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Ability to Channel


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Does it annoy anyone else that the ability to channel is a born trait and that only a select few have it? I would much prefer a world where everyone has the ability to channel you just have to train at it. And on that note it annoys me that people are given a strength cap and that is all they can ever get to. I would like it more if you were able to continuously become stronger the more you trained and worked at it. It may not bother anyone else, but it really grinds my gears.

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Does it annoy anyone else that the ability to channel is a born trait and that only a select few have it? I would much prefer a world where everyone has the ability to channel you just have to train at it. And on that note it annoys me that people are given a strength cap and that is all they can ever get to. I would like it more if you were able to continuously become stronger the more you trained and worked at it. It may not bother anyone else, but it really grinds my gears.

 

No it bothers me too. It's kinda worse than being born at royalty. Especially the power level thing.

 

What really gets me is how some people "Think they can channel." What makes you think that? How do so many women (Or men nowadays) guess correctly. Do you wake up one day and go Mom, I think I can learn to channel, I'm going to the tower. Really?

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What always bothered me was why didn't the Aes Sedai go look for women who could channel. I read that it is custom to wait for the girl to ask but that seems pretty stupid when they could've had hundreds of more Aes Sedai if they did what the Black Tower did and go village to village looking for anybody who could learn. The Black Tower has hundreds of men who can channel and they've only been around for a year at most (I can't remember how much time has elapsed since Taim started running it). The power level never bothered me, it is like most traits, some people are naturally better at things than others. The fact that the Aes Sedai decide rank by strength bothers me. The Wise Ones method of rank is so much better.

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I completely agree about the ranking, the Aes Sedai way is ridiculous.

 

I completely agree with it being a bad move to not search out channelers.

 

I do not agree with it being similar to most traits. Yes some people will naturally be better at some things then others, but you can still work on it and improve. With channeling you reach that level and then you are done.

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While I agree with a lot of what has been said, my opinion differs on channeling being an inborn trait. It would take away from the novelty and mysticism of it if everyone could do it. If everyone in the Star Wars galaxy could use The Force, then everyone would be a Jedi (or a Sith). The same goes for Allomancy (Mistborn), The Skill (Farseer), and any other system of magic out there. The exclusivity adds to the allure, imo.

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Hum , Aes Sedai do look for women who can channel , they keep a watch for "wilder" ,how much I hate that term , but mainly yes they wait for them to come to the tower .

Vardarmus actually very few people think that way , the only one I can think off is the daughter of the peasant Rand and Matt visited on their way to Caemlyn , most people are fearful of Aes Sedai due to their stupid attitude over the past year's . Nobility send their daughter to the white tower to received education sometime , but yes it is rare .

 

Bcspeer well your are making a false analogies , first the Black tower had travelling , second they had Rand's Ta'veren nature to help and third men who can channel came for the dragon Reborn they knew the last battle was coming and wanted to be part of it .

 

While the Aes Sedai have been crippled by their arrogance and their intolerance , there way's where tailored to survive and survive they did , it as many flaw and nearly came to self-destruction but they endure in a very dangerous world . Yes they could have been better at it but I don't think they should have been better at it .

 

As said MatrimC if everybody where to be a channeller it wouldn't be humanity to begin with , you need a few restriction to keep the story credible .

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Yes I see the allure of making the characters that we see on stage have exclusive abilities that are not matches by many other people. This is necessary to make the story interesting to the readers.

 

However, putting myself in Randland, I would not be a happy camper if I knew other people could channel and I could not based solely on the fact that they were born able to and I was not. I am not suggesting that it is a flaw in the books, I am just saying that I would prefer it a different way.

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I do not agree with it being similar to most traits. Yes some people will naturally be better at some things then others, but you can still work on it and improve. With channeling you reach that level and then you are done.

 

Well you can work on playing football all you want but unless you hit the genetic lottery you aren't going to make the NFL. Why would channeling strength be any different?

