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How did the Aes Sedai forget about how to use the One Power?


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I am not sure if this question has been asked, but how did the Aes Sedai forget how to do such incredibly useful things such as using all five threads to heal and how to Travel.

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They died before the girls they were training were fully trained. They were still fighting the Shadow for years after the bore was sealed, and then there were the men who could channel. Then in turn those girls they were training died before they had fully trained the new girls. Each Aes Sedai died, and a little bit of knowledge was lost. Then too after the Breaking the Tower eradicated any Aes Sedai who would not allign themselves with the Tower, and more was lost.

 

Not a single woman who was alive prior to the Breaking survived to join the Tower.

 

 

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Also, they became stingy with their knowledge.  When one person would figure out how to do something, they wouldn't always share the regained knowledge...unless it suited their purposes.

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In addition to what everyone else said, experimentation died out, and in order to preserve their numbers (and with no scientific theory on the One Power) Aes Sedai were continuously discouraged from trying new things.

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Then too after the Breaking the Tower eradicated any Aes Sedai who would not allign themselves with the Tower, and more was lost.

 

 

 

 

 

Where was this mentioned?

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Then too after the Breaking the Tower eradicated any Aes Sedai who would not allign themselves with the Tower, and more was lost.

 

 

Where was this mentioned?

 

The Guide.

 

Once the decision was made to build Tar Valon and consolidate Aes Sedai power, those same Aes Sedai initiated and carried out, between roughly 50 AB and 100 AB, an extremely vigorous campaign against women "pretending to be Aes Sedai." It seems that there were a considerable number of such women at this time. Was it that so soon after the Breaking, at a time when more people manifested the ability to channel than do now, great numbers of wilders existed who believed they could claim the title? Or were many of these "false Aes Sedai" actually Aes Sedai who resisted going along with the amalgamation of independent groups into one whole? Certainly there is evidence that many of these women were "forced to kneel to the Amyrlin Seat and the White Tower," at least some were stilled, and a large number joined the Tower and were thereafter accepted as Aes Sedai. Historically Aes Sedai have been very rough with women who pretend to be Aes Sedai, and there is no record anywhere outside this time of any such woman being accepted into the Tower.

 

One document (part of a letter, reliably dated in 77 AB by internal evidence; the property of a man who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) may well indicate the answer. It states that "Lideine and several of her followers were stilled, whereupon the rest submitted themselves, and with that example Mailaine ceased her resistance and led her followers to kneel. The rest must be brought to heel." Among those listed at the meeting that reached the decision to build Tar Valon were Lideine Rajan and Mailaine Harvole. While the text is not conclusive, it is certainly suggestive that these two names should be linked in this manner less than twenty years after that meeting. Requests for comment from the White Tower have met with silence.

 

[The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: 9, The Formation of the White Tower.]

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Just like humans forgot how to build Pyramids without using mortar, or Iron pillars which wouldn't rust.

 

Knowledge once gained isn't gained forever.

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Not to mention that during the Breaking libraries of books were burned or lost and destroyed.

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Another contributing factor would be the sheer chaos that occurred during the breaking.

 

An Aes Sedai with the knowledge to align the matrix may be standing on a hill, and 5 minutes later that hill is now hundreds of feet below water.  One with the knowledge to travel is on a boat that is destroyed by a freak storm.  Another with the knowledge of advanced healing is standing on a 200' hill that suddenly dissapears from under her feet in an earthquake.  "Natural" disasters could very easily wiped out the vast majority of AS.

 

I'm sure Aes Sedai attempted to still as many male channellers as they could.  Assuming that the male channellers still had knowledge from the AOL, this would be a very dangerous and deadly feat, even for the most well trained AS.  Logic would deem that the strongest and most experienced AS were tasked with this chore, and undoubtably many probably died as a result.  Considering that some of the most impressive feats involve great strength in the power, these AS probably didn't have a chance to pass their knowledge on before meeting their ends.

 

And the main reason I can think, which borders with previous posts, was that when the world was in the ultimate chaos, survival was the main issue.  They were not concerned with passing on knowledge, or experimenting, etc...they were simply trying to survive, and many didn't.

