Leyrann

The Theory of Identity

6 posts in this topic

Introduction

Recently, I have been attempting to use the L-Theory of Realmatic Strings to explain the Metallic Arts and Surgebinding. As I was working on that, however, I stumbled upon a deeper theory, that explains the nature and Identity of the Three Realms, and through that expands on the identity of the L bosons that are so central to L-Theory. Additionally, this theory creates the framework that, indeed, allows one to explain the Metallic Arts and Surgebinding. (and of course the other magic systems, but these two are my focus)

According to L-Theory, the Cosmere is a stringed universe. Every particle is actually a string, and the Physical Realm is simply the endpoint of those strings. L-Theory then argues that the other endpoint of the particle strings is the Spiritual Realm, while the string itself is the Cognitive Realm.

We also know, per WoB, that the original concept of the Three Realms comes from Platonic philosophy. This philosophy dictates, indeed, that apart from the Physical Realm, there is a seperate realm with consciousness, which in the Cosmere is called the Cognitive Realm, and a third realm with abstract truths, which is in the Cosmere called the Spiritual Realm. It should be noted that in the Cosmere, the Spiritual Realm is not as fixed as it was in Plato's philosophy, though it bears some resemblance.

Note: As Calderis correctly pointed out, I went wrong with terminlogy in some places. I will fix this sometime soon (though probably after Oathbringer release), but roughly the mistakes are using uppercase Identity when it should simply be identity, while the actual uppercase Identity would be the consciousness from the strange loops that I talk about several times. This may not fully correct the issue, but it should fix the problem of "Identity as term is used wrong", while any details will be fixed once I get to it. Also, it should avoid people getting the wrong idea about what Identity is, like I had.

Part I: Information and the three Identities

While the Three Realms theory combined with string theory allows us to visualize both of them, we should not forget that, in it's core, strings are tidbits of information - and so are, really, the particles, consciousness and abstract truths of Plato's three realms. Now, first of all, strings, logically, defined by their endpoints; each of their endpoints is in a position, and the string is in between those positions. Additionally, the string itself contains the information that is contained in both endpoints, because if you know what the string is like, you know where it's endpoints are. Another clue to this information is given in another WoB, where we learn that there are no distances or places in the Spiritual Realm. Position is apparently intrinsically related to the Physical end. We also know from The Emperors Soul (which I admittedly hadn't yet read myself) that Connections, the relationships between particles, are related as intrinsically to the Spiritual Realm. And as we just established, the strings themselves contain all information their endpoints contain. This means that they contain the information to both the particle's position and it's relationship with other particles. Together, this information has a term that we already know - Identity.

As for the endpoints, both in the Physical and the Spiritual Realm they are currently defined in relationship to an outside factor - for the Physical Realm their position, for the Spiritual Realm the particles they interact with. However, we can also define them from the Cognitive Realm, in which case the Physical Realm has part of the Identity of the particle, and the Spiritual Realm also has part of the Identity of the particle. This means that we recognize three difference Identities: Physical Identity (position), Cognitive Identity and Spiritual Identity (Connection). Or, a shorter notation, p-Identity, c-Identity and s-Identity. (the hyphen is required because otherwise the capital I looks like an L)

Part II: Electromagnetic force and molecular bonding

With the Identities of particles firmly established, let's have a thought experiment. We have two particles, each with their own Identity in all three Realms. L-Theory establishes that, the more similar two strings oscillate, the more similar their c-Identity is. Though L-Theory assumes this is related only to Connection, we know that this is a combination of both Connection (Spritual) and position (Physical). It stands to reason, that if there is a similarity between two oscillations, that they will influence one another, and attempt to become more similar. To achieve that, however, it has to change both it's p-Identity and it's s-Identity. This means that the particle starts moving - it has to change it's position and it's Connection. And as position and Connection change, the c-Identities become more and more similar, which means the particles start moving together faster and faster.

Will it ever stop? Yes. As particles move closer and closer together in both their position and their Connection, they approach the point where their position and Connection are equal. At this point, their c-Identities obviously have to be equal as well, and that means that their p-Identity, c-Identity and s-Identity are all equal, and that they are exactly the same. Which means we're not talking about two particles, but rather about one particle. Considering that we started out with two particles, this would be a violation of the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy. Apparently, there is a point beyond which particles do not want to get closer together anymore - a repelling force to counter the attracting force from their similarities.

And thus, two things appear. A force that sometimes attracts, and sometimes repels - electromagnetic force. And a balance between the two, where attraction and repellation are in equilibrium - the molecular bond.