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I do not agree with it being similar to most traits. Yes some people will naturally be better at some things then others, but you can still work on it and improve. With channeling you reach that level and then you are done.

 

Well you can work on playing football all you want but unless you hit the genetic lottery you aren't going to make the NFL. Why would channeling strength be any different?

 

Eh. Has it ever been proven that good genes make football players? I mean honestly, a lot of players have no family history in sports. (Same applies for all sports really)

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I'm not annoyed that there's a limit for how much strength they can reach, and I'm not annoyed that not everybody can learn to channel, either. I don't think it would have worked to have a world where everybody are channelers, whilst being good at it. It probably would have made for boring reading if everybody in the world had that much power and talent.

Edited by Nightstrike
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I'm not bothered by the having to be born with it detail of the The Wheel of Time, but that is the standard way magical abilities have been kept scarce in fantasy. I feel like Sanderson's system in Warbreaker was clever, as it allows anyone to be able to use the magic system and anybody to be incredibly strong but at the same time keeps it a scarce resource so magic users are also scarce. I've toyed around with the idea of anyone being able to use magic but it requiring incredible training and discipline. The idea that it's ALL inborn talent and strength means that people who barely train can still be quite good and strong. I don't think Suttree's analogy in this case is good. Even if you're not going to be an elite class football player who can compete in the NFL, you can still play football. To some degree genes do play a great role, but anybody can improve their strength and ability a great deal through training, even if their genetic lottery keeps them from reaching the upper echelons. And if someone with those special genes doesn't train, then they're not going to be good football players. There's no reason something similar can't be done in a magical system, and I feel like contemporary fantasy should do more exploration of this whole concept, instead of using inborn ability as an excuse to keep magic users rare.

Edited by Agitel
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I do not think football is a good comparison either. There are several people in the NFL that don't physically belong there. Look at half of the New England Patriot's receivers - Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Julian Edlemen are like 5'8-5'10 white guys. They certainly were not genetically gifted to play football but they worked hard and obviously it paid off. Of course if you're 6'5 and 250 lbs of muscle then yeah you have a better shot at making it to the NFL but you also did not become made of muscle by sitting on your butt. You more than likely have been practicing football, lifting weights, and working out for the past 8-10 years of your life. Where as with channeling how long has Nynaeve been channeling? 2 years? And she is cream of the crop strongest Aes Sedai ever no question about it. That to me is a given ability that she did not have to work very hard for (No discredit to Nyn, she is awesome, just making my point).

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I do not think football is a good comparison either. There are several people in the NFL that don't physically belong there. Look at half of the New England Patriot's receivers - Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Julian Edlemen are like 5'8-5'10 white guys.

 

I admit it may not have been the best example but don't kid yourself, those guys are still elite athletes when compared to the general populace.

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Agreed in regards to different strength potentials, but at least everyone has a shot. If you cannot channel you cannot channel there is nothing else to it.

 

If Wes Welker did not work as hard as he does then he could very easily be an average joe that no one would ever consider an elite athlete.

Edited by Wandering Channeler
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I do not think football is a good comparison either. There are several people in the NFL that don't physically belong there. Look at half of the New England Patriot's receivers - Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Julian Edlemen are like 5'8-5'10 white guys.

 

I admit it may not have been the best example but don't kid yourself, those guys are still elite athletes when compared to the general populace.

Been an athletes is 50% training 45% will and 5% gift . Having the "good" gene are nothing but a plus that make eventually the difference but in group sport in mean nothing , the collective is always forward not the special gift of the individual .

On another note , humanity as not yet achieved in any way magical power or psychic abilities , the world would in many way extremely different if everybody could use a special power of any kind . Be it magic , psychic abilities or other .

The feudal word is based upon a minority of people , who have military strength , getting or been chosen to assume leadership , if everybody had access to special power this wouldn't have happened .

You might find it annoying but it is simply a matter of realism , to my opinion the ability to channel could amplified given time , but one do not have to be able to channel to do great thing .

