Confused

“Mandates” of the Known Shards

20 posts in this topic

[i've amended this post to reflect the many excellent comments of posters.]

 

My thesis is that the Shards' names do NOT accurately state their mandates (what we've been calling "intents"). Odium does not mean "hatred" (and is certainly not "evil"); Honor does not mean "honor"; and Cultivation does not mean amber waves of grain. I also don't think Endowment refers to body shape. They're all just cool-sounding placeholder names that vaguely relate to the mandate.

I use the word "mandate," rather than "intent" for two reasons. First, "intent" implies choice. You can change your mind and hence your intent. But "mandate" is compulsory. A Shard may fight against a mandate's compulsions, but it is a struggle, not a choice. (Chaos coined the term "intent" in an excellent post some years ago called "The Principle of Intent." The Coppermind considers the term non-canonical, although Brandon himself often uses it.)

The second reason is textual. In HoA, Sazed describes the mists as acting with a "vague will of their own tied to the mandate of their abilities" (HoA, Chapter 79, emphasis added.) This phrase clearly refers to what we call "intent." Since Sazed says "mandate," so do I. Feel free to use "intent" if you'd like.

Before commencing this discussion, permit me...

 

A Personal Note

 

Many posters have kindly commented on my "creative" (that's spelled "N-U-T-T-Y") theories . To me, that's the value of having one's ideas vetted. You've helped sharpen my ideas and arguments, as reflected in this revised OP. I've learned things from you folks.

I've been active lately because of the gift of my first Kindle a few months back. I LOVE actual books - the touch, the smell, the heft. But OMG, the convenience of e-books! I can search, highlight and take notes!

The first two books I bought and re-read were, naturally, WoK and WoR. I consider WoK the best full-length novel Brandon has written - better than any of the Mistborn books, better than WoR, better than anything other than The Emperor's Soul, which is a jewel.

 

I began thinking of how things worked in the Cosmere. I questioned everything and turned everything upside down and backwards. Examples of my questions include

  • Is Odium an entropic hero for splintering Shards? Does he really want to be "last Shard standing" or will he splinter himself in the end, supplanting a magical oligarchy with a magical democracy (or at least a republic) of splinters?
  • Is Honor a good guy (Tanavast did buy Hoid drinks once), or has he restrained social, material and biological evolution on Roshar by binding things up and slowing things down?
  • What happened to the friendship between Hoid and Rayse that now leads Hoid to so fear Rayse?  (Hoid visiting Braize is "The Biggest RAFO!!!!" according to Brandon.)

I'd already come up with close to 30 topics by the time I posted the first one the other day. But my ideas aren't fully ready for Prime Time. My "Confused Theory of Everything" is still too confused. (Not that that's going to stop me...)

 

I posted anyway because a recent topic on Honorblades being fabrials came close to my idea that the Heralds are spren. (None of you agree with this idea - yet - but as Gollum said to Frodo when he entered Shelob's cave, "you'll see, you'll see...")

 

Once I came out with that Honorblades post, I had to start posting other topics, ready or not, because they're all interconnected. That's one reason you people have been so helpful. (After I'm done with this writing Surge - a long way to go yet - I'll probably settle back, read a bunch of stuff you folks write, and try to get my revised Theory out before Oathbringer.)

Which takes me to this post. People may not agree with my analysis here either, although I don't think this one will be too controversial. But it became necessary to finish this one because of the nature of the objections to some of my other posts. Life's complicated, and so is writing. Here we are.

 

And to those of you waiting for my responses to your comments on other threads, they're still coming. I owe A LOT of people responses on A LOT of threads.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Now, where was I? Oh, yes: The Shards' names, while cool-sounding, relate only vaguely to their mandates. For example, Brandon says

 

"Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy."


March 2013 Reddit Interview (No. 1) (emphasis added).

 

Sazed is consonant:


"It is too easy for people to characterize Ruin as simply a force of destruction. Think rather of Ruin as intelligent decay. Not simply chaos, but a force that sought in a rational - and dangerous - way to break everything down to its most basic forms

 

HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 8 (emphasis added).

 

I've theorized that Adonalsium's power chose each person who became a Shard based on the compatibility of the Shard's mandate with that person's unconscious drives. This has led to controversy, especially over Ruin/Ati. Many disagree with that theory.

