Confused

More on Shard Natures and Vessel Expressions

6 posts in this topic

In this post, I use “nature,” to describe Vessel-independent Shard behavior and “expression” to describe Vessel-influenced Shard behavior. @Jofwu first suggested this distinction and nomenclature. IMO, “intent” and “mandate” muddle this distinction, since their meaning varies with usage.

Summary

Brandon says each Shard combines personality with a “primal force.” Consensus agrees Vessel personality determines Shard expression: how the Vessels choose to direct their Shards’ Investiture. IMO, a Shard’s “primal force” defines its immutable nature. This primal force Connects the Vessel to its Shard. I believe magic system mechanics show us each Shard’s primal force Connection.

Theory

Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same for all Shards. Shards differ only in how they access this Investiture and how they grant it to mortals: “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do,” and The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.”

Brandon tells us Connection is not Investiture: “Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something.” If Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same for all Shards, then Shards differ only in their Connection to their Vessel. I believe each Shard’s primal force IS this unique Connection.

Magic users draw Investiture from the Spiritual Realm through their Shard’s primal force Connection. Magic systems IMO supply the best evidence of each Shard’s primal force Connection. Here are Brandon’s three examples from the WoB I quote in full below.

RuinPrimal Force Connection: Entropy. “Ruin is a charged term for” entropy. Ruin’s magic system gives Investiture to mortals through an act of entropy – spiking. Any Ruin Vessel IMO would deliver its Investiture via entropy. Personality: “Kind and generous” Ati chose decay to express entropy. He was the best Ruin possible. Another Vessel might have chosen cataclysm.

Preservation -  Primal Force Connection: Stasis. “Preservation is a charged term for stasis.” Any Preservation Vessel IMO would deliver Investiture to mortals through metal’s static molecular structure. Personality: Leras created the Terris Prophecies and imprisoned Ruin. Other Vessels might have acted differently.

Honor - Primal Force Connection: Connects People. “Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by.” I think any Honor Vessel would deliver Investiture to mortals through a person-to-person Connection like the Nahel bond. Personality: Tanavast’s Honor chose oaths to create binding rules. Another Vessel (Dalinar’s Unity?) might favor other means to bind people. Tanavast’s personality gives “this sense that [‘honor’] is noble,” though “there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other [primal force] direction.”

I speculate about other Shards’ primal forces in other posts, but these are the only three Shard natures Brandon confirms. I believe, for example, Odium gives his Investiture through broken “people” Connections. When mortals eschew emotional pain (“I’m not to blame”), they isolate themselves from others. The resulting void lets hate in. Mechanically, Odium’s Investiture flows through the cracks in the soul left by the broken Connections. Breaking people Connections seems to be Odium’s nature, its primal force. A different Vessel than Rayse, who chose this repulsive force for his Shard, might break people Connections in a way that doesn’t generate violent passion.

Shards eventually compel Vessels to conform to their Shard’s nature. Vessels succumb IMO because they draw all their power through their primal force Connection. Entropy made Ati more destructive. Stasis made Leras unable to harm Elend. The compulsion to Connect with others made Tanavast rely on bare oaths devoid of meaning.

Analysis

Two WoBs give guidance on Shard natures and Vessel expressions. Theorists have picked over the first the past year. The second WoB asks if Connection or “intent” attracts a Shard to its Vessel.

Quote

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Shards. We started with fairly obvious ones, magic wise. Trying to keep this spoiler free, so: Ruin, Preservation, this kind of thing. Then we get the weird ones. Why do we have Shards that can only exist in the mind of a sentient creature? Like the concept of Honor can only be done when it's carried out, essentially, by a sentient creature.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So when I split Adonalsium I said, "I'm going to take aspects of Adonalsium's nature." And this involves personality to me. So the Shattering of Adonalsium was primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality. And so I view every one of them this way. And when I wrote Mistborn we had Ruin and Preservation. They are the primal forces of entropy and whatever you call the opposite, staying-the-same-ism-y. Like, you've got these two contrasts, between things changing and things not changing. And then humans do have a part, there's a personality. Ruin is a charged term for something that actually is the way that life exists. And Preservation is a charged term for stasis, for staying the same. And those are the personality aspects, and the way they are viewed by people and by the entity that was Adonalsium.

So I view this for all of them. Like, Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by. And there's this sense that that is noble, that's the honor aspect to it, but there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other direction. So a lot of them do kind of have this both... cultural component, I would say, that trying to represent something that is also natural. And not all of them are gonna have a 100% balance between those two things, I would say, because there's only so many fundamental laws of the universe that I can ascribe personalities to in that way. 

