Ripheus23

Is the concept of Investiture coherent/meaningful?

38 posts in this topic

My understanding of this topic is that the (quasi-)technical description of Investiture is "a third thing in the same category as matter and energy." However, I am not sure that it is conceptually possible for there to be three items in that category. Consider, by way of comparison, space and time:

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But to show reasons for this peculiar character of our understandings, that it produces unity of apperception a priori only by means of categories, and a certain kind and number thereof, is as impossible as to explain why we are endowed with precisely so many functions of judgement and no more, or why time and space are the only forms of our intuition.

This is from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He also says there that space is the way that we differentiate objects [the form of perceiving things as external to each other], whereas time is the way that we identify objects [the form of perceiving different states as pertaining to objects with individual identities, e.g. personal identity over time]. Internality and externality in this sense are comprehensively exclusive options, correlated with identity and difference per se. So if one were to come along and say, "There could be a third thing, like space and time, let's called it spime," well, there's an outer-limit mental allowance to be made for it [as Kant indicates in our lack of knowledge as to where the ideas of space and time come from outside of experience], but other than that, it's difficult to associate anything meaningful with such a possible claim.

Now, in modern physics, it seems like there's still a division between quarks/leptons on one hand, and the force-carriers on the other, but then there's also the Higgs [which is for some kind of special mass-assignment, IIRC], and the whole meta-dichotomy of bosons and fermions (where some matter particles end up as one or the other, depending on which level of material constitution we're on or if we're in the spheres of supersymmetry or whatever!) [and there could be "plektons," apparently, that is particles whose statistical characteristics conform neither to Fermi's nor Bose/Einstein's rubrics, here!]. But generally it seems like matter has been reduced to mass, which is reducible to energy in the limit. So it seems to me as if it might be the case that there's really only one actually possible item in the category "things like matter and energy."

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I think this is the point where trying to science the Cosmere falls apart. 

Investiture is a third layer to the physics of the Cosmere, and the most fundamental part... Which exactly what allows it to be used to alter physics. Physics apply until investiture is involved and then things are allowed to bend or break the rules. 

Investiture is the fantastical element. You can try to apply real world elements to it here, and indeed Khriss seems to approach it with the scientific method. There's an entire two realms of existence that we completely lack though.

I just don't think pure logic is going to hold without knowing all of the rules Brandon has created, and he's flat out told us that he's not giving us all of those. 

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yurisses

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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

 

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Without Investiture, there'd be no magic, that's the narrative account, granted. But I wonder about that word "magic." On a general level, it seems to be "something in a story that allows characters to do things with willpower* that would require machines [or something along those lines] in the actual world." However, that makes magic into an inherently fictional concept. Now I'm sure a whole amazing story could be written about a magic system defined from this concept of what the word "magic" truly means. Is that the story Sanderson is writing? I do not think so, even if he might avail himself of the tropes of such a sequence, as it goes. He is using the fictionalist trope per se with the twist/caveat that the thing in his story that does what the story requires it to (for the sake of the work being in the fantasy genre instead of science fiction) is amenable to a comprehensive mathematical/philosophical description. [This follows from his essay about the narrative limitations on magic, e.g. having magic be the problem or having magical solutions to plot problems require some finesse.]

If that's true, then the philosophical question over whether the matter/energy category could have another item in it, is valid enough, and I think Sanderson is on the right track with it, as far as the abstract logic of Investiture stands. But I think at the end of the day he will refine this trichotomy somehow, either in terms of a deep argument about the very notions of matter and energy, or by replacing the usage of that category [to find a place for Investiture in mathematical physics] with the use of another that could coherently/intelligibly subvene the doctrine of Investiture.*

*[Same footnote for both asterisks] One way this could be done would be by drawing on an adjustment to Kant's phenomena-noumena distinction relative to the question of causality. In Kant's system, there are three forms of causality: in time [normal causation], reciprocally between objects as they exist in space, and by free will. Now, Kant says that we don't empirically perceive the third form of causation. Let's suppose, then, that Realmatics in the Cosmere adjusts this picture such that in the Cosmere, it's possible to at least quasi-perceive agent-causation. In other words, the noumenal plane gets assimilated to the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms. However, this would make the mathematical description of Investiture nearly impossible to render in an intelligible form (for human readers), I suspect...

