Confused

The Origin of the Cosmere, Its Composition, Realmatic Interactions, and the Workings of Magic

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I'm still awake. And I've got to say, this makes a lot of sense. Of course, almost all of these theories make sense to me, so for me, that really isn't saying much.

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  • TES’s lesson? All magic we’ve seen so far in the Cosmere involves the manipulation of Spiritual Realm connections, specifically in the relationship between objects and the Powers of Creation, what Rosharians call “Surges” – Gravitation, Transportation, Progression, etc. Shai’s descriptions of the Forgery process throughout TES make this clear. These Powers of Creation exist on every Cosmere world we’ve seen. Despite Cognitive and Spiritual Realm differences from world to world – differences that affect the means of accessing the Spiritual Realm and the ways the Powers of Creation manifest in the Physical Realm – the essence of the magic is identical: a change in the Powers of Creations’ Spiritual Realm connections between two objects

Conclusion

 

That’s it! Are you still awake? Hello? Hello? Oh well…

 

 

Interesting and I like the way it was laid out and stated! I tend to agree with most of your statements, though I'm not sure on implications across the Cosmere. 

 

One thought I had, I wonder what kind of ramifications this would have if true for a cross world magic user like Hoid who also has access to Feruchemical Duralumin and possible compounding. I know it helps use local magic systems, but can it make you a more efficient/powerful practitioner of a magic system by helping you more easily switch/change/manipulate those Spiritual connections...

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I found the most intriguing part to be that the more often a Shards Intent is displayed across the Cosmere, the more powerful that Shard grows. Well done!

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I see some very interesting ideas here. Well done! However, there are a few things I feel may be inaccurate.

First of all, a personal note. You've been rather busy here lately, and I see that your ideas are all interconnected. As such, I will be trying to respond to all in a relatively short (for me, it will still take a while) amount of time. Please understand that this is not personal, but an evaluation of the concepts as they are presented. As I mentioned, you've made some great points.

Also, I don't have time now to cite references and Words of Brandon. Please post or send me any requests and I can update this with those sources.

Now to the real deal:

1. The Cosmere originally existed as only Consciousness. As that Consciousness began to conceive ideas, those ideas reified into Spiritual Realm ideals; Spiritual connections began to form among the ideals. Only then could Consciousness’ power begin to manifest in the Physical Realm. Investiture comprises the Cosmere, the result of the creation process.

There are some points both for and against this. Investiture truly transcends all three realms, where I feel you are saying it is a result of a Cognitive creation. In fact, of the three, Investiture is primarily Spiritual. Also, it cannot be created or destroyed, something I feel is contradicted here.

At the same time, WOR shows that the Cognitive mind can survive a Spiritual and Physical death, indicating something central about the Cognitive Realm (though other things indicate that the Spiritual Ideals are superior ultimately).

2. Changes within the Cosmere commence in the Cognitive Realm. This primacy means that restrictions on a Shard’s Consciousness impair the Shard’s ability to exercise its power. Unanswered is the converse, whether an increase in a Shard’s power in the Cognitive Realm – an “expansion of its Consciousness” – increases its power in all Realms; but I believe that to be true also and the source of Odium’s growing power.

I like how you phrased the first sentence.

I think a clearer way to more accurately portray the first part is to say that restrictions on a Shardholder's consciousness impairs his/her ability to direct the Shard's power. Again, Investiture cannot be created - hence much of my disagreement with the subsequent idea you discuss so extensively. There is no evidence of which I am aware to support this conclusion, with that fact firmly opposing it.

3. Cosmere magic involves manipulation of an object’s Spiritual Realm connections. The people who live on each planet with sentient life have unique thoughts and ideas. Each planet, therefore, has its own version of both the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms and its own Spiritual Realm connections. Because of this Realmatic uniqueness and Shard-planet interactions, related but different Physical Realm effects appear on each planet with sentient life. Each Shardworld requires a different cognitive means of manipulating Spiritual Realm connections.

I agree with your first part; though it's not confirmed in any way, I have theorized similarly before - it seems a logical conclusion based on the information we have (largely thanks to Kurkistan's work on Forms, which are essentially the same concept.)

I don't understand where you are coming from to say each world has its own version of the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms. They have Spiritual aspects, but I have seen nothing to indicate that they have their own Realms. Where are you coming from with this idea?

ARGUMENT

I believe Brandon’s Realmatic system works as follows:

This has some merit but, from what I understand, is inaccurate. This is similar to how spren are formed, from what I know. While minds can influence the Cognitive Realm, the Cognitive ultimately aligns to the Spiritual Ideals. (See Kurkistan's discussion of how healing works.) While I don't know how or if Ideals are created, this seems too similar to the other process to be likely. But it does seem a field worth studying, if for different reasons.

This algorithm is true for all magic systems in the Cosmere and implies that the First Mind (Adonalsium? the “God Beyond?” Brandon?) pre-existed both the Spiritual and Physical Realms. The mind must have an idea before the idea can take the form of a Spiritual Realm “ideal.” And until the Spiritual Realm ideal has established its connections with other ideals, the original idea cannot take tangible form in the Physical Realm. Thus, the Cosmere began as a void, occupied only by a Divine Consciousness – God’s “mind.”

Creation of the Spiritual and Physical Realms may have taken only an instant. Just as humans conceive an idea, invest that idea with physical, mental and spiritual resources, and make that idea tangible, so do Gods. They invest their ideas with spiritual energy – God’s “spirit” – to make their ideas tangible. That’s what the Physical Realm is, the tangible expression of Divine Power – God’s “body.”

This seems to be copying the HOA epigraph you quote lower down. That quote detailed the Realmatic aspects of a Shard, but I don't think that it is also a model for the original creation. Again, Investiture, energy, and matter in the Cosmere cannot be created or destroyed, and it would still leave the question of how a mind-in-a-void came to exist in the first place.

Power – whether embodied in Adonalsium, Shards, or splinters – has “three aspects”: physical, cognitive and spiritual – body, mind and spirit.

This is Realmatic Theory at its simplest: the fact that, in the Cosmere, there are the three Realms, and the study of how things interact differently in each Realm.

Restricting a Shard’s Consciousness – its ability to control its power — will restrict the Shard’s ability to exercise its power. While there is no textual support for the converse conclusion, I believe that enhancing a Shard’s Consciousness likewise enhances Spiritual and Physical Realm power output.

HOA gives evidence supporting the first part, but, as I said above, I have seen no support for the second.

And a minute on semantics: Your second thought isn't truly the converse of the first. The converse would be that an increase in consciousness increases a Shard's ability to exercise (I still prefer to say'direct') their power - which, I feel, is logical given thata stronger mind ought to allow more precision.

Magic is the manipulation of Spiritual Realm connections.

I somewhat agree. For instance, I have theorized before that a Spren Bond is a sort of Connection, connecting the Surgebinder's Spiritual aspect to the Ideal(s) affiliated with their order.

Spiritual investiture “powers” Physical Realm changes by re-arranging the affected object’s Spiritual Realm connections with other objects.

However, I don't believe that this is fully accurate. Many abilities simply allow one's Physical aspect to "fix itself" to conform to their Spiritual Ideal, as interpreted through the Cognitive. (See again Kurkistan's discussions on Healing.) This does not alter one's Spiritual Connections. I would argue rather, then, that magical abilities are a result of a Spiritual Connection to that Power, and while some magics affect Spiritual Connections (Gravitation, as you said, being a prime example, along with steel/iron Allomancy), others are a matter of either changing an object's Spiritual aspect (Soulcasting and Forgery) as interpreted by the Cognitive, or are a matter of making the Physical conform to a Spiritual Ideal (gold Feruchemy).

