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Duxredux

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Duxredux last won the day on June 4 2022

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    Reading, crafts, running, puzzles, games, spending time with family. I work early mornings and have lots of time to listen to audio books, so I quite often will pull out a Cosmere audio book to listen to. I enjoy theorizing, making connections, and in general thinking about the worlds Brandon has created.

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  1. Sorry to echo @Returned again, but it feels like we still need more detail on the motives. Does he believe the tenants of the religion he is a pastor for or is he simply using the kindly pastor gig as a cover for his true motives? Is he trying to convert the NPC's to his way of thinking or is he mocking the party for their "short sightedness" or "naivety at failing to understand how the world really works" from his perspective, or is that he genuinely believes that he is trying to do good (from his perspective) and that he's allying himself to a lesser evil to fight a greater one (poverty, corrupted governments, sin, etc.)? The way that you do this is important setup for how the party views the church, the business connections, how the community views the church or the party ("they just killed Pastor Johnson! What's wrong with these people?" vs "Did you see how much heat Pastor Johnson was packing? That's not normal, something's not right with this church."). If you need a specific outcome for the rest of your planned story and just need a villain monologue we can probably spin something up. For kicks, I threw your prompt into ChatGPT then swapped out pastor for businessman because it really heavily weights that for the prompt. Tried putting it back in and... well you see. You can probably mash those up together. Suit's main appearances are: AoL epilogue SoS chapters 8, 17 BoM chapters 16, 25 to basically the end.
  2. To answer if Cosmere healing can heal cancer, the answer is probably with the same Cognitive limitations. Looks like cancer is not part of the Spiritual Ideal and the right healing can naturally filter out cancerous cells so long as the Cognitive aspect is in alignment. Most of the trouble with cancer is how hard it is to differentiate and target the cancerous cells while differentiating between the types of cancers, particularly if cancer bypasses the immune system, so this looks like it should be pretty easy to heal. Now... it's possible that for most humans in the Cosmere won't ever deal with cancer, depending on the mechanism that allows humans to have less diseases anyway. If the bit of innate Investiture in all souls means regular healing is aligning towards the Spiritual Ideal (which is a bit of a stretch), then something on the scale of the beginning of cancer probably isn't much of an issue. Cancer is difficult to treat once starts rapidly growing and developing, particularly if it's started spreading (the term you're looking for is metastasized) but if the body naturally catches that handful of cells that had damaged genetic code and didn't terminate properly, that's much less healing then say a massive viral load from someone sneezing in your face with the common cold. I'd actually guess that if the body could as consistently identify cancerous cells as it can the common cold, then the cold would cause more of an strain to the immune system (barring cancer of the immune system like leukemia). Cosmere humans are weird because they have something like a spiritual limiter to their life span - an actual allotted time of life (on average) or a predetermined decline of physical health directly linked to their age as viewed by their Spiritual Ideal as seen with Rashek. So while heart disease and cancer are big killers in our world, they may not be an significant issue in the Cosmere, or as likely to kill the elderly as any disease that can target a weakened immune system. Now that's for normal unaltered humans. If we look at Drabs (apologies, yes this is the Mistborn board, but this isn't much of a spoiler that there are members of the Cosmere that have lost that innate Investiture) or those who have been non-lethally Hemalugically spiked, then yes, they may be more susceptible to cancer and for the next bit I'll just assume that cancer is a problem to at least some people in the Cosmere. Hemalurgy can do some pretty wild things, so I'm not going to discount the possibility of healing someone via Hemalurgy, but for spiking it out we're talking literal excision from their soul. For cancer that has metastasized, you'll never target the individual cells well enough, that's the whole reason why we can't remove them via surgery IRL, and I can't imagine a scenario that would let you so carefully target a single class of specifically cancerous cells (though hemalurgy can target physical strength for what it's worth). This would be like trying to spike out the spiritual web representing the liver, but somehow avoiding all non-cancerous cells. By definition, the cancer is growing from mutated cells that you really want to keep functioning, so you can't just remove all related cells. If it did work, it would probably be as traumatic to the body as IRL cancer treatment if not more so. That chunk of soul you punched out ain't coming back, and if did, they gained access to healing that would have cured the cancer in the first place. Injuries in the Spiritual Realm are so much harder to heal than injuries in the Physical Realm, so it seems like you're going to have a pretty extreme use case scenario to justify breaking out the spikes and mallet. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, I'd guess that you're more likely to cause cancer by excising pieces of the soul and creating gaps in the Spiritual Ideal. I'm having a hard time imagining a case when you would want a big ol' tumor enhanced with a Hemalurgic spike over just getting the spike in a tried and tested location that we know isn't going to have complications. If you can think of a symbiotic instance which is better than just getting the benefit yourself, let me know. Long story short, break out the Gold medallion, not the spikes.
