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Confused

Autonomy and Their Avatars: The Fractal Shard?

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I highly recommend the November 2019 Autonomy Shardcast. @Chaos, @thegatorgirl00, @Argent, and @Overlord Jebus do a great job going over the Autonomy essentials with relevant text and WoBs. Their Trell analysis alone is worth the listen.

The Shardcasters, though, offer no unifying principle to explain Bavadin/Autonomy’s many oddities. My “Comprehensive Magic Theory proposes such a principle: fractals. Fractals are progressively smaller-scaled versions of the same pattern, all of which make one whole. Avatars seem smaller-scaled versions of Autonomy, and I speculate Autonomy’s magic (Sand Mastery and Aviar) relies on Splinters that are still smaller-scaled Autonomy versions. All remain “one whole,” since (a recent WoB suggests) Autonomy controls their Avatars through an inter-Connected mind. Don’t hang up yet...Let me explain.

Background: Shard “Primal Forces

My theory posits Shards magically differ only in how they give access to their Investiture, not in what their Investiture can do. Ruin’s magic users access Investiture through some act of entropy; Preservation’s through some act of stasis; and Honor’s through a voluntary bond between people. Brandon alternately calls these different means of access to Investiture “primal forces,” “fundamental laws,” and “something...natural.” Shards are “primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality...[a] cultural component, I would say, that is trying to represent something that is also natural.”

Brandon cites his fascination with fractals. I think he wants a “personality aspect/cultural component” to represent a fractal primal force. Fractals are too common in nature for him to ignore. I believe Brandon settled on “Autonomy” as the “charged term” for a Shard that gives access to Investiture through fractals.

What Are Fractals

Mandelbrot (of @Extesian's Mandelbrot Set icon) coined the term “fractal” in 1975: "a fractal is a geometric shape that can be separated into parts, each of which is a reduced-scale version of the whole." Here’s another description:

Quote

A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.... Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc. Abstract fractals – such as the Mandelbrot Set – can be generated by a computer calculating a simple equation over and over. [Source.]

The main points:

  • Smaller-scaled fractals show the same pattern as the whole.
  • Fractals can infinitely self-replicate that pattern.
  • Smaller-scaled fractals remain part of the larger whole (the most important point, IMO).

Why I Associate Fractals with Autonomy

Brandon himself asks:

Quote

I find Autonomy a very interesting [Shard]. 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? [Source.]

If you get rid of the charged term “autonomy” – the sense of freedom, self-reliance, etc. – I think you’re left with a primal force that focuses on fractal self-containedness. Each fractal bears the same pattern as the others but is its own autonomous unit. The ongoing looped process that creates fractals ensures each fractal will continue to make more, smaller-scaled autonomous fractals of the same pattern.

What Are Avatars

Fractal creation seems to me exactly what Autonomy does when they create Avatars, smaller-scaled versions of themselves that remain part of the whole. Brandon describes the “standard” Avatar – a smaller, less-powerful-than-a-Shard combination of mind and Investiture:

Quote

Pod

The combination of a Shard and its Vessel leads to sapient mind with access to a virtually infinite pool of Investiture. Are avatars the product of a similar combination of a mind and a pool of Investiture, only on a smaller scale, with less power?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that is an accurate representation of what an avatar is. It’s not the only way, but it is an accurate... some avatars are that. I would say that’s the standard.  

Starsight Release Party (Nov. 26, 2019)

Questions: (1) What are the non-standard types of Avatars; and (2) how do Avatars differ from other large forms of sapient Investiture like Roshar’s great spren? Two recent WoBs give some insight:

Quote

Oversleep

Okay now I have one about Shard avatars, like Autonomy's. Is it possible for one to form without the Shard's Vessel directly making it, so independent...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is. They would be aware of it, however. They couldn't not be aware of it, but it could arise without their direct and conscious decision to do so.

Oversleep

And the one on First of the Sun, is it by Autonomy's direct...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is directly created.