EDIT: One thing about Realmatics that I'd like to note concerns the following [quoted from Calderis' quote of Sanderson in his "Shardplate Creation" OP]:

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So, this gets into some weird cosmere theory stuff. The level that if you are a student of philosophy, you'll recognize just wearing on the sleeve where this one came from. This is a mashup of Shinto beliefs and the theory of the forms by Plato, and kind of its own weird thing, that became Realmatic theory in the cosmere...

Now in fact I did recognize the theory on its sleeve. It's an application of the concept of a haecceity. A haecceity is, if you will, the Platonic Form of an exact particular, it's exactitude's own particularity even. Think of the difference between, "A dog," "The dog," and, "This dog." The first is a general identity, the second a particular identity, the third a haecceitic identity. So, all objects and their parts have a special concept for each, and together these form a propositional/cognitive plane, if you will, perfectly "overlapping" those parts/objects. In the Cosmere, Investiture makes haecceities self-conscious on an abstract level, which is another thing, but not unexplainable/indescribable/fictionalistically ineffable.

Edited by Ripheus23
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I was going to post this in the concept of metals thread but it just covers to much outside of Mistborn so I'm going here, as I think it pertains to both. 

2 hours ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Well it’s not only that, but also the fact that the physical realm does not seem to be the most fundamental realm in this universe, or at the very least that’s the implication that I’ve got from the books I’ve read so far. The implication seems to be that the Spiritual Realm is it in some sense fundamental whereas the Cognitive Realm and the Physical Realm (which would include matter) are in some sense emergent from that. Maybe I’m just completely misinterpreting what’s been said about the Spiritual Realm, but if not then that would absolutely change the focus of this entire discussion, I think.

You're not misinterpreting. Everything points to the Spiritual Realm superceding the others. There is the potential at lease for purely spiritual beings (there is a WoB that I'm going to leave out her, because is non-cosmere about a creature that was a purely spiritual species, the Rithmatist was pulled out of the Cosmere, so we haven't seen those), your have spren, which are Cognitive, but we have multiple WoBs showing that they also have a Spiritual aspect, including the ability to spike them and steal from their spiritweb. 

Everything in the physical, to my knowledge, exists in all three realms. But it still gets more complicated.

The Realms are intertwined and able to influence each other, and despite the use of the word "ideal" the spiritual is not immutable. 

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wiresegal

In OB, you explained that the Singers have four sexes. I was wondering... Can the Singers have genders other than those four, like humans? Even as simple as just not going with male, female, or malen/femalen. Could a transgender Singer use their ability to shift forms to change their biological reality? And, finally, could a Spren be non-binary, if it wasn't personified in a typical male/female way?

Brandon Sanderson

In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms. It is possible, with investiture, to change their biology to match Cognitive perceptions--and while this could be easier for some races (like the Singers) it's not outside plausibility for any race.

There are non-binary spren, actually--and you should be meeting one important one quite soon in the books.

source 

2 hours ago, Ripheus23 said:

Realmatics add a whole other level to the questions, that's for sure... well, 2 more levels :P but anyway I am not sure that Sanderson would be averse to at least partly explaining that in quasi-theological/philosophical terms. I mean the Cognitive Realm seems like an Alice-style Wonderland, so far as it has been described, but that could be chalked up to the role of Investiture in the Cosmere. Sanderson might claim that the real world has a Cognitive Realm but that due to our cosmos lacking the Investiture tangent in the category of matter/energy/w/e, ours doesn't "look like" Shadesmar* (for example).

*I think the relationship between the beads and the spren and the objects in the Physical Realm, amounts to quantum Perpendicularities. That is, the beads are miniature warps in space-time that are tied to the spren of specific objects, allowing the "Soulcaster circuit," if you will, to be completed.

