Pagerunner

The Final Surges: Division, Cohesion, and Tension (and Unity?)

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This is really, really well put together. Good job!

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Nicely done! However, Unity is not one of the 10 Surges. (Adhesion, Gravitation, Division, Abrasion, Progression, Illumination, Transformation, Transportation, Cohesion and Tension). If you want proof, just go to the Ars Arcanum of any Stormlight book,. I also believe that Brandon has confirmed there are only 10 Surges in multiple WoB's. Besides, 10 is na important number to Honor/Rosharans. 

Since Bondsmiths only have access to Tension and Adhesion and Unity is not a Surge, at least the first 2 instances you put under must be Tension, since they are not Adhesion (though either might have something to do with Adhesion? Pretty sure they don't but you never know.) 

As for what Unity is, if it's not a Surge, I believe Dalinar said it himself, though I can't pinpoint/remember the exact page and chapter, that those powers are a result of his own Bondsmith powers and drive interacting with the Stormfather, and basically the remnants/Splinters of Honor.

Edited by TheEdgedancer
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As said Unity is not a surge.

But I think you are not totally wrong.

After all wind runners have 3 lashings. 1 feels like is Gravitation, the second is Adhesion, and the third feels like a mix of both.

It could be that this specific power is a mix of Tension and Adhesion.

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FYI, I think BS is using "axi" as a plural for axis, not as some local word for something else.  I'd quote your post, but I'm lazy

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7 minutes ago, Leuthie said:

FYI, I think BS is using "axi" as a plural for axis, not as some local word for something else.  I'd quote your post, but I'm lazy

He's not. The term was used to describe individual packets of the air. Also, if we look at the Ars Arcanum, it describes Cohesion and Tension as Strong and Soft Axial Interconnections, which is presumably based on axi. If we take axi to be some Rosharan term for atoms/molecules or something similar, then those descriptions make sense. Cohesion manipulates the strong atomic interconnections, the crystal lattices, while tension manipulates the soft atomic interconnections, the weaker intermolecular forces.

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I think people saying that "Unity is not a surge" are missing Page's point. 

The "Unity" moment, and what Dalinar did, seem like they could be a product of his surges used in the extreme. 

It seemed fairly clear to me. 

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I came away with "unity" power being something unrelated to the surges but using remanates of honors power.

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On 16/10/2018 at 6:27 PM, Calderis said:

I think people saying that "Unity is not a surge" are missing Page's point. 

The "Unity" moment, and what Dalinar did, seem like they could be a product of his surges used in the extreme. 

It seemed fairly clear to me. 

Oh I got it, really!

I mentioned that it isn't a surge because it got mixed in my head with all the other info about the other surges, but anyway I thought (and still think) it has merit on it's own as a different thing, either a new unrelated power or just the especial mix of surges. I've might not been clear enough in text but that's what I wanted to express :)

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Nice post, I have only two things to add.

First, I like the idea of differing uses for the surges that are associated with the three realms. So you can have physical cohesion, or cognitive cohesion, or spiritual cohesion. Some may be stronger than others in these aspects, and the different Radiant orders probably have some natural affinity with one or two specific combinations of their surges and the realms. This framework allows you to get into the nitty gritty of atoms and bonds and such, but it limits it to the surges working in the physical realm.

Second, it seems like there's a cycle at work, where each realm affects one realm and is affected by another. So Physical Realm affects Cognitive Realm but is changed by the Spiritual Realm. Your quote from Dragonsteel shows that the Cognitive Realm can make changes in the Spiritual Realm, and we know that those changes in the Spiritual Realm cause changes in the Physical Realm. So it seems like a one-way direction of effects dominates the interactions of the realms.

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Division

On 10/1/2018 at 9:07 PM, Pagerunner said:

To go back to the ball-and-hill analogy, using Division bores a tunnel through the hill, letting the ball roll straight from one spot to the other without having to be carried up the intermediary height.

My thinking was that Investiture supplies the activation energy. Probably not something you meant to convey with the metaphor though.

Tension and Cohesion

On 10/1/2018 at 9:07 PM, Pagerunner said:

It can’t just melt the stone, because that would require the molecules to be at a high temperature. There’s no temperature change; so it has to be a fundamental change in the nature of the chemical bonding, with associated energy balancing measures that I laid out in Division. There’s no way for Cohesion users to release energy, though, so they are more constrained in that particular sub-power.

