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We have seen the aftermath of splintering on both Sel and Roshar. In both cases we ended up with some pretty strange magical entities with semi-sentience: Spren on Roshar and Seons on Sel. Why were these created?

I've been wondering if raw investiture naturally seeks out cognitive forms to merge with. So when any shard is splintered the unbound investiture combines with things like spren or Aons which represent that planet's cognitive forms. It could be a random thing and not really directed by anyone. Another possibility, the investiture could already have a spiritual form and would seek out the cognitive form that matches best.

Perhaps splintering creates an imbalance where pure investiture doesn't have enough substance in the cognitive or physical realms. It needs to combine with a cognitive form and a human host to restore realmatic balance. Without this balance the Shardic power cannot be controlled and if left unchecked will lead to catastrophic consequences.

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Interesting theory. Seons seem to fit the intent of "Devotion" pretty well, and Syl refers to herself as an "Honor" spren.

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Though Nohadon refers to spren and the nahel bond in Dalinar's vision, and Tanavast did say that he personally witnessed many of the events. So there were apparently spren sentient enough to "choose" humans before Honor was Splintered. I realize there are a few gaps in my reasoning; I think you've got some good points, it's just something else to consider.

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We have seen the aftermath of splintering on both Sel and Roshar. In both cases we ended up with some pretty strange magical entities with semi-sentience: Spren on Roshar and Seons on Sel.

 

That implies that spren are Splinters of Honor. This isn't confirmed yet. While it's confirmed that the Aons inside the Seons are Splinters of Devotion I don't remember outright confirmation that spren (or parts of them?) are Splinters of Honor (though it seems likely to be so).

 

Why were these created?

 

Why, and how ... I'd like to know, too.

 

 

I've been wondering if raw investiture naturally seeks out cognitive forms to merge with. So when any shard is splintered the unbound investiture combines with things like spren or Aons which represent that planet's cognitive forms. It could be a random thing and not really directed by anyone. Another possibility, the investiture could already have a spiritual form and would seek out the cognitive form that matches best.

 

Help me: The Aons are the Splinters. You think there is a step between the shattered shardic power and the Aon (inside the Seons)?

 

 

Perhaps splintering creates an imbalance where pure investiture doesn't have enough substance in the cognitive or physical realms. It needs to combine with a cognitive form and a human host to restore realmatic balance. Without this balance the Shardic power cannot be controlled and if left unchecked will lead to catastrophic consequences.

 

I admit that those thoughts about cognitive and spiritual things aren't really my thing. But I'd like to point out that there indeed seems to be a great difference between the "unbound power" and/or Splinters on Sel and those on Roshar:

 

 

sufficientlyadvanced

It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

Brandon Sanderson ()

It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.

Phantine

Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...

Windrunner17

This is an awesome answer!

If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

Thanks!

Brandon Sanderson

No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The Seons and the Skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

source

emphasizes are mine

 

Though the emphasized part corroborates your theory (but doesn't proof it), in my understanding this quote kind of cuts across your theory, but, bear with me if I'm wrong and help me closing my gasps.

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I see merit in the theory but it needs refining.

 

As Meg says, it's true that the WoB on this is that the Aons are the Splinters. So, according to your theory, the Aons merged with something to become Seons. Maybe the same thing merged with Skai's Splinters to become the Skaze. Someone theorized that these would be the Lost Ones? in the Derethi religion.

 

Regarding the sprens as a relief valve, I understand this as saying that sprens would naturally merge with the Splinters from Honor, thus resulting in Honorspren. Or something like that...

If I remember correctly, BS said to the question "did sprens existed before Honor Splintering?" to "there were spren before, but they were different". Matching that to Dalinar's vision where Nohadon says that not all Nahel bonded sprens are as discerning as honorsprens, lead me to think that honorsprens were the only ones with Honor power in them before the Splintering, but that right now the Splintering caused a lot of Splinters to get loose and search for something to merge with. Instead of humans (or maybe, apart from humans) they found a lot of sprens available, so they took them.