Prague Signing (Oct. 26, 2019) (bold added).

 

Quote

Questioner

So Bavadin's avatar *inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson

One of Bavadin's avatars. 

Questioner

Of those avatars, are some or all of them actual Splinters of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

The terminology gets kind of sticky here. In Cosmere terms, some would say that counts as Splinters, some would say not. The avatars aren't necessarily aware but Bavadin always is. A lot of people in Cosmere would call that a Splinter. 

Questioner

My follow up to that would be, is it possible for a person to Ascend and become a Vessel of one of those Splinters?  

Brandon Sanderson

That is plausible. Yes. It could happen. It would be tough because they will have personalities of their own and so something would need to happen.

Starsight Release Party (Nov. 26, 2019) (bold added).

Answers: These WoBs say,

1. Avatars can spawn spontaneously without Bavadin consciously creating them.

2. Bavadin is always aware of their Avatars including spontaneously spawned ones.

3. Bavadin personally directs the Avatars that lack self-awareness. I speculate these non-self-aware Avatars are the non-standard ones.

These Avatar characteristics match the fractal behavior I describe above. Avatars spawn spontaneously because fractals can infinitely self-replicate their pattern. Bavadin is always aware of their Avatars because all fractals are part of the larger whole. Maybe other living Shards spontaneously Splinter and maybe they retain some awareness of their Splinters, but the extent of their attention is unclear. Odium does not seem aware of Sja-anat’s treachery, for example.

Item 3 in particular may be unique to Autonomy. I don’t recall another Shard whose Vessel personally directs large independent chunks of its Investiture. The only known large Investiture chunks are Roshar’s great spren and the nascent Mother Sel (AU, “The Selish System,” Kindle pp. 18). Yet the Stormfather, Nightwatcher, and Sibling each have their own mind and personality; and Mother Sel seems to be forming her own mind. In contrast to Autonomy’s control of their Avatars, Cultivation encourages the Nightwatcher to grow her own abilities, as befits that Shard.

Hypothesis: Maybe Avatars differ from other sapient Investiture chunks because Avatars remain subject to Autonomy’s control – just like fractals are smaller-scaled versions of the whole. Bavadin writes to Hoid as “us” and “we.” I suspect Autonomy at some level controls even the self-directing Avatars that have their own personality. We know Autonomy creates pantheons where they are every god of every gender – smaller versions of Bavadin. This would explain why Brandon says, “The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium.” Since Autonomy maintains their control of Patji, a smaller-scaled version of themselves, Patji IS a Shard, part of Autonomy.

How Fractals Fit Autonomy’s Magic

Honor is not the only Shard that bonds, Ruin isn’t the only Shard that destroys, and Autonomy is not the only Shard that creates fractals (Pattern, anyone?). But IMO each of them ARE the only Shards that give access to their Investiture through bonding, entropy, and fractals respectively.

Avatar Creation

Autonomy creates standard Avatars by first finding a “gathering” of their “assigned Investiture.” Brandon says, in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing” and all share the mark of the Shard’s “spin,” its primal force/fundamental law/something natural. This maintains the 16-Shard balance when Investiture converts into matter or energy and back again. I believe Autonomy searches for sources of Physical Realm fractals large enough to sustain an Avatar.

Autonomy’s only known Avatar is Patji on First of the Sun. Bavadin mentions “Obrodai” and its nascent Avatar in their letter to Hoid, but that may just be their name for First of the Sun. Roshar also holds a “gathering of [Autonomy’s assigned] Investiture” that does not (yet?) appear to be an Avatar.

First of the Sun/Obrodai and Roshar are ocean planets with little land. In their letter, Bavadin seems to enjoy oceans: "But we stand in the sea, pleased with our domains....” (OB Chapter 48 Epigraph.) Adonalsium built the Rosharan continent from Roshar’s ocean floor using the Julia set, a fractal geometry equation. I suggest Roshar’s many fractals (including its gemstones/gemhearts) form Autonomy’s “gathering” of assigned Investiture. IMO, the Patji pantheon (and the Obrodai Avatar if different from Patji) are also land masses built from the oceans on fractal geometry principles.

