Fanghur Rahl

Shard of 'Apathy'?

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What do you guys think about the identity of one of the remaining six Shards being 'Apathy' or 'Indifference'? The way I see it, it would at least make thematic sense for there to be one of that Intent, since we already have ones for both extreme ends of the passion spectrum - love (Devotion) and hatred (Odium) - and Apathy would be in the middle of that spectrum, much as Preservation (stasis) was in between Ruin (net regression/decay/disorder) and Cultivation (net progression/growth/refinement) in the 'change' spectrum, that and I think it has a nice ring to it as a Shard name. The only real issue I have with it is what kind of role a Shard whose reaction to anything is 'meh, who cares?' could really have in the Cosmere.

 
So it seems to me that there should be a Shard with the intent of Apathy or at least something similar to it, but I don't know whether it would be good for the overall Cosmere story for Brandon to make that one of the remaining six. Anyone have any thoughts?
Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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I... Don't agree. I see love and hate as two sides of the same coin. Both are extreme emotions in the opposite direction.

It is much easier to hate something you once cared for. It is very very difficult to feel nothing in that case. 

Apathy isn't a middle ground between them, it's an absence. I don't like the idea of a Shard of apathy because it's a Shard that is essentially void of intent. 

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9 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I... Don't agree. I see love and hate as two sides of the same coin. Both are extreme emotions in the opposite direction.

It is much easier to hate something you once cared for. It is very very difficult to feel nothing in that case. 

Apathy isn't a middle ground between them, it's an absence. I don't like the idea of a Shard of apathy because it's a Shard that is essentially void of intent. 

Just like Preservation can be regarded as an ‘absence’ of change; the precedent for a null intent, so to speak, is already canon. Like I said, Apathy is exactly to Love and Hate what Preservation is to Cultivation and Ruin; if that spectrum has a null, why not the emotion/passion spectrum as well?

And in a sense, Apathy often can inform your behaviour to at least some extent. How you interact with things you have no real emotional investment with (no pun intended) will clearly differ from things you either love or hate. The problem though is that it would be an incredibly broad intent, possibly even more so than Autonomy. 

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4 minutes ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Just like Preservation can be regarded as an ‘absence’ of change; the precedent for a null intent, so to speak, is already canon. Like I said, Apathy is exactly to Love and Hate what Preservation is to Cultivation and Ruin; if that spectrum has a null, why not the emotion/passion spectrum as well?

I guess this is where we differ. I don't see Preservation as null. I see as Adonalsium's desire for continuity and familiarity separated from the other attributes that gave it context. 

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11 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I guess this is where we differ. I don't see Preservation as null. I see as Adonalsium's desire for continuity and familiarity separated from the other attributes that gave it context. 

I just used ‘null’ for lack of a better term for it; conceptually, preservation is its own thing. As is apathy. It’s only when viewed in relation with the things on either side of the spectrum that they can be considered ‘null’. Sometimes, change is good, sometimes not. Likewise, sometimes having a strong emotional investment is good, but other times it’s better to be detached and objective. That’s why I don’t view ‘apathy’ as being either a null concept by its own nature or one that’s unimportant; it has its place. Presumably Adonalsium would be indifferent about a great many things. But just like with the other Shards, if stripped from all context and made all-encompassing, it’s a different story. 

That’s why I think it could at least make for an interesting Shard if Brandon could find a way to make it work. I’m just not entirely convinced that he can.

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I agree with Calderis.

Preservation isn't a "void" in the "change spectrum". Preservation is active upkeep of a state, working counter to anything that may change it.

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I didn’t disagree with him. But mathematically, it is the zero-point on the spectrum. At least if we view it in reference to the other two. Or at the very least it’s directly in between them if you don’t want to look at it that way. 

Destruction/Regression ———Preservation———Growth/Progression.

Similarly:

Hatred———Apathy/Detachment———Love

Like I said, I’m not convinced that making a Shard of Apathy would be a good idea, but I do disagree that the reason Calderis gave was a good one. Because I do tend to view it as a thing in its own right conceptually speaking, and something Adonalsium almost certainly experienced; I think it would be incomplete if it didn’t/couldn’t. Maybe ‘Objectivity’ would be a better word for it.

