Ixthos

Order and Chaos - Sterility and Passion - The dynamic of multi-shard planets

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This is a quick observation based mainly on the main Cosmere books. I find it interesting that, on the main Cosmere worlds, with multiple shards, the shards tend to function in a duality based on the concepts of Order - sterility or fixed patterns and general serenity, and Chaos - change and passion.

 

  • Scadrial - "good" order, "bad" chaos
    • Preservation - order and stasis. Ruin noted that if Preservation had his way everything would become stuck in a frozen moment with no change
    • Ruin - explicitly about change and about damaging things, and as Ruin noted, what he does is about passion.

 

  • Sel - possibly good chaos, bad order
    • Dominion - obedience, hierarchy, government based on a single will
    • Devotion - love and cherishing, putting another before yourself, and likely also something of passion.

 

  • Roshar - interesting combination of three, with good order, neutral balance, and evil chaos, but hints that order isn't entirely good, or chaos entirely evil
    • Honour - swearing to and upholding ideals, hierarchy
    • Cultivation - chaos in the service of order, or adding order to chaos while keeping both - cultivation is to shape something that is growing, to fertilise and to prune, to take delight in the order and the chaos present
    • Odium - passion, breaking the existing structures, lashing out, surrendering control

 

Please note that I am not saying each shard is good or evil, only how they are so far shown in the stories. It is likely that alternative perspectives will be shown later.

This is interesting, isn't it? Are order and chaos ideas that will be explored more fully later, general structures that the different shards adhere to? What are your thoughts?

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Odium isn't Passion, darn it.

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9 minutes ago, RShara said:

Odium isn't Passion, darn it.

Maybe not, but both he and Ruin seem to fit an idea of chaos, and both spoke of passion. Devotion probably is a shard about passion as well - I don't think you can be devoted to something and not be described as being passionate about it - and also seems to be paired with a shard that has a strong link to order, like Honour - you will keep to your oaths, no matter how you are feeling - and Preservation - change is bad, better maintain how things are.

 

[Edit] To clarify, what I mean is that on Yolen, perhaps there was a belief in chaos being passion, and order being logic (using the old straw Vulcan logic), and so Odium believes his shard is the closest to the idea of passion, the closest to chaos.

Edited by Ixthos
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5 minutes ago, Ixthos said:

Maybe not, but both he and Ruin seem to fit an idea of chaos, and both spoke of passion. Devotion probably is a shard about passion as well - I don't think you can be devoted to something and not be described as being passionate about it - and also seems to be paired with a shard that has a strong link to order, like Honour - you will keep to your oaths, no matter how you are feeling - and Preservation - change is bad, better maintain how things are.

 

[Edit] To clarify, what I mean is that on Yolen, perhaps there was a belief in chaos being passion, and order being logic (using the old straw Vulcan logic), and so Odium believes his shard is the closest to the idea of passion, the closest to chaos.

Eh. Odium is Hatred not Chaos, whatever he believes. And what he believes is not necessarily the truth.

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1 minute ago, RShara said:

Eh. Odium is Hatred not Chaos, whatever he believes. And what he believes is not necessarily the truth.

True, but it can give us an insight into how he thinks, and how he thinks is possibly how at least some Yolenians thought. Still, do you think this pattern is present, that multi-shard worlds follow a pattern of a shard of order and a shard of chaos, or a mixture? Even if the shards don't fully fit that idea - after all, maybe the power of creation was seen to have both properties, and so they believe some shards are more one and some more another, but none are fully order or chaos?

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Sorry, I guess I'm just not seeing it.

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Just now, RShara said:

Sorry, I guess I'm just not seeing it.

If this doesn't seem too presumptuous, do you agree that Honour (following a rigid code), Preservation (stasis), and Dominion (control and hierarchy) all seem like different expressions of the idea of order, and antithetical to the idea of chaos (chaos as in random and change, not primordial unshaped matter)?

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I wonder if we could use this kind of thing to fit Shards into quadrants, like has been attempted...

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3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

I don't think you can be devoted to something and not be described as being passionate about it

Cough! Cough! Hrathen

3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

If this doesn't seem too presumptuous, do you agree that Honor (following a rigid code), Preservation (stasis), and Dominion (control and hierarchy) all seem like different expressions of the idea of order, and antithetical to the idea of chaos (chaos as in random and change, not primordial unshaped matter)?

But what about Cultivation?  She could be either depending on context.  Also what about Autonomy I could see arguments from both sides. 