 

Add up all the factors...

 

Death by mad channelling

Death attempting to gentle

Death from starvation (I'm willing to bet food was a precious commodity during the breaking)

Death from riots, looters, thieves, or other man made issues sure to be prevelant in such times

Lack of passing on of knowledge due to the conditions

Lack of channellers of sufficient strength to learn certain talents.

AS general secretiveness and not sharing knowledge.  And in the midst of all of this, there probably wasn't a very big emphasis on recruiting new AS.

 

If you take all the factors into consideration, it's not hard to believe that such a vast amount of knowledge was lost.

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Precisely, there was ultimate chaos and heaos if people were dying. everyone was alone and disorganised and living in fear of most likely millions of crazy male channelers and bandits.

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And they probably saw no reason why certain things should be taught in the middle of all madness and chaos. I mean, building ter'angreal that could be used in the study of genetics is cool and spiffy, but what use would that be during the breaking?

 

My guess is that they first taught those things that were directly neccessary to survive. I mean, the Talents that they Aes Sedai possess are all very related to surviving.

 

Shielding / stilling

Slicing weaves

Creating wards

Dancinc Clouds, to make all raging storms milder

Singing Earth, to be used against all of the sudden earthquakes

Listening to the winds, to warn against coming storms

Battlefield Healing, everyone can use the weave, though not all are good at it

 

 

Perhaps things like traveling wasn't considered as important as other stuff, because you'd have no idea if the place you wanted to Travel to was any safer than the present location. So, much better to try and stop the earthquake or fight the male channelers. Better to teach students battlefield Healing, a weave that EVERYONE can use to some extent, and that's used for everything, than to spend years teaching them a thousand different weaves to Heal a thousand different maladies.

 

The Aes Sedai probably had so much knowledge to pass on that they had to prioritize; what weave could save my student's life? What weave could she use to save another's life? Weaves that couldn't do either probably weren't taught unless they were safe for long periods of time.

 

Also, some things would have required Talents. A great Healer might never have found a worthy pupil during the breaking, who could actually learn those complex weaves.

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I was wondering how Moirane remembered balefire (of all things to survive 1000 yrs after the breaking) to scorch bel'al in TDR.

She,Moiraine,tells Perrin she learned of it.I can't remember where,but uses it the first time vs the Darkhounds[Chptr 44] in TDR and again in the Stone vs Be'lal[Chptr 55]

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Also it is stated that the greatest discoveries were made with men and women working together.Since all male channelers have been gentled,uptil now,only one side of this has been at work.

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    I don't think that Pride would have been an issue for Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends because they were the 'servants to all'. Not like the present Aes Sedai, but I wonder if some things were so simple at the time, because of the technology during the Age of Legends, that the Aes Sedai just simply thought some things were too basic to teach and so worried more about the healings and other spells that were needed right then.

 

    I also agree with someone wanting to teach but not having anyone with the ability to use it.

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I am not sure if this question has been asked, but how did the Aes Sedai forget how to do such incredibly useful things such as using all five threads to heal and how to Travel.

 

Sorry if this answer has been stated already, I didn't read the responses. IMO it was the affect of all those Aes Sadai getting greedy and keeping "tricks" for themselves. One person..maybe Egwene commented that the secrecy issue was killing them and also when her and Elayne were training the Aes Sadai on those tricks Mog taught them, they said that some seemed to pick up on them really quickly. I don't think RJ meant that those tricks were "lost" in the sense that they forgot but "lost" in the sense that to many Aes Sadai were hording knowledge for themselves and not sharing with anyone.

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I think we also have the point that, where-as most all "modern" Aes Sedai are "jacks of all trades" as far as weaves go,w ith only a few secret weaves per Ajah, the Aes Sedai of the AoL were specialized. Much like modern professions.  They might have ben aware of the theory of how something worked, but the researchers especially were probably heavily specialized.  So, it isn't like they could have all the knowledge to each to pass on. We see that through the PoV's and dealings with the Forsaken, and them not knowing how to do all the weaves, even if they know "of" them.

