The Truth About Elemental Powers (Theory)

Can matter be created or destroyed? Well, of course it can’t. It’s one of the fundamental laws of science.

But in the Bionicle universe, where real-world science seldom seems to apply? Absolutely. We see Toa creating their elements from nothing. Fire, earth, soundwaves, light…all of them can be summoned pretty much anywhere-even fire underwater, as confirmed by Greg.

However, I was thinking about it recently, and I realized maybe the Toa aren’t actually creating their elements from nothing.

All matter, whether it’s solid, liquid, or gas, is made up of atoms, which in turn are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Each element on the periodic table has an “atomic number” that designates how many protons make up an atom of that element. Example: Hydrogen atoms only have one proton. However, if another proton is added to that atom, then it’ll become a Helium atom. And so on and so forth. Neutrons and electrons also help to stabilize the atom.

And it’s not just protons, neutrons, and electrons, either. In some cases, atoms of different elements can be joined together to create another substance (two hydrogens+one oxygen=a water molecule).

So what I’m proposing for Bionicle is the possibility that, when a Toa seemingly creates water, earth, or some other matter-based element from nothing, they’re actually manipulating the particles in the air to form whatever element they’re trying to make. A Toa of water is in a dry desert with no sources of water? No problem! Just will a blob of water to form in front of you, and your magic elemental abilities will bring together all the protons and electrons you need to create that blob of water.

There are a couple other points to back up this theory. One point is that Toa can already manipulate existing elements (e. g. when underground, Onua can manipulate the earth around him). Another one is that there are some points in the story where Toa of ice create ice by freezing water. That is, they manipulated the water’s molecules/atoms to transfer it from a liquid state to a solid one. Therefore, it stands to reason that these Toa aren’t creating their elements from nothing: they’re just manipulating atoms to their will.

“Well, by that logic, then a Toa of Earth could just magically turn a block of ice into a pile of dirt!”

Actually…no. A Toa’s elemental power extends to creating their own element, not tampering with another one. Ice and water are a special case, since they’re technically the same thing but in different states. And earth and stone…well, good luck settling that 20-year-old debate. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Thing is, idk if Toa can do that. I think it’s unclear but I’m pretty sure Toa can’t manifest their element if there is none nearby. I’m not sure how this would work for Toa of Fire but Water, Air, Stone, Earth, etc. cannot manifest their element from literally nothing. In that example, your Toa of Water would be drawing moisture from the air.

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Interesting theory, and one that I definitely share. However, I just have to say that there are a couple elements (not chemical ones, Bionicle ones) that have been left out. For example, how does a toa of gravity control gravity if all they do is manipulate atoms? Even a more common element, fire gas a little more explaining to do, although it can still be explained by manipulating atoms, but fire isn’t an element (a chemical one that is), it’s the result of a chemical reaction, namely a combustion reaction. Then of course there is psionics and magnetism. Obviously I’m not saying this is a bad theory, as I again it’s one I share. I’m just saying this for the sake of argument, and to try and get you thinking about these exceptions. There are also other exceptions that I didn’t mention, but they are rhakshi powers, and if I’m not mistaken you are specifically talking about toa here. I’m very curious to hear your potential solutions to these exceptions in your theory. I like this idea, and I really want discussion around it to take place, as I’m interested to see people’s thoughts. What are yours?

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I mean … sure, I guess? There’s a lot of caveats and loopholes, but the theory itself doesn’t exactly mess with … anything, really.

But that is super finnicky and makes no sense. So what atoms are they rearranging, then? “The ones in the air”? OK, sure, we can assume there’s every kind of atom needed for a Toa to create their element in the air makeup in the BIONICLE world … But wait, Air’s an element. How does that work?

This works for concrete “elements” - earth, ice, water, etc. What about Psionics, Gravity, or Light, or Sonics, or Fire? Does every Toa that needs it have the innate ability to create energy as well as rearranging atoms?

I feel like this Theory raises a lot more questions than answers, and explaining it away as “It’s BIONICLE, a fantasy-sci-fi analog” only goes so far.

Also I changed Category to BIONICLE.

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They definitely can. For example: Lewa making air bubbles in space. It’s just easier to manipulate what already exists.

Personally, I subscribe to the idea that bionicle follows Einstein’s law, converting energy into matter (or in the case of elements like gravity and magnetism, turning energy into another kind of energy)

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Although, strictly … gravity and magnetism aren’t energies, right? They’re forces. or not, it’s been quite a while since I did all that.

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Yeah, that’s why I mentioned that it was unclear. The internal logic on how elements work can be a little iffy.

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This seems a little iffy. It’s been a while since I brushed up on my particle physics, but I don’t think there’s enough free protons floating around to do what you’re suggesting; they’re already part of atoms, and, by extension, existing material.

