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TheBlueShifting

The Role of Intent in the Cosmere + Details about the Cosmere Community Charity Drive on September 16th

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Hello, fellow Cosmernaught!

So this is the latest part in the "Letters from the Cosmere" where Elsric talks about the critical role Intent has in the realms of the Cosmere. I also take a moment to share some details about the upcoming Cosmere Charity Drive for Open Books, including some of the fantastic giveaways and activities that will be going on. I hope you take a moment to check out the second half of the video so you can find out all the amazing stuff that's happening! Seriously, guys, we have some Incredible things planned for this! 

I hope you enjoy the episode, and let me know if you have any questions.

Intent is the driving force of Investiture. The Cosmere follows natural laws, and as we understand these laws we can better see the universal consistencies in the system. Intent is twofold. The intent of the wielder both shapes and limits the powers of Investiture. In Magic systems like Awakening or Aon Dor, the understanding of the practitioner often is the greatest limiting factor in the shaping of investiture. And then there is the macro Intent that shapes a Shard's Investiture. Each shard has a characteristic drive that shapes the Intent of the investiture itself. This intent eventually suppresses the Intent of the Shard holder. With this understanding, we can better understand the Cosmere and can begin to see where these events will eventually lead.

 

Transcript:

My first step into the Cognitive Realm changed everything. The domain of thought is strange and dangerous for the physical body to traverse. I imagine that there are many who inadvertently found themselves stumbling into the living shadows of Shadesmar, without any idea what they had done or how to survive in such a place. Sometimes the Cosmere seems full of worldhoppers like us, but we really are an elite few who have braved these paths and lived to talk about it.

My father had taught me from a young age that the world was never as mysterious as many made it out to be. There were universal laws of nature that could be studied and understood. Once understood they could be predicted. This was the foundation of physical science, and was a passion of my fathers. He taught his children to look for the underlying truths that governed all things. And he was right, despite all that there is out in the Cosmere, so much more than my father ever could have imagined, his lessons have been proven time and time again.

I am disappointed when I hear the various members of the Shard worlds refer to their Investitures as Magic. It is an understandable misconjecture. The abilities of those whom are blessed or talented enough to hold and wield investiture can do some great and terrible things. To the lay man, these might seem mystical. But just like the forces of gravitation or momentum, there are predictable rules and laws that govern these forces.

Investiture is one of the four Universal Forces, the others being Particle forces, Electromagnetic Forces, and Gravitational forces. These forces all operate in the physical realm. Investiture is unique, for it is not restricted primarily to the Physical realm, but also phases into and interacts with the Cognitive and Spiritual reams. These other Elemental forces may operate to a dree in the other realms, but Investiture seems to interact unilaterally in all three realms. In fact, many realmic theorists like myself agree that Investiture is Primal Spiritual Energy. It manifests in all three realms, but it does not vanish as it is exercised, but rather it cycles back to the spiritual realm until it is recycled back into the other realms.  When someone performs apparently mystical abilities like surgbindings, alomancy, awakening, Aon Dor, or any of the unique abilities seen on Shard worlds, you are seeing someone channeling Investiture into the physical realm. This produces metaphysical abilities. While flashy, these abilities are simply an effect following a cause, much like how a horse moves a cart by pulling on it. The powers vary from world to world and person to person, but the source of that power is the same. When someone holds, or is channeling this power, they are considered invested beings. (As a side note, investiture use is not limited to sentient beings. Some animals and cognitive entities can manipulate investiture as well.)

But what is it about Investiture that even allows us to take hold, this fundamental force of nature and use it. How do all these metaphysical abilities manifest, and why do living beings seem to be the harbingers of this energy. Well I believe I have uncovered the core nature of Investiture, although Khriss would undoubtedly say I am oversimplifying this topic. The key to understanding the nature of Investiture is understanding Intent.

Intent is the sentient will behind Investiture. It is the driving force, the rudder the steers the preverbal ship. We have many examples of the need for an intelligence to guide and channel this power. In fact, the old stories about the Elantrians tell that the power of the Dor was choked, almost eager to find release. This attitude is also apparent in the Rosharian Stormlight, Investiture that burst forth filling those who wield it with a need to act, to use the power, to let it be free. Investiture echoes intelligence and life, clinging to it like dew collecting on grass in the dawn.