Those boxes got jammed together closer than mobile will let me type between... 

The beads are the Cognitive aspect of the object Ripheus. Just as the flames are the Cognitive aspects of people. They do exist" in perpendicularity" to the Realms because they exist in all three, but they aren't "perpendicularities." they are literally the same object. Soulcasting alters uses the Cognitive to change all three realms... Just like the WoB above says. 

"In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms." the Cognitive can alter the others. 

Intent is Cognitive, and all magic requires it. Investiture is Spiritual... Without the Cognitive the spiritual does nothing... (which really confuses me on the possibility of purely spiritual beings...) 

There are still a ton of rules to all of this that we just know almost nothing about. 

The concept of investiture as the "most fundamental" thing in the Cosmere shapes things in ways that I truly think don't fit along with the others. I mean, yes, investiture = energy = matter... But outside of the physical realm, what is there that's not investiture? 

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I don't follow the connection between Kant's inability to imagine a perceptual category other than space and time, and the inability to have third categories between mass and energy. Is it just an analogy?

Mass and matter are not the same thing. Matter is anything that takes up space and has inertia. It isn't a fundamental quantity, only a useful description of some things. Maybe in the past some people only matter had mass, and energy never had mass, but no one thinks that anymore. I'd say solving this problem is as simple as saying investiture only has mass in the Physical realm, and not the others. Maybe Brandon has another solution, but that should work.

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10 hours ago, Calderis said:

I was going to post this in the concept of metals thread but it just covers to much outside of Mistborn so I'm going here, as I think it pertains to both. 

You're not misinterpreting. Everything points to the Spiritual Realm superceding the others. There is the potential at lease for purely spiritual beings (there is a WoB that I'm going to leave out her, because is non-cosmere about a creature that was a purely spiritual species, the Rithmatist was pulled out of the Cosmere, so we haven't seen those), your have spren, which are Cognitive, but we have multiple WoBs showing that they also have a Spiritual aspect, including the ability to spike them and steal from their spiritweb. 

Everything in the physical, to my knowledge, exists in all three realms. But it still gets more complicated.

The Realms are intertwined and able to influence each other, and despite the use of the word "ideal" the spiritual is not immutable. 

Well, logically only one of the three realms/substances (matter, mind, and spirit) CAN be fundamental, since the idea of three independent and fundamental substances being able to interact with each other despite not sharing any common attributes is not tenable. So regardless of the means, the Cosmere can’t truly be pluralistic in ontology (or at least it shouldn’t be if Brandon knows his philosophy). From what I’ve been able to tell, it seems that the three realms have a kind of Russian Matrioshka doll structure, with Physical emerging from Cognitive (setting aside for the moment the obvious chicken/egg paradox that leads to) which in turn emerges from Spirit.

But that was my basic point in the original thread: in the real world, matter (and by extension the laws that describe it) at least appears to be fundamental, whereas in the Cosmere this is simply not the case. So to say that what constitutes whether something counts as ‘Metal’ in the Cosmere is the laws of physics is, at best, an incomplete description. But then again, there does seem to be some inconsistencies in how the three realms are described as being structured, the only real commonality being that Spiritual is the most fundamental one. But sometimes it’s implied that the Physical Realm emerges from the Cognitive, other times vice versa, and still other times it implies that both Physical AND Cognitive are equally emergent from both each other and the Spiritual and are in some sense merely different ways of looking at the same underlying reality.

I really hope that Brandon can flesh this out a little better in later works, because as it currently stands we have way more questions than we do answers with respect to this issue.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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8 hours ago, Morsk said:

Mass and matter are not the same thing. Matter is anything that takes up space and has inertia. It isn't a fundamental quantity, only a useful description of some things.

Actually, quantum mechanics has largely turned this on its head; the classical conception of matter simply doesn’t appear tenable anymore. Indeed, many physicists now suspect that spacetime itself actually emerges FROM what we now call ‘matter’. 

