Oversleep

Basic Lashing Reworked

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My model for how Basic Lashing works:
Basic Lashing makes (part) of your mass exempt from gravity's pull and instead makes it pulled in choosen direction.

One full Basic Lashing cancels all of planet's gravity on you and then makes all of your mass being attracted in another direction.

However, a partial Basic Lashing only cancels a part of planet's gravity: half a Lashing upwards leaves only half of your mass being attracted by the planet and the other half being attracted up. Effectively you'll float.
A quarter Lashing upwards leaves 3/4 of your mass attracted by planet and 1/4 attracted up. Effectively only half of your mass is being attracted by the planet.

Therefore, when dealing with multiple (more>1) Lashings we do not factor in planet's gravity because there is no mass that's left to be affected by it.

What's interesting it's how partial Lashings downward would work: turns out they won't do anything and the normal pull downward would remain. This is true for any partial Lashing down up to one full Basic Lashing down.
Now, we have instances of Szeth Lashing himself down to restore normal gravity to himself - perhaps if the downward Lashing (less or equal to one) is the only one affecting you then simply gravity reclaims its grip on you.

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I agree with this assessment until this part

18 minutes ago, Overstorm said:

What's interesting it's how partial Lashings downward would work: turns out they won't do anything and the normal pull downward would remain. This is true for any partial Lashing down up to one full Basic Lashing down.

I kind of disagree with this. If you do a half lashing downwards with the intent of making yourself weigh 150% (Your standard weight plus half again), you could do this. Why you would want to do this (If you're going to make yourself heavier, why not just making yourself twice or thrice as heavy?) I don't know, but I do think intent is important when talking about the nitty gritty details of Lashings like this.

Edited by Overlord Jebus
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32 minutes ago, Overstorm said:

What's interesting it's how partial Lashings downward would work: turns out they won't do anything and the normal pull downward would remain. This is true for any partial Lashing down up to one full Basic Lashing down.
Now, we have instances of Szeth Lashing himself down to restore normal gravity to himself - perhaps if the downward Lashing (less or equal to one) is the only one affecting you then simply gravity reclaims its grip on you.

I sort of disagree here (though in a sense it comes down to semantics). I think that, in terms of the magic, everything has a default single lashing towards the centre of the gravity well. The first lashing that a Windrunner does changes the vector of that default lashing only unless it's placed on top of that default lashing, in which case the new lashing is effectively a second lashing. Which means that the Windrunner always has at least one lashings worth of force acting on them, unless they make the forces cancel in some way, e.g. half up, and half down. So when Szeth lashes himself downwards, he's really just restoring that default single lashing.

Edited by BlackYeti
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So there's two ways of looking at this that I can see. We'll call this Model A and the other Model B. For simplicity, I'm just going to use "g" to represent the acceleration of gravity on Roshar. I'm also going to refer to "units" of Stormlight--we need information to determine how much that would actually be.

Model A

How it works:

  • Your body is, by default, "Lashed" to the ground at 1g. 
  • When you Lash yourself, you overwrite that default Lashing.
    • One Lashing overwrites the default Lashing on your entire body.
    • Multiple Lashings after the first have nothing to overwrite--they just add on top.
    • Partial Lashings only partially overwrite the default Lashing. (i.e. 1/2 of a Lashing only overwrites the default Lashing for half your body's mass)
  • Each Lashing adds 1g of acceleration.
  • Each Lashing costs X units of Stormlight.

Support: 

  • This is the model Szeth uses.
  • This is the model Khriss uses in the Ars Arcanum.

Model B

How it works:

  • Your body is always Lashed to the ground. That is, gravity is always acting on your body.
  • When you Lash yourself, you simply add another acceleration vector on top of everything else.
  • There is no absolute definition of what constitutes "one Lashing". For simplicity, let's say each Lashing adds 1g of acceleration.
  • Each Lashing costs Y units of Stormlight.

Support:

  • This is, I think, how a technically minded person with no understanding of realmatics would view things.
  • This WoB, which suggests that more technically minded individuals would object to Szeth's terminology: (spoiler tag for length -- no spoilers, WoB is from 2016)
Spoiler

Questioner 1

Lashing really hurts my mechanical, engineering brain because the math is off with your descriptions.

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean?

Questioner 1

So, a full Lashing changes your gravitational pull, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner 1

Well if you were doing the math on that...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah...

Questioner 1

...a full Lashing would be two times.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah. That's just their shorthand. *interrupting questioner* It's just their shorthand. I'm fully aware of that.

Questioner 2

Drives him so mad!

