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First of all, I'd like to point out that I don't really see this proposal as a theory, but rather as a discovery. Most aspects of it have been hinted at since the very beginning of BIONICLE, but have never been clearly explained. What this proposal aims to do is to unravel the grand scheme, if you will, and redefine that which has been there all along.
I've divided the theory into several basic parts, each raising and answering a question that I believe to be pertinent. So, starting off:
Most fans of BIONICLE never really stop to ask themselves what actually makes an Element and sets it apart from a regular power. Every explanation we've been given so far is dubious, to say the least. Some people just describe the Elements as something "Toa" wield, and are done with the subject, but that explanation leaves something to be desired.
So what really is an Element? IMO, it's an essential part of the Matoran Universe, that makes sure the infrastructure of the Mata Nui "robot" is running efficiently. In a broader sense, the Elements are an inseparable part of all life in the MU, which ensure a wide variety of environments, characters, abilities, and moralities.
Naturally, there must be several categories of Elements, as some are much more powerful and important than the rest. In this part, I'll enlist two categories:
The first and most essential category is that of the Legendary Elements, or as I like to call them, the Abstract Elements: Creation, Life, and Time. They are different from all the other Elements, as they aren't and cannot be wielded directly by any know species, but are fundamental parts of the MU. Creation in its own right is a process and a facet of every other Element. Life is at the base of all existence, and Time ensures progress and evolution. Out of these three, none can be created or absorbed, and they can only be manipulated to a slight extent.
The second category would be that of the Physical Elements: Air, Ice, Fire etc. Those Elements are also important parts of the MU, but unlike the Abstract Elements, they can be wielded directly by a number of species. They can be created, absorbed, and manipulated. So far, the Matoran/Toa/Turaga are known to naturally utilize every Physical Element, with the exception of Shadow, which is a Makuta Element (and also Acid, but more on that below).
Powers, on the other hand, are either artificial or Element-based abilities, that aid numerous species in their missions and goals. In my observation, what sets them apart from the Elements is they are not essential aspects of the MU, and grant their user a much more limited range of abilities, albeit diverse. A Toa of Water, for example, is capable of absorbing, creating, and manipulating her Element, whereas a being with Water-based powers would only be able to create Water and manipulate it at best.
A large number of Powers directly or indirectly originates from one or more Elements, as they all manipulate the environment and its inhabitants in some way. However, an Elemental being such as a Toa, doesn't necessarily have control over every single derivative of their Element. For example, Sand is essentially an aggregation of miniature Stone particles, but it cannot be controlled by a regular Toa of Stone. If it ever became a Power, it would still be a Stone-based one, regardless of the fact that it doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of a Stone-wielding being.
So, we've given a definition for the Elements and Powers in BIONICLE, and also separated the Elements into two basic categories. Moving on:
As every dedicated fan of BIONICLE knows, there are two Physical Elements that stand above all the rest, as they are the physical manifestations of the inner good, and inner bad within every being. You guessed it, I'm talking about Light and Shadow.
Now, in BIONICLE, Shadow is more than the mere absence of Light. It is a type of tangible, physical energy, that is the diametric opposite of Light. Furthermore, any being with active or inactive Elemental abilities has the potential to gain control control over either of the above two Elements, but in order to do so, they must become either completely good, or completely evil. So, virtually any Toa can become a Toa of Light, or a Toa of Shadow, however the former is a naturally occurring Toa Element, and the latter is not, meaning the only way for a Toa of Shadow to exist is if they were either willingly, or forcefully "purged" of their Moral Light.
The only instance we've seen so far of beings being purged of their inner good, is the Av-Matoran in Karda Nui and Takanuva, and that was done with the help of Shadow Leeches. The official explanation is that these creatures have the ability to "drain" your inner Light, or good, and then instill a mental barrier in you that would prevent your inner Light from "regenerating."
Personally, though, I've always disliked the way good and evil were referred to as something you can have more or less of. I believe that good and evil, i.e. inner Light and inner Shadow are abstract absolutes that are present within every being and don't shift in quantity or ratio. Instead, what determines whether a being is good or evil, is which of their two inner aspects they've decided (or have been forced) to embrace and pursue.
