It’s been quite a while since I’ve been active around S&T or posted a decent theory, though after posting this on my blog the other day, I’ve decided to post it here and get some feedback, criticism and hopefully some discussion from you all.
PART ONE - INITIAL THEORY POST
The following theory is somewhat of a further development of my theory outlined in my previous blog post about the functions of different types of Matoran in the Matoran Universe, in which I outlined what I believed to be the function of the Bo-Matoran as a method of maintenance of the various flora made from organic Protodermis throughout the Mata-Nui robot.
The primary point of this theory is a look into the question: Why only flora?
We've been told by Greg and several references in the universe that the entirety of the matoran universe is comprised of various forms of Protodermis.
"Protodermis is the material which makes up the Matoran Universe and all living things and objects inside it." [BS01]
Now Matoran, like all other sapient species in the matoran universe are made up of a combination of mechanical and organic components. The mechanical components are comprised of pure solid protodermis whilst the organic components are comprised of what is reffered to as organic protodermis.
"Organic Protodermis is a type of Protodermis that makes up all the organic tissue in the Matoran Universe." [BS01]
Organic tissue is not only found in the sapient species, but also is what makes up all of the Flora in the Matoran Universe.
"The plants of the Matoran universe are made entirely of Protodermis, distinguishing themselves from plants of other worlds." [BS01]
Toa of the Green are able to manipulate this Flora, tapping into the Protodermis which comprises the plant-life, manipulating and also creating it. Some of the Flora in the MU (such as Karzahni and Morbuzakh) even had varying degree's of sentience, making the only real difference between flora and fauna the presence of solid protodermis and shape of being. This creates an interesting question, if a plant entirely made up of organic protodermis can be sentient, then that form of organic protodermis must be capable of forming at least some variety of brain equivalent capable of higher thought and function, similar at least in composition to the organic parts of the brain that lies within a Toa.
With the above knowledge I see it as a reasonable thought process that if the Toa of the Green are able to control the organic protodermis that comprises the various forms of flora throughout the matoran universe including those that are sentient; they should be also control and manipulate the organic protodermis that lies within matoran or any of the other humanoid inhabitants of the MU.
As far as I know I don't believe we've had direct confirmation from Greg that a Toa of the Green can't do this. I believe that there are a few reasons which could plausibly explain why we have not seen such usage of the Green in the story-line thus-far whilst allowing for it's inclusion.
- Unethical behavior / Breaking the Toa Code. Toa are upright paragons of right and justice, manipulation someone's internal organs can quite easily be seen a fighting dirty or as unethical. This is the same reason why there were no elemental Toa of Acid, despite there being Bohrok of this element. Despite this being seen as unethical to use on enemies, I still believe this can work as a part of the range of powers that the Toa could utilize.
- No significant Toa of Green in the Lore. In the entirety of the BIONICLE storyline, we only ever encountered one Toa of the Green: A Toa from Lhikan's past team who died to an attack by the Frostelus. Also due to the Frostelus nature of being sentient Rahi, point 1 would aid in why we never saw him use this power.
- Experience required / Hard to control Power. The internal organics of a living humanoid integrated with machinery and programming would be incredibly complicated, it would take a lot of practice and finesse to do so and it may be something everyday Toa of the Green may not be able to accomplish.
- Too complicated to explain to children. This is fairly self-explanatory, in the same way that psionics did not have large story presence, the green is easier to explain as being simply plant life to children, they can easily understand a plant Toa, but explaining that the plant guy can also manipulated organic components of the Matoran? Not so much. Luckily the ending of the official story line removes this restriction.
- Possibly confusion with Life Powers. Toa of the Green were introduced during the 2006-2008 story line surrounding the Mask of Life, while the Mask of life doesn't explicitly manipulate organics in any way. It's manipulation of the "Life force" inside every living thing in the Matoran Universe could potentially cause some confusion with an element which could manipulated Flora and to a limited extent Fauna. However, Life is a very different "element" In that all of it's powers are in relation to "Life-Force" while the organic protodermis is simply another form of protodermis. A Toa of Iron, Psionics and the Green could create a being with organic, biomechanical and programmed components but the being would not have the "Life-Force" component analogous to a soul if you will. It would simply be a robot or a golem-like creation.
