a prostitute and gave her breath away to some man she loved (who then ran away) and then became a madam and earned enough money to get a new breath. That scene never got made sadly so we don't get to explore it.

Once again, Auster (who we're not positive is Endowment) ought to keep his/her dirty hands out of my theorizing and/or build a more consistent system of effects for Awakeners and Drabs.

I feel that replacement souls being sub-par would have been discussed, particularly by the Idrians, for example: "They just grab any old soul and call it their own, twisting people into strangers!"

That story would have been helpful, I agree.

We see often enough that the breaths you need depend on the shape, the material, and the size. A squirrel is much, much smaller than a human so requires less breath. It has similar biochemistry and internal stuff so it requires slightly more breath. In the author's mind, that cancelled out to one.

Eh. Double eh. I feel that you're reaching here. What if Vasher had Awakened a dog? A horse? The implication in the book is that all corpses can be Awakened as Lifeless, not just humans and exceptionally small animals. You might be right, but I would be quite surprised if you were, at least personally.

It's fine, I am happy to help and shape your theory.

I had another thought. The returned go to austre when they die. Presumably their breath is what goes since their body remains. Their breath is then pumped full of divine juice and they return with a super soul and some memories of the future. That implies that their soul can retain some memories (if poorly, only returning in dreams) and can make decisions.

Endowment could just use his/her GODLIKE POWERS to throw in a little fun and games in a Returned's Cognitive aspects. No need to hijack the soul to get at memory.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Well THIS is the thread I mentioned before where it was discussed.

Basically based on that discussion and some further thought what I currently think on the nature of awakening is that much like the life sense the ease of awakening is a gradual increase, and so when at the 6th heightening you get instinctive basic commands thats just a culmination of awakening getting gradually easier and similarly at the 8th, 9th and 10th heightenings you get more stages (command breaking, audible command, and silent awakening) are milestones not discrete steps.

They don't actually mark a change in the process, ie; a silent command for an object that you aren't touching is exactly the same as a spoken command for an object you are, regardless of the number of breaths you might have. Therefore, a command needs only to be a thought, but people who don't have sufficient power need to do things to reinforce that thought.

Thus, only being able to awaken in your native language as is discussed in the other thread, needing to touch the object, as an aid to focus and a thought reinforcement rather than an integral part of the process.

In terms of your theory, if you have enough spiritual power you can just blast through and get the desired effect with limited cognitive direction, but with less breath the cognitive reinforcement of saying the command in the same language you think in and touching the object and using a specific command to do a specific task because you know it works is required you need to aim very precisely.

That doesn't really enter into your theory though, just your description of how it applies to awakening, in short, the visualisation is the command, but for less powerful awakeners they require aids to cognitive power.

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Yeah, forgot that too. Okay, Breaths impart some small ability to heal. Already got that. Still no proof of a Cognitive effect there.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/419/Warbreaker-Chapter-Forty-One

One of the ways I decided to make Vivenna�s sections here work better was by enhancing the fuzziness of her mind. By giving her this sense of numbness, I hope to indicate that something is not right with her.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/400/Warbreaker-Chapter-Twenty-Two-Part-2

Vivenna is right about what happens to a person when they lose their Breath. It is a part of your soul, and without one, you are more prone to depression, you get sick much more easily, and you�re generally more irritable.

You have a fuzzy mind, making it harder to cogitate and remember things, and you are irritable, also making it hard to make decisions and remember stuff.

From chapter 41

Vivenna stood, staring at him. Not because she thought she could get him to change his mind. But because she just had trouble making her mind understand. It was her last chance for food this day. One bit wouldn’t buy anything more than a mouthful elsewhere, but here—last time—it had allowed her to eat until she was full.

That had been a week ago. How long had she been on the streets now? She didn’t know. She turned, dully, and pulled her shawl tight. It was dusk. She should go beg some more.

She couldn’t. Not after losing that bit. She felt shaken, as if her most valuable possession had been stolen.

No. No. She still had that. She pulled the shawl close.

Why was it important? She had trouble remembering.

She had trouble making her mind understand and had a poor memory, both signs of poor cognition, due to her being a drab.

I don't really see the need for multiple manifestations of each realm in a single individual. You're a person. Congrats, you've got a Spiritual, a Physical, and a Cognitive aspect. I seriously doubt that "bodies" have souls all their own, independent of that of their "wearer," as it were. A corpse does indeed have a Spiritual aspect (as well as the other two), but only as crude matter. We saw from Sazed fixing Elend and Vin's bodies--repairing them perfectly but still needing to put their souls back in to accomplish anything--that the soul is all you get.

The author states that a body remembers being alive so it's easier to animate. Once living materials are easier to use as they remember being alive. You've covered those quotations often enough. I suspect, as crude matter, that is because the matter of their body have souls that can remember being alive. It's a popular enough device in fiction, everything having souls, and given how common Spren were in his other world something that may well be part of Brandon's cosmology. I can't prove it but it's a theory that stands a reasonable chance of being right.

I agree that true souls are generally necessary for people to function. I am not saying that the body soul thing can independently animate a person even after they lose their breath- it couldn't with Sazen. But it probably makes it easier to cast magic on corpses and may well make drabs more functional.

Yes, it's possible that a benevolent god is tweaking the magic system (which, as you so strongly agree, works by eating peoples' souls, so maybe not too benevolent) to tone down negative effects. I can't say that that wouldn't happen, but there's little point in discussing a magic system where Shards are tweaking away every inconsistency. You get the health boost, you get pretty pretty colors and life sense, you get everything else, but for some reason you don't hear the screams of sorrow from the scores of souls that you're the warden of? We also know from Hemalurgy that holding onto someone else's soul is bad for you, so why shouldn't it happen in BioChroma?

This god is trying to stop a war by sending back visions with returned. He probably working towards good. Just with a shard that uses a rather evil magic system.

The shards have independent powers that allow them to have various magical effects. You get the health boost, you get the pretty pretty colors and life sense, you don't get the souls fighting for control of your body, you don't get your limbs accidently interpretting commands and becoming independent. This is not a shard tweaking away every incosistency, this is just how magic happens to work in this world. Somehow the souls are clearly pacified and obedient.

What ill side effects do you get from Hemalurgy? I know it works by ripping fragments of people's souls out, so it should be different in some manners. The wide range of powers they can steal suggest souls have a lot of properties.

From wiki, hemalurgy can steal these powers. Strength, communication with shards, emotions, and senses.

It may well be that souls only have emotional intelligence, not intellectual intelligence, given that you can't steal intellect.

I'm kind of actively battling against a literal interpretation of that quote, since it destroys my theory from the get go; it's also nonsensical to boot, since it throws the Cognitive realm under the bus and, once again, doesn't account for Awakeners not being geniuses.

The cognitive realm can remain and you can account for Awakeners not being geniuses. The world is just rather more complex than you'd first imagine.

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/book/The-Emperors-Soul

I found this book. The thief in it supposedly copies the emperor's soul. This might give us some of the properties of a person's soul in Cosmere. It comes out in December supposedly. We can see our theories confirmed or denied.

Once again, Auster (who we're not positive is Endowment) ought to keep his/her dirty hands out of my theorizing and/or build a more consistent system of effects for Awakeners and Drabs.

I doubt Endowment cares too much about our beliefs. It just is, and we have to interpret what it does.

I feel that replacement souls being sub-par would have been discussed, particularly by the Idrians, for example: "They just grab any old soul and call it their own, twisting people into strangers!"

We didn't see them discuss people with lots of souls at all. We didn't see much of what the Idrians said.

Eh. Double eh. I feel that you're reaching here. What if Vasher had Awakened a dog? A horse? The implication in the book is that all corpses can be Awakened as Lifeless, not just humans and exceptionally small animals. You might be right, but I would be quite surprised if you were, at least personally.