As you can see in the above graphic, I've presented the state of moral "balance" as a state of Void (I've also enlisted it as a regular Element, but more on that below). Don't misinterpret it as lack of morals, it has no negative or positive connotations whatsoever. It is meant to represent that difficult-to-attain state of complete peace and stillness, devoid of any ambition or desire. Mind you, being in this state would not mean you have an equal amount of inner Light and Shadow, but rather that you are equally inclined to "hear" and embrace both, while being in between.
Some of you might think this makes no sense, but ask yourselves, can you really be good and evil at the same time? No, just as you can't be happy and sad. You can't be both, but you can be neither, and that is precisely what the state of Void stands for.
The gray area around the center of the scale represents the so called "comfort zone" that most beings are in, as they are constantly leaning either towards their inner Shadow, or towards their inner Light. While they are still in this zone, they have control over their natural Element, but as soon as they cross either boundary, they begin to gradually lose their original Element and gain either Shadow or Light-based powers. At that point, they can walk the entire path and become complete beings of Light/Shadow, or they can go back and become regular "balanced" beings.
All of the above naturally raises the question of what the Shadow Leeches actually do. Well, personally, I like to interpret the expression of "draining your inner Light" as a figure of speech. You see, what a Shadow Leech really does is it makes you embrace your inner Shadow in a single instant, and it completely "deafens" your inner good (which would basically be equivalent to the mental barrier). Thus, if you were "drained" by a Shadow Leech, you'd be overwhelmed by your Moral Shadow, and would become completely incapable of responding to your Moral Light.
Ironically, the only cure for a Shadow Leech's barrier is the sonic scream of a Klakk bird, which would symbolically let you "hear" and respond to your inner good.
So, let's assume that the three basic moralities present in all inhabitants of the MU are Shadow, Void, and Light. They'd represent the inner evil, the inner balance (or state of "neither"), and the inner good, respectively. Altogether, they'd comprise the three Moral Elements, the third Elemental category.
But, as you've probably seen in one of the above graphics, I've also featured Void as a Physical Element.
As I mentioned earlier, Shadow (as an Element, and not a morality) is a tangible sort of energy, or matter. It isn't the absence of Light, as some people might think. But if Light is its own thing, and Shadow is its own thing, then there must naturally be something in between, something that would be the absence of both. And that's precisely where Void comes in. From a physical point of view, it is nothingness, the complete absence of matter. It would be the direct result of absorption.
It might be a hard concept to wrap your head around at first, but when you look into it, it actually makes tons of sense.
Void would be the opposite of all matter, and in that sense, it would the counterpoint of every other Physical Element:
"So, would there be Toa of Void then?"
Well, there don't need to be any, because all Toa already are Toa of Void, in a way. By absorbing their individual Element, they bring abut Void; and conversely, when they materialize their Element, they absorb Void. You might say this sounds far-fetched, but consider what Makuta Teridax said at the end of the MNOG:
Destroy me? You cannot destroy me. No more than you can destroy the sea (i.e. Water, which is an Element), or the wind (i.e. Air, also an Element). Or... the void.
I bore you. For I am Nothing. And out of Nothing, you came. And it is into Nothing that you will go.
You cannot destroy me. For I am Nothing.
So why would Makuta say all of that? Because he saw Shadow as the void? Hardly.
Teridax is by nature a contemplator, and a schemer. He's also a bit of philosophical type, and likes to deify himself whenever he gets the chance. By the time he'd started plotting against the Great Spirit, he'd have surely figured out that Light and Shadow are evenly matched, being both tangible forms of energy. So Makuta must've started searching for something greater than Shadow. What's the one thing that stands between that and Light, yet also above them? That's right, Void.
In the literal sense, Void can be interpreted as a Physical Element, as it is simply the absence of matter, but Makuta must've also viewed it as an Abstract Element, taking it to be the direct opposite of Creation (as Void relates to absorption), Life (as it is inanimate), and Time (as it is perpetual).
