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So I'm working on getting one of my friends into the cosmere, and after reading Warbreaker, she expressed hopes of seeing more Lightsong in the future even though he died. While I don't think that will happen, it did get me thinking about how the Returned are cognitive shadows "stapled" back to their bodies with their Divine Breath, and now I'm wondering again if the cognitive realm on Nalthis is just full of redead Returned just hanging out as cognitive shadows. Does anyone know if Brandon has said anything about this? Do cognitive shadows ever get the chance to go Beyond? I have so many questions now because of this.

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The way that I've understood Cognitive Shadows function is that they don't feel the pull from the beyond, but that they can absolutely go to the Beyond by choice. 

TLR was a Sliver, which should have automatically qualified him as a Cognitive Shadow, and didn't hesitate to go beyond.

So I imagine there are probably a few dead Returned trolling the Nalthian CR. Most of them probably do go beyond though, especially the ones who fulfill the goal they returned because of. 

Unfortunately for your friend, Lightsong fulfilled his reason for returning by helping prevent another Manywar. He most likely went beyond. 

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Another possible consideration is that Cognitive Shadows need to be permeated with Investiture to resist the call to pass Beyond. When a Returned gives up their Divine Breath, that probably requires them to give up the Investiture that would 'anchor' them after death so even if Lightsong wanted to hang around after dying (again) he might not have had a choice in the matter.

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10 hours ago, Weltall said:

Another possible consideration is that Cognitive Shadows need to be permeated with Investiture to resist the call to pass Beyond. When a Returned gives up their Divine Breath, that probably requires them to give up the Investiture that would 'anchor' them after death so even if Lightsong wanted to hang around after dying (again) he might not have had a choice in the matter.

Yeah i essentially think this. A Cognitive Shadow have their souls basically overwritten with investiture, analogous to petrified wood. I think the act of 'giving up ' a divine breath is using that investiture to heal in one big packet. As the soul only existed in the form of that investiture, there's no soul left afterwards. When normal people give up their Breath they're just losing an addition to their soul in the Physical Realm. But a Returned is their Divine Breath, their formerly living soul was just copied by pure investiture, a Splinter. That's my take anyway. 

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2 minutes ago, Extesian said:

Yeah i essentially think this. A Cognitive Shadow have their souls basically overwritten with investiture, analogous to petrified wood. I think the act of 'giving up ' a divine breath is using that investiture to heal in one big packet. As the soul only existed in the form of that investiture, there's no soul left afterwards. When normal people give up their Breath they're just losing an addition to their soul in the Physical Realm. But a Returned is their Divine Breath, their formerly living soul was just copied by pure investiture, a Splinter. That's my take anyway. 

I disagree. If "giving up" the investiture achieved this, and didn't permanently alter the Cognitive aspect to resist the pull from the beyond, then after TLR expended the power of the well, he should have returned to normal. 

Of course this depends on how similar to regular Breath a Divine Breath really is. If it stays a chunk of investiture adhering to, but not actually integrating with the soul, like normal Breath, then yes they'd pass on. 

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Just now, Calderis said:

I disagree. If "giving up" the investiture achieved this, and didn't permanently alter the Cognitive aspect to resist the pull from the beyond, then after TLR expended the power of the well, he should have returned to normal. 

Of course this depends on how similar to regular Breath a Divine Breath really is. If it stays a chunk of investiture adhering to, but not actually integrating with the soul, like normal Breath, then yes they'd pass on. 

 But...TLR wasn't a Cognitive Shadow. He was a Sliver. A Cognitive Shadow is someone who has died and had their soul replaced with investiture. A Sliver is someone who never died, still has their soul, but it's been augmented by massive amounts of investiture held then released. TLR didn't move straight on because his original soul was still there, and bolstered. I'm arguing a Returned is different because it's not their original soul augmented with investiture, their 'soul' is that investiture. That may be wrong of course but TLR isn't comparable to a Returned. 

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@Extesian I understand the difference. Unless I've drastically misunderstood things though, I think the moment Rashek died he became what we think of as a Cognitive Shadow. 

Investiture users, at least in an end positive system such as Allomancy, resist the pull longer. I believe that as a Sliver, TLR would have been allowed to remain indefinitely and thus have been classified as a Cognitive Shadow. It was only by his own choice that he left. His demeanor and abrupt departure make that choice clear in my opinion. 

