Jofwu

Flat Shadesmar Theory Debunked

15 posts in this topic

globe.pngEDIT: Death by WoB. RIP. It was fun while it lasted.

The Cognitive Realm is round.

You heard me right. The "flat Shadesmar theory" was good enough for the worldhoppers of ancient times, but we know better. I'm here to prove it.

Okay, okay. Hyperbole aside, I'm actually not completely joking here. Apparently @Quantumplation made a "#RoundShadesmarSociety" joke in the livestream on YouTube tonight. After a brief chucke, I had to pause and say, "hol up a minute." Turns out I think the Cognitive Realm is round.

Some of you are probably actively opening up your books or loading up Arcanum in the next tab, looking for some reference amid the mountains of evidence that the Cognitive Realm is very much flat. For example:

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Dirigible's sister

Is the Cognitive Realm flat or spherical?

Brandon Sanderson

The Cognitive Realm is this weird thing, where it's flat, but it's distorted.

Dirigible's sister

Yeah, 'cause I was going to say, if you make a globe flat...

Brandon Sanderson

You can walk from one planet to the next. So it's got really weird...the spatial reasoning doesn't work the same way.

But I think Dirigible's sister was on to something here and Brandon just wasn't quite following...

If you look at some of the other WoBs like this, what you see is Brandon explaining that each planet's subastral doesn't map to a globe like it does in the Physical Realm. The POINT is that you can just walk off the edge of the planet in the Cognitive Realm, which we've seen happen in the books. And of course we've seen the implications of that all over the place. Shadesmar is how worldhoppers get around, and they very well aren't climbing ladders from one planet to the next.

But we're talking about the scale of the ENTIRE Cognitive Realm here, not just local observations at the subastral scale. Earth seems flat when you're standing in an empty field. Shadesmar seems flat when you're a person sailing the bead oceans.

One of the interesting questions about the cosmere and Adonalsium is how they fit into the larger universe. I THINK we can assume that a larger universe exists. I think when you look up on the sky of Darkside on Taldain you can see a whole universe out there, galaxies and all. We know that "the cosmere" is actually just a star cluster (not even a full dwarf galaxy as Brandon previously figured) What lies beyond it? Does magic exist outside "the cosmere"? This is purely my own speculation... I don't think it does. Note these two exchanges:

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Questioner

Has anyone, Shard or otherwise, tried to leave the Cosmere and will we see that on screen?

Brandon Sanderson

So far... yes, and I think yes, it's likely.

Quote

Gallumbazos

I've been wondering if we were going to leave the cosmere star cluster and see how things are beyond that, guess it's confirmed.

Starsight Release Party (Nov. 26, 2019)

Brandon Sanderson

"Tried to" is operative here.

I think these SUGGEST that leaving the cosmere is difficult, if possible at all. Why would that be? It seems rather similar, in my opinion, to the way Invested things in the cosmere have a hard time escaping places that they are Invested in. We know that spren have an incredibly difficult time leaving Roshar, for example. And I think the exact same thing would happen with the cosmere as a whole... While the power of the Shards may be infinite, I think it is bounded, and I think Invested matter has a hard time pulling away from ALL of the other Investiture. I think there's a boundary to the cosmere, whether it be a hard cutoff or a gradual shift, where the "magical cosmere" shifts to a more mundane, magic-less universe.

This belief is reinforced when I consider the nature of Adonalsium and the Realms. I do not think the being called Adonalsium was a capital-G God. Some creator of the entire universe. Adonalsium existed inside of the universe, just as the power does even now--though it's divided into smaller chunks than it once was. With the Shards so concentrated in a relatively small area, I don't think it makes much sense for their power to reach out into the entire universe. And the existence of the Cognitive Realm is, in my opinion, a direct consequence of Investiture. It exists because of Investiture. I think you can only have a Cognitive Realm where Investiture exists.

So I think the Cognitive Realm is finite in size. This means it cannot be an infinite plane. If the Cognitive Realm is finite, we have to ask whether it has an edge or not. A globe is a finite area with no edges while a disc is a finite area with edges. In other words... Is the Cognitive Realm round, or can you sail off the edge of it? Personally, I think a "boundary" of some kind to the "edge" of the Cognitive Realm is a rather bizarre concept. What's "beyond" the edge of it? What would that even mean? It's not impossible, but I think the idea is problematic. Much simpler if the Cognitive Realm is round, wouldn't you say?