HoA is when we first hear of the three Realms. In each of the following quotes, Sazed/Harmony speaks only about investiture, not about the Realms generally.

I'm confused as to your distinction there. What do you mean by,"not speaking of the Realms generally?" As I interpret this, he is talking about the Realmatic aspects of a Shard, which are -by definition- an aspect in each Realm.

Power has three “aspects” – mind, body and spirit. (Draw your own “Trinity” analogies here.) But each “aspect” is not a different power. Thus, conditions in one Realm can influence the amount of power available in other Realms, even though the nature of the power in each Realm is different.

Yes, power has three aspects. Everything does. This is Realmatic Theory. Like you said, each aspect is not a different power; it is a manifestation of the Shard in each Realm. Why then, after saying that each aspect is not a different power, do you discuss them as separate?

The power is not going to change, for three aspects you speak of are the Realmatic aspects of the same Shard in the three Reaused And, as Investiture cannot be created or destroyed, the power level will stay the same unless power is used (as by Preservation in granting mankind sentience, or power being Invested into a Shardworld). Preservation's mind prison did not take Ruin's power away, it took away his ability to direct that power. This is clearly stated in other epigraphs from the HOA.

I will finish this later when I have time.

Edited by Shardcellist
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While restricting Consciousness can reduce power, can “expanding Consciousness” increase it? I believe the answer is “yes.”

Maybe I've missed a point here but isn't this the exact opposite of what you previously deduced? The parts I found dealing with resticted consciousness in your essay were these.

 

Preservation confined Ruin’s power by limiting its ability to control that power. As the second paragraph of the first quoted passage states, each of the two powers retained their “raw force.” Note the following language in the first paragraph above: “again…nearly balanced [emphasis added].”  These words imply that by the time of Ruin’s imprisonment Ruin’s power already exceeded Preservation’s. Yet Preservation’s confinement of Ruin’s mind precluded Ruin from using that greater power. This was a cognitive prison.

(Little tid-bit to add, the reason Ruin was stronger than Preservation at the time of his imprisonment was because Preservation gave humanity sentiece by Investing in them, so creating more consciousness actually diminished his power.)

 

  • Finally, I note Sazed/Harmony’s observation that “thoughts and personalities” were not originally attached to the powers. That suggests that “thoughts and personalities” are unnecessary to the exercise of the powers. Cognitively, power exercise requires only direction, not consideration or introspection. Whatever Adonalsium was had no personality. Perhaps it wasn’t ever human or even sentient (e.g., a computer-driven power)? If he/she/it did have a personality, it was so perfectly balanced as to have no discernible features.

Both clearly stating that restricting the cognitive doesn't change the amount of power and only restricts the control over the power and doing so immediately before you start the part about "growing" Investiture. So yeah, I can't follow your logic here.

 

For the next point I'm not exactly sure if I should bring it up here or in the topic about Odium but given that this one is more mechanics based I supposse I'll take this one.

I get the impression that you seem to equate a Shard like Odium with the spiritual ideal/cognitive aspect of Odium/hatred in general, which I see no evidence for. Shards tend to be named after their Intend, which is a guiding force within their powers, but that doesn't mean they are made from their Intend. Odium, Honor, Ruin and all the other Shards are (as far as we know) ultimately made from pure Investiture. So Odium is a Shard ruled by Odium but for this system to work he would need to be a Shard made from Odium.

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SHARDCELLIST: I understand your basic argument to be that my theory violates the Cosmere “law” of conservation of investiture. I will address this broadly, rather than to focus on the specific instances in your post, and then address a few other of your comments.

 

1. Investiture Can Change States

 

I start with the following premise: everything in the Cosmere is one “substance” (investiture) convertible from one form of that substance into another. Sazed/Harmony expressly states this in the HoA Epigraph to Chapter 78:

 

“[O]bjects and energy are actually composed of the very same things, and can change state from one to another…every object that existed in the world was composed of their power.”

 

To this we can add Brandon’s own words (Question 3, emphasis added), further confirmed by Brandon’s stated reliance on quantum mechanics principles and the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza:

 

“Investiture is intended to be the building blocks of the cosmere so I would say for the most part it transcends the different realms. Probably more of the Spiritual if anything but more accurately it transcends them.”

 

“State changeability” is also consistent with both mass-energy conversion principles (E=mc2) and the conservation laws of thermodynamics. Thus, my explanation of the Cosmere does not truly involve creation of something from nothing (despite the Navani passage about prayer). Rather, it acknowledges that ONE something can be changed into ANOTHER something.

 

Merely by thinking, Consciousness converted some of itself into Spirit, which allowed for the creation of Body. Cognitive investiture became Spiritual investiture, which became Physical investiture. The “energy” changed from one state to another to still another.

 

In truth, this is an exercise in cosmology. How did the universe begin? How was matter compressed only to suddenly expand? If you can come up with a logical alternative for magic to work in the Cosmere that doesn’t begin in the mind and is yet consistent with Brandon’s statements and influences, I’ll concede the point. For what it’s worth, the “First Mind” idea was also accepted by another of Brandon’s influences, Plato.

 

IMPORTANT LAST POINT, about Brandon’s quote regarding the “transcendence” of investiture. I hadn’t focused on his wording before, but saying that investiture “transcends the different realms” is to say it “goes beyond, exceeds, rises above” them. That implies it COMES FROM OUTSIDE the different Realms.

 

Investiture does not merely comprise the three Realms; it transcends them! Anyone care to speculate about that? (Especially since “16” is such a special number in the Cosmere.)

 

2. Unique Versions of Cognitive and Spiritual Realms

 

Shardcellist, the idea of Realmatic “uniqueness” comes from the cultural differences among planets. To paraphrase the social anthropologist Clifford Geertz, when is a wink intended to convey meaning and when is it merely a body tic? Only the people of a common culture know that difference.

 

And because of cultural fragmentation, each culture (planet) will have a different idea about, for example, what a window is and isn’t. Does a window require glass? Does it require a frame? How big can a window be before it becomes a door or a wall or just a piece of glass?

 

Plato’s theory of forms addresses this, but only to an extent. Plato struggled with this theory throughout his lifetime, through several different works. Kurkistan does an excellent job summarizing the theory, as you note. (I disagree with some of his conclusions, however, especially his characterization of spren as one of the “pur[e]st manifestations” of a Spiritual Realm form. Spren by definition are Cognitive Realm denizens, evidenced in part by the many “copies” of each. I exclude Syl, of course – I don’t want to offend her…) I expressly acknowledge Kurkistan as one of the first to identify the manipulation of Spiritual Realm connections as the basis for all Cosmere magic.

 

Not every planet in the Cosmere is at the same stage of cultural and technological development. Scadrial knows about guns and gunpowder. Those are idealized into their Spiritual Realm. There’s no gunpowder on Roshar. Shadesmar doesn’t have any “gunspren” as a result. THAT’s what I mean (in part) about “unique versions” of the Realms. (Cultural conflict is what Brandon’s novella Sixth of the Dusk is all about.)

 

The point is, in some significant way each planet will have its own ideas about something. And those ideas will reify into Spiritual Realm ideals – BUT ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THAT PLANET. (Notice I’m not saying that planet has its own Spiritual Realm. I understand the Spiritual Realm is not location-based. But those ideals exist somewhere (I keep envisioning a central bank depositary), and wherever that is, each planet’s Spiritual Realm ideals and connections reside there.)