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I agree with Calderis and Oversleep here.

i don’t believe that we should look at any shards in a thematic sense, because the Shards themselves are only bound to a single Intent. It is only the dichotomy of Preservation and Ruin that I think throws people to think that there are polar opposites or that other shards will follow similar themes

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That very well might be the case; like I said, I’m not convinced that it’s not. And for all of the other Shards (Honor, Ambition, Endowment, etc.) I actually don’t think that anything like this should apply to them because they’re more stand-alone than the ‘change trinity’ and a potential ‘emotion trinity’ (although, we do have both Dominion and Autonomy, which arguably form a pair of opposites, but I’ll leave that to the side for now). It’s not just for thematic reasons that I think a Shard bridging the gap between Devotion and Odium makes sense, but rather because I personally think that the mere presence of Devotion and Odium as separate Shards rather than a single ‘emotion’ Shard should necessitate one, because without it, Adonalsium would seem incomplete. 

So something like Apathy, or maybe Objectivity or some near-synonym of it, just makes a lot of sense to me and certainly seems like something that would be crucial for Adonalsium to have to make an effective deity.

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I like this a lot.... It does kinda fit. We got two extreme passionate shards so I think it would fit to have a super chill shard... Just kinda hanging out.

Maybe it could be the shard that just wants to survive? If there is a shard of Apathy, it wouldn't really care beyond not dying.

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We have to remember that the Shardic Intents are supposed to be the emotional fragments of a God. And while a God can hate, grow, preserve, ruin, endow, inspire devotion or dominate, even have aspects of honor or ambition, I'm not sure I buy an aspect of god that translates to indifference. 

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2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

We have to remember that the Shardic Intents are supposed to be the emotional fragments of a God. And while a God can hate, grow, preserve, ruin, endow, inspire devotion or dominate, even have aspects of honor or ambition, I'm not sure I buy an aspect of god that translates to indifference. 

You don’t think it makes sense for a God to be able to set all emotional attachment to the side and evaluate things in an objective, detached way? Like I said, indifference/Objectivity absolutely has its place. 

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I can deal with objectivity as a necessary concept better. Objectivity is setting aside your emotions intentional and looking at something based on its merits. 

Apathy is not being able to care in the first place. 

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23 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I can deal with objectivity as a necessary concept better. Objectivity is setting aside your emotions intentional and looking at something based on its merits. 

Apathy is not being able to care in the first place. 

Fair enough, I just picked ‘Apathy’ because I think it has a better ring to it. But ‘Objectivity’ would work just as well conceptually, I think, if we view Odium and Devotion through the lens of mindsets that determine how you act rather than purely as emotions. Since a person driven by either fanatical love or fanatical hatred simply cannot be objective, only someone who either has no emotional investment either way or who is able to detach their personal feelings can. Honestly, I think that would be a perfect Shard for a scholar or philosophy to take.

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I like Objectivity a lot better than Apathy and I can definitely see it being a shard.

 

It fits more with Preservation as well to me, they would both be between the extremes but are still something you must do actively.

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1 minute ago, Jace21 said:

I like Objectivity a lot better than Apathy and I can definitely see it being a shard.

 

It fits more with Preservation as well to me, they would both be between the extremes but are still something you must do actively.

True, in that much I agree. It just sounds a lot weirder to use ‘Objectivity’ as someone’s name than it does to use ‘Apathy’. I think if we’re going to go that route then a near-synonym like ‘Equity’ or ‘Detachment’ would work better; but that’s just my personal preference.

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12 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

I'm not sure I buy an aspect of god that translates to indifference.

Oddly---and never explained---in the Thomas Covenant novels, there are 4 divine-level beings identified at one point, or 4 aspects of one divine being, or whatever (the theology is never really parsed too sharply), and the sets are given as Creation, Despite, Love, and Indifference. I never figured out where Indifference, which is mentioned but once in passing, fit into the rest of the story, though I had a guess that it had to do with the powers of one of the civilizations, to override (most) outside influence very acutely by using vows/commitment/pure free will.

