Nameless

Tanavast's cognitive shadow

14 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

So I've seen the idea that Tanavast's cognitive shadow has been absorbed by the Stormfather, but when I looked for WoB's about it, I found this:

Quote

Questioner

Is Honor still alive?

Brandon Sanderson

Honor? Honor's dead.

Questioner

What about Tanavast?

Brandon Sanderson

So, um, you can assume that there is no funny business going on there.

Oathbringer release party (Nov. 13, 2017)

This WoB directly contradicts the theory that Tanavast is still alive. is there some other WoB that I didn't find? Or have people just not noticed this WoB?

Edited by Nameless
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That Stormfather absorbed Honor's Cognitive Shadow has been confirmed in-book by the Stormfather.

We don't really know what exactly that entails

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Tanavast is dead, because you have to have died to become a Cognitive Shadow.

Quote

Questioner

Does the spren have to be present for a Surgebinder to have their abilities? Because with Dalinar, the Stormfather won’t be around all the time...

Brandon Sanderson

Good Question! Fortunately, the Stormfather is a little more omnipresent. Normally you’re gonna have to have your spren close, but the Stormfather absorbed... is basically Honor’s Cognitive Shadow, which means he’s got a connection to a lot of different things, so he’s not bound by a lot of the rules that others are.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing (Oct. 9, 2015)
Quote

Questioner (paraphrased)

So what happens when Shards die?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, it depends on how long the Shardholders have held the Shard. After it dies, the Shard is often able to continue acting, a kind of "Cognitive Shadow" of sorts. For example, the mists were able to continue doing what Preservation wished in helping out Vin and Snapping people. With the Stormfather, he is that Cognitive Shadow, and he's semi-sentient. It's that power, but no one is actually holding it. We also see this on Threnody.

Orem signing 2014 (Dec. 6, 2014)
Quote

Questioner

I was wondering if there was a connection between when we meet Preservation in Secret History, and the way he is, and the Stormfather. Like, is he dead yet, in Secret History?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a similarity, but-- Dying for a Shard takes a long time, in a lot of cases. So, it's similar. But the Stormfather is something different, *inaudible* remnants left over after the god died. 

Questioner

So is he dead?

Brandon Sanderson

Honor is dead, yes. But, at the same time, the Stormfather is kind of his Cognitive Shadow. So-- what does "dead" mean?

Oathbringer Houston signing (Nov. 18, 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not so sure Tanavast's cognitive shadow is the same as Honor/The almighty's. Tanavast was a man. Honor was a deity. A cognitive shadow is basically other people's understanding of a being, so Honor's cognitive shadow is people's idea of the Almighty. They have no concept of Tanavast, so I suspect there's little of Tanavast's identity involved in the Cognitive shadow. 

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Posted (edited)

1 minute ago, Aminar said:

I'm not so sure Tanavast's cognitive shadow is the same as Honor/The almighty's. Tanavast was a man. Honor was a deity. A cognitive shadow is basically other people's understanding of a being, so Honor's cognitive shadow is people's idea of the Almighty. They have no concept of Tanavast, so I suspect there's little of Tanavast's identity involved in the Cognitive shadow. 

A Cognitive Shadow is the leftover mind/soul of a sapient being that has had enough investiture infused into it to persist after physical death. It doesn't need other people's recognition to persist, just investiture.

Honor can't die. The Shard can be Splintered, but the power is still around, just dispersed. Tanavast, the person, is the one that died, and left a Cognitive Shadow.

Edited by RShara
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Brandon is still holding some secrets on cognitive shadows, but the way I think of it is an impression left after a stamp or a pen/pencil. For most, the impression is faint and last for seconds, maybe a minute. For those with a bit more weight so to speak, for example invested people like mistings and mistborn, the impression last longer, but still fades. However when you're a deity, even your impression can do some pretty impressive things and can continue to operate long as the stamp has been removed (died). Hence even though Tanavast died, the impression he left didn't fade and was absorbed into the Stormfather. But the cognitive shadow isn't actually Tanavast, just a memory, the real one is gone.

 

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13 hours ago, Wandering Investor said:

Brandon is still holding some secrets on cognitive shadows, but the way I think of it is an impression left after a stamp or a pen/pencil. For most, the impression is faint and last for seconds, maybe a minute. For those with a bit more weight so to speak, for example invested people like mistings and mistborn, the impression last longer, but still fades. However when you're a deity, even your impression can do some pretty impressive things and can continue to operate long as the stamp has been removed (died). Hence even though Tanavast died, the impression he left didn't fade and was absorbed into the Stormfather. But the cognitive shadow isn't actually Tanavast, just a memory, the real one is gone.