Then the author would have consulted his notes on magic and made a decision about how many souls it took. I am not reaching- I trust the author has a good grasp on how many souls things take to do. Other corpses that you awaken as lifeless may well take more breaths. The rat seems perfectly reasonable given that the number of breaths needed is dependent on how lifelike the material is and how big it is.

Endowment could just use his/her GODLIKE POWERS to throw in a little fun and games in a Returned's Cognitive aspects. No need to hijack the soul to get at memory.

Indeed, but where do these cognitive powers come from? Lightsong is dead, and his body lacks any cognition. As far as I am not aware there's any hint in the books that cognition has independent existence. Cognition is presumably based on the body and or soul. I would think it's more likely that Endowment is doing something similar to what Sazed did, restoring the body and returning the soul- could you explain that scene in more detail? Can Sazed talk to souls? Does he just force them into bodies?

Edited by Nepene
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Well THIS is the thread I mentioned before where it was discussed.

Basically based on that discussion and some further thought what I currently think on the nature of awakening is that much like the life sense the ease of awakening is a gradual increase, and so when at the 6th heightening you get instinctive basic commands thats just a culmination of awakening getting gradually easier and similarly at the 8th, 9th and 10th heightenings you get more stages (command breaking, audible command, and silent awakening) are milestones not discrete steps.

They don't actually mark a change in the process, ie; a silent command for an object that you aren't touching is exactly the same as a spoken command for an object you are, regardless of the number of breaths you might have. Therefore, a command needs only to be a thought, but people who don't have sufficient power need to do things to reinforce that thought.

Thus, only being able to awaken in your native language as is discussed in the other thread, needing to touch the object, as an aid to focus and a thought reinforcement rather than an integral part of the process.

In terms of your theory, if you have enough spiritual power you can just blast through and get the desired effect with limited cognitive direction, but with less breath the cognitive reinforcement of saying the command in the same language you think in and touching the object and using a specific command to do a specific task because you know it works is required you need to aim very precisely.

That doesn't really enter into your theory though, just your description of how it applies to awakening, in short, the visualisation is the command, but for less powerful awakeners they require aids to cognitive power.

The problem arises because additional Spiritual power really shouldn't boost your ability to give clear, useful Cognitive commands. Perhaps if more Breaths are actually used for instinctive Awakening (used less efficiently to power a leaky Cognitive directive) then we could resolve the issue, but it appears that the same number of Breaths is used regardless, with only the ease of the Command changing. I agree that it could all be a mental process, but the question is why holding extra (Spiritual) Breaths makes that process easier.

Ugh. I may need to step away from this for a bit, perhaps re-think how I'm approaching awakening or even, *shudder* accept that other people may be right while I am wrong.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/419/Warbreaker-Chapter-Forty-One

One of the ways I decided to make Vivenna�s sections here work better was by enhancing the fuzziness of her mind. By giving her this sense of numbness, I hope to indicate that something is not right with her.

http://brandonsanderson.com/annotation/400/Warbreaker-Chapter-Twenty-Two-Part-2

Vivenna is right about what happens to a person when they lose their Breath. It is a part of your soul, and without one, you are more prone to depression, you get sick much more easily, and you�re generally more irritable.

You have a fuzzy mind, making it harder to cogitate and remember things, and you are irritable, also making it hard to make decisions and remember stuff.

From chapter 41

Vivenna stood, staring at him. Not because she thought she could get him to change his mind. But because she just had trouble making her mind understand. It was her last chance for food this day. One bit wouldn’t buy anything more than a mouthful elsewhere, but here—last time—it had allowed her to eat until she was full.

That had been a week ago. How long had she been on the streets now? She didn’t know. She turned, dully, and pulled her shawl tight. It was dusk. She should go beg some more.

She couldn’t. Not after losing that bit. She felt shaken, as if her most valuable possession had been stolen.

No. No. She still had that. She pulled the shawl close.

Why was it important? She had trouble remembering.

She had trouble making her mind understand and had a poor memory, both signs of poor cognition, due to her being a drab.

No, I think I'll keep being stubborn on this. Vivienne was sick, in shock, starving, scared, and had just lost a ridiculous wealth of feel-goody Breath. I think that accounts for a little mind fuzziness. Jewel seems focused enough, also. I've seen very similar POV's from other books with characters who are in the process of starving to death on the streets of an uncaring city, which are written with remarkable similarity.

The author states that a body remembers being alive so it's easier to animate. Once living materials are easier to use as they remember being alive. You've covered those quotations often enough. I suspect, as crude matter, that is because the matter of their body have souls that can remember being alive. It's a popular enough device in fiction, everything having souls, and given how common Spren were in his other world something that may well be part of Brandon's cosmology. I can't prove it but it's a theory that stands a reasonable chance of being right.

I agree that true souls are generally necessary for people to function. I am not saying that the body soul thing can independently animate a person even after they lose their breath- it couldn't with Sazen. But it probably makes it easier to cast magic on corpses and may well make drabs more functional.

I don't think we're actually disagreeing here. Okay then, corpses have Spiritual aspects which more closely resemble living beings than those of rocks. I'll buy it. What I don't buy is these Spiritual aspects having much of anything to do with the Spiritual aspects of the body's original owner. Clod would be Arsteel-like, then, because of some influence of Arsteel lingering on, not because his body has a separate soul of its own that, when "reawkened" happens to resemble Arsteel.

This god is trying to stop a war by sending back visions with returned. He probably working towards good. Just with a shard that uses a rather evil magic system.

The shards have independent powers that allow them to have various magical effects. You get the health boost, you get the pretty pretty colors and life sense, you don't get the souls fighting for control of your body, you don't get your limbs accidently interpretting commands and becoming independent. This is not a shard tweaking away every incosistency, this is just how magic happens to work in this world. Somehow the souls are clearly pacified and obedient.

What ill side effects do you get from Hemalurgy? I know it works by ripping fragments of people's souls out, so it should be different in some manners. The wide range of powers they can steal suggest souls have a lot of properties.

From wiki, hemalurgy can steal these powers. Strength, communication with shards, emotions, and senses.

It may well be that souls only have emotional intelligence, not intellectual intelligence, given that you can't steal intellect.

Why would they be pacified and obedient? The soul of a terrified child or moral enemy isn't just going to toddle along without a fight, I would think. Also, Cognitive benefits would be quite nice, if they're just sitting around for the taking. Why shouldn't the Awakener be able to tap all of the positive attributes these Breaths presumably contain?

As for not accidentally Awakening things, Awakening is quite clearly a conscious effort of will triggered by a clear intent, not an evil genie waiting on your every word. As you say, that's part and parcel of the magic system, which is distinct from simply grabbing essentially arbitrary attributes from imprisoned souls while leaving the rest untouched. Either don't have any access to the benefits of Breaths or access all of them: Those two options make sense, but a middle ground does not.

We also have from the Interview Database that Lifeless are "90% of a sentient being." If one Breath and one Breath alone can give you 90% intelligence, why aren't Drabs drooling idiots from giving up that much?

Hemalurgy can also steal Intelligence and Memories (Copper spikes, RPG pg 321):

"Copper spikes store intelligence and memory. They’re very rarely used on humans due to the terrible dementia and frequent insanity produced as shards of a stored soul shred a recipient’s mind."

This may be another spike in the coffin of my theory, come to think of it, because Hemalurgy works primarily on the sDNA of it's targets, but it could also be the case that it's simple overlap, grabbing both from the Cognitive and the Spiritual, since we also see spikes stealing purely Physical attributes.

The cognitive realm can remain and you can account for Awakeners not being geniuses. The world is just rather more complex than you'd first imagine.

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/book/The-Emperors-Soul

I found this book. The thief in it supposedly copies the emperor's soul. This might give us some of the properties of a person's soul in Cosmere. It comes out in December supposedly. We can see our theories confirmed or denied.