 

It's too late and I won't probably reconnect for a couple days, if proper quotes are needed I'll oblige in a couple days, sorry for the laziness...

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there were apparently spren sentient enough to "choose" humans before Honor was Splintered.

I believe spren that bond with KRs were intentionally formed by a merging of Honor and Cultivation's investiture prior to the splintering of honor. The more numerous spren visible throughout the planet were created as a consequence of unbound investiture.

That implies that spren are Splinters of Honor. This isn't confirmed yet.

I'm not certain they are splinters, but feel confident the spren we see all possess some investiture.

Help me: The Aons are the Splinters. You think there is a step between the shattered shardic power and the Aon (inside the Seons)?

The Aons are just a bunch of lines. I think the reason they are important is because the symbols became associated with powerful cognitive forms. There is no inherent reason why the lines and dots of Aon Ehe are linked to Fire, but on Sel that association is so well established that the cognitive form of fire Fused with that symbol. My theory is that unbound investiture naturally binds with local cognitive forms. This could be random and the investiture just gets bound to whatever forms are "nearby". Another possibility, the investiture that deals with Fire would seek out the cognitive form of Fire and bond with it. On Sel that would create a glowing Aon Ehe, on Roshar that would create a flamespren. One reason these are so different is due to the way local people conceptualize fire.

I'd like to point out that there indeed seems to be a great difference between the "unbound power" and/or Splinters on Sel and those on Roshar

I don't really know why Roshar doesn't have the same problems as Sel. Perhaps Honor was splintered differently, or perhaps someone is controlling most of the investiture that was released. Could be related to differences in cognitive forms, the Oathpact, Cultivation interfering, Odium investing in the planet, the Heralds mitigating the damage etc. Too many variables, not enough data.

EDIT: just noticed the new post- "So, according to your theory, the Aons merged with something to become Seons."

According to my theory, the unbound investiture merged with a cognitive form and took the shape of the corresponding Aon. The Seon seems to be a combination of the investiture, a cognitive form and a human soul-bond. I'm speculating these correspond to the three realms and only with all three can you control the shardic power.

Edited by Isomere
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I would like to throw this out since it is kind of related to what you are talking about and I kind of want to set this straight for myself since I need to figure this out.

 

Spren and Seons act as "release valves" for uncontrolled Shardic energy.  The process is more efficient on Roshar then on Sel (which is why its hazardous to go to the Cognitive Realm on the latter and not the former).  Likely this is because spren are more numerous than seons.  Why is this the case?  Only one shard splintered on Roshar, two splintered on Sel.  Spren existed prior to the splintering of Honor.  Perhaps the pre-existing spren were used as a model for the splinter-spren meaning it was easier to set up release valves?  But Sel didn't have anything like spren so it to longer to set up the release valves before critical mass was reached?  I really don't know what any of this means...

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In addition, because I insisted that we didn't know for sure about Honorspren:

 

 

Q: Are Honorspren Splinters, or do they hold Splinters?
A: Honorspren would be termed Splinters.

source

 

 

So: Honorspren are Splinters.

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Well I have to say that this is the first time I've been tagged by name. ;)

 

Interesting theory. I've been kicking around something similar for a bit now, but I'm liking the articulation we're getting here.

 

I must say that I like Alatar's suggestion that there were no "new" spren formed when Honor shattered, but instead existing spren attracted the spare Investiture and were changed by it.

 

@Meg

 

Nice quoteage.

 

----

 

One thing to note is that I've begun considering the possibility that my discussions of Investiture as purely Spiritual up to this point might be too narrow. It may well have a significant Cognitive component in and of itself.

 

After all, we have confirmation that Splinters are a blend of Cog/Spirit, the "Investiture" of Allomancy always changing the mind, and Leras somehow being able to "spend" the power of his mind in order to trap Ruin.