With these five reasons in mind, I don't believe that they necessarily mean that non-flora organic manipulation is off the table for Toa of the Green, I've got a few reasons why I believe this would be rather a neat addition to the canon.
- Interesting and more in depth power usage. Self explanatory really, it could have a lot of interesting applications and could be used both in and out of combat and give Teams a reason for taking a Toa of the Green to environments which do not have plants.
- Introducing a 'Healer' element. Aside from Gali Nuva in the 2003 Mask of Light movie, we have never really had the healer trope in a group of Toa, with the ability to create and manipulate the organic protodermis inside their allies. Toa of the Green could become healers for the group, repairing their damaged organics in the same way a Toa of Iron would mend armor. Gali's healing scene can be explained that the exposure to water was helping the organics that had been damaged in Tahu heal slowly with exposure to water. A Toa of the Green would have been able to heal him at a much greater rate. The Toa of Green's knowledge of poisons and toxins from various plants could aid in this role greatly.
- Making the most of an ambiguous name. Has Greg decided to name the element "Plant-life" or "Jungle" we wouldn't have this opportunity. The fact that's it's called "the Green" allows us to associate it not with just plants but all organic protodermis. This can easily be explained by having the raw form of organic protodermis take on a green color when channeled for creation of plants or healing.
- Possible explanation for lack of Toa of Green. The Makuta actively wiped out Toa of the most powerful elements that they saw as a threat to themselves. Magnetism, Iron, and Plasma were all hunted down. If the Makuta wished to hide their new lack of organic components from Toa in their continued masquerade, Toa of the Green would pose a problem.
- Completion of a Self-Maintaining MU. It's been stated before that the Matoran working is what keeps the Matoran universe working. In my previous blog post from 2010, I outlined the various matoran and the purposes that they fulfill in the robot. However there was one missing maintenance job as there was nothing responsible for organic protodermis in sapient beings.
If the Toa of the Green gain the ability to manipulate and repair the organics within humanoid lifeforms in the Matoran Universe, all aspects of lifeforms inside the MU are now self-relying and maintaining.
Toa of Iron can maintain and repair armor and solid protodermis in the mechanical components of beings.
Toa of Psionics can maintain and fix mental errors and programming malfunctions in the minds of beings.
Toa of The Green can maintain, and heal injuries and organic protodermis in the bodies of beings.
I've gathered a few further thoughts and references on why the organic components of Matoran and Toa would need some form of maintenance.
We were told in 2001 that the original Toa Mata had all of their organic components decayed due to their prolonged inactivity, hibernation and possibly the environmental factors associated with being floating in a tube for 1000 years. The Toa also lost their memories as an effect of this, leading me to conclude that the majority of their memories must have been stored in their organic protodermis components or the majority of their 'brain'.
The mechanical components, made of solid protodermis must have included at least some form of rudimentary secondary brain for survival reactions such as putting themselves back together and basic motion. This would be a core part of Matoran/Toa base programming installed into their machinery.
I'd imagine this would be in a similar capacity to how the human body can react to pain before passing on a pain signal to the brain itself, allowing the body to operate on its own in a limited capacity. Similarly the matoran/Toa can operate on it's own until the organics are repaired as seen by the Toa Mata and Metru-Matoran hibernating in the spheres. I'd imagine that the Matoran in Karzahni in disrepair were also in a similar state; but kept this way as it was stated that Karzahni "stripped them of their identities". This would have been achieved by removing the organics and thus memories perhaps followed a little bit of reprogramming.
The Toa Mata not only lost all of their memories but also their training and skills, this shows that the organic components are vital for continuing functionality of Toa. The organic components healed on their own slowly, but it was years before any of them regained their memories.
