Bugsy

Investiture and Relativity

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One of the most important - and least understood - elements of the Cosmere is the nature of investiture. Our universe is, at its most fundamental level, simply the interactions of mass and energy, and the introduction of investiture poses an incredible divergence from this. We have few guidelines from which we can base our observations on this issue, although more will hopefully be revealed as time goes on. What we currently know includes the following:

  1. Investiture can become kinetic energy (as seen in the powers of coinshots)
  2. Investiture can become mass (as energy can be converted to mass)
  3. Investiture can remain investiture but take the form of mass (as seen in Atium or Lesarium)
  4. Investiture can become electromagnetic energy (as seen in the way stormlight glows)
  5. Investiture cannot be created nor destroyed, merely redistributed [1]
  6. By means of 1, 2 and 5, mass and energy can become investiture, as investiture cannot be lost and therefore any conversion to mass or energy must be reversible

A newly introduced WoB may shed some further light on the subject. It is as follows:

Q: Does investiture warp spacetime like objects with mass/energy do in our world

A: Yes - but the warping is not on the physical realm

This introduces some troubling dilemmas. One is that this seemingly allows for the introduction of infinite energy. Imagine, for example, an object being shot into the air. As it moves up, it loses kinetic energy and gains gravitational potential energy. The amount of kinetic energy it has at the start (.5mv^2) must equal the gravitational energy at its peak (mgh). If we allowed it to reach its maximum h value where v equals 0, however, and then converted investiture on the surface of the planet into mass, the value of g suddenly increases and energy has spontaneously been created. This is impossible under the laws of our real universe, and is likewise presumably impossible in the Cosmere. Where, then, is this energy coming from?

With the increase in gravitational energy, there is a clear growth of energy in the physical realm. That means energy must be lost in either the cognitive or spiritual realms. I propose, then, that objects are spiritually pulled to planets or other places with high investiture concentrations in an analogue to a gravitational well. This is supported by some observations from Secret History, such as Kelsier’s inability to leave the highly invested Well or later leave Scadrial itself. As the object rises from the investiture-heavy planet, its spiritual aspect weakens as it spends investiture to escape the planet’s spiritual gravitational well. When the investiture at the planet is then converted to mass and the object falls back to earth, the lost spiritual investiture is reformed as kinetic energy in the falling object. The energy within the object remains constant, as it loses kinetic energy and spiritual investiture when rising, then gains a kinetic energy equivalent to the sum of the lost values as it falls.

I of course don't presume to know all of the ramifications while still in my second year of physics, so those of you who know better than me are more than welcome to issue corrections as needed. I hope this can spark some more insight into the world Sanderson has sculpted! :)IMG_2445.thumb.PNG.bb99f7ff1ecb8d5fa08f40a37291f876.PNG

Edited by Bugsy6912
SpoolOfWhool caught an error. Thanks again!
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That's an interesting way of thinking about the problem, however I'm of the opinion that we just can't assume something being impossible in real physics makes it impossible in the cosmere. This will result in stuff like energy being created, but I don't think it is possible to create a universal set of rules to make these things work out. I know Brandon's magics are very science-like, but at their core they are still magic and I think that will result in things like breaking the conservation of energy. 

With something like a coinshot, the way I see it isn't that investiture is converted to kinetic energy, rather investiture is used to create that energy and then the investiture disperses and returns to preservation/harmony.

I can't really specifically address the way you've set stuff out as it's a bit confusing to me. I study engineering so I understand the physics of a coin in flight, but I don't understand what you mean by the investiture of the planet being converted into mass.

So yeah my opinion is that physical laws are just broken, obviously just an opinion but I really don't think you'd be able to explain all forms of magic in a way that preserves these things

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3 minutes ago, Gigalemesh said:

but I don't understand what you mean by the investiture of the planet being converted into mass.

Investiture on the surface of the planet is what @Bugsy6912 said. I assume this is a case of, for example, manifesting a physical object out of Investiture - an atium nugget, or a Shardblade. 

The thing is, I agree with pretty much everything in this analysis, but not necessarily because of the analysis itself. We have seen multiple WoBs throughout the years that essentially say that while in our universe matter and energy can be converted between each other, in the Cosmere this conversion goes threeway - matter, energy, and investiture. Here's (an excerpt of) one such WoB, for example:

Quote

BRANDON SANDERSON

It actually trans-- It does a-- matter, energy, investiture are the same things in the cosmere. You have some sort of transfer happening relating to those things.

