Puberty and the Soul

So page 51 is running late today, a small errand turned into a fruitless whole-day chore, but it should hopefully be up before midnight and in the meantime here’s another installment of my wonderful world of magic physics.
So the last time I wrote, I mentioned the consequences of a creature with a sentient brain coming to a world with a Bastion of Souls having been born and raised on a world that didn’t have one and what that would mean for them, as well as for any sentient creatures on a planet that has only recently acquired a Bastion.

The way I described it was that extant life would most likely be destroyed as it was overwhelmed by the influx of Incarnum, but a good mark of a scientist is the ability to admit they were wrong and embrace a different viewpoint. This is one such case in the realm of magic physics in that, as I recently realised, it would make much more sense if it was the brains that prevented the soul generating than the Bastions.

Allow me to explain.

The Bastions function as a result of natural law. They’re solid, stable, they aren’t likely to change what they’re doing for any reason for a very long while. Compare then the (I’ll say human) brain. It is constantly being rewired by experiences and information, and there’s one point in human life that is especially poignant for the brain’s structuring: puberty.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain much here. Before puberty, you don’t think about the other sex much, and certainly you don’t think about sex much in general. After puberty, it’s something that will easily garner your attention, either obviously as with a pair of breasts waved infront of police officer or discretely as with supermodels used in advertising. This is because the hormones released during puberty have significantly altered the neurochemistry in your brain.

So I thought, sat in an empty lecture theatre one day, that it would make a lot more sense if it was the brain that had changed to lose it’s incarnomagnetic properties rather than the Bastion outright killing it because of them. People visiting from offworld aren’t going to attract Incarnum because their brains just don’t anymore, and the same for native species as a Bastion spawns. It could be the brain is rewired away from incarnomagnetism, or that the chemistry disrupts it, or even that the minerals needed for it are flushed from their system entirely as hormones rush in.

Now that raises a question: Why do they retain their souls after puberty?

Well again we go back to natural law with the Bastions. The Bastions are self-sustaining, no matter how much Incarnum you pull out of them they’ll always have a fresh supply. The living brain is the same way; once it has enough Incarnum, it will keep drawing Incarnum from the local Bastion. And the gateway structures that were composed and imprinted upon the Incarnum by the incarnomagnetic properties of the brain pre-puberty let the brain affect Incarnum to produce magic.

Which also leads us to another question: Can adults learn magic without knowing anything about it prior to puberty?

The answer here is yes, they can. Whilst the soul may not be connected by incarnomagnetic properties to the day-to-day goings on of the brain, it’s still mimicking the motions of certain neural pathways in it, and can be affected by them. An adult with no prior knowledge of magic will definitely have to work harder than a child, but they can gradually expand those imprinted structures to move on to greater feats of spellcasting.

And that gives me my final question: You’ve read this far, so I assume you’re liking what I’m typing, so pray tell is there anything about magic physics you’d like me to expound upon or investigate?

Posted by: Lying


  1. Does incarnum affect the life spans of certain races and if so, how and why? It seems plausible since many races with strong magic affinity also have lifespans far beyond that of a human, which are themselves fairly longer than many other animals.

    IRL, this is explained via biochemistry, size and metabolism. But considering that species close enough to reproduce (such as elves and humans) can also have lifespans 1/10th of each other, incarnum seems like a… if not ‘likely’ at least ‘interesting’ suspect.

    Comment by Kumo — January 27, 2011 @ 3:42 am

  2. That’s highly probable, though most likely man-made. Only one of the subspecies of the elven species has such an extended lifespan, and it has only appeared after the Great Cataclysm in Avbaroy.

    Comment by Mad Mask — January 28, 2011 @ 3:44 am

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