Senor Feesh

Cognitive vs Spiritual: Musings and extrapolations

3 posts in this topic

So there's been some discussion of late regarding what pertains to the spiritual realm, and what is a cognitive aspect. I propose that part of the reason that there's some fuzziness here, is because one thing can be considered both cognitively and spiritually. I'll try and explain.


From the Emperor's Soul, we know the cognitive realm governs how an object is viewed, and how it views itself. The spiritual contains an object's essence, and its connections to the things and people around it.


So consider then, interpersonal relationships. Cognitive, or Spiritual? I consider myself to be many things (a son, a father, a brother) and yet, would I not be said to have a connection to my brothers, my son, my parents? Based on this, I would say that these things are of both realms - or, more correctly, that there is a representation of them in both realms.


Why the distinction? Well, consider siblings - hell, let's just go with the cliché - twins separated at birth. They grow up in different families, living totally different lives, possibly in different countries. Cognitively, they have no knowledge of each other; they view themselves in the context of their adoptive families (possibly without even knowing they are adopted). However, would this mean they have no Spiritual connection? Is that connection lost because they were separated by simple physical distance? I believe no.


Now, this is where it gets tricky - how does this apply to other types of 'connection'? For example, cultural identity. I'm a big fan of KChan's theory regarding how regional magic works on Sel. One of the stipulations of this theory is that your cultural identity determines which regional magics you can access. So, is cultural identity cognitive or spiritual?


I can go either way here. Galladon has access to AonDor, but his father was Elantrian, and he lived in Elantris for much of his life (and later, lived in northern Duladel, close to the Arelish border). You could argue for both a cognitive (he sees himself as at least partly Arelish) and spiritual (through familial connections; living in Elantris forming spiritual connections) reasons for his being taken by the Shaod. Shuden, by contrast, uses ChayShan, a decidedly Jindo form of accessing the Dor. It's been mentioned that he likely still considers himself more Jindo than Arelish, despite living in Arelon. I don't know if we know where he was born or not, but racial heritage may (or may not) also play a part in both spiritual and cognitive perceptions. So again, a Jindo, born and raised in Arelon may well view himself as Arelish, whilst still having a spiritual connection to the Jindo homeland.


I think that could be a good question for Brandon actually... If a child was born or Jindo parents, but raised in Arelon, by Arelish parents, would he have access to AonDor, ChayShan, or both?


I'm sure people can think of plenty of supporting and contradictory arguments to my idea - please tell me what they are! I'd love to know what you all think :)


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I don't have the time to read/reply to this in full just this moment, but we've recently gotten yet another statement on the nature of the three Realms, if you want to take a look:




1) You've mentioned several philosophical concepts used in the writing of your books, like Jung's collective unconsciousness, Plato's cave. Could you expand a bit on your use of those in your books, and whether you think it is necessary to use philosophy to make a good fantasy world?

1) I don't think it's necessary at all. The writer's own fascinations--whatever they are--can add to the writing experience. But yes, some philosophical ideas worked into my fiction. Plato's theory of the forms has always fascinated, and so the idea of a physical/cognitive/spiritual realm is certainly a product of this. Human perception of ideals has a lot to do with the cognitive realm, and a true ideal has a lot to do with the spiritual realm.

As for more examples, they're spread through my fiction. Spinoza is in there a lot, and Jung has a lot to do with the idea of spiritual connectivity (and how the Parshendi can all sing the same songs.)


You could take this and interpret this as people's Cognitive aspects being approximations of their "true" selves in the Spiritual Realm, to a certain extent. So the Cognitive is based on the Spiritual and is more malleable while the Spiritual can (very slowly) be changed by the Cognitive, but is generally fairly unmoving. I've touched on this in my Forms thread.


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Ooh, somehow I'd missed that one... that's really cool. I'll have a look-see on the forms thread later. Thanks Kurk :)


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