I speculate Autonomy Connects each Avatar to Bavadin’s mind to retain control of the whole. Autonomy programs the Avatar as they choose. Standard Avatars may have a separate personality. Bavadin’s letter to Hoid describes Obrodai’s Avatar: “She is young yet, and – as a precaution – she has been instilled with an intense and overpowering dislike of you." (OB Chapter 50 Epigraph.) Through this inter-Connected mind, the Shard remains a whole comprised of many smaller-scaled versions of themselves.

Sand Mastery

Sand ribbons are my only evidence Sand Master innate Investiture is a fractal. More powerful Sand Masters can simultaneously control more ribbons. Younger or weaker magic users can only manipulate a single ribbon. This suggests each sand ribbon has a separate source, a separate Autonomy fractal the Sand Master directs. Through training, more powerful Sand Masters may strengthen whatever in their character, talent, and skill Initiated them into Sand Mastery. Those strengthened conditions may cause the fractal to self-replicate. I speculate each new fractal allows the Master to direct a new ribbon.

Aviar

My analysis here is equally speculative, but I do have support. Brandon says the Aviar-human bond

Quote

is not as powerful [as the Nahel bond]; because of that it is easier to shift between people. What you gain is not as strong, but you also gain flexibility. But it would be, cosmerologically, considered the same thing. [Source (bold added).]

I believe the language I bolded highlights fractal characteristics. Brandon says he chose fractals for the Rosharan continent’s shape because “I like the blend of structure and spontaneity they can sometimes exhibit.” Fractals can spontaneously self-replicate to shift a bond. Fractal flexibility allows them to take any shape in any medium, as earth’s natural features show.

Quote

Aviar have a symbiosis with an Invested entity. Aviar are more like, they're kind of weird because they fulfill both the role of a spren, but also the person that's bonding the spren. They're an intermediary. [Source.]

The Invested entity is the Aviar’s human bond-mate. Aviar are “an intermediary” because unlike spren the magic isn’t really the Aviar’s. They acquire it by eating Invested worms, fulfilling the role of “the person that’s bonding the spren.”

How does the human become an “Invested entity”? My guess is Aviar Initiation is like Sand Mastery’s. Patji’s trappers must prevail against the planet’s most dangerous predators and hazards. Bavadin tells Hoid: “If you wish more, seek these waters in person and overcome the tests we have created. Only in this will you earn our respect.” (OB Chapter 51 Epigraph.) I speculate when trappers “overcome” their tests, Patji rewards them by Splintering off a new fractal into their sDNA to bond an Aviar with.

Aviar magic, like Sand Mastery, relies on a Cognitive bond between lifeforms. Water forges and maintains the Sand Master’s bond with Invested microflora (AU, “The Taldain System,” Kindle pp. 369-370); and I believe it maintains all Patji’s Cognitive bonds. Dusk thinks, “Nobody knew why beasts like the shadows only lived here, in the waters near the Pantheon.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 49.) We know the answer is Patji’s Eye, whose Investiture-laced water flows into the sea. These sea predators “did not hunt by smell or sight, but by sensing the minds of prey.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 20.)

On Patji Dusk observes, “the beasts that hunted minds on the island were not as large or as strong of psyche as the shadows of the ocean.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 100.) Dusk describes the “dense humidity of Patji’s jungle.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 784.) I speculate land predators catch their prey’s thoughts through the moisture-laden air. Humidity is a weaker water bridge than oceans, which seem to conduct thoughts better. The weaker bridge IMO comparatively weakens the land predators.

Conclusion

Every Shard IMO accesses Investiture through a different “primal force/fundamental law/something natural.” Avatars, Sand Mastery, and Aviar make fractals my best guess for Autonomy’s primal force (for now). Regards! C.