 

My struggle is that the Stormfather has a clear identity that doesn't seem like Tanavast at all, before the bond he had no understanding of tragedy, no empathy, no suggestion he remembers being human at all, but does feel like Honor in his appreciation for Oaths and general personality. The Stormfather's personality just doesn't seem independent enough to have ever been human. And Brandon constantly refers to it as Honor's shadow. 

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54 minutes ago, Aminar said:

My struggle is that the Stormfather has a clear identity that doesn't seem like Tanavast at all, before the bond he had no understanding of tragedy, no empathy, no suggestion he remembers being human at all, but does feel like Honor in his appreciation for Oaths and general personality. The Stormfather's personality just doesn't seem independent enough to have ever been human. And Brandon constantly refers to it as Honor's shadow. 

Yeah, I think what's left of Tanavast's cognitive shadow is in there, but kind of sleeping or something. We've seen cognitive shadows get "stapled" to new bodies like the Fused and even that damages them over time. I theorize that his cognitive shadow being absorbed by / stapled to a spren instead of a physical realm body was less than ideal and damaged Tanavast's cognitive shadow.  I think once in a while he tells Dalinar to "Unite Them" outside of the visions and goes back to sleep :). Or more seriously he isn't capable of much more than that. 

To me Stormfather is more carrying what's left of Tanavast's CS inside him, he clearly didn't gain any memories or understanding from absorption.He also seems to have his own, extremely grumpy personality and from what little we've seen of Tanavast when he was Honor's vessel they aren't that similar. 

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19 hours ago, RShara said:

Honor can't die. The Shard can be Splintered, but the power is still around, just dispersed. Tanavast, the person, is the one that died, and left a Cognitive Shadow.

But Brandon didn't say that Tanavast was dead, but specified that there was no "funny business going on" about his death.

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3 minutes ago, Nameless said:

But Brandon didn't say that Tanavast was dead, but specified that there was no "funny business going on" about his death.

Yep, so Tanavast is definitely dead. He's not around, not interfering, not hiding. And his CS is merged and subsumed into the Stormfather.

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Child of Hodor said:

Yeah, I think what's left of Tanavast's cognitive shadow is in there, but kind of sleeping or something. 

Tanavast is in there somehwere. i dont think hes "sleeping" or anything but he is effectively half-spren now, which would make things weird.

i dont think merging with the Stormfather was supposed to make the Stormfather more like Tanavast but make him more Cognizant and give him a better understanding of Humans and give him more Connection to help out future Bondsmiths 

 

Cultivation clearly sees parts of Tanavast in the Stormfather from the WoB below, and the stormfather thinks the same of Cultivation as Honor did.

 in OB, the stormfather says that Cultivation is a Coward for "hiding" so does that mean thats how Tanavast felt? 

 

Stormfather in OB:

"During these days, Honor still lived. I was not yet fully myself. more of a storm. less interested in men"

 

WeiryWriter

What are Cultivation's feelings with regards to the Stormfather?

Brandon Sanderson

Cultivation's feelings... Cultivation is, *long pause* I just have to decide how I can say things that are not spoilers. Cultivation-- The Stormfather reminds her of certain things about someone else she knew, and she feels the same way about the Stormfather in some ways as this person that she knew.

JordanCon 2014 (April 11, 2014)

 

 

ChocolateRob (paraphrased)

What does the Stormfather think of Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He thinks the same as Honor thinks.

Footnote: Brandon did give ChocolateRob a RAFO card along with his answer.
Manchester signing (Aug. 6, 2014)

Edited by Eternal Khol
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Posted (edited)

Just adding to the conversation, but there is a bit of an-world debate on what Cognitive Shadows are, precisely.

We don't actually know, for sure, if Cognitive Shadows are the same person, or a copy, and it might be that instead of all being one or the other, some are one while others are the other.

Relevant WoBs:

Spoiler

Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

Stormlight Three Update #6 (Jan. 20, 2017)

Spoiler

Questioner

I think there's a flaw in my understanding of Cognitive Shadows. I assume that... they would have more visibility into the Cognitive Realm, like a Herald would be able to see spren more easily, that kind of thing. Is that incorrect?

Brandon Sanderson

That is incorrect. A Cognitive Shadow simply means a copy of the Cognitive side made by a deep amount of Investiture. And everybody has a Cognitive side. Basically it's a fake soul. Or, fake is the wrong term. Fake is the wrong term. Even in-world they don't know if it's really them or not. It is Investiture has replaced the Investiture that is fleeing from them as they die, or enhancing it in some way to keep it around. So some Cognitive Shadows trapped on the Cognitive Realm are going to be-- have a lot of Cognitive-- I mean, they're there, right? But some Cognitive Shadows inhabiting a body in the same way that your mind inhabits your body, the way the cosmere works... So a Herald is going to feel like they are alive just like-- but their soul has been somehow transformed. It's not really transformed, it's been reproduced or copied by an injection of Investiture...

