Chaos

Realmatic Attributes: A Classification of Magics

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By the God Beyond and all that is holy, this is insane! The amount of work that went into this is mind-boggling!

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Oh wow, that was really interesting!

 

A couple of notes:

 

Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy have much more active Shardic connections, and their Spiritweb encodings represent a specific design. It's as if the magics were created with that purpose (If you buy that the Metallic Arts are designed, this can explain how Harmony can alter the way Snapping works and Preservation could switch out metals--the magic itself is Physical. Constructed. Designed.)

 

Given the following quote I would definitely lean towards "no" on that.

KAIMIPONO

On a broader level, is hemalurgy officially dead, then? Or is it still extant in some Ruin-free (but still messy) form? (If it's gone, is there any imbalance since Preservation's magic power is kept and Ruin's isn't?)

BRANDON SANDERSON

Is Hemalurgy dead? No, not at all. It, like the other two powers, was not created by Ruin or Preservation, but by the natural state of the world and its interaction with the gods who created it. It still requires the same method of creation, but very few people are aware of how it works.

(source)

 

On Sel, the current day magics are really different manifestations of the same magic (this was proposed in Kerry's Selish theory, and I am absolutely certain Brandon said that's essentially what's happening, but I can't remember where that confirmation was posted. If someone finds it, I'll update this) It seems entirely rational that prior to Devotion and Dominion's Splintering, there was in fact a single magic system on Sel. Devotion and Dominion worked together, I think. Complementary. But whatever magic looked like on Sel, the Splintering created this unformed mass of power that couldn't be released effectively. The Dor formed.

 

You're right it has been confirmed (be you actually)

Q: Are Selish magics their own distinct systems, or are they different manifestations of one system?

A: Different manifestations of one system, which is in turn a manifestation of the common laws between the worlds.

 

(source)

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I couldn't read all of that. Upvote for righting all of that anyway though.

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I like the way this goes. Considering magic systems as composed of different balances of Physical, Spiritual, and Cognitive is a flexible way of considering them, and helps the magic feel less rigid and restrained and more elegant. We know that Investiture transcends the Realms, but has more influence in different parts, so it makes sense that manifestations of Investiture would follow suite.

 

 

To cover the generalities, besides the massive positives, there are a few things I don't agree with. Your math background has convinced you to examine the Investitures on a relative scale - dividing them up into percentiles between the three realms. I think this is an ineffective way of approach the issue - certain Investitures clearly have much more Cognitive presence (such as Surgebinding) than other manifestations of Investiture, yet that doesn't necessarily mean they have less presences on other Realms. I would suggest instead that absolute values would provide a better comparison, showing that Investitures with a presence of many Cognitive elements and strong Cognitive effects (like Surgebinding and Forgery) have similar manifestations in the given realm without having the other Realms be 'sacrificed' in the visualization, leading to misconceptions.

 

Another issue is how to define the attributes of an Investiture that signify its potential balance between Realms. For example, Feruchemy, by your measure, is strongly Physical. Yet its manifestations are actually more concerned with the Spiritual and the Cognitive than the Physical. And its actualization doesn't seem physical in nature at all - it seems more Spiritual than anything (especially so if you consider that the 'laws' of physics are in many ways Spiritual in nature). Yet this doesn't discount your own rationale as to its presence in the Physical. Should all these be counted? Are there certain key indicators we need to look for? Or should we view it more as a flow than simply a presence?

 

 

Another thing that I want to bring up is the aspects of a thing tend to be interdependent. A hemalurgic spike not only rips the Spiritual away, it damages the bond between the Physical and the Cognitive. The Cognitive identity of a person can directly impact their Physical presences, and changing their Spiritual connections can impact the other aspects in other Realms, etc, etc. Given this, I wonder if some things should be considered more as balanced mechanics as well. For a specific example, you speak of genetics in Allomancy as being a physical trait, but it is known that there are three sets of DNA, and the one governing Allomantic powers is the Spiritual. Genetics are properly passed on in the physical, but it is in the Spiritual that we see the Investiture manifest - should we not consider that both then? Or primarily Spiritual?

 

Those are my comments - I can't provide any more specific comments because doing so requires your theory to more directly analyze mechanics of systems. We'll have to see how this extrapolates before we can take a look.