This is probably a difference in my technical background, but I want to just sweep the chemistry under the rug for these. With Division we're clearly supposed to be breaking chemical bonds, but the lack of energy being released here feels weird to me. Like you say, it would just be Division with more restrictions I guess?

So I wave goodbye to the chemistry, turn off the electron microscopes, and just say we're directly playing with the forces between atoms. Making it so that their bonds (as they are) are more or less stiff than "normal". (so we're getting into this kind of complicated stuff)

With Tension, from an engineer's perspective... we're playing with the stiffness tensor of a material. The Young's modulus (shear modulus, bulk modulus, etc.) We're changing the material's "spring constant" as used in Hooke's law. Steel normally has an elastic modulus of 29,000,000 psi, meaning if you want to stretch a 1 square inch rod by 1% then you need to apply 290,000 pounds of force. With Cohesion you could increase this, so that your steel beams sag less. Or you could increase it, so that you can easily bend and stretch it with your own hands.

And Cohesion would be pretty similar. Instead of just increasing/decreasing those variables, you're playing with the shape of the stress-strain curve. Ultimately what that lets you do is adjust the point of elastic or plastic failure. This would let you take something as strong as steel and deform it (permanently) with very little force. Or you could take a rubber band and make it ridiculously strong; it would still stretch like a rubber band (stiffness control is Tension), but it would stretch a ridiculous amount before failing.

All of that said... I'm skeptical that Brandon has these principles in his head, guiding how these Surges will work. :D Time will tell whether we can squint our eyes and say these are close enough... or whether those powers are too unrealistic/inconsistent to say this about them.

Notably, I don't know how to reconcile this with Khriss's terminology of "Strong and Soft Axial Interconnections". I think Brandon has used similar terminology once or twice, though I skimmed the referenced WoBs again and didn't see it. Those terms are hard to speculate on because they don't have any readily apparent real-world meaning that I can see. And it wouldn't be the first time that I thought, "Khriss, are you sure this is the right term for this?" :P

@Leuthie there's a comment from Peter that "axi" has a specific cosmere meaning, though it doesn't seem to be in Arcanum. I believe it's in the OB typo thread, because someone reported that the proper plural of "axis" is "axes", and Peter basically said, "Yes, but it's not that."

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On 10/16/2018 at 6:02 AM, TheEdgedancer said:

Nicely done! However, Unity is not one of the 10 Surges. (Adhesion, Gravitation, Division, Abrasion, Progression, Illumination, Transformation, Transportation, Cohesion and Tension). If you want proof, just go to the Ars Arcanum of any Stormlight book,. I also believe that Brandon has confirmed there are only 10 Surges in multiple WoB's. Besides, 10 is na important number to Honor/Rosharans. 

Since Bondsmiths only have access to Tension and Adhesion and Unity is not a Surge, at least the first 2 instances you put under must be Tension, since they are not Adhesion (though either might have something to do with Adhesion? Pretty sure they don't but you never know.) 

As for what Unity is, if it's not a Surge, I believe Dalinar said it himself, though I can't pinpoint/remember the exact page and chapter, that those powers are a result of his own Bondsmith powers and drive interacting with the Stormfather, and basically the remnants/Splinters of Honor.

We do know that there are "god" surges (like a "god" metal in the metallic arts) that we have not seen yet. Unity could be the "god" surge tied to Honor.

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34 minutes ago, Gasper said:

We do know that there are "god" surges (like a "god" metal in the metallic arts) that we have not seen yet. Unity could be the "god" surge tied to Honor.

This... I disagree with. 

Quote

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Are there Surges that could be considered as God Surges, like the God metals on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Progression and Adhesion, perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, but they could be considered as such.

Footnote: Brandon has since clarified that what he actually said was "it was possible to make an analogy between the god metals on Scadrial and certain powers on Roshar."
source

The Footnote in that WoB leads to this one. 

Quote

Argent

The "God Surges" you mentioned recently, are they a part of the Way of Kings frontsheet?

Brandon Sanderson

All I said regarding this was to tell a fan that it was possible to make an analogy between the god metals on Scadrial and certain powers on Roshar. However, these are not a codified part of the magic system.