Please tell me what the purpose of the Cognitive realm is if intelligence is stored in the soul.

As for the TES, it will almost certainly help out a lot, but I would vastly prefer to have something solid down in black and white so that we can do objective comparisons instead of twisting the theory around to account for the facts without a worry for internal consistency. It would be a very good sign if my theory could predict the nature of Forging ahead of time, which is one of my goals if I manage to stay afloat as regards to Awakening.

I doubt Endowment cares too much about our beliefs. It just is, and we have to interpret what it does.

That's exactly of the problem of assuming an ineffable divine being tweaking a magic system that is supposed to make sense under some as-yet-undiscovered unifying theory.

We didn't see them discuss people with lots of souls at all. We didn't see much of what the Idrians said.

I agree, it's an absence of evidence problem and thus not definitive. Still, with no solid evidence either way, I would think that something would have been mentioned about horrible side-effects of having "foreign" Breaths. All of the negative aspects of holding Breaths are portrayed as a result of the harm you cause someone else by taking their soul, not the harm that holding that soul causes you--if I recall correctly.

Then the author would have consulted his notes on magic and made a decision about how many souls it took. I am not reaching- I trust the author has a good grasp on how many souls things take to do. Other corpses that you awaken as lifeless may well take more breaths. The rat seems perfectly reasonable given that the number of breaths needed is dependent on how lifelike the material is and how big it is.

The book talked about the 1-Breath Lifeless command and then showed us multiple species with 1-Breath Lifeless. It wasn't the "1-Breath but only if it's human or a relatively small animal" Lifeless command." Agree to disagree on the implications, I suppose.

Indeed, but where do these cognitive powers come from? Lightsong is dead, and his body lacks any cognition. As far as I am not aware there's any hint in the books that cognition has independent existence. Cognition is presumably based on the body and or soul. I would think it's more likely that Endowment is doing something similar to what Sazed did, restoring the body and returning the soul- could you explain that scene in more detail? Can Sazed talk to souls? Does he just force them into bodies?

As I posited, a corpse's Cognitive aspect may hang around for a bit after death, open to tampering by Awakening or Shardic interference. So Endowment would just tinker with the Cognitive a bit and then shove a super-charged soul back into the body.

Cognition does have independent existence, as evidenced by the very existence of a Cognitive realm, and the existence of beings which exist primarily within it (thread).

As for the Sazed scene, I don't have my book on me, but he essentially just said that Elend/Vin didn't particularly want to go back to their bodies, so the bodies weren't alive.

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Ugh. I may need to step away from this for a bit, perhaps re-think how I'm approaching awakening or even, *shudder* accept that other people may be right while I am wrong.

It is sad being wrong, but it's awesome knowing that you have a fairly solid theory

No, I think I'll keep being stubborn on this. Vivienne was sick, in shock, starving, scared, and had just lost a ridiculous wealth of feel-goody Breath. I think that accounts for a little mind fuzziness. Jewel seems focused enough, also. I've seen very similar POV's from other books with characters who are in the process of starving to death on the streets of an uncaring city, which are written with remarkable similarity.

Jewel had a breath, she was a returned and never experienced being an actual Drab. She had a divine breath too so she had a very strong breath, if hidden.

Could be the disease, could be the breath. It isn't clear which. If we assume you are right, we can say at least that a breath prevents you from getting diseases which make your mind fuzzy, and so affects cognition indirectly.

I don't think we're actually disagreeing here. Okay then, corpses have Spiritual aspects which more closely resemble living beings than those of rocks. I'll buy it. What I don't buy is these Spiritual aspects having much of anything to do with the Spiritual aspects of the body's original owner. Clod would be Arsteel-like, then, because of some influence of Arsteel lingering on, not because his body has a separate soul of its own that, when "reawkened" happens to resemble Arsteel.

I agree somewhat. I'd guess that the body's spiritual aspects have overlapping and and similar aspects to that of the soul.

Why would they be pacified and obedient? The soul of a terrified child or moral enemy isn't just going to toddle along without a fight, I would think. Also, Cognitive benefits would be quite nice, if they're just sitting around for the taking. Why shouldn't the Awakener be able to tap all of the positive attributes these Breaths presumably contain?

Well, they may be able to tap these benefits to some degree. The emperor was surprisingly intelligent and fast at learning for some random guy they found in the countryside. But I'd assume that the fact that everyone gives their soul away willingly means less resistance, and everyone has a fragment of endowment (just as others had a fragment of preservation in them) in them that does magical things to make the magic be functional.

As for not accidentally Awakening things, Awakening is quite clearly a conscious effort of will triggered by a clear intent, not an evil genie waiting on your every word. As you say, that's part and parcel of the magic system, which is distinct from simply grabbing essentially arbitrary attributes from imprisoned souls while leaving the rest untouched. Either don't have any access to the benefits of Breaths or access all of them: Those two options make sense, but a middle ground does not.

I don't particularly see why one thing is arbitrary and one thing is part and parcel of the magic system. One benefit of the magic system could be that that you can unconsciously access the soul magic of the souls. It happens to not be a benefit. It would be awesome if you could become stronger than an elephant, but you can't.

We also have from the Interview Database that Lifeless are "90% of a sentient being." If one Breath and one Breath alone can give you 90% intelligence, why aren't Drabs drooling idiots from giving up that much?

I do not know. I don't know why giving someone a breath makes them 90% of sentient being from 0% (giving them memory, cognition, and life) and why taking it away doesn't make them 10% of a sentient being. We don't see drabs or lifeless explained sadly.

It will likely be explained in the sequel

Hemalurgy can also steal Intelligence and Memories (Copper spikes, RPG pg 321):

"Copper spikes store intelligence and memory. They’re very rarely used on humans due to the terrible dementia and frequent insanity produced as shards of a stored soul shred a recipient’s mind."

This may be another spike in the coffin of my theory, come to think of it, because Hemalurgy works primarily on the sDNA of it's targets, but it could also be the case that it's simple overlap, grabbing both from the Cognitive and the Spiritual, since we also see spikes stealing purely Physical attributes.

Do spikes actually rob physical attributes, i.e. if you stick them in someone their muscles grow smaller? If they just rob strength it could be that strength is in your sDNA.

Please tell me what the purpose of the Cognitive realm is if intelligence is stored in the soul.

The soul has a shadow in the cognitive realm that supplies it with intellect.

I don't really know how the realms work but that's my guess.

As for the TES, it will almost certainly help out a lot, but I would vastly prefer to have something solid down in black and white so that we can do objective comparisons instead of twisting the theory around to account for the facts without a worry for internal consistency. It would be a very good sign if my theory could predict the nature of Forging ahead of time, which is one of my goals if I manage to stay afloat as regards to Awakening.

I wish you the best in that. It's best to have a variety of theories at the ready though. Some of our theories will hopefully be invalidated by TES and we'll be closer to the truth.

That's exactly of the problem of assuming an ineffable divine being tweaking a magic system that is supposed to make sense under some as-yet-undiscovered unifying theory.

We know there is an ineffable divine being tweaking a magic system to make sense. Brandon mentiones that originally to awaken things you had to give a long speech and commands but that broke up the combat scenes by being long so he tweaked it and added in the visualisation. Unless we have some other time in the books when multiple souls were gathered together we don't know what they'd do or whether magic can control them.

I agree, it's an absence of evidence problem and thus not definitive. Still, with no solid evidence either way, I would think that something would have been mentioned about horrible side-effects of having "foreign" Breaths. All of the negative aspects of holding Breaths are portrayed as a result of the harm you cause someone else by taking their soul, not the harm that holding that soul causes you--if I recall correctly.

