Many flavors of energy in the Matoran Universe

I wonder if that was moral light and shadow coming from Takutanuva’s hand, and those moral energies combined play into the energy form we consider life?

1 Like

The depiction being moral light and shadow is pretty interesting idea! I like it.


That would mean those whose balance isn’t perfect are not alive

Not necessarily. It just means their life force is not balanced out between light and shadow. Now, if you could drain Melding Teridax of light, and he had neither light nor shadow… Who knows? I tried to find a quote to see if there was a canon outcome for that kind of occurrence, but I was unsuccessful.

1 Like

From 2008:

Q: “If umbra was hit by a shadow leech, could he turn into shadow?”
A: “No, since he is all light, he would cease to exist.”

I will admit that moral light and darkness are not types of energy I have considered during creation of this topic. Thanks for reminding me of this with your idea - looks like I have some updates to do in the life force section.


I look forward to it! Makes me wonder, if AI is tethered to their life force, if there’s a connection between the shadow leech barriers and whatever barrier Velika broke.

I’m also curious about that line “cease to exist”- like would he just disappear, or die and leave a corpse? Or is Greg referring to his light form?


I think it simply means he would die, he has a physical body after all. Which Velika barrier do you mean?

1 Like

By the barrier I mean whatever governor was placed on the Matoran AI to keep it at a low level. Of course we never learned much about that mechanism but Greg once suggested the Great Beings made the AI better than they realized, suggesting the Matoran were always capable of heightened emotional intelligence, but simply restricted. Whatever Velika did broke or shut off that governor, permitting their emotional intelligence (manifested as moral light/shadow) to proliferate until it plateaued at Agori-level intelligence. My thought is perhaps the shadow leeches (and Kanohi Avsa) reengage that governor specifically on the light half of the AI, as well as permit the governor to compress that light AI into nonexistence. If you compressed the Shadow AI as well, all of the AI life force is deleted, leaving a perfectly operable body, but effectively a dead one, as the AI no longer exists to run it.

Anyway, just a burst of thought I had, I’d love to hear what you think of it in the context of your observations here.

1 Like

Quite interesting ideas :+1:
Regarding the Awakening, it has been discussed here:

But to summarize it, I and other people percieved the event as a software update to the AI, globally distributed by Velika. The MU residents had the capability of the higher sapience by design on a hardware level, but the software kept them at “level 1” intelligence. The awakening update then utilized the hardware to its full capabilities and resulted in “level 2” intelligence (Agori-like).
Moral light and darkness being tied to AI does make sense, since we know the imbalance changes the personality. However I see a potential problem with your suggestion about the way Velika prepared his body: If you equate the moral balance with AI AND with life force, then Velika depleting moral light and shadow in the Matoran body would leave it without AI (which is desirable), but also without life force (which is not desirable). You want a living body without AI, not a dead one. Counter to that could be that Velika provided his own life force during the transfer, but then again his own body is still living somewhere in suspended animation, so that is not an option.
And actually, we know he didn’t have to surpress any previous AI because he selected a blank Po-Matoran:

Q: When the Great Being took over Velika’s body, did the real Velika’s consciousness/AI/Spirit/whatever be deleted?
A: I always assumed he took the body prior to any programming being put into Velika’s body, so there is no true Velika.


Those are some pretty solid points. I’m gonna be mulling this over for a while, I think lol. I’ll have to revisit the matter when I can piece it all together in my mind

1 Like

That makes a ton of sense. I had never considered that, but I really like the idea.

No it wouldn’t. There are many being shown throughout the story who had an imbalance of moral Light and Shadow and were still alive.

Examples include the Shadow Matoran, Roodaka, and Umbra.

While it is unlikely that the entire body was generated solely with moral Light and Shadow, it’s entirely reasonable that the energies were required to reconstruct Jaller’s personality and give life to the body, which was made through other means.


That’s my point, pal. There are people who don’t have any shadow, yet they are alive. Life force formed from moral shadow and light then wouldn’t be possible for them.

1 Like

Why not? If we assume “life force” to be a combination of moral Light and Shadow, why can’t there be someone whose combination has none of one of them?