Footnote: Argent is referring to an exchange from When Worlds Collide earlier in the month.
source

So an argument could be made that certain of the surges are analogous to the god metals... But as far as we've been told, there are not more than 10 surges. 

Edited by Calderis
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On 10/15/2018 at 11:17 PM, StormblessedSurvivor said:

Does anyone know if Division, Cohesion and Tension can be ranged?

I've included everything we know above, so it looks to me like Division has to be touch and Cohesion can be ranged. All of the potential Tension usages are tough, as well. But since we've seen so little of these three in use, I can believe that a skilled Surgebinder could potentially learn to do these at distances. Jasnah can Soulcast at a distance, after all, when everyone else we've seen has to touch things.

On 10/16/2018 at 7:02 AM, TheEdgedancer said:

Nicely done! However, Unity is not one of the 10 Surges. (Adhesion, Gravitation, Division, Abrasion, Progression, Illumination, Transformation, Transportation, Cohesion and Tension). If you want proof, just go to the Ars Arcanum of any Stormlight book,. I also believe that Brandon has confirmed there are only 10 Surges in multiple WoB's. Besides, 10 is na important number to Honor/Rosharans. 

Since Bondsmiths only have access to Tension and Adhesion and Unity is not a Surge, at least the first 2 instances you put under must be Tension, since they are not Adhesion (though either might have something to do with Adhesion? Pretty sure they don't but you never know.) 

As for what Unity is, if it's not a Surge, I believe Dalinar said it himself, though I can't pinpoint/remember the exact page and chapter, that those powers are a result of his own Bondsmith powers and drive interacting with the Stormfather, and basically the remnants/Splinters of Honor.

I think the rest of the discussion has covered this well, but I'll just restate my conclusions on Unity, since I may not have been clear enough. I see it as one of two things:

  • An advanced application of either Tension, Adhesion, or the two used in concert.
  • A direct Realmatic effect, outside of the Invested Art of Surgebinding, that Dalinar performs during his Ascension.

That assumes that all three Unity instances I described are, in fact, applications of the same ability. The Thaylen Field is explicitly more than a Bondsmith could do, which is what set me down the path of the second conclusion, but it very well could have been based on Bondsmith Surgebinding.

On 10/17/2018 at 1:32 PM, Rainier said:

Nice post, I have only two things to add.

First, I like the idea of differing uses for the surges that are associated with the three realms. So you can have physical cohesion, or cognitive cohesion, or spiritual cohesion. Some may be stronger than others in these aspects, and the different Radiant orders probably have some natural affinity with one or two specific combinations of their surges and the realms. This framework allows you to get into the nitty gritty of atoms and bonds and such, but it limits it to the surges working in the physical realm.

Second, it seems like there's a cycle at work, where each realm affects one realm and is affected by another. So Physical Realm affects Cognitive Realm but is changed by the Spiritual Realm. Your quote from Dragonsteel shows that the Cognitive Realm can make changes in the Spiritual Realm, and we know that those changes in the Spiritual Realm cause changes in the Physical Realm. So it seems like a one-way direction of effects dominates the interactions of the realms.

Good points. With regards to Surges in different Realms, I've never been a huge fan of that idea (even though we do have a canonicial Spiritual Adhesion, so my objections have been sort of hamstrung). I will be waiting to see if we get any other Spiritual or Cognitive applications Surges, especially Transportation (which is an expliclty Realmatic Surge, moving things between Realms. A small part of me hopes that Spiritual Adhesion is something like slatrification, a power that was added for narrative concerns instead of a natural outgrowth of the magic system. (Bondsmiths need to be able to talk to people all over the world, so Brandon worked up a Connection application for them.) But it's not a hill I'll die on, at least until seeing if we actually get any other Spiritual or Cognitive Surges.

For the second, I'm not so sure it's always one-way. Soulcasting appears to enact a Cognitive change to accomplish a Physical transformation. And even Dalinar's Spiritual Adhesion could be a Spiritual change that affects his Cognitive self (there is no Physical change when he uses it). But an interesting observation, nonetheless.

On 10/17/2018 at 2:59 PM, Jofwu said:

Division

My thinking was that Investiture supplies the activation energy. Probably not something you meant to convey with the metaphor though.