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I do not think football is a good comparison either. There are several people in the NFL that don't physically belong there. Look at half of the New England Patriot's receivers - Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Julian Edlemen are like 5'8-5'10 white guys.

 

I admit it may not have been the best example but don't kid yourself, those guys are still elite athletes when compared to the general populace.

Been an athletes is 50% training 45% will and 5% gift . Having the "good" gene are nothing but a plus that make eventually the difference but in group sport in mean nothing , the collective is always forward not the special gift of the individual .

 

That is not even remotely correct when talking about the "elite" level. Every pro athlete in the world in either group or indivual sports is extremely gifted. If you don't have that you have nothing and all the will in the world doesn't matter. You could put some random unathletic kid next to Roger Federer at age 10 and have them do the exact same training for the next decade and if he isn't "gifted" it wouldn't matter one bit. He still wouldn't be a professional tennis player.

Edited by Suttree
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I completely agree about the ranking, the Aes Sedai way is ridiculous.

 

I completely agree with it being a bad move to not search out channelers.

 

I do not agree with it being similar to most traits. Yes some people will naturally be better at some things then others, but you can still work on it and improve. With channeling you reach that level and then you are done.

think of it like this: your power level is like natural skill

what you can do with it/how well is trainable

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for me it depends on the story. sure, Its more logical if everyone could use magic with training, but the story and world of wot just doesn't really support everyone being able to channel. I do think its better allowing everyone to be able to learn magic if there is no reason in the story to limit it, but I can see a large number of reasons in wot which would require semi-major rewrites to allow everyone to learn magic. basicly, it annoys me if there is no reason to do it. but I'm okay with it if there is one.

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I agree with Suttree, people are naturally gifted in the real world. People like to repeat the sayings about hard work and such, but really, it is natural ability that sets the good from the great.

 

You can train and wish and perhaps some people could become adept in some expertise, but never as good as those who are gifted with it. It is true that hard work keeps these people at the top of their game, but you very rarely see anyone who wasn't already extremely gifted rise to the top purely on effort alone.

 

Similarly, not everyone can become Oxford graduates. No matter how much hard work and will you have, if you don't have a high level of mental acuity , you will never become a neurosurgeon.

 

Honestly, it would be terrible if it was some kind of feel good power where everyone could go as far as their dreams could take them. Sounds too cheesy and unrealistic. Even if I didn't have the ability to channel (if I were somehow transported into Randland, of course), I still wouldn't mind. I mean, yeah, you would rather have cool abilities, but the system itself isn't to blame, nor the people who have that ability.

 

But that is just my thoughts on the matter. I am just not a fan of the whole "you can do anything if you try" thing. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses, not being skilled in one area doesn't make you any less of a person than the greatest.

 

Edit: Not saying that the idea is wrong, I can certainly see why people would want it. Just not my thing.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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surprise surprise but i completely agree with Barid and suttree here. In any sphere of life only the truly gifted rise to the top as for athletic prowess. It is a scientifically proven fact that people who can run faster have fast muscles that are more developed than the average Joe so to speak. I know that sutt will be the first skeptic so here is the quote. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/anatomyandphysiology/a/MuscleFiberType.htm

 

I think that it was mentioned somewhere that you have to train to handle more power or training allows you to handle more power. it was mentioned in one of eggys POVs I do not remember very well where but that should not be a surprise. where she reflects that she has more training with power. In fact, if my memory serves me right she mentions it on two occasions once when she was captive and once in early books. i am in office and will have to consult books to give you the accurate quote but if someone can think of it and provide I will be grateful.

