Cocoa

Could Regrowth Fix Savantism?

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We've seen that Stormlight in general is capable of repairing damage to a person's Spiritweb, and Regrowth seems to be an amped up version of standard Stormlight healing. With that in mind, do you think Regrowth would be able to purge the excess investiture from someone's Spiritweb and repair the damage done by savantism?

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Only if it was recent.  Healing in the Cosmere is highly dependent on the way you see yourself.  Old wounds can't be healed with regrowth because the spirit sees the wound as part of the body.  Savantism would be the same.  Eventually, the spirit would see the cracks as natural, so healing, in most capacities, wouldn't work.  

Bloodmaking does the same, with Hemalurgic Gold.  You essentially return to whatever your Spiritual You thinks is the ideal you.  That's why you can get your head cut off, and just regrow a new one, assuming you have enough Healing stored.  

Kaladin's brands didn't heal, because he saw them as part of himself.  He blamed himself for all his failures, and so he owned those brands.  They only healed when he forgave himself for those failures.  He no longer saw them as part of his soul.  

In order to be a Savant, you need to purposefully break your Spiritweb.  I'd contend that no healing would fix that, because your spirit sees it as part of yourself.  Save, of course, for a meddlesome Shard directly affecting things. 

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I assume regrowth can heal the spiritweb. But as Tglassy said, healing the spiritweb doesn't guarantee healing of the body. That said, I disagree that you couldn't heal a person's spiritweb based on how they see themself, since most people don't observe their spirit anyway to even be able to control how is works. Nevermind that the cognitive filter shouldn't go backwards into affecting the spiritual realm in the first place.

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2 hours ago, Tglassy said:

Only if it was recent.  Healing in the Cosmere is highly dependent on the way you see yourself.  Old wounds can't be healed with regrowth because the spirit sees the wound as part of the body.  Savantism would be the same.  Eventually, the spirit would see the cracks as natural, so healing, in most capacities, wouldn't work. 

Right, probably should have clarified "could Regrowth fix savantism, within other Cosmere healing limits?" Whoops.

2 hours ago, Tglassy said:

In order to be a Savant, you need to purposefully break your Spiritweb.  I'd contend that no healing would fix that, because your spirit sees it as part of yourself.  Save, of course, for a meddlesome Shard directly affecting things. 

Does it have to be purposeful, though? I understand that it requires a measure of Intent to use investiture, especially the amount necessary to become a savant, but I think there's a difference between "I'm going to purposefully use a lot of investiture, whoops there's side effects" and "I'm going to purposefully break my Spiritweb."

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I'm going to say no, based off the idea that your soul itself has changed, and what most healing does is take the body and make it match the soul.

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10 hours ago, Cocoa said:

We've seen that Stormlight in general is capable of repairing damage to a person's Spiritweb, and Regrowth seems to be an amped up version of standard Stormlight healing.

Yep

10 hours ago, Cocoa said:

With that in mind, do you think Regrowth would be able to purge the excess investiture from someone's Spiritweb and repair the damage done by savantism?

Nope

In the same way that healing can't seal the cracks in your soul that let Investiture in, it wouldn't be able to restore the Spiritweb's original shape.

Savantism changes the Spiritweb, but it doesn't register as "damage," similar to how it's not (directly) damage when excercise affects your physiology. Or possibly more like ritualistic skull deformation an the like. Or inbetween those points.

Per this WoB (spoilered for length):

Spoiler
Quote

Questioner 1

Do all Soulcasters risk turning into the element or is it only those using the device?

Brandon Sanderson

All Soulcasters have an affinity but the ones using the device are locked down much more than the Soulcasters who are Knights Radiant.

Questioner 1

So they are protected from being turned into--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no they-- I wouldn't say protected... *clarificaiton* Protected is the wrong term but that event, the savanthood and how it affects them and things like that is much less pronounced if you are a [Knight].

Questioner 1

Or is that counteracted by the healing as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Healing doesn't have to do with it because-- in cosmere terms there's nothing wrong with your body, your spirit is actually drifting, and so it's not hurting you physically by what's happening with the magics. So it's not the healing but if you have an active bond with a spren it takes a little different path. Let's just say, in simple terms--

Questioner 1

You are not losing body parts to smoke.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are not using body parts to smoke. 

Questioner 1

What timeframe does it happen for the normal Soulcasters then?

Brandon Sanderson

For normal Soulcasters? It takes-- I mean, you've seen it happening in the books. We are talking [about] a process of years even decades, depending on the person. It happens to some--

Questioner 2

Depending on how often they Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how often they Soulcast, and it depends on the person. 

Oathbringer Leeds signing (Dec. 1, 2017)

 

Healing doesn't really have an effect on Savantism.

And since healing (generally) acts by aligning the Physical with the Spiritual, as filtered through the Cognitive, and the problem is that the Spiritweb has changed from repeated infusions of Investiture, so the healing would neither fix the Physical side effects or the Spiritual "deformation."