 

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER or why the power chose its Shard, or whether the Shard chose its power, or whether it was all random, the mandates are nonetheless real. Sazed makes that clear, as he does the fact that the mandates come from Adonalsium and pre-exist the Shards.

 

When contemplating each mandate, I've tried to be as "abstract" as possible (which for me may not be much), encompassing the broadest swath of human behavior. A mandate should not be too specific or restrictive.

 

So, without further delay (1,000 words or so into this essay), here's my take on the "mandates" of the known Shards, other than Ruin (intelligent decay) and Preservation (stability).

 

SHARD MANDATES

 

Cultivation

 

Cultivation's mandate is SURVIVAL - to proceed, to move on, to progress, regardless of obstacles - life must continue. Cultivation doesn't care whether it continues as greatshells or as cremlings. Like the Nightwatcher, who is partially her spren, Cultivation represents the randomness that produces evolutionary effects.

 

Cultivation as a Shard is neutral in the conflict between Honor and Odium, even though the person who became Cultivation may once have cared for Tanavast. If anything, Cultivation favors Odium's mandate (see below) because it leads to the kind of aggressive competition Darwin described as "natural selection," later termed "survival of the fittest" by Herbert Spencer. 

 

Kaellok in a post below believes "GROWTH" would be a better descriptor for Cultivation's mandate than "Survival."
"Growth" to me moves only in one direction, towards more and more life. Left to itself, uncontrolled Growth would fulfill Malthus's theory -- geometric proliferation causing all life to cease, running out of some essential element. Just as Ruin and Preservation needed each other, Cultivation requires a decaying, entropic agent for life to flourish. That's why Brandon says Ruin's mandate may be most compatible with Cultivation's. "Growth" includes no entropic agent.

 

In 2012, Brandon inscribed in a copy of The Way of Kings that one Shard was in hiding and concerned with its survival. After searching the database, I found this "paraphrased" report:

 

"So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about."

 

I view this statement as strongly implying the "survival shard" is Cultivation. (There may be other threads on this subject; I haven't checked.) The "off planet" stuff is important. I believe the three moons of Roshar are the Physical Realm embodiment of Honor's, Cultlivation's and Odium's power, their "bodies." Each Shard's color is thematic: Honor is blue, Odium is purple, and Cultivation is green. That is the color of each moon. The person who became Cultivation, and whose mind still wields Cultivation's power, may not be on that moon, however (or on Ashlyn, third planet in the Roshar system). I believe that's what Brandon means when he says that Shard is in hiding. Technically, the Shard and the person are one, not a separate "holder" and Shard.

 

Devotion and Dominion

 

Devotion and Dominion established a symbiotic relationship. Perhaps they were lovers before they were Shards. Pre-splintering, Dominion created the form necessary to access investiture - the means to control that investiture (or so I believe). But it was Devotion's investiture that Dominion controlled - Dominion took what Devotion willingly and lovingly gave.

 

I believe the Shards' splintering caused the fragmentation of Selian magic systems. We know from The Emperor's Soul that soulstone (or whatever its name is) fell from the sky on MaiPon. I posit soulstone came from the fracturing of Dominion's moon (his body). Wherever his meteors fell, a different magic system was created based on how much of his body fell there. Moogle has "reminded" me that the Dor is a mix of Dominion's and Devotion's investiture. Because the Dor supplies the investiture that executes the Aons' commands, I speculate that Devotion's investiture dominates that mix.

 

Devotion's mandate is LOVE: goodness and giving. Dominion's mandate is CONTROL: to take possession of and develop, manage and expand. I think Brandon's idea is in part the Biblical directive for humanity to be stewards of the land.

 

Endowment

 

Brandon describes Endowment's gifts of Breath as "sticky." Unlike Stormlight, Breath does not dissipate. The nature of "endowment" is to bestow a permanent foundational gift on someone.

 

Endowment’s mandate is GENEROSITY: helping others even at great cost to yourself. The Returned - who hold Divine Breath, splinters of Endowment that carry her mandate - are visible examples. (Thank you, both Moogle and Weiry, for clarifying the nature of the Returned. I hope I got it right this time.)

 

Moogle suggests that Endowment's mandate is closer to "Sacrifice," pointing to the Returned. There is a large element of that, no question, but in trying to expand the mandate as broadly as possible, I chose "Generosity."