 

So, throw tons of highly specialized Aes Sedai women into a world of chaos, and what you get is abotu 10% of the knowledge getting passed on.  I think the shortening of the life expectancy had something to do with it as well.

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I still don't understand how Traveling was lost... Its not the most complicated weave in the series, and once a girl learns it the knowledge "travels" fast.

 

And are we sure all female Aes Sedai from the AoL died in the breaking? I mean, Rhuidean was built by those two Aes Sedai Rand sees in his Ancestor's memories. They were described as being old, so for a channeler that means very old. And they spoke of the AoL like those who experienced it, not like novices who were repeating hearsay from teachers long dead. If they had the know-how to construct the crystal columns and shield Rhuidean from TAR, how come they didn't show the Aes Sedai building Tar Valon how to Travel?

 

I wonder if more than the Breaking was behind so much knowledge being lost. The Breaking may have set the conditions by greatly reducing those living who knew certain weaves, but I bet that the violent politics of the early WT sealed the fate of many weaves.

 

What do I mean? I bet a few AoL Aes Sedai did survive the breaking, but Tar Valon was founded by "new" Aes Sedai who were several student-teacher relationships away from the old Aes Sedai. The old Aes Sedai believed in something greater than themselves, they believed in the Covenent, keeping the Faith, and Serving All. The new Aes Sedai were more pragmatic: they wanted to pull the world out of the ashes of the Breaking, and they believed strict power structures were necessary to acheive that. Though a few old Aes Sedai remained with full knowledge from the AoL, they choose to stay away from TV and so their knowledge died with them. Power hungry Amyrlins then furthered the decay by restricting knowledge much like Elaida did with Traveling when she got it.

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I still don't understand how Traveling was lost... Its not the most complicated weave in the series, and once a girl learns it the knowledge "travels" fast.

 

And are we sure all female Aes Sedai from the AoL died in the breaking? I mean, Rhuidean was built by those two Aes Sedai Rand sees in his Ancestor's memories. They were described as being old, so for a channeler that means very old. And they spoke of the AoL like those who experienced it, not like novices who were repeating hearsay from teachers long dead. If they had the know-how to construct the crystal columns and shield Rhuidean from TAR, how come they didn't show the Aes Sedai building Tar Valon how to Travel?

 

I wonder if more than the Breaking was behind so much knowledge being lost. The Breaking may have set the conditions by greatly reducing those living who knew certain weaves, but I bet that the violent politics of the early WT sealed the fate of many weaves.

 

You know, that always bothered me. Rhuidean was clearly built by AOL aes sedai knowledge since the jenn wouldn't have known how to install all those Ter'angreal. Yet, despite the fact that those aes sedai where with the jenn for at least a year they never bothered to teach their wise ones. All it would take was just one trained jenn to keep the knowledge of simple things like traveling alive

Then again, maybe that jenn simply didn't want to share that knowledge with those savage oath breakers...

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You know, that always bothered me. Rhuidean was clearly built by AOL aes sedai knowledge since the jenn wouldn't have known how to install all those Ter'angreal. Yet, despite the fact that those aes sedai where with the jenn for at least a year they never bothered to teach their wise ones. All it would take was just one trained jenn to keep the knowledge of simple things like traveling alive

Then again, maybe that jenn simply didn't want to share that knowledge with those savage oath breakers...

 

The other Aiel avoided the Jenn Aiel like the plague. The Jenn were buddies with Aes Sedai and the Aes Sadai helped them along their path as it was known to them that they would breed the prophesized one. I think when RJ layed out that part of the story, the Aes Sadai were not aware that the other Aiel would break from the Jenn as they did. It is still apparent in modern Randland writing as the Aiel avoid tinkers unless they absolutely have to deal with them.

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I would imagine Ishamael also had a hand in ensuring some of the more useful abilities were lost.

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If Traveling requires some knowledge about locations, perhaps the world was simply changing too much too quickly for it to be reliable enough to bother with?

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I was wondering how Moirane remembered balefire (of all things to survive 1000 yrs after the breaking) to scorch bel'al in TDR.

 

Research. I'm pretty sure she got the final bit, or maybe even all of it, from Vandene and Adeleas.(SP) IIRC

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