 

 

 

Smaller nitpicking list:

 

• You left this sentence unfinished

 

And because the Selish magic wasn't as restrictive, when the Shards were Splintered,

 

• You state that Awakening absorbing colour is physical in nature, but it is clearly not. It drains colour like a Shardblade cut, from an area. It doesn't drain lightwaves, or pigment, or some weird substance. It drains the property of being coloured.

 

• Awakened objects emulate humans, which is a very good indication that the Breath is strongly tied to the Cognitive/Spiritual Identity of its user, and like other Cognitively sticky objects we've seen (that is a stick pun), it attempts to mimic or retain its original form.

 

• Many systems consume byproducts, something that has been under discussion lately. Some people are calling it fuel, some reactants, etc. Metal for Allomancy, Warmth for Surgebinding, Colour for Awakening, possibly other unpublished systems might consume things when used as well. The reactant could be indicative of the Realmatic balance of a system - metal being very physical, warmth being Cognitive (explicit in Feruchemy), and colour being apparently Spiritual.

Edited by Tempus
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Comments I made as I read:

 

I'll be disagreeing with the assumption of all magics having the same fundamental strength, I think. It seems rather clear that the Shards have some degree of say in how much of themselves they put into a magic system: A shattered Honor dishing out stormlight every highstorm is giving out a lot more than, say, Endowment, on average.
 
It doesn't matter much when just talking of proportions, though.
 
----
 
One useful tool for tightening your definition of "Cognitive" magical components here would be to disregard "preparation" and replace it with "complexity of initiation"or something. A blind puppy (who happened to be an Elantrian ;)) could luck into drawing the perfect Aon in a split second and I don't think we'd expect that Aon to be any less effective than an identical one that happened to be drawn painstakingly over the course of a week.
 
Same goes with "thought", really, though with that one it's a tad less clear that the blind puppy could carry out a successful Command.
 
The key is that you don't get points for effort, you get points for results. Effort and thought and consideration seem to have little to do with it at core.
 
---
 
I find I must disagree with some of your categorizations, then, because of this incorrect (in my estimation) understanding of Cognitivity. Just as with AonDor or Forging, you can luck into the correct bindpoints in Hemalurgy. So far as we know, the only "intent" required is that you know you're about the business of Hemalurgy when you do the thefting. Not necessarily that you know exactly what power/attribute you'll be stealing. So Hemalurgy really seems the least Cognitive of the whole metallic set, not the most.
 
--
 
But despite this I agree with you that AonDor, Forging, and Breath seem very Cognitive. The false (in my mind, at least) inclusion of Hemalurgy in the set of "this looks pretty Cognitive" is thus a result of misleading definitions.
 
So perhaps the best thing to gauge how Cognitive something is is simply how detailed the "execution" (or "implementation", but I have historical reasons to use the other word ;)) process that the user actually has to specify is? In Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy users just have to go "BURN!", "TAP!", and "STABBY STABBY!" respectively and they get all the magic in the form it needs to be in. Whereas in the more "Cognitive" magics that you identify the user has to do a lot of legwork to shape the Investiture before it actually starts doing anything.
 
In Awakening, the user needs to tell that poor object how to do anything before it can utilize the power you hand to it. In AonDor, the form the power takes is dictated entirely by the Aon's form (this aside from the power not even showing up unless the Aon meets certain basic prerequisites). In Forging, the Forger needs to spell out every part of the "honest, I really should be like X now!" argument for that poor Forged object to make to the universe. In each case, the complexity of the Command/Aon/Stamp are all to do the work of shaping the use of power that, for instance, the metals do automatically for Allomancy.
 
P.S. Reading on, you seem to be catching onto this with your talk of intermediaries, so perhaps we're not so strongly in disagreement.
 
---------------
 
Moving on:
 
Shadesmar... isn't water... It's composed (on land) of "seas" of beads, each of which represent individual Cognitive aspects of objects. No water we've seen, though.
 
---
 
I wouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss the importance of the Vocalization part of a Command in favor of just looking at the Visualization. I'd hazard that the actual Vocalization (the words, or at least the thought behind them separate from the Visualization) is actually quite important, at least before we get into weird territory that we haven't actually seen in the books yet with the 10th Heightening.
 
---
 
On Sel: Kerry's theory actually has the citation for them all being the same system in the OP.
 