The Metru-nui refugee's also lost their memories and required the pure Toa energy of six Toa simply to awaken them. Potentially, we could still have six Toa Metru running around if there had been a Toa of the Green amongst them.
PART TWO - BLOG FEEDBACK AND DISCUSSION
For the sake of deepening discussion, I’m going to post below the comments I received on the blog and my responses as I believe they add to the theory somewhat.
This was an interesting read, though I can't say I agree with it. There is a difference between animal and plant organic matter. Going back to biology, plant cells have a sort of wall for their outermost layer, which is fairly different than animal cells. You could argue that isn't valid because that's just how our world works, but because plants and animals also appear to be in separate categories (the Morbuzahk is not considered an animal despite its intelligence and ability to move), I think we can assume plants and animals have different structures within the Bionicle universe.
Lin, I can definitely see where you’re coming from here. Plant an animal cells in our world are drastically different from each other on a cellular level. But as you stated, this is the world of BIONICLE, where ‘cold energy’ exists as a concept and an entire robot is made up of varying forms of the same compound: Protodermis. This is why I try not to base any parts of my theories upon the limitations imposed by the way the real world works, instead extrapolating ideas from existing physics and chemistry of the BIONICLE universe. By thinking this way, I believe that it can help make ideas and theories that ‘fit’ more into the chaotic mess that is the Science of the BIONICLE universe.
I can agree that Plants and animals may have some form of different structure in terms of classification. I believe that structure must be at least somewhat identifiable on a non-cellular level and that is what allows the matoran to classify what is a plant, rahi, robot or a sapient species. The classifications must be fairly obvious otherwise we’d have matoran calling Morbuzahk a Rahi.
I proposed in the theory above that the primary difference between the Flora of the universe and the Fauna (including Sapient Species) was the presence of solid Protodermis in the bodies of Fauna. A difference which is easily identifiable by Matoran.
This does make a difference, unfortunately, because Greg's explaination system is wonky. Gali cannot control ice even though it is a form of water because of the composition of its particles. Onua cannot control boulders like Pohatu because
he's a vampIreof "particle size." If plant and animal structure are fundamentally different, there is a golden chance that The Green cannot manipulate animal organic tissue which is what I assume to be in Toa and Matoran and Rahi amongst other species.
I do believe that Greg’s system may have initially been wonky, but has come together to be somewhat cohesive due to the various developments and evolution of the story over the 10 years and being bombarded by those of us who are varying levels of scientists. There are many different forms of the same compound throughout the universe (Protodermis), in the Matoran universe. It can come in the different states of matter and in a number of forms of each. Frozen, solid Protodermis aka Ice is as similar to liquid Protodermis as Pure Solid Protodermis aka Metal, as both can be created from it, albeit Pure Solid is a slightly longer process. As far as Stone and Earth, they may both be forms of Raw Solid Protodermis that are slightly different in terms of the particle size of the Protodermis, which just gives us one more form of Solid Protodermis, Fine Solid Protodermis.
As far as Organic tissue goes, we are only aware of one form of Organic Protodermis. My theory hinges on the fact that both flora and fauna have the same form of Organic Protodermis inside of them. If a Toa of the Green cannot manipulate the Organic Protodermis inside Flora and Sapient beings, then this organic Protodermis must be a different form. I.e. Floral Organic Protodermis and Faunal Organic Protodermis become two new different forms. Potentially even another separate form for humanoid sapients.
This reminds me of the debate surrounding what makes Keetongu and Krahka a Rahi and not grouped with the rest of the races? This could be easily resolved if they resumed using rahi as the matoran word for “Not-us” as opposed to being synonymous with animal and have Makuta, Skakdi, Vortixx etc all be classified as Rahi. As it has essentially became the equivalent of the Roman word Barbarian which also used to mean “Not Roman” but is now associated with a certain kind of individual. Anyway, getting side-tracked here.
I quickly just whipped up the above table to clearly lay out what I believe is the difference between the different forms of life in the matoran universe. I left out Sapience as a column as there are examples of sapient flora, rahi and robots. But are the majority of each of these categories aren't sapient.