Predictions:

Spoiler

1. Roshar’s Sibling is a fractal that is part of Autonomy.

2. Dysian Aimians are fractals that also associate with Autonomy. They too are one mind aware of and controlling all its parts.

 

Edited by Confused
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1 hour ago, Confused said:

My theory posits Shards magically differ only in how they give access to their Investiture, not in what their Investiture can do. Ruin’s magic users access

Brandon has confirmed that different shards do have differently "flavored" investiture.  There clearly is a difference.  Additionally fueling surges of the same type with different investiture will have slightly different effects.

Edited by Karger
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On 1/19/2020 at 7:04 PM, Confused said:

My theory posits Shards magically differ only in how they give access to their Investiture, not in what their Investiture can do. 

On 1/19/2020 at 8:56 PM, Karger said:
Brandon has confirmed that different shards do have differently "flavored" investiture.  There clearly is a difference. 

Agreed. But this difference – a Shard’s “flavor” or “spin” or “magnetism” or “filter” – IS each Shard’s unique means of access to Investiture. Ruin, for example, can grant Allomantic powers but only through an act of entropy – spiking. Honor grants the flying power through voluntary bonds. These three WoBs confirm this:

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.”

The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.”

Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing.”

This is a VERY important and often overlooked aspect of the Shards. Frankly, I believe it’s impossible to understand Shards without understanding the different ways they give access to Investiture. The OP posits Autonomy gives access through fractals, a “flavor” that fascinates Brandon. I’d like to read your response to my views on Avatars and Aviar magic.

On 1/19/2020 at 8:56 PM, Karger said:

Additionally fueling surges of the same type with different investiture will have slightly different effects.

Do you here refer to the Fused using Stormlight? You and I have discussed this before and (up to now) disagree. I believe the Fused Voidbind; you believe they hack Surgebinding. Maybe the three cited WoBs now persuade you the Fused do Voidbind? The Fused access Investiture by Odium’s means, not Honor’s. Odium “takes your pain” – breaks your emotional Connections, IMO – to grant his magic. Odium doesn’t grant his magic through bonds. “The means of getting powers...are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.”

General Undirected Observation: People engage on the Forums for all sorts of reasons. I’m a puzzle-solver. Sound theory to me means look at the cosmere as both metaphor and machine. I feel too many overlook the mechanics, like how Shards give access to Investiture. Henry David Thoreau said it best:

Quote

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” [Walden, reprinted here.]

Metaphor and machine...

Regards! C.

Edited by Confused
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33 minutes ago, Confused said:

Do you here refer to the Fused using Stormlight

I refer to a number of things.  I actually think the fused use Voidlight to fuel an Honor surge.  We also see some odd things happen when you compound(fuel feruchemy with alomancy) and then Renerin and Lift are both odd.

37 minutes ago, Confused said:

This is a VERY important and often overlooked aspect of the Shards. Frankly, I believe it’s impossible to understand Shards without understanding the different ways they give access to Investiture. The OP posits Autonomy gives access through fractals, a “flavor” that fascinates Brandon. I’d like to read your response to my views on Avatars and Aviar magic.

Where can I find that?

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I'm confused

Edited by Honorless
accidental capitalization was accidental, no pun intended
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On 1/19/2020 at 9:04 PM, Confused said:

Answers: These WoBs say,

1. Avatars can spawn spontaneously without Bavadin consciously creating them.

2. Bavadin is always aware of their Avatars including spontaneously spawned ones.

3. Bavadin personally directs the Avatars that lack self-awareness. I speculate these non-self-aware Avatars are the non-standard ones.