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1 hour ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Well, logically only one of the three realms/substances (matter, mind, and spirit) CAN be fundamental, since the idea of three independent and fundamental substances being able to interact with each other despite not sharing any common attributes is not tenable

So first, the Physical/Cognitive/Spiritual Realms are not substances, they're realms.  Secondly, do you have an argument as to why their coexistence is "not tenable"?  

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2 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

So first, the Physical/Cognitive/Spiritual Realms are not substances, they're realms.  Secondly, do you have an argument as to why their coexistence is "not tenable"?  

Yes, but the things each realm contains are physical, mental, and spiritual, respectively, which is all I meant.

And I don’t really wanna derail the thread too much by starting a philosophical debate, but since you asked, in order for two substances to be capable of interacting with each other, they must do so via one or more fundamental attributes that they share in common. But if they share common attributes then by definition they aren’t actually distinct substances but rather different ‘manifestations’ of the same substance. That’s the fundamental problem with non-monistic ontologies, and why the overwhelming majority of modern philosophers (at least those who aren’t driven by dogma) are monists of one stripe or another, at least as far as I’ve been able to tell.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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3 hours ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

And I don’t really wanna derail the thread too much by starting a philosophical debate, but since you asked, in order for two substances to be capable of interacting with each other, they must do so via one or more fundamental attributes that they share in common. But if they share common attributes then by definition they aren’t actually distinct substances but rather different ‘manifestations’ of the same substance. That’s the fundamental problem with non-monistic ontologies, and why the overwhelming majority of modern philosophers (at least those who aren’t driven by dogma) are monists of one stripe or another, at least as far as I’ve been able to tell.

I don't agree with this "definition."  According to it, literally everything in the universe is the same substance, which is (depending on your definition of substance) either obviously false or so general as to be meaningless.  

The thing that all three realms share is Investiture.  That doesn't mean that the realms are the same or that one must necessarily be fundamental to the others (whatever that even means).  

As far as we know, everything has a spiritual component.  As @Calderis mentioned, Brandon has talked about Spiritual-only beings (which never made it into the cannon).  It's definitely possible to have a non-physical being (see Cognitive Shadow).  It's debated in-world whether or not all physical objects must have a cognitive component.  

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Like I said, I don’t want to derail the thread. But insofar as what philosophers of metaphysics mean by ‘substance’, which is also the way I was using the term, as far as we can tell everything in the universe (that we can see at least) IS one substance. 

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I think the Realms are "layers" of reality, or "levels" or "planes" or whatever, that correspond to {concepts --- propositions --- stories} in a way. "Cognitive" isn't the same description as "of the mind," but usually has to do with a sort of information-theoretic gloss of the thing. In other words, something propositional, like the propositional calculus over the predicate calculus, maybe. The Spiritual Realm relates to a sort of super-propositional calculus, in which whole arrangements of facts get assigned a higher---spiritual---meaning. (I mean, the meaning is spiritual because it occupies this next stage.)

Haecceities of persons would be Spiritwebs, maybe. But if spren are persons as well as haecceities of concepts, then...

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The beads are the Cognitive aspect of the object Ripheus. Just as the flames are the Cognitive aspects of people. They do exist" in perpendicularity" to the Realms because they exist in all three, but they aren't "perpendicularities." they are literally the same object. Soulcasting alters uses the Cognitive to change all three realms... Just like the WoB above says.

I guess I'm going off a broad take on what a perpendicularity is, or could be, in the Cosmere. I think it's no accident that the Cognitive "part" of an object is spherical, I suspect that this is related to how Investiture in general interacts gravitationally. Unless it's just a fantastical image (a world of bead-ground and solid water, etc.).

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I don't follow the connection between Kant's inability to imagine a perceptual category other than space and time, and the inability to have third categories between mass and energy. Is it just an analogy?

I guess I think there might be a connection between space and matter on one hand, and time and energy on the other. At least, our historical concepts of these things.

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As to the way the Realms functions... The Spiritual seems to be purely informational. What is written there is what is implemented in the other realms. 