 

Honor

 

Honor's mandate is RELATIONSHIPS. Syl describes herself as "Spirit of oaths. Of promises. And of nobility." (WoK, Kindle p. 913.) As an honorspren, she "binds things." Oaths, promises and nobility all establish social organization among humanity. "Unite them." Honor imposes the Social Contract, from family to clan to country to world.

 

I broadened Honor's mandate in this revision to eliminate the qualiier "all living organisms" after "Relationships." I propose that Honor creates organization - "Relationships" - in EVERYTHING...right down to the molecular level. Else, how could he have provided the Heralds the Surges he did?

 

Regarding biological relationships, I do not believe Cultivation by herself could create complex organisms. It's not in her nature to care about that. Cultivation would be as happy playing with her pet paramecia, amoebae, viruses and bacteria all the time. Honor provides the organizational tools to begin constructing the building blocks of life.

 

Odium

 

I agree with Kaellok: Odium's mandate is AGGRESSION (not Intensity, as first proposed). Odium takes normal feelings and sharpens them, readies them for battle, makes them more "in your face." In the WoR I-11 Interlude, Eshonai feels Fury, Irritation, Spite. The old rhythm of Amusement is replaced by a new rhythm of Ridicule. Brandon makes us FEEL Eshonai's heightened aggression in her encounters with the Five. We know (believe? status?) that one of the Unmade, a splinter of Odium carrying his mandate, causes the Thrill to "surge" through the Alethi. While the Thrill enthralls him, Dalinar "bellows," "roars," and "growls." Check out his battle scenes.

 

Because of his Aggression, Odium is a loner, individualistic, inherently divisive, incapable of bonding or forming relationships. By virtue of his very isolation, Odium must be careful, foresightful and cunning if he is to survive. He helps Cultivation grow life through his Aggression mandate - "survival of the fittest;" as mentioned above.

 

Contrary to a popular view, Odium is not evil, anymore than a lion or tiger is evil. His mandate is to sharpen normal reactions with Aggression.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Once again, thanks all! I look forward to your comments.

Edited by Confused
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*Rubs hands together in parody of thread theorizing serial killer*

Well, knowing now that you're seriously theorizing, I feel much better about critiquing you :) and don't worry about your lack of knowledge on WoB's or the amount of critiquing you've gotten. Most of us have gone through it, and my early ideas weren't as interesting as yours predominantly.

The biggest problem right now, is that the shards did not choose the shard holders. They aren't, as far as we know, Wands choosing wizards. Throughout many WoB's and I think an epigraph or two, as well as Sazed's ascension, we know that people take up the shards.

I hold with the traditional view of Intents, and take the meanings of the shards names pretty literally, so I don't have much input on your idea of mandates except that ehh, it's possible.

I like your analysis of Devotion/Dominion as it coincides with how I think of them very closely. Especially that you don't associate dominion as Bad shard intent as many sharders have.

We're pretty sure that Rayse, or Odium, has almost always been a very bad fellow, so even if the intent or mandate of his shard isn't evil in itself, he could definitely have molded it towards himself just as shardic intents over whelm their holders.

Cultivation and Odium /could/ be working in loose concert, but I think the cultivation invested spren's partnership with the KR points against this.

The WoB that speaks of the survival shard is pretty clear that it's a shard we haven't ever seem, although I'm afraid I'm on mobile and bad with looking up WoB's anyway so I can't link it right now.

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First of all, thanks for taking the time to write out your theories. It's always nice to see something new.

 

A few thoughts...

  • We actually have a few WoBs you didn't include. For example, Odium involves being hated/hating others. You're spot on about Devotion meaning Love; that was even the Shard's original name, just as Odium's was Hatred. (I am afraid I cannot find the WoB for this one, and would love if anyone could back this up.)
  • Tricky terminology: the Returned are not Splinters, but their Divine Breath is. Naturally, I agree on Endowment being about sacrifice. (Note that the Returned who's pre-Return deaths we learn of are almost all those who sacrificed themselves for others.)
  • I don't believe anyone but you has brought up the form-based magics of Sel being Dominion's influence. I adore the idea and agree with it pending stronger evidence, after some thought. (It's like programming by WoB, so precise instructions to control magic evokes Dominion for me, anyways. Maybe it's because I'm a programmer.)
  • I don't believe the Dor is Devotion's Investiture, however - I would strongly guess it's a mix of both the Shards. My personal feelings (speculation) is that their Splintered power suffuses the Cognitive (we have three main WoBs informing this for me - these WoBs saying location matters, and this WoB saying location doesn't matter in the Spiritual), forming the Dor. We have this unclear WoB on the matter.
  • Cultivation, I'm maybe 90% of the way there with you. Cultivation is certainly about life, and not necessarily Earth-like life (Roshar is, by WoB, actually quite lush). I also agree with the comparison to her being close to Ruin, but that may be because I sort of view Taravangian as Cultivation's "champion" with his pruning of non-united leaders to create a stronger Roshar. I don't see her as necessarily being about life surviving/overcoming obstacles.
Edited by Moogle
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Confused, your theorizing is a very welcome breath of fresh air from a newbie! I'm glad you're part of this forum. Your argument is well thought out, and I agree with the idea that Shard's are not limited to their named Intent. I agree that their Intent is not so black and white. But part of the forum, as your first 800 words state, is to discuss what we read in a critical, yet friendly manner. So here it goes. 

