Shaukan-son-Hasweth

Can you Awaken in Darkness?

35 posts in this topic

Just like the title says. Can you awake something complete darkness?

If there is no light than there is no colour?

I think this question is important to how awakening works on a fundamental level. What actually is consumed as fuel in the process.

 

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It drains the source of the color itself. Dyes and pigments and whatever else turn gray. 

I don't think light has anything to do with it. 

Quote

Questioner

What would happen if somebody used the color from a Stormlight-infused gem to create a BioChromatic entity?

Brandon Sanderson

So I just had this question actually and what we came up with was that would leave behind something that is like a cloudy quartz and is going to make it work not as well for holding Stormlight. That's our answer right now, I'm going to talk to my scientists and see what they think because draining the color from something doesn't just leave it white, or clear, it kind of ruins it, it's gray-ish, it's dun. It clouds. So I think it would ruin things for Stormlight.

source

The gem itself is changed in this instance. That's not an issue of visibility. 

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This reminds me of a joke I heard today (I'll adjust the joke for the site a little). "Two lighteyed women were in a dark room. The first one said, 'Did someone turn off the lights?' The other one said, 'I don't know, I can't see!'" (I think that's how the joke goes.)

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I suspect that this would fall into a similar vein of "can you Awaken with Grey" which is technically a color, and that the answer would be that it depends on your Heightening; if a 10th heightening can come along and use the Grey that a lesser awakener leaves behind, then I suspect the definitions of light and color might get more flexible around them too. At some point it seems like they get to just plain ignore the limitations of the system, and Im guessing it scales right up to ascension. 

In general, the Awakener doesnt need to be aware of or direct the Color-draining aspect of the awakening, so I think it's less tied up in the Intent than for example the Spoken Command part.  That tells me their opinion and/or perception of Color doesnt factor into in the equation, otherwise blindfolds would be almost as effective as gags for stopping an awakener.  That means that, barring some other sliding scale on the Heightenings, the ambient light levels are subjective and shouldnt matter, at least up to the absolute level of total and complete darkness.  But once you've reached the point where there is literally no light (past the point where even a Tineye cannot see anything) that might be enough of a real Cognitive difference that the object would no longer qualify and ALL awakening stops working. 

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Color is preferential reflection of light, and colored objects used for awakening are no longer perceived as having color post awakening. As such, Im thinking that means light has nothing to do with Awakening at all.  Perhaps the fuel for Awkening is actually the source object’s cognitive definition of its’ color? I’m thinking Awakening changes that cognitive definition similarly to the way Soulcasting does, but as a consequence as opposed to a goal. I know Soulcasting requires Investiture to convince the object to change, and perhaps interaction with the Breath used serves that function in some way; the more Breath involved, the more color the object can be convinced to relinquish.

If I recall correctly, “Tears of Edgli” (ToE) make for a superior source for Awakening, and objects affiliated with Shard investiture have a strong presence in the cognitive realm (thinking metals on Scadrial). I’d be curious to see if objects dyed using ToE appear more strongly in the CR; might be a good indicator. 

Edited by StarrFall
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I don't think it would have an affect on the awakening.  The color we see is not the color of the object, but in fact the color the object is not.  White light is made up of all colors, as shown by shining a light through a prism.  It splits into the different wavelengths.  When white light hits an object that we perceive as "Red", what is actually happening is the object is absorbing every wavelength except red, spitting the red off in every direction.  Those wavelengths of red hit our eyes, and we see  a "red" apple, or whatever.  Something colored black absorbs all, or most all, of the light that hits it, making it black.  

So technically, color is independent of whether or not someone is seeing it, as it is merely the color that is reflected off the object.  

So when an awakener makes an object go grey, what's happening is it's making the object either no longer able to absorb colors in such a way so all colors reflect off of it, making it white/grey/dull.  

This would happen regardless of whether or not light was hitting the object.  When light later hits the object, it would reveal it to be grey, unable to absorb light and therefore remaining a monotone 'color'.  

