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Firefight Chicago signing ()
#2 Copy

Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of investiture in the first place.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#5 Copy

the.fulgid

It seems to be more apparent that different abilities are granted depending on the design of one's spiritweb. Is the design of a spiritweb, and the abilities it grants, limited to a specific Shardworld or are the designs universal across the cosmere? For example could someone from Roshar go to Scadrial and have Hemalurgy done on them and have it work?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, some of the magics are more regionally-locked than others. Hemalurgy will work on any planet. But, for instance, you'll notice that Elantrians have trouble even going to the next nation over. There's a specific reason for that. Most of the magics transcend location.

the.fulgid

My question, in regards to Dragonsteel, is: Is there a possibility that somebody with the ability of microkinesis can see the spiritweb and alter it according to their will?

Brandon Sanderson

This is, this is totally possible. But you have to remember this is pre-Shattering of Adonalsium. Dragonsteel is the story of the Shattering of Adonalsium... the whole book is before, the whole series... So there are lots of things going on there that are-- like you will-- yeah. But it’s not canon yet.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#7 Copy

Argent

Is death in the Cosmere a two-stage process? It seems to me like (under normal circumstances) the body dies first, sending the mind fully in the Cognitive Realm; the soul, presumably, remains in the Spiritual for the entire process. I am a little unclear on what happens after that though - what is it that passes into the Beyond, just the mind? Does the soul / spiritual aspect / Spiritweb just kind of... break down in the Spiritual Realm, turn into free investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It's a two stage process, and most of what you said is correct. The odd thing is, though, that the spiritweb doesn't completely break down (just like your body doesn't immediately break down.) Even after a long time, there's a record of that spirit web in the spiritual realm.

Oversleep

Wait wait wait. If there is a "corpse" of Spiritweb (so to speak) and actual, physical corpse is also there... Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy? Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy if you really know what you're doing and have some useful powers (manipulating Connection comes to mind)?

Could you patch the remnants of the Spiritweb and staple it to the body and end up with some zombie-zombie Lifeless? You'd still need to give it a mind but I figure Awakening is just doing that?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#8 Copy

Kurkistan

Is there-- Can you explain the relationship between Spiritual DNA, Spiritual aspects, and the spiritweb, or are they all just terms for the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson

They are all similar terms for the similar stuff, yeah.

Kurkistan

Okay. So it's not like the core is Spiritual DNA then things as you spread out is all Spiritual aspect?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#10 Copy

psychomanexe

I think that in the Spiritual realm a person's spiritweb sort of manifests as a collection of "nodes" which are the Forms of their body/mind/subconscious, and these nodes are connected by "lines" which are interactions between the pure Forms. These lines are what actually make up the person's character, how the body is "supposed" to be (barring accidents/disease, basically what magical healing attempts to restore the body to), as well as what interactions with investiture the person can use (what magic systems they have access to)

Am I completely off base here or should I keep thinking about this?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good line to be thinking along.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#12 Copy

Commicommand

Does Emotional Allomancy work on animals?

Brandon Sanderson

Emotional Allomancy requires a certain level of sapience.

Phantine

So dolphins, oragutans, mistwraiths and parrots might work?

Brandon Sanderson

I was intentionally vague. :)

A_Shadow

huh, so that would mean that Divine Breath (or just regular Breath?) works in a completely different underlying mechanism than Emotional Allomancy in providing that calming effect for animals and children. I had previously thought it was just an overlap in abilities.

Brandon Sanderson

There is an overlap. But it involves playing with spirit webs and/or the Cognitive Realm.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#14 Copy

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.

A Memory of Light Milford Signing ()
#15 Copy

Viper (paraphrased)

So in cosmere, does physics work the same way in the Physical Realm as it does in our world? Specifically, particle physics; and are atoms made up of protons and neutrons and electrons, and is light photons, etc?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Viper (paraphrased)

So what's at the core of an atom of atium? Ate-teum? Also how do you pronounce it? At-teum?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. And the matter is just normal matter, but it's wrapped in the Spiritual. The Spiritual DNA [or something] is what makes it magical.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#16 Copy

Doom-Slayer

So how do the exact mechanics of Feruchemy in relation to Compounding work?