There might not be horrible side effects from having foreign breaths. It is a breath after all. It's better than nothing. But in general, the only people we see with more than one breath still have their original breath as they are super rich. They buy new ones and keep their first. I'd imagine there aren't many who lack their own soul and have someone else's.

The book talked about the 1-Breath Lifeless command and then showed us multiple species with 1-Breath Lifeless. It wasn't the "1-Breath but only if it's human or a relatively small animal" Lifeless command." Agree to disagree on the implications, I suppose.

Where did it say this?

As I posited, a corpse's Cognitive aspect may hang around for a bit after death, open to tampering by Awakening or Shardic interference. So Endowment would just tinker with the Cognitive a bit and then shove a super-charged soul back into the body.

Cognition does have independent existence, as evidenced by the very existence of a Cognitive realm, and the existence of beings which exist primarily within it (thread).

But do we have any evidence that cognition has an independent existence in humans? It may just be that various physical or spiritual things have a shadow in the cognitive realm.

As for the Sazed scene, I don't have my book on me, but he essentially just said that Elend/Vin didn't particularly want to go back to their bodies, so the bodies weren't alive.

That would suggest he talked to their souls, or their cognition aspect if that is independent.

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It is sad being wrong, but it's awesome knowing that you have a fairly solid theory

Not too solid if I can't maintain a clear Cognitive/Spiritual division.

Jewel had a breath, she was a returned and never experienced being an actual Drab. She had a divine breath too so she had a very strong breath, if hidden.

Could be the disease, could be the breath. It isn't clear which. If we assume you are right, we can say at least that a breath prevents you from getting diseases which make your mind fuzzy, and so affects cognition indirectly.

Jewels (I got the name wrong the first time) was not a Returned. Just an ordinary human Drab. Checked the annotations and everything.

I think it just about has to only be the disease, since Brandon outlined the negative effects of Drabness and stupidity wasn't one of them. Also, we have the fact that Jewels was a sharp enough Drab. As for "indirect" Cognitive effects: No. If it was a physical disease, it was a Physical effect and came indirectly from the decreased health which we already know about from Breaths, which health could quite reasonably be linked entirely to a Spiritual stat of elan vital.

Another Drab quote, Annotation on ch. 43:

"Most Drabs struggle with depression, and the fact that they're almost always sick doesn't help either."

-Yet another failure to mentioned decreased intelligence.

More Drab stuff:

-Mab (cook in Idris) was the madame that Brandon was talking about, and she seems fine now, from what we see.

Ch 41 Annotation:

"It's common for someone who suddenly becomes a Drab to get sick almost immediately. For a time, [Vivienne's] immune system was magically enhanced and warded, in a way, to keep her from becoming ill. With that removed suddenly, sickness can strike. She hasn't built up immunities to the sicknesses going around, and by becoming a Drab, her immune system suddenly works far worse than that of other people.

These things combined made her come down with something pretty nasty the very day she put away her Breath. This would have killed her, eventually, if she hadn't done something about it. She would have grown so dizzy and confused that she wouldn't have even been able to walk."

-So it was just the disease.

I agree somewhat. I'd guess that the body's spiritual aspects have overlapping and and similar aspects to that of the soul.

Nice to agree on something.

Well, they may be able to tap these benefits to some degree. The emperor was surprisingly intelligent and fast at learning for some random guy they found in the countryside. But I'd assume that the fact that everyone gives their soul away willingly means less resistance, and everyone has a fragment of endowment (just as others had a fragment of preservation in them) in them that does magical things to make the magic be functional.

The Emperor was a baby when he Returned, so had a lifetime to learn and could just be a naturally intelligent person. Considering that he had thousands of Breaths, I think we'd see a smidgen more of an effect if it was just the Breaths feeding his intelligence.

"Willingly" is a very charitable term. No one was afraid that the Breaths from the rebel that Vasher got his initial stock from were going to be tainted by resistance, what with the torture and coercion and all. "Magical things to make the magic function" is, to repeat myself, exactly the kind of ambiguity that this theory is trying to clarify, so I would prefer not to rely upon it for explanations.

I don't particularly see why one thing is arbitrary and one thing is part and parcel of the magic system. One benefit of the magic system could be that that you can unconsciously access the soul magic of the souls. It happens to not be a benefit. It would be awesome if you could become stronger than an elephant, but you can't.

"Part and parcel" to excluding accidental Awakening because it would simply be silly to set off magic systems accidentally, especially since it fundamentally requires an effort of will to Awaken something in the first place (the "Visualization" step).

Only getting some of the benefits of your imprisoned "souls" is arbitrary because it doesn't break down upon any reasonable lines.

-Is it only the physical benefit, health? No, it's also perception of colors and increased "life sense."

-Is it only the positive benefits? No, because others sensing your life sense is a danger to you?

--Fair enough, only the generally positive ones (the danger is really just a side-effect), then? No, because I would sure like the intelligence of a score of souls at more disposal.

It breaks down to a strange division that seems to be artificially constructed. Even if it were just the "positive" benefits and you hand-wave the lack of boosted intelligence away, that is arbitrary in and of itself. It may be more convenient for "the author" to brush away inconveniences like scores of souls driving you mad, but why wouldn't Brandon have just separated cognition and identity from Breaths in the first place, resulting in the actual system we have without any contrivance?

I do not know. I don't know why giving someone a breath makes them 90% of sentient being from 0% (giving them memory, cognition, and life) and why taking it away doesn't make them 10% of a sentient being. We don't see drabs or lifeless explained sadly.

It will likely be explained in the sequel

Once again, our task here is to explain it now and then crow our triumph in half a decade when we're proven right. That quote about Lifeless being 90% sentient is mildly devastating to Drabs giving their intelligence and identity when they give their Breaths. Do you have a response?

Do spikes actually rob physical attributes, i.e. if you stick them in someone their muscles grow smaller? If they just rob strength it could be that strength is in your sDNA.

Good point. Sorry, I wrote that last bit in a bit of a rush, had to get to class. I agree, that's most likely what happens: "Physical" attributes are probably just boosted in the Spiritual realm.

The issue arises with memories and intelligence. I'll give how those might work some thought.

The soul has a shadow in the cognitive realm that supplies it with intellect.

I don't really know how the realms work but that's my guess.

That still begs the question of what the point of the Cognitive realm is, if it's only a storehouse for when the Spiritual runs out of space. Why not just extend the reach of the Spiritual, then?

I wish you the best in that. It's best to have a variety of theories at the ready though. Some of our theories will hopefully be invalidated by TES and we'll be closer to the truth.

Yeah.

We know there is an ineffable divine being tweaking a magic system to make sense. Brandon mentiones that originally to awaken things you had to give a long speech and commands but that broke up the combat scenes by being long so he tweaked it and added in the visualisation. Unless we have some other time in the books when multiple souls were gathered together we don't know what they'd do or whether magic can control them.

Brandon is not ineffable (I think...). As a human being, his thought processes are theoretically deducible, and he has stated that there is a rational order underlying the Cosmere.

As for the changes to how Awakening works, that seems basically the same as now. Instead of Visualizations providing the nitty-gritty mechanism for how Awakened objects should behave, Brandon simply had it externalized to a more explicit, line-by-line system in the past. Basically the same operation, though.

Not sure what you mean by "multiple souls gathered together."

There might not be horrible side effects from having foreign breaths. It is a breath after all. It's better than nothing. But in general, the only people we see with more than one breath still have their original breath as they are super rich. They buy new ones and keep their first. I'd imagine there aren't many who lack their own soul and have someone else's.

I think I'd prefer to be Drab than to have someone else's imprisoned soul knocking about and messing with my mind, thank you very much. Since there appears to be no way to tell which Breath you're going to be using in Awakening (we never had a "Vivienne made sure to hold onto her own personal Breath" scene), I'm sure that those who buy and sell Breaths in bulk, those who professionally Awaken Lifeless, and others with high "Breath handling" lives have dumped the "wrong" soul in at one point or another.