This also kind of breaks your argument, unless you can come up with a more compelling reason than “they’re just different”.

My own theory for what separates these similar Elements is that whatever energy Toa use to manipulate physical Elements somehow propagates through the chemical bonds and other intermolecular forces.

For example, Ice has strong hydrogen bonds, while Water doesn’t; Stone is made up of more ionic bonds, while Earth uses covalent; Stone is typically a single piece of material connected through chemical bonds, while Sand is lots of tiny pieces with air between them that the Toa Energies can’t bridge.

I’m not as sure about magnetism, but I know that gravity is hypothesized to be carried by subatomic particles called gravitons, and the forces of gravity are the effects of these gravitons colliding with everything. If the Great Beings could somehow isolate and manipulate these particles (and assuming that Bionicle follows Earth physics just this one time), then they could control gravity. I suppose a Toa of Gravity could probably also spontaneously create gravitons, just like how a Toa of Stone can spontaneously create rock.

Although, not every Element has to be traced back to physical matter; it’s entirely possible that different Elements are controlled using different technology from the Great Beings.

Of course, none of this really matters in terms of how Toa create physical Elements, since Greg has confirmed that they can make them out of nothing:

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Like @Winger said, I think this creates more questions then answers.

When a toa absorbs their element, what exactly are they absorbing?

How does a toa stone work?

Can toa create their element in a vacuum?

How does a toa’s elemental power naturally recharge?

How can they run out of the ability to manipulate molecules?

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I actually did think of these exceptions when writing my opening post, but I left them out so that I could actually generate replies. As you said, fire, electricity, and magnetism are not matter-they’re just energy. For Toa of those elements, their “elemental energy” allows them to create and control that energy.

Yes, I am specifically talking about Toa.

From what we see in Bionicle, a Toa of Air’s powers seem to be creating gusts of wind and/or cyclones. Wind is not caused by the element of air itself-it’s caused by changes in air pressure.

Gravity and light are things that exist no matter what. Every object-no matter how big or small-has a gravitational field, and light is defined as an electromagnetic wave that’s always there, regardless of whether we perceive it. My theory is that, with the exception of Toa whose elements are just energy, Toa are not actually creating their element-they’re manipulating existing atoms or forces to their will.

Correction: converting matter into energy. But this actually does let Toa of fire and electricity fall under this theory. Their power is taking the atoms/particles in the air and converting them into energy, which they use to create fire or electricity.

The answer to all of these questions is that when the Toa are using their elemental powers, they’re exerting energy. They use energy to manipulate particles to form what they want them to form. And the charging/recharging elemental power…kind of answers itself, because we see in canon that Toa have limited reserves of their power, but they can recharge after a while.

As for absorbing, I think it’s a combination of both: the Toa absorb not only the element itself, but also the energies used to “create” that element.

… ex … actly? That doesn’t exactly fit with your theory at all.

Yeah it does. Air pressure isn’t a substance. It’s a force.

… and your theory is regarding substances. Atoms.

Well, this at least is somewhat defined.

Toa Stones have nothing to do with elemental power. Toa Stones are filled with the completely seperate “Toa Power.”

Toa Power is pretty self-explanatory in that it’s the source of energy or power that allows a Toa to function. It also seems to be the mechanical factor behind the nebulous virtue of “Destiny” in that a “destined” Matoran has dormant Toa Power inside them when they are created.

Toa Stones, since they contain Toa Power, have the ability to turn Matoran into Toa, even ones that aren’t destined (i.e. don’t already have dormant Toa Power in them).

Apparently, Lewa can.

Jaller can also create fire underwater. And yes, I know this is technically possible in real life as well, but it at least tells us that creation of an element doesn’t rely on the environment in Bionicle.

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The way I interpret Toa powers is that everything, from rocks to water is made up of protodermis, which is a synthetic element that can take any property a designer, in this case the Great Beings want it to be. Therefore, they cannot manipulate real water or rocks, just protodermis versions of them and their powers are restricted to protodermis only.

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If a toa can absorb energy directly from their element, then why are they absorbing the element itself as well? Is it to extract the energy in the manner we process food?

Going back to your original statement, how exactly does this

Back up your theory?

Are you implying that the energy to manipulate an element already exists within said element? If so, then why would a toa need this energy at all. It would always be located within the resources they need to create their element.

Let’s say Gali creates a class of water, and over time that water evaporates. Where does the energy go? It would have to stick with the atoms, and become a part of the air. Gali could then use the energy already within the air, to pull hydrogen and oxygen together to make water.

Edit: Have we even addressed toa of light?

That’s not how evaporation works (assuming Earth Physics). The hydrogen and oxygen stay bonded together as water molecules, the molecules themselves just get more excited and spaced out.

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Yes, but point is, there’s water in the air.

Well, they can, is the thing, with some extra concentration and effort.

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