 

Would you expect anything different in a Cosmere where each Shardworld has a unique magic system?

 

3. Clarifications (in order)

 

a. You said the “Cognitive mind can survive a Spiritual and Physical death…” As a general rule, the mind cannot survive Spiritual death. Nale himself says so: a fatal injury to the brain cannot be healed. (If you’re referring to ghosts/”cognitive shadows” like Kelsier and maybe the Stormfather, then you are correct, but that’s a separate and unique phenomenon proving the general rule.) More broadly, no Realm has “superiority” over the others. That is what I mean by my “1 power/3 aspects” discussion. They’re just three different “things” (how’s that for precise language?!): Body, Mind and Spirit.

 

b. Contrary to your statement, the Cognitive Realm does not “ultimately align[] to the Spiritual ideals.” The Cognitive Realm changes in response to new thoughts and ideas in the minds of the sapient beings who inhabit the corresponding Physical Realm, not through alignment with an ideal. The Cognitive Realm is a place where ideas battle, with real consequences, in their competition to achieve Spiritual Realm idealization and permanence. There are far more ideas than there are ideals. Survivors will “align,” and other ideas will die out, but so long as a single sapient being holds to an idea, that idea will endure whether or not it “ultimately aligns” with a Spiritual ideal.

 

c. Normally, I would let this go, but I gotta tell ya, Cellist, don’t begin a post saying you don’t want to be “personal” and then nitpick at my language AND organization AND vocabulary. Not a way to make friends…I used “converse” in accordance with its normal usage, defined as a “statement that is the reverse of another or that corresponds to it but with certain terms transposed.” If you meant to correct me because I did not use the word in its stricter “formal logic” sense, then we BOTH would be wrong. The logical “converse” of my statement, “Restricting a Shard’s Consciousness… will restrict the Shard’s ability to exercise its power,” is “Restricting a Shard’s ability to exercise its power will restrict its Consciousness.” Now back to our sponsor…

 

d. You raise important points in the following statement that deserve some attention. Let me address them after quoting you.

 

“Many abilities simply allow one's Physical aspect to ‘fix itself’ to conform to their Spiritual Ideal, as interpreted through the Cognitive… This does not alter one's Spiritual Connections. I would argue rather, then, that magical abilities are a result of a Spiritual Connection to that Power, and while some magics affect Spiritual Connections…others are a matter of either changing an object's Spiritual aspect (Soulcasting and Forgery) as interpreted by the Cognitive, or are a matter of making the Physical conform to a Spiritual Ideal (gold Feruchemy).”

 

First, each “Power” IS a Spiritual Realm connection. Go through the list of known Surges. They all represent a connection between objects and/or ideas. Thus, “fixing one’s Physical aspect” DOES alter one’s Spiritual connections – whatever power of creation causes the Regrowth Surge stitches together flesh, blood and bone at the molecular level. Like cohesion, adhesion, etc., that’s a connection. Brandon has taken all the known forces and factors in our universe and made them Spiritual Realm connections – “powers of creation” – in the Cosmere.

 

Second, I’m not aware of “many” abilities that allow healing, only two – (i) the ability of every sentient avatar (like Kaladin or Vin) to heal him-, her- or itself with investiture; and (ii) the specific ability of the Regrowth Surge to heal someone else. Each Shard has the same powers; the differences in “abilities” lie only in their mandates (intents) and in the variations caused by unique planetary/Shard interactions. Healing relies on the same abilities, the same powers of creation, everywhere, whether on Roshar or Scadrial.

 

Just as an example (though not a healing ability), I’ll bet you an “upvote” against a “downvote” that ReShephir, the “Midnight Mother,” is Odium’s version of a Lightweaver. She uses the Surges of Illumination and Transformation to create Midnight Essence.

 

Third, both Soulcasting and Forgery ALSO rely on adjustments in Spiritual connections. Jasnah and Shallan’s common “Soulcasting” Surge of Transformation changes one substance into another. To accomplish this change, the Surge must adjust the sub-atomic, atomic and molecular bonds that define what that substance is. Isn’t that modification of a Spiritual Realm connection?

 

Shai based her Forgery of the Emperor’s soul on the Emperor’s connections to the people, ideas and events around his soul. That’s how she reconstructed it, by talking to people who knew him and finding out things about him. She did the same thing with the window, the table, etc. “Plausibility” is the measure of the strength or weakness of the Spiritual connections between the Forged soul/essence and the other souls/essences it’s “known.”

 

EDGEDANCER: I’ll address your questions in a post on the “Odium Is Dangerous” thread. I hope to get that done sometime tomorrow. This IS just a hobby.

 

Until then…

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Second, I’m not aware of “many” abilities that allow healing, only two – (i) the ability of every sentient avatar (like Kaladin or Vin) to heal him-, her- or itself with investiture; and (ii) the specific ability of the Regrowth Surge to heal someone else.

First off, I'm not sure what your first example is saying, and second, did you forget Feruchemical gold?

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A note: The laws of physics in the cosmere are expressed in all three realms, not just as a result of Spiritual impulses:

 

Source:

Kurkistan: You've said that the the laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they're messed with by the spiritual, but are the laws of physics actually in the Physical realm all the time, or are they in the spiritual realm doing their stuff on a spiritual level that's trickling down to the physical as a matter of course?

Brandon: The three are more closely aligned-
<at this point Brandon takes a break because he has to write words into the books he's signing for the store, and can't talk and write at the same time>
Kurkistan: So you were saying that physics- laws of physics- that the realms are a lot more closely bound and the laws of physics are not just tied to one of them?
Brandon: Yeah.

 

 

This being my attempt at clarifying an earlier WoB:

 

Source:

Kurkistan: Are the laws of physics in the cosmere Spiritually based?

Brandon: They.. The laws of physics in the cosmere are _ours_ except where they have been changed by Spiritual influence. So I guess you could say "yes."
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I'm not going to try and address this entire thing, but there are a few points that I don't think are correct.

 

The most obvious, and probably the most trivial, is that there are almost certainly not different Cognitive realms for each planet. There's a lot of evidence pointing to the idea that the Cognitive is the most common method of worldhopping, which doesn't work if it's not unified.

 

Second, and more importantly, I don't think that the Cognitive is the fundamental. Nearly everything we've seen involving the exercise of Cognitive power uses the Cognitive to alter a pre-existing substrate. Forging and Soulcasting work on the Physical realm, Cognitive healing works on the Physical and Spiritual, and AonDor and Awakening are complicated but work on the physical and probably the spiritual. There's nothing we've seen that implies the Cognitive is prior to the other realms, and a bunch of things that imply that the others are prior.

I suspect the basic order is Physical -> Spiritual -> Cognitive*, but once each of the realms has been instantiated there's a lot of interplay and feedback so that things get more complicated. In any case, the inherent order of the realms isn't necessary the order required for magic. And we can't really assume that magic is ordinal, either. Magic is Cognitive intent acting on Spiritual power to affect the Physical realm, but the Intent can't exist without Spiritual power to work on, and neither of them can do anything without the Physical realm to affect, so what's the real order?

 

Thirdly, I don't think Investiture comes from outside. It transcends the different realms, because it's more than any one of them. Investiture is Spiritual power, imbued with Cognitive Intent, and invested in the Physical. It transcends the Spiritual, because it contains Cognitive and Physical elements. It transcends the Cognitive and the Physical, because it contains Spiritual elements.