So far as different effects of splintering goes, we probably ought to look to the bare existence of the Dor as a differentiating factor, as well as the different "danger levels" in Shadesmar. Spren being a "release valve" could perhaps be related to how structured the magic system is, by your model.
 
---
 
In your discussion of Breath vs. Stormlight, it may be useful to note how the Heightenings are a function of growing more Endowmenty. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to examine the nature of Honor, then, and whether Stormlight makes one more like Him? Prone to action and bursting with power seems to be at least going down the right track.
 

Also, some WoB:

 

Source:

Q. I know that there’s three sorts of forms that magic presents itself in, the liquid and the solid and air. What would Breath be?

A. Breath is definitely like Mist, it is in the form of the air.
Q. And is Stormlight the same?
A. Stormlight is the same. Good questions!

------
 
Overall a good and interesting theory, though I can't say I agree with all your conclusions. Nice to see you back in the game, either way. :)

 

EDIT: @Tempus-the-ninja

 

On Breath and anthropomorphization: Given the aforementioned way that the Heightenings work the way they do because "each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the diety Endowment", I would say that the anthropomorphization is more due to the innate nature of the Breath and less to do with the human it was sourced at.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Comments I made as I read:

 

I'll be disagreeing with the assumption of all magics having the same fundamental strength, I think. It seems rather clear that the Shards have some degree of say in how much of themselves they put into a magic system: A shattered Honor dishing out stormlight every highstorm is giving out a lot more than, say, Endowment, on average.

 

It doesn't matter much when just talking of proportions, though.

 

Absolutely. We have WoB that planets like Roshar and Sel are highly Invested, while Scadrial is rather low in Investiture.

 

 

EDIT: @Tempus-the-ninja

 

On Breath and anthropomorphization: Given the aforementioned way that the Heightenings work the way they do because "each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the diety Endowment", I would say that the anthropomorphization is more due to the innate nature of the Breath and less to do with the human it was sourced at.

 
Perhaps, but I think here you need to break out the Forms. There are a few facts to consider - Breath that is used for Awakening is still attached to the identity of the Awakener. Breath that is transferred to another human is no longer attached to your identity. Breath put into other living creatures is also not attached to your Identity. So there is a distinct attachment between your personal Identity and Breath, and also Breath and the Form of Endowment, and thus we can draw a parallel here that Investiture that belongs or originates from a thing is likely also connected to the Form of a thing. So it seems likely that it is not only connected to the Form of Endowment, but also the Form of the Identity of the owner. This suggests why the Returned look as they did in real life except with some enhancements, despite having no conscious memory of their previous selves.
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Sorry, I had to laugh a bit when you said this was an instance of me being too attached to Forms. That quote is actually the single most devastating setback my Formic theory ever faced, and has nothing to do with affirming them in this context, as a result. That's an aside, though. ;)

 

I wholeheartedly agree that Breath is certainly "keyed" to you when you use it to Awaken inanimate objects. I think it may well even still be keyed to you for Lifeless, it's just that other factors stop you from recovering it.

 

Source:

 

You see, when one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won’t come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too “sticky” for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it.

 

Brandon's talk of "stickiness" here implies rather strongly, at least by my reading, that Awakeners are still able to "yank the rope", but the Breath is just stuck too firmly. But the attachment is definitely still there.

 

-

 

Perhaps this keying is enough to get the anthropomorphization done, but if I had to bet I'd go with the Endowmentization that we know exists and have observed the "humanity-maximizing" effects of rather than the less well-understood way that Breaths are keyed to their users.

 

---

 

As an aside, people don't (as a rule) have "Forms" under my model. Though you can just replace "Form" with "soul" there and it won't be any significant change to your argument.

---

 

I'm not following you on Returned, though, because if they got a shiny new Breath fresh from Endowment (as is the case, I believe?) then that would actually argue against them keeping the same general appearance under your model.

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I had some thought that without their memories they would have no Cognitive Identity, and should thus not reflect what they believed to be their own previous appearance. Rereading, I mangled that whole paragraph a little.

 

What I was basically trying to say is, Breaths have an attachment to the Identity of their owner, and there should be a Form for 'humanity', the ideal human of a sort, that influences Breath in part. Because unlike other Investitures, when you put Breath into an object, it does not then belong to the object, it still belongs to you. So there becomes a sort of connection between you and the object, bridged by that Investiture, which could in part explain why the Awakened Object wants to take Human Form if it can - it is trying to emulate the Form (humanity) of the Identity attached to the Investiture driving it.