Source

So a lot of the stuff in the write-up is trivially true to me. Another example you could've used is the once-infamous-but-now-mostly-forgotten Terris Wheel:

Quote

QUESTION

Is there a limit to the amount of energy that can be extracted from an end-neutral system (e.g. two Skimmers powering a mechanical device [a Terris-wheel!] by alternately storing their weight and keeping it normal).

BRANDON SANDERSON

You can totally do it. You are drawing Spiritual energy into the Physical realm, so there is actually no loss of energy, it’s just a transfer from one realm to another.

QUESTION

Same with Lifeless?

BRANDON SANDERSON

Yeah, the sustenance for life is coming directly from the Spiritual plane. The whole idea is that energy is getting recycled back into the Spiritual plane (Can’t quite make this out:) by people dying and things like that, so…

(here's another version of it)

So yeah, a lot of what looks to us like physics-breaking infinite energy situations work just fine in the Cosmere because you have this massive reserve of often freely usable energy in the form of Spiritual investiture. 

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3 hours ago, Bugsy6912 said:

When the investiture at the planet is then converted to mass and the object falls back to earth, the lost spiritual investiture is reformed as kinetic energy in the falling object

This seems to imply that the conversion to mass in some way affects (effects?) gravity which is more than a nugget of atium or a shardblade is capable of. Obviously I'm not understanding something.

Those quotes do seem to say there is a conservation, so maybe I'm wrong, but I still feel there are situations where energy is created.

The coinshot is a good example, let's saying going horizontally so gravity isn't a big component, the coin is imparted with kinetic energy, which is then lost to air friction, and likely noise, heat, and deformation when the coin hits a wall or the ground. So all the energy it was given has been converted to other natural forms of energy not back into investiture, but we are told investiture isn't "used up" in this process, it's channelled by the allomancer and returns to the spiritual realm. So energy was definitely added into the world such that there is no clear way for it to become investiture again, but investiture isn't depleted. So energy has been added to the world without a loss of investiture. The only other possiblity is that heat, noise, and other natural forms of energy are randomly converting back to investiture to maintain the balance.

Personally I feel like this isn't an issue, it is magic after all, though it could have interesting consequences once people are scientifically advanced enough to be aware of these things. Brandon likes to use physics to explain things in his magic, but that doesn't mean everything has to obey real-world laws.

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4 hours ago, Gigalemesh said:

That's an interesting way of thinking about the problem, however I'm of the opinion that we just can't assume something being impossible in real physics makes it impossible in the cosmere. This will result in stuff like energy being created, but I don't think it is possible to create a universal set of rules to make these things work out. I know Brandon's magics are very science-like, but at their core they are still magic and I think that will result in things like breaking the conservation of energy. 

With something like a coinshot, the way I see it isn't that investiture is converted to kinetic energy, rather investiture is used to create that energy and then the investiture disperses and returns to preservation/harmony.

I can't really specifically address the way you've set stuff out as it's a bit confusing to me. I study engineering so I understand the physics of a coin in flight, but I don't understand what you mean by the investiture of the planet being converted into mass.

So yeah my opinion is that physical laws are just broken, obviously just an opinion but I really don't think you'd be able to explain all forms of magic in a way that preserves these things

Well, since we do know energy and mass and investiture are interchangeable, infinite production of energy must be impossible given that investiture cannot be created or destroyed. Otherwise, one could systematically create energy and convert it to investiture. And what I'm saying is that investiture does not warp spacetime on the physical plane, so it's not contributing to a planet's gravitational well, but if said investiture then forms mass it begins to do so. An object thrown into the air before such a conversion will reach a maximum height dependent on the planet's initial g value, and this height will then be used to calculate a new GPE of the object based on a constant m and h value to before the transformation and a greater g value, meaning the GPE of the object inherently increased.

4 hours ago, Argent said:

Investiture on the surface of the planet is what @Bugsy6912 said. I assume this is a case of, for example, manifesting a physical object out of Investiture - an atium nugget, or a Shardblade. 

The thing is, I agree with pretty much everything in this analysis, but not necessarily because of the analysis itself. We have seen multiple WoBs throughout the years that essentially say that while in our universe matter and energy can be converted between each other, in the Cosmere this conversion goes threeway - matter, energy, and investiture. Here's (an excerpt of) one such WoB, for example:

Source

So a lot of the stuff in the write-up is trivially true to me. Another example you could've used is the once-infamous-but-now-mostly-forgotten Terris Wheel:

(here's another version of it)

So yeah, a lot of what looks to us like physics-breaking infinite energy situations work just fine in the Cosmere because you have this massive reserve of often freely usable energy in the form of Spiritual investiture. 

Hm. That's interesting, I hadn't seen those. Thank you!