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10 hours ago, Tglassy said:

I don't think it would have an affect on the awakening.  The color we see is not the color of the object, but in fact the color the object is not.  White light is made up of all colors, as shown by shining a light through a prism.  It splits into the different wavelengths.  When white light hits an object that we perceive as "Red", what is actually happening is the object is absorbing every wavelength except red, spitting the red off in every direction.  Those wavelengths of red hit our eyes, and we see  a "red" apple, or whatever.  Something colored black absorbs all, or most all, of the light that hits it, making it black.  

So technically, color is independent of whether or not someone is seeing it, as it is merely the color that is reflected off the object.  

So when an awakener makes an object go grey, what's happening is it's making the object either no longer able to absorb colors in such a way so all colors reflect off of it, making it white/grey/dull.  

This would happen regardless of whether or not light was hitting the object.  When light later hits the object, it would reveal it to be grey, unable to absorb light and therefore remaining a monotone 'color'.  

"If a Tree falls in a [realmically active Cosmere] forrest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a Sound?" Is Color an objective property or a subjective perception, (given that different eyes and different species perceive them in wildly different ways?  These are long-standing philosophic questions even when you dont have Investiture allowing Perception to have a direct impact on reality. 

Mostly meaning I dont think we are going to be able to logically hash it out without some instance in-world as a test-case

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45 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Mostly meaning I dont think we are going to be able to logically hash it out without some instance in-world as a test-case

I very much disagree. We have evidence that it is a completely physical change. 

SA spoilers 

Spoiler

Questioner

If an Awakener were to go to Roshar and were to bleed the color from a gem would that gem still be able to store Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Bleed the color from a gem… Um ye-ye-ye-yeah. This would interfere with its function on Roshar. It would probably still be able to hold Stormlight…

Questioner

Might not be able to be used for Soulcasting?

Brandon Sanderson

Yea-- It's going to… You know what no it would just change it. It would just bleed the color from it and turn it into a dusty quartz or something like that. That's probably what it would end up with, a dusty quartz. Because the molecular structure doesn't matter as much as the color for Roshar. So yeah you would probably still be able to hold Stormlight because a diamond can but I don't know, quartz might cut it. You'd probably end up with something that's not going to work so well.

Questioner

What about a fabrial that needs a specific--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a specific-- A ruby wouldn't work any more, and it would let go whatever is captured inside.

source

It's not simply perception. The change in color is real. 

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27 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I very much disagree. We have evidence that it is a completely physical change. 

SA spoilers 

  Hide contents

Questioner

If an Awakener were to go to Roshar and were to bleed the color from a gem would that gem still be able to store Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Bleed the color from a gem… Um ye-ye-ye-yeah. This would interfere with its function on Roshar. It would probably still be able to hold Stormlight…

Questioner

Might not be able to be used for Soulcasting?

Brandon Sanderson

Yea-- It's going to… You know what no it would just change it. It would just bleed the color from it and turn it into a dusty quartz or something like that. That's probably what it would end up with, a dusty quartz. Because the molecular structure doesn't matter as much as the color for Roshar. So yeah you would probably still be able to hold Stormlight because a diamond can but I don't know, quartz might cut it. You'd probably end up with something that's not going to work so well.

Questioner

What about a fabrial that needs a specific--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a specific-- A ruby wouldn't work any more, and it would let go whatever is captured inside.

source

It's not simply perception. The change in color is real. 

Im not sure that's a great example, given that the whole Color usage on Roshar is very specifically about the perception of color, rather than the actual molecular structure.  It doesnt get us around the underlying philosophic question of whether Color itself is an objective trait.  Especially if you take it to a Planetary extreme where the Cognitive Realm itself would be significantly altered; if the world's population was entirely subterranean and had no concept of light or color at all, would Awakening work for them?  Would it work for a Woldhopper?

 

To be clear Im not trying to argue that it's how the magic behaves one way or the other, just point out that it seems to be running into one of the classic philosophic questions, and (interesting to me) it's one that get extra complicated in a Realmic world.

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If that is the case then the object drained of color would be changed physically/Chemically.