 

First, though, a question: what's the difference between a mandate and intent? They seem synonymous here. Could you further explain why you make such a distinction? I believe that what you are calling mandates are just additional aspects of the Intent, or even, speculatively, old vestiges of the shardholders original personality. 

 

With regards to Cultivation potentially being the survival Shard, I'm not inclined to believe this. The question Chaos posed to get this answer was simply: 

 

 

Chaos: Give us the name of a Shard's intent we have not seen before.

 

Brandon: There is one who just wants to hide and survive.

 

Unless Brandon completely disregarded the "have not seen before" aspect, I doubt it's Cultivation. (Granted, he does misunderstand questions asked of him sometimes, but this one was written down.) Furthermore, if you were trying to hide from Odium, would you hide in the exact same system as him? The only time you'd do this is if you assume that his backyard would be the last place that he'd look for you. Odium probably isn't stupid and already knows that Cultivation is on Roshar since we know the two were romantically linked to each other and came to Roshar at the same time.

 

Now, if Odium is going about killing Shards, why would he not kill Cultivation? My theory: because WOB says:

 

  INTERVIEW: Mar 11th, 2014QUESTION
Are the Parshendi of Cultivation?
BRANDON SANDERSON

Not originally.

 

The Parshendi, while not originally of Cultivation (nor are they originally of Odium), are now somehow linked to Cultivation. If Odium kills Cultivation, he'd probably alter some of his agents on Roshar in an unknown way. This is probably a risk he's not willing to currently take.

 

Lastly, I don't agree with your mandate for Odium. As you noted, Odium is associated with negative connotation; anger according to you. Intensity does not need to be negative. In fact, intensity can be a very positive attribute. For example, intensity is needed for extreme concentration; is a hallmark for ambitious people; and is basically a requirement for being POTUS, otherwise the POTUS would never be taken seriously. People who are very cautious can also be very intense. Furthermore, someone passionate about something can be described as intense. 

 

The word odium is defined as "general or widespread hatred or disgust incurred by someone as a result of their actions." I think that synonyms for this would be abhorrence and loathing. When Eshonai feels spite, irritability, and fury towards her surroundings, is it derived from Odiuim's intent? I'd say yes. Are these her natural feelings? I'd say no. So why is she suddenly feeling all of these negative things? Because of Odium's Intent of hatred and disgust. Maybe, what you seem to call mandates, the secondary part of his Intent is an amplification of this hatred. He flames (or, using an Allomantic term) or riots a person's negative and abhorrent feelings. 

Edited by Titan Arum
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I've never heard of Endowment referring to body shape. I have always thought it involved gifting something, you endow something with your breath. 

 

Devotion & Dominion

Devotion was held by Aona, so its pretty safe to assume that the Aons in AonDor were "Created" by Devotion (Aona), not Dominion.  What we currently know about the magic system on Sel is only post Odium's visit.  Supposedly the magic worked very differently before Devotion and Dominion were splintered, and after the splintering they kinda meshed together to form AonDor.

 

Odium

If odium is intensity, couldn't he intensify relationships between people, or create an intense feeling of love???  You make it sound like Odium is a Rioter from Scadrial, able to intensify emotions, which includes all emotions (positive emotions).

 

I agree that Odium isn't inherently evil.  Just like a robot programmed to do evil isn't actually evil, the programmer is.  Odium is doing what Odium is supposed to be doing, which is good.  I think this will eventually get pretty philosophical, the nature of good and evil.  The fact that without evil, there is no good.  Without Odium, life would be purty boring...Crises precipitate change, change is necessary for the continuation of humanity, so Odium is seen as good from the perspective. 