  3. Sigh. Looks what each of what we think is obvious isn't actually obvious. This isn't the right place to discuss it, but it feels like it's rather common for this kind of linguistic disconnect between you, me, @therunner, and/or @Treamayne (and Frustration, but he's on hiatus for a couple years) though not necessarily in equal measures, as we've filled thread after thread with super specific examples, debates, and if I remember right, at least one argument that came down to a translation error between the English and Polish versions of a book. I'm getting tired of it, and it doesn't look like any of us are going away in the near future. Any of you also feel like making a PM and figuring why our communication styles clash so often so the rest of 17th Shard doesn't have to watch us argue for their entertainment? Well, unless any of you enjoy competitive debate, because I don't. If no one wants to hash this out, then I hope no one is offended if I periodically just bow out of these debates. Yeah, overall I think that we agree on Sleepless, I don't think we see eye-to-eye on what insects are optimized for, and I'm stumped at how you reload a wasp or spider via surgery, but we can agree that Awakened insects that try to bite eyes are at minimum a substantial distraction to add to an Awakener's arsenal.
  4. Sigh. Examples please? Maybe they have different insects in your part of the world, but I can't think of insects that naturally eat the eyes of living animals or preferentially bite the jugular. I'm no entomologist, but when you say hunt their prey, don't know of any insect that actively tries to kill and bring down medium or large mammals, they usually go with more parasitic approaches by living off of small bites of blood, laying internal eggs, etc. because if they keep it alive that's another meal tomorrow. Sure, flying stinging insects like wasps or bees have been known to take down larger mammals, but that's usually from the poison of hundreds and hundreds of insects, not by severing arteries or veins (also do insect venoms even work if they're Lifeless? I'm assuming they would decay and stop producing). Also... why is it too late once they get to the visor? How fast are you expecting insects small enough to crawl through a visor to chew to something fatal? Can't the Shardbearer, I don't know, take off their helmet and glove, step back and have a subordinate pick or brush off these bugs or do it themselves? I can't help but feel like if there were insects this well suited for quickly killing humans through biting alone I'd have heard about them by now. Now capitalizing on the distraction of sending and biting insects flying into their visor, increasing your odds of cracking a section of Plate by using Awakened ropes to lob boulders or getting a killing shot, now that I can get behind. I wouldn't leave the task just to the bugs. Also, sure it would look dorky put over the helmet of a Shardbearer, but surely you've heard of mosquito netting? I'm still saying Sleepless will do it better and more cheaply than blowing dozens or hundreds of Breaths, and stealth may not be an issue. Need I remind you of Hoid's pen? Someone who is paranoid, has plenty of layers of enhanced senses, and was specifically watching for the Sleepless still got duped, and then you really can have a hordeling specifically designed to fit through a visor slot and slice someone's jugular. They also can send a swarm of hundreds or thousands of jumping, crawling, flying insects that will be much easier to replace than dozens of Breaths. Don't forget that Skybreaker who got killed by a Sleepless, apparently outpacing their ability to heal or fly away. Oh, English, you imprecise language. Sometimes I really wish that less of the world had adopted such a poorly designed language even though it really is convenient for me as an American. I apologize if I had more ambiguity than I intended, but what part of "incendiary attack", "dumping oil and igniting it", or "flamethrower" implied that I wasn't planning on burning these bugs? Also, do you mind helping me understand why lethal temperatures to an insect won't cause them to be nonfunctioning whether or not they are powered by carbohydrates or a Breath? I assume the proteins in their body and striated muscles denaturing due to heat will make them stop moving, possibly damaging the body enough that the Breath fails or they slow down until they pop. It's kind of why it's lethal in the first place. Their small scale means that they can't dissipate or use mammalian strategies like sweating, circulating blood, etc. to redistribute heat to survivable temperatures, so yes, a human can stand closer to a fire for much longer than a bug can. In fact, unless you have done a lot of Commanding, Lifeless insects won't even try to avoid it or survive it.