Can you elaborate on your third point? I don't see self-awareness mentioned at all in those WoBs. I see a contrast between avatars who know they are part of Autonomy and those who don't. In Patji's Oathbringer letter, he references Autonomy's many "domains" and "taking your communication to us," so he obviously is aware he's a part of Autonomy. I think the contrast is that an avatar could come about that is not aware it is a part of the larger collective, doesn't understand where it fits into the larger universe, but is self-aware and does have a personality. What would an avatar even look like, if it wasn't self-aware, as a concept distinct from the Shard itself?

On 1/19/2020 at 9:04 PM, Confused said:

Autonomy’s only known Avatar is Patji on First of the Sun. Bavadin mentions “Obrodai” and its nascent Avatar in their letter to Hoid, but that may just be their name for First of the Sun.

I think we can safely say that First of the Sun is not Obrodai. In Patji's letter, Hoid is commanded to avoid Obrodai, but he is invited to "these waters," First of the Sun.

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

On 1/23/2020 at 2:17 PM, Karger said:

Where can I find that?

In the OP.

On 1/25/2020 at 11:27 AM, Honorless said:

I'm confused

Me too. What specific questions do you have? You first have to accept that Shards magically differ only in how they give access to Investiture before the fractal theory makes sense.

On 1/25/2020 at 2:03 PM, Pagerunner said:

Can you elaborate on your third point? I don't see self-awareness mentioned at all in those WoBs.

Here's the critical part of this WoB (bold added) that I think talks about Avatar self-awareness:

Quote

Questioner

Of those avatars, are some or all of them actual Splinters of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

The terminology gets kind of sticky here. In Cosmere terms, some would say that counts as Splinters, some would say not. The avatars aren't necessarily aware but Bavadin always is. A lot of people in Cosmere would call that a Splinter. 

The question’s context is the definition of Splinters and how that definition applies to Avatars. My reasoning:

1. Splinters are generally thought of as self-aware gobs of Investiture. Self-awareness minimally means sentience, not necessarily sapience. IMO, free-floating Investiture gobs that lack all awareness are not Splinters under any definition.

2. Brandon hedges on whether all Avatars are Splinters because some “aren't necessarily aware.” “Some would say that counts as Splinters” because “Bavadin always is” aware even if the Avatar isn’t.

3. Because Bavadin supplies awareness to the non-aware Avatars, I conclude Bavadin personally directs those Avatars’ Investiture. This WoB describes the “standard” Avatars that have their own minds. The above-quoted WoB makes me think the “non-standard” ones lack minds, and Bavadin directs them.

FWIW, I first tried out the idea that Bavadin retains control over Avatars on Discord. Consensus there (at the time) agreed with me. @Eternal Khol also shares this idea.

On 1/25/2020 at 2:03 PM, Pagerunner said:

I see a contrast between avatars who know they are part of Autonomy and those who don't. In Patji's Oathbringer letter, he references Autonomy's many "domains" and "taking your communication to us," so he obviously is aware he's a part of Autonomy. I think the contrast is that an avatar could come about that is not aware it is a part of the larger collective, doesn't understand where it fits into the larger universe, but is self-aware and does have a personality.

If the above-quoted WoB didn’t arise in the context of Splinter definition, I might agree with you. But that context shows me Brandon really did mean self-awareness. If you are correct and some self-aware Avatars just don’t know they belong to a larger whole, all Avatars would clearly be Splinters. There’d be no question about terminology if they’re all self-aware. It’s the fact they are NOT all self-aware that raises the question.

On 1/25/2020 at 2:03 PM, Pagerunner said:

What would an avatar even look like, if it wasn't self-aware, as a concept distinct from the Shard itself?

Ah! RAFO! Read the OP, where I describe Avatar creation in detail. I think Avatars are NOT distinct from Autonomy. I believe they are all smaller-scaled versions of Autonomy, and yet parts of the greater whole. That is the definition of fractals. Because Avatars are part of Autonomy’s whole, I think even sapient Avatars are subject to Autonomy’s control. IMO, Avatars’ minds all Connect to Bavadin, and she can overrule whatever Avatars decide. Think of a monarch and its subjects.