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surprise surprise but i completely agree with Barid and suttree here. In any sphere of life only the truly gifted rise to the top as for athletic prowess. It is a scientifically proven fact that people who can run faster have fast muscles that are more developed than the average Joe so to speak. I know that sutt will be the first skeptic so here is the quote. http://sportsmedicin...leFiberType.htm

 

I think that it was mentioned somewhere that you have to train to handle more power or training allows you to handle more power. it was mentioned in one of eggys POVs I do not remember very well where but that should not be a surprise. where she reflects that she has more training with power. In fact, if my memory serves me right she mentions it on two occasions once when she was captive and once in early books. i am in office and will have to consult books to give you the accurate quote but if someone can think of it and provide I will be grateful.

 

From your article: This is not entirely understood, and research is still looking at that question. There is some evidence showing that human skeletal muscle may switch fiber types from "fast" to "slow" due to training.

 

 

Sutt and Bel are in a way correct. You can be naturally born with an ability, and it makes you naturally better at that ability, but without training, it's wasted. On the same point, I'm naturally agile and flexible, I'm a big guy but I still get around and do physical activities and such, and generally speaking astound people with what I can do at times, I have friends who were really clumsy when we were little but trained to a level of agility that's impressive. They trained more than me, thus are better than I. It's give and go. You can train harder and become better than someone who's naturally gifted, but some things won't change, height, bone structure, body "type" and such. But to say it's all born? No.

 

Another thing I always say is some people are born Charismatic, or with the gift of gab. Others can work hard and delevop it.

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I can agree with the thought of some people being the "elite" class of channelers, the best of the best that can only get there due to natural abilitiy given that they put in the hard work. That matches up with other skills as stated like being a hall of fame NFL running back or an Oxford rhodes scholar (I think that is correct).

 

I cannot agree with the thought that people are given an ability that others just cannot have and that some have this power but cannot improve on it. Unless we are considering all channelers to be the "elite" class that others cannot reach.

 

Think of being a college graduate as having the ability to channel. In 2010 6.7% of the world had a college degree and here is the link:

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/19/percent-of-world-with-col_n_581807.html

 

6.7% is not that far off from the channeler percentage in Randland. Assume Rand graduates number 1 of the most prestigious college in the world. He was able to do that based on natural ability plus the necessary hard work. Without his born intelligence he could have never gotten there. Now move down to the state college level, you do not think there are people that are in those colleges that have no extra born ability, just average iq's and made it based solely on hard work?

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I agree with Suttree, people are naturally gifted in the real world. People like to repeat the sayings about hard work and such, but really, it is natural ability that sets the good from the great.

 

You can train and wish and perhaps some people could become adept in some expertise, but never as good as those who are gifted with it. It is true that hard work keeps these people at the top of their game, but you very rarely see anyone who wasn't already extremely gifted rise to the top purely on effort alone.

 

Similarly, not everyone can become Oxford graduates. No matter how much hard work and will you have, if you don't have a high level of mental acuity , you will never become a neurosurgeon.

 

Honestly, it would be terrible if it was some kind of feel good power where everyone could go as far as their dreams could take them. Sounds too cheesy and unrealistic. Even if I didn't have the ability to channel (if I were somehow transported into Randland, of course), I still wouldn't mind. I mean, yeah, you would rather have cool abilities, but the system itself isn't to blame, nor the people who have that ability.

 

But that is just my thoughts on the matter. I am just not a fan of the whole "you can do anything if you try" thing. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses, not being skilled in one area doesn't make you any less of a person than the greatest.

 

Edit: Not saying that the idea is wrong, I can certainly see why people would want it. Just not my thing.

 

Yeah sure so why bother with the none gifted all together ? the gift you argue with so much deference is off so little importance , it make the difference in the very top 10 but before this top there is thousand of people with will alone that do extraordinary thing .

Yes some are better "tailored" or more skilled in some area but in the long run you built everything on will , you speak of Oxford but do you know how many of their graduated get there with the money of their parent .

I know for a fact that education is a thing of pure will , whether you are a genius or a "relatively" dumb person in the end your graduation is all about the time you spent learning and practicing your field of knowledge .