So I find Honor very interesting, but I find Autonomy a very interesting one for the exact same reason. What does autonomy mean? We attach a lot to it, but what is the actual, if you get rid of the charged terms, what does it mean? And this is where you end up with things like Odium claiming "I am all emotion." But then there's a charged term for it that is associated with this Shard. I'm not going to tell you whether he's right or not, but he has an argument. 

Source (bold added).

I think at minimum this WoB says Shards reflect both personality and primal force. From his examples, I believe Brandon refers to Vessel personalities plus primal force.

Here’s the second WoB about Connection and “intent”:

Quote

Karthikeyan Eswaran

For a person to ascend as a Shardholder, is it enough to have a Connection with the Shard, or does their general intent/mindset have to align with the Intent of the Shard (like Rayse and Odium have both shown similar mindsets)? …

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there did need to be some connection created [at the Shattering] – there was a lot going on with this. But it is possible for intents to not align and someone to take a Shard. It's way easier if intents do align, but humans don't tend to align 100% to any specific intent.”

Source (bold added).

This WoB distinguishes between “general intent/mindset” and Connection. I read “general intent/mindset” to mean Vessel temperament. Brandon says temperament alignment is unnecessary, though it makes ascension “easier.” Instead, the Vessels needed to “create Connection” to assume their Shards: “there was a lot going on with” Connection creation at the Shattering.

Brandon’s answer shows personality is not part of Shard nature. Otherwise, temperament alignment would be necessary. Based on the first WoB, I believe the Vessels created a separate primal force Connection to each Shard. Sixteen different means to draw Investiture enabled the Vessels to divide Adonalsium’s power into sixteen equal parts.

The “Adonalsium Personality Trait” Theory of Shard Natures

@Calderis proposes the alternative “Adonalsium Personality Trait” theory of Shard origin. Because Shards are both personality and primal force, I don’t think it matters which origin theory is correct. The two quoted WoBs are mushy enough to allow either interpretation. But I know Cal will mention his theory if I don’t, so I summarize and respond to it in this Spoiler.

Spoiler

Cal’s most recent statement of his theory: “I believe that all of the intents are based off of some piece of the personality that was Adonalsium before its death.” I read “intent” here to mean Shard nature, not expression: Adonalsium’s personality is presumably Vessel-independent.

The theory posits Adonalsium’s power and mind (including personality) were co-extensive. When the Vessels Shattered Adonalsium’s power, individual traits of Adonalsium’s personality came with it. The Vessel has latitude to express Adonalsium’s personality trait.

My response: Sazed confirms power by itself lacks “thoughts and personalities”:

Quote

I am uncertain of how thoughts and personalities came to be attached to the powers in the first place—but I believe they were not there originally. For both powers could be detached from the minds that ruled them.

(HoA, Chapter 55 Epigraph, bold added.)

Maybe Sazed means the powers lacked thoughts and personality until they developed a mind – Adonalsium. But he speaks in plural – of “both powers…and the minds that ruled them” – Ruin and Preservation, not Adonalsium. Conclusion: In the nanosecond between Adonalsium’s death and Ati’s and Leras’ ascension, the undirected Shards lacked “thoughts and personalities.” For this reason, Cal’s theory only makes sense to me metaphorically or if an Adonalsium personality trait IS a primal force.

I have other doubts about Cal’s theory. Personality requires a mind. Cal’s original theory acknowledges this: “[T]he remnants of [Adonalsium’s] mind became the intents that drive the Shards we know.” If Adonalsium’s personality traits survived, these remnants of mind also survived – sixteen single-focused Cognitive Shadows co-occupying the power with the Vessel. Each Shard would have two minds directing power, the Vessel’s and Adonalsium’s (at a subconscious level).

If Adonalsium’s personality does live on through the Shards, the Iri’s Many could become the One again, both in mind and power. But Brandon says Adonalsium can’t be remade even if the Shards did re-combine. Cosmere death is mind death. The mind that expressed his personality is dead. IMO, there are no “remnants of that mind” to cause the Shards’ unchangeable nature.

On a marginally related topic, I note Cal’s statement here:

Quote

I believe that Autonomy was Adonalsium's sense of restraint with respect to its children, it's sapient creations.

(Source.)

I mention this because Cal objected when I linked Shards to Adonalsium life stages. I identified Autonomy’s life stage as “Parenthood.” As I said in that post, I think these life stages have no magical significance. They’re just “flavor.”

I describe Autonomy’s expression as “self-sufficiency” – allowing her children to develop on their own. Cal’s “sense of restraint” catches the same idea from the parent’s perspective: Autonomy’s restraint promotes her children’s self-sufficiency. Autonomy’s nature is still unclear.