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On Returned: Ah, that makes a tad more sense. I'd probably just fall back to their body still having the identity and/or the memories still existing somewhere (recall that Lightsong remembered everything at the end) and/or ask the question of whether an amnesiac who got Regrowthed would turn into a pile of goop; but that's all for another thread.

--

An interesting and plausible way to look at it, upon your reformulation. Might I suggest that you throw out Forms altogether, though? Why not have all the interaction simply be between Awakener and Breath?

P.S. I'm still leaning towards Endwomentization, fyi, if only because it's an effect we know of versus one we theorize.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Well, under Forms, someone with 0 identity or memories or Cognitive aspect or whatnot who got regrowthed would approach the general human Form as closely as possible - make for themselves a generic version, so to speak. It's a curious idea, and moreso for being potentially possible under Feruchemy.

 

---

 

I suppose it's possible to throw out Forms altogether, but what I find notable is that no one in Warbreaker seems to mention any sorts of awakening that make visible copies of the Awakener. Like, if you Awakened a bunch of Jello, would it attempt to form into you? We don't see instances of that, or hear about it, so I'm leaning towards 'the general idea of a human'. This is why I bring in Forms.

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Well, under Forms, someone with 0 identity or memories or Cognitive aspect or whatnot who got regrowthed would approach the general human Form as closely as possible - make for themselves a generic version, so to speak. It's a curious idea, and moreso for being potentially possible under Feruchemy.

Um, no. I am now convinced that I need to write "Forms: Complicated" if that's what you took away from reading all my Forms threads.

---

But we're really really tangenting now and I hereby formally give Chaos back his thread. ;)

Edited by Kurkistan
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Well, your original ideas of Forms and what I think makes sense and have internalized (and converted from my own study of Platonic Forms) are fairly different, and I'm not good at keeping track of these things. But indeed, let us give Chaos back his thread, and await his replies.

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The end, the part about the "Spiritual fuel," doesn't resonate with me quite so well, but I mostly agree with the rest. I expected to see more math though :(

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Where x is the function of Investiture and a is the volumetric measure of the Investiture in standard notation, the balance of the Realmatic composition of the Manifestation of Investiture can be described as baffling.

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Absolutely. We have WoB that planets like Roshar and Sel are highly Invested, while Scadrial is rather low in Investiture.

Where is this WoB? 

 

This would make sense, as Roshar and Sel have Splintered Shards, but Scadrial doesn't. 

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Where is this WoB? 

 

This would make sense, as Roshar and Sel have Splintered Shards, but Scadrial doesn't.

 

Here you go:

BRANDON SANDERSON (paraphrased)

The amount of investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

(source)

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Makes sense in the context of the theory - Sel and Roshar both have a lot of free(-ish) Investiture (some) people can pick up and work magic with; Scadrial's Investiture is kept mostly within its Shards, and people who want to use it need a conduit to the Shards to access it.

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Maybe you could add more numbers to this theory. Magic is not just based in the three realms but it is investiture flowing between realms as Chaos said. You could get two sets of number for the three realms, one for were the magic comes from, another for where it goes to. To awaken uses a lot of cogitative and spiritual to do, but awakening normally only has physical effects. So to get the new pattern, awakening would be

Coming from would be the same, 60 Cognitive, 30 Spiritual, 10 Physical.

Flowing to, 70 Physical (physical objects are awakened), 20 Spiritual (the object had to have been alive, it had a spirit) 10 Cognitive (awakened objects can’t think much)

The Cognitive level would be different for lifeless, returned or nightblood because they can think more. Different forms of magic have different flows changing their affects.

There could be pattern between the source and effect, this could need a new graph.

I hope my humble addition is accepted :).

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I only skimmed through some parts and read the tl;dr version (I promise to read the whole thing carefully later) but I already gave you an upvote because of the cool interactive 3D graph, and because anyone who spends this much time writing a Cosmere theory deserves some sort of reward. Actually, that's two reasons to give you an upvote. Could someone please upvote Chaos again for me? :)

 

Anyway, other people already gave in-depth commentary, so I'll just make one tiny observation

 

Spren, appearing through… well, the origin of spren is not clear, but possibly Honor and Cultivation wanted them prior to Odium's arrival.

