Zelly

[OB] Near death experiences in the cosmere

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Spoilers for OB and BoM. (New and not sure best way to handle spoilers).

This is my twitchy theory that having a near death experience may add to/alter abilities, Investiture, spiritual connection, etc.  At the very least, connection to the cognitive realm. I can understand that being on that line between life and death can create some flux between the realms, but when the person ends up NOT dying, I wonder if they don't "return" with some added bit of connection or ability as a result.

I'm currently re-reading Warbringer and thinking about the "prophecies" that the Returned glean from dreams and paintings.  The priests describe the Returned as having glimpsed the future due to their experience on the other side.

Fast forward to OB and Kaladin's examination of a painting for sale in Shadesmar, which reads much like a painting from Nalthis.  Is Kaladin's experience with the painting related to him being Invested and/or his (admittedly many) near death experience. The main one that stands out to me is when he's left out during the highstorm and sees what may be death spren.

Hop over to BoM where we have Wax's near death experience and chatty vision with Harmony. 

There's also Szeth's super near death experience, to the point where his poorly reconnected soul leaves an after image from his body.

There may be other examples. I mean, the trappers on First of the Sun live one giant near death experience.  Maybe why Aviar seem to prefer them?

Is Snapping on Scadrial related more to a mental breakdown and spirit web stuff, or potentially to a having a near death experience? 

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Basically, in many cases, a soul needs to be cracked or broken.  That leaves room for investiture to seep in and bond with the soul to let the person be able to use it.  That's what Snapping is, at least, although the cracks don't need to be particularly big any more thanks to Sazed.  There are systems where this isn't required (like Nalthis and Breath), and in some cases in each system, sometimes it's not necessary at all (see Shallan).  But yes, in general, having a traumatic experience, including near-death, definitely makes it more likely that you'll end up being able to use investiture.

Or at least, that's how we understand it at this time :D

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I'm pretty sure both Wax and Szeth actually did die, same for the Returned.

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5 hours ago, Leyrann said:

I'm pretty sure both Wax and Szeth actually did die, same for the Returned.

Oh, for some reason I assumed Wax was flickering on the border of death, but hadn't fully died.  Looked up Szeth's death and yeah Nale states he was "dead for certain."  Are Wax and Szeth cognitive shadows then? :o    I remember a vague passage about Nale saying Szeth heard voices/whispers of the dead due to his condition.

So I guess my thread is more about what it means to be a cognitive shadow...

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Their bodies were healed enough for them to return to them.  I don't think they're "stapled" to their bodies, they were just caught before 100% death and put back in.  Maybe a step between a regular person and a CS?

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Regarding the Returned: I thought their visions were caused by Divine Breath i.e. bits of a shard's power. If they contain pieces of a shard, could they maybe have access to a small fraction of the shard's power of prophecy (I know it isn't exactly prophecy, just can't think of a better term)?

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@LopenTheTwoArmedHerdazian, Fortune is the ability to instinctively understand long-term consequences/ramifications of actions taken now; basically seeing possible futures.

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On 2/27/2018 at 6:04 PM, RShara said:

Their bodies were healed enough for them to return to them.  I don't think they're "stapled" to their bodies, they were just caught before 100% death and put back in.  Maybe a step between a regular person and a CS?

It's almost seems like, at least in Sezth's case, they're a ghost trying to possess their own bodies.

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So here’s a quote from Warbreaker (beginning of ch. 21) that might be semi-relevant to this discussion:

Quote

Some said that before a man died, his BioChromatic aura flared with sudden brightness. Like a heart giving its last beat, like the final surge of a wave before the tide retreats. Vasher had seen it happen, but not with every death. The event was rare, much like a perfect sunset.

So I agree that being near-dead does weird stuff to investiture. Not sure of much beyond that.

There’s also that part at the end of AoL

Spoiler

where Miles is being executed and they have to shoot him a zillion times before he dies

Not sure, but that might be another relevant example.

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On 3/2/2018 at 10:09 PM, Fatling said:

There’s also that part at the end of AoL

Spoiler

I was under the impression that Miles had swallowed some small Goldminds. They couldn't be taken from him, so he'd still have them when on the chopping block.

It's not confirmed(iirc), but it's the prevailing theory.

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On 3/4/2018 at 9:41 AM, The One Who Connects said:
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I was under the impression that Miles had swallowed some small Goldminds. They couldn't be taken from him, so he'd still have them when on the chopping block.

It's not confirmed(iirc), but it's the prevailing theory.

I agree that that’s definitely the most likely explanation, I just wanted to raise this as another possiblity, ‘cause, you know, there’s always another secret :ph34r:

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