 

*Explanation provided on request.

 

More may come later, as I look over the rest of your post. But this is a start.

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Not every planet in the Cosmere is at the same stage of cultural and technological development. Scadrial knows about guns and gunpowder. Those are idealized into their Spiritual Realm. There’s no gunpowder on Roshar. Shadesmar doesn’t have any “gunspren” as a result. THAT’s what I mean (in part) about “unique versions” of the Realms.

 

I think what Confused is saying here is that there are different regions to the cognitive realm, one reserved for each planet, that are all interconnected.  I was going to contend with the term "gunspren", but I think we'd be arguing the same thing from different perspectives. :P

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The concept that everything is flat-out built out of investiture on a fundamental level seems incorrect.
 
Source:

Kurkistan
I guess I'll follow Argent's lead again and just keep asking questions...
If Investiture can neither be created nor destroyed, and Feruchemy is all fueled by the Feruchemist himself, then how do metalminds end up being invested without Feruchemists seeming to suffer any long-term loss of Investiture? If they're not "creating" the energy that's going into the metalminds, then where's it coming from?
 
Brandon
The cosmere takes physics from our universe, and adds additional layers to it. Where we have energy and matter (simplified), the cosmere has additional building blocks that make reality. Investiture is one of these. It IS possible to change matter, to energy, to investiture, and back.

 
Source:

VIPER
Hah. So in Cosmere, does physics work the same way in the physical realm as it does in our world? Specifically, particle physics; and are atoms made up of protons and neutrons and electrons, and is light photons, etc?
 
BRANDON SANDERSON
Yes.
 
VIPER
So what's at the core of an atom of Atium? Ate-teum? Also how do you pronounce it? At-teum?
 
BRANDON SANDERSON
Yes. And the matter is just normal matter, but it's wrapped in the spiritual. The Spiritual DNA [or something] is what makes it magical.
 
VIPER
(Note: he might've said slightly more about this but I didn't write it down and I don't remember. Sorry for not bringing a tape recorder :(/> )

 

These two WoBs (plus the ones on the nature of physics) seem to rather heavily suggest that Investiture and magic in general is more layered on top of/throughout more "normal" reality, rather than supplanting it. So yes you can go matter->energy->investiture->energy->matter, for instance, but that's not the same thing as knowing with any certainty that all matter is comprised of investiture. By this logic alone, all investiture could be said to be comprised of matter. So we're left to conclude that the mere existence of a process of converting between more "normal" things and investiture doesn't demand that they all be fundamentally the same.

 

----

 

For the main Argument, I'm all aboard for First and Second:

 

FIRST, a mind conceives, creating a fixed and separate idea about something in the Cognitive Realm. Typically thecollective mind on a planet with sentient life jointly develops and agrees on the conception, allowing it to become idealized; but even a single mind can develop a new idea, as with any innovation, if it is sufficiently distinctive and separate from other ideas.

 

SECOND, the concreteness and separateness of that idea causes it to reify in the Spiritual Realm as an ideal – an “essence” or “soul” – formalizing the idea’s relationships and connections with other ideals. This is the moment the idea becomes “truly invested,” causing an adjustment in the Spiritual Realm’s connections to accommodate the new idea.

 

LAST, the idea manifests in the Physical Realm in tangible form.

 

It's "Last" that trips me up a bit. So when Leonard of Quirm first conceives of a Gonne, does it suddenly emerge fully formed out of his brow, rather than him having to physically build it?

 

---

 

Regarding the idea that all magics are just about manipulating Spiritual connections... that seems a bit of a stretch. You managed to pick out two of the more obviously-Spiritual effects as your primary examples there: Forging has been confirmed as the most Spiritual magic we've yet seen and the Ars Arcanum of WoK talks about how the First Lashing is Spiritual. It remains to be seen how the more brutish effects of the magics are supposed to be explained in terms of spiritual connections. Test #1: Using an Aon to spit a ball of fire.

 

--

 

And so I run out of time at the moment to keep reading/thinking/replying, so I'll leave it at that.

 

@Green Hoodie

 

This WoB might interest you.

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Responses:

 

Paragrin:

 

1. The people who can do magic are “avatars” of the Shards whose investiture they hold – they are a god’s incarnation in mortal form, the original meaning of “avatar.” Not all these avatars may be human, so I hedged my bets by calling them “sentient avatars.” The distinction I’m making is between self-healing by means of the investiture – which anyone who can process investiture is capable of – and healing someone else, which only a person utilizing a variant of the Regrowth Surge can accomplish.

 

2. I didn’t think it necessary to itemize each Shard’s form of healing. Because feruchemical gold allows one to heal oneself but not others, it falls into the first category.

 

Shaggai:

 

1. lord_mistborn4 made the correct point: there’s only one Cognitive Realm, but each planet has its own version despite the interconnectedness of each such version. So you can worldhop by strolling the Cognitive Realm, but you’ll see different sights as you travel from planet to planet.

 

2. I did not say the Cognitive Realm is more “fundamental” than any other Realm, just that change begins there. This is not “priority” in the sense you mean; there is no hierarchy among the Realms. The Cognitive Realm is only prior in time, initiating the magic process through cognitive commands of some sort.

 

When you drive a car, you first have to turn the ignition on. That doesn’t make the ignition switch more important than the motor, etc. But it is the first thing you do if you want to drive your car. That’s all I’m saying about the Cognitive Realm.

 

3. Your interpretation of Brandon’s use of the word “transcends” is valid. Other than pointing out the word and inviting commentary, I’m not pushing this idea in any way. (It does tend to support the “God Beyond” notion, though.) I do think the word “transcends” in this context means “going beyond” all three Realms, but it is debatable.

 

But I don’t agree with this statement:

 

“Investiture is Spiritual power, imbued with Cognitive Intent, and invested in the Physical. It transcends the Spiritual, because it contains Cognitive and Physical elements. It transcends the Cognitive and the Physical, because it contains Spiritual elements.”

 

Investiture is investiture is investiture. It has three aspects. It is capable of changing from one aspect to another and from one state of matter/energy to another. (Recall that both Jasnah and Shallan used Stormlight – physical investiture in gaseous form – to impel Shadesmar spren (cognitive investiture) to change form. My responses to Kurkistan, next, may help with this explanation.

 

Kurkistan:

 

1. Does the fact that the Cosmere consists of matter, energy AND investiture change anything? The critical issue is the ability of whatever "substance" it is to change state to a different form of that "substance." (The idea of a single "substance" in the Cosmere comes from Spinoza; I believe Brandon said he relied on that Spinozan idea in constructing the Cosmere, but don't trust my memory on that point – it’s changing states...) Mind can become Spirit, and Spirit can become Body. Didn't Preservation "change states" when he sacrificed his mind (cognitive investiture) to trap Ruin in the Well of Ascension (physical investiture)?

 

2. The idea that Physical Realm manifestation is the last to occur doesn't mean that the "Gonne," like Athena, springs full-formed from its creator's head. It means, in your example, that Leonard couldn't create the Gonne in the Physical Realm until he first conceived it and had a very clear idea of what it will be. As I said in the OP, "until the Spiritual Realm ideal has established its connections with other ideals, the original idea cannot take tangible form in the Physical Realm."