So naturally, after such a revelation, Teridax must've convinced himself that he should become Void, and the only way he could've gone about doing that would've been to meditate on the concept. We can't tell for sure how successful he was, but we can say that he believed in this idea.
Anyway, enough about Makuta. One last thing I should say on the matter is that Light and Shadow are both Physical and Moral Elements, so if Void were to be the third Moral Element, it would be sensible for it to also have a Physical counterpart. Thus, out of all the Physical Element, Shadow, Void and Light would make up the three Fundamental Elements. Following them would be the six Primary Elements (a.k.a. Air, Ice, Fire, Water, Earth, and Stone) and the nine Secondary ones.
BIONICLE has always been about three and six. Six heroes, one destiny. Six breeds of villains, six villages and tribes. Three Toa to form one Toa Kaita.
As you've undoubtedly noticed, I've featured the number three several times in the above parts: three Abstract Elements, three Moral Elements, and three Fundamental Physical Elements. What could I be missing? Why, it's the Three Virtues, a key point in the BIONICLE franchise.
As portrayed in the above graphic, each Virtue can be related to an Abstract Element: unity brings about creation, as it's associated with building and constructing; life can be viewed as a duty to the self, or to the others, depending on one's goals; and destiny can only be unfolded within a certain time span. The pattern fits rather nicely, wouldn't you agree?
Moreover, the Matoran of Mata Nui had derived six Principles out of the Three Virtues:
By now, people should be convinced that the number three plays an important part in BIONICLE, which is why I consider it to be the base number of the MU. Six, being the number of Elements originally introduced in 2001, is a multiple of three, and it is also the number of Toa needed to create a Toa Seal. It's an inseparable facet of Unity.
So, if we assume that Void can be a full-fledged Physical Element, it would be one of three Fundamental Elements (Shadow, Void, and Light), followed by six Primary Elements (Air, Ice, Fire, Water, Earth, and Stone), and eight Secondary Elements... so far.
In the above chart, I've presented all of the Physical Elements, including a free slot for an additional Secondary Element. Why do we need one? Because it would be the ninth Secondary Element, and nine is also a multiple of three. Furthermore, the complete number of Elements would be eighteen, which happens to be the product of three and six.
Why all this obsession with numbers? Well, numbers and numerical ciphers are what pertains to the Great Being's way of work, plus you have to admit, this proposed "matrix" is rather unequivocal and follows a strict pattern, in contrast to the already high number of Elements that have pretty much been canonized on a random basis.
So what is to be the eighteenth Element? I'll leave that spot blank.
Acid is probably the most problematic Element in BIONICLE. It's been confirmed that it cannot be wielded by Toa, as it is "immoral." Some sources describe it as a "low-level" or "non-Toa" Element, whilst others depict it as a regular Power.
In my opinion, Acid shouldn't be considered an Element, for one of several reason: first of all, it isn't an essential part of the Matoran Universe; secondly, it cannot be absorbed or manipulated, but only created, unlike every other Physical Element; thirdly, its current status as a "non-Toa" Element only creates confusion, especially since Physical Elements are considered to have no moral connotations.
So should Acid be considered a sub-power? Perhaps, or it could also be seen as a derivative of The Green. Some plants are known to synthesize Acid, so it could easily be considered a Plant Life-based Power. It wouldn't necessarily be controlled by a Toa of The Green, for the same reason Toa of Stone can't control Sand.
Another rather controversial Power would be Vacuum. It's never been considered an Element, as it is essentially a sub-power of Air. But it is the only Bohrok-Kal Power to have not been made into a Toa Element, so that somewhat disrupts the pattern... unless, you recall that Acid was also the only Bohrok Power to not be based on one of the Primary Physical Elements.
All the Bohrok breeds had Powers based on a respective Primary Element, except for the Lehvak, which had control over Acid. Conversely, all the Bohrok-Kal had Powers based on most of the Secondary Elements, except for Lehvak-Kal, who had Vacuum as a Power (a derivative/sub-power of Air the remaining Primary Element).