Brandon Sanderson

Does it?

Questioner 1

I always see the statics *inaudible* in my head.

Brandon Sanderson

If it helps, in the third book [Oathbringer information removed], they have an argument over that very point.

Questioner 1

Oh, do they?

Brandon Sanderson

So there are certain people who think the way you think.

Questioner 1

Uh-huh.

Brandon Sanderson

That a full Lashing should make you float.

Questioner 1

Mmm-- it's-- yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm. But it's-- when I wrote it that way it was so confusing for alpha readers and they thought a double lashing should make him go up double speed.

Questioner 2

*in the background* They're not as technical.

Brandon Sanderson

And so I figured Szeth doesn't have the mathematics background to have that argument. But you do get to have it in the next book.

Questioner 1

Yeah, okay. Every time I... *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

So there's at least an acknowledgement of it for you.

Questioner 2

Thanks Brandon.

Brandon Sanderson

So a full Lashing means double gravitational pull upward.

Footnote: Note that "full Lashing" in the context above refers to a "full" Basic Lashing--not a "Full Lashing".

Simple Comparison

This first set of examples demonstrates how the models behave similarly.

  1. I want to fall into the sky at 1g:
    • Model A uses one Lashing. One Lashing upward will overwrite gravity and accelerate me upwards at 1g.
    • Model B uses two Lashings. One Lashing upward will counter gravity and the second will accelerate me upwards at 1g.
  2. I want to be weightless:
    • Model A uses 1/2 a Lashing. One half of a Lashing upward will overwrite half of the default gravitational pull with 1g of acceleration. Half my body being pulled down at 1g and half of my body being pulled up at 1g balances and I'm weightless.
    • Model B uses one Lashing. One Lashing upward counters gravity and leaves me weightless.
    • Note that both models could achieve the same thing with additional Lashings (one up and one down in Model A, two up and one down in Model B, etc.). These are simply less efficient uses of Stormlight.
  3. I want to fall sideways at 1g:
    • Model A uses one Lashing. One Lashing sideways will overwrite gravity and accelerate me sideways at 1g.
    • Model B uses two  Lashings. One Lashing upward will counter gravity and the second to the side will accelerate me sideways at 1g.
  4. I want to reduce my weight by half:
    • Model A uses 1/4 a Lashing. One fourth a Lashing upward will overwrite 1/4 of my mass with 1g of acceleration. This balances with 1/4 of my remaining mass and I'm left with 1/2 my mass pulled downward at 1g.
    • Model B uses 1/2 a Lashing. One half of a Lashing upward added to my existing 1g acceleration down leaves me with 1/2g of acceleration down.

Noticing a pattern here? In all of these simple cases, Model B requires twice as many Lashings as Model A. But don't get caught up on the terminology there. This doesn't necessarily imply Model A is twice as efficient, because we have defined "one Lashing" under Model B somewhat arbitrarily. In the WoB above, Brandon himself emphasizes that the wording is a matter of notation. What really matters is the Intent of the Surgebinder. What Szeth says is "one Lashing" another may consider to be two Lashings. 

So how do we make a more tangible comparison?  We need to look at Stormlight usage. There are two key interpretations here:

  1. Interpretation 1

    Every 1g worth of Lashing uses 1 unit of Stormlight (i.e. X = Y = 1). Under this interpretation, in light of the examples above, Model A is twice as efficient with Stormlight as Model B. This makes sense because we can directly compare the number of Lashings involved.
     
  2. Interpretation 2

    It's not the amount of applied acceleration that matters, but rather the end result. We're effectively using Stormlight to create potential energy, or two warp spacetime, and so a given amount of Stormlight should produce similar effects in each model. Under this interpretation, in light of the examples above, Model A and Model B use comparable amounts of Stormlight. We would say that X=1 but Y = 1/2. Or perhaps it would be preferable to say X = Y = 1, but go back and redefining "one Lashing" under Model B to produce 2g of acceleration (as Brandon did at the end of the WoB). Again, this is arbitrary. The point is that similar amounts of Stormlight produce similar end results.

    I personally don't like the first interpretation, because it implies someone with a technical mindset is going to need twice the Stormlight to do anything. That's a significant difference. But I'm also biased in that I subscribe to Model B, and want it to work as well (or better than Model A). The only way to test these two interpretations would be to study two characters in the books who follow different models of thought. See how much Stormlight they require to do similar things, under their own models. Right now, we don't have this and can only speculate.

