Abzan Color Philosophy [Slicing the Pie]
Abzan is the Wedge of Peace through the Structured self. It asks that we all maintain a strong outward presence while allowing the weak to fall to the side. We must be willing to show our strength in order to build a new world. So let's begin like we always do by breaking down the Wedge or Shard into the simplest terms and then build up from there.
First, we will begin by discussing the pairing of allied colors that make up the Wedge. This is because within the Wedge we have two colors that can already find common ground and because of this they will have the strongest influence over what the Wedge is. Think of it this way, you have a group of three people two of which seem to agree on most things while the third, the enemy color, just doesn't agree with either of the other colors' decisions.
In the end, the enemy color will influence the group but will always have trouble being the focal point of any philosophy. Even if it's the color we are leaning into, Green-Whites presence will always be strongly felt. In the Case of Abzan our three colors are White, Black, and Green, with Green and White being the allied pairing. So let's dive into the pair of White-Green and see what sort of philosophy comes when these two colors are brought together.
The pair Green-White is the combination of peace and unity through acceptance. It takes Green's core ideal which states: we are all just small imperfect pieces of one whole perfect ecosystem, and then combines it with Whites need for peace through order thus creating a philosophy that aims to craft a society where all can find their place, and no one is an outsider. It is a combination that sees the value in both, total acceptance of our nature and the structures that hold it all together.
Now that we have established our pairing let's move onto the second step by bringing in the outsider, the color that is the enemy of the pair we just discussed, in the case of Abzan, that is Black.
This does make things a bit tricky, but at the same time, is a great practice in understanding color philosophy. So what is Black?
Black is the color that follows its ambitions to its final conclusion. It sees strength in itself and rejects anything that goes against its best interests. To some, it's selfish, to Black its prosperity of self. In the context of Abzan this self-interest is widened a bit due to the presence of Green and White. In the end, it tells us that Abzan isn't concerned with the betterment of all through acceptance, but instead the prosperity of the group it finds itself within.
Finally let's move onto the final step, which is one that is shared by the Shards and that is picking out the two colors that are not present in the Wedge and figuring out what their absence tells us about the Wedge we are discussing. In the case of Abzan those colors are Blue and Red. So let's break them down and see what it tells us.
Blue is the color of learning, discovery, and self-improvement. So without any Blue present, it tells us that Abzan finds strength in traditions and in keeping with the old ways, making only slow changes in its way of thinking. Next up we have Red, the color of passion, emotion, and impulse.
With the lack of Red mana, we know that Abzan will not make decisions based on its heart but rather proven paths, which makes its ideals come off as cold and at times heartless.
Alright, there we have it, the framework for exploring the Wedge of Abzan. This time around I want to give a special shout-out to the community over on the Dicetry discord, its because the discussions over there are always a source of great inspiration, plus it's just a great and growing community. So if you would like to be part of the discussion then be sure to join up, I'll have a link in the description. Alright with that out of the way let's dive into the first and I would say primary ideal of Abzan philosophy, and that is...
Unity in Tribalism. It's what happens when you take Green-White's perspectives on community and twist it in a way that is influenced by Black, resulting in a philosophy of us versus them.
It isn't abandoning the idea of community-driven prosperity, but instead is saying that it's just the group you belong to that deserves to prosper. This of course makes it so that anyone outside of the group is lesser and an antagonist. Abzan sees all that it has created as an already perfect ecosystem and one that it wishes to keep safe at all costs. Now, this doesn't mean it's not willing to bring others in, it's just that in doing you must prove an unwavering loyalty no matter the cost. You see Abzan does not have an ounce of patience for those who would deteriorate what they have built. It's a philosophy bread on a survival mindset, and to that end it is successful.
It takes Green's fervent protection of its own ecosystem, Whites sense of order and duty, and Blacks focus on what is good for the self. Now, this is not to say that Abzan does not have sights for wider swaths of control, no, quite the opposite. Unity in Tribalism doesn't solely mean that Abzan is focused on simply keeping what it has safe, it is still looking outward to other peoples and lands. It simply is not enough to keep your own kin in a structure of prosperity, you must pursue the true ideal of Abzan, and that is placing all under the shade of its banner. To this end Abzan will use its large and varied military full, of devout soldiers, to spread its influence as far as it can, all the while enveloping others into its society.
What becomes of this new addition to Abzan you may ask? Well, even though Green-White is willing to bring others into the fold, all in order to find harmony through unity, Abzan still sees those who belong to its core group as special. Abzan will always take in other people, but those people usually will find themselves as lesser citizens. Sure they may often enjoy the structure and peace of Abzan, none the less they are still considered lesser than. I believe that it's here where we see the face of Abzan's philosophy, one that takes acceptance through order and asks: “what more can this be?”