ASIDE: Brandon wanted internal, natural contrast” to be a part of spren. I think he did the same with Autonomy. The name “Autonomy” is magically apt because each fractal is a self-contained, autonomous unit. Yet Bavadin’s denial of full autonomy to the Avatars to me makes the name metaphorically funny.

I think Avatar creation requires two things: fractals and water. Fractals are Autonomy’s “primal force,” the way Autonomy gives access to Investiture. Like metal for Preservation, water IMO is the “pathway” Autonomy’s Investiture takes as it moves from the Spiritual Realm into the Physical Realm.

You may think that sounds weird and convoluted, but take a look at the evidence I present in the OP. EVERY known planet where Autonomy resides or has an Avatar or has a “gathering of Investiture” is ocean with a single large land mass: Taldain, First of the Sun, and Roshar. Brandon says fractal geometry principles built Roshar’s pangaea. I believe the same principles built the other planets’ land masses.

Autonomy’s magic systems all maintain Cognitive bonds through water. Sand Mastery relies on water to forge and maintain a Sand Master’s Cognitive bond with microflora. The Investiture in Patji’s Eye flows undiluted into the surrounding seas, where the most dangerous Cognitive predators live. The island’s “dense humidity” IMO creates weaker Cognitive bonds between land predators and prey than sea water. Dusk says Patji’s land predators are relatively weaker than the surrounding sea predators.

All this doesn’t prove the role of fractals and water in Autonomy’s magic, but I find it pretty darn persuasive.

Edited by Confused
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Can you go over your reasoning behind your prediction regarding the Sibling's nature?

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14 hours ago, Honorless said:

Can you go over your reasoning behind your prediction regarding the Sibling's nature?

In addition to the OP, you might also look at a post I wrote last year, about “Gemhearts and the Sibling.” The basic logic is this:

1. Adonalsium raised the Rosharan pangaea from the ocean floor using fractal geometry principles (the Julia Set).

2. Roshar holds a “gathering of [Autonomy’s assigned] Investiture.” Autonomy’s Rosharan assigned Investiture is part of the “very fabric of matter and existence” of that land mass.

3. The “Gemhearts” post I link above says,

Quote

Singers need three things for their transformational life cycle: Stormlight, spren, and a gemheart. I hypothesize each Great spren personifies Singer pre-Shattering perception of these three necessities.

4. I believe the Sibling is the Eila Stele’s “Spren of Stone” and is responsible for gemhearts. The Sibling’s Physical Realm manifestation is a gem-encrusted pillar in Urithiru’s basement.

5. Gems – and gemhearts – are fractals. I believe gemhearts are part of Autonomy’s Rosharan assigned Investiture.

6. Both the Sibling and Autonomy are non-binary: “they,” not he, she, or it. Fractals are progressively smaller-scaled versions of the same pattern, all of which make one whole – like Autonomy’s pantheon of gods of every gender.

7. The OP says Shards differ in how they give access to Investiture, not in what the Investiture can do. I theorize Autonomy gives their Investiture through fractals. Brandon says gemhearts are “Investiture leaking into the Physical Realm” like atium does. The Sibling/Autonomy uses gemheart fractals as the means to push Investiture into the Physical Realm.

I infer from all this that the Sibling in constitution and behavior resembles an Autonomy Avatar. I don’t believe the Sibling currently is an Avatar. Autonomy hasn’t found the Sibling yet or Connected minds with it. The Sibling probably won’t become an Avatar during SLA (if ever), since Brandon says those books only concern the three resident Shards. But that doesn’t change my belief that the Sibling funnels Autonomy’s Investiture through gemheart fractals.

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Okay, I'm on board the Sibling & Gemheart connection but not the Sibling is of Autonomy 

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@Confused

I thought Autonomys investiture is from the star light in her invested solar system. 

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17 hours ago, Thanatos said:

@Confused

I thought Autonomys investiture is from the star light in her invested solar system. 