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8 hours ago, Ethan_Sedai said:

I wonder if we could use this kind of thing to fit Shards into quadrants, like has been attempted...

That might work, but I think some shards might fit into a spectrum as well as being clearly defined, so maybe four very ordered shards, four very chaotic shards, and eight which are a mixture, as I will address below.

 

5 hours ago, Karger said:

Cough! Cough! Hrathen

But what about Cultivation?  She could be either depending on context.  Also what about Autonomy I could see arguments from both sides. 

What about Hrathen? It is possible to be passionate without that passion being manifest as an outward display of emotion :-)

I did mention Cultivation as a mixture in the first post, as a combination of order applied to chaos, or chaos and order combined. Autonomy isn't paired with any other shard other than itself, and so could also be a combination, as could Endowment - Awakening is based on giving commands that are obeyed exactly as described, but who or what is given a breath and what commands are given are outside of ones control and are very flexible. It could be that shards more clearly on one side are drawn to shards more clearly on the other. I think that there are clearly order shards, clearly chaos shards, and shards that lean more one way than the other while being a mixture or are equally one or the other, and those more dually aligned tend to clump with one another. This is mainly about multi-shard settings, but could have applications outside of those planets and hint at the nature of both Yolen beliefs and the nature of how the power was split.

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5 hours ago, Ixthos said:

What about Hrathen? It is possible to be passionate without that passion being manifest as an outward display of emotion :-)

I am talking about early book Hrathen.  He has no real faith or emotional connection to his religion yet he is highly devoted to it anyway.

5 hours ago, Ixthos said:

Autonomy isn't paired with any other shard other than itself, and so could also be a combination

Autonomy can be seen as the direct opposite of Honor who you see as an orderly shard.  However I tend to see Autonomy as an orderly shard as well(preventing interference is orderly) so both of these shards are opposites and orderly.

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2 minutes ago, Karger said:

I am talking about early book Hrathen.  He has no real faith or emotional connection to his religion yet he is highly devoted to it anyway.

Autonomy can be seen as the direct opposite of Honor who you see as an orderly shard.  However I tend to see Autonomy as an orderly shard as well(preventing interference is orderly) so both of these shards are opposites and orderly.

Fair point about Hrathen, but in that sense I think it would be more of a Dominion-style loyalty than Devotion - he follows the hierarchy because that is what you do - logical order, rather than passionate chaos.

 

Preventing interference is orderly, true, but Autonomy also interferes with others, or at least one of the personalities in Autonomy does. Yet at its heart Autonomy is striving to be free of restriction - I don't want to be interfered with, I want to be free to do what I want, is chaos. Don't touch my stuff, but I will touch yours, because I want to, basically.

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3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

 he follows the hierarchy because that is what you do - logical order

Not realy.  He follows it because he finds the philosophy and organization appealing.  He even says so.

3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

Autonomy is striving to be free of restriction - I don't want to be interfered with, I want to be free to do what I want, is chaos. Don't touch my stuff, but I will touch yours, because I want to, basically.

From what we understand of her actions she seems to want everyone everywhere to be free of restriction by anyone.  Don't allow the chaos in that is orderly.

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25 minutes ago, Karger said:

Not realy.  He follows it because he finds the philosophy and organization appealing.  He even says so.

From what we understand of her actions she seems to want everyone everywhere to be free of restriction by anyone.  Don't allow the chaos in that is orderly.

Let's agree to disagree with Hrathen :-) 

 

In many ways it is the very definition of chaos - nothing bounding you, and so your actions are unpredictable. Law is an ordered system, and if you feel laws are restricting you, you break "free", and throw that system into disorder. And if she thinks Harmony is too restrictive, she adds chaos to his world, uncaring of if her actions interfere with his autonomy - the only thing that matters to her is that what she sees as control be removed, and control is order - and remember, there are hints that Autonomy is a collection of minds, so other minds could express Autonomy differently. Another word for everyone having extreme autonomy is also anarchy, and anarchy is a form of chaos (not that I am saying anarchy is chaos, only that they are related).

 

[Edit] Lets use this example: if Honour and Autonomy are walking along the road, and they need to get somewhere quickly, but come across a sign saying "Keep of the grass", and the only shortcut is across the grass, what would each do? Wouldn't Honour, despite wanting to cross the grass, keep off it, while Autonomy would just walk across, because she refuses to have anything restrict her, be they a sign or the desires of others?