3 hours ago, Gigalemesh said:

This seems to imply that the conversion to mass in some way affects (effects?) gravity which is more than a nugget of atium or a shardblade is capable of. Obviously I'm not understanding something.

Those quotes do seem to say there is a conservation, so maybe I'm wrong, but I still feel there are situations where energy is created.

The coinshot is a good example, let's saying going horizontally so gravity isn't a big component, the coin is imparted with kinetic energy, which is then lost to air friction, and likely noise, heat, and deformation when the coin hits a wall or the ground. So all the energy it was given has been converted to other natural forms of energy not back into investiture, but we are told investiture isn't "used up" in this process, it's channelled by the allomancer and returns to the spiritual realm. So energy was definitely added into the world such that there is no clear way for it to become investiture again, but investiture isn't depleted. So energy has been added to the world without a loss of investiture. The only other possiblity is that heat, noise, and other natural forms of energy are randomly converting back to investiture to maintain the balance.

Personally I feel like this isn't an issue, it is magic after all, though it could have interesting consequences once people are scientifically advanced enough to be aware of these things. Brandon likes to use physics to explain things in his magic, but that doesn't mean everything has to obey real-world laws.

Any amount of mass, no mater how small, exercises gravitational pull. That means that yes, even a bead of atium will cause the object in the air to gain some minuscule amount of GPE. This obviously won't be enough to actually harness the resulting energy and be at all efficient, but that any energy is created means it must come from somewhere else. In your example, for instance, we might expect that the coin on which the coinshot pushes loses investiture as it draws away from the invested coinshot, meaning its kinetic energy growing sees a resultant decrease in its spiritual energy. I, of course, have no idea if that's right; it's honestly sort of baseless conjecture. That said, we know the energy must come from somewhere, and there are only so many possible sources 

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23 minutes ago, Bugsy6912 said:

That means that yes, even a bead of atium will cause the object in the air to gain some minuscule amount of GPE. This obviously won't be enough to actually harness the resulting energy and be at all efficient, but that any energy is created means it must come from somewhere else

So energy is created, but investiture was already expended in creating that mass, so is investiture constantly being consumed as that mass exerts a force on everything in the universe?

25 minutes ago, Bugsy6912 said:

In your example, for instance, we might expect that the coin on which the coinshot pushes loses investiture as it draws away from the invested coinshot, meaning its kinetic energy growing sees a resultant decrease in its spiritual energy.

But the coin was given investiture by the coinshot, and when it no longer has any, that investiture wasn't used up, it returns to the spiritual realm (at least that's my understanding), so from a broader perspective energy was still created without a net loss in investiture.

32 minutes ago, Bugsy6912 said:

Otherwise, one could systematically create energy and convert it to investiture.

Have we seen any means by which energy can be converted back into investiture? That's sort of my whole problem, there is no implication that investiture can run out, and it is definitely used to create energy, but there is no evidence of that energy becoming investiture again. Unless shards are "harvesting" ambient energy from their worlds equivalent to that created by magic, either their investiture would run out, or investiture isn't used up when creating energy.

Maybe I'm not explaining myself very well but I just don't see how there can be absolute conservation of energy/investiture/mass

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Just want to say I'm sorry if I'm coming across rude or aggressive, that's totally not my intention, just trying to wrap my head around all this stuff, and getting a bit excited about getting a chance to discuss it

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5 hours ago, Gigalemesh said:

So energy is created, but investiture was already expended in creating that mass, so is investiture constantly being consumed as that mass exerts a force on everything in the universe?

Sort of, yes. Perhaps an alternative is that connection between objects is dependent on the objects' respective investitures, so a transformation of investiture to mass on one planet would correspondingly lessen the amount of investiture stored in its connection to every other celestial object, resulting in a net of no energy change.

But the coin was given investiture by the coinshot, and when it no longer has any, that investiture wasn't used up, it returns to the spiritual realm (at least that's my understanding), so from a broader perspective energy was still created without a net loss in investiture.

I'd be interested in seeing if that's true. That was my understanding as well, but I can't seem to find any evidence for it myself. What we do know is that the metals which are burned provide a gateway to investiture rather than being investiture themselves, so perhaps some of that mass is consumed to produce the energy they can use to push. It would explain why flaring costs more metal than a low burn. I am aware, of course, that a perfect mass->energy conversion would produce an astronomical excess of energy, but maybe it's inefficient and most of the metal is merely vaporized

Have we seen any means by which energy can be converted back into investiture? That's sort of my whole problem, there is no implication that investiture can run out, and it is definitely used to create energy, but there is no evidence of that energy becoming investiture again. Unless shards are "harvesting" ambient energy from their worlds equivalent to that created by magic, either their investiture would run out, or investiture isn't used up when creating energy.