It's complicated.  The First of the Sun is classified by Brandon as a Minor Shardworld, despite there currently being an avatar present there, which makes it uncertain which shard might be the source (or if it's even associated with any specific Shard).  Autonomy is not Invested in a Single System, rather they have Avatars in several, but we dont yet know how that works in terms of normal Shardic Investment into a Planet, where the limtations have a lot to do with having a single Vessel and and finite Cognitive Aspect to channel the Power; Autonomy appears to have sidestepped some of that with whatever "Avatars" turn out to be.  

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23 hours ago, Thanatos said:

I thought Autonomys investiture is from the star light in her invested solar system.

You are correct. Khriss says Autonomy’s Investiture radiates from the Dayside sun to bake that hemisphere. I believe much of that Investiture falls into Taldain’s oceans, where it circulates through that planet’s water cycle.

5 hours ago, Quantus said:

It's complicated.  The First of the Sun is classified by Brandon as a Minor Shardworld, despite there currently being an avatar present there, which makes it uncertain which shard might be the source (or if it's even associated with any specific Shard).  Autonomy is not Invested in a Single System, rather they have Avatars in several, but we dont yet know how that works in terms of normal Shardic Investment into a Planet, where the limtations have a lot to do with having a single Vessel and and finite Cognitive Aspect to channel the Power; Autonomy appears to have sidestepped some of that with whatever "Avatars" turn out to be. [Bold added.]

Autonomy IS Invested in Taldain (or at least in the Dayside sun). Brandon says Autonomy seeks their “assigned Investiture” on other planets to turn into Avatars. IOW, this Investiture already exists on those planets (in some thermodynamic form). I believe in most of these cases Autonomy’s additional Investiture (if any) awakens the “assigned Investiture” to sentience/sapience.

Also Brandon confirms Patji’s Eye holds Autonomy’s Investiture:

Quote

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony [sic]--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though. [Source.]

 

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46 minutes ago, Confused said:

Autonomy IS Invested in Taldain (or at least in the Dayside sun). Brandon says Autonomy seeks their “assigned Investiture” on other planets to turn into Avatars. IOW, this Investiture already exists on those planets (in some thermodynamic form). I believe in most of these cases Autonomy’s additional Investiture (if any) awakens the “assigned Investiture” to sentience/sapience.

That's a dirfferent thing (semantically I mean).  Autonomy has awakened an Avatar on Taldain, so there is Autonomy Investiture Present.  Per the same WOB, the Investiture on Taldain predates any shard fiddling with it, and while Patji is a Shard (his words) and some Shard had fiddled with the investiture before the story events, he also confirmed there was also no shard present during the events of the story.  

From what I can tell being present is not the same thing as being Invested in the Planet the way the other Shard are, which has implications beyond simply existing or acting there.  Godmetals and shardpools will form, Major Shardworld magics will emerge, and most critically there becomes a huge consequence of the Shard trying to leave.  For Example, Odium arrived on Roshar and was slinging slinging around his Investiture long before he was so Invested that it he'd need to rip himself out of the planet as he says he would now.  

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@Quantus, the distinction I make between Taldain's system and other Avatar planets is active vs. passive Investing. Autonomy themselves actively distributes their Investiture from Dayside's sun. They may also have an Avatar on Taldain (the cloud face), but Brandon says Avatars generally arise from "assigned Investiture" that Adonalsium left in the cosmere. He says, for example, that Adonalsium left a "gathering of [assigned] Investiture" on Roshar. Brandon makes clear these Investiture "gatherings" predate the Shattering. He expressly says Autonomy never Invested First of the Sun. The relevant WoB also makes clear that a Shard's "assigned Investiture" might take the form of matter or energy that the Shard can convert into Investiture if needed. I say in the OP I believe Autonomy's assigned Investiture consists of large fractal formations located on the Avatar planets.