  5. Moash is a particularly touchy subject and this thread got to 4 pages of debate on if Moash could get a redemption arc or if he even should. This is a link to my response. Moash means a lot to different people, so if none of this fits the core of what you were thinking about, feel free to let me know. I have a few possible interpretations and to save on post space, I'll put them in spoilers after the questions. What should I do if I think a friend is a bad influence on me and going off the deep end? What should I do if a friend or trusted individual (family, coworker, etc.) betrays me? I'm guessing you don't mean: How do I talk my old friend who has committed multiple homicides and keeps trying to talk me into committing suicide into going back to how they used to be? If it's at this level, call law enforcement, maybe get a restraining order or SWAT involved. I'm not the best person to talk to for anything at this level. Phew. Doozy of a first question. I reformatted this and added thoughts to hopefully improve clarity and sectioning off ideas.
  6. Nah, there's ways to deal with them. What you're describing basically is done naturally and more effectively by the Sleepless, and they were certainly scared of something coming to get the Dawnshard that they couldn't handle. Now granted, some of that fear may have been due to the Dawnshard's effect of protecting itself, but still. You're describing some complicated maneuvers for something that literally has the brains of a beetle. Now Vasher's squirrel showed surprising intelligence, but I'm not sure how far down the intellectual scale that goes. It could work. There isn't much of a precedence for what you describe IRL because some more recent defenses developed for entomological warfare (yes, there's a term for insect based attacks) are simply things like the insect repellent DEET to deter a mosquito or hornet swarm from even attacking the target. Drone swarms that need communication and processing likely can be taken out with EMPs or simple EM emitters, neither of which would deter undead bugs. So I had to look elsewhere and science fiction nanodrones I think are closer to the concept and can be defended against via incendiary attacks. You need mass to dissipate heat effectively and the very nature of a swarm made of small constituents means that individuals will get to lethal temperatures quite quickly compared to someone wearing Plate. Some insects can survive wildfires, but they do so by flying away, going underground, or burrowing into wet, rotten wood that insulates them. An unprepared Shardbearer won't handle it well and will likely die, but if they have support staff, then oil can be dumped and ignited even in the most primitive Cosmere culture we've seen so far (barring something like the Simple Rules of Threnody complicating things). If further tech like a weaponized heating fabrial, F-Brass, Division, a flame thrower, etc. is available then while you likely can't ever fully kill a Sleepless as that requires killing every last hordeling, you can pretty well repel their attacks. If anyone wants to explore defenses against the Awakened insect gambit or the more effective Sleepless, then we can spin up a thread titled "How to Stop a Sleepless Invasion" which may be relevant in later books.
