Speculations Upon the Light is a treatise penned by an unknown author that began appearing around a number of Alliance centers in February of 623 K.C. Despite its name, it is not a religious work; rather, it takes the form of a scientific thesis about the true origins of the Holy Light and its relationship to other magics. It postulates that the Light is not in fact a divine force, merely another form of magic that is ultimately amoral, only given moral weight by the people that use it, and even as far as claiming the Light is in fact related to or another form of Arcane magic.
Considered a heretical work by the Church of the Holy Light, the treatise has still managed to find its way into a number of hands and has generated a wide variety of responses from mages, churchmen, and laymen alike.
The origin of the treatise has never been established, as the author took great pains to ensure that his identity be divorced from his work, ostensibly to protect himself from retribution by the Church for penning such a document. Current speculation places the author of a mage of some sort; the language is too outrageous for a clergyman, but too conciliatory for the usual brand of disgruntled warlock.
As any who has witnessed the potent abilities of a Paladin or experienced the restorative healing of a Priest, few can deny that the Light is a potent power in our world. Yet despite a devoted follow of thousands, and a vast hierarchy of clerics and knights dedicated to spreading the Light's 'message', little thought goes into the true nature of the Light; its origins, its facets, and its place in the cosmos. This theory that will be expounded upon in this treatise is one of severe social and philosophical implications, one that may lead to great controversy but also practical benefits. What the theory is, is this; that the Light is not a force for 'good', indeed, that it is above or rather apart from mortal morality. The Light simply 'is', a force (albeit a metaphysical one) much like heat, gravity, magnetism, or the Arcane, all of which can be bent for good or for ill, lacking any greater purpose beyond what it is employed for.
Properties of the LightEdit
The first and most pressing question to be asked is "What is the Light?" This question may at first seem rather trivial or even self-evident, but deeper thought will reveal the inherent complexity of the question. We observe it quite frequently as a phenomenon, we know of entities bearing its powers, and yet we have not the faintest as to its origins or true nature. But as with any mystery of the universe, a scientific outlook may yet prove the ideal method of unlocking its secrets.
As with any phenomenon that is not understood, we must begin with an analysis of its effects. While the uses of the Light are many and varied, they all boil down to a single common property; the negation of chaos, darkness, and decay. The Light is inimicable to disease, to creatures of the void, to demons, and necromanced constructs (i.e. undead), reflected in the efficacy of its wielders against the Scourge and the Burning Legion. While some may question that this property does not account for the uses of the Light against living creatures, it is equivocable to thermal energy in that limited exposure is tolerable or beneficial, but concentrated doses will result in damage.
The resistance to decay aside, the Light's uses are actually fairly limited; the formation of semi-solid or solid constructs in the form of barriers and weapons seems to be the only other major use, and is more than likely a question of the manipulator shaping the energy than an innate property of the Light itself (given that barriers take effort upon the part of the user to sustain, as opposed to more 'divine' explanations).
Another important property, one disregarded (some might say purposefully) by followers of the Light, is that the power is capable of being wielded regardless of moral compass or a particular brand of faith, as shown by the equally competent paladins of the Scarlet Crusade, the Argent Dawn, and the Silver Hand. Furthermore, faith may not even be part of the equation - the Blood Knights of the Sin'dorei have demonstrated that with will alone one might bend the powers of the Light to use, and even the Draenei have shown that the Light may be 'bestowed'. It is this author's belief that the breadth of morality (or lack thereof) amongst the Light's wielders utterly falsifies any notion of 'orthodox' worship of the Light, and credence to the property of it simply being an inert and amoral force in the universe.
The third property of the Light stems from the recent arrival of the Draenei into Azeroth, as well as our experiences with the Naaru in Outland. Not only was it demonstrated that worshippers of the Light existed outside Azeroth's religious community (see the property described above), we were given a new set of theories about the Light, as well as concrete examples of beings seemingly formed of the Light itself. This property is the interchangeability of the Light with Void energy; in several cases, Naaru under a certain set of conditions transformed into Void creatures of terrible power.
Implications About the LightEdit
Following on from the above, several important inferences can be made based on analysis of the Light's properties:
+ The Light is an inherently Orderly force: Philosophically speaking, what death, corruption, and decay all have in common is that they are manifestations of the quintessentially 'Chaotic' facet of reality; they are ultimate representations of what is changeful and destructive. Given that the Light is antithetical to those phenomena, it logically follows that the Light is a force that creates, sustains, and renews, all aspects of 'Order'.
+ Belief is Irrelevant: As difficult as this implication may be for many to stomach, the breadth of moral compass amongst the Light's users would indicate that there is no 'orthodox' faith representing the will of the Light or of its teachings, that all that is required is faith, or more correctly willpower. The Light is only restricted to those with will and conviction enough to master it, much as the use of the Arcane requires strength of mind and spirit in order to wield proficiently.
+ The Light is another form of Magic: As expounded above, the Light has been demonstrated to be interchangeable under the correct conditions with the Void ('the Void' being a generalist term to describe Void energy in its totality). As with every other form of matter and energy, the Light can be safely stated to share certain known properties of magical energy, ; the most important being that the Light in sufficient concentrations can generate conscious entities. In the case of the Arcane, these are Arcane Elementals and their superior incarnations. In the case of the Light, these creatures are the Naaru and perhaps even certain Light constructs that have been called to aid paladins in battle.
Identity of the LightEdit
With this above in mind, we can begin to speculate exactly what the Light is, and where it originates from; in essence, its true nature. There are two theories that this author posits about the Light and its place in the cosmos.
The Bipolar Theory
The Bipolar Theory one that takes the properties of the Light and compares them to other known forces; namely, the force that we call the Arcane. It is known that Arcane energy by nature is a corruptive force, even in its pure, non-Fel form; and since we know that the Light is opposed to corruption, the theory becomes that the Light and the Arcane are in fact two opposing forces. The Light represents all that is orderly and constant, a force for preservation, and healing, while the Arcane represents the inherently chaotic; the creative, changeful, and destructive. Where this theory runs into difficulty is that while the Arcane has been seen to master the Light, one cannot use the Light to master the Arcane, only repel it - and even then, such repulsion usually applies to the Arcane in its darker and more corruptive forms. It also fails to explain why the Arcane can in fact be used to -bolster- the Light and vice versa. Hence, the second theory.
The Spectral Theory
The Spectral Theory places the Light and the Arcane not at opposite poles, but are actually two manifestations of the same phenomenon. This theory takes into account what is known about the Arcane's darker aspect, the Fel, which is the Arcane at its most chaotic and destructive. Given the utterly antithetical behavior of the Light and the Fel, it would follow that perhaps the Light is in fact the Arcane at its most orderly; as the Fel cannot be used to heal or preserve, so can the Light not be used to change or corrupt. The Arcane becomes the central force in the universe, mediating between the poles of the Light and the Fel. The Spectral Theory goes some way to explaining the interchangeability of Light, Arcane, and Fel under the correct conditions, while also offering an explanation for the repulsive actions they often exhibit towards each other.
As stated, these theories, explanations, and their implications will undoubtedly make a great many uncomfortable. They undermine the very basis of the Church, and subvert the faith of many thousands. But it is this author's belief that knowledge, even uncomfortable knowledge, is preferable to willful ignorance. For a great many good things may come out of these theories, should they be correct. It may lead an end or at least a marginalization of religious zealotry and fundamentalism, as well as practical benefits; for if the Light is merely an energy to be manipulated, channelled, and even bestowed, it would prove a tool of great efficacy against corruption, for the cause of medicine, and protection against both Undead and demon.