Easy for cloth or paper which is dyed using special molecules that only loosely fit to the original material or most gemstones which are colored because of impurities. But what about the colors of pure elements. If you took the color of a gold coin what would remain. Because the color of the gold coin is intrinsically bound to its electronic make-up it would could no longer behave as gold (for whoever is interested the color of gold is caused by something called the relativistic effect).

So has anyone any idea how that should work?

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2 hours ago, Rhapsody said:

But what about the colors of pure elements. If you took the color of a gold coin what would remain.

I'd be very curious to know the answer to this.  I think it would definitely tell us whether the key factor for Awakening is perception of color or the actual material and how it absorbs/reflects light.  Is the material the "color" is sourced from actually transformed (similarly to Soulcasting) into a different material that doesn't absorb/reflect light in the same way, or is only the cognitive definition altered so that it no longer represents the physical material exactly (similar to Forging but more permanent, and assuming the cognitive definition of an object is what is responsible for how that material is perceived)?

Edited by StarrFall
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Doesn't the Color have to be from an organic origin? Or at least, it's a lot harder to get color from non-organic sources? I'm not sure if you can take the gold color away from gold.

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50 minutes ago, RShara said:

Doesn't the Color have to be from an organic origin? Or at least, it's a lot harder to get color from non-organic sources? I'm not sure if you can take the gold color away from gold.

I feel like there are references to draining color from inorganic sources like stone, can't remember exactly though, and can't check my book at the minute. If nothing else, we know you can awaken using spilled blood. Biochemists correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the red color of blood comes from the iron that the red blood cells are made from, in which case, removing the color would mean transforming the iron into something else.

Frankly, I'd lean towards the color drain not transforming the object as much as something spiritual or cognitive happening. Though now I'm wondering, if you took something that was colored all the way through, used it for awakening, then cut it in half, would all of the object be drained or would the center still be colored?

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Stone might be from organic origins, depending on the type, though. Like, limestone can be the calcified remains of sea creatures, and marble often is metamorphisized limestone.

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16 minutes ago, HSuperLee said:

I feel like there are references to draining color from inorganic sources like stone, can't remember exactly though, and can't check my book at the minute.

I'm 99% positive that Suesbron drained the color from everything in his vicinity once Lightsong healed him and he was able to Awaken.  I do recall "Tears of Edgli" flowers being a superior source of color for Awakening, but I believe that was more about them being physical manifestations of Endowment as opposed to being organic.

That said, I'm fairly positive being organic does make an object easier to Awaken: Vasher uses an eyelash as a focus to awaken a piece of cloth it was attached to (or some such) very early on in the book, and the justification given is that it takes fewer Breaths to awaken organic matter than it does inorganic matter.

Edited by StarrFall
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1 minute ago, StarrFall said:

That said, I'm fairly positive being organic does make an object easier to Awaken: Vasher uses an eyelash as a focus to awaken a piece of cloth it was attached to (or some such) very early on in the book, and the justification given is that it takes fewer Breaths to awaken organic matter than it does inorganic matter.

The closer something is to being alive, the less breaths it takes to awaken. To my knowledge though, the same thing doesn't apply to the color drain.

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2 minutes ago, HSuperLee said:

The closer something is to being alive, the less breaths it takes to awaken. To my knowledge though, the same thing doesn't apply to the color drain.

Agreed

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29 minutes ago, StarrFall said:

I'm 99% positive that Suesbron drained the color from everything in his vicinity once Lightsong healed him and he was able to Awaken.  I do recall "Tears of Edgli" flowers being a superior source of color for Awakening, but I believe that was more about them being physical manifestations of Endowment as opposed to being organic.

That said, I'm fairly positive being organic does make an object easier to Awaken: Vasher uses an eyelash as a focus to awaken a piece of cloth it was attached to (or some such) very early on in the book, and the justification given is that it takes fewer Breaths to awaken organic matter than it does inorganic matter.

The only thing described is the palace stone, half of which had turned bone white, and Lightsong, who'd turned gray. Blushweaver, for instance, was still normal colored, and bloody. If the palace is marble, which seems likely? it would still be organic, although "far removed from life".

And yeah, we're talking about the color drain, not the ability to awaken. Some types of stone could still possibly be considered organic, and we have seen stone drained of color. I can't think of a single instance where metal was.

