Kwaan might have understood realmatic theory.
In the chapter 19 epigraph for the final empire, the author of the journal says "When we first met, he was studying one of his ridiculous interests in the great Khlenni library - I believe he was trying to determine whether or not trees could think."
I wonder if that means he was looking into trees have a cognitive aspect. It seemed weird to me the first time I read it, but knowing what I know about the Cosmere and Sanderson loving worldbuilding, I feel like that's what this was about.
Was pre-ascension scadrial cosmere aware?
The OP's theory is correct. The rest is a RAFO.