User:Stargazer/Realmatic Theory

From The Coppermind
Jump to navigation Jump to search
|related=[[Physical Realm]], [[Cognitive Realm]], [[Spiritual Realm]]

All things exist in three Realms, Gaotona. Physical, Cognitive, Spiritual. The Physical is what we feel, what is before us. The Cognitive is how an object is viewed and how it views itself. The Spiritual Realm contains an object’s soul—its essence—as well as the ways it is connected to the things and people around it.

Shai discussing the application of Realmatic Theory to Forgery with Gaotona[1]

Realmatic Theory refers to the study of the three Realms—Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual—that constitute the fundamental structure of the cosmere. Along with other fundamental properties like space and time, the Realms were created at the cosmere's equivalent of the Big Bang, before the Shattering of Adonalsium.[2]


Physical Realm[edit]

Of the three Realms, the Physical Realm is the most readily understood as it behaves in much the same way that our universe does.[3] It is the natural world as we experience it with our senses, consisting of space and time and adhering to empirical scientific law.[1] Unlike the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm is a three-dimensional plane.[4] The two Realms are not mapped perfectly to each other for this reason.[5] The cosmere is a single star cluster within the Physical Realm consisting of between fifty and one hundred stars,[6] though at least one person has tried to travel beyond that.[7] Travel between planets within the cluster can be achieved without using either of the other Realms through purely Physical FTL travel.[8]

Investiture within the Physical Realm will manifest as a solid, liquid, or gas.[9] Solid Investiture in the Physical Realm is metallic.[10] Pushing the entirety of a Shard’s Investiture into the Physical Realm would have disastrous effects.[9] Changes in the Spiritual Realm filter down to and cause changes in the Physical Realm.[9] Perception has a part in those Physical changes.[11] After a person dies, they need a continued tie to the Physical Realm to prevent passing to the Beyond after death.[12] Someone with such a tie could become a Cognitive Shadow.[13]

Cognitive Realm[edit]

The Cognitive Realm is the world of thought and perception.[14] It is also referred to as the subastral, and is known locally on Roshar as Shadesmar, though at least some academics of Silverlight have taken to using the term to refer to the entire Realm.[15] The nature and appearance of objects in this Realm are shaped by the views of people and even the objects themselves. The environment itself changes from one world to the next, often exhibiting features characteristic of that world.[16] Investiture, including that within souls, glows visibly within the Cognitive Realm.

While time appears to flow normally, space is also warped by perception.[17] Some aspect of the nature of the Realm allows one to walk to space, and the distance between worlds is significantly contracted, so that travelling from one world to the next by foot is possible. Indeed, Worldhoppers generally make use of this Realm to move between worlds. Travelling between the Physical and the Cognitive Realms may be accomplished at Perpendicularities.

One effect of existing in the Cognitive Realm seems to be unusual longevity, perhaps not aging while in there, allowing worldhoppers to appear in multiple books that take place hundreds of years apart. This attribute of the Cognitive Realm has not been confirmed.

Spiritual Realm[edit]

Little is currently known about the Spiritual Realm, which contains the souls, or essences, of people, objects, and ideas.[1] It is believed by some on Roshar that the Spiritual Realm is a place of absolute truth—where things exist in their pure forms.[18] Connection plays a very important role in the Spiritual Realm, where space and time have little meaning.[19] It also seems to be a place where the past and future are able to be seen and discerned, with various beings (usually) showing different levels of skill at predicting the future using the Spiritual Realm, from Preservation's skill enabling him to predict events thousands of years in the future, while Honor is far more limited.[20]

Most of the power that makes up the Shards exists in the Spiritual Realm.[21]




On Nalthis, the Five Scholars stumbled upon Realmatic theory and the broader cosmere during their studies[22] and are known among the scholars of Silverlight for their studies.[23] Subsequent Nalthian scholars appear to have retained some of the Five Scholars' knowledge and, aside from worldhoppers, are probably the most aware of the mechanics of the cosmere.[24] Indeed, the Nalthian perpendicularity has customs,[25] suggesting Nalthis has a sizable population with at least some Realmatic awareness.


On Roshar, the philosopher Gavarah first developed Realmatic Theory some time well before 1173.[26] Since then, her theory appears to have become widely accepted among scholars, who are aware that the Spiritual Realm is a place of pure truth but the Cognitive Realm is more malleable.[27] However, it appears that few, if any, scholars have actually studied it in detail, as Jasnah Kholin was unable to find much information on the Cognitive Realm with six years of research.[28] This difficulty may be compounded by the fact that some religions have integrated aspects of Realmatic Theory into their theology,[29][30] though the return of the Knights Radiant and the reactivation of the Oathgates may soon lead to new knowledge.