Since he can become completely composed of light, yes, draining that element from Umbra would likely kill him. If not, his one power would cease to exist, and I don’t think there’s any similar powers that could be granted by Shadow.

And for the question above:

Maxilos. Vahki. Bohrok. These would not have light or shadow, being either totally mechanical or not sentient. The Bohrok may have an affiliation with one of these elements, but I believe that they are supposed to be basically Roombas for Mata Nui’s camouflage.

1 Like

Exactly, that’s more or less what I worded poorly here:

Almost like a vegetative state for the artificial body. The Bohrok can help serve as a close parallel: the krana acts like their consciousness, directing them with an objective, giving them sense enough for problem solving, etc. But remove the krana, and what was left? A fully operable body, but one that couldn’t direct itself. A base consciousness inherit to the body, a Level Zero consciousness if you will, permitting simple tasks if given clear direction, but hardly any personal awareness. I wonder if all MU beings started this way, before receiving their Level 1 AI. This would explain how Velika could upload his mind to a living Matoran body without overriding an AI, while permitting AI and life force to remain linked.

A second thought:

Suppose “life force” was a third energy present? If I may adjust my earlier speculation, perhaps life force is necessary to generate and activate a body, but moral light/shadow is needed to generate the consciousness. Drain both moral energies, and the body remains alive, but in a state similar to a Bohrok with no krana. No real mental activity there, effectively a vegetative state. Drain life force, and the body dies, no longer able to support the moral energies, which dissipate upon death, effectively killing the AI element as well. So to revise my hot, hot take:

AI is moral light, shadow, or a combination of both, depending on the individual. It gives value to a living body that otherwise couldn’t function, and is entirely dependent on life force. Life force is a more static energy form, necessary for hosting AI via corporeal life. These two act as a diadic energy form, and this diad is what Takutanuva used to resurrect Jaller.

Similarly to how Elemental Energy has a natural growth rate in certain body structures, moral light and shadow have a natural growth rate within certain brain structures. Agori have this naturally, and Matoran achieve it artificially. The light and shadow increase in volume linearly until they plateau, limited by the brain they occupy.

A body can be alive without conscienceness. Velika proves this by keeping his original body alive in stasis. This can be described, tentatively, as Level 0: no consciousness, or so little as to permit only rudimentary function, like a Bohrok without krana. The Matoran Velika took over was described as having no AI for him to contend with, suggesting Matoran are made at Level 0 and given AI later in the process. (The fact that a Makuta can possess Vahki, Maxilos, and Exo-Toa without conflict leads me to believe they, in fact, occupy Level 0.)

Moral light and shadow can be governed. I suggest the Great Beings created governors for both moral light and shadow, restricting the emotional intelligence of Matoran to keep them on task. This keeps them at Level 1 intelligence. Velika, however, uploads his consciousness to a Level 0 Matoran, and his natural Level 2 intelligence takes over. Now we can retain the idea of a software update, but considering how advanced this AI is, we can also call it a behavioral reconditioning: Velika’s Level 2 behavior illicits an unusually dynamic response from Level 1 Matoran, shorting the governors and allowing their moral light and shadow to increase until the Level 2 plateau. Repeated behavioral contact spreads the AI capacity update.

Future technologies like the Avsa and Shadow Leeches are used to regain access to the moral governors, specifically for light. We can arguably assign AI level sub-values to each half of the moral code: Shadow Matoran are at a Level 0 for moral light, Level 2 for shadow. Takanuva was Level 2 light, maybe a Level 1 shadow, but in 08 those values seem to have been reversed, given his increasingly aggressive behavior, before the klakk cured him.

The overall AI Levels govern intellectual intelligence, while the moral Sub-Levels govern emotional intelligence. This is why a Shadow Matoran, Roodaka, or a Makuta (Level 2 moral shadow, Level 0 moral light) can fully function and even excell in society, while being devoid of moral decency. Only their emotional intelligence is stunted. The highest Moral Sub-Level value is equivalent to the AI Level value of the individual.

Drain all light and shadow, and the AI is effectively deleted. This itself does not kill the body, but without intelligence driving the body to safety and sustenance, it will eventually die. This is why Velika’s body was put in stasis to begin with. Umbra may be a unique case, in as much as his body is made of light in some odd and unclear way, and as such the moral drain may actually be his direct cause of death, hence Greg’s reply that he would “cease to exist.”