The Cognitive could be described as the "realm of interpretation" its where the information of the Spiritual is computed. The origin of intent and the shape of perception. 

The physical is ultimately the way things are expressed after filtering through the Cognitive. 

1 hour ago, Ripheus23 said:

I guess I'm going off a broad take on what a perpendicularity is, or could be, in the Cosmere. I think it's no accident that the Cognitive "part" of an object is spherical, I suspect that this is related to how Investiture in general interacts gravitationally. Unless it's just a fantastical image (a world of bead-ground and solid water, etc.).

I think this places to much emphasis on Roshar. We've seen the Cognitive of Scadrial as well, and Cognitive aspects there are just a misty version of the physical. 

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The only problem with that is what I said earlier, namely that it ultimately leads to a kind of chicken/egg paradox. If the Physical Realm is ultimately the result of the Cognitive Realm, and what happens in the Physical Realm affects the Cognitive Realm, then which is really the more fundamental of the two?

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Just now, Fanghur Rahl said:

The only problem with that is what I said earlier, namely that it ultimately leads to a kind of chicken/egg paradox. If the Physical Realm is ultimately the result of the Cognitive Realm, and what happens in the Physical Realm affects the Cognitive Realm, then which is really the more fundamental of the two?

I don't think that definition of "fundamental" can be applied. We've been flat out told that they all interact and can change each other. 

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Well even you agreed that it at least appears that the Physical and Cognitive Realms appears to be in some sense emergent from the Spiritual Realm, or did I misunderstand what you said? Because in this context, ‘not fundamental’ is just another term for ‘emergent’.

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1 minute ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Well even you agreed that it at least appears that the Physical and Cognitive Realms appears to be in some sense emergent from the Spiritual Realm, or did I misunderstand what you said? Because in this context, ‘not fundamental’ is just another term for ‘emergent’.

Yes, but the spiritual is still able to be altered by the others. 

I fully believe that the Spiritual realm is the primary origin of pretty much everything. It can still be effected and altered by the Cognitive. It is not immutable or impervious to change from the other realms. 

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18 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Yes, but the spiritual is still able to be altered by the others. 

I fully believe that the Spiritual realm is the primary origin of pretty much everything. It can still be effected and altered by the Cognitive. It is not immutable or impervious to change from the other realms. 

I'm not entirely sure that that's a coherent view. I'm not sure though because I suspect you and I may be using the same terms to mean very different things. What exactly do you mean when you agree that Physical and Cognitive appear to emerge from Spiritual? Because I'm using the term 'emergent' in the sense used by philosophers and scientists. Namely, a behaviour of a complex system interacting in a certain way that is not possessed by any individual members of the system; for example, the brain gives rise to the mind, but the individual cells that make up the brain are not themselves conscious. 

That is to say, my understanding is that whatever occurs in the Spiritual Realm ultimately 'gives rise' to the phenomenon of Cognition, which in turn gives rise to Physicality (or at least the appearance of physicality to whatever sentient beings exist in the system), or maybe Spiritual gives rise to Physical which in turn gives rise to Cognitive. That's why I said the other day that I may be entirely misunderstanding the structure that Brandon is trying to convey here, but it's confusing because he doesn't rigorously describe it and sometimes describes differently on different occasions it in seemingly mutually exclusive ways.
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I think this places to much emphasis on Roshar. We've seen the Cognitive of Scadrial as well, and Cognitive aspects there are just a misty version of the physical.

True, I didn't think of that...

29 minutes ago, Calderis said:

The Spiritual seems to be purely informational. What is written there is what is implemented in the other realms.

I guess this depends on the concept of information. In a mathematical kind of way, what Pattern says about the fundamental shape of things or w/e (I don't remember where exactly) seems information-theoretic, and related to the Cognitive Realm. Let's say, physical information is like raw sensation, cognitive information is sensation refined to distinct experiences (perceptions and beliefs), and spiritual information is another layer of information on top of those. IDK if it'd be the origin, though, or whether there IS an origin, in this case. I feel like it would be asking if the law of identity is true "before" or "after" the law of noncontradiction and the law of bivalence/the excluded middle.