And I'll say for the purpose of the recordings, I haven't canonized any of that terminology that I just used about Cognitive Shadows. I'm just talking about it, I'm not necessarily saying that this is how you are supposed to refer to it. You can refer to it however you want. I've often used the metaphor of how fossils get made. When a fossil is made there is a pattern and it is slowly replaced with another substance that is stronger and more endurant, and has the shape of it, but is it still the bone? When you have a fossil bone is it the dinosaur bone? In most cases no, but yes. It's the ship of Theseus sort of thing again. Is this the bone or is it not? Is this the soul? Is this the person or is it not? That's the same sort of thing is happening with Cognitive Shadows. And it's happening on all three Realms to an extent, though of course the body is not. The body stays. It's happening on two Realms. It's happening Spiritually, mostly Cognitively.

Orem signing (March 10, 2018)

Spoiler

dark-winter-knight

What is the difference between a person's Spiritweb and their spiritual DNA? Is there a difference?

Brandon Sanderson

Soul, generally used in the cosmere, is a spiritual or philosophical term. It refers to the part of a person that continues to exist after death, or to the "being" of the person in a philosophical term.

A Spiritweb is a measurable, quantifiable thing in the cosmere. (Granted, it's not easy to do either to one, but it can be done.) It is a scientific term, though because the cosmere hasn't reached modern scientific understandings yet, there is a lot of overlap between science, philosophy, and spirituality.

This way, acknowledging that a person has a Spiritweb does not require an atheist/humanist to affirm religious ideas or concepts--like acknowledging that the Vessels/Shards exist does not require also affirming that a capital G God exists.

The separation of the two is necessary to allow people like Jasnah to not be undermined by the text. It wouldn't be right of me to work for having representatives of viewpoints contrary to my own if the very foundation of the magic systems and physics proved them wrong.

So, in short, you can measure a Spiritweb. Whether a person actually has a soul or not (even in the cosmere) is subject to your own personal philosophy on the idea. Even ghosts and other persisting personalities after death, like certain individuals who shall remain unnamed, have a very real and rational magic system explanation for their existence.

aravar27

Is a Cognitive Shadow essentially Investiture filling in the molded pattern of a Spiritweb to the point where it resembles the initial person?

I'm interested in the implications with respect to personal identity--the "soul" would be one of the competing answers for the question "what am I," but some argue for psychological continuity and others for biological continuity. A Cognitive Shadow seems like it might better fit the Psychological Criterion, since it seems like Investiture replaces the biological body as the source of living and experiencing things.

Brandon Sanderson

You're getting into things that are subject to debate among people in the cosmere. Most shadows would insist that they're the same person. Others would dispute this, saying they're essentially a spren--a bit of the power that came alive like you said, taking on the personality of the person when the person themselves died.

BipedSnowman

Like uploading a brain to a computer. Made of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

A fitting analogy.

Aurora_Fatalis

Does it matter what kind of power it was that filled the gaps? Like, if you were a normal human and made a Cognitive Shadow fueled by AonDor, would you be more able to "possess" a modern computer than if you were made a Cognitive Shadow by - say - Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

This can matter. Shades from Threnody, for example, work differently from Returned, who are different from Heralds. But all are Shadows.

General Reddit 2019 (Nov. 27, 2019)


Basically, there is no Tanavast running around in the Cognitive Realm. The Stormfather was his own being way before Tanavast ever died, but after his death, he is also a weak shadow of Tanavast. How exactly this is possible isn't known, and even the exact specifics aren't known, but both these facts are true and known: that Tanavast is dead, and isn't hanging around in the Cognitive, and that the Stormfather is an heir and Shadow of Tanavast-Honor.

Edited by asmodeus
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1 hour ago, asmodeus said:

Just adding to the conversation, but there is a bit of an-world debate on what Cognitive Shadows are, precisely.

We don't actually know, for sure, if Cognitive Shadows are the same person, or a copy, and it might be that instead of all being one or the other, some are one while others are the other.

Relevant WoBs:

  Hide contents

Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

Stormlight Three Update #6 (Jan. 20, 2017)

  Hide contents

Questioner

I think there's a flaw in my understanding of Cognitive Shadows. I assume that... they would have more visibility into the Cognitive Realm, like a Herald would be able to see spren more easily, that kind of thing. Is that incorrect?