 

3. YOU convinced ME about the importance of Spiritual Realm connections. Now you’re changing your mind! Ha! I see I need to restore your conviction. (As Lady Macbeth said to hubby: “Screw your courage to the sticking place…”)

 

a. I don't think any of the magics are more spiritual, physical or cognitive than any other. They all exist in three Realms. (I recall someone not too long ago trying to categorize the magics this way – hopefully not you – but to me the categorization lacked value even if one could establish the primacy of one Realm in a particular case.) Maybe a magic dips into one Realm more than another, like Brandon says Forgery does, but I don’t know how helpful that knowledge is, even to us as observers and analysts of the Cosmere.

 

b. You question how “the more brutish effects of magic [can] be explained in terms of spiritual connections” and state your “Test #1: “Using an Aon to spit a ball of fire.” I accept the challenge, but only on condition I don’t have to literally “spit” the ball of fire, even in the “thought experiment.”

 

i. I note the similarity between this activity and what Jasnah did in the Kharbranth alley. That means I should analogize AonDor to Jasnah’s Surges of Transportation and Transformation.

 

ii. My Aon(s), therefore, should enable me both to create fire (without a stick to help me!) and transport it to the target. Let’s assume Aons exist for such things.

 

iii. Unlike Shallan, who had (unwilling) fuel for a fire, I have to find a way to make fire from air. I suppose I could rearrange the sub-atomic bonds of nitrogen atoms to convert them into a critical mass of plutonium. I could then use the plutonium to create a thermonuclear explosion. Is that a big enough fireball? The transportation Aon could move the bomb to the right target (although I wouldn’t need to be very precise...)

 

c. “Brutish” or not, all magic happens in all three Realms, even Forgery. Whether the result is “brutish” is an interpretation of the Physical Realm effect.  The Shard’s mind conceives, the spirit reconfigures itself, and the body conforms to the new spiritual structure.

 

d. I find it useful to think of the Spiritual Realm as consisting of nouns and verbs. (Or you can think of networks, nodes and commands.) The “soul/essences” are the nouns and the connections are the verbs, instructing the nouns what they can and cannot do. The simple statement “Kurkistan runs” implicates the following “powers”: gravity, friction, various biochemical reactions, etc. If the statement were instead “Kurkistan flies,” then without a magical boost the Spiritual Realm will not execute the command because no such “verb” (connection) exists with your soul. Magic serves to create that connection.

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Responses:

 

Paragrin:

 

1. The people who can do magic are “avatars” of the Shards whose investiture they hold – they are a god’s incarnation in mortal form, the original meaning of “avatar.” Not all these avatars may be human, so I hedged my bets by calling them “sentient avatars.” The distinction I’m making is between self-healing by means of the investiture – which anyone who can process investiture is capable of – and healing someone else, which only a person utilizing a variant of the Regrowth Surge can accomplish.

This seems to have come a bit out left field. So everyone "who can process investiture" is capable of self-healing? Are the birds in Sixth of the Dusk capable of it? Any non-Bloodmaker ferring? A misting or mistborn? Returned (without giving up their Divine Breath)? Awakeners?

Note also that, while I would perhaps buy a distinction between "Feruchemical-gold-like healing" and "other", I'm not quite sure distinguishing between self-healing and healing others is very useful.

By all accounts, how Forging (permanently) heals people follows the same constraints as f.Gold; AonDor can (almost certainly, given how Raoden is able to Aon-Ien people) heal people through both f.Gold-like processes  and more "surgical" methods. And Divine Breath is just weird. Beyond all of that, I'd probably call Regrowth (at least so far as we've seen it) a "Feruchemical-gold-like" method of healing, due to how it seems to work mechanically.

 

Kurkistan:

 

1. Does the fact that the Cosmere consists of matter, energy AND investiture change anything? The critical issue is the ability of whatever "substance" it is to change state to a different form of that "substance." (The idea of a single "substance" in the Cosmere comes from Spinoza; I believe Brandon said he relied on that Spinozan idea in constructing the Cosmere, but don't trust my memory on that point – it’s changing states...) Mind can become Spirit, and Spirit can become Body. Didn't Preservation "change states" when he sacrificed his mind (cognitive investiture) to trap Ruin in the Well of Ascension (physical investiture)?

Here's the Spinoza WoB.

 

While I see where you're coming from with the "it's all one thing" angle, at the very least it seems the conclusions reached from that (that everything's created spontaneously out of thought) seem a bit stretchy.

 

2. The idea that Physical Realm manifestation is the last to occur doesn't mean that the "Gonne," like Athena, springs full-formed from its creator's head. It means, in your example, that Leonard couldn't create the Gonne in the Physical Realm until he first conceived it and had a very clear idea of what it will be. As I said in the OP, "until the Spiritual Realm ideal has established its connections with other ideals, the original idea cannot take tangible form in the Physical Realm."

Ah, I see.

So what of accidental creations or discoveries? Is it necessary that someone come up with the idea of "fire" before it can manifest in the world?

Or what about tinkering: what if Leonard was just messing around with his fireworks tube and then accidentally let a lead ball drop down it before setting off the charge? It doesn't change the physical object or what it can do at all, but could easily be argued that it's only at that point—after the object's already fully in existence—that the idea of it as a weapon would even form, in this scenario.

 

3. YOU convinced ME about the importance of Spiritual Realm connections. Now you’re changing your mind! Ha! I see I need to restore your conviction. (As Lady Macbeth said to hubby: “Screw your courage to the sticking place…”)

 

a. I don't think any of the magics are more spiritual, physical or cognitive than any other. They all exist in three Realms. (I recall someone not too long ago trying to categorize the magics this way – hopefully not you – but to me the categorization lacked value even if one could establish the primacy of one Realm in a particular case.) Maybe a magic dips into one Realm more than another, like Brandon says Forgery does, but I don’t know how helpful that knowledge is, even to us as observers and analysts of the Cosmere.

 

b. You question how “the more brutish effects of magic [can] be explained in terms of spiritual connections” and state your “Test #1: “Using an Aon to spit a ball of fire.” I accept the challenge, but only on condition I don’t have to literally “spit” the ball of fire, even in the “thought experiment.”

 

i. I note the similarity between this activity and what Jasnah did in the Kharbranth alley. That means I should analogize AonDor to Jasnah’s Surges of Transportation and Transformation.

 

ii. My Aon(s), therefore, should enable me both to create fire (without a stick to help me!) and transport it to the target. Let’s assume Aons exist for such things.

 

iii. Unlike Shallan, who had (unwilling) fuel for a fire, I have to find a way to make fire from air. I suppose I could rearrange the sub-atomic bonds of nitrogen atoms to convert them into a critical mass of plutonium. I could then use the plutonium to create a thermonuclear explosion. Is that a big enough fireball? The transportation Aon could move the bomb to the right target (although I wouldn’t need to be very precise...)

 

c. “Brutish” or not, all magic happens in all three Realms, even Forgery. Whether the result is “brutish” is an interpretation of the Physical Realm effect.  The Shard’s mind conceives, the spirit reconfigures itself, and the body conforms to the new spiritual structure.

 

d. I find it useful to think of the Spiritual Realm as consisting of nouns and verbs. (Or you can think of networks, nodes and commands.) The “soul/essences” are the nouns and the connections are the verbs, instructing the nouns what they can and cannot do. The simple statement “Kurkistan runs” implicates the following “powers”: gravity, friction, various biochemical reactions, etc. If the statement were instead “Kurkistan flies,” then without a magical boost the Spiritual Realm will not execute the command because no such “verb” (connection) exists with your soul. Magic serves to create that connection.