To reiterate, we never see even the slightest mention or bit of concern as to which Breath is being used in Awakening. Vivienne, the "Reluctant Awakener" Idrian, never asks or thinks about it. She shares out her Breaths evenly with Vasher at the end, once again without any mention of keeping hold of the "proper" one.

Denth & Co., though untrustworthy were quite definite about Breaths being interchangeable, and we get enough "aha, they lied!" moments that "Breaths aren't interchangeable" could easily have been slipped in.

The weight of evidence lies in the absence of mention. The only thing that could make me more sure is if Vasher or another trustworthy Awakener just said it outright.

Where did it say this?

Looking through the text, I may have exaggerated. Sorry. :unsure:

The only explicit mention of the "one-Breath Command" is pg 462, Vasher's Awakening lecture. Brandon also only says one Breath in the "sticky" quote about Lifeless.

But do we have any evidence that cognition has an independent existence in humans? It may just be that various physical or spiritual things have a shadow in the cognitive realm.

I think "shadow" is too weak a word for a sentient mind. There's a fair amount of theories as to what that quote might mean, but if we take Aons and Spren as primary examples, both are essentially incorporeal, with just about zero presence in the Physical realm besides being able to see them. I would hope that intelligent beings are a bit more than the equivalent of incorporeal in the Cognitive realm.

That would suggest he talked to their souls, or their cognition aspect if that is independent.

Or both together. Or he didn't actually "talk," per say, but simply sussed out their feelings. Hard to say, really.

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Jewels (I got the name wrong the first time) was not a Returned. Just an ordinary human Drab. Checked the annotations and everything.

You are right, I made an error.

I think it just about has to only be the disease, since Brandon outlined the negative effects of Drabness and stupidity wasn't one of them. Also, we have the fact that Jewels was a sharp enough Drab. As for "indirect" Cognitive effects: No. If it was a physical disease, it was a Physical effect and came indirectly from the decreased health which we already know about from Breaths, which health could quite reasonably be linked entirely to a Spiritual stat of elan vital.

I agree, I was wrong about it affecting cognition upon rereading, and forgot Jewels wasn't one of the five scholars.

The Emperor was a baby when he Returned, so had a lifetime to learn and could just be a naturally intelligent person. Considering that he had thousands of Breaths, I think we'd see a smidgen more of an effect if it was just the Breaths feeding his intelligence.

When he met Siri he quickly picked up writing. Super fast learning.

Based on what you said I have another theory.

You are saying that souls have no cognition, correct? And cognition is imposed on souls to make them work? Then why does adding more breaths to a person make them a more powerful awakener?

I think souls may have an instinctual emotional life. They probably have some amount of emotional memory and can make decisions but are much less smart than a person- they have little if any cognition. Based on the magic metals and sprens I think this understanding of them is reasonable. Adding more souls gives you a stronger emotional signal which makes it easier for the souls you use to understand what you want. It makes visualisation more simple.

Objects with almost sentient behavior like nightblood in Warbreaker share important links with the Spren from tWoK. If you understand the spren you will understand a lot about the connection between the books.-BS

https://sites.google.com/site/brandonothology/QA-by-book/warbreaker

Our breaths can remember events poorly (as returned do) can make decisions (how to carry out the formation of the magic sword) and more spiritual energy makes them more obedient.

So i would predict that Spren would also be instinctual enough to make decisions, have some degree of memory, and a stronger spirit would make them more magical. They should not have cognition.

Syl (http://stormlightarchive.wikia.com/wiki/Sylphrena an honorspren) was instinctual and had memory (if short term) and didn't have cognition without a body. She said she only had short term memory too apparantly of several minutes before meeting a person. Maybe if souls are away from a body for long they start to forget? They're easy to overwrite so if they go with a new person they're quickly dominated by them.

I'd imagine surgebinding is similar to endowment as our shards use similar magics.

I'd hope that whoever is maintaining the afterlife has some way to keep souls functional for more than a few minutes. Otherwise Sazed may have failed to get the souls to come back because they had forgotten everything.

"Willingly" is a very charitable term. No one was afraid that the Breaths from the rebel that Vasher got his initial stock from were going to be tainted by resistance, what with the torture and coercion and all. "Magical things to make the magic function" is, to repeat myself, exactly the kind of ambiguity that this theory is trying to clarify, so I would prefer not to rely upon it for explanations.

Humans have used slave labour tainted by resistance for most of human history. It's not an issue.

Magical things make the magic function is going to have to be part of any explanation. Endowment draws some lines.

Only getting some of the benefits of your imprisoned "souls" is arbitrary because it doesn't break down upon any reasonable lines.

I think the emotional thing would explain where the author drew the line well enough. They have instincts and some memories and lots of emotional sensitivity and spiritual energy.

It breaks down to a strange division that seems to be artificially constructed. Even if it were just the "positive" benefits and you hand-wave the lack of boosted intelligence away, that is arbitrary in and of itself. It may be more convenient for "the author" to brush away inconveniences like scores of souls driving you mad, but why wouldn't Brandon have just separated cognition and identity from Breaths in the first place, resulting in the actual system we have without any contrivance?

The books are all connected. I doubt he's going to change cosmology for one book's ease.

Once again, our task here is to explain it now and then crow our triumph in half a decade when we're proven right. That quote about Lifeless being 90% sentient is mildly devastating to Drabs giving their intelligence and identity when they give their Breaths. Do you have a response?

It may be that when spiritual energy meets physical matter in the right configuration cognition is generated (cognition is the bridging realm after all) and drabs have just enough spiritual energy to maintain cognition. Lifeless do too, but the souls aren't properly bound in such a way as to make them functional.

Good point. Sorry, I wrote that last bit in a bit of a rush, had to get to class. I agree, that's most likely what happens: "Physical" attributes are probably just boosted in the Spiritual realm.

Yeah. I think it's clear spiritual power can do all sorts of weird stuff.

The issue arises with memories and intelligence. I'll give how those might work some thought.

Wiki says copper steals mental fortitude. RPGs aren't reliable. Do we have a hard confirmation from the book that mental fortitude means stealing intellect?

Brandon is not ineffable (I think...). As a human being, his thought processes are theoretically deducible, and he has stated that there is a rational order underlying the Cosmere.

I agree.

As for the changes to how Awakening works, that seems basically the same as now. Instead of Visualizations providing the nitty-gritty mechanism for how Awakened objects should behave, Brandon simply had it externalized to a more explicit, line-by-line system in the past. Basically the same operation, though.

Well, if commands were based on long speeches I imagine it would be more dependent on cognition than feeling it out.

Not sure what you mean by "multiple souls gathered together."

Does anyone in any other book gather multiple souls into themselves?

To reiterate, we never see even the slightest mention or bit of concern as to which Breath is being used in Awakening. Vivienne, the "Reluctant Awakener" Idrian, never asks or thinks about it. She shares out her Breaths evenly with Vasher at the end, once again without any mention of keeping hold of the "proper" one.

http://brandonsanderson.com/library/114/Warbreaker-Epilogue

She said nothing of that; she just walked on, her life sense letting her feel the jungle around them. They’d recovered Vasher’s cloak, shirt, and trousers—the ones that Denth had originally taken from him. There had been enough Breath in those to split between the two of them and get them each to the Second Heightening. It wasn’t as much as she was used to, but it was a fair bit better than nothing.

Vasher was sharing his breaths with her, surely. And he had his divine breath.

We really do not get enough people talking about breaths to clearly say what happens if you have a different breath in you. De

Denth & Co., though untrustworthy were quite definite about Breaths being interchangeable, and we get enough "aha, they lied!" moments that "Breaths aren't interchangeable" could easily have been slipped in.