On Scadrial, the ancient Terris were aware of Realmatic Theory and included it in their religion.[31] This knowledge may have come from experimentation with Feruchemy, which organizes its metals into quadrants based on which Realms they affect.[32] Their research into Realmatic Theory appears to have been an ongoing affair; when he met Alendi, the Worldbringer Kwaan was studying the Cognitive aspects of trees.[33] Much of this knowledge appears to have been lost when Rashek destroyed the Terris religion,[34] though at least some of it was retained by the First Generation of the kandra.[35]

Sazed included some basic information on Realmatic Theory in the Words of Founding.[36] Since the Catacendre, the Terris have been experimenting with the Feruchemical metals that store Spiritual properties, but refuse to speak of those powers with non-Terris.[37] The kandra and the Set have also been conducting research and have likewise been keeping it quiet.[38][39] As a result of this secrecy, the people of the Elendel Basin at-large seem to have little more knowledge of Realmatic Theory than they received in the Words of Founding. However, this situation may soon change as the people of the Basin begin to interact with the Southern Scadrians.[40]

The people of Southern Scadrial have a much more advanced understanding of Realmatic Theory. Ten years after the Catacendre, Kelsier arrived in their lands and gave them the tools and knowledge needed to make unsealed brassminds. After he left, the Southern Scadrians were able to use what they knew to figure out how to make unsealed metalminds for all abilities in the Metallic Arts. They have been unable to create unsealed metalminds that grant more than three abilities, suggesting that the Realmatic principles involved become more complex as more abilities are added to the metalmind.[41]


The people of Sel have developed the most advanced knowledge of Realmatic Theory of any planet in the cosmere.[42] The MaiPon learned much about Realmatic Theory and how it relates to Forgery by study and observation[43] and are aware of concepts like Identity and Connection.[1] The Ire, and perhaps other pre-Reod Elantrians, similarly had an advanced understanding of Realmatic Theory.[44][45]


Well before the True Desolation, the city of Silverlight was founded.[46] Located entirely in the Cognitive Realm,[47] Silverlight is home to many worldhoppers who have settled down as well as several people who live their entire lives there.[48][49] Located as it is in the Cognitive Realm, most of Silverlight's residents are aware of the mechanics of the cosmere.[48] Additionally, Silverlight is also home to several universities with scholars who study the cosmere,[50] at least one of which was founded by Khriss.[51]



  • The phrase "Realmatic Theory" has only been used once in the books, when Kelsier reads some of the Ire's notes[44]

Quotes (temporary, should be distributed)[edit]

I have come to see that each power has three aspects: a physical one, which can be seen in the creations made by Ruin and Preservation; a spiritual one in the unseen energy that permeates all of the world; and a cognitive one in the minds which controlled that energy.

Sazed's earliest experiences after his ascension.[36]

Giving water to the tiny plant causes a chain reaction of sudden growth, energy, and Realmic transition. Certain people can control this reaction, using the water from their own bodies to forge a brief cognitive bond. They can draw Investiture (in very small amounts) directly from the Spiritual Realm, and use that to control the sand.

Khriss's assessment of Dayside's magic system, sand mastery.[52]

All things exist in three realms, Dalinar. The Physical: what you are now. The Cognitive: what you see yourself as being. The Spiritual: the perfect you, the person beyond pain, and error, and uncertainty.


  1. a b c d The Emperor's Soul - Day 12 #
  2. ICon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-10-15#
  3. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  4. Arcanum Unbounded signing Chicago
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  5. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
  6. Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  7. Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  8. ICon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-10-15#
  9. a b c Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  10. Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  11. Words of Radiance Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-08#
  12. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  13. Steelheart release party
    Arcanum - 2013-09-24#
  14. Mistborn: Secret History part 2 chapter 1 #
  15. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  16. Skyward San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-08#
  17. Oathbringer London signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-28#
  18. Words of Radiance chapter 34 #
  19. Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 75 #
  21. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  22. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  23. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  24. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  25. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-21#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 29 #
  27. Words of Radiance chapter 24 #
  28. Words of Radiance chapter 1 #
  29. The Way of Kings interlude I-8 #
  30. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  31. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  32. Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  33. General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-11-06#
  34. The Well of Ascension chapter 12 #
  35. The Hero of Ages chapter 71 #
  36. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 57 epigraph#
  37. The Bands of Mourning Ars Arcanum #
  38. The Bands of Mourning chapter 3 #
  39. The Bands of Mourning chapter 17 #
  40. The Bands of Mourning chapter 31 #
  41. The Bands of Mourning chapter 21 #
  42. Hal-Con 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-10-30#
  43. General Signed Books 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-08-10#
  44. a b Mistborn: Secret History part 5 chapter 2 #
  45. White Sand vol.1 release party
    Arcanum - 2016-06-28#
  46. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-04#
  47. Arcanum Unbounded Fort Collins signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  48. a b JordanCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-04-23#
  49. Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-03#
  50. Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System #
  51. Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
  52. Arcanum Unbounded - The Taldain System #
  53. Oathbringer chapter 103 #