Brandon Sanderson

That is incorrect. A Cognitive Shadow simply means a copy of the Cognitive side made by a deep amount of Investiture. And everybody has a Cognitive side. Basically it's a fake soul. Or, fake is the wrong term. Fake is the wrong term. Even in-world they don't know if it's really them or not. It is Investiture has replaced the Investiture that is fleeing from them as they die, or enhancing it in some way to keep it around. So some Cognitive Shadows trapped on the Cognitive Realm are going to be-- have a lot of Cognitive-- I mean, they're there, right? But some Cognitive Shadows inhabiting a body in the same way that your mind inhabits your body, the way the cosmere works... So a Herald is going to feel like they are alive just like-- but their soul has been somehow transformed. It's not really transformed, it's been reproduced or copied by an injection of Investiture...

And I'll say for the purpose of the recordings, I haven't canonized any of that terminology that I just used about Cognitive Shadows. I'm just talking about it, I'm not necessarily saying that this is how you are supposed to refer to it. You can refer to it however you want. I've often used the metaphor of how fossils get made. When a fossil is made there is a pattern and it is slowly replaced with another substance that is stronger and more endurant, and has the shape of it, but is it still the bone? When you have a fossil bone is it the dinosaur bone? In most cases no, but yes. It's the ship of Theseus sort of thing again. Is this the bone or is it not? Is this the soul? Is this the person or is it not? That's the same sort of thing is happening with Cognitive Shadows. And it's happening on all three Realms to an extent, though of course the body is not. The body stays. It's happening on two Realms. It's happening Spiritually, mostly Cognitively.

Orem signing (March 10, 2018)

  Hide contents

dark-winter-knight

What is the difference between a person's Spiritweb and their spiritual DNA? Is there a difference?

Brandon Sanderson

Soul, generally used in the cosmere, is a spiritual or philosophical term. It refers to the part of a person that continues to exist after death, or to the "being" of the person in a philosophical term.

A Spiritweb is a measurable, quantifiable thing in the cosmere. (Granted, it's not easy to do either to one, but it can be done.) It is a scientific term, though because the cosmere hasn't reached modern scientific understandings yet, there is a lot of overlap between science, philosophy, and spirituality.

This way, acknowledging that a person has a Spiritweb does not require an atheist/humanist to affirm religious ideas or concepts--like acknowledging that the Vessels/Shards exist does not require also affirming that a capital G God exists.

The separation of the two is necessary to allow people like Jasnah to not be undermined by the text. It wouldn't be right of me to work for having representatives of viewpoints contrary to my own if the very foundation of the magic systems and physics proved them wrong.

So, in short, you can measure a Spiritweb. Whether a person actually has a soul or not (even in the cosmere) is subject to your own personal philosophy on the idea. Even ghosts and other persisting personalities after death, like certain individuals who shall remain unnamed, have a very real and rational magic system explanation for their existence.

aravar27

Is a Cognitive Shadow essentially Investiture filling in the molded pattern of a Spiritweb to the point where it resembles the initial person?

I'm interested in the implications with respect to personal identity--the "soul" would be one of the competing answers for the question "what am I," but some argue for psychological continuity and others for biological continuity. A Cognitive Shadow seems like it might better fit the Psychological Criterion, since it seems like Investiture replaces the biological body as the source of living and experiencing things.

Brandon Sanderson

You're getting into things that are subject to debate among people in the cosmere. Most shadows would insist that they're the same person. Others would dispute this, saying they're essentially a spren--a bit of the power that came alive like you said, taking on the personality of the person when the person themselves died.

BipedSnowman

Like uploading a brain to a computer. Made of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

A fitting analogy.

Aurora_Fatalis

Does it matter what kind of power it was that filled the gaps? Like, if you were a normal human and made a Cognitive Shadow fueled by AonDor, would you be more able to "possess" a modern computer than if you were made a Cognitive Shadow by - say - Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

This can matter. Shades from Threnody, for example, work differently from Returned, who are different from Heralds. But all are Shadows.

General Reddit 2019 (Nov. 27, 2019)


Basically, there is no Tanavast running around in the Cognitive Realm. The Stormfather was his own being way before Tanavast ever died, but after his death, he is also a weak shadow of Tanavast. How exactly this is possible isn't known, and even the exact specifics aren't known, but both these facts are true and known: that Tanavast is dead, and isn't hanging around in the Cognitive, and that the Stormfather is an heir and Shadow of Tanavast-Honor.

So... I honestly suspect having this conversation in depth would require a move to Cosmere Theories. Because Mistborn Secret History has some pretty specific pieces early on that confuse the issue, but we'd have to riddle the discussion with spoiler tags to talk about it here. 

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I have viewed the Storm Father absorbing Tanavast's cognitive shadow as enhancing him as a spren in much the same way that the nale bond does. The Storm Father was always a powerful large spren, but absorbing Tanavast's cognative shadow gave him the capacity to think and also made him more aware and more invested. Now as Dalinar swears the ideals, the Storm Father and him will continue to uncover or unlock more of the abilities of Tanavast, the Storm Father already has the power

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