This confusion is primarily around how [the Lord Ruler] gets his near infinite age.

Okay. So first off, I understand the concept of how they work. Feruchemy is net zero, Allomancy is net positive, combine them and you end with a net positive Feruchemy ability.

So how Feruchemy normally works... you take say weight, store half your normal weight and then you can access it whenever you want. So you (originally X weight) are taking A weight, storing it, and then you are at (X-A) weight, with access to A. So we have a metalmind that store magnitude with the efficiency of how its received based on how quickly or slowly it is drawn upon.

All the metalminds except atium seem to act this way. Atium seems to work as storing magnitude/time rather than just magnitude. The way I understand it is that say a 30 year old person becomes 50 years old for 1 day, this would give access to 20 years difference for a 1 day period.

The Lord Ruler then exploits this by gaining access to say 20 years difference over 10 days(magnification by compounding) which he then slowly feeds into himself to lower his age.

Why this difference? Im assuming its to maintain a neutral "body age" because with just magnitude a person could permanently make themselves younger by compounding.

With just magnitude of "20 years of youth" being stored, if the lord ruler magnified it, he could turn it into "200 years of youth" and then he would never need the constant stream off youth(and wouldn't of died without the bracelets)

Hope this makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so there are a few things you have to understand about cosmere magics to grok all of this.

First, is that magics can be hacked together. You'll see more of this in the future of the cosmere, but an early one is the hack here--where you're essentially powering Feruchemy with Allomancy. (A little more complex than that, but it seems like you get the idea.)

The piece you're missing is the nature of a person's Spiritual aspect. This is similar to a Platonic idea--the idea that there's a perfect version of everyone somewhere. It's a mix of their connections to places, people, and times with raw investiture. The soul, you might say.

(Note that over time, a person's perception of themselves shapes their cognitive aspect as well, and the cognitive aspect can interfere with the spiritual aspect trying to make the physical aspect repair itself.) Healing in the cosmere often works by aligning your physical self with your spiritual self--making the physical regrow. More powerful forms of investiture can repair the soul as well.

However, your age is part of your Connection to places, people, and times. Your soul "knows" things, like where you were born, what investiture you are aligned with, and--yes--how old you are. When you're healing yourself, you're restoring yourself to a perfect state--when you're done, everything is good. When you're changing your age, however, you are transforming yourself to something unnatural. Against what your soul understands to be true.

So the spiritual aspect will push for a restoration to the way you should be. With this compounding hack, you're not changing connection; it's a purely Physical Realm change.

This dichotomy cannot remain for long. And the greater the disparity, the more pressure the spirit will exert. Ten or twenty years won't matter much. A thousand will matter a lot. So the only way to use compounding to change your age is to store up all this extra youth in a metalmind, then be constantly tapping it to counteract the soul's attempt to restore you to how you should be.

Yes, all of this means there are FAR more efficient means of counteracting aging than the one used by the Lord Ruler. It's a hack, and not meant to be terribly efficient. Eventually, he wouldn't have been able to maintain himself this way at all. Changing connection (or even involving ones Cognitive Aspect a little more) would have been far more efficient, though actively more difficult.

Though this is the point where I ping [Peter Ahlstrom] and get him to double-check all this. Once in a while, my fingers still type the wrong term in places. (See silvereye vs tineye.)

Shadows of Self release party ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

My theory currently on spiritwebs is that they are-- when they exist on the Spiritual Realm a person exists as nodes connected between concepts, Physical makeup, and whatnot, that’s what makes up your Spiritual DNA.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Questioner

Is there a different set of nodes for each person or do they all kind of share?

Brandon Sanderson

You're kind of imagining it the wrong way, each person is a node.

Oathbringer release party ()
#18 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How does rewriting the Spiritual aspect work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...So, it has ramifications through the other two Realms. It can happen. You've seen it happen.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That's what happens with kandra, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, to an extent, yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the koloss?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, both of them. Hemalurgy is, like, sticking a piece of someone's spirit to another person's spirit and creating a Frankenstein's monster of spirits.