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The Cognitive Realm is one of the best-kept secrets of the Cosmere. Sometimes it almost feels crowded considering how little people know about it. Between the Physical and Spiritual Realms, the thoughts and ideas of intelligent beings take shape in this dimension. Worldhoppers use Perpindicularities to enter this realm physically and take shortcuts to other worlds. It is also the home of the spren of Roshar. In this Letters from the Cosmere Elsric takes a solid look at the Realmatic Theory about the Cognitive Realm and how its rules work for a Worldhopper. 

Here is this episode's transcript:

I wonder if writing two letters back to back for the same person makes me conceded, or desperate. It seems haughty that I would already have something apparently so important to inform you about. Yet I waste your time with frivolous sentences about what I happen to be thinking at any given moment. The fact that I am enjoying the thought of you forcing yourself to read this right now seems to establish the point quite nicely.

Well now that we have that out of the way, you must understand that the scholar in me cannot simply let my first letter be whisked away with only a generalized version of “The Cosmere.” I mean the fact that you found me in my little Manor on Nalthis proves that you understand that much about the Cosmere already. But I needed to start somewhere and I cannot help but think that someday someone will be reading these words who has never learned Realmatic Theory before. So, to you my future reader, turn back now before the insatiable curiosity grabs you by the throat and drags you away screaming. It will be easier for you to just move on, living your life.

Now that I have your attention, dear reader, and your annoyance dear recipient, I wish to better define the Cognitive Realm and its import on my life. I first discovered a perpendicularity by accident. I had been delving into the secrets my rivals were trying very hard to keep. Let me remind you that a perpendicularity is a location or event where concentrated investiture creates a hole between dimentions. I like to think of them as Shard Pools. Call me simple minded, but they are places where investiture pools together all at once.

 I have thought long and hard about this. We exist in three (known) levels of existance simultaneously. We are very familure with the physical nature of our existance for it is the one we we are born interacting with directly. We are also existant in the spiritual realm where our essence is at it’s most pure. Somewhere between these two realms exists the Cognitive realm. This realm exists as a smoky mirror of it’s more substantial counterparts. The Cognitive realm reflects the physical realm in general shape, but is maluble and easily changed with investiture, which essentially is energy from the Spiritual Realm.

The three realms exist in states that are fundamentally different from each other, despit the fact that they are intertwined. The physical worlds upon which we live are large planets suspended in around suns. We live on globes where if we travel in a strait line for long enough, we will end up right where we started. These spheres are the separated from others like them by vast distances in space.

The Cognitive realm follows a different set of ruls. Everything there essentially exists on a 2 dimentional plane. Now it’s not literally two dimentional, for when you visit it will feel similar to the surface of your homeland. If you think of a planet as a globe, then the cognitive realm is like a map of the globe. Essentially they are same in shape, but the Cognitive Version of the world has edges that extend into the beyond. When you move off the cognitive world, you step into a dark zone where little to nothing exists. This essentially is leaving the planet. In fact, all cognitive realms are connected to every other world populated with intelligent beings. Because the landscape is created and maintained by intelligent, cognitive thought, it means that the gaps between worlds is relatively small. This two-dimensional existence and connection between the various worlds is what allows worldhoppers like myself to travel across the void and into other nations and cultures.

One of the great secrets of the Cosmere is not just the fact that there are other worlds with people on them, but that there are more than can currently be visited. In my travels, I have passed over worlds with populations that are isolated from the rest of the Cosmere. Worlds where there are no natural perpendicularities. Someday I hope to visit these worlds somehow, perhaps discover how humans came to live there without the intervention of a Shard. I’d even assume that they have no access to investiture, but that would be presumptuous of me.

I also need to note something that I forgot last time. Each world looks different in the Cognitive Realm. Now there are consistencies, like how bodies of water tend to be represented as stable landmasses in the Cognitive Realm while typical landmasses are large churning oceans of thought that can be quite deadly to a worldhopper who is not careful. However, each world’s cognitive realm has it’s own flavor. For instance, much of Scadrial’s Cognitive Realm is made up of massive seas of mist, whereas on Roshar the ocean seems to be made up of tiny glass beads. Naturally I will be able to tell you more about the Rosharian landscape and Cognitive Realm once I get there.

Now you need to remember that these oceans are not a natural phenomenon like a lake or river. These swirling depths are manifestations of the millions of minds that live in the Physical Realm. All things that have a name, a concept, or dream are manifested as tiny intelligences in the Cognitive Realm. The more personification or sentimental value that people give their objects in their world create larger, and more powerful cognitive minds. It is the use of these cognitive minds that, make living in this Realm possible for these cognitions can often be enlisted to help you, especially when you have investiture to offer.

Lastly, I wish to comment on the freaky pale sun that hangs ever present over the Cognitive realm. Here there is no night or day, it’s just constantly a dull grey. The ball of light that you can see is the Spiritual realm. Honestly I’m not sure how that works but the other worldhoppers I have run into have mentioned that fact. Somehow that is what connects us all together. It’s strange, and I am sure I will have more to say on that eventually.

I know I come off bitter in these letters, but you must understand my reluctance to getting involved. I don’t think I am any better at sharing information that you and your kind must be. Yet, your master’s proposal was intriguing to say the least. Besides, I owe him for saving my life. Don’t get too comfortable back there, you’ve reawakened the scholar in me. Once I get to Roshar I will locate and use a perpendicularity to return to the Physical realm. I hear it is quite a place to visit, although the rumors coming from that direction do not bode well.

 

Until the next letter,

Elsric

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By accident?  Elsric found his first perpendicularity by accident.  What.  Unless Elsric's worldhopping career predates the Final Empire (and also presuming that Elsric is in fact Scadrian by birth), I have immense difficulty picturing how he could have stumbled upon, say, the Well of Ascension, or stumbled into the Cognitive Realm from the depths of the Pits of Hathsin.  

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On 5/9/2017 at 0:43 AM, Landis963 said:

By accident?  Elsric found his first perpendicularity by accident.

I honestly never thought that this fact would throw you for a loop. But I did choose the word very carefully. There are a couple ways "accident" can be interpreted. For instance, I trip accidentally, which is an action I never wanted to commit but happens too fast for me to stop. There is also the accidental consequences like when in chess I take the rook with my Queen and then suddenly lose my queen to a knight I didn't notice. This is where an intended action had unintended consequences. Finally, there is the surprise discovery. Like the discovery of penicillin where in the quest to accomplish one thing, additional effects are generated almost like and afterthought. 

 

Yet another hint at the story underneath...

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22 hours ago, TheBlueShifting said:

I honestly never thought that this fact would throw you for a loop. But I did choose the word very carefully. There are a couple ways "accident" can be interpreted. For instance, I trip accidentally, which is an action I never wanted to commit but happens too fast for me to stop. There is also the accidental consequences like when in chess I take the rook with my Queen and then suddenly lose my queen to a knight I didn't notice. This is where an intended action had unintended consequences. Finally, there is the surprise discovery. Like the discovery of penicillin where in the quest to accomplish one thing, additional effects are generated almost like and afterthought. 

 

Yet another hint at the story underneath...

Hm... Surprise discovery, you say?  An intended action had unintended consequences, you say?  OK, things become clearer, but how in the world was Elsric not utterly destroyed by those "unintended consequences"?  

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