There's a bit of poetry to the idea as well. Take a look at this description of the Realms in Secret History:

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“It’s not the world of the dead. It’s the world of the mind. Men—all things, truly—are like a ray of light. The floor is the Physical Realm, where that light pools. The sun is the Spiritual Realm, where it begins. This Realm, the Cognitive Realm, is the space between where that beam stretches.”

Here Leras explains the Realms to Kelsier and he claims the ground below is the Physical Realm and the sun above is the Spiritual Realm. Personally, I like the idea that some finite space in the Physical Realm (the ground below) maps some finite space in the Cognitive Realm (the space directly above that surface) while the infinite heavens above corresponds to the Spiritual.

What would it MEAN for the Cognitive Realm to be round? Not much. :) Am I super committed to this idea? Okay, maybe not. But it's fun to suppose, if nothing else!

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12 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

And the existence of the Cognitive Realm is, in my opinion, a direct consequence of Investiture. It exists because of Investiture. I think you can only have a Cognitive Realm where Investiture exists.

Quote

MoriWillow

If there only existed a single atom in the cosmere, would that atom have a Cognitive aspect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it probably would.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA (Oct. 22, 2018)

@RShara I did it! I remembered something useful!

Edited by Frustration
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@Frustration Obviously I don't know what's going on in Brandon's head, but I don't think that implies what you seem to be saying.

For one thing, mass IS Investiture in the cosmere. We have a mass-energy-Investiture equivalence principle thing going on. So a one-atom cosmere has Investiture in it.

Second, I think it's pretty clear the intent behind the question is more about whether something as small as an atom has a Cognitive aspect, or perhaps whether an atom needs somebody thinking about it in order to have a presence in the Cognitive Realm.

I think it's a mistake to interpret this WoB to mean the Realms and Investiture are completely divorced. That's a big leap of interpretation and assumption.

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7 minutes ago, Frustration said:

@RShara I did it! I remembered something useful!

tenor.gif

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I've always been for beyond the Cosmere, beyond Adonalsium theories, so I think you've made a solid argument for a finite Cognitive Realm but not much of one for a round Cognitive Realm. Let's see if I can help with that.

The Cognitive Realm is shaped by the collective consciousness of the inhabitants of the Cosmere. It is composed of and thus bounded by Investiture, presumably. We have no indication if other Adonalsium-lite beings might be out there, other... energies equivalent to Investiture, or if the space beyond the Cosmere is completely Investiture null. We and inhabitants of Cosmere don't know what things are like beyond the Cosmere. Maybe the nearby galaxies are the cytoverse and Reckonersverse, who knows? But how would one visualize something that they can't reach? On Earth, a common analogy for that across many different cultures was the heavens and the stars. So the Cosmere is surrounded by a multitude of galaxies, other worlds... and they are completely unreachable. They are bounded, on every side, there are worlds out there, but beyond their reach, how might they visualize this? A sky full of stars that they are looking up from their world, the entire Cosmere, surrounded by the universe, and thus their own little corner of the universe is visualized as a sphere.

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9 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

@Frustration Obviously I don't know what's going on in Brandon's head, but I don't think that implies what you seem to be saying.

For one thing, mass IS Investiture in the cosmere. We have a mass-energy-Investiture equivalence principle thing going on. So a one-atom cosmere has Investiture in it.

Second, I think it's pretty clear the intent behind the question is more about whether something as small as an atom has a Cognitive aspect, or perhaps whether an atom needs somebody thinking about it in order to have a presence in the Cognitive Realm.

I think it's a mistake to interpret this WoB to mean the Realms and Investiture are completely divorced. That's a big leap of interpretation and assumption.

Perhaps, but all the investiture would be in the atom, or directly connected thereto, so I don't think that there would be any left over to create a cognitive realm around it. That would be like arguing that if there was only enough energy in the universe to create one atom, that the atom could possibly be at a temperature besides absolute zero. At least to my understanding, based on the fact that he says it might have a cognitive aspect, I interpret as the cognitive realm is still there, just as the physical realm is, the atom is just the only thing there, if what you propose is true, then the only cognitive realm would be that atom. 