So as I said previously, I believe this depends on how similar Breath and Divine Breath truly are. If the Divine Breath only acted to hold their Cognitive aspect in place, but never integrated into their soul they would pass on. This would mean they were not truly a shadow by the definition we use in the first place as their soul was never suffused with investiture and they were just held back temporarily. 

If, on the other hand, the Divine Breath suffused their Cognitive aspect and made them into a Shadow as we define it, by their soul being replaced with investiture, they would remain despite the Divine Breath leaving, because they have been altered. 

Does that make sense? Have I misunderstood something? 

Edit: in SH Nazh speaks of rites and rituals involved in becoming a Cognitive Shadow. I always imagined these as a process to expand their souls to persist after death. I don't think this process involved dying. 

If it's not already obvious, I disagree with the in world theory that a Cognitive Shadow is a copy, and not the actual person. I disagree partly because of what Nazh said but also because, and I personally think this one pretty much proves it, because of Kelsier. 

When Kel entered the Well he was fighting the pull to the Beyond. After entering the pull ceased. There was no separation of Kel's Cognitive Aspect, and a copy staying behind. The pull simply ceased. He never went Beyond. 

Combine this with what Nazh said, and I believe that the Cognitive aspect in the Cosmere is what we traditionally think of as the soul. It is what travels to the afterlife, leaving corpses in both the physical and spiritual realms. 

A Cognitive Shadow then, in my opinion, is the result of interacting with enough investiture to anchor someone from passing to the Beyond at any point before they pass on, whether living or dead. A Sliver then, by definition, will become a Cognitive Shadow at the time of their death, and only pass on if they choose to do so. 

Edited by Calderis
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@Calderis that does make sense to me now. We seldom disagree which is why I laid out the basics even though I know you know them :) and sorry about the TLR thing, i meant to distinguish this way. At the time that TLR died, his soul, like everyone's, was intact and has some time in the CR before getting pulled to the Beyond. I completely agree the could have stayed longer or indefinitely because he was already so invested he could remain as a Cognitive Shadow. My argument was that, with a Returned, they had no 'natural' soul, that the Divine Breath doesn't anchor their natural soul, it comprises it. And that when they expend the Divine Breath, that is expending the investiture that their soul was made up of. 

However I realized this WoB makes that probably wrong. 

Quote

Q: Cognitive shadows have been a popular topic recently, so I figure I can try to clarify some things about them:
    When you say that the Returned are cognitive shadows, are they shadows of the people they were pre-death? In other words, is Lightsong Llarimar's cognitive shadow stapled to his body with a Divine Breath?
    We've seen cognitive shadows in the Cognitive Realm (e.g. Kelsier), and in the Physical (Returned, Shades, Heralds (kind of, sort of)). Is it alright to refer to shadows both with and without a body as "cognitive shadows"?
    Is death in the Cosmere a two-stage process? It seems to me like (under normal circumstances) the body dies first, sending the mind fully in the Cognitive Realm; the soul, presumably, remains in the Spiritual for the entire process. I am a little unclear on what happens after that though - what is it that passes into the Beyond, just the mind? Does the soul / spiritual aspect / Spiritweb just kind of... break down in the Spiritual Realm, turn into free investiture?
 
A: Point one: Yes, they are. (The evidence in the books is Lightsong obtaining some of the memories his pre-death soul had.)
Point two: Yes. The shadow is the spirit, though, so there is some distinction.
Point three: Yes. It's a two stage process, and most of what you said is correct. The odd thing is, though, that the spiritweb doesn't completely break down (just like your body doesn't immediately break down.) Even after a long time, there's a record of that spirit web in the spiritual realm.
 
Q: Wait wait wait. If there is a "corpse" of Spiritweb (so to speak) and actual, physical corpse is also there... Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy? Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy if you really know what you're doing and have some useful powers (manipulating Connection comes to mind)?
Could you patch the remnants of the Spiritweb and staple it to the body and end up with some zombie-zombie Lifeless? You'd still need to give it a mind but I figure Awakening is just doing that?
 
A: RAFO.