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45 minutes ago, RShara said:

The only thing described is the palace stone, half of which had turned bone white, and Lightsong, who'd turned gray. Blushweaver, for instance, was still normal colored, and bloody. If the palace is marble, which seems likely? it would still be organic, although "far removed from life".

And yeah, we're talking about the color drain, not the ability to awaken. Some types of stone could still possibly be considered organic, and we have seen stone drained of color. I can't think of a single instance where metal was.

To be fair, metal tends to either be grey or reflective, and we have no clue what trying to awaken using a mirror as color would do.

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Actually, I just remembered that you can drain color from gemstones, and the color there is largely due to metallic impurities, so I think I just proved myself wrong.

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I love how the 17th approaches these sort of questions!  You folks always look at the facts known and apply common sense and critical thinking of the highest order to address the likely explanations for the unknown.  No dogs with bones, no holier than thou attitudes, and the level integrity and caliber of critical thought is through the roof and it's... it's just awesome.

No wonder BS needs a team to keep it all straight as he develops the Cosmere; aside from his own integrity and skill in world building, he knows he'll be called out for even the slightest inconsistencies, lol!

39 minutes ago, HSuperLee said:

we have no clue what trying to awaken using a mirror as color would do.

Very curious...

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6 hours ago, RShara said:

Doesn't the Color have to be from an organic origin? Or at least, it's a lot harder to get color from non-organic sources? I'm not sure if you can take the gold color away from gold.

That is exactly what I am asking.

No color itself doesn't need to have an organic origin. The yellow color of gold for example comes the effect that some of it's electrons would need to move with a speed aproaching a singnificant amount of light speed. Since their energy is fixed and E=mc^2 that means they get heavier thus they would experience the pull from the atomic centre differently. Long story short that means the energetic differences between the different layers of electrons (orbitals) change. In Gold that means it is possible for visible light to make one electron ascend into a higher orbital thus absorbing the light. The resulting light that is reflected is perceived by our eye as the golden color. (by the way the same effect is responsible for mercury being liquid)

To make gold loose it's color you would therefore have to change it's electronic configuration. Since its chemical properties and most of its physical properties are intrinsically tied to its electronic configuration changing that would normally result in it no longer being gold.

The same can be said for most colored stones. Their colors are often a direct link to their structures. If you change those to get rid of the colors it wouldn't be the same stone anymore.

Their are also a couple of black materials that I can think of from the top of my head that would experience a similar problem. Coal or graphit for example. Coal is mostly black or brown-black depending on its organic material percentages and origin. Its chemical composition is mostly unknown but is theorized to contain a lot of aromatic similar ring systems. Graphit is carbon which is bonded in hexagonal rings and ordered in layers and can range from silvery grey to black in color. Both should be able to be used in awakening but it isn't certain what would happen to them chemically to remove the coloring.

6 hours ago, HSuperLee said:

I feel like there are references to draining color from inorganic sources like stone, can't remember exactly though, and can't check my book at the minute. If nothing else, we know you can awaken using spilled blood. Biochemists correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the red color of blood comes from the iron that the red blood cells are made from, in which case, removing the color would mean transforming the iron into something else.

It's not directly the iron but the protein containing the iron called Hemoglobin. And it can actually change color by degrading, That degration is responsible for the blue and green color of bruises. But it changes its chemical composition by degrading for that process so I'm not sure if that would work for awakening.

6 hours ago, HSuperLee said:

I feel like there are references to draining color from inorganic sources like stone, can't remember exactly though, and can't check my book at the minute

There are Vasher once uses the black stone of the God Kings palace and leaves a gray patch in the black.

5 hours ago, RShara said:

If the palace is marble, which seems likely? it would still be organic, although "far removed from life"

Marble and most stones (lime stone being a noticable exception) aren't organic materials. Most stones and also Marble are carbonate minerals which is definitly anorganic.

4 hours ago, HSuperLee said:

To be fair, metal tends to either be grey or reflective, and we have no clue what trying to awaken using a mirror as color would do.