Sorry for motor-mouthing my way through this, and I hope this isn’t interpreted as me highjacking your topic, I’m just very interested in the science of the story.

1 Like

For Umbra, he can turn into light, as seen when he tried to block the Inika from reaching the Ignika. He seems to be almost an artificial Toa of Light, with limited control over it as an element. As he is essentially made from light, to remove his morality would be to reduce him to a powerless shadow, destroying what made his AI exist. As the protector of the Ignika, he is required to have a great level of morality, and this would necessitate his alignment with elemental light. Otherwise, he could have just grabbed the Ignika, and destroyed anything he wanted.


very interesting read, thanks for writing it.


Welcome to the boards, Confused Piraka :stuck_out_tongue:


oh hi axelford


Ok, so finally after much research, I have a mega-update to make about the moral light/darkness and its properties/relationships with other energy types.

The light-shadow moral balance is in direct communiction with the mind=spirit=IA of the being. First of all, only the beings with at least level 1 intelligence have the moral balance, so no Rahi or automaton robots. Keetongu despite being able to judge the morality of other beings, does so on an instinct, because he can see the morality directly using his eye. Krahka developed the moral balance when she absorbed the higher level 2 intelligence of others. Just to make definitions clear on types of intelligence: level 0 - rahi and robots, level 1 - sapient species pre-awakening, level 2 - sapient species post-awakening. Here are the relevant quotes:

Q: As Rahi can’t make moral decisions, would a Shadow Leech be effective on them? Do they have a Light/Shadow balance at all?
A: No, they don’t.

Q: I’ve heard that Rahi don’t have a balance of light and darkness, meaning they would be unaffected by a Shadow Leech or Mask of Hunger. Does this also apply to sentient Rahi (like Keetongu or Krakah)?
A: Keetongu, it probably would apply to – Krahka, it would not, because when you absorb intelligence as she has, you absorb a moral sense too.

Q: I know that Rahi have no Light/Shadow balance and can’t make moral decisions, but what about Keetongu?
A: I don’t really see Keetongu as having a moral sense in the strictest terms either. I do see him as being somewhat empathic, hence his ability to discern “good” or “evil” as the emotions associated with each feel differently to him. And of course he hates the Visorak for what they did to his species.

Regarding the effects of the absence of moral light/shadow on the mind of an individual, it seems they would indeed be reduced to level 0 intelligence, but not killed, nor without AI:

Q: If someone had neither moral light nor shadow, would they a. have no personality, b. be similar to a non-sentient Rahi, or c. be like someone who had their soul sucked out by a Dementor in Harry Potter?
A: First off, “sentient” simply means you can physically feel things, which all Rahi can do. I think the word you meant was “sapient.” And they pretty much would be like a Rahi, they would be capable of doing good or evil acts but have no idea they were good or evil or much care. They would be driven basically by instinct and need, rather than by things like duty or responsibility.

Furthermore, not all beings have the same amount of moral light/shadow:

Q: When are shadow leech attacks you, how long does it take to corrupt you?
A: Not that long, but it varies depending on what kind of being you are.

Q: Say a leech attached itself to Takanuva. Would he be able to keep filling himself with light, making the leech explode because of all the light sucked into it?
A: Takanuva would certainly be a feast for a leech, but the leech could handle it.

This prooves that not all beings have equal amounts of moral light and shadow, but their ratio depends on their current morals. Beings who are more “good” have more moral light and thus would take longer to corrupt via shadow leech. Pouring elemental light into the leech during this process would prolong the duration, but even for a Toa level being of light, a shadow leech is still sufficient to drain them fully. This further supports the next important point and that is that there is a definite connection between elemental and moral light (and shadow).
We see this time and time again - light and shadow as elements seem to be the only ones inherently connected to morality and they, (probably because of this fact) are dominant over the other elements. They are also the only ones in a directly antagonistic relationship between them cancelling each other out, despite other seemingly obvious pairs existing (e. g. fire vs ice or water). Both moral light and shadow can be purged and pushed out by extensive meditation and focus on the other side of the emotional spectrum. This or any outside caused imbalance has an effect on the elemental powers of the individual.
Melding Makuta switched from shadow to light, Tridax’s Takanuva switched from light to shadow and Roodaka developed limited shadow powers. Toa of different elements would gain shadow in addition to their primary element.