Edited by Ixthos
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I'll just quickly do a breakdown of possible Order and Chaos arrangements - I'm not saying I think this is definitely the case, only that this might be how several are arranged.

So, first a list of shards that are known, and the number that aren't - assuming Trell is part of Autonomy and no new pseudo-shards made from the parts of other shards exist:

Preservation, Ruin, Cultivation, Honour, Odium, Devotion, Dominion, Autonomy, Ambition, Endowment, (six others)

 

Order shards:

  • Preservation - stasis, things unchanging
  • Dominion - control and hierarchy
  • Honour - adhering to a code
  • (One other)

 

Hybrid shards:

  • Cultivation - shaping and encouraging to grow, order applied to chaos while preserving the chaos
  • Endowment - giving gifts but not controlling what is done with those gifts, the gifts themselves flexible in application but rigid in their obedience
  • Ambition - wanting to achieve own goals, being driven, and so likely wants things ordered according to own desires but chaotic in how that is approached
  • (Five others)

 

Chaos shards:

  • Devotion - caring, emotion, and placing another above yourself - and if everyone does this there is no hierarchy (least chaotic of the chaotic)
  • Ruin - breaking down, changing
  • Odium - breaking bonds, rejecting responsibility for own actions, acting on hatred and so on impulse, doing what you like
  • Autonomy - doing what you want, refusing to be restricted (might be a hybrid shard if prioritising own autonomy but will restrict others to achieve it)

 

This assumes that each exists in one of the three distinct blocks, but it might be that the hybrid shards are in two groups, one being more chaotic and the other more order, and it also is possible that they lie on a line, with even in the chaotic shards section and ordered shards there are those who are more ordered and more chaotic, in which case Devotion is likely the least chaotic.

Edited by Ixthos
Accidentally posted before finishing
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I don't much like this organization but that does not make it in any way wrong.

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5 minutes ago, Karger said:

I don't much like this organization but that does not make it in any way wrong.

Thanks :-)

 

Another possibility would be a quad arrangement with goals and approach to achieving those goals, so chaotic goals and chaotic methods, and ordered goals and ordered methods, which could allow, for example, Cultivation to have chaotic goals - the flourishing of life, things outside of her control - using ordered methods - pruning, fertilising, cultivating. So:

  • Four chaotic goals, chaotic methods shards
  • Four chaotic goals, ordered method shards
  • Four ordered goals, chaotic methods shards
  • Four ordered goals, ordered methods shards

... And I actually think I like that idea more, actually ...

 

Of course, the main goal of this was to demonstrate the idea of the main shard worlds having shards with opposite ends of the ideas of order and chaos expressed. I suppose we will know more if the ideas of order and chaos come up in any Cosmere books or in Dragonsteel.

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22 minutes ago, Ixthos said:
  • Four chaotic goals, chaotic methods shards
  • Four chaotic goals, ordered method shards
  • Four ordered goals, chaotic methods shards
  • Four ordered goals, ordered methods shards

... And I actually think I like that idea more, actually ...

Agreed.  This works much better.

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do like this organization. Order vs Chaos is a feature common to fantasy novels that get categorized as "grimdark". While what Brandon writes doesn't really qualify as grimdark, I think the Cosmere could be described in a way as a sort of un-grimdark, especially Stormlight. In grimdark, the true believers in things like honor are portrayed as naive (often dangerously so) and the forces of "Order" really only have their ordered world -- or the illusion thereof -- to protect them from the forces of Chaos. But in the Cosmere, the Order forces of Honor and Preservation and Dominon grant tangible power. I've often thought of Stormlight particularly as a rejection of the sort of ethical nihilism of grimdark, but put this way I think you could say that the Cosmere generally grapples with these themes and comes to some very different conclusions than other authors in this space.

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On 9/10/2019 at 4:32 AM, Kon-Tiki said:

do like this organization. Order vs Chaos is a feature common to fantasy novels that get categorized as "grimdark". While what Brandon writes doesn't really qualify as grimdark, I think the Cosmere could be described in a way as a sort of un-grimdark, especially Stormlight. In grimdark, the true believers in things like honor are portrayed as naive (often dangerously so) and the forces of "Order" really only have their ordered world -- or the illusion thereof -- to protect them from the forces of Chaos. But in the Cosmere, the Order forces of Honor and Preservation and Dominon grant tangible power. I've often thought of Stormlight particularly as a rejection of the sort of ethical nihilism of grimdark, but put this way I think you could say that the Cosmere generally grapples with these themes and comes to some very different conclusions than other authors in this space.