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/library/115/warbreaker-Ars-Arcanum

Breaths aren't interchangable, they vary in strength.

Note Three: The numbers given in the table above are only estimates, as very little is known about the upper Heightenings. Indeed, even for the lower levels, fewer or more Breaths may be required to achieve a given Heightening, depending on circumstances and the strength of the Breath.

Do you remember when Lightsong takes a child's breath to feed him? Brandon mentions somewhere that the people chose to give him a child rather than an old person because a child's breath is stronger and would make him feel better. He could survive on either (or even on his divine breath) but children's breaths were better. Can't find that quote sadly.

Denth was lying about them being interchangable. He lied about a lot of things.

We know breaths aren't interchangable. Some are stronger than others.

The weight of evidence lies in the absence of mention. The only thing that could make me more sure is if Vasher or another trustworthy Awakener just said it outright.

An absence of evidence isn't a weight of evidence.

Looking through the text, I may have exaggerated. Sorry. :unsure:

The only explicit mention of the "one-Breath Command" is pg 462, Vasher's Awakening lecture. Brandon also only says one Breath in the "sticky" quote about Lifeless.

Yeah. So the rat thing seems ok.

I think "shadow" is too weak a word for a sentient mind. There's a fair amount of theories as to what that quote might mean, but if we take Aons and Spren as primary examples, both are essentially incorporeal, with just about zero presence in the Physical realm besides being able to see them. I would hope that intelligent beings are a bit more than the equivalent of incorporeal in the Cognitive realm.

We really have zero knowledge on the size of a human mind, so I am going to stick with Brandon's word, Shadow.

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You are right, I made an error.

I agree, I was wrong about it affecting cognition upon rereading, and forgot Jewels wasn't one of the five scholars.

*Fist pump* Nice to win one against you every once in a while, thank you.

When he met Siri he quickly picked up writing. Super fast learning.

Based on what you said I have another theory.

You are saying that souls have no cognition, correct? And cognition is imposed on souls to make them work? Then why does adding more breaths to a person make them a more powerful awakener?

I think souls may have an instinctual emotional life. They probably have some amount of emotional memory and can make decisions but are much less smart than a person- they have little if any cognition. Based on the magic metals and sprens I think this understanding of them is reasonable. Adding more souls gives you a stronger emotional signal which makes it easier for the souls you use to understand what you want. It makes visualisation more simple.

Objects with almost sentient behavior like nightblood in Warbreaker share important links with the Spren from tWoK. If you understand the spren you will understand a lot about the connection between the books.-BS

https://sites.google.com/site/brandonothology/QA-by-book/warbreaker

Our breaths can remember events poorly (as returned do) can make decisions (how to carry out the formation of the magic sword) and more spiritual energy makes them more obedient.

So i would predict that Spren would also be instinctual enough to make decisions, have some degree of memory, and a stronger spirit would make them more magical. They should not have cognition.

Syl (http://stormlightarchive.wikia.com/wiki/Sylphrena an honorspren) was instinctual and had memory (if short term) and didn't have cognition without a body. She said she only had short term memory too apparantly of several minutes before meeting a person. Maybe if souls are away from a body for long they start to forget? They're easy to overwrite so if they go with a new person they're quickly dominated by them.

I'd imagine surgebinding is similar to endowment as our shards use similar magics.

I'd hope that whoever is maintaining the afterlife has some way to keep souls functional for more than a few minutes. Otherwise Sazed may have failed to get the souls to come back because they had forgotten everything.

You, sir (or madame), just earned a cookie in the form of a rep. You just solved the problem of instinctive Awakening in one fell swoop which makes perfect sense within the existing magic system and its known affects. You'll have to forgive me if I sipmly gut your existing narrative in order to extract what I want from it. I still don't like your insistence on using the word "soul" when we know that there is a difference between a complete soul and a Breath, but oh well.

If you don't mind, I'll just peel off all the stuff about Breaths having short term memory and the ability to cogitate. What I'll take and run to the bank with, though, is Breaths providing increased "emotional intelligence" to their holders. We know that Mab was less capable of courtesan-ery as a Drab, and I've already posited that Breaths could increase/decrease Connection. What if the nature of this effect on Connection (although it might not be so narrow as the Feruchemical affect), is that Breaths affect intuition about Spiritual matters, both in interactions with other people and, more importantly, in the communication of Commands during Awakening: just as you said.

So "emotional intelligence," in this case, is non-introspective intuition, the ability to understand and influence aspects of the Spiritual realm on an instinctive level. This perfectly accounts for the both the general ease with which the higher Heightenings can Awaken and even non-verbal Awakening: Whereas the low-level Awakener with few Breaths has to work at it to form and communicate their Command, a high-Breath Awakener gains a natural understanding of how to shape and communicate Commands as a function of the number of Breaths they hold (although not scaling linearly, it seems), to the point where they have such a thorough intuitive ability to communicate their desires that their Commands are mere exercises of will.

While I hold that Susebron could conceivably have just learned to read as any bright person would have, it could also be the case that he has a "natural" intuitive connection with Siri, enabling him to understand the unspoken nuances that she was trying to teach him, and respond perfectly to even the most subtle things she was trying to say.

Spren could just as easily have exceptionally weak Cognitive aspects that, as you noted, need to be boosted by association with sentient beings. Once again, there is no need to staple an ability to cogitate onto the Spiritual realm.

As far as the afterlife goes, we have almost no information about how it works. It could be that souls generate new Cognitive aspects once the body dies, or copy over the old one, or something else entirely. There's literally a few lines about it in total, with no real discussion or relevance in the rest of the text, so it's hard to tell. It does merit further discussion, though.

Humans have used slave labor tainted by resistance for most of human history. It's not an issue.

Magical things make the magic function is going to have to be part of any explanation. Endowment draws some lines.

Slaves aren't inside of your body and/or acting completely independently of your ability to enforce your will for extended periods (in their own human bodies, in some cases).

But MtmtMF needn't be a large part of any theory, hopefully.

I think the emotional thing would explain where the author drew the line well enough. They have instincts and some memories and lots of emotional sensitivity and spiritual energy.

If we follow my paring down of your theory of "emotional intelligence" to exclude memory and cognition, then no line need actually be drawn.

The books are all connected. I doubt he's going to change cosmology for one book's ease.

Not the Cosmology, simply how one magic system works within it. Should Breaths house both Spiritual and Cognitive aspects, or merely Spiritual aspects with the Cognitive provided by the Awakener? Either would work for a magic system, but both have implications.

It may be that when spiritual energy meets physical matter in the right configuration cognition is generated (cognition is the bridging realm after all) and drabs have just enough spiritual energy to maintain cognition. Lifeless do too, but the souls aren't properly bound in such a way as to make them functional.

Eh again. This sounds reasonable enough, but Lifeless's Breaths are bound pretty darn tightly, since they can never be retrieved. This also raises the question of how primarily Cognitive beings with only shadows in the Physical realm can exist, if Cognition is simply a side-effect of Spiritual-Physical interaction.

Yeah. I think it's clear spiritual power can do all sorts of weird stuff.

Yeah. It may be that the whole "part of Preservation" thing that spikes are supposed to steal plays into this. Once again, hemalurgy needs its own discussion here.

Wiki says copper steals mental fortitude. RPGs aren't reliable. Do we have a hard confirmation from the book that mental fortitude means stealing intellect?

That's still up in the air. The rule with the RPG right now is that it's semi-canonical: you probably ought to heed it, since Brandon was involved in its creation, but it's possible that they messed with the magic system for gamey purposes, so you can't be sure. A frustrating middle-ground, to be sure.

Well, if commands were based on long speeches I imagine it would be more dependent on cognition than feeling it out.

Potato potato, really. Same basic process, just changing where it takes place for the user.