Q: If a shadow leech was removed mid drain from any Toa, would that Toa also gain shadow powers?
A: Yes.

Q: Should a Toa of an element besides light get their light partially drained, and have a psychic shield installed, what would happen? If it happened to a Toa such as a Toa of Water, would she be able to control water and shadow, or one or the other?
A: Water and shadow.
Q: So I take it she would be just like Takanuva in that if she uses up all her water, she’ll be a full shadow Toa?
A: No. She would have to use up her light, not her water, and since she doesn’t use light as an elemental power, it would be a much longer process than it would be for Takanuva.

Q: If a Toa other than a Toa of light was partially drained by a shadow leech, would they gain control of both their element and shadow?
A: Yes.

So this prooves light and shadow are indeed special in this regard - they are the only ones connected to morality. Each being has a small “tank” of moral light and shadow and by tapping into it by mediation or focusing on emotions connected to either side of the moral spectrum, can gain dark or light powers - even if they were not elementaly powered to begin with (Roodaka). Beings whose original element is light or shadow are a special case because of the moral connection, thus the powers they acquire from this are not additive, but substitutive in nature.

Proving the connection further:

Q: Is there a difference between the powers of a Toa of Light and a being wearing the Mask of Light?
A: Yes.

The Mask of Light has secondary powers that a Toa of Light would not automatically have, like the ability to sense moral light in others.
Avohkii, a mask containing the element of light is also in touch with moral light and associated emotions. The same goes for Kraahkan, the mask of shadows. The fact that both of these elemental masks can see moral shadows and light inside others tells me that the two types of energy are indeed tightly linked, or even variations of each other. The elemental vs moral light might not be 100% interchangeable, but it is obvious they are derived from a common source and can supplement each other. I hope this makes sense, because it is very important.
Another point for elemental/moral light interchangeability:

Q: Can Lewa shoot his Midak as much as he wants, or does it use up Tanma’s light energy? Tanma’s light will energy regenerate naturally because he does not have a barrier put up by a Shadow Leech, correct?
A: If it reaches a point where Tanma’s light energy is way low, the skyblaster would start drawing on the environment; Correct.

As to what I said previously about lack of moral energies not meaning you’ll die, here is another proof:

Q: What did Icarax had in mind when he set shadow leeches on Takanuva? Is it:
A)To drain part or all of Takanuva’s light power to make him less dangerous to Makuta. (And maybe replacing it with shadow)
B)To kill him.
A) Yes
B) You can’t kill someone with a shadow leech.

So to make a midway summary, moral light/darkness is elemental in nature and is possesed by all beings of level 1 and higher intelligence. Imbalance leads to development of elemental powers even if you didn’t possess any prior. The normal balance is different for every individual and depends on their current morals - it can change over time. Absence of both won’t kill you, but it reduces you to a Rahi-like state with only basic instincts intact - a level 0 intelligence. This means that moral light/shadow are NOT life force, or at the very least not all there is to it. It might still be connected to life force, but it is not required at all for living and seems more likely to have a relationship with the mind/AI. It might even reside in the AI itself. In that case, it would be software based, since it is a type of energy and a Rahi can “absorb” the morality if they have means to do it. Therefore the hardware containing it is shared with Rahi. All of this information fits together perfectly with the past observation that the Awakening update Velika did, was a software thing, instead of a hardware upgrade.

We established in original post that the same kind of life force is shared between MU and SM natives. But what about moral energies? Now that we know they are not a part of the life force, can we determine if there is any similarity between the two worlds? We do have some information:

Q: If Shadow Leeches feed off of MU beings’ moral light, do they have the same effect on Spherus Magna beings? I’ve always pictured moral light as something like an elemental energy tank that can be drained and depleted by meditation or Shadow Leeches, but was unsure if this only applies to MU beings.
A: I tend to doubt shadow leeches would work on beings who are not bio-mechanical.