I fully agree, and that is something I really like about Brandon, how he uses optimism to reconstruct the tropes and ideas commonly deconstructed, showing the value in the old while still exploring the new :-)

 

I'd like to try and group the shards we know into a more refined block later on, as well as working on the assumption wisdom is also a shard (for several reasons - complete side note but in what I am writing there are several beings similar to what Brandon has shown, only they exist in several distinct groups / types / "species", people can't take them up, and they are fewer in number, as well as having a hierarchy, but Wisdom is one of them, and that is commonly seen as something of the divine, as Proverbs compares Wisdom to a woman and was the first of God's creation). The shards can match certain ideas of pagan mythologies as well as divine attributes, and I think they have distinct archetypes, such as war, love, wisdom, fate, and so on, with some overlap

 

Before exploring that catagorisation, I do want to have some feedback on two things I've noticed that is important with the types of shards. The first thing:

  • Shards like Honour, and possibly Autonomy, Ambition, Devotion, and Dominion, apply their trait to themselves, so Honour acts honourably, and presumably Devotion would be devoted and not just trying to make everything devoted to her with no caring on her own part (though whether Autonomy and Ambition value their own property and apply it to themselves isn't clear - Odium might want others to hate him?)
  • Shards like Preservation, Ruin, and possibly Cultivation and Endowment, apply their trait externally, even to their own cost, so Preservation doesn't try to preserve himself any more than Ruin tries to ruin himself (presumable the person who can take up a shard must be someone who sees the value in that trait, and some apply to ones own actions as well as some applying only to what you want the world to become)

 

The second thing:

  • Preservation, Ruin, Cultivation, and probably one other, like Endowment, form a block - Ruin and Cultivation are focused on change, Ruin destructive change, Cultivation constructive change, while Preservation and possibly Endowment are focused on maintaining a certain amount of something, with Preservation favouring stasis and Endowment favouring sharing out a finite amount of something - a gift that doesn't grow but can be passed on, remaining unchanged
  • If Preservation is ordered goals, ordered methods, and Ruin is chaotic goals, chaotic methods, and Cultivation is chaotic goals, ordered methods, then the last shard in that block might be ordered goals, chaotic methods, which could be Endowment - it could be argued Endowment is in any of the two quadrants with both order and chaos - or another
  • All the shards in this block are those which don't apply their trait to themselves, and are outwards shards

 

What are your thoughts on this observation? If it makes sense, what other blocks of four could there be, remembering that with six shards not known there could be at least one entire quadrant with no shard revealed?

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Just quickly posting some preliminary possible relations the shards might have:

Shards.thumb.png.6a61635e22db6d86d8df2bcf73b86124.png

I will go into more detail later, but if anyone has any feedback on this, including my initial allocations of the ordered goals, etc. please let me know. Also, do note that this is assuming Wisdom is a shard, and if Wisdom is one then together then at least two members of each type is present, which can be a seed to work out the other shards. Opposite members then are:

  • Preservation - Ruin (outward physical [edit: or temporal] block)
  • Cultivation - Endowment (outward physical [edit: or temporal] block)
  • Honour - Autonomy (outwards? inwards? spiritual or mental block)
  • Dominion - Devotion
  • Wisdom - Odium (outward? mental or spiritual block)

This is all preliminary, and Ambition hasn't been placed. This also can work in a sense of Honour and Autonomy stated as being more opposite than most, which makes sense in that Autonomy doesn't want external restrictions, but they wouldn't be as opposed as Preservation and Ruin, as one can still wish to be free of other's restrictions while also being bound by one's own promises to others or to oneself, just not externally imposed ones. Wisdom would be the opposite of acting emotionally, but again not as opposed as Preservation and Ruin as it is possible for wise actions to also be what your heart tells you, and Odium and Honour can still pair - not oppose - in that one can make rash agreements. Cultivation wants things to increase and takes a structured approach, while Endowment has systems in place to drain excess gifts from the system, making sure things circulate, sometimes going up and sometimes down, but no real long term growth or change. Note that the mental or spiritual block is distinct from the spiritual or mental block.