 

We know that Adonalsium left some spren on Roshar, so they aren't something Honor/Cultivation invented. In fact, I rather suspect that any Shard attempting to Invest on Roshar will find that they can't do it without creating Splinters of themselves. I'm currently developing my own theory on how spren work, so I'll be able to talk more about this topic soon.

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I just wanted to give you guys a very quick response saying no, I have not forgotten this thread. My summer work is just very busy at the moment, and I'm exhausted. I'm drafting a long reply in response to everyone, though :)

One thing I will say, to the people who want more math. Yeah, I'd like more math too. But considering I feel that there's going to be a lot of discussion on the numerical values I assigned, I'd rather not put too much stock in those estimations, nor would I like to arbitrarily add more variables to the model than I have to. Mathematical models are only good if we can effectively measure and test things, which we can't. The numbers I assigned here are for visualization purposes. I don't really think that with this deep cosmere stuff we can do much more math than that. This isn't the iron Feruchemy thread, where we know the mathematical formulas at work. Considering Brandon is not a mathematician or physicist, I am under the standing assumption that he does not have secret math formulas that make the cosmere works. He's a writer.

And anyway, Peter does the math for him if needbe :P

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We know that Adonalsium left some spren on Roshar, so they aren't something Honor/Cultivation invented. In fact, I rather suspect that any Shard attempting to Invest on Roshar will find that they can't do it without creating Splinters of themselves. I'm currently developing my own theory on how spren work, so I'll be able to talk more about this topic soon.

 

Yes, Adonalsium did that:

 

BRANDON SANDERSON

... for instance there were some spren on Roshar before Honor and Cultivation got there. Those were already Splinters of Adonalsium where he had left power which attained sentience on its own. So, it can be intentional is what I am saying, does that make sense? You have seen other splinters.

http://theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=1078#25

 

Interesting thought on the splinter requirement. I wonder why all 3 shards have created spren on this world, and that might explain it.

Edited by lyht
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I think I saw a WOB somewhere that said the three realms were interconnected, not a straight line with an intermediary. I'll see if I can find it. 

 

 

'Odium's_Shard', on 25 Sept 2012 - 12:02 PM, said:

snapback.png

I'll be quite brief, as its getting reasonably late over here. I would first like to express my intense gratitude for such a prestigious author to answer the questions of some of us insane folk, and I just know that this'll get us all pulling up all sorts of obscure references from this Q&A at least until Stormlight 2, and most likely will fuel discussion for months!

I have only a few simple questions that are mostly a matter of clarity, and a few that are needed to fill gaps in our knowledge, or to clear a current discussion; here goes:

[*]So, firstly, is the Cognitive realm the only way to access the Spiritual Realm from the Physical Realm, and vice versa?

No.

I'll admit, it's not exactly conclusive, but I imagine it differently than you.

 

I do like the idea of classifying the magic systems based on their realmatic attributes.  :)  

Here's a WOB on that, too.


 

Quote

RAFO Bait:

Would it be fair to describe the three realms as the Spiritual realm providing motivation/general directives (gravity, desires, energy, etc.), the Cognitive realm interpreting and applying those directives, and the Physical realm as where these directives--as interpreted by the Cognitive realm--are actually implemented? All of this with interactions/change flowing back and forth between the realms as well (Physical phenomena affecting thought affecting the spirit, for example).
 

Last One: Ha! That's a very interesting way to look at it. The theory isn't all there, but it's thinking along the right lines.

 

 

I think it's safe to say that we are also thinking along the right lines :)

Edited by Fedelpen
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I really like this theory. Overall, it is well thought out.

 

All this has made me wonder if each shardworld has a different presence combination in each of the three realms. If the three realms create a triangle with everything in the cosmere sitting within that, we could see something like this:

post-11438-0-48628100-1404409338_thumb.j

We have a WoB (here: http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=727#45) that the way magic systems work is because of the shardworlds, not the shards, and has to do with realmatics. If the shardworlds have a different balance of Congnitive, Physical, and Spiritual aspects (e.g. Roshar is pretty balanced in all three, Scadrial is more physical than the Cognitive/Spiritual, etc.) it could line things up pretty clearly. It might even shed a bit of light on why Sel is so difficult/dangerous to get to, as it could have poor conections to the Cognitive Realm.

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Soooooo.... Chaos...

 

What's up?

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