 

Just something I thought I'd mention, going forward. :)

 

---

 

P.S. I missed this thread when it first came up, then clicked the "forms" tag to find one of my old posts and saw that someone else had actually used it. Imagine my surprise. :D

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I wonder if this could help explain how Kelsier was able to take up Preservation momentarily. It's always bugged me that he could pick up the Shard, even momentarily, when Vin had to go through the Well to be attuned to it.

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Vin did not have to go through the well to be attuned to it though.  No more than Sazed had to.  When Vin took up the power at the well, she did not take up the shard Preservation.  Leras was still alive (though extremely weak) when Vin took up the power at the well.  As to her taking up the shard via mist-burning, that occurred after Leras died.  It is important to note that she mist-burned twice previous to that and the first time was pre-well.

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Yes. As near as I understand it, the theory is that "being a shard" is something you can practice and get better at; Vin's moments of mist-burning, as well as her time at the Well, "prepared" her somewhat for taking up Preservation, and presumably made it easier. It wasn't necessary. Some people can quit smoking cold-turkey, and some people need to do it in stages. Both are possible, maybe one way has advantages, neither is mandatory.

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I found this marvelous collection of quotes that Shardlet posted from a recent signing. One in particular seem relevant to this thread:

A splinter is a term used by certain people in the cosmere for power of Adonalsium which has no person caring for it, no…no person holding it, which has attained self-awareness.

Honorspren are confirmed splinters. The more common spren, like painspren, may hold investiture but don't seem to be sentient and so are not Splinters. Unbound investiture is confirmed to exist, and my idea of it naturally merging with local cognitive forms remains speculative.

I must say that I like Alatar's suggestion that there were no "new" spren formed when Honor shattered, but instead existing spren attracted the spare Investiture and were changed by it.

I also think existing spren attracted (or were attracted by) the investiture and were changed by it. I'm not certain if any new spren were formed.

@Kurk: I still feel investiture is almost purely spiritual, but you bring up good points. If my theory is correct, splinters would gain a strong cognitive presence by inheriting the attributes of the Spren/Aon they merge with. That doesn't explain why investiture changes the mind of the user though.

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I think the problem lies in the fact that there is a lot of unbound power of creation. I have a theory about Investiture. Therefore according to my theory, the spiritual Investiture which was splintered has not yet gained sentience in Sel. Therefore while this spiritual Investiture continues to control a lot of the power of Creation, it does not actually do anything. So this power of creation remains uncontrolled and freely flows through the cognitive realm in Sel, causing problems for Worldhoppers.

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If pure Investiture seeks out a cognative form, why haven't the mists and their forms (lerasium, Well liquid) done this? Why havn't the highstorms (which are similar to the mists acording to WoB) done this?

I certainly think that Splinters always seek out a Cognitive form, but not all unbound investiture does so.

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I like the theory. More so since you clarified what you meant. One thing though.

 

 

Honorspren are confirmed splinters. The more common spren, like painspren, may hold investiture but don't seem to be sentient and so are not Splinters. 

 

When Syl was describing her existence before Kaladin she didn't sound very sentient. If I recall correctly she was just blowing around on instinct.  At the very least she wasn't very sentient (If such things have degrees). This was the impression I got anyway. I could be way wrong.

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When Syl was describing her existence before Kaladin she didn't sound very sentient. If I recall correctly she was just blowing around on instinct.  At the very least she wasn't very sentient (If such things have degrees). This was the impression I got anyway. I could be way wrong.

There are those, myself included, who believe that most Splinters (Seons, Honourspren, Divine Breaths) needs to bond or fuse with an external conciousness to gain sentience for themselves. Alone and at the start of her time with Kaladin, Syl was rather like a child with an ephemeral memory, yes. But if you read closely, you'll notice that the becomes more intelligent and discerning as the story progresses. While she still hasn't regained (and notice the choice of words) her full memory, she has attained her full personality by the end of the Way of Kings:

 

Mike

Has Kaladin's windspren Syl reached the epitome of her consciousness or will we see a smarter spren in future books?