Conclusion

I think each Vessel Connects to its Shard by a different primal force. I believe that primal force Connection defines their Shard’s nature. Shards deliver their Investiture to magic users by the same primal force Connection. That mechanic appears immutable. Everything else IMO is the Vessel’s expression of its Shard’s nature, until nature ultimately overcomes expression.

Edited by Confused
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I have just a couple quick linguistical questions that would help me work on a more formal response:

  1. when you say "primal force connection" are you saying the connection to the primal force, or that each primal force has its own variety of connection, or something else entirely?
  2. you say "each Vessel Connects to its Shard by a different primal force" but that seems to contradict your earlier statement " IMO, a Shard’s “primal force” defines its immutable nature." Could you please clarify this.

Thanks,

Tater

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On 10/26/2018 at 4:41 PM, Confused said:

If Adonalsium’s personality does live on through the Shards, the Iri’s Many could become the One again, both in mind and power. But Brandon says Adonalsium can’t be remade even if the Shards did re-combine. Cosmere death is mind death. The mind that expressed his personality is dead. IMO, there are no “remnants of that mind” to cause the Shards’ unchangeable nature.

Just because it cannot be remade does not mean that there are no remnants. There could easily still be parts of Adonalsium attached to the shards providing that “primal force,” just that they are incapable of reconnection due to millennia of dissociation. This may be a reason shards agreed to go separate ways, that adonalsium would not reform. The only way we have seen shard reconnection is through the point of view of a new vessel. I think the reason, if you would consider the primal force as a piece of the being behind adonalsium, that adonalsium cannot be recreated is that it would require a different interpretation of not just one but every shard by a new vessel, whoever or whatever it is.

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8 hours ago, Kramerfarve said:

it would require a different interpretation of not just one but every shard by a new vessel, whoever or whatever it is.

Although I mostly agree with you, I would say that it's fairer to call it a different interpretation of Adonalisium as a whole (IMO there should be a separate term for the combined primal force, so that Adonalsium can be used just for that one interpretation,) instead of the individual shards. I say that because of how when two shards combine, they create a third shard, i.e. Harmony from Ruin and Preservation, which requires interpretation of the whole separate from the parts. In support of your claim, I would argue that because with all of the shards combined, their personality altering effects would likely cancel out, the Vessel personality would be even more important. That solidifies that even if the shards were recombined to be exactly the same as before, Adonalsium 2.0's personality would not be expected to converge with 1.0.

Edited by TaterTalker
Clarified some of language to improve reasability
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I don't think it's a matter of needing to reinterpret the Shards... As Harmony shows is, holding two Shards does not negate the intents. 

Quote

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Sazed's two Shards do not "cancel out", as Brandon said that it would like being pulled by two huge gravitational tides. You can get to a way that you aren't instantly ripped apart, but that doesn't mean you don't feel it. (When asked what effect the Shards would have on Sazed, Brandon said, "Read Alloy of Law to find out".)

source

A Vessel is holding all 16 shards would hold all intents... But they would not negate each other. The Vessel would be pulled in 16 different directions at once. They would be completely unable to act because any action would be opposed by at least some of the intents. The mind would probably break. 

Adonalsium, the being is dead and gone. Recombining the Shards may allow for a new Adonalsium to develop if the Shards were to somehow fully merge... But the new mind would not be what was. 

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On 12/3/2018 at 5:03 PM, TaterTalker said:

1. when you say "primal force connection" are you saying the connection to the primal force, or that each primal force has its own variety of connection, or something else entirely?

I mean some “primal force” IS the Connection between the Vessel’s mind and its Spiritual Realm Investiture. "Means of access" to Investiture might be a better term than "primal force." This mind-spirit Connection is how the Vessel accesses its magic:

The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” 

A 2017 WoB confirms Honor – and only Honor – accesses magic through bonds:

Quote

What’s going in Stormlight is that people are accessing fundamental forces of creation and laws of the universe. They’re accessing them through the filter of Cultivation and Honor. So, that’s not to say, on another world you couldn’t have someone influence gravity. Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing. So the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go.

Source (bold added).

Each Vessel accesses its Investiture through a different primal force Connection: stasis, entropy, bonds, etc. Personality IMO informs how the Vessels choose to use their magic. Vessel minds and personality over time fully conform to their Connection’s compulsions.

Ati should be the first Vessel to succumb – his Shard’s Connection is entropy.

On 12/3/2018 at 5:03 PM, TaterTalker said:

2. you say "each Vessel Connects to its Shard by a different primal force" but that seems to contradict your earlier statement " IMO, a Shard’s “primal force” defines its immutable nature." Could you please clarify this.