If investiture can be made into mass, as it is in the case of atium and shardblades, it must inherently be possible for the opposite to be true (mass->investiture) simply because, as you say, investiture isn't used up when making and then burning atium, it merely returns to Ruin over time. Since mass and energy are convertible to one another, mass->investiture implicitly necessitates energy->investiture. I suppose one could argue Atium and Shardblades are merely different types of mass than normal mass which is why they're convertible, but I'm not sure I'd buy into that. 

Maybe I'm not explaining myself very well but I just don't see how there can be absolute conservation of energy/investiture/mass

Yeah, it's difficult to see, but we know it's true via WoB (since, in the one Argent linked, Brandon acknowledged conversion between mass, energy, and investiture, and we additionally know there can't be a net gain in the system since investiture cannot be created nor destroyed). As such, I'm just trying to postulate ways that could be possible.

 

5 hours ago, Gigalemesh said:

Just want to say I'm sorry if I'm coming across rude or aggressive, that's totally not my intention, just trying to wrap my head around all this stuff, and getting a bit excited about getting a chance to discuss it

Don't worry, I didn't interpret it that way at all. 

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Okay I get what you're saying, and the point about the mass of metals being (inefficiently) converted to energy is interesting, and I like the idea about connection, but personally it still feels off to me, I guess I'll have to wait and see how Brandon deals with it, though it'll probably be years until this level of stuff comes up.

2 hours ago, Bugsy6912 said:

Don't worry, I didn't interpret it that way at all. 

Okay good :)

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The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy can never decrease over time for an isolated system. So we won't lose the energy, but in a perfectly entropic system, the energy had lost all potential.

From this, we could say that Matter, Energy, and Investiture is merely different levels of Potential. The Potential added to the system through the use of Investiture is then removed from the system through entropy.

This is a slight change in approach here where instead of creasing energy, the use of Investiture is simply harnessing energy and redirecting it. 

We could take a bit further and say that like total energy can't change in the Physical Realm (merely rearrange itself), total Potential can not change change in the closed system that is all three Realms.

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There's also a fourth law of thermodynamics, something to do with Adonalsium. I made a thread on it a while back, but nobody was able to give anything conclusive. 

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1 hour ago, Steeldancer said:

There's also a fourth law of thermodynamics, something to do with Adonalsium. I made a thread on it a while back, but nobody was able to give anything conclusive. 

We had no conclusive answers because Brandon gave us nothing to go off of other than "there is a fourth law."

17 hours ago, Bugsy6912 said:

By means of 1, 2 and 5, mass and energy can become investiture, as investiture cannot be lost and therefore any conversion to mass or energy must be reversible

They can.

Quote

Q: If Investiture can neither be created nor destroyed, and Feruchemy is all fueled by the Feruchemist himself, then how do metalminds end up being invested without Feruchemists seeming to suffer any long-term loss of Investiture? If they're not ""creating"" the energy that's going into the metalminds, then where's it coming from?
 
A: The cosmere takes physics from our universe, and adds additional layers to it.  Where we have energy and matter (simplified), the cosmere has additional building blocks that make reality. Investiture is one of these. It IS possible to change matter, to energy, to investiture, and back.

Ooh, I missed the purple and white on my first however-many reads. Investiture is one of the additional building blocks beyond matter and energy. "One of" should mean that there are more.

17 hours ago, Bugsy6912 said:

Investiture can become electromagnetic energy (as seen in the way stormlight glows)

Semi-Relevant WoB.

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

In a theoretical flawless gem, then no it would not leak.

Alterodent

Would it actually give off light?

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh... Theoretically no it would not, but it's not what you're thinking... Well, actually, it probably would still give off light, because it's drawing out of the Spiritual Realm. So I’d say it still lights, but it doesn't leak. The leaking is not where the illumination is coming from. The illumination is coming from a direct... It's basically a lightbulb screwed into the Spiritual Realm.

Other entries for the sake of completeness:

Quote

Q: You once said that Investiture follows its own version of the laws of thermodynamics. The first one is that Investiture is neither created nor destroyed. Is the second law of Investodynamics that the amount of corrupted Investiture in the Cosmere cannot decrease?
 
A: Basically, the idea is that there is a third item in the equations--matter, energy, and investiture. That's the basis of how they work. Entropy is not corrupted Investiture. The second law stands as is. However, there is a fourth law that relates to Adonalsium, which I'm not going to talk about at the moment.