 

Chaos was the one with the classification scheme.

Regarding the Aon: sorry, you need it to spit fire. But it's a column rather than a ball (sorry, misremembered the exact details).

Elantris Ch 49 (after Raoden adds the chasm line to the fire Aon)

"..the Aon bent around itself, its lines distorting and twirling in the the air until they formed a disk. A thin prick of red light appeared in the disk's center, then expanded, the burning sounds rising to a clamor. The Aon became a twisting vortex of fire; Raoden could feel the heat as he stumbled back.

It burst, spitting out a horizontal column of flame through the air just above Galladon's head. The column crashed into a bookshelf, immolating the structure in a massive explosion..."

c. This strict order of operations in general (C->S->P) seems incorrect. Let's look to healing. Two WoBs (one, two) would have us believe that it's a Spiritual impulse, filtered through the Cognitive, that guides Physical healing. So the soul never changes during the process (barring when there's "soul patching", which looks like a different thing that is likely reliant upon Spiritual ideals rather than the Cognitive). I've no problem with some magical effects following C->S->P, but the idea that all of them must follow it just looks too restrictive.

Edited by Kurkistan
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[Major revisions from earlier post to fix many dumb mistakes and answer questions raised.]

 

KURKISTAN:

1. Erratum. You’re right. Not every invested person can self-heal. Maybe I can amend the statement to read, “Every person can self-heal who either is bonded to a splinter of investiture or who holds that quantum of investiture directly.” While unhelpfully tautological, we can also say that “Every person with special healing abilities can self-heal regardless of whether they have access to a splinter of investiture.” I think those statements account for everybody. Whether or not they are useful is another matter: how big does the “splinter” have to be, for example.

 

2. Self-Healing vs. Healing Others. I like this distinction because it represents the difference between patching one’s own SpiritWeb and patching someone else’s.

a. Self-Healing. We know Elantrians and Surgebinders can self-heal simply by absorbing investiture, and Nalthians with sufficient Breath can also self-heal. We haven’t seen whether Forgers and other Selians can absorb investiture to self-heal like Elantrians, but Forgers can carve soulstamps for that purpose (and Elantrians can probably draw Aons to self-heal). Gold Ferrings (Bloodmakers) self-heal through their command of f/gold metalminds, and pewter Mistings (Thugs) can enhance their own healing.

 

Aside: The use of f/gold is an example of how Shards’ powers are identical, though their mandates (intents) define the way the power is expressed. The Coppermind highlights the temporal powers of gold. Isn’t this just a form of the Truthwatcher’s Progression Surge?

 

(1) Elantrians, Surgebinders and Breathholders all self-heal because they hold or are bonded to splinters of their Shards. (Healing is NOT weird on Nalthis). Elantrians and Surgebinders bond to Seons and spren, respectively, both of which are splinters. (Do Skaze provide self-healing to the Fjordell?) The ageless Returned are also splinters, of Endowment. According to the Coppermind, a Divine Breath equates to about 2,000 “normal” Breaths.

 

Whether a Nalthian needs 2,000 Breaths to self-heal is unclear; Breaths “heighten” on a continuous scale. One does not need to be “ageless” to self-heal – something less than eternity would do nicely for most of us. (Compare the movie Death Becomes Her, where Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn were ageless, but could NOT self-heal. If you haven’t seen that movie, DON’T!!)

 

(2) My interpretation of Brandon’s answer to you about Breath is that Breathholders approach divinity as they acquire Breaths. Elantrians and Surgebinders become divine as well, since sentient splinters according to Syl are “little bits” of a god. All three really are avatars.

 

(3) The investiture Elantrians, Surgebinders and Breathholders hold knows their SpiritWebs. Seons, RadiantSpren and Breath are part of their SpiritWebs.

 

(4) The same is true on Scadrial with f/gold. Feruchemy only works on one’s own SpiritWeb, transferring investiture corresponding to health attributes – elements of one’s own soul – into or out of the goldmind. This investiture knows and is part of the Ferring’s SpiritWeb. Pewter has different mechanics than f/gold, but its healing powers also operate directly on the Thug’s own SpiritWeb.
 

(5) Thus, investiture needed for self-healing conforms to its own knowledge of the target’s SpiritWeb. That is NOT true with healing others.

 

b. Healing Others. Bloodmakers and Thugs can’t heal others; their investiture doesn’t know other people’s SpiritWebs (and there may be other issues). By contrast, Aon/Dor, Forgery and the Regrowth Surge can heal others.
 

(1) There is, however, an important difference between Sel-based healing and healing elsewhere. I believe that Dominion (pre-splintering) established each territorial means of accessing investiture on Sel, but each magic uses Devotion’s investiture to execute the command. (That’s one reason Odium could splinter both – their investiture acted coincidentally, not cumulatively.)

 

[NOTE: I understand the splintering changed things on Sel, but it’s still unclear how. I assume that Sel had already been so “saturated” with Dominion’s and Devotion’s magic that the System still works more or less as it did before, just as Surgebinding still does following Honor’s splintering. But this is just speculation…]

 

(2) Because Dominion set the command (the Aon or soulstamp carving, for example), the command itself carries all of the information necessary for its execution – typical of a micro-managing “dominant” person. The investiture simply fulfills the command. It is undifferentiated investiture, like Type O is undifferentiated blood. Both are “universal donors.”

 

(3) The ability to heal others is apparently more widespread on Sel than on Roshar or Nalthis for two reasons: (i) as stated, on Sel the command contains all necessary information, so the kind of investiture used in healing is irrelevant; and (ii) I suspect Devotion’s mandate – to love, to give selflessly (like she does with all her investiture) – may play a part.

 

(4) AonDor and Forgery do NOT work like “f/gold processes” even as to self-healing. Both AonDor and Forgery DO work the same way as the “more ‘surgical’ methods” you cite, whether in self-healing or healing others. The command carries the information on Sel. Thus, as Brandon says, to cure chronic poor eyesight you need “the specifics of everything, kind of like they're equations.” That’s particularly true of eyesight because of its variability – it requires an exactly measured “fix.” (That’s why we have optometrists and ophthalmologists, after all.)

3. “Accidental Creations or Discoveries.” When Fleming noticed the moldy bread and discovered penicillin, he was consciously conducting experiments, even though they were not directed at discovering penicillin. The fact that his efforts lead him to that discovery (imagine if he had been hungrier?) doesn’t change the cognitive aspect of the activity. I believe there’s a legal concept that says if you do an act, you’re deemed to intend what naturally flows from that act. (If you drive on an icy road and skid into a tree, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t “intend” to hit the tree. You did intend to drive under those conditions.) Accidents too are cognitive.
 

a. Regarding poor Leonard, tinkering is conscious activity. Does he sleep walk through it or does he consciously poke around, questioning, curious?

 

b. In your “cannon” example, yes, the lead ball is already in existence. It thinks of itself as a lead ball, and there is a “lead ball” Spiritual Realm ideal. (Presumably one of its Spiritual connections is that Superman can’t see through it...)

 

c. BUT – it does not think of itself as a cannonball – and therefore is not one – until after that idea first formed in Leonard’s mind. Until that moment, no Spiritual Realm ideal existed for it. And when that ideal developed, it was not for a fireworks tube that launched a lead ball up in the air. That ideal was for a cannon that fired a cannonball at a target. Several different ideals, actually, with several different connections – a completely new and different thing. As Pattern says, when do you have four legs attached to some wooden planks and when do you have a table? (To paraphrase Bishop Berkeley’s theory of “immaterialism,” an object exists only in the mind of the perceiver.)