So yeah if the Divine Breath is only being used to staple the Cognitive Shadow to the body, and the CS is made up of different investiture, it's much more likely that giving up the Divine Breath simply severs the connection to the body and the CS still exists on the Cognitive Realm. The reason I'm not convinced of that is because a CS in an end - positive system exists because they used or held so much investiture during their life. A Returned however did not necessarily use or hold much during their lives, they were usually just normal people. So for them to have enough investiture as a Returned to become a CS, I feel that must be from the Divine Breath. And by giving that up they rip away the investiture that is the building blocks of their soul. Does that make sense?

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17 minutes ago, Extesian said:

A Returned however did not necessarily use or hold much during their lives, they were usually just normal people. So for them to have enough investiture as a Returned to become a CS, I feel that must be from the Divine Breath. And by giving that up they rip away the investiture that is the building blocks of their soul. Does that make sense?

Yeah. That's why I added the qualifier to my assertion. If a Divine Breath functions like Breath does then they wouldn't have the necessary investiture suffusion to remain. 

If that is true though, it creates a classification of Cognitive Shadow that is separate from the way we normally use the term. In this case they are only a Shadow for the time that they hold a Splinter of Endowment, and their souls were never saturated with investiture. This runs counter to the way we speak of Cognitive Shadows as a whole. 

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11 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Yeah. That's why I added the qualifier to my assertion. If a Divine Breath functions like Breath does then they wouldn't have the necessary investiture suffusion to remain. 

If that is true though, it creates a classification of Cognitive Shadow that is separate from the way we normally use the term. In this case they are only a Shadow for the time that they hold a Splinter of Endowment, and their souls were never saturated with investiture. This runs counter to the way we speak of Cognitive Shadows as a whole. 

Yeah makes sense. I think either way Returned are different. A normal CS has their soul infused with investiture as a natural consequence to holding and using investiture. A Returned however is an artificial process, Endowment chooses to give it to someone and they accept. So the question is whether when that happens, Endowment separately infuses the soul with investiture AND gives a Divine Breath to staple it to the body, or whether the Divine Breath is the only gift and it performs both those functions. If so, giving it up would be giving up the soul. Another difference could be that this is investiture of Endowment, even if Returned are exactly the same as other  Cognitive Shadows, they simply have the ability to give up their soul to restore another soul. That's not a classification problem, just a result of the Shard's intent. 

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12 minutes ago, Extesian said:

Another difference could be that this is investiture of Endowment, even if Returned are exactly the same as other  Cognitive Shadows, they simply have the ability to give up their soul to restore another soul. That's not a classification problem, just a result of the Shard's intent. 

I hadn't considered that option. It would make their self sacrifice a true sacrifice. They'd be not only killing themselves, but unmaking their souls to preform their healing. It fits the intent, and the reason for them not persisting in the CR but damnation, that's a cost. 

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13 hours ago, Extesian said:

I think the act of 'giving up ' a divine breath is using that investiture to heal in one big packet. As the soul only existed in the form of that investiture, there's no soul left afterwards. [..] But a Returned is their Divine Breath, their formerly living soul was just copied by pure investiture, a Splinter. That's my take anyway. 

9 hours ago, Calderis said:

I hadn't considered that option. It would make their self sacrifice a true sacrifice. They'd be not only killing themselves, but unmaking their souls to preform their healing. It fits the intent, and the reason for them not persisting in the CR but damnation, that's a cost. 

A good way to settle this(good lord you two can discuss:)), would be to ask Brandon is a Returned would be capable of Returning again if Endowment wished it or if there's a "one-time only rule" that not even Shards can break.

I feel like we are less likely to get a RAFO when a simple yes/no can suffice without the explanation, and he can choose whether or not to give further details.

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5 minutes ago, The One Who Connects said:

A good way to settle this(good lord you two can discuss:)), would be to ask Brandon is a Returned would be capable of Returning again if Endowment wished it or if there's a "one-time only rule" that not even Shards can break.

I feel like we are less likely to get a RAFO when a simple yes/no can suffice without the explanation, and he can choose whether or not to give further details.

Good question, and I agree a simple yes/no is probably the best bet for a NON-RAFO.

Discussion with @Extesianis fun. We see a lot of things similarly, but just different enough to keep pushing the other to dig a little deeper. Makes for a nice back and forth. 

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