Source.

Quote

Q: Is there a quantum of Investiture? Just as how the photon (the quantum of light) is the force carrier particle of electromagnetism, is there a force carrier particle for Investiture, and do you have a name for it? (My follow up question would involve string theory, but I'll leave that one for later.)
 
A: Yes, there is a quantum of Investiture, though it acts very oddly in the cosmere. True Investiture is a purely Spiritual Realm thing. In the cosmere, there are two alternate planes of existence, with their own specific laws. Some of them, as you've undoubtedly notice, behave similar to ideas in String Theory.

Source.

Quote

Q: The scene in question is that interlude on SA where two scholars measure the size of spren, and they find that the size oscillates until measured, and then it remains fixed at the measured value. This is totally equivalent to projective measurements in quantum physics, was that your inspiration on this one?
 
A: Yes, quantum physics plays a role in the way the cosmere works, and this was partially intended to display that. However, we do take a different route, as thinking about something can directly influence it in the cosmere. So it's more a fantastical version of quantum physics.

Source.

Quote

Viper

Hah. So in Cosmere, does physics work the same way in the physical realm as it does in our world? Specifically, particle physics; and are atoms made up of protons and neutrons and electrons, and is light photons, etc?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Viper

So what's at the core of an atom of Atium?

Brandon Sanderson(Paraphrased)

Yes. And the matter is just normal matter, but it's wrapped in the spiritual. The Spiritual DNA [or something] is what makes it magical.

Viper

(Note: he might've said slightly more about this but I didn't write it down and I don't remember. Sorry for not bringing a tape recorder)

Source.

Quote

Kurkistan

Are the laws of physics in the cosmere Spiritually based?

Brandon Sanderson

They... The laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they have been changed by Spiritual influence. So I guess you could say "yes."

Source.

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

I usually run things by my editor who's very big into science, but mostly we go find an expert and have him read. The thing about it is, I have to hand wave a lot of things. Like the laws of thermodynamics, I can't, you know.. There are quantum physics in here. I'm trying to handwave as little as possible but we are breaking fundamental laws of physics, but even in terms of things like the laws of conservation. Energy is being conserved, but there's a supernatural source.
Quote

Kurkistan

You've said that the the laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they're messed with by the spiritual… But are the laws of physics actually in the Physical realm all the time, or are they in the spiritual realm doing their stuff on a spiritual level that's trickling down to the physical as a matter of course?

Brandon Sanderson

The three are more closely aligned than-- [Breaks off to focus on the books he’s signing, the speaking was distracting him]

Kurkistan

So you were saying that physics- laws of physics- that the realms are a lot more closely bound and the laws of physics are not just tied to one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Source.

And my personal favorite:

Quote

"I wanted to tell tales about things that broke the laws of physics. Consistently." —@BrandSanderson #Swancon

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The thing that interests me about the physics in the Cosmere is the entropy and exergy of investiture. I got the impression that used Atium would eventually find its way back to Ruin's personal well of investiture but would take time. This implies that there's a natural process that somehow creates exergy and thus reverses entropy... which would require some kind of work.

 

Maybe that fourth law of thermodynamics regarding Adonalsium has something to do with that.

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23 hours ago, Bugsy6912 said:

Q: Does investiture warp spacetime like objects with mass/energy do in our world

A: Yes - but the warping is not on the physical realm

Isn't Brandon just describing a perpendicularity?

Also, I may be the only one here who believes the cosmere violates its own thermodynamic laws. Everything Brandon says suggests Spiritual Realm Investiture that's not part of a Spiritweb (Shard power) is infinitely renewable. But that would make the cosmere a perpetual motion machine, contrary to thermodynamics' second law. It's certainly possible in a magical universe, but Brandon so often emphasizes thermodynamics that I can't convince myself he intends a perpetually renewable cosmere.

Which makes me think the Adonalsium-related "4th law" goes something like this: All Investiture is renewable EXCEPT Shard power. Matter, energy and other forms of Investiture remain mutually inter-convertible, but they cannot convert back into power. Reason: Shard power is actually Adonalsium's Spiritual Realm corpse. Once power converts into something else, that's it - those things can change back-and-forth into one another, but you can't resurrect Adonalsium.

With this wrinkle, all the WoBs still work, but the cosmere will eventually reach entropic equilibrium. Otherwise it won't.

I want to say again, I have no evidence for my view other than logic. Even that logic is defeated by hand-waving that "it's magic." So don't bother to disagree - I already know you all do, and I have nothing to rebut your contrary view. This particular issue is just a simmering irritation to my OCD nature...

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