 

d. Fire, I"m guessing, pre-existed all sapient thought except Adonalsium's. A form of energy that Adonalsium “thought of” and created “in the beginning."

4. Fireballs. I assume you’re being whimsical with your fireball comment. (What? Thermonuclear war isn’t enough for you?) But if you’re serious, your fireball description seems like something a Dustbringer can do.

5. Healing Proves General “Mind First” Model.
 

a. To recapitulate, the methodology of cognitively accessing the Spiritual Realm will differ from unique planetary/Shard system (a “System”) to System. Means of access is a function of (1) each System, and (2) as I’ve tried to show, the unique versions of the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms related to each System by virtue of each System’s unique social and material culture. Culture, of course, is in part itself a function of the System.

 

b. I expect Scadrial, Nalthis, Sel and Roshar to rely on different cognitive means of accessing the Spiritual Realm, for healing or anything else. Whether you empty f/gold “health” storage directly into your SpiritWeb (through a mental command); or draw an Aon, or carve a soulstamp, or infuse Stormlight to improve health, you are in each case following Brandon’s “Cognitive to Spiritual to Physical” model, not mine.

 

c. You say the following about healing:

 

“Two WoBs…would have us believe that it's a Spiritual impulse, filtered through the Cognitive, that guides Physical healing. So the soul never changes during the process (barring "patching", which looks like a different thing that is likely reliant upon Spiritual ideals rather than the Cognitive).”

 

            Let’s examine the first of these WoBs:

 

“QUESTION
Stormlight, I know it heals wounds and stuff like that but can it heal illnesses like colds?

BRANDON
Yes it can.

QUESTION
So if Kaladin suddenly contracted brain cancer...

QUESTION
It's plausible – it depends, see what it does is it takes your body and makes it align with your spirit, and partially through the filter of how you view yourself. So if you view yourself as sickly, then you won't.”

 

You see this exchange as requiring a “mildly radical re-shaping of how we understand the mechanism of magical healing,” from Cognitive- to Spiritual-centric. I disagree.

 

(1) First, I think we need to distinguish between directed healing and unconscious healing. The former relies on the “Mind First” model, and I don’t think you’d argue with that. The second is the kind of healing Kaladin endured after being hung out in the Highstorm and is restricted to self-healing. Kaladin was not awake, so his conscious mind couldn’t be directing the healing.

 

(2) It seems reasonable, though, that the unconscious mind can also direct healing. Everyone heals while asleep. I assume this is what’s going on, even if as a definitional matter unconscious activity cannot be “cognitive.”

 

(3) The problem with your analysis is that there’s nothing in the Spiritual Realm to initiate the process of healing. The Spiritual Realm IS. It changes only in response to external Cognitive Realm inputs. There is no “Spiritual impulse” that spontaneously originates change. The Spiritual Realm is IDEAL AS IS at any given time, unless and until it changes based on external Cognitive Realm inputs.

 

(4) Brandon’s statement acknowledges this. He refers to an “it” that “takes your body and makes it align with your spirit.” Purely based on syntax, that “it” appears to be Stormlight. And how does Stormlight enter your body? You inhale it, in a very specific way that Kaladin and Shallan had to learn. That step begins the healing process.

 

(5) On reflection, you’re right: soul “patching” is a “different thing” from “normal healing.” Normal healing looks at the SpiritWeb and brings the body into conformity with it. Soul-patching fixes the person’s SpiritWeb itself and is the way a person can acquire investiture and the ability to use it.

 

(6) As I said above, every form of self-healing involves investiture that is already part of and intimate with your own SpiritWeb. There is no “ideal self.” There’s no need for one. There is only a soul, and each soul is unique. More on this in response to your second WoB.

 

            d. Following are what I deem the relevant passages from the second WoB. I’ve interpolated my comments at relevant points:


Brandon: A lot of the Cognitive is - so like, the Cognitive has a bigger effect on how you can heal and things like that—does that make sense?

 

Kurkistan: Yeah.

 

Brandon: But the power to heal is actually a spiritual thing.

 

Kurkistan: So it's like the spiritual says "I want to be like this" and the Cognitive is like "okay I'll try really hard to be like that, but I have a limit."

 

Brandon: Right. Right. Filtered through how you see yourself, yeah.”

 

CONFUSED COMMENT (yes, my comments are “Confused”) : You keep insisting to Brandon that change begins in the Spiritual Realm, rather than in the Cognitive. It’s the other way around. Think of your Platonic “forms” analysis: the Cognitive command to “heal” references not only the injury but the person’s perceived self-image as well. The Spiritual Realm recognizes the command, checks it against that person’s ideal body form (not a generic “ideal” human), and reconfigures that person’s SpiritWeb to reflect the body that person expects to see. The Spiritual Realm does not change everything to an ideal form – it just does what it’s told to do. That change – healing – then automatically happens in the Physical Realm. There is no further interaction with the Cognitive Realm with respect to that change.

 

Your way creates redundancy. It starts with a “Spiritual impulse” and moves to the Cognitive Realm, acting like a puppy eager to please: “I’ll try really hard to be like that…” The “puppy” does what it can, but the Cognitive Realm is incapable of MAKING the change – “the power to heal is actually a Spiritual thing,” says Brandon. So the Cognitive Realm then sends a second command to the Spiritual Realm to implement the change, so it can take effect in the Physical Realm? Really? To continue…

 

“Kurkistan: [H]ow's [healing] work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

 

Brandon: You need to make a patch on the soul with investiture.

 

Kurkistan: So how's the investiture know where to go, what to look like?

 

Brandon: Well your soul _is_ an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do- to recreate that with um- see I'm getting into stuff with later books.”

 

CONFUSED COMMENT: All good here. I just wanted to comment on the “your soul is an ideal” statement. As I said above, there is no “ideal self,” just a unique soul. The difference is best expressed in the WoK scene where Hesina talks to Tien and Kaladin about spren:

 

“You have a soul, dear. You’re a person. But the pieces of your body may very well have spren living in them.” 

 

          - Kindle, p. 540, emphasis added.)

 

We know souls in Shadesmar appear as flame, but spren in Shadesmar appear as glass beads (unless you’re physically present there, when they can “harmmore”). I think the reason is that each soul is unique, but the body’s components, personified by spren, are not. The soul flames are like windows into the Spiritual Realm.

 

Brandon’s statement that the soul is itself “an ideal” is both true and untrue. It is true in that everything in the Spiritual Realm is an ideal or connection (and the soul is clearly not a connection). But it’s untrue in the sense that other ideals reflect multiple copies of themselves in the Cognitive Realm, unlike a soul, which is unique. There are no copies anywhere of an individual’s soul.

 

6. Finally, I want to thank you, Moogle, Chaos, Weiry, and the other administrators/moderators. You guys keep this Forum going with your institutional knowledge, your creativity, and your hard work. I don’t know what rewards you guys get for all this, but we in cyberspace much appreciate your efforts.

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a. We know self-healing is possible through the following means: Elantrians draw Aons,

 

Elantrians don't self-heal via Aons; being an Elantrian automatically causes your body to heal rapidly. They could, presumably, draw a healing Aon to heal themselves even more/faster, but that's not the automatic self-heal, and surely models more like the "heal others" kind.

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Also Allomantic pewter enhances the body's natural healing.