I imagine it's similar to being a Sliver, which Brandon has described as being like how a ballon that has been inflated stays stretched if deflated, but with your soul, and, in the case of Savantism, on a much smaller scale.

Brandon has also alternatively described Savantism as warping the soul and opening the cracks in the soul more.

Spoiler
Quote

Questioner

Can you compound like a, can you compund metalminds to the point where you become like a savant?

Brandon Sanderson

A savant happens because persistent use of the power has an effect on your soul, warping it. Compounding is a very different thing, so while you could draw some very powerful effects, I would not call them the same thing, even if they are imitating one another at certain points.

Salt Lake City signing (March 29, 2014)
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IronCaf

What other magic systems - because it seems unique from what we have seen - what other magic systems have that same, kind of, "If you use it a lot it gets better?"

Brandon Sanderson

So, imagine this way-- You're making a metaphor-- It is a little bit more like wedging open cracks in the soul by letting the flow come through, and the investiture comes in. 

IronCaf

So it seems that in Allomancy, it seems to maybe enhance those cracks--

Brandon Sanderson

It can open the cracks more.

IronCaf

Are there other magic systems like that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. 

IronCaf

Will we see those anytime soon?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe. Anytime soon? Let me RAFO that for you.

Footnote: The question is a follow-up of the previous question about savantism.
Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing (March 20, 2014)

 

I'd think if anything can "purge" Savantism from your Spiritweb, other than the known Shardic intervention, would be aluminium and (possibly) chromium allomancy:

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Wyndlerunner

You've mentioned in the past aluminum savants being able to somewhat heal their spiritweb, healing them of the cracks, sort of healing them of Allomancy. Could a chromium savant do this to other people, kind of like in the Avatar [The Last Airbender] finale where he seals bending?

Brandon Sanderson

I will say RAFO, but I will say you're theorizing along correct directions.

Orem Signing (March 16, 2019)

But that depends on what "healing the Spiritweb" means and what the nature of Savantism is.

If Savantism doesn't leave residual Investiture in your Spiritweb, you probably couldn't purge it via these methods.

Interestingly enough, Savantism is also described as being like an unchecked spren bond:

Spoiler
Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Warning, Evgeni. I'm really considering doing a backpedal on savants. The more i think about them, the less I'm not liking how my current course has them being treated in upcoming books. I think it deviates too far from my original vision.

Argent

Hey, I wouldn't normally contact you directly like this, but given that you thought it important enough to reach out and let me know you might change how savants work, I figured you probably wouldn't be too upset by this message. I replied to your Facebook comment, asking if you could clarify a little bit which aspects of savantism you are thinking of keeping and/or cutting. I don't need an essay on the topic (though you know I'd love one!), just some details on what we can consider canon for theories, and what we should be careful around.

Brandon Sanderson

Evgeni,

So here's the problem. The more I dig into savants in the later outlines, the more I feel that I'm in a dangerous area--in that I'm disobeying their original intention. (Which is that using the power so much that it permeates your soul can be dangerous, a kind of uncontrolled version of a spren bond.)

And so, I don't want to let myself just start making people savants right and left. It needs to be a specific thing. Wax is the troubling one, as I have him burning so much steel that he's well on his way, but isn't showing any side effects. If I'm going to give him savant-like abilities, he needs savant-like consequences.

That's the danger, just falling back on savanthood to do some of the things I want, so often that it undermines the actual point and purpose of them in the cosmere lore.

So if I backpedal, it will be to contain this and point myself the right way, sharply curtailing my desire to make people savants without their savanthood being an intrinsic part of their story and conflict in life. (Like it was for Spook, and is for Soulcasting savants on Roshar.)

Feel free to share this.

Argent

Okay, so - if you do decide to go this route, I see the story implications (larger focus on consequences, less easy to get to the point where a character can be considered a savant). What I am not sure about is the potential for a mechanical change. Would a backpedal on your side cause a conflict with information you've shared with us, in or out of your books? Are you saying that it's possible that Wax won't be considered a savant (if you can't squeeze a good ramifications plot for him that doesn't contradict the apparent lack of consequences so far, for example)?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't decided on anything yet. It's mostly consequences for the future--just a kind of, "be aware I'm not 100% pleased with how Wax turned out, re: savanthood and Allomantic resonance."

The idea of resonance is that two powers, combined, meld kind of into one single power. This is a manifestation of the way Shards combine. Wax was intended as a savant of the two melded powers. But without consequences in his plot, I'm not confident that I'll continue in the same vein for future books.

Footnote: The first message comes from Brandon reaching out to Argent (Evgeni) on Facebook with a follow-up regarding this entry. This rest is from a Reddit PM exchange between Argent and Brandon.
Miscellaneous 2016 (Dec. 15, 2016)

 

And per an earlier WoB, the reason why Radiants are "protected" is not because of healing.