Complex Comparison

I keep saying that the models behave "similarly" because it turns out they actually diverge under more complicated examples. Using our original terminology, the 2-to-1 ratio breaks down. In each case I have studied, it breaks down in favor of Model B. Let's look at some examples:

  1. I want to fall into the sky at 2g:
    • Model A uses two Lashings. One Lashing upward will overwrite gravity and accelerate me upwards at 1g. A second to increase acceleration to 2g.
    • Model B uses three Lashings. One Lashing upward will counter gravity, a second will accelerate me upwards at 1g, a third to accelerate me upwards at 2g.
    • Additional acceleration continues this trend. (i.e. 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, etc.) Equal numbers of Lashings are required as we approach infinity, so to speak.
  2. I want to fall sideways at 1g:
    • We looked at this before, but under Model B there are savings to be found if we Lash at an angle.
    • Model A uses one Lashing. One Lashing sideways will overwrite gravity and accelerate me sideways at 1g.
    • Model B uses 1.4 Lashings. Instead of two orthogonal Lashings we perform a single 1.4x Lashing at a 45 degree angle. The net result is 1g upward (to counter gravity) and 1g sideways.
    • That's a 1:1.4 ratio.
  3. I want to fall sideways at 1/2g:
    • The math required for Model A gets hairy with this one.
    • Model A uses 5/8 a Lashing. The math on this one gets a little hairy, so I won't dive deep. 5/8 a Lashing at some angle up and sideways will give 1/2 a Lashing sideways and 3/8 a Lashing upward (to counter the remaining 3/8 default gravity).
    • Model B uses 1.12 Lashings. That's the resultant vector of 1 Lashing up and 1/2 a Lashing sideways.
    • That's a 1:1.79 ratio.

Conclusions

  1. Both models are totally consistent and valid explanations of what we observe in the books.
    • The characters tend toward Model A, but the characters also aren't physicists.
    • Brandon has confirmed that Model B is valid and will be addressed as such (however briefly) in Oathbringer.
  2. Intent and understanding are key.
    • Two characters can perform different Lashings to accomplish the same thing, if they approach from different understandings.
  3. The important comparison to be made between these models is a matter of Stormlight efficiency.
    • Under "Interpretation 1" we see that Model A is twice as efficient with Stormlight usage under basic cases. Model B makes up some of that difference in complicated cases and becomes equivalent to Model A as the number of Lashings approaches infinity.
    • Under "Interpretation 2" we see that Model A and model B use equal amounts of Stormlight under basic cases. Model B is slightly more efficient under complicated cases and becomes twice as efficient as Model A as the number of Lashings approaches infinity.
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@jofwu You have not taken into consideration on of the biggest issues I have with your model: you assume the Windrunners to do unconscious Lashes upward they don't notice doing.

Which is a massive stretch since Basic Lashing is the hardest Lashing to do and it have to be learned and practiced, yet you argue they all do one up instincitvely from the get go while struggling to make others.

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that in Model B the Lash is 2g? Then how do you explain Szeth Lashing something sideways three times and refering to it as falling at three times greater speed that normally?
Mind you, it's not that hard to measure this stuff and Szeth was trained in Surges - I think he'd known if there was something funky like that going on.

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41 minutes ago, Overstorm said:

You have not taken into consideration on of the biggest issues I have with your model: you assume the Windrunners to do unconscious Lashes upward they don't notice doing.

There are two possibilities for how all of this works, and both of them have an explanation for this:

  1. There is no "correct" model. They are merely two ways of thinking about it. Windrunners who subscribe to Model A aren't performing subconscious Lashes. They are doing things exactly as you describe. Windrunners who subscribe to Model B would have to perform upward lashes, yes. They would do so consciously. It all comes down to their understanding. The two groups are actually doing different things to accomplish the same goal. This is essentially what @Calderis was arguing on Discord, I believe.

    ...or...
     
  2. One of the model is "more right" than the other. This is what you're assuming. If it's true AND if Model B is the one which is "more right", then you are correct. I am assuming that Model A Windrunners perform subconscious Lashes upward. I don't see a problem with this however. I don't believe that the Lashes are as precise as Szeth's language makes them out to be. Brandon is very kind to give us nice, clean whole numbers to work with. But I don't think it's always that clean. Consider my example in which you wish to fall at 1/2g sideways. I find it incredibly unlikely that Szeth mentally calculates the precise angle and magnitude of the Lash required to do this. His actions would be intuitive. They would be a result of practice. So a WIndrunner's actions are ALWAYS going to be filtered through some measure of Intent. They don't think about the physics. They think about the end result that they want, and naturally manipulate the Surge accordingly. Szeth's mental explanation is nothing more than that top level of user input. What he's actually doing is more complicated.