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26 minutes ago, Ripheus23 said:

Oddly---and never explained---in the Thomas Covenant novels, there are 4 divine-level beings identified at one point, or 4 aspects of one divine being, or whatever (the theology is never really parsed too sharply), and the sets are given as Creation, Despite, Love, and Indifference. I never figured out where Indifference, which is mentioned but once in passing, fit into the rest of the story, though I had a guess that it had to do with the powers of one of the civilizations, to override (most) outside influence very acutely by using vows/commitment/pure free will.

Indifference probably wasn’t even in the Land; remember, the Creator wasn’t. The Creator trapped Despite (who is for all intents and purposes the same as Odium) within time, but Despite betrayed and dragged Love down with him, basically transforming her into ‘Wrath’ until the end of the very last book. But there’s no indication that Indifference had anything to do with the creation of the Earth or anything else for that matter. Plus, Thomas Covenant wasn’t exactly fully sane at the time that he mentioned it, so who knows? 

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49 minutes ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Plus, Thomas Covenant wasn’t exactly fully sane at the time that he mentioned it, so who knows? 

In his defense (sort of), he was almost never exactly fully sane, was he? To say nothing of half the other characters :P Anyway, though, I sort of felt that the Elohim were keyed to Creation and the Haruchai (and maybe the Insequent) to Indifference, which is why Stave was able to resist Infelice at Muirwin Delenoth. But this wasn't headcanon on my part, just fanfic materials (that I never developed).

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1 hour ago, Ripheus23 said:

In his defense (sort of), he was almost never exactly fully sane, was he? To say nothing of half the other characters :P Anyway, though, I sort of felt that the Elohim were keyed to Creation and the Haruchai (and maybe the Insequent) to Indifference, which is why Stave was able to resist Infelice at Muirwin Delenoth. But this wasn't headcanon on my part, just fanfic materials (that I never developed).

Oh Covenant was very rarely ‘insane’ in a clinical sense; to the contrary, he was brilliant. The problem was he was also extraordinarily broken and cynical as well, which lead to his early status as an extremely unlikable antihero.

But no, I never once got the impression that the Haruchai were indifferent; the complete opposite in fact. Everything they ever did was because of how much they truly did care. They just masked it with a facade of extreme stoicism and unparalleled self-control, even though they weren’t really fooling anyone. As for the Elohim, yeah, they were in some abstract sense tied to the Creator in at least a metaphorical sense.

But what makes Donaldson such a brilliant author is his uncanny ability to write things in extremely beautiful and poetic ways with clear underlying symbolism and yet also maintain a complete aura of mystery at the same time. I’ve yet to see any fantasy author that I consider his equal, though Brandon makes a mighty fine attempt. (Please don’t crucify me, guys. lol).

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I think the issue is that "Apathy" doesn't sound very divine. It would probably be called something like "Serenity" or "Detachment" instead, the portion of God/Adonalsium that is His/Its utter uniqueness and fundamental qualitative separation from His/Its Creation. That part of God which knows He will always "stand apart" from Creation. 

Come to think of it, this sounds an awful lot like the Shard that would be just floating around in space, not investing anywhere in particular.

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Like I said, Detachment or Objectivity work too. Though honestly, I don’t think Adonalsium would have viewed itself as being wholly separate from everything else; honestly, given what we know about the nature of Investiture and the Spiritual Realm, I’m guessing it would probably be a kind of pantheistic deity, not the sort of “I’m better than all you and you exist only by my caprice” type of deity typically found in monotheistic religions. If Adonalsium truly is/was the big G God, I strongly suspect that its creation would in some sense exist as part of it, not separate from it.

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Jumping back to the OP (because I never did finish the last Chronicle of Thomas Covenant) Im very much a proponent of the Allomantic Quadrant model of Intents, and I could see Apathy being a decent interpretation of the Physical Decreasing Inward Shard, something along the lines of the Ascetic in the old zen Separate Yourself from the Physical; it could be the Godly expression of Restraint without all the context.  Similarly, I could buy into Apathy being an expression of the Spiritual Decreasing Inward Shard, a "Solitude" Shard (not to be confused with the shard that is Hiding) that is all about avoiding spiritual Connections the same way Honor is about promoting them and Odium is (arguably) about breaking them. 

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@Quantus my biggest issue with the quadrant model is that in that case every shard should have an opposite, and we know that's untrue. 

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