I'm actually going for both. This specific example, I'm seeing it as a catalyst (which, per the technical definition, creates a different reaction mechanism with a lower activation energy), since there are times when Division doesn't release energy. But making stone burn does require adding the activation energy. It just depends on what goals the Surgebinder has in mind.

On 10/17/2018 at 2:59 PM, Jofwu said:

Tension and Cohesion

This is probably a difference in my technical background, but I want to just sweep the chemistry under the rug for these. With Division we're clearly supposed to be breaking chemical bonds, but the lack of energy being released here feels weird to me. Like you say, it would just be Division with more restrictions I guess?

So I wave goodbye to the chemistry, turn off the electron microscopes, and just say we're directly playing with the forces between atoms. Making it so that their bonds (as they are) are more or less stiff than "normal". (so we're getting into this kind of complicated stuff)

With Tension, from an engineer's perspective... we're playing with the stiffness tensor of a material. The Young's modulus (shear modulus, bulk modulus, etc.) We're changing the material's "spring constant" as used in Hooke's law. Steel normally has an elastic modulus of 29,000,000 psi, meaning if you want to stretch a 1 square inch rod by 1% then you need to apply 290,000 pounds of force. With Cohesion you could increase this, so that your steel beams sag less. Or you could increase it, so that you can easily bend and stretch it with your own hands.

And Cohesion would be pretty similar. Instead of just increasing/decreasing those variables, you're playing with the shape of the stress-strain curve. Ultimately what that lets you do is adjust the point of elastic or plastic failure. This would let you take something as strong as steel and deform it (permanently) with very little force. Or you could take a rubber band and make it ridiculously strong; it would still stretch like a rubber band (stiffness control is Tension), but it would stretch a ridiculous amount before failing.

All of that said... I'm skeptical that Brandon has these principles in his head, guiding how these Surges will work. :D Time will tell whether we can squint our eyes and say these are close enough... or whether those powers are too unrealistic/inconsistent to say this about them.

Notably, I don't know how to reconcile this with Khriss's terminology of "Strong and Soft Axial Interconnections". I think Brandon has used similar terminology once or twice, though I skimmed the referenced WoBs again and didn't see it. Those terms are hard to speculate on because they don't have any readily apparent real-world meaning that I can see. And it wouldn't be the first time that I thought, "Khriss, are you sure this is the right term for this?" :P

I'm not sure there's any disagreement between us here. Spring constants and stress/strain curves are empirically determined; you'll do a bunch of experiments and plot the data out to determine the properties of a substance. But what determines them? Why are they different from substance to substance? The way the atoms and molecules of that substance interact with one another. At a higher level, with an application-based perspective, you're quantifying that using meaningful parameters. I'm looking at theory, what it would take to accomplish those changes.

And I agree that these aren't first principles of the magic. That's the point of my fifth section; starting with what the fuzzy Rosharan pseudoscience says, what would real-life physics need to actually do to accomplish that? They are super inconsistent, and I've had to jump through a bunch of hoops to inscribe the intent of the Surgebinder to these applications. But I think that on its own is important to understand. If you're trying to understand what these Surges do, there's not going to be a "simple" Physics answer, the way you might get with Steelpushing. It'll be driven by perception, what the Rosharans believe (and therefore what the author wants to write) about the magic doing.

On 10/17/2018 at 5:49 PM, Gasper said:

We do know that there are "god" surges (like a "god" metal in the metallic arts) that we have not seen yet. Unity could be the "god" surge tied to Honor.

That's an interesting thought. I don't interpret the god surge WoBs to mean that; I think that the Rosharans think some Surges are more connected to Honor (like Tension or Adhesion) and others are more like Cultivation (like Progression). But I also don't think additional god surges have been conclusively disproven either; or even that the Rosharans would call all magic a Surge, so they'd call a direct Realmatic application of an Ascended individual a "god surge." So there may indeed be a connection there.

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We know that Jasnah, as an Elsecaller, has access to Transportation. This might explain why she can do ranged Soulcasting, but it could also just be that she's searching for the minds of the objects in the Cognitive Realm. But if Transportation does allow the Surgebinder's other Surge to be ranged, then this could explain why Wilshapers are called Willshapers-they use Transportation to make their Cohesion ranged, so it appears like they're shaping objects with their will.