Also, if space and time do not exist in the Spiritual Realm, and if they are fundamentally different from it, it seems as if they have to exist of themselves. That is, could there be a spren for pure space or time, and a Spiritweb for this spren (if it were a personal enough being)?

Also, if there were a Beyond, this would be the fundamental plane. Since we're supposedly never going to have a definitive Cosmereological statement of the Beyond, it seems as if we will never be given an answer as to what the fundamental plane is, maybe?

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End = edge or end = outside of time? Isn't the Spiritual already sort of outside of time? Or would it be more like the difference between living forever and seeing all of forever at once, only in this case the Beyond is beyond even seeing all of forever at once?

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6 minutes ago, Ripheus23 said:

End = edge or end = outside of time? Isn't the Spiritual already sort of outside of time? Or would it be more like the difference between living forever and seeing all of forever at once, only in this case the Beyond is beyond even seeing all of forever at once?

Personally, my favourite theory (or model if you prefer) is that it’s something vaguely akin to what happens when people die in Peter F. Hamilton’s ‘Night’s Dawn’ trilogy. 

Basically, everyone has a soul that survives physical death, and it’s basically some kind of mind-imprinted quantum energy as opposed to mind-imprinted Investiture, and once a person dies their soul enters what it coincidentally also referred to as ‘the Beyond’. If they aren’t able to accept their death, they basically stay trapped there, able to get glimpses of the world they left behind (kind of like Kelsier in the Well), but if the person is able to come to grips with and accept their death, their soul moves to the end point of the universe, called the Omega Point, where all souls merge together and effectively become the God (or at least architect) of whatever the next universe is.
 
Almost certainly not what Brandon has in mind, but hey, who knows?
Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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Isn't that still a temporal, or time-like, scenario/state? Even if it involved "skipping over" an infinite amount of physical time?

(Personally, I think talk of "outside space and time" is better rephrased as talk of "higher-dimensional space and time." Like, as per Flatland (I think), if a being could perceive 2D time, they could see "all time at once," in the sense of seeing a string of individual moments as a single line. So if they could perceive 3D time... and so on...)

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Agreed. I personally think that the very notion of ‘outside space and time’ isn’t even coherent. Regardless, I was just spitballing. I just really like Hamilton’s idea because of how original it is.

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1 hour ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

What exactly do you mean when you agree that Physical and Cognitive appear to emerge from Spiritual?

I don't see how that could be mean more than one thing?

Essentially, I believe that in the beginning there was only the spiritual, the Cognitive grew out of the development of Adonalsium's mind, and the physical came into being through conscious creation. 

But go back to the WoB on Transgender I posted, and it shows that a person perception can alter their Spiritual Aspect. Brandon says exactly that. 

"In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms."

@Ripheus23 as to the thing on information... When I say that the Spiritual is "pure information" that's an oversimplification, because purely spiritual entities are possible, even if I can't comprehend how a thing can "live" without a spacial/temporal/Cognitive existence.

But what that means to me is that everything is recorded there. Every event and interaction in the form of Connection. Everything in physical matter, in the investiture of the Cognitive, is written there in the Spiritual forms. 

Time does exist in the Spiritual, it's just less important because it's essential a marker of what has happened or possibilities of what will. The past is set. The present is an ever diminishing expanse of probabilities that are made concrete in the present.

This is why shards and investiture seek sapience in the first place in my opinion. In order to experience and play a part in the causal nature of the Cosmere, you need at minimum a Cognitive aspect to play a role that can have an effect. The Shards need Vessels for the parts to experience temporal reality and take part in events. 

The three realms are completely interconnected. 

To the Beyond, I don't think it matters whether it is real or not. It is completely segregated from the Cosmere. We won't be given evidence of its existence, only opinions of those who believe or do not. By that, I don't think it can play a role in the Cosmere at all. 

Edited by Calderis
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