A mirror most of the time is a reflective metal sheet (mostly silver) behind glass. So I guess you would take the color from the silver (making it a more dull grey color) and cloud the glass (WOB says gemstones drained of color would look like cloudy quarz so I guess glass which is made from the same molecules would also cloud.) There are also a good number of metals that have a distinct color. Some tend to be more black and there are a couple of red ones. Copper being the most noticable. There are also a number of colored metal oxides which are formed through oxidation (rusting iron being the prime example).

 

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2 hours ago, Rhapsody said:

That is exactly what I am asking.

No color itself doesn't need to have an organic origin. The yellow color of gold for example comes the effect that some of it's electrons would need to move with a speed aproaching a singnificant amount of light speed. Since their energy is fixed and E=mc^2 that means they get heavier thus they would experience the pull from the atomic centre differently. Long story short that means the energetic differences between the different layers of electrons (orbitals) change. In Gold that means it is possible for visible light to make one electron ascend into a higher orbital thus absorbing the light. The resulting light that is reflected is perceived by our eye as the golden color. (by the way the same effect is responsible for mercury being liquid)

To make gold loose it's color you would therefore have to change it's electronic configuration. Since its chemical properties and most of its physical properties are intrinsically tied to its electronic configuration changing that would normally result in it no longer being gold.

The same can be said for most colored stones. Their colors are often a direct link to their structures. If you change those to get rid of the colors it wouldn't be the same stone anymore.

Their are also a couple of black materials that I can think of from the top of my head that would experience a similar problem. Coal or graphit for example. Coal is mostly black or brown-black depending on its organic material percentages and origin. Its chemical composition is mostly unknown but is theorized to contain a lot of aromatic similar ring systems. Graphit is carbon which is bonded in hexagonal rings and ordered in layers and can range from silvery grey to black in color. Both should be able to be used in awakening but it isn't certain what would happen to them chemically to remove the coloring.

It's not directly the iron but the protein containing the iron called Hemoglobin. And it can actually change color by degrading, That degration is responsible for the blue and green color of bruises. But it changes its chemical composition by degrading for that process so I'm not sure if that would work for awakening.

There are Vasher once uses the black stone of the God Kings palace and leaves a gray patch in the black.

Marble and most stones (lime stone being a noticable exception) aren't organic materials. Most stones and also Marble are carbonate minerals which is definitly anorganic.

A mirror most of the time is a reflective metal sheet (mostly silver) behind glass. So I guess you would take the color from the silver (making it a more dull grey color) and cloud the glass (WOB says gemstones drained of color would look like cloudy quarz so I guess glass which is made from the same molecules would also cloud.) There are also a good number of metals that have a distinct color. Some tend to be more black and there are a couple of red ones. Copper being the most noticable. There are also a number of colored metal oxides which are formed through oxidation (rusting iron being the prime example).

 

Marble is often made from limestone, which is also often made from organisms. So it should be considered organic, or at least, "used to be alive."

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6 hours ago, RShara said:

Marble is often made from limestone, which is also often made from organisms. So it should be considered organic, or at least, "used to be alive.

I think you are confusing organic and derived from organics. Organic molecules are those that are derived solely from carbohydrates and hydrocarbons along with the field of organometallics. Carbonate minerals like marble or limestone are formed from calcium carbonate (mostly) (chemical formula CaCO3) which is technically a salt and is part of the field of anorganic materials.

Anorganic materials can be found in organic matter (plant, animals, etc) that is why limestone is "made" from organisms but not an organic material.

Sorry about making limestone an exception in my post above even though it's really not. I was too lazy to look up it's chemical make up and just assumed the one who said limestone was organic had done so... :unsure: that's what you get for becoming lazy while posting something scientifically at 2 in the morning =)

Edited by Rhapsody
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I guess it depends on whether Brandon is thinking organic as in the chemical definition, or organic as in, "was once alive." From things said in Warbreaker, it sounded more like the latter. The closer something is to having been alive, the easier to Awaken, anyway. And if it has any affect on what can have its color drained, I would think it'd be the same definition. The God King's black palace is marble, which was probably limestone, which was made from living creatures.

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