However, I propose a slight compromise which I thought of while reading this which to me sounds super cool.
What if Toa and Matoran of the Green were created from organic matter classified as plant? We have seen that plant matter in the MU has potential to be sentient and intelligent, so why not? Also, it fits with their name because "of the green" could easily imply that their cellular structure is that of plants. They would be literally "of the green"
Now that means that these powers of controlling organic tissue would be limited to only their element, but I still think that would be awesome.
Not 100% sure I’m on board with this idea. I prefer the idea of a unified matoran race in terms of origin. Perhaps this could be a result of side effect of Toa of the Green healing their matoran over the years, slowly changing out the organic composition of their internals? Leaving this difference being more of an adapted change rather than a created change.
I think Tek's point about the possible difference between flora organics and fauna organics is important here. Also important is the knowledge that this one power is known by a few different names among us, and by two canonically: Jungle on SM, the Green in the MU, and it is very commonly called Plantlife.
Tekulo: if they were made of plant matter they would be plants, not Matoran =P Also, none of the other varieties of Matoran are made up of their Element. I think it would be neat if they were, but unfortunately...
Part of my point is that Jungle doesn’t have to be all the green is. Fire existed on Spherus Magna, but didn’t have heat control? Sand existed on Spherus Magna but didn’t end up being associated with an element in the MU. The great beings admitted they changed things in creating the giant robot, with the decision to remove jungle as a primary element being one we have as canonized. The fact it’s called the Green and not Jungle lends to the fact that something significant was changed; as did the fact they didn’t call it Plant-life. Especially when we have an example of a power called exactly “Plant Control” which is that of the Makuta and Rahkshi.
The Green isn't Jungle or Plant Control. It’s the Green. They’re has got to be some reason behind it (other than the truth of Greg’s random decision) that we can explain and create.
PART THREE - ADDITIONAL THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
After discussing my theory with the commenters in my blog, I continued to think about the question I posed to the responders. If The Toa of the Green can’t control organic protodermis in humanoids and Rahi, this poses some more questions.
- Additional Forms of Organic Protodermis. How many specific forms of Organic Protodermis are there?
Is it just limited to Botanic Organic, Sapient Organic and Rahi Organic?
Or can it be manipulated in the same way solid Protodermis can, resulting in Frozen Organic, Pure Organic with the original being Raw Organic?
Are there forms of Gaseous and Liquid Organic Protodermis?
Is the original solid Antidermis, which was used as the internal organs of the Makuta race; organic in nature?
- The Green Etymology.
Can we create an actual lore-based reason for the choice of the Great beings change the name from Jungle to the Green?
My organic theory is one possibility but there can easily be others, for example:
All acid we have encountered in the storyline thus-far has been green or greenish-yellow in color, with one major source being botanically produced (The grass on the mountain produced an acidic substance.) Another major occurrence of Acid was the Lehvak. Instead of making Acid a basic sub-power, could Liquid Organic Protodermis be acidic in nature and the substance that Lehvak and potentially Toa of the Green can control thus fitting in with the sub-power scheme of Vaccum/Air?
This would fit with the timeline as the original Bohrok must have been created around the same time as the Av-Matoran who were made, which was when the great beings were still considering the green as a primary element. By the time the Bohrok-Kal had been created, it was decided that Air would be instead, thus Vaccum(Sub-power of air) to counter Air and Acid(Sub-power of The Green?) to counter The Green.
I’m aware that this had no chance of being canon as Greg did not want a Toa wielding Acid, even if it’s only to nullify acid. But a guy can theorize, right?
These questions aren't so much related to my original theory; rather just a few more things to consider when thinking about the Green and Organic Protodermis as a whole.
This theory is very much still a work in progress and as I said at the start, I'd really appreciate any feedback and criticism that you may have to offer.
Thanks for reading.
Edited by Roki, Jun 12 2014 - 10:23 PM.