If you mean that Autonomy Invests the Dayside sun but not Taldain itself, I agree and thought I said that. Your "present" vs. "resident" distinction technically (and correctly by that measure) excludes Taldain. But Taldain unlike the Avatar planets gets a bunch of pure Investiture beating down on it. It is a Major Shardworld for that reason even if Autonomy resides in the sun (presumably where their perpendicularity is). Short answer: I think we're both right, just looking at different things. Good observation!

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On 1/26/2020 at 9:58 PM, Confused said:

Here's the critical part of this WoB (bold added) that I think talks about Avatar self-awareness:

The question’s context is the definition of Splinters and how that definition applies to Avatars. My reasoning:

1. Splinters are generally thought of as self-aware gobs of Investiture. Self-awareness minimally means sentience, not necessarily sapience. IMO, free-floating Investiture gobs that lack all awareness are not Splinters under any definition.

2. Brandon hedges on whether all Avatars are Splinters because some “aren't necessarily aware.” “Some would say that counts as Splinters” because “Bavadin always is” aware even if the Avatar isn’t.

3. Because Bavadin supplies awareness to the non-aware Avatars, I conclude Bavadin personally directs those Avatars’ Investiture. This WoB describes the “standard” Avatars that have their own minds. The above-quoted WoB makes me think the “non-standard” ones lack minds, and Bavadin directs them.

...

If the above-quoted WoB didn’t arise in the context of Splinter definition, I might agree with you. But that context shows me Brandon really did mean self-awareness. If you are correct and some self-aware Avatars just don’t know they belong to a larger whole, all Avatars would clearly be Splinters. There’d be no question about terminology if they’re all self-aware. It’s the fact they are NOT all self-aware that raises the question.

The WoB you linked in Point 1 explicitly says that not all Splinters are self-aware, which contradicts your definition:

Quote

Argent

Splinters are self-aware, yes? Pieces of Shard power?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Not all.

Calamity Chicago signing (Feb. 22, 2016)

We've seen Splinters like Divine Breath and the Honorblades which are not self-aware, they're just pieces of power.

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On 2/7/2020 at 6:17 PM, Pagerunner said:

The WoB you linked in Point 1 explicitly says that not all Splinters are self-aware, which contradicts your definition:

My (unedited) Point 1 says Splinters “generally” are self-aware. I acknowledge there are exceptions.

On 2/7/2020 at 6:17 PM, Pagerunner said:

We've seen Splinters like Divine Breath and the Honorblades which are not self-aware, they're just pieces of power.

These are not “just” pieces of power. Brandon in your linked WoB describes Divine Breath and Honorblades as “special things”:

Quote

Divine Breath is its own special thing, and it’s more like what happened with the Honorblades, in that the god is pouring a bit of its Investiture, infusing the magic.

These “special things” do lack self-awareness. The Shard instead programs the Investiture (“infuses the magic”) for some specific purpose and with specific powers. The Shard intends this pre-programmed Investiture to attach to a mind that can direct it. Divine Breath and Honorblades rely on Cognitive Shadows for direction. Szeth and other humans also temporarily bond an Honorblade to direct its magic. IMO, Shard pre-programming and Cognitive Shadow (or human) direction transform these “pieces of power” into Splinters.

Instead of a Cognitive Shadow, Bavadin directs the non-sentient Avatars. Though these Avatars lack sentience, Bavadin may pre-program them for some purpose. Bavadin may be the only Vessel that personally directs free-floating gobs of Investiture. To amend my prior statement: I do not believe non-self-aware, unprogrammed, undirected gobs of Investiture are Splinters. Those are “just pieces of power.” Atium, for example, is not a Splinter.

The “Is an Avatar a Splinter?” WoB concerns in-world definitions. Some in-world people may question whether Bavadin-directed Avatars are true Splinters. But this question doesn’t even arise in-world if all Avatars are self-aware as your WoB interpretation presupposes. I see that as a potential flaw in your interpretation, but reasonable minds can differ.

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