7 minutes ago, RShara said:

tenor.gif

Thanks

Edited by Frustration
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2 minutes ago, Frustration said:

Perhaps, but all the investiture would be in the atom, or directly connected thereto, so I don't think that there would be any left over to create a cognitive realm around it.

Ah. I don't think you can split it like that. It's a package deal. Just like... a gravitational field is the natural consequence of having energy there. It doesn't make sense to say you have enough energy to make an atom but not enough energy to also let it produce a gravitational field.

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2 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

Ah. I don't think you can split it like that. It's a package deal. Just like... a gravitational field is the natural consequence of having energy there. It doesn't make sense to say you have enough energy to make an atom but not enough energy to also let it produce a gravitational field.

And the Physical realm? does it only exist because there is stuff in it? Perhaps you're right, I can't disprove it, but I don't think that a physical realm could exist where a cognitive couldn't.

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"Why does physical space exist?" is definitely a question I am 100% unqualified to answer. :lol:

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1 minute ago, Jofwu said:

"Why does physical space exist?" is definitely a question I am 100% unqualified to answer. :lol:

but "why cognitive space exists?" is?:D

no I get you.

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Not sure which side this WoB helps, but it's an interesting and relevant one, I think.

Quote

Questioner

I want to ask how were the Realms created and does their creation have anything to do with Adonalsium and the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

So, good question. The Realms predate the Shattering of Adonalsium and are part of the fundamental physics of the cosmere. So they would have been created at the equivalent of the cosmere Big Bang when time was created and things like that.

ICon 2019 (Oct. 15, 2019)

 

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Well let us examine this in the context of Lucretius's javelin argument.

Quote

Suppose, however, for a moment, all existing space to be bounded, and that a man runs forward to the uttermost borders, and stands upon the last verge of things, and then hurls forward a winged javelin,— suppose you that the dart, when hurled by the vivid force, shall take its way to the point the darter aimed at, or that something will take its stand in the path of its flight, and arrest it? For one or other of these things must happen. There is a dilemma here that you never can escape from

If you stand on the edge of the cosmere (in shadesmar) and throw a javelin either you will hit some kind of wall or your javelin will keep going forever.  I do think some kind of wall could exist but I suppose the CR being circular is an equally valid explanation.

Edited by Karger
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Found this WoB today:

Quote

XS-Terrain

What are the geometric properties of Shadesmar? Is it curved, or is it a Euclidean Plane?

Brandon Sanderson

It's like a single, infinite plane.

XS-Terrain

So it extends forever.

Brandon Sanderson

Well... Kind of. Kind of yes. The problem is, what people don’t think about doesn’t really appear there, in Shadesmar, so the edges are weird.

Welp, it was fun while it lasted. :D

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@Jofwu, the fact that the CR is described as an infinite plane doesn't preclude it from being a continous topology which can be traversed in infinite paths. Say you have a torus that is very large (like a planet sized donut), and your movements are confined to the surface. To you the expanse you are walking across would seem flat, but there are an infinite number of directions you can walk and never encounter an edge because it's a continuous topology. The surface of a sphere would likewise be a continous topology, but a topology of a different form I think is necessary for encompassing the predominant feature of the CR, namely the expansion and contraction of the surface plane based on densities of thought.

From that WOB you quoted I think Brandon's idea of an infinite plane is just that the plane would seem infinite for someone traversing it. To say that the plane has edges is to acknowledge that it's not truly infinite. To say that these edges are weird I think is a hint at the mechanics of how this works, namely that one apparent edge of the plane is connected to the same plane at a different point.

I have a post where I discuss the nature of the cognitive realm , and I haven't seen any WOBs that directly contradict this assessment.

 

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
Duh, I meant continous, not contiguous. This has been fixed, and the citizens of the giant donut shaped planet in Iota Cancri have been mollified.
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On 9/18/2020 at 6:39 PM, hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

I have a post where I discuss the nature of the cognitive realm , and I haven't seen any WOBs that directly contradict this assessment.

 

Stoked to read it!

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