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On the topic of surges in the cognitive realm, could what Shallan does with her paintings for people to change them be a form of spiritual Transformation or spirtual Lightweaving?

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One thing worth noting WRT the Unity powers is that this is the first time the Stormfather has empowered a Bondsmith since Honor's splintering, and there have been hints that with Tanavast dead, a lot of Honor's power has been inherited by the Stormfather. So it's possible that the Unity surgebindings are actually Bondsmith surgebindings (or at least Stormfather-Bondsmith surgebindings, it's possible that each of the three Bondsmiths interprets their power differently), but much stronger (with both more raw power and the ability to work on a more profound level), because Honor's power is now being accessed directly, instead of secondhand through the Stormfather.

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I have a small question regarding the differences between using Cohesion and Division on people. 

There is this:

Quote

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So far there hasn't been a lot of the Stonewards in the books. Are they going to come forward in the next few?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. One of the reasons I built the structure of the Stormlight Archive the way that I did is I knew it would be easy to overwhelm with the number of magical abilities, and to let myself get distracted by some of them and not do them justice. So I've been very careful, perhaps more careful than I need to be, and when I show like a Fused using a power, I focus more on the ones you know about and things like this, intentionally to keep the reader's attention on what they know as I expand. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can they shape stone? In one of the flashbacks they kind of melt it and it becomes sand.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Basically, my original pitch to myself on Stonewards, one of their main powers, I mean, everybody has two, but this ability you're talking about was the ability to grab matter and just kind of, like what if the whole world were clay to you. Not just stone, not just rock, but if you could just pick something up and stretch it, whatever it was, that was my original pitch on that order.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So architects or combat engineers fill that order?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, stuff like that, but also, like you need to get out of a room? Well, let's mash ourselves a doorway here and step through, or just all kinds of stuff. 

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

Can they do that to living flesh?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. That's the general, the more invested something is the more it resists, and Stoneward powers are highly resisted by things. Even a small amount of extra investiture is gonna prevent them. Like if you stuck stormlight in [an object], say a Windrunner did, a Stoneward wouldn't be able to change that.

source

And then we have this from OB chapter 107:

Quote

"The Surge she used, Division, caused objects to degrade, burn, or turn into dust. 

It also worked on people." 

So the way I understand it both Cohesion and Division work by directly affecting the molecules of an item instead of its representations in the Cognitive (unlike Soucasting for example). So why would one work on living flesh when the other does not? 

Edited by Ciridae
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Division severs bonds, Cohesion alters the structure of a bond and Tension alters the strength of a bond.

Edited by ScavellTane
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1 hour ago, ScavellTane said:

Division severs bonds, Cohesion alters the structure of a bond and Tension alters the strength of a bond.

Right, but shouldn't all of them either be able or unable to affect living flesh? I don't see why one can turn you to dust but the other can't turn you to goo if they all affect molecular bonds. 

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Rosharan dont have knowledge of molecular biology? Or perhaps they only work on dead flesh.

Edited by ScavellTane
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5 hours ago, ScavellTane said:

Rosharan dont have knowledge of molecular biology? Or perhaps they only work on dead flesh.

They sorta do and don't at the same time? WoB below

 

Questioner
What is axial interconnection?

Brandon Sanderson
You'll find out <a little bit> eventually. So here's a RAFO. Axi is the Cosmere term for *inaudible* <atoms>. They didn't have a guy named <atom>. They have a different word for it. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're referencing a real-world science when they talk about them.

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The implication from that scene is that Division is dangerous to people. Malata just burned a table in that scene and Mr T thinks to himself that she could do the same to people. I dont think he'd have the same reaction if it only worked on corpses. 

And I don't think it can be explained by lack of scientific understanding of atoms and molecules. Brandon says the issue for Cohesion is that the surge can't be used on anything invested, saying that human innate Investiture is enough to stop it from working. 

The only explanation I can think of is that Division uses a LOT more investiture than Cohesion.

Mistborn spoilers

Spoiler

It's like if a coin shot tried to push a filled metal mind, he'd have difficulty overcoming the investiture interference. But if you duralumin push on the metal mind you put a lot more power into the push and could potentially overcome the interference. 

 

Edited by Ciridae
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Perhaps the difference is because she has access to Abrasion. Basically peeling off flesh layer by layer.

Edited by ScavellTane
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