 

I will also comment on why there are four blocks, rather than two types of rows as is the case for the goals, etc. types, and this especially relates to Allomancy. Until then I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Edited by Ixthos
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Okay some more preliminary work on the shards structure:

Shards.thumb.png.73d52b4df4d1d5023f2cda68c2867e78.png

In a sense, as Autonomy is the opposite of Honour (freedom vs confinement), but the two can still be combined (free to make own restrictions), so to would Crafting and Ambition be opposites, as one is all about what one can do to make the world obey or improve oneself, while Crafting is all about making beautiful things and useful things for the world, but likewise can be combined, doing anything to make something one feels should be in the world.

  • Preservation (a steady, straight line - hold everything steady) - Ruin (exponential decay - break things down)
  • Endowment (keep the system stable, it must only have what you give it and what you take away) - Cultivation (nurture what is there, encourage things to grow)

 

  • Honour (live by a code, adhere to laws and promises and obligations) - Autonomy (no restrictions but what you place on yourself, and even then, break them when you want)
  • Crafting (use logic and structure to make something useful, something new, but after that let that new thing be used as it wants) - Ambition (do anything to improve yourself, throw anything into chaos if it advances your goals, and gives you control over other things)

 

  • Dominion (obey hierarchy, serve those above you, command those below, and fulfil your obligations) - Devotion (love and care for others, high and low alike, and let them love and care for you - either can serve and either command, its about caring)

 

  • Wisdom (Let logic guide your actions, do not be rash) - Odium (your heart must rule, must make the choices, to lash out or to be tender)

 

Please let me know if you have any feedback! Hope your weekend is going well!

Edited by Ixthos
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2 hours ago, Ixthos said:

Okay some more preliminary work on the shards structure:

Shards.thumb.png.73d52b4df4d1d5023f2cda68c2867e78.png

In a sense, as Autonomy is the opposite of Honour (freedom vs confinement), but the two can still be combined (free to make own restrictions), so to would Crafting and Ambition be opposites, as one is all about what one can do to make the world obey or improve oneself, while Crafting is all about making beautiful things and useful things for the world, but likewise can be combined, doing anything to make something one feels should be in the world.

  • Preservation (a steady, straight line - hold everything steady) - Ruin (exponential decay - break things down)
  • Endowment (keep the system stable, it must only have what you give it and what you take away) - Cultivation (nurture what is there, encourage things to grow)

 

  • Honour (live by a code, adhere to laws and promises and obligations) - Autonomy (no restrictions but what you place on yourself, and even then, break them when you want)
  • Crafting (use logic and structure to make something useful, something new, but after that let that new thing be used as it wants) - Ambition (do anything to improve yourself, throw anything into chaos if it advances your goals, and gives you control over other things)

 

  • Dominion (obey hierarchy, serve those above you, command those below, and fulfil your obligations) - Devotion (love and care for others, high and low alike, and let them love and care for you - either can serve and either command, its about caring)

 

  • Wisdom (Let logic guide your actions, do not be rash) - Odium (your heart must rule, must make the choices, to lash out or to be tender)

 

Please let me know if you have any feedback! Hope your weekend is going well!

This is really starting to come together, I'm feeling more and more like you're on the right track. 

Wonder what those last 4 shards could be...

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1 hour ago, Halyo_Alex said:

This is really starting to come together, I'm feeling more and more like you're on the right track. 

Wonder what those last 4 shards could be...

Thanks :-)

I think I know, I'm making a post about it but it will take some time to get the full description of how they make sense and justifying them - they might not be the right names, and I want to make sure they are consistent, but I think they are the right ideas. The main groupings are, I think, to do with HOW/WHAT, and DOING/THINKING, in addition to ORDERED-GOALS/CHAOTIC-GOALS and ORDERED-METHODS/CHAOTIC-METHODS.


I could be wrong, but I think this makes sense. I'll add more later :-D

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Okay, I've finished the post, but I feel it should be its own topic, so I will link to it as soon as I have posted it. However, I will list the names of the shards I think haven't been revealed yet. Please be aware this is just speculation, and the names might be slightly different, but they should correspond to these ideas, so alternative names have also been listed.

The topic is over here: https://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/86952-i-think-i-know-the-remaining-six-shard-names-and-i-can-justify-why/

 

  • Wisdom (Logic, Intellect)
  • Pragmatism (Realism, Compromise)
  • Dreams (Goals, Vision, Ideals)
  • Vengeance (Payback, Balance, Retribution)
  • Mercy (Forgiveness, Compassion)
  • Crafting (Forging, Creating, Making)
Edited by Ixthos
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