 

Another point that hatred isn't necessarily evil either.  I hate mosquitoes, but I don't think that makes me evil.  You can hate someone that is a very bad person, and then that hatred could be seen as good.

 

In any case, there is more going on with Odium that we have yet to discover

 

 

 

Interesting viewpoints, I like.

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I wouldn't blame the programmer for an evil robot, I'd blame the person making the specifications for the robot, personally.  Although, I'm saying that mostly as a programmer. Blame project management. :P

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I wouldn't blame the programmer for an evil robot, I'd blame the person making the specifications for the robot, personally.  Although, I'm saying that mostly as a programmer. Blame project management. :P

HAHAHAHAHA omg that is fantastic (I used to be a programmer, and I still deal with project managers)

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The intent or mandate that is Odium is not inherently evil. Rayse, however, was not a good person when he took up the Shard. As stated in the letter, this is what makes Odium particularly dangerous.

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The intent or mandate that is Odium is not inherently evil. Rayse, however, was not a good person when he took up the Shard. As stated in the letter, this is what makes Odium particularly dangerous.

Ahh, you probably should take the letter with a grain of salt. Whoever wrote the letter (whom most of us probably agree upon) is inherently biased. If this person had some disagreement with Rayse then of course they'll say he's not a good person. But there is no guarantee that this is true.

 

It's all a matter of personal opinion. For example, in US politics, a very liberal Democrat would say someone like a super conservative Republican is not a good person...whereas people who agree with the super conservative republican would disagree with such an assessment. 

Edited by Titan Arum
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Response Time!!!!!

 

Leftinch:

 

All I can think of when I see your name is “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Very distracting…

 

I use the word “mandate” rather than “intent” for two reasons. First, “intent” implies choice. You can change your mind and hence your intent. But “mandate” is compulsory. A Shard may fight against a mandate’s compulsions, but it is a struggle, not a choice. (Perhaps you know that the word "intent" was invented by Chaos in an excellent post some years ago called "The Principle of Intent." The Coppermind considers it a "non-canonical" term.)

 

The second reason is textual. In HoA, Sazed describes the mists as acting with a “vague will” of their own “tied to the mandate of their abilities.” (HoA Chapter 79, emphasis added.) This phrase clearly refers to what we call “intent.” Since Sazed says “mandate,” so do I. Feel free to be “old school” if you’d like.

 

Anyway, to substance. Let’s start with your “biggest problem,” that the Shards didn’t choose the “shard holders.” (Just so we’re clear, while I’m okay with distinguishing between Shards and their “holders,” and have done so in the past myself, as a technical matter, I believe the Shard and its “holder” are one. That’s why I use the phrase, “the person who became a Shard.”)

 

I think the Shards DID choose their “holders.” But let’s suppose it was random or even the opposite way (the “holders” chose their Shards, as some believe). Does any of that change the mandate analysis in any way? That analysis interprets how the Shard expresses its power, not how it became that Shard in the first place.

 

I think we all agree that mandates define how Shards express their power. Mandates involve action. The best example to me is the comparison between ReShephir, the Midnight Mother, and the lightweaving Herald (whose name I don't remember and am not looking up.) I believe they both use Illumination- and Transformation-type powers. (I'm sure those powers have different names for Odium-spawn). But the Midnight Mother makes Midnight Essence, different from, e.g., what Shallan does with lightweaving. Same powers, different result. Action, not name.

 

Thus, rather than rely on Shard names, I prefer to look at what Shards do. For example, I don't think “intelligent decay” is what one immediately thinks of as "Ruin.” I'm reasonably confident about the general nature of the mandates I defined…except for Odium.

 

The nature of Odium is to be alone and to divide others because a hateful person does not want to be around "happy" people and wants to take away their happiness. Okay. But what follows from that?

 

Here, you and the others have persuaded me. Spite, Ridicule and Fury ARE an amplification over more temperate emotions. More than mere amplification, however, they are hate-tinged. Just as Odium’s investiture turns windspren into stormspren (I believe), that stormspren with Odium’s investiture colors less volatile emotions with hate.

 

But “Hate” isn’t quite the right word for Odium’s mandate. Not everything Odium expresses is “hateful.” I believe the aggressiveness needed to survive – survival of the fittest – is not “hateful.” But it can lead to violent impulse.