Each system of investiture manifests differently from world to world. This is an echo of the Shard of which they are attuned. The Investiture then can be drawn out within the restrictions of the system in which it has been imbued to. These systems have their own logic and governing laws that make them appear so alien to one another. Yet the raw power is ultimately the same, and manifests in similar ways as either a metallic solid, liquid, or gas. Usually the system dictates the amount of power that can be drawn, and the limits that power will have. For example, restrictive systems like Allomancy or Surgbinding can manifest in specific and definable amounts. These restrictions often make the abilities more accessible but at the cost of diversity. A Steel push is limited to pushing and only to a measurable limit. Rosharan Surgbinders have access to two of the ten surges, and these surges each have their own limits and applications. Other Investiture systems are more open ended, but are ambiguous in their nature. Using Soul Stamps or Awakening is likely never to be truly understood, for their potential abilities and effects may be to vast to comprehend. This means that practitioners can adapt their methods to match their needs as long as they have the time and training to produce the desired result. The constant I wish to point out here is the need for interpretation and action on the part of the practitioner. No investiture could work without a willful action or thought from the person holding the power, even if that direction is subconscious. This patter holds true even at the levels of Shards, although the power of Intent manifests in much more dramatic ways at the macro level.

At times, individuals have encountered and taken in large amounts of pure investiture. This power coalesces inside the being of an individual and seeks to be channeled. If enough raw power is there, the mortal body is not a good enough vessel to maintain that power. The words of Founding speak of this when Vin entered the Well of Ascension. Her mind and body were expanded, her cognitive and spiritual selves growing in order for her being to channel the massive amount of power that sought Intent and intelligent guidance. At this level the power manifests a primal will of its own. This power can still we wielded freely, but it cannot deny its overall nature. These limits may seem minor but it is fascinating to note. For instance, an allomancer wields the power of preservation, but that mistborn can use that power to destroy. This is inconsistent with the source of the power, but in small amounts, Investiture’s desire to be shaped by Intent is greater than the pull of its Shard. As the amount of Investiture grows, the natural intent of the power begins to assert itself, making it harder for the wielder to twist the power away from its original purpose.

As for the Shards themselves… this power starts to literally take on a mind of its own. In fact, we have observed that Shards that are splintered or abandoned will eventually develop a rudimentary intelligence of its own. This drive for purpose and direction is as much a part of this power as is its energy. When the 16 first took up the powers of Adonalsium, they commanded the power as they saw fit. However, over the ages, the Intent inherent to each shard began to smother the holders of the power. In the end these beings almost stopped being individuals. They became puppets to the nature of their Shards, still intelligent and with an identity, but their personal Intent was twisted until it perfectly mimicked the Intent that the investiture had been attuned to from the beginning. While investiture seeks to be shaped by intelligence and intent, it has by nature an intent of its own. I believe these drives are echoes of the entity from which they were ripped. It’s very nature upon reflection seems to prove that this power came from a vast intelligence, and because of that it seeks by its own nature to be shaped once again.

 

If we ever truly wish to unravel the greater mysteries of the Cosmere, we much remember the constant that is Intent. No matter how big or heavy an object is, it will fall just as fast as any other object. Likewise, no matter how Investiture is obtained, it will seek to be shaped by a mind. These things are consistent and can be used as a foundation to greater understanding.

We have been spending a lot of time at the great crossroads in the Cognitive realm. This city is strange, but I cannot deny that the unique opportunities here are quite alluring. The records and tales gathered here rival that of any library in all the Cosmere. We find ourselves here more and more as we dive deeper into the mysteries. The Shards have been at work in the Cosmere for a long time, and the more I see, the more I am convinced that things will not remain as they are. Perhaps there will be some great war, or the need for Intent will eventually unite the remaining Shards. The way ahead is murky, but we will do our best to help you see things a little more clearly.

Until the next time,

Elsric

 

Post Script. Kassar would like to ask that the next messenger we see bring her the latest in your local fashion. I promised to take her dancing and she wants to see what modern Scadrians are wearing.

 

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Kassar might have a few issues with the lack of safehand.  

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Probably, although there are easy ways around that. I mean a glove would work in a pinch or a modification could be made to the outfit if needed. Although I wonder if Worldhoppers ever start to leave behind their old customs as they learn and immerse themselves in foreign lands. Perhaps Kassar would eventually practice not wearing one just like how Veil was going to train Shallan to do. But women wearing gloves conspicuously could be a way we could spot future Worldhoppers. 

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