So, basically, Lehvak-Kal had a Power based on one of the Primary Elements instead of the Lehvak, which in turn had Acid Powers. Earlier in this part I suggested that Acid be a derivative/sub-power of The Green (and that just so happens to be a Secondary Element). Thus the Lehvak would've had Plant Life-based Powers. Why not? They were the green Bohrok, after all.
One thing we haven't observed yet, are the genders and their role in BIONICLE. Now, I can't say if there is a specific purpose for the current ratio, but that's really irrelevant. One thing we do know, is that genders pertain to Elements, and vice versa. So far, we've seen eleven male Elements, three female, and two mixed (Light and Shadow). Shadow encompasses both genders as a natural, as well as an unnatural Element, and so does Light (Toa of Light are naturally male and female, and so are Makuta; however, any being, regardless of their gender can become a being of Light or Shadow as well).
How would Void fit into this chart? Well, it is the third Moral Element, as well as the third Fundamental Element, next to Light and Shadow. As it virtually encompasses all Physical Elements, it can also be said that it pertains to both genders. Thus the three bi-gender Elements would be none other than Shadow, Void, and Light.
And that leaves us with three mixed, three female, and eleven male. Why not make the last Element male? This way, the ratio would be 3:3:12. Twelve is yet another multiple of three, and fits perfectly into the rest of the numerical matrix.
So, let's round up the key points of this proposal:
- The Elements are essential parts of the Matoran Universe. They are divided into three basic categories: Abstract (Legendary), Moral, and Physical Elements.
- The Physical Elements in their own right, are also divided into three groups: Fundamental, Primary, and Secondary Elements.
- Void is the third Moral Element, as well as the third Fundamental Physical Element, alongside Light and Shadow. As a Moral Element, it symbolizes the state between inner good and inner bad, or the state of neither, i.e. "balance." As a Physical Element, Void represents the absence of matter, and the direct result of Elemental absorption. It encompasses all other Physical Elements, in the sense that it is indirectly utilized by every Element-wielding species.
- Three is at the base of all significant numbers in the MU. It stands for the Three Virtues, the three Abstract (Legendary) Elements, the three Moral Elements, and their respective Physical counterparts. It is followed by six (the number of the Primary Physical Elements), nine (the number of the Secondary Physical Elements), and eighteen (the total number of Physical Elements).
- Acid is a Plant Life-based Power, a derivative/sub-power of The Green. It likely cannot be controlled by Toa of The Green, for the same reason Sand can't be controlled by Toa of Stone. Vacuum is a derivative/sub-power of Air.
- The gender ratio for the Elements is 3:3:12, with three mixed (Shadow, Void, and Light), three female, and twelve male. Twelve is yet another multiple of three. The eighteenth Element should be male.
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Three is still at the base, with all ensuing numbers as multiples.
Void is basically a superset of Vacuum, it is nothing, the absence of both good (moral light), and evil (moral shadow). It is to be a physical representation of the moral balance present in every Toa, except for the Toa of Shadow. Shadow is to be the only physical Element that would be unable to exist without its moral counterpart, whereas physical Light would be able to exist in a state of moral "Void." Altogether, Light, Shadow, and Void are to be the Three Fundamental Elements, acting as physical manifestations of the three basic moralities found in all things.
"Poison" is just a placeholder name I used for an eventual Acid-based Toa Element. The idea is to simply redefine the powers we've already been presented with, and cause Greg as few headaches as possible, all the while preserving the main concept of the "numerology theory."
On a side note, Void would be the third mixed-gender Element, along with Light and Shadow, and thus the gender ratio would be 3:3:12, with 3 mixed, 3 female, and 12 male Elements.
The very first thing the GBs created was an Av-Matoran, hence the first MU Element they created was also Light, and not a replica of any already existing Element on Spherus Magna. Therefore we could safely say that they viewed Light as an important Element. Naturally, the second thing they would "create" is Light's diametric opposite Shadow. Perhaps they created a Matoran of Shadow, only to discover that his/her psyche was incredibly unstable, and so they realized the physical manifestation of Shadow couldn't possibly exist without its moral counterpart, a.k.a. evil. I'm not saying they made it that way, rather they simply discovered it, which is why they decided against making Shadow a naturally existing Toa Element, but rather an Element to be overcome, and that is exactly why they imbued the Antidermis from which the Makuta would spawn with dormant Shadow properties. The Makuta were never meant to embrace their Shadow, they were meant to evolve beyond it, as Alternate Teridax did.