Part III: Stacking Identities

Though molecular bonds and electromagnetic force are intrinsically related to one another, they are not the same thing. Molecular bonds, I would argue, are related to position, and therefore p-Identity. Electromagnetic force, on the other hand, is related to the relationship between particles, and therefore s-Identity.

And let's also have a look at those similar oscillations. As L-Theory posits, if two (or more) strings oscillate in a similar way (= have a similar c-Identity), a new Identity emerges out of their oscillations. Note the lack of prefix - this Identity has no equivalent in different Realms. Rather, it is the summation of the c-Identities that create it. Then, if another similar Identity is nearby, these can once again oscillate together, again forming a new Identity out of the summation of the old ones. This process allows more complex Identities to form, and on top of that allows the existence of sub-Identities.

To continue in L-Theory for a moment, it posits 'strange loops' as the origin of consciousness: These strange loops connect an Identity to itself - but note that I am not using a capital letter. This is because these strange loops, like all strings, are part of the Cognitive Realm, and the connection is a literal connection. The oscillations in these strange loops are what causes an Identity to have consciousness. However, these oscillations, though they will in part be shaped by the Identity that they are connected to, are not fully shaped by those, like how c-Identity is shaped by p-Identity and s-Identity. Instead, they have a degree of self-awareness, and this allows the strange loops to, in turn, themselves influence Identity, though this is limited by the capabilities of the consciousness. This ability to influence grants the Identity stability, instead of having to change with whatever happens around it, but it also allows for something else.

Part IV: The quantum of Investiture

Now, this is where the quantum of Investiture comes in. As that WoB comfirms, there is a quantum of Investiture, which means that Investiture comes in particles that pack a certain amount of force (or energy). L-Theory calls these particles L bosons, so I will do so as well. As L-Theory also explains, L bosons are force carriers, and therefore some kind of gauge boson, and L-Theory then goes on to explain how L bosons can be directed by strange loops; this is Intent, which exists not only on Shard level, but on very small levels as well. Additionally, it also explains how strings can be shaped by L bosons, but here I believe L-Theory is a bit too specific.

In Part III, we created a stack of Identities, where the highest Identity has a consciousness. We also established that this consciousness plays a part in shaping the Identity it belongs to. If an Identity changes, it stands to reason that it's sub-Identities change, which continues all the way to the c-Identity. And if you change the c-Identity, you change the p-Identity or s-Identity. And this is what an L boson does; it shapes the Identity you're working with, which may be done on different levels. You could influence Identities as a whole, but you could also go all the way down and instead influence the endpoints of strings, influencing p-Identities or s-Identities instead of directly the Identity itself.

And this creates a distinction that allows a first classification of Investiture, namely the Physical, Cognitive and Spiritual variations, depending on which part of the strings you are influencing. Additionally, it also allows us to understand what the different kinds of Investiture affect: Physical Investiture affects molecular bonds and position. Cognitive Investiture affects Identities, consciousness and thoughts. Spiritual Investiture affects electromagnetic effects and relations between particles, also known as Connection. Lastly, there's Hybrid Investiture, which affects multiple kinds in one go.

Part V: Capturing photons

L-Theory theorizes that L bosons with null Intent are simply photons, and though this is close, we have seen it is not quite true. As most people probably know, photons are the quantum of electromagnetic force, and electromagnetic force, we have seen, is related to the interaction between particles and therefore Connection, which makes photons an effect caused by the nature of Realmatic Theory (and possibly manipulated by L bosons). Though this makes them intrinsically related to the structure of the Cosmere, the interaction between L bosons and photons is, in normal circumstances, in one direction only; a consciousness would be able to influence L bosons and, through that, influence photons, but photons would not interact with consciousness, while L-Theory is based on photons being L bosons, as otherwise they cannot be originally captured by a consciousness.

In other words, this would invalidate L-Theory's proposed 'start' of everything, where Adonalsium was a man who found out how to manipulate photons. However, there is something we did not yet address. On one hand, strange loops do not actually have a position or a relationship to each other, as they do not exist in the Physical or Spiritual Realms, and therefore they do not have a p-Identity or s-Identity, though they do have a c-Identity from their existence in the Cognitive Realm. On the other hand, strange loops have self-awareness, and can therefore influence themselves. So what if it would influence itself to make its c-Identity exactly the same as a photon's c-Identity? This would not break the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, as the photon has p-Identity and s-Identity that is different from the (non-existing) p-Identity and s-Identity of the strange loop, but it would allow an oscillation between the strange loop and the photon. Next, the strange loop slightly changes, as it can be influenced with consciousness. The photon, attempting to keep the oscillating going, would change as well: And by this point, it's not a photon anymore. Rather, it's now an L boson.