As you can see shadow leeches couldn’t absorb light from the SM natives. But notice Greg’s stated reason is it cannot be accessed by shadow leeches due to technical incompatibility. Based on the way he answered I would guess SM have the moral balance as well, making it a more universal thing like the life force. And sure enough, another quote confirms this:

Q: According to BS01, all beings have a balance of Light and Shadow. Does this apply to beings on Bara Magna, such as the Glatorian?
A: It was not stated originally in reference to Spherus Magna, but it does apply – all intelligent beings have good and evil in them. The difference is that Matoran Universe characters can, in some cases, access this to use as a power. Spherus Magnans cannot.

It is also interesting to explore beings with ambiguous or unnatural sources of morality:

Q: Does shadow leech work on Kraata-Kal?
A: It would, yes.
Q: Can you explain specifically how a shadow leech would work on Kraata-Kal?
A: When kraata-kal was mutated by the energies that created the Bohrok-Kal, it ceased being a creature of pure shadow. That means it has light in it, even if not a lot, and shadow leeches feed on light. So they would work on him same way they work on anyone else.

Q: could a shadow leech drain the light off of toa ignika?
A: Hard to say, because Ignika is not a living being the way Tahu or Takanuva is – it’s an object that made a body for itself. As such, it most likely would not have light and shadow in it like a normal being would.

Q: If Toa Ignika were to fall under the influence of Evil, he would be a VERY dangerous foe. So why do the Toa think they can leave him alone with Icarax? If I were them, I would at least leave someone to help.
A: 5) He already kicked the stuffing out of Icarax, so I don’t think they see Icarax as posing some threat to him. And you can’t shadow leech him, because he’s an object with a body, not truly a living being.

Makuta are beings of pure shadow and Kraata are detached parts of their very essence. It is not surprising they are creatures of pure shadow. But when mutated by the Kal mutagen, Kraata gains moral light and also intelligence (Kraata-Kal is stated to be very intelligent). This is in line with Bohrok-Kal/Krana-Kal who are created by the same mutagen from level 0 Krana, gaining level 1 intelligence in the process. This furthers the relationship between the AI level and morality. Inanimate objects do not have moral balance, even if they posses a mind of their own and the very essence of life - apparently you have to be truly alive in order to have moral balance.

The next step is to figure out how exactly does the mental barrier placed by the shadow leech work?

Q: So my understanding is that if Takanuva drains all of his light power, he will complete become a Toa of Shadow and his light power will not come back, which is why he has the Midak. If Takanuva drains all of his shadow power, would he become a Toa of Light again? Or is a side effect from being attacked by a shadow leech that he will keep turning into a elemental shadow being by losing his own elemental power?
A: No, he wouldn’t, because light would not replace the shadow, since there is not enough light in him to do that.

Greg: It is a psychic shield, but it is not created by the Matoran – has nothing to do with what he wants or doesn’t want. Takanuva wants light to flow in, but he can’t make that happen. The only beings who have rejected light and prevented it from coming back in based on sheer willpower are the Makuta.

Greg: Av-Matoran and Av-Toa do have shadow in them, as well. Again, if not, Takanuva would be perfect and good all the time, and he’s not. Beings who are all light would be just as out of balance as beings who are all shadow.

Greg: No. See, you are talking about the lack of light changing the preset, as if it is a natural occurrence – it’s not. The shield is the result of the actions of the shadow leech or the Avsa, not something that just naturally takes place. The natural thing would be for light or shadow to come back in to fill the void. And what keeps them from being all light or all dark is not a shield, it’s nature. Nature wants balance. All beings are supposed to have light and shadow in them, not just one or the other. There is no such thing as a shield that keeps out shadow, just as there is no such thing as an all-light being. And the shield to keep out light is caused by the shadow leech or Avsa’s actions, not something inside the victim.

Greg: I am seeing shadow and light as two different substances. If you have both, you’re fine. If you have both and drain one, you are left with only one; but if you are all light or all shadow, and your light or shadow get drained, you have nothing at all. We have only talked about this in terms of shadow because there are no all-light beings.