As most of you probably know, in the BIONICLE universe, Shadow is not merely the absense of Light, it's its own thing. It's tangible and independant, which is why I believe the GBs also created a third fundamental Element, namely Void, which would be the complete absence of either Light, or Shadow. They understood that these three Elements would be closely connected to the three predominant moralities in the MU good, evil, and uncertainty/"balance." Then, using the number three as a base, the GBs would eventually create six primary Elements, and nine secondary ones.
So in the end, Light and Void would be able to exist as solely physical manifestations, without any positive or negative connotation, while Shadow would only be able to exist as an image of evil, and that particular aspect wouldn't be a design of the Great Beings, but rather a discovery.
A Toa of Void could instill calmness or apathy (i.e. complete lack of emotion, urge, and will) in an adversary, or even an ally, depending on the situation. Say you're getting too worked up about something, a Toa of Void comes along, and balances out your emotional state. Or you're furious at a Toa of Void and you want to attack them, they induce a complete lack of will and perspective in you, so strong that you even forget why you were furious at them to begin with.
In physical battle they'd be able to put a stop to all motion, bring about perfect stillness and make a strenuous situation unbelievably simple. Other practical applications of their capabilities would be absorbing Air, Light, and Shadow, and perhaps even solid matter, though I'm not sure how appropriate that'd be.
A Matoran or Toa of Void's personality would be calm, balanced, and incredibly goal-oriented. When considering a plan of action, a Toa of Void would approach the situation with determination, and little to no emotional investment.
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UPDATE: Read this entry, it contains the updated concept.
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As we're all aware, there's been a recent outbreak of complaints as to the overabundance of elements and their seemingly random addition to the BIONICLE storyline. Most members now are strongly against the addition of any new elements within the boundaries of the MU, with the grounds that there are "just too many" of them. And they've got a good point, if the addition is indeed random, and without an initially established final number. So, BSS (and hopefully Greg), I present for your consideration:
This theory will attempt to explain why there is (or could be) a certain number of virtues, legendary powers, elements and hours within one day in the Matoran Universe.
Now, let's start off with one of the most basic concepts of BIONICLE The Three Virtues:
So, we've got three virtues, and three principal powers. My primary idea is to have the number three be at the base of all other significant numbers, as each of them is comprised of it. There are six original elements, which were introduced in 2001, and six is divisible by three. We know of ten secondary elements so far, but let's assume that the total number is twelve. Twelve is divisible by both three and six. Furthermore, the complete number of elements in the MU would be eighteen, the product of three and six.
I've composed this chart, enlisting the three virtues, and the hypothetical eighteen elements:
Moving on, a BZP member recently presented the idea of there being thirty-six hours a day in the MU, with an eighteen-hour night and an eighteen-hour day, and that idea is currently being voted upon. If we assume that that idea becomes canon, then we've got one more significant number in the MU, one that fits perfectly in the virtue/element "matrix." Thirty-six is divisible by each preceding number three, six, twelve and eighteen, and it completes the cycle of the matrix.
Here's a list of the described equations:
And that is the essence of my theory. With your help and hopefully Greg's approval, we can make this a canon aspect of BIONICLE, and create room for two more elements. I realize that some people might not like the addition of new elements whatsoever, and that's understandable. But if we accept this idea, then such an addition would no longer appear arbitrary and uncalled for, plus such a matrix would pertain to the Great Being's way of work.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
bonesiii, for his idea to associate the three virtues with the three legendary powers.
Zakitano, for his sundial and thirty-six hour theory.
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Something else that might be interesting is, he'll soon be launching a website, entirely dedicated to his work with LEGO during the past 25 years. As I suspected, he was also involved in the making of the Slizer/Throwbots series, so it's quite possible that we may finally obtain some form of official canon for the guys.
My personal favorites?