  7. Uh... hate to tell you this, but he basically signed that agreement the moment he took up the Dawnshard. Unless Roshar invents immortality, he will outlast all of his friends in Bridge Four. That's what it means to be an immortal among mortals and versions of this concept have been reiterated over and over in literature. Whether he stays or goes, so this It's a continuation of his choice to retain his Torment rather than trying to siphon it completely away. In many ways, at this point retaining his Torment(s) and hardships is his choice and he's turned a corner in his choice to regain his frayed honor and conscience. What's different here is that he has permanently left Canticle better than when he found it, and that he himself has become a better person. Basically, not every good friend you meet you keep for life. I was a counselor for a youth camp and it was basically my job to create an environment where temporary friendships could form and people could come out of their shells and learn more about themselves and others and grow. A weekly cycle of getting a new batch of teens, learning all of their names, doing my best to learn about them and care about them before letting them going out to normality and trying to gear myself for the next week. Life is not a youth camp, but those days can still be special and everyone involved can grow from the experience. Just because it's temporary doesn't mean it's not worthwhile or happy.
  8. Well... after I got tagged to convince someone to stay on the Shard, I thought I might as well make a formal offer for solicited advice. As opposed to my usual modus operandi of dispensing unsolicited advice. I'm not an expert at anything in particular but I am a jack-of-all trades and I think about things. As a disclaimer, if I think Google, ChatGPT, or another publicly available resource can give you as good or better advice than I can, I will be using those resources though perhaps with personal commentary. I'm not exactly one for a conventional AMA, as I have other obligations that trump 17th Shard (I think I've been pretty open that I'm married and have a toddler), but if you want to ask me more general questions to get my opinions on things, feel free to. I guess a main benefit of talking to me over non-Sharders is that I can draw from Brandon's works to demonstrate concepts.
  9. I have a note to add, though it's external to the Cosmere. Spoilers for Schlock Mercenary, the comic written by Howard Taylor, Brandon's good friend back when they were making Writing Excuses together. As for this: Do you mind spoilers for the back 5 of Stormlight Archive? Brandon has told us some things.
  10. The Shades of Threnody probably fit the bill, but their condition is thus far specific to natives and descendants. Threnodites killed by a Shade become a Shade themselves, and I'm not sure if we've seen a non-Threnodite killed by a Shade. Tough to say how exactly a Cognitive Shadow does damage to someone in the Physical Realm, but it's not via Physical Realm infection, that's for sure. Disease definition: A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that has a known cause and a distinctive group of symptoms, signs, or anatomical changes. A particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people. TSM spoilers:
  11. Well... regardless, all Shardbearers have something to block off their eye slit from projectile attacks. It's called a "forearm". It's a tradeoff in close combat situations. In Helaran's defense, he wasn't trained from childhood by the sword masters of Alethkar at the Shattered Plains. The more I look at these threads the more I view it as the community betting odds for a gladiator colosseum fight because fights just don't develop as is often described in the back and forth debate. Saying things like "a Shardbearer can just run away from a Seer" is implying a degree of knowledge that just doesn't happen organically in a fight. You don't look at an ordinary person, conclude that they have precognition and thus the person in power armor should run away. There's a learning curve to every new significantly different opponent and unless they've specifically trained for it and have insider information, they won't fight optimally. It's not uncommon for soldiers who have heard stories of Shardbearers their entire time in the army but never seen one to freeze and just stare at the gloriously beautiful warrior mowing down their comrades until they die. If a Shardbearer started strolling down the streets of Elendel you'd better believe people are going to stop and stare. Knowing the strengths and limitations of a Shardbearer is essential to fighting them. You don't expect someone wearing that much heavy armor to take longer to get tired than someone not wearing it. You don't expect someone in full armor to make huge jumps or climb cliffs. The fact that Plate looks like metal but cracks and shatters is not intuitive. A Shardblade's motion through living or non-living matter is not intuitive either, or that it is summonable and throwable. The Shardbearer pretty much has three options. Chase down their target, throw their Blade, or use their terrain to their advantage by throwing stuff. Wax would have interesting problems with something charging down the street throwing cars at him. Due to the simplicity of their options, it's a lot more straightforward from the Shardbearer side and the speed and momentum they can bring to the fight likely can overwhelm many opponents during the first few minutes of the learning curve, particularly as Shardbearers are taught to trust in their armor to protect them. That is, if the Shardbearer decides they need someone dead. So... I'd say that it depends on how much the opponent knows, their mobility to survive the first minutes of the learning curve, or if they can just overwhelm a Shardbearer regardless. Even a relatively normal and skilled soldier like Kaladin got a lot of mileage by knowing how Shardbearers worked, looking like a relatively unthreatening normal spearman, and capitalizing on distractions. Rosharans and significant visitors like Denth or Vasher may have that knowledge, but others won't.