Q: Which is true? If Takanuva uses his light power too much, he will only be able to control shadow. Or: If Takanuva uses his shadow power too much, he will only be able to shadow.
A: Using his shadow power too much will simply make using shadow more appealing, because it’s easier to use. But it won’t mean he loses his light powers. Using his light power too much would mean that, because the psychic shield caused by the shadow leech makes it impossible for him to regenerate light. So the more light he uses, the more shadow will predominate.

Q: You said that using too much of Takanuva’s light would cause him to be fully shadow, correct? But say he uses all his shadow power’s, does he go alll light?
A: Yes; No. When you get attacked by a shadow leech, a psychic shield is put in place which keeps light from returning to you – that’s why shadow Matoran stay shadow Matoran instead of turning back to Av-Matoran. So light will not come to replace shadow that’s been used.

Based on this, we can see that the light or shadow regenerates naturally to re-establish the equilibrium you had based on your morals. What shadow leech does is it creates a psychic barrier, which prevents the light from regenerating. Using more of your light subsequently leads to greater imbalance in favor of shadow, because the barrier disallows you from restoring any lost light. Using the shadow powers does indeed deplete the moral darkness as well, but because no “shadow barrier” is present, it is quickly regenereted back - so this method cannot be used to produce makeshift balance. In fact, using more shadow amplifies your dark tendencies because of the ease of use and alluring. The minutea of the mechanisms are subject to many interpretations, but it seems that as the light gets depleted without any chance of recovery, the shadow comes to fill in its place - possibly even exerting greater pressure on the barrier, speeding up the process (this last part is speculation).
Another thing we can say about the barrier is that it lowers itself along with the dwindling light level - like a constricting snake. If it is placed at 50% light drainage, and then you get drained to 20% later on, the barrier would move to 20% keeping you from returning to 50%. If you were to deplete all of your light and end up at 0%, the barrier would also follow to 0%, preventing you from gaining any light. The light/shadow equilibrium and the shadow leech barrier and darin are illustrated here (barrier is represented by red):

1 - light and shadow are in equilibrium
2 - light gets drained to 30% and barrier is placed
3 - shadow starts to fill in the void left by the light
4 - light gets depleted again to 10%
5 - barrier moves to 10% preventing any light to return even to the 30% mark.

This seems to be the most definitive model of how this works based on everything we know and it makes sense considering Greg’s many answers and the fact that th placement of the barrier is the very first thing a shadow leech does during its attack. All of our findings are supported in text of the Takanuva attack:

"Takanuva had almost reached his destination when it struck. The shadow leech leapt at him, attaching itself to his armor with an unbreakable hold. It was hungry, and light was its preferred meal. In the Toa of Light, it had a feast waiting to be eaten. He screamed as the creature began to drain the light that was his essence. For a normal being, it would have been painful, but for someone who was as bonded to light as Takanuva, it was sheer agony. As the light left him, it was replaced by darkness. Instinctively, he knew that if this creature wasn’t stopped, he would be a Toa of Shadow when it was done – if he was still alive at all. Takanuva stumbled and fell. The pain was getting worse. If he blacked out, it would be all over. He had to do something now. The leech was clinging to his chest armor, gorging itself on light. The armor had already turned from gold to gray, signaling how close Takanuva was to being lost to darkness. With great effort, he raised his arm and pointed his hand directly at the leech. Then a thin, intense beam of light shot from Takanuva’s palm, striking the creature. At first, it seemed like a terrible mistake. Hitting a creature who fed on light with more light looked to only make it stronger. But with the light came heat – blistering heat. Smoke rose from the shadow leech as it began to burn. When the heat became unbearable, the creature tore itself loose and tried to squirm away. The Toa increased the power of the beam until the shadow leech was nothing but smoke and ashes."

We can also see the interconnected nature of different energies here - the moral light being drained is especially painfull to users of elemental light like Takanuva.

This should mark the end of the update - I think this is one of those things I mentioned, which are obscure, but very consistent and well-defined in the background. I will finish with some food for thought for you - taking this new knowledge into account, it makes much more sense now that Takutanuva could have actually used his elemental powers over light and shadow to establish a morality equilibrium for the new Jaller body he was creating…in addition to the life force used to make a living body.