Does anyone in any other book gather multiple souls into themselves?

Maybe (very very maybe) an Inquisitor could be counted as this, but we don't know enough about how much of the actual soul is stolen with hemalurgy.

http://brandonsanderson.com/library/114/Warbreaker-Epilogue

She said nothing of that; she just walked on, her life sense letting her feel the jungle around them. They’d recovered Vasher’s cloak, shirt, and trousers—the ones that Denth had originally taken from him. There had been enough Breath in those to split between the two of them and get them each to the Second Heightening. It wasn’t as much as she was used to, but it was a fair bit better than nothing.

Vasher was sharing his breaths with her, surely. And he had his divine breath.

We really do not get enough people talking about breaths to clearly say what happens if you have a different breath in you. De

My point exactly. It's not definite evidence by any means, but you would think it'd be mentioned at some point.

New evidence, should have looked earlier:

"How unique are individual Breaths? Would collecting 100 Breaths from criminals and scumbags affect your personality in any way? Or collecting 100 Breaths from generous, charitable people??

BRANDON SANDERSON ()

I intended them to not be terribly individual. Breaths do bring some things along with them, but for the most part I wanted them to be a step removed from that."

The "some things" can encompass a lot of what we've been arguing about, but Brandon says there that Breaths are not "terribly individual." That excludes memory and identity, certainly. The things they bring could be: Determination, Spiritual energy, a bit of a health boost, a Connection, color perception (which is just a quirk of the magic system to make it unique, as far as I can tell), and possibly your idea of "emotional intelligence." None of those are "terribly individual" and all can be seen fairly directly in the books or the annotations.

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/library/115/warbreaker-Ars-Arcanum

Breaths aren't interchangeable, they vary in strength.

Note Three: The numbers given in the table above are only estimates, as very little is known about the upper Heightenings. Indeed, even for the lower levels, fewer or more Breaths may be required to achieve a given Heightening, depending on circumstances and the strength of the Breath.

Do you remember when Lightsong takes a child's breath to feed him? Brandon mentions somewhere that the people chose to give him a child rather than an old person because a child's breath is stronger and would make him feel better. He could survive on either (or even on his divine breath) but children's breaths were better. Can't find that quote sadly.

Denth was lying about them being interchangeable. He lied about a lot of things.

We know breaths aren't interchangeable. Some are stronger than others.

I already acknowledged differentiation in strength. That still needn't be associated with individuality, intelligence, or Identity. See the Brandon quote I pulled above.

An absence of evidence isn't a weight of evidence.

It is when we can reasonably expect that evidence to be there. If you tell me there is a dragon terrorizing the English countryside, and I don't find any mention of it in the papers, then it's still pretty compelling evidence that there probably isn't actually a dragon. This case isn't quite as strong, but it still is pretty strong.

We really have zero knowledge on the size of a human mind, so I am going to stick with Brandon's word, Shadow.

I think we're fairly safe in extrapolating here. A human mind is bigger than a squirrel's mind is bigger than a fruit fly's is bigger than a rock's. Shadow implies ephemerality and Brandon was referring to a very specific entity when he said "shadowed," not to the entire Cosmere. Humans are tangible, soulful, thinking beings, and I would be extremely surprised if they are not strongly present in all three realms.

If I was going to go about describing an entity which was primarily Physical but "shadowed" in the Cognitive realm, I would describe a fly or a rock. Since a human mind is necessarily more complex than either of those examples, you probably want a word stronger than "shadow."

-Fin

Okay then, unless I'm wrong we've knocked down individuality being strongly retained in Breaths and come up with a new, intuition-based explanation for instinctive Awakening. Once again, thank you for your thoughts. That intuition idea is simply perfect. Now to address hemalurgy and be home in time for dinner, unless you have some serious complaints remaining on those issues which I think we've settled.

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*Fist pump* Nice to win one against you every once in a while, thank you.

Thank you, I am happy to admit when you are right.

You, sir (or madame), just earned a cookie in the form of a rep. You just solved the problem of instinctive Awakening in one fell swoop which makes perfect sense within the existing magic system and its known affects. You'll have to forgive me if I sipmly gut your existing narrative in order to extract what I want from it. I still don't like your insistence on using the word "soul" when we know that there is a difference between a complete soul and a Breath, but oh well.

If you don't mind, I'll just peel off all the stuff about Breaths having short term memory and the ability to cogitate. What I'll take and run to the bank with, though, is Breaths providing increased "emotional intelligence" to their holders. We know that Mab was less capable of courtesan-ery as a Drab, and I've already posited that Breaths could increase/decrease Connection. What if the nature of this effect on Connection (although it might not be so narrow as the Feruchemical affect), is that Breaths affect intuition about Spiritual matters, both in interactions with other people and, more importantly, in the communication of Commands during Awakening: just as you said.

Thank you, I'm happy for you to run with this and accept your delicious cookie.

With me saying breaths have memory and some ability to think those would be spiritual memories and spiritual decision making abilities- humans do have emotional memories and do make decisions based on emotions often. Spren, spiritual beings, also seem to have some memory so they can interpret the world. This is very different from long term cognitive memory or reasoned decision making.

This will probably have implications for magical swords and Arsteel. The breaths he got may have absorbed some of his spiritual memory somewhat before he died, being blank. They could serve as backup hard drives. Since Jewels is in love she probably won't mind if she can get him back emotionally, even if he's a tad retarded due to losing his cognitive aspect.

Otherwise I agree with your wise words on connections.

So "emotional intelligence," in this case, is non-introspective intuition, the ability to understand and influence aspects of the Spiritual realm on an instinctive level. This perfectly accounts for the both the general ease with which the higher Heightenings can Awaken and even non-verbal Awakening: Whereas the low-level Awakener with few Breaths has to work at it to form and communicate their Command, a high-Breath Awakener gains a natural understanding of how to shape and communicate Commands as a function of the number of Breaths they hold (although not scaling linearly, it seems), to the point where they have such a thorough intuitive ability to communicate their desires that their Commands are mere exercises of will.

That all sounds good and many predictions can be made from it.

While I hold that Susebron could conceivably have just learned to read as any bright person would have, it could also be the case that he has a "natural" intuitive connection with Siri, enabling him to understand the unspoken nuances that she was trying to teach him, and respond perfectly to even the most subtle things she was trying to say.

That's a good idea, and would fit in with what we know. It would be interesting to see in the book if people with more breaths had better empathy.

As far as the afterlife goes, we have almost no information about how it works. It could be that souls generate new Cognitive aspects once the body dies, or copy over the old one, or something else entirely. There's literally a few lines about it in total, with no real discussion or relevance in the rest of the text, so it's hard to tell. It does merit further discussion, though.

Or it could be that they float about in the void, slowly forgetting everything they know and becoming blank messes of emotion.

Slaves aren't inside of your body and/or acting completely independently of your ability to enforce your will for extended periods (in their own human bodies, in some cases).

They are in the body of the empire, and regularly cause issues when they rebel.

Not the Cosmology, simply how one magic system works within it. Should Breaths house both Spiritual and Cognitive aspects, or merely Spiritual aspects with the Cognitive provided by the Awakener? Either would work for a magic system, but both have implications.

In general, his magic systems work by taking some aspect of the world (colours, metals, honor etc) and powering it with souls or shards or something. If breaths were substantially different from what people have inside them (souls) in other worlds it would be a large change in the cosmology. Souls in the other world hold only spiritual aspects and I am not contesting that.

Eh again. This sounds reasonable enough, but Lifeless's Breaths are bound pretty darn tightly, since they can never be retrieved. This also raises the question of how primarily Cognitive beings with only shadows in the Physical realm can exist, if Cognition is simply a side-effect of Spiritual-Physical interaction.