    The weird thing here would be Stormlight usage. Under Model A, Szeth uses 1 unit of Stormlight to accelerate upwards at 1g and 2 units of Stormlight to accelerate upwards at 2g. Under Model B, Szeth uses 2 units of Stormlight to accelerate upwards at 1g and 3 units of Stormlight to accelerate upwards at 2g. If one model is "more right" than the other, then we will measure the same amount of Stormlight being used, no matter what model Szeth believes. Unfortunately, we don't have enough information from the books to determine what's happening here. I personally find it highly likely that Szeth doesn't have a precise idea of how these actions compare. Most people don't have a sense of a "unit" of Stormlight. He'd just be eyeballing it. He's not thinking, "Hmm... I'm going to need precisely 3 diamond chips worth of Stormlight to perform this action." He's thinking, "I've got a full diamond mark. That'll be enough." And on top of all this, who's to say Szeth hasn't noticed a difference? Maybe he realizes that the second upward Lashing takes less Stormlight, and he just explains it away. ("Well of course the first Lashing took more. I had to escape gravity with it.")

Therefore, either way I think this problem is explained.

1 hour ago, Overstorm said:

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that in Model B the Lash is 2g? Then how do you explain Szeth Lashing something sideways three times and refering to it as falling at three times greater speed that normally?
Mind you, it's not that hard to measure this stuff and Szeth was trained in Surges - I think he'd known if there was something funky like that going on.

I think this is all answered above, implicitly. But to elaborate...

In one case, Szeth is merely doing precisely what he believes to be doing. It works that way because he expects it to work that way. Someone else might have to describe and do things differently, simply because he understands things differently.

In the other case (the one where Model B is "more right"), Szeth is simply explaining things in his own words. His own "notation" as Brandon referred to it in the WoB. What he is actually doing we can only see from the end result. So yes, his Lashings may involve subconsious aspects concerning the precise vectors required. I see nothing wrong with this. The only measurable difference would be the amount of Stormlight being used. And I don't think we have enough data to argue solidly either way. IF Model B is "more right" then I would suspect that Szeth either (a) doesn't have a precise sense of how much Stormlight he's using or (b) Szeth realizes the "first" Lashing tends to take extra Stormlight and he just hasn't spoken about it. (I don't think there's enough in the books to assert that "one Lashing" correlates to a precise amount of Stormlight.)

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@jofwu yes, that's exactly what I was saying. I believe that as a consequence of perception and intent, a user of gravitation who believes that the force of gravity pulling them downward is constant will need to use additional lashings and expend more Stormlight to do the basic functions we see with basic Lashings.

Again though, I also think that due to the increased understanding of physics that this implies, that same person will probably be able to come up with applications of gravitation that the more laymen view would not and could become a more skilled practitioner of their use. 

So while at first it seems like a liability due to the increased costs of the basics, their better understanding would make them a more dangerous opponent in the long term. 

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So I've been involved on and off in discord in this one, I won't go through all my arguments but I support B because I think it makes more logical sense (I appreciate my logic is not the same as everyone). I think gravity is a force that can't just be nullified, despite what the Ars Arcanum says, I think it must be countered. 

My main non logic argument is this

Quote

Oversleep

Is gravity a physical aspect of the spiritual bond Connecting objects to the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Gravity, like all laws of physics in the cosmere, works like it does here with an additional aspect in that mass and energy can become Investiture. So while you are Connected to the planet gravity is not a manifestation of that. But Investiture can override it because Investiture, energy, mass are all the same thing.

Gravity is a constant (on a planet) and it must be overcome, using investiture. 

But there's a reason I don't think the model matters, they're the same thing with a different cognitive definitional framework. I believe that even if using a lashing 'nullifies' gravity, that doesn't happen for free. There's a cost. If model A nullifies gravity, that automatically costs you one lashing worth of stormlight. Like a startup cost. 

For example, if model B requires two upward lashings to go up at 1g, model A would require the investiture of one lashing plus the investiture required to nullify gravity. It wouldn't just be one lashing worth. It may be cognitively one lashing, you think of it as one lashing, but you're not nullifying gravity for free. Model A has a built in stormlight cost even if you only believe its one lashing. Does that make sense?

It would reconcile the problem in different stormlight usage across models. It would mean that the cost ion investiture, that startup cost, would be higher on scadrial where gravity is stronger. And i that startup cost would be zero in deep space. 

I feel that makes the two theories realmatically the same, and the only difference is what you think of how many lashings it takes. But you're still using the same investiture you just don't realize some of it is an automatic cost. 

Make sense?

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