Now I don't like to always paint things in a dark light so let's look at this from a perspective that allows us to see its value.
As a society it may seem that Abzan is harsh and, to those outside of its core peoples, it may be, but think for a second how powerful of an idea this is.
Abzan is the philosophy of conquerors, of great nations. I think of Rome, which had a diverse population because of its vast expansionist ideals. It was a vast nation that saw a time of great prosperity, even if some suffered under its rule... Abzan sees its way of thinking as practical, and in the end better for all that fall under its rule whether they like it or not. Now I think it's time to take a look at another way of seeing the combination of Green, White, and Black that reflects a better understanding of life and death.
The Tenet I will cover next is one that I actually touched on in my Green-Black video, and that is an idea I call: Oneness with the Cycle. I do believe that pairs are a great way of finding a variety of interesting philosophies but here we have an example of why three-color philosophies can make a concept more complex and yet refined. What I am talking about here, is what happens when we take Green-Black's views on death, and then build upon it, by bringing White into the fold. This cycle, which focused more on death initially, now becomes a perfect circle.
So what does this all mean? Well, Abzan is the Wedge that sees the whole picture of life and death in equal parts. White represents Life and Light, Green as the affected Plane of existence, and Black as Death and Darkness itself.
Abzan states that it is through the acceptance of the whole picture that we may find a true understanding of our place, and how our actions affect it. Physically and Spiritually we see this represented perfectly with the three colors present: White represents the realms of Life, Light, and of the Heavens, Green is the natural Plane, the basis for all things, and then finally we have Black, which takes on the role of Death, Darkness and of the what one might call hell.
If we can accept that this circle is continuous we can then find peace in our own existence. There is no longer a fear of death, or a wish for something better beyond our own life because to Abzan it's all one picture. An Abzan Philosophy might then believe in ideals of reincarnation or of a second life found in death. Perhaps it will tell us how the forms beyond our material Plane is the state in which we will find true Harmony.
Think for a moment of what is bread from the lack of understanding in why we are here, and to what ends are the meanings of life and death.
Think of how many conflicting religions or anxieties spring forth from this lack of knowledge. Abzan states that this is a foolish endeavor and if we could simply just see the cycle for what it is, we would finally be one with ourselves and everything around us.
With such a wide concept covered I think it's finally time that we talk about how Abzan could apply to our own lives, with the concept I call...
Inner peace through structured self. I believe that Abzan is a combination that is able to achieve inner peace through routines, which benefit it by creating structure in its own life. In this way, it is able to fulfill its daily needs and from there it may achieve its ambitions. Where others may look outward to find what they need Abzan can find it within themselves by forming routines and values that facilitate balance within. Think about how each of the core ideals within each color can be applied to your own life. What you get is a philosophy that is more about structure, balance, and achieving your goals.
In White, we have a color of order designed to facilitates peace, in Green, there is a balance in all things and in Black, there are the actions taken to find satisfaction in self-preservation and prosperity.
What this entails is that Abzan fashions routines and structures in its life, in order to find satisfaction in the balancing of one's self. It may not be so great at bringing that peace to others, but it may weather any storm around it by finding peace in its routines and by allowing things out of its control to pass by it.
An Abzan person might be one who wakes up and mediates to find its calming center for the day, then work to achieve its goals, benefited by the rigid routines it has set up for itself.
You see by removing the fear of what you can't control, then by building up structures that bring about means to achieve your goals you will find that your mind is able to achieve true wholeness and from that state, your ambitions will be within reach. I think in a lot of ways this version of Abzan is better off alone and can sometimes come off as an introvert, but this isn't always the case. It's more a matter of taking care of yourself first and then applying it outward, in a way that serves your goals.
Abzan is an interesting case in that it has to reconcile ideas of acceptance and order, all while making sure those functions serve it. In this regard, Black's influence forces Green and White to ask themselves what's important to them. In some cases, this means taking care of your tribe first. Abzan believes that it's only in this way that peace can be cultivated. It is only from there that your ideals can then be extended to the rest of the Plane, even if this transition happens by force, don't worry they will thank you for it later.
In other ways, it's the structure of White and the balance of Green applied to the self, in a way that breads inner peace, but from there your ambitions may be achieved. Interestingly though the colors present may instead take on a wider concept, and showcase themselves as all of known reality. It's in understanding our place within the cycle and how we are able to affect it, that we may achieve a oneness that other colors may fall short of.
Whatever the case Abzan is the combination of the structured approach to harmony built to serve those important to you... for we cannot hope to shape the rest of the world if we cannot first find peace within our self.
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