 

 

Too cheesy and unrealistic ? that's what people said about giving a proper education to the peasant or the serfs in the middle ages , and that was proper bullshit .

While I agree past a certain point you must have the "proper" gene to pass a physical cap , but the thing you can do before that cap are more than enough to amaze must of you.

As for Roger Federer , well he is a great Tennis man yet he looses against Nadal each time they face at Rolland Garros and he don't have any special gift a part from an harm the side my legs .

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I may be getting confused here, but I thought we were talking about the elite. Only 1% of the population can channel this age, 2-3% at the height in the AoL. Almost half that of the graduate percentage, according to your results.

 

So these people ARE the elite, really. However, it is not as simple as having the ability born into you. Most of these channelers can learn, but don't have the spark. So they don't even know about it unless someone tells them and helps them "awaken" the power. Not sure of the exact number, but around 1/5 are sparkers, who will channel naturally, whether they like it or not. 1/4 will die if they are not picked up and guided, and they may die anyway. Some have blocks which they must break through, like Nynaeve. Even just learning to channel ordinarily takes weeks. It certainly took Egwene weeks to just hold the power consistently, let alone do anything with it and Rand by himself took longer until he got a teacher.

 

I think the problem, if there is one, is the relative ease that strong channelers have with most weaves. They don't just start from the bottom and work their way up, and they have an easier time of it than the weaker ones. So it does seem like it is easy. However, at the same time, the more power one wields, the more dangerous it becomes for them. IT isn't something easily handled, It is extremely dangerous, very much like a drug. One slip and you could destroy yourself.

 

So even strength is not that big a problem. It is like physical strength. Each person has a "default" strength, some are naturally stronger than others. The "weaker" people can train and become stronger, but usually not to the level of someone who is ordinarily strong.

 

@ norlion, you don't seem to be understanding me. Nobility and serfdom is a totally different thing. Nobility had nothing apart from titles separating them from the peasants, not any actual physical or mental difference, it was only opportunity. While I have all the opportunity in the world to become an NFL star, I can assure you no amount of hard work could make me nearly so good.

 

Education is not an apt example, the testing methods are inherently flawed. As you said, most people with an average level of intelligence can pass most things, I agree. But passing exams through hard work memorizing answers does not = understanding. Many people with the best results don't actually know half of what they are supposed to. They memorize equations, sentences and quotes for the tests without actually understanding. If you asked them to explain on the spot, they couldn't. Not to say that they are stupid, but the example is flawed.

 

Again, I think you misunderstand. We are talking about channeling, this IS the top 1% of the population. These are the NFL superstars, where the gift is extremely important. And even then, the top 10% of the 1% are "extra gifted".

 

My examples are not directed at the majority, I did not mean to imply that the 99% were of no consequence. As I mentioned, the ability with the Power does not make these people gods, nor are the best NFL players. They are simply people who have a special ability, as it is with the elite in real life. I surely don't think Mat or Perrin are any less than Rand Egwene and Nynaeve. They have other virtues and strengths, just as your "average" person can be better suited to certain things. Einstein was a brilliantly gifted man, one of the best in his field with a gift few others could match, but ask him to play NFL, I would think that your "average" person would be able to beat him with ease.

 

It is indeed unrealistic that everyone would be able to manifest a supernatural ability. It would be like saying everyone in the world had the ability to become Einstein and Lionel Messi, which is simply not true.

 

No idea what you mean with the money thing, that has no bearing on the discussion. The person is still gifted whether they go to Oxford or not. Money does not detract or add to a persons natural ability. Only the quality of education and efficiency. (I wasn't really clear, but I was using Oxford as a benchmark of ability, not if the person could pay for it or not.) In which case, money does not apply in WoT with regards to channeling. The poorest could be stronger than the richest, which is the ideal thing for democracy is it not?

 

Point being, it is consistent with reality that only a select few ever gain what could be considered "unnatural" ability.

Edited by Barid Bel Medar
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