Esper Color Philosophy [Slicing the Pie]
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Welcome to the first episode of “Slicing the Pie,” a series where we will expand upon the philosophies of each Shard and Wedge of Magic: the Gathering. We will be starting things off with the Shard that won by popular vote across social media. That's right, I will first be tackling the ever-popular Shard of Esper. As with the Duality series, we will look at each version of this Shard and then discuss each facet of its philosophy. Unlike color pairs, there aren’t as many examples of Shards in the game, so instead, we will be extrapolating the information from assumptions based on what we know about each color and their relationships. So sit down, get comfortable, and let's discuss Esper, the Shard that will perfect society, whether society desires it or not.
When combining three colors, the result is something that is inherently complex. Therefore, we will have to lay the groundwork before we can dive into the different philosophies of the color combination in question. From there, we will be able to learn what versions of Esper are possible with the colors that are at our disposal. I will be dissecting the colors in question, as well as the colors that are not in the Shard. That way, we will better understand the Esper combination, and we’ll be able to create philosophies that fit within that framework.
Blue is the color that is always looking for perfection, not just in itself but in everything around it. Because of this guiding ideal, Blue is the color that is always hungry to learn and to create at a constant rate. Blue is never satisfied with good enough, and believes there is always room for improvement and discovery.
Simple enough, right? But how does this relate to the colors that share its Shard? To learn this, we will have to discuss how each adjacent color interacts with our bridge color. Let's start with Blue and White. When this combination comes together, we have a philosophy that believes in the perfection of society through the creation of an ever-evolving system of laws, government, and infrastructure. Blue-White is confident that together we can reach heights that alone we may not.
So what, then what, does Blue see in Black, and what philosophy is created from their merger? Well, it's in Black's unwavering hand that Blue may find answers in places it may otherwise be afraid to look. Then Blue opens Black's eyes to the endless possibilities found in expanding your thought. You see, when Blue and Black are brought together, we have a combination that believes in self-improvement unhindered by morality, and that nothing is out of reach for those who take it.
With this understanding, we can start to get an idea of what the Shard of Esper might believe in, but before we can dissect this Shard properly, we will have to take the next step and learn about what Esper’s missing colors tell us about this combination. In this case, it would be the colors Red and Green, so let's start with Red. The lack of Red mana tells us that Esper is a color combination that is not guided by emotion. We can then assume that any variation of this Shard will lack any empathy or impulsiveness. Esper is a color that acts in a cold and calculated manner, with no room for fleeting emotions. Next, the lack of Green Mana tells us that there will never be any regard for the natural order or the circle of life. What’