 

I invite you and others to come up with a single word for Odium’s mandate other than the too-easy “Hate.” ("Aggression"?) All credit to you for the effort.

 

And for you and others who have raised this issue, I DID NOT SAY CULTIVATION IS THE “HIDDEN SHARD.” I said it might be an unknown Shard, but the description also applies to Cultivation (which it does).

 

That inscription comes from 2012, before WoR was published. With my new fancy-dancy Kindle, I discovered that the ONLY reference to “Cultivation” in all of WoK was on page 995. There, Honor mentions Cultivation without any identification other than that she’s better than him at seeing the future. So at the time of the question, Brandon may have been thinking about Cultivation. All I’m saying is the inscription description applies to her, not that it IS her.

 

Moogle:

 

Thank you, as always, for your kind words. I did post a response to your comments on the “Sel magic” thread. I accept the Dor information and answer the question about Sel’s magical fragmentation by saying it’s the result of the shattering of Dominion’s moon and where the pieces fell.

 

Titan Arum:

 

Wow! Checking the Forum while you’re in Southeast Asia! Impressive! You ARE a “Titan”!

 

I think I answered your question about Cultivation in my response to Leftinch (whether or not you accept the answer). As for “hiding in plain sight,” where better to hide?

 

Actually, you misstated some things. Honor and Cultivation came to Roshar before Odium. Honor and Cultivation were romantically involved. It’s been speculated that Rayse was jealous of the two, but I’m unaware of any confirmation he was also romantically linked with Cultivation. Metaphorically, it would make sense if he was, given their mandates, creating the perfect and necessary “life triangle.”

 

(Plus, I believe the Nightwatcher is a spren of BOTH Cultivation and Odium: cognitive boons and curses. It’s part of how Honor has trapped Odium in Greater Roshar. So I guess Odium knows where to find Cultivation, with their minds linked. NOW, whether he knows where the person who became the Shard is hiding is another matter…)

 

Regarding your definition of the word “odium,” see my comments above. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

 

Tobar14:

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! You’ve never heard of a man or woman being described as “well-endowed”? Pardon the terrible pun, but thank you!

 

See what I said to Moogle above. You’re right about the Dor and the splintering. I think I’ve addressed both issues.

 

It’s interesting that both you and Titan reference rioting. That’s a great observation and consistent with my general belief that all powers are the same; only the Shards’ manner of expression differs.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

 

As always, thank you all!

Edited by Confused
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Contrary to a popular view, Odium is not evil, anymore than a lion or tiger is evil. His mandate intensifies normal reactions with an angry edge.

 

 

Odium

 

I agree that Odium isn't inherently evil.  Just like a robot programmed to do evil isn't actually evil, the programmer is.  Odium is doing what Odium is supposed to be doing, which is good.  I think this will eventually get pretty philosophical, the nature of good and evil.  The fact that without evil, there is no good.  Without Odium, life would be purty boring...Crises precipitate change, change is necessary for the continuation of humanity, so Odium is seen as good from the perspective. 

 

 

Odium is evil.  I'll skip most of the morality arguments I want to make, and jump straight to the bone!

 

The Parshendi.  They are sentient, sapient creatures.  And they can be forced to bond a spren against their will, which then hijacks their control of themselves.  Odium, or his Splinters, are then in control of the person's actions, and to a large degree even the way that they think.  This is evil.  For me, it's very nearly the actual definition of evil--an action that destroys or prevents another's ability to choose (it's more complicated than that, because of reasons, but that's the core of it.  That's where my definition starts.)

 

Odium isn't mindless destruction or hate or what have you.  A hurricane isn't evil, even though it kills/maims/destroys/etc.  But Odium is sentient, sapient, and intelligent.  If the force or power compelling Odium is strong enough that he literally cannot stand against it (back to your Mandates), then he is very much a victim; but that doesn't change the evil-ness, because the Shard and the Shard-holder are the same.  (Similarly, I feel Szeth is evil, much as he is also very much a victim.  Eshonai is, as well.  And probably there should be forgiveness for them when they regain their ability to choose.  Odium/Rayse is unlikely to have that ever occur, and after a few thousand years of periodic annihilation may be a classic case of beyond redemption.)