Good luck to everyone, and I look forward to seeing the above entries in the finals.
Hey, me again.
I've been thinking about Nikila's Kanohi mask and how it might possibly tie in with the concept of alternate dimensions. I looked at the mask's page on BS01 and I couldn't help thinking the information on it was rather scarce. So I thought that maybe its power could be explained a bit more thoroughly.
Apparently, the Kanohi can alter the probability of a situation, either by increasing its chances of occuring, or lessening them. Now I'm assuming it wouldn't work with major "situations" like making Makuta's plan less likely to succeed, but it could alter some minor situations that would be useful in battle, or on a mission. This got me thinking, however, that no matter how you put it, it seems that altering the probability of an event is not just increasing or decreasing its chances of happening, but also altering the chances of something else having happened, something in the past that would've led to your desired outcome in a situation, and that you're not necessarily aware of. So basically, in changing the likelihood of a certain situation, this mask would inevitably have to interfere with an action or decision made by someone in the past, practically overwriting it.
So does that mean that the Mask of Possibilities can pretty much alter the past, even in a minute way? Well, not really, if you consider my explanation. Now, as you said, the number of alternate realities in BIONICLE is infinite, as every single decision ever made by any being would result in the separation of one initial dimension into at least two more. So we could assume that there is a good few alternate dimensions that are incredibly similar to the prime reality, but differ in some minor way. So what Nikila's mask would do is not overwrite an event in the past in order to bring about a desired event in the present, but rather simply relocate the position of the prime reality into one of the adjacent realities, where that event is more or less likely to happen. The new reality would have to be different in a very specific way, and the mask would automatically establish the best option, unbeknownst to its bearer, who would only see the outcome.
I was thinking of PMing the BSS with this, but I decided to let you read it directly. I'd love to hear what you think.
No, it can't. The mask's power was based off the Scarlet Witch's hex power, circa 1960s-1980s. So, for example, someone fires a gun at you, it alters the probability of the bullet missing you and hitting the villain's control panel from 1000-1 to 1-1. It does not affect the past events leading up the bullet being fired.
And just in case anyone's interested, this is something else I suggested to the BSS a while ago:
The Amana Volo Sphere is a type of powerful globe that can restore one's health and boost their strength. The Volo Lutu Launcher is a type of catapult that can thrust anyone over large obstacles. Now, my first idea is to have these two meanings for the word "volo":
You'll see that if you replace the word with either of its theoretical synonyms, it will make perfect sense as to the purpose of each object/device. The Amana Volo Sphere can boost one's strength, i.e. transfer energy to their being. In turn, the Volo Lutu Launcher can boost/thrust someone upward, or in other words transfer them from one location to another.
Now, if we assume that "volo" means these things, then let's look at the word "amana". If an Amana Volo sphere can restore one's power, then there's only a few logical definitions for the word, which in this case are contextual synonyms:
Now there's a certain unusual Kanohi mask that's only been featured in BIONICLE: The Game as a power-up the Mask of Elemental Energy. It's never been included in the story so far because of its odd power, and has remained unnamed. But if we assume that the aforementioned meanings are accurate, then we've got a splendid name for the mask Kanohi Amana. It's simple, it's logical and sounds perfectly BIONICLE-like.
On a side note, let's look at Vorahk and his corresponding Kraata Vo. If we assume that "vo" is derived from "volo", then we have a great explanation for the Rahkshi/Kraatas power of hunger. It can drain its oponents energy, i.e. transfer their energy to itself, boosting its own power.
I look forward to hearing what you think.
Into BIONICLE since: 2001
Interests: semiotics, graphic design, typography, copywriting, (voice) acting, advertising
Listens to: Noisia, Jon Gooch (as Feed Me and Spor), Black Sun Empire, Amon Tobin, Celldweller, The Prodigy, Static-X, Massive Attack, Eminem
Favorite movies: The Matrix, The Prestige, Inception, Watchmen
Favorite TV series: Breaking Bad, Hannibal, True Detective, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Futurama, Family Guy
Favorite PC games: Scratches, The Black Mirror, Myst, Need for Speed