Some notes

First of all, this theory is actually only the base of what I wanted to do, and has actually been created from the realization that Investiture can be divided into Physical, Cognitive and Spiritual types. I also very much want to give a shoutout to @skaa, as it is his L-Theory which actually gave me the starting point from which I was able to write this theory (I certainly wouldn't have thought of it otherwise). And I also promised @Alderant that I would tag him once I was finished.

Edit: An additional note that is probably worthwhile, is that typically, someone who uses Investiture does not him/herself convert photons into L bosons. Rather, Shards make this change, and the magic as people use it already consists of L bosons from the start. (as for Elantris, with it's shattered shards that still have the power of the AonDor, there is either just an enormous reservoir (Shards are pretty powerful) or the remaining parts of the Shards may still be able to create new L bosons)

Edited by Leyrann
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I may have misunderstood something, but how does your theory explain the complete removal of identity?

 

Edited by Metalrift
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27 minutes ago, Metalrift said:

I may have misunderstood something, but how does your theory explain the complete removal of identity through the use of Feruchemy?

That's a good question.

I actually had a bit of a discussion with someone else as well regarding Identity, and the core of that lies in what exactly it is. I think, however, that an Aluminiummind stores the highest level of Identity, basically removing it from the person (even though Identity is closely related to consciousness, it's not actually the same, which would make it possible without forgetting who you are or something like that) and storing it in the metalmind.

Which would, naturally, imply that if you go without Identity for long enough, a new Identity would start to form... Someone gotta ask Brandon wheter that is the case...

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Have to be careful in creating new terminology. Capital I Identity is a spiritual trait, like Connection, Fortune, and Investiture. 

Lowercase i identity is how we see ourselves in the physical, and like the ship or the (abominable) stick. It's a proper use of the word identity, but it is not realmatic identity. 

For example here's a Reddit WoB from Brandon. He wrote it himself. Note that he didn't capitalize identity. 

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

You got it wrong. I'm not busy because I'm writing other books, I'm working on the licensing deals! Cardboard shardplate! Official Bridge Four loincloths! "There's spren in my poop" toilet paper!

Rutthed

Serious question: are there poopspren, and how would they fare in indoor plumbing situations?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it depends on how you're defining spren. In the books, they don't make a distinction, but there are several varieties. At the basic level, everything has an identity--a soul, you might say, but more than that. This is based on how it is viewed, and how long it has been viewed that way. Feces would have this, but wouldn't have a very strong cognitive identity because of its transitional nature.

Other types of spren, the type that characters see and interact with, are cognitive ideals or concepts which have taken on literal personification over time. These are usually related to forces or emotions, and don't relate to this particular topic.

And that's far more than I ever expected to say on this...

He also explains how perception creates an "identity" for inanimate objects there. 

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12 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Have to be careful in creating new terminology. Capital I Identity is a spiritual trait, like Connection, Fortune, and Investiture. 

Lowercase i identity is how we see ourselves in the physical, and like the ship or the (abominable) stick. It's a proper use of the word identity, but it is not realmatic identity. 

For example here's a Reddit WoB from Brandon. He wrote it himself. Note that he didn't capitalize identity. 

He also explains how perception creates an "identity" for inanimate objects there. 

Ah yes, I see.

Do you think I am correct that I went wrong in considering the oscillations to be the Identities, when rather they're identities, and the strange loops are Identities? I've been having a bit of troubles with the strange loops in my mind anyways, but as they're a kind of Connection, I assume that this would also explain how Identity is indeed a Spiritual trait.

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@Leyrann I don't think that you went wrong. I'm not going to claim that I think this is 100% correct, but it fits well with the nature of the three realms.

Everything, whether Cognitive, or Physical, seems to be an expression of the Spiritual. Lower case identity seems to be a mixture of Identity, Connection, and innate Investiture. 

The only reason I brought up the issue is because I've seen confusion on this topic frequently. For inanimate objects, the Cognitive aspect seems to be an expression created through Connection to other things. The objects Kel interacts with in SH, the Wind's Pleasure, stick... All of the Cognitive aspects we see have been created through connection to other objects, and interactions with living minds. 

I don't know how that fits into your theory, because the strings of non-living things are dependent on interactions with other strings. 

Edited by Calderis
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