Indeed, but lifeless breaths take on many extra functions- they provide immunity to disease, power muscles, stop hunger. Lifeless breaths may not be bound in the right areas since they have other functions.

That's still up in the air. The rule with the RPG right now is that it's semi-canonical: you probably ought to heed it, since Brandon was involved in its creation, but it's possible that they messed with the magic system for gamey purposes, so you can't be sure. A frustrating middle-ground, to be sure.

Without Brandon directly creating it it's not that reliable a guide on his thought processes. Anyone could have written that bit.

My point exactly. It's not definite evidence by any means, but you would think it'd be mentioned at some point.

New evidence, should have looked earlier:

"How unique are individual Breaths? Would collecting 100 Breaths from criminals and scumbags affect your personality in any way? Or collecting 100 Breaths from generous, charitable people??

BRANDON SANDERSON ()

I intended them to not be terribly individual. Breaths do bring some things along with them, but for the most part I wanted them to be a step removed from that."

The "some things" can encompass a lot of what we've been arguing about, but Brandon says there that Breaths are not "terribly individual." That excludes memory and identity, certainly. The things they bring could be: Determination, Spiritual energy, a bit of a health boost, a Connection, color perception (which is just a quirk of the magic system to make it unique, as far as I can tell), and possibly your idea of "emotional intelligence." None of those are "terribly individual" and all can be seen fairly directly in the books or the annotations.

Hmmm. He says breaths do bring some things along with them, implying that breaths are impacted by your personality but these things aren't brought along. It may well be that endowment's magic wipes breaths clean during the transfer to make the magic system work better. And he says, for the most part so it's not complete.

It is when we can reasonably expect that evidence to be there. If you tell me there is a dragon terrorizing the English countryside, and I don't find any mention of it in the papers, then it's still pretty compelling evidence that there probably isn't actually a dragon. This case isn't quite as strong, but it still is pretty strong.

If you tell me there is a dragon terrorizing the English countryside, I would ask you which papers you were reading, the muggle ones or the wizarding ones. The strength of evidence depends on the totality of evidence.

The quote clearly does say most aspects aren't brought along, but does imply many aspects are kept but just not brought along.

If my idea about Endowment wiping souls clean when they are transferred is right say, it might well take people with a new soul a while to train them to function properly emotionally.

I think we're fairly safe in extrapolating here. A human mind is bigger than a squirrel's mind is bigger than a fruit fly's is bigger than a rock's. Shadow implies ephemerality and Brandon was referring to a very specific entity when he said "shadowed," not to the entire Cosmere. Humans are tangible, soulful, thinking beings, and I would be extremely surprised if they are not strongly present in all three realms.

If I was going to go about describing an entity which was primarily Physical but "shadowed" in the Cognitive realm, I would describe a fly or a rock. Since a human mind is necessarily more complex than either of those examples, you probably want a word stronger than "shadow."

These cognitive entities may be as complex as a human mind. Or more so.

-Fin

Okay then, unless I'm wrong we've knocked down individuality being strongly retained in Breaths and come up with a new, intuition-based explanation for instinctive Awakening. Once again, thank you for your thoughts. That intuition idea is simply perfect. Now to address hemalurgy and be home in time for dinner, unless you have some serious complaints remaining on those issues which I think we've settled.

I mostly agree, though some mention of instinct (a spiritual trait) and emotional memory (also a spiritual trait) is also good for a complete theory. It explains how breaths animate things.

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Thank you, I'm happy for you to run with this and accept your delicious cookie.

With me saying breaths have memory and some ability to think those would be spiritual memories and spiritual decision making abilities- humans do have emotional memories and do make decisions based on emotions often. Spren, spiritual beings, also seem to have some memory so they can interpret the world. This is very different from long term cognitive memory or reasoned decision making.

This will probably have implications for magical swords and Arsteel. The breaths he got may have absorbed some of his spiritual memory somewhat before he died, being blank. They could serve as backup hard drives. Since Jewels is in love she probably won't mind if she can get him back emotionally, even if he's a tad retarded due to losing his cognitive aspect.

Otherwise I agree with your wise words on connections.

We aren't sure that spren are Spiritual beings, actually. Also, the only "first hand" account we have from a spren was from Syl, an honorspren, specifically one capable of forming a Nahal bond and becoming sentient. Not exactly the most representative sample.

Spren needn't have true memory or decision making, then, more likely simply reacting to stimuli like automatons.

I also need to put some thought into the nature of spren (so Hemalurgy, spren, what else is on the agenda?), but my intuition at first blush is that they may be a visible of Realmatic interactions, made tangible by the ludicrous amount of Spiritual energy being tossed about by highstorms (recall that there are no spren in Shinovar). Still needs a more in-depth analysis by someone who's read the book and recent theories more closely, though.

I don't see why we should believe that Breaths have any capability to store this kind of information (memory, identity, etc.). They don't bring it over and we know that Breaths are not full souls, so why ought they to have the capacity to store an entire personality?

That all sounds good and many predictions can be made from it.

Thank you.

That's a good idea, and would fit in with what we know. It would be interesting to see in the book if people with more breaths had better empathy.

Yes, that's something worth taking a look at. And remember, not necessarily empathy as in "oh how I love the world," more so intuition.

Or it could be that they float about in the void, slowly forgetting everything they know and becoming blank messes of emotion.

Well you're a cheerful one. <_<

Probably not, although I'll have to call an "the author wouldn't do that" to back it up.

They are in the body of the empire, and regularly cause issues when they rebel.

And Breaths don't, so there's my point proven...

In general, his magic systems work by taking some aspect of the world (colours, metals, honor etc) and powering it with souls or shards or something. If breaths were substantially different from what people have inside them (souls) in other worlds it would be a large change in the cosmology. Souls in the other world hold only spiritual aspects and I am not contesting that.

Okay then.

Indeed, but lifeless breaths take on many extra functions- they provide immunity to disease, power muscles, stop hunger. Lifeless breaths may not be bound in the right areas since they have other functions.

Perhaps. But still, "90% sentient."

Without Brandon directly creating it it's not that reliable a guide on his thought processes. Anyone could have written that bit.

I'll actually disagree here, since he had very large input and had to tell them how the metals would work. I still agree that it's on shaky ground, canonically speaking, because of what "memory" might mean and because Brandon could even have agreed to let them change the rules a bit for the purposes of the game (like the changes to Feruchemy).

Hmmm. He says breaths do bring some things along with them, implying that breaths are impacted by your personality but these things aren't brought along. It may well be that endowment's magic wipes breaths clean during the transfer to make the magic system work better. And he says, for the most part so it's not complete.

Why bother wiping some aspects off of a Breath (and still denying them to its original owner) when you can just exclude those aspects in the first place? It's like selling a 13-piece set of plates, but then saying "oh, you were only supposed to get 12" and then smashing one of them.

If you tell me there is a dragon terrorizing the English countryside, I would ask you which papers you were reading, the muggle ones or the wizarding ones. The strength of evidence depends on the totality of evidence.

The quote clearly does say most aspects aren't brought along, but does imply many aspects are kept but just not brought along.

If my idea about Endowment wiping souls clean when they are transferred is right say, it might well take people with a new soul a while to train them to function properly emotionally.

I agree that it's circumstantial evidence, but that doesn't mean we should simply ignore it, especially when there's little reason to think that anything else is the case.

Also, there's simply no need for it to work that way, and Awakeners seem fine and dandy going between Breath-states at a fairly quick pace, never having problems when the Breaths they get back are "emotionally scrubbed."

These cognitive entities may be as complex as a human mind. Or more so.

But not anywhere near as present in the Physical realm. Thus the "shadow."

I mostly agree, though some mention of instinct (a spiritual trait) and emotional memory (also a spiritual trait) is also good for a complete theory. It explains how breaths animate things.

How does it explain Breaths animating things?

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