The OP follows Jofwu’s distinction between a Shard’s unchanging “nature” and the Vessel’s “expression” of that nature. I read the three WoBs cited above to mean all Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same, regardless of Shard. That leaves Connection as the distinguishing factor among Shards.

Each Shard’s “immutable nature” – i.e., the part unaffected by Vessel – is its specific primal force Connection: stasis, entropy, bonds, etc. That distinctive mind-spirit Connection between Vessel and Spiritual Realm Investiture IMO determines the Shard’s nature.

Following are some examples taken from a concurrent post:

17 minutes ago, Confused said:

Taking the Primal Force Challenge on Honor, Ambition, Endowment, and Autonomy:

  Hide contents

Honor

Brandon says Honor’s primal force is bonds. The Nahel bond is how Honor gives magic to mortals, and mortals bind Surges through bonds: “the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go.”

I think Fused who Voidbind the gravity Surge don’t use lashings (despite what Kaladin thinks in-world). The Fused instead break their Connection to gravity. They use less fuel as they lope through the air. The Fused rise and fall IMO by selectively restoring their gravity Connection the way Kaladin adjusts his lashings. Kaladin’s lashings are like driving a Formula 1 car – constant speed changes and sharp turns at a steep fuel cost.

Ambition

Ambition is impossible to know. My head canon associates Ambition with “conquest,” given that Uli Da was Sho Del and fainlife seems to overcome native life forms.

Endowment

I believe Endowment’s primal force is quantum physics. Photons are a quantum of light (visible EMR). Indivisible Breaths are a quantum of Investiture. The Heightenings are the quantization of Breaths – a “continuous set of values” (because of Breath variability) turned into a discrete set of values. Awakeners access Endowment’s magic through Breath quanta and (IMO) drain absorbed EMR (photons) to perform their magic.

Brandon says Endowment wants Nalthians to make a market in Breaths. Breaths are native only to Nalthians but anyone can hold and benefit from them cosmere-wide. As Breath monopoly holders, Nalthians will generate “infinite” riches. I believe the Endowment Vessel’s personality chooses to access Investiture through its quantum physics Connection to form and build her magic market.

Autonomy

Posters describe the Autonomy Shard as freedom, independence, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. Here’s what we know about Autonomy:

1. Autonomy has Invested Taldain and created an Avatar on FotS. She has created other Avatars. Roshar holds a deposit of her “assigned Investiture.”

2. Taldain, FotS, and Roshar are mostly water worlds.

3. On Taldain, Autonomy Invests the oceans through solar energy. I concur with those who believe Bavadin is a dragon. Metaphorically, she’s breathes fire onto the planet.

4. Autonomy raised the Patji archipelago from the ocean floor. The process to me seems similar to how Adonalsium raised the Rosharan continent through fractal mathematics:

Quote

Fractals and mathematical functions…stuck with me as feeling perfect for Roshar. As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium, you now know the seed that was used in-world to create it.

Source.

Somebody built this using [fractal] mathematics…They said "Oh. Boom. Bing!" and grew themselves a continent.

Source.

It is supposed to mean something in world; that Roshar was grown with a mathematical equation.

Source.

5. Sand Mastery and the Aviar involve Cognitive bonds with lifeforms. Patji’s predators hunt by sensing thoughts.

6. On the AU constellation map, a Rosharan knight confronts a dragon encompassing the Scar. I think the dragon represents Autonomy. Does this foreshadow plot?

Adding it up gives us a fire-breathing dragon who Invests water with solar energy and creates Cognitive bonds, archipelagos, and Avatars. Hmmm…

I think Autonomy’s primal force Connection is fractals. To me, there’s too much similarity between Roshar’s continent and the Patji archipelago. IMO, Brandon’s mention of Autonomy’s assigned Investiture on Roshar refers to the continent. I believe the Sibling is the Singers’ Spren of Stone, which might be a nascent Autonomy Avatar.

Fractals appear naturally in rock (Roshar) and sand (Taldain) and other natural forms. Are Autonomy’s Avatars fractals – scalable versions of the Shard? Perhaps all Autonomy splinters are fractals. Maybe Kenton gains in power because he attracts more, or grows larger versions, of the Autonomy fractals that make him a Sand Master.

Until we know more, I’m sticking with fractals as Autonomy’s primal force Connection. Tepidly…

Don’t know if that helps, Tater, but thanks for asking!

15 hours ago, Calderis said:

Adonalsium, the being is dead and gone. Recombining the Shards may allow for a new Adonalsium to develop if the Shards were to somehow fully merge... But the new mind would not be what was.

I agree with this. Since the Shattering could have happened differently, recombining Shards might produce something…interesting.

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