Brandon Sanderson

Syl has recovered everything of her personality. There are things she doesn't remember, and things she can still learn to do, but she has recovered her personality in full.

<source>

Edited by Aether
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There are those, myself included, who believe that most Splinters (Seons, Honourspren, Divine Breaths) needs to bond or fuse with an external conciousness to gain sentience for themselves.

 

 

Do you have any other examples? I'd think it was the exact opposite - spren have their own cities without being bound to humans, unbound Seons are still conscious (they just bond with humans because they're bits of Devotion and like doing that), Nightblood gained sentience without being connected to a human (though it did have to be hooked up to a form by a human I guess), the face Kaladin sees during his near-death highstorm experience which was probably a Splinter was sentient, and the very reason humans themselves are sentient is because they have a little 'Splinter' in them.

Edited by Moogle
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Do you have any other examples? I'd think it was the exact opposite - spren have their own cities without being bound to humans, unbound Seons are still conscious (they just bond with humans because they're bits of Devotion and like doing that), Nightblood gained sentience without being connected to a human (though it did have to be hooked up to a form by a human I guess), the face Kaladin sees during his near-death highstorm experience which was probably a Splinter was sentient, and the very reason humans themselves are sentient is because they have a little 'Splinter' in them.

Most of the Splinters we've seen and heard speaking in the Physical Realm have been bonded to someone to some extent:

  • Seons bonds with their masters. When this bond was disrupted by the Reod, the Seons thus afflicted lost their sanity and their ability to communicate with others
  • Honourspren seems to gain sentience through Nahel bonds with humans. Sylphrena speaks of her memory of her time before bonding with Syl as cloudy. Her thoughts and attention-span being as fleeting as normal Windspren, and her memory. ephemeral. After bonding Kaladin, she slowly regained her personality and her ability to think, as well as her personality. I'd say she was regaining her sentience.
  • Some think that the Return really are dead, and that their sentience and apparent resurrection is just the effect of their Divine Breaths fusing with what is left of the original mind. They do not initially have any memory of their former life, and while they slowly regain their personality and some of their memory, this could be interpreted as the Divine Breath becoming more and more attuned to the original conscience.

Now, with the release of the first chapters of Words of Radiance, it has become evident that there are sentient Spren around who haven't bonded with anyone. This might only be possible in the Cognitive Realm, though, as Lift's Interlude quite clearly suggests that Wyndle - even when meticulous precautions had been taken - lost much of his memory when transitioning his conscience from the Cognitive to the Physical Realm. It is entirely possible that if had he not bonded Lift, or if the bond was broken, he'd become like Syl unless he could return to Shadesmare.

 

I am doing a lot of conjecture here, but it s clear that at least some splinters are dependent upon a bond with an external entity, and there are sufficient gaps of knowledge to make it possible for this to be limitation of Splinters mainly manifested in the Physical Realm only.

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If pure Investiture seeks out a cognative form, why haven't the mists and their forms (lerasium, Well liquid) done this? Why havn't the highstorms (which are similar to the mists acording to WoB) done this?

I certainly think that Splinters always seek out a Cognitive form, but not all unbound investiture does so.

The mists, Lerasium, Atium, stormlight etc. are not what I consider unbound investiture. All things exist in all three realms, and those are the physical realm manifestation of a shard, literally their physical body. Just as I claim my own hand to be bound to me, so too is the mist bound to Harmony.

In terms of Splinter definition, I'm still in favor of the thresholds theory: unbound investiture can't gain sentience unless it has a certain minimum quantity. Once that quantity is attained it will develop sentience, but only in the cognitive realm unless it is also bound to a person via Soul-bond.

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