  12. There's a number of ways to look at this thread, and I'll go way back to the original to address the writerly question from @Thaidakar the Ghostblood. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were hoping to get a better sense of what constitutes sexism and what makes a character sexist as a writer so as to better avoid making a character sexist (at least unintentionally), right? Best advice I can give is to give your writing to a variety of alpha readers who are not like you and see their response. Now if the core worry is coming off as a sexist author, that's actually a different can of worms, and I'll refer you to Writing Excuses. I think they refer to this as "Writing the Other" which is to say writing a character who isn't like you, be it gender, race, culture, etc. I think the first time they covered it back when Brandon was on the team was this episode. There's a common progression when writing characters unlike you that authors often follow. Let's see if I remember it right... First level is that you either don't have the Other in the story or objectify them within the context of the plot (there's a princess 'cuz the story is about the hero saving the princess). Second level is recognizing this and trying to put them in the story, but because you don't want to accidentally be derogatory you make them awesome, which Brandon calls the paragon. They're above reproach, but really the goal is to have representation in the book and the character doesn't actually do anything other than make an awesome cameo. The example Brandon gave was of soldier games where a bunch of white muscley guys are fighting other white muscley guys and then in a scripted scene they are losing and then the black muscley guy (who is awesome, everyone love him) breaks through the wall dual-wielding machine guns and mows down the enemy. They give each other high fives and black muscley guy drives off into the sunset never to be seen again. Third level is making them a significant character with plot relevance but they don't have significant flaws or are acting as a foil to the main character (likely one that you associate more with as an author because it's easier to write similar to your own viewpoint) and will call out the flaws of the main character to try to reduce the overall ___ist flaws in the story by calling them out as problematic. They are an active participant in the story, but are lacking depth because the author is afraid of writing flaws into the Other and getting it wrong. Fourth level is to give the Other a full and participating role in the story with their own flaws, character arc, community, and to basically stand as their own person separate from what you need them to do as an author. It takes a lot of work and feedback to get it right, and I have no further advice because I haven't written a cohesive original story of any quality whatsoever. Go through the others if you want more specifics, examples, and practice exercises. Back to the rest of the thread, it feels like there's a couple of goals that might be at cross purposes, and I'll list them off as ways to look at this thread in no particular order. Discussing if Wayne is sexist Discussing if Wayne does sexist things What constitutes sexist actions or behavior Worry that minimization of sexist discussion makes it more likely to be swept under the rug outside of the forum I'll note here that I don't think that within the context of the thread surrounding sexism that anyone is implying that anything Wayne does whatsoever should be modeled, mimicked, or given any approval whatsoever. This is my personal view, and I'm okay if it needs work or other people disagree, but I think that learning to understand the world and in particular how other people are different from you is simply a learning curve and some people choose to keep learning and some people stop. I'm not saying to stop looking for discrimination, micro-aggressions, or when people are being marginalized, but that at the core it's about people deciding to observe and learn more about people who are different from themselves, be it an individual, a gender, or a culture, and then treating them how they would like to be treated. Now this might be oversharing, so I'll put it in a spoiler box, but thinking about it I think I've gone through a similar progression as the four steps to writing the other as given above. So... my take is that if you feel like you need to get better at spotting the other and not make subconscious and or broadly incorrect assumptions about people, then it's a matter of putting in the work to learn and update your understanding. Calling someone out for being sexist tells that there is an issue, but general behavior modification "watch what you say" doesn't hit the root of why that "___ist" behavior exists in the first place. There has to be an internal desire to understand and perceive viewpoints outside of themselves, which is why reading literature written by people different from myself is more effective for me then looking up how not to be ___ist. Wayne is fascinating