 

Specifically to the bolded comment of tobar14, there can absolutely be good without evil.  I've deleted around 500 words of philosophy discussion on this subject because it's a fairly minor and off-topic point.  So, I disagree!  Good is the primary/natural state, evil is what happens later.  By evil we are able to define good, but good would exist with or without that definition.

 

 

I do like the idea of the Mandate.  I'm not sure that it's important or matters, but I love speculating about things (I tried speculating for gold a few times.  And once for diamonds.  Turns out a creek-bed in Kansas isn't a great place to look for them, but meh.  I had fun, and didn't really think I was right, but OMG what if I had been?!)  However, I do think that the name of the Shard is very closely tied into whatever their Mandate might be, so their Mandate should incorporate or satisfy it.

 

 

Cultivation

 

Cultivation’s mandate is SURVIVAL – to proceed, to move on, to progress regardless of obstacles – life must continue. Cultivation doesn’t care whether it continues as greatshells or as cremlings. Like the Nightwatcher, who is partially her spren, Cultivation represents the randomness that produces evolutionary effects.

 

Honestly, I think that GROWTH would fit better than survival.  More specific and narrowly defined, while in keeping with the actual name.  Without knowing more about Cultivation, hard to say for sure, but survival just seems really weird to me.

 

 

 

Odium

 

Odium’s mandate is INTENSITY. He takes normal feelings and heightens them, usually in a negative way. Check out the I-8 Eshonai Interlude in WoR. Eshonai feels Fury, Irritation, Spite. The old rhythm of Amusement is replaced by a new rhythm of Ridicule.

 

 

 

 

But “Hate” isn’t quite the right word for Odium’s mandate. Not everything Odium expresses is “hateful.” I believe the aggressiveness needed to survive – survival of the fittest – is not “hateful.” But it can lead to violent impulse.

 

I invite you and others to come up with a single word for Odium’s mandate other than the too-easy “Hate.” ("Aggression"?) All credit to you for the effort.

 

 

When I was reading through, I also had a problem with Odium's Mandate being Intensity. Interestingly enough, something that I was considering even as I continued reading through the thread was Aggression.  I mean, unless you would accept "Slimy Hate" :)  (You know, the kind that splashes and sticks to everyone it's even near.  The kind of hate that one person can have that can ruin an entire team's dynamic, even when it's pointed in a completely different direction.)  Another possibility might be Destruction.  Not intelligent ruin/decay/entropy, but the overwhelming desire to break things just because they are there.  Not necessarily focused, either, but lashing out at whatever is nearest and easiest, OR whatever has brought attention onto itself.  Still seems not quite right.

 

Towards Honor, I agree with much of what you've said (I disagree about the multi-celled thing and how it relates to Cultivation), but Relationships isn't quite right.  And yet, once again, I'm struggling to think of what it might be.  Maybe just Binder?  Binding?  Seal?  (Not the adorable sea burrito, or the singer.  The other kind.)  Glue?  Oh, Harmony, of course!  Duct Tape.

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Titan Arum:

 

Wow! Checking the Forum while you’re in Southeast Asia! Impressive! You ARE a “Titan”!

 

I think I answered your question about Cultivation in my response to Leftinch (whether or not you accept the answer). As for “hiding in plain sight,” where better to hide?

 

Actually, you misstated some things. Honor and Cultivation came to Roshar before Odium. Honor and Cultivation were romantically involved. It’s been speculated that Rayse was jealous of the two, but I’m unaware of any confirmation he was also romantically linked with Cultivation. Metaphorically, it would make sense if he was, given their mandates, creating the perfect and necessary “life triangle.”

 

(Plus, I believe the Nightwatcher is a spren of BOTH Cultivation and Odium: cognitive boons and curses. It’s part of how Honor has trapped Odium in Greater Roshar. So I guess Odium knows where to find Cultivation, with their minds linked. NOW, whether he knows where the person who became the Shard is hiding is another matter…)

 

Regarding your definition of the word “odium,” see my comments above. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

Wait a second...how did you know I was posting from Southeast Asia?! I didn't mention it here. Did I mention it somewhere else? I'm in Cambodia for a few weeks for work...

 

Thank you for catching my mistake. I meant to say Cultivation and Honor were romantically linked, but that's what I get for hastily writing something! Also, I am starting to really like your idea with the mandates. Thanks for clarifying mandate vs. intent in your response to LeftInch. 

 

Hmm, your idea of the Nightwatcher as a spren of both Cultivation and Odium is interesting. I like the idea, but I could argue that it is still just of Cultivation. Let's look at the mandates you and kaellok mention: survival and growth.