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@Confused
 
Re: Healing
 
Some fun facts: 
-AonDor looks like it has two distinct methods of healing people. The surgical methods already mentioned and a more general "make this dude less unwell" method. I talk about the distinction here. Moral of the story is that Raoden is capable of just drawing Aon Ien aimed at someone and healing them a bit, without any more knowledge or direction. It's noted in-book that this isn't the most useful method of healing because just drawing Aon Ien without any modifiers will just try to heal everything equally. So that guy with a slice on his thumb and a cut artery is going to get both of those wounds healed at the same rate unless you modify the Aon to focus on his neck.
 
-We've no direct evidence that normal Awakeners (vs. those who've just received a big dose of Divine Breath) have any special "active" healing powers. Immunity from disease/aging, sure, but we've yet to see one grow back an arm, nor any indication that that's how it works: otherwise I'd expect to see people being healed by huge temporary influxes of Breath n a regular basis, or the like.
--As a general note, I'd note that on Nalthis healing only seems to happen when you expend an entire Divine Breath all at once to do the job. It may well be that there's a way to rig a cache of 2,000 normal Breath to do the same thing, but as is it's not so much "self healing" as "any single person besides yourself assuming that 'yourself' is a Returned and you don't mind dying".
 
-By no means are all Elantrians bonded to Seons.
 
-If you want a Forgery's healing to be permanent it looks like it needs to conform to f.Gold-like standards in terms of the healed person's identity. If you want temporary Resealing then sure have at it and go fix people's eyes for 26 hours at a time.
 
-Feruchemists can totally heal other people (though in a roundabout way). Best guesses here look to the goldmind being "unlocked" by its Feruchemists storing all his Identity to the point where the attribute is "blank"; similarly there's some way for muggles to be able to tap metalminds, so presumably those other than the original Feruchemist could use f.Gold that way as well.
 

2. Self-Healing vs. Healing Others. I like this distinction because it represents the difference between patching one’s own SpiritWeb and patching someone else’s.

-This talk of healing being entirely about patching spiritwebs looks simply wrong. Healing can heal the soul, but that looks to work by a separate mechanism than most healing: if you're growing back an arm it's going to go an unharmed spiritual aspect talking to a (quite possibly also unharmed) cognitive to an unarmed physical. Szeth can't even manage a teensy little Shardblade wound, yet is quite capable of healing physical damage

 

You yourself seem to even come around to this eventually:

 

(5) On reflection, you’re right: soul “patching” is a “different thing” from “normal healing.” Normal healing looks at the SpiritWeb and brings the body into conformity with it. Soul-patching fixes the person’s SpiritWeb itself and is the way a person can acquire investiture and the ability to use it.

 

But at that point it seems like we're no longer talking about healing being about the Cognitive changing the Spiritual to change the Physical, like you have so far?

 
----
 
Re: Creations/Discoveries
 
It seems like you're stepping back from your original position here. Am I reading that right? You say:
 

b. In your “cannon” example, yes, the lead ball is already in existence. It thinks of itself as a lead ball, and there is a “lead ball” Spiritual Realm ideal. (Presumably one of its Spiritual connections is that Superman can’t see through it...)
 
c. BUTit does not think of itself as a cannonball – and therefore is not one – until after that idea first formed in Leonard’s mind. Until that moment, no Spiritual Realm ideal existed for it. And when that ideal developed, it was not for a fireworks tube that launched a lead ball up in the air. That ideal was for a cannon that fired a cannonball at a target. Several different ideals, actually, with several different connections – a completely new and different thing. As Pattern says, when do you have four legs attached to some wooden planks and when do you have a table? (To paraphrase Bishop Berkeley’s theory of “immaterialism,” an object exists only in the mind of the perceiver.)

 

So there's a physical thing. This thing behaves in certain ways, fulfilling certain functions. As a consequence of the characteristics of this thing, an idea/ideal of it is formed, codifying/categorizing that thing. It seems like the thing preceded the idea, then: it existed as a particular kind of object in and of itself before being conceived of as such. Yet by my reading you've been claiming that the canon simply didn't exist until its cannon-like qualities occurred to Leonard?

 

----

 

I deny your general assertion that the Spiritual Realm is incapable producing impulses independent of direct and temporally proximate Cognitive input; even if that is the case in some sense, then I further see no reason why the extent of the necessary Cognitive input couldn't just be the equivalent of a "do the thing" prompt that starts off an otherwise fully Spiritually-controlled process.

 

Re: 5.c ("You say the following about healing...")

 

I find that I'm having trouble parsing your arguments here.

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I would like to point out that, canonically, there are pretty strong reasons to believe that the Gonne existed as a concept before Leonard, and simply used him as its vessel. Discworld's narrative causality is very substantially different from the way the Cognitive and Spiritual interact.

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I would like to point out that, canonically, there are pretty strong reasons to believe that the Gonne existed as a concept before Leonard, and simply used him as its vessel. Discworld's narrative causality is very substantially different from the way the Cognitive and Spiritual interact.

 

Ah yes, I'd forgotten that apsect of how Leonard's genius works in Discworld. :/

 

Okay, so bad reference/example to use, though I believe the gist of the example is still clear enough.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Kurkistan:

 

About Leonard (the Cosmere construct, not the real thing), you are correct. We DO begin with a physical thing. BUT THAT THING IS NOT A CANNONBALL. It is a LEAD ball. A cannonball does not exist until Leonard first thinks of it as such, clearly enough that a Spiritual Ideal forms with appropriate connections. Those connections will be much different from a lead ball, even if the two balls share common weight and composition. If for no other reason than that a cannon is different from a fireworks tube -- with lower trajectory, better targeting capabilities, perhaps greater mobility -- the cannonball ideal and connections will be different from a lead ball's.

 

It is the same answer as the classic "chicken-and-egg" problem: THE EGG CAME FIRST. Whatever gave birth to a chicken wasn't a chicken. The genetic material contained in its egg mutated into chicken DNA. The egg contained a chicken even though Momma wasn't.

 

Most things evolve from something else -- very few discoveries spring up like Athena. Fireworks become cannons, cannons become muskets, muskets become rifles, etc. In the Spiritual Realm, these are all new and different things, even when they have very similar functions and precedents.

 

It's when you go back in time to the FIRST CAUSE, following the chain of causation to its beginning, that you run into the serious philosophical/religious issues. My OP interprets Brandon's writings and statements as requiring a FIRST MIND in the Cosmere before there was anything else. My other conclusions follow from that.

 

My healing analysis does need more refinement; it still contains some errors you and others point out. I hope to clean that up soon.

 

Do take another look at the first of my "Confused Comments" in Section 5d, near the end. That states my current thinking on how healing works realmatically. Thanks!

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So how do you reconcile this "it existed and had the same form/function, but wasn't technically a cannon" with:
 

2. The idea that Physical Realm manifestation is the last to occur doesn't mean that the "Gonne," like Athena, springs full-formed from its creator's head. It means, in your example, that Leonard couldn't create the Gonne in the Physical Realm until he first conceived it and had a very clear idea of what it will be. As I said in the OP, "until the Spiritual Realm ideal has established its connections with other ideals, the original idea cannot take tangible form in the Physical Realm."]


What you said earlier here seems to indicate that the cannon itself couldn't have been physically constructed until after the idea for it had been conceived.

 

By your new analysis/phrasing, it looks like Leonard very well can create the Gonne, but he'll just be thinking of it as that fireworks stick that happens to accelerate lead occasionally.

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