If healing doesn't oust the spren from the Spiritweb, it probably can't oust Savantism.

It is of course possible that if you know what you are doing and have enough Investiture, you could replicate however a Shard can undo Savantism, but that is probably something that requires some mental trick, Intent or both.

10 hours ago, Tglassy said:

Only if it was recent.

I'm not so sure about that, once the Spiritweb has been warped, it might stay that "shape" until further warping. So it might just regrow in the same "shape."

If I'm not mistaken, the time clause on healing is because of the healing filtering through the Cognitive, which I'm not sure would happen when healing the Spiritweb.

Or if this is about healing away the Physical consequences, I could maybe see that being the case, though you'd still be working from a warped Spiritweb.

11 hours ago, Tglassy said:

In order to be a Savant, you need to purposefully break your Spiritweb.

I want to quibble the "purposefully" here, I don't think that you need to specifically try to become a Savant, though of course actively trying would make it happen faster, assuming that you can freely use your powers.

You'd warp your soul faster if you were deliberately shooting for it, but I don't think Spook was trying to become a Savant.

But of course in doesn't really happen to people who use their powers more sparingly. Brandon has also said, both in world and in WoB, that some people become Savants without noticing, which wouldn't be possible if it required Intent.

Quote

Kingsdaughter613

Hero of Ages, Harmony in the epigraphs says that brass and copper Allomancers can become savants and never even notice. I know that generally savantism is supposed to have really extreme effects, so how does that work that they do not notice?

Brandon Sanderson

So, most savanthoods have extreme effects, some of them it's just not as noticeable. It can warp your soul without you really even paying that much attention to it. I kind of have a push and pull on how debilitating it is in some ways versus others. In this case, those are two that you can become that it would not be very debilitating in your life.

Kingsdaughter613

What effects would that have for that?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that.

JordanCon 2021 (July 17, 2021)

 

 

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Interesting. I think what it really comes down to is whether or not the person in question thinks of Savanthood as part of them. If they see it as something foreign, maybe useful, maybe dangerous, they could probably be healed. If they see the savanthood as part of who they are, that's a different story.

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Savantism is an addiction like alcoholism, and Stormlight didn't heal Teft's alcoholism. That said, healing it can technically be done, even if it requires the power of a Shard. We've seen it happen once, since Harmony healed Spook's savantism. Regarding the healing of mental flaws etc., Brandon has said this:

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PallonianFire

If a Shard were to heal the cracks in someone's spiritweb, like Sazed did with Spook, and that person who was getting healed has a Nahel bond, would that break the bond?

Brandon Sanderson

No, because the Nahel bond is already filling in those cracks, so you would have to rip it off to put something else in there.

PallonianFire

So it wouldn't really be-- the Shard wouldn't be able to heal--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, the Shard-- Like, here's the thing we have to get at with this, what we're getting at, which is the question of, for instance, is Kaladin's depression a flaw in him that needs to be healed? And that is a question for philosophers. There are certainly people, cosmere and outside the cosmere, that say "Yes, this needs to be healed" and things like this. But what about somebody who's-- say, someone who is autistic, and their mind just works in a different way, and this way allows a certain bond to happen that couldn't otherwise happen? Is that a flaw, or is that-- is it a bug or a feature, to speak in coding terms? Is what's up with Kaladin a bug or a feature? I know that my wife would probably get rid of her depression if she could, but it's also been fundamental in how she sees the world and who she is, would that change her into a different person? And things like this. So, I want you when you discuss this, to be very careful about treating mental illness as a flaw as opposed to an aspect of a human personality that allows certain different things to happen. Does that make sense? *applause*

PallonianFire

The way I was sort of thinking, was, could Odium say, "Oh, I'm just going to fix this" and then you can't Surgebind anymore?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, right, yeah. If he-- if there w-- that is possible, but it would be hard to do without the consent of the person, but that is possible… You can fix somebody in a way that they didn't want to be fixed, and it would ruin things.

JordanCon 2016 (April 23, 2016)

So he doesn't really seem to know how it would work. But either way, what he says is very theoretical: No Radiant we know of could heal Kaladin's depression, and it's pretty safe to say no Radiant we know of could heal savantism.

So Regrowth as a Surge can't normally heal savantism. Cosmere healing in general evidently can, but as it seems only in a supercharged version that's mostly just possible for a Shard to do.

Edited by Elegy
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On 11/15/2021 at 8:40 AM, Elegy said:

That said, healing it can technically be done, even if it requires the power of a Shard. We've seen it happen once, since Harmony healed Spook's savantism.

But was that "healing" in the usual Cosmere sense (aligning the aspects with each other), or was that just a Shard directly rewriting the spiritweb to be the way they wanted it to be instead? I tend to lean towards the latter.

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