 

Both survival and growth require fallow periods, for plants (especially agriculture) and animals. These fallow periods are usually seasonal. Think dry season or winter vs. wet season and summer, for example. Thus the curse of life is our fallow period. Plants and animals cannot always constantly bear fruit or explore the land looking for food and mates.  Beacause both need fallow time to flourish.

 

For animals, this is rest, hibernation, etc., which typically occurs during the cold or dry season. For plants it is perseverance through the dry and cold times when growth is stunted or deferred as well as letting fields go fallow to re-nourish the soil. This curse makes us stronger and makes both more adaptable. Thus, in my mind, this aspect of boons and curses could be just from Cultivation. 

Edited by Titan Arum
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Haha yes I have heard that phrase, I just haven't heard of anyone in the Sanderverse consider that the Endowment Shard referred to bewbs and/or shafts.

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Never mind.

Edited by LeftInch
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Cultivation is neither simple survival, nor unrestrained growth. Cultivation is flourishing, or improvement. When you cultivate something, you make it better or more useful. You don't simply focus on its survival, nor on its growth, unless those are the sole criteria of utility (utility used both in the literal and ethical sense). If you have a garden, and you cultivate it, you don't just care about the survival of the plants. You want to maximize their yield. But this isn't just growth, either, since you'll have to trim and prune them to get the most out of them.

 

Odium isn't just aggression, either. Odium is the divine hatred, separated from the other qualities that direct it. The difference between Odium and Ruin is a matter of different objectives. Ruin is impersonal, and seeks a vast goal of ultimate entropy. With Odium, on the other hand, it's personal. Hatred is directed at things which are perceived to be wrong on some level. For Odium alone, separate from other Shards, there are no other qualities to determine what is wrong or right, so everything is considered wrong. Ruin doesn't have any particular dislike for anyone or anything, but everything is made up of substances which could be in a more entropic state. Odium doesn't care about the entropy level of anything, as long as it gets to destroy you. And everyone and everything. Aggression doesn't quite get at that, because aggression is more about methods than objectives. You can help someone in an aggressive way. You can't help someone in a hateful way, unless you believe that your help will be harmful (which doesn't count as help). You can help someone you hate, if you've got a good enough reason, but you'll help them reluctantly rather than hatefully.

 

The other characterizations of the Shards don't look obviously wrong.

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I agree with Shaggai about Cultivation. I believe her mandate can be sumed up as "Progression towards more complex physical/biological and mental/social forms"

To add my interpretation, I believe Honor's mandate is "Simetry", especialy, but not exclusively, social simetry, as in the golden rule.

Edited by CognitivePulsePattern
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Just finished HoA for the second time.  One of the quotes from Sazed is that Ruin's intent ("mandate") is change, which is why it is balanced with Preservation.  

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The problem with Odium seems to be, that he is neither intention nor mandate - it is an emotion.

Is it really possible Adonalsium had only this emotion?

I don't think so, hence we get the possibility for more "Emotion-Shards" like perhaps "love", "fear" and so on.

But with emotions singled out as Shards, neither of the "Intention/ Mandate-Shards" would have its own emotions, only indifferent mandates/intentions - they need human beings for an emotional balance.

And the problem with an "Emotion-Shard" could therefore be the intensivation of a single emotion, because humans normally are in possession of every emotion.

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Confused, I'm going to nitpick one particular argument you made above. Now to be clear, I actually really like your theory. And this argument isn't really important to your overall idea. So...

 

You said that you believe that ReShephir has the same surges as Shalash. WOB confirms that there are NOT 10 Unmade, so I don't believe we can match them up with the Heralds in that way.

 

And as a side note, I always think of the Shard as a busty woman because of the phrase you mentioned. But I recognize that is probably not what Brandon had in mind when he came up with the name... (or maybe he did). One of the definitions of endowment is a person's natural abilities or talent. A definition of endow is to provide something freely or naturally. It's also a financial term, which I think derives from the word dowry (or dowry is derived from the same word as endow). This financial term is essentially giving a gift of money to some person or institution.

 

So my interpretation of Endowment's intent or mandate involves both the possession and the ability to gift natural talents and abilities. Nalthians inherently have an increased sense of life and their senses. They also have the ability to gift this natural endowment to others, or even to inanimate objects in order to allow them to act on a Command.

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