and I've debated writing one of my essays on him for a while, but I haven't felt sure I was doing it well. For Wayne, it feels like there's this weird dichotomy of believing that other people, particularly his "posse" are better people than he is, but then having to doubt those people when they see anything worth while in him at all. Like... "obviously you're better than me, you're not a bloody murderer, so how can you so consistently be wrong about not thinking I deserve to be shot?" I don't think he's a masochist, in that I don't think he actually derives pleasure from pain, but... more like a sense of justice has been served indirectly every time he gets blown up or shot and that he deserves it in some way. In terms of his really inappropriate behavior, it feels like he's reinforcing in the minds of his friends that he really isn't a good person, shouldn't be trusted with anything moral so that they can either punish him or make sure he doesn't get worse, this reinforcement required because he is so incredibly good at disguises. He's a master at appearing what he isn't... except the businessmen, beggar, guard, scientist, elder lady, etc. persona he adopts didn't shoot a little girl's daddy. For someone who has incredible control, can alter his mannerisms, vocal patterns, mental patterns, and could probably disappear and live a new life like a kandra if he wanted to, the bawdy drunk we think of as typical Wayne is in some ways equally a show, though he may not think of it as such. I think he makes prejudice, classist, sexist, etc. remarks intentionally to remind people that he isn't a good man right up until the end, and because it was coming from Wayne it should be discounted anyway. So... is Wayne sexist? I think he was anti-Wayne/murderers more than anything else and his other vices are reinforcements to how much he hates himself and wants so hard to be a better man and prove that it really isn't just an act.
  13. Well... we have to figure why Savantism is off the table for Hemalurgy in the first place to answer this question, though I agree with @Nameless' take on the WoB. Here's my hypothesis: it's related to why Atium can steal any power but only a single one despite basically being the Godmetal of Hemalurgy. Hemalurgy is destructive by nature, and likely cannot retain an entire soul, and that the fragment of soul harvested by Hemalurgy is transformed by the process in preparation to bestow the attribute on the recipient. Savantism by it's very nature is a systemic transformation of the soul by external power and likely covers a broader range than can be harvested by any single spike. Let's use Spook as an example as a well known viewpoint Savant. The idea here is that with a single spike you can't steal everything that encompasses being a Savant with a spike. If you were to steal Spooks A-Tin with a steel spike, that can only steal the attributes related to his Physical Allomantic powers. You could probably harvest Spook's dulled senses with a tin spike, but the real question is if a Tineye were to be granted Spook's senses if they would also gain his senses' sensitivity to A-Tin or if that's assigned to a different metal. From this standpoint, and with what was known at the time, saying that Savantism is something that cannot be stolen seems perfectly valid - and as far as was understood nonlethal Hemalurgy or stealing multiple attributes from the same body wasn't something anyone knew how to do.. For kicks, let's add in an additional layer and look at the old Miles spike factory question. Let's say that you have way too much money, gold, and not enough scruples. You capture Miles, strap him down, and then force feed him bar after bar of gold and then use every viable metal to harvest every known attribute out of him. With your pile of spikes, can you recreate Miles complete with his Savantism? You have his Identity, his Connections, his memories, his powers, and maybe even his destiny. Add in that linchpin spikes can coordinate the effect between the spikes, assuming you can get around Harmony's unconscious alterations of Hemalurgy in spike count limits. A few possibilities: yes, it works assuming you have the knowledge and can get around Harmony's restrictions. Alternately, there's too much interference with the recipient's Spiritweb, or the nature of the Hemalurgic spikes doesn't allow for that level of finesse in coordinating the changes to the soul even with a linchpin. Given that Atium can only harvest a single power at a time, it seems plausible that the more delicate components of the Spiritweb that are altered and changed from Savantism that create some of the more significant changes aren't retained when a spike hammered through the soul is transformed and prepared to enhance another body. So... I think it's plausible that you could steal attributes altered by Savantism, but that you would need extremely unusual circumstances to get anywhere close to stealing everything that makes someone a Savant. I don't think the non-lethal general harvesting that the Set was experimenting with would cut it.
  14. The governmental philosophy aspects check out I think, particularly after listening to some of the #saythewords videos. As they are written by a contemporary of the Knights Radiant, they may be a representative example of the general sentiment that may be felt by the unoathed observing the Knights Radiant. The Lightweavers and Elsecallers in particular are purported to have no distinct moral boundaries on their progression of Ideals, though by definition you can't have a Knight Radiant go rogue by themselves, their spren must also be in agreement. The political development of Roshar will be really unusual because you have the historical precedence of the destruction of Ashyn, the dying ravings of Honor, the Recreance, oaths made by Bondsmiths and Shards, and a world at war. Political alliances between Shadesmar and the physical realm don't have to result in the Nahel bond, but there have been not a few kings who have gained access to the Surges. Add in naturally acquired Blade, Plate, and squires and you have things like the development of Shallan's Unseen Court as the wife of a Highprince which makes sense but is a disturbing precedence. Add in Elhokar as king of Alethkar swearing fealty to the king of Urithiru and I suspect we have an arrangement of Knights Radiant in political power that the Heralds and ancient Radiants tried very hard to avoid as the Watchers on the Rim asking for all to come and train at Urithiru. Makes you wonder why the Stormfather sent Dalinar those visions as someone who went on to basically claim divine mandate of authority. On a related note, with the development of powers and political authority, even if they eventually restore the minds and core personality of the Heralds, there may be significant ramifications that they have lost Jezrien. First his will when he broke in Braize and left the burden to Taln, then his mind when he was lying in a drunken stupor while the Coalition of Monarchs was formed, then his soul. The Herald of Kings who trained political leadership and likely engineered the Epoch Kingdoms is lost to Roshar, and in the back five of SA the remaining Heralds may keenly feel his absence as the political climate develops. As for power creep, yes, I do think that ridiculously powerful individuals will sway the political climate. We had that one guy on Scadrial who ran for office on the platform that he was a Coppercloud and so couldn't be affected by emotional Allomancy. We have plenty of examples of calamities across the Cosmere. Give ordinary people the powers of divinity without the mind or scope of a deity and then add in politics? Yikes.
  15. That's a fair viewpoint. I'll also note that I never used the words love, kindness, or religion anywhere in my analysis of Liyun. This was my way of trying to explore perfectionism as it persists across generations. May I ask how much you know about Eastern culture, particularly, Japan, Korea, or China? You have to understand that when I read about Liyun I see my grandma, or Obaa-chan. She's not particularly religious, she used to criticize my mom if she got anything less than A's in school, and my mom couldn't think of a time growing up when grandma praised her. Growing up, I had to reconcile the stories my mom told with Baa-chan remembering every birthday, driving in from out of state for Christmas and giving us lots of hugs, Pocky, and rice crackers, particularly when my mom would continue to note that she was still being criticized. I had a friend from Hong Kong who talked about how incredibly competitive the schools in Hong Kong were. He had a classmate who was about 5 feet tall who was on the basketball team because he had a 5' vertical jump and could jump over the opposing guard and dunk, that's how hard some of them trained. To give you an idea of how densely populated Hong Kong is, it wasn't until he was around 18 or 20 that he knew silence. The local competition is incredible, so much that when I was working as a janitorial supervisor for a U.S. university, I once interviewed a candidate from China that had years of managerial work history and two published research papers. He was applying to be a janitor while he worked on his PhD. When we talk about perfectionism and incredibly high standards, I want us to keep looking past where we see the word "abuse" and have the discussion move towards what we do when we or those we raise are in circumstances that crush the undiligent. You don't have to be a religious fanatic or a Machiavellian to really not want your kid to have a dead end job for most of their life because they didn't take school seriously. Debt, compound interest, and the cost of living can be incredibly cruel task masters. I'm not touching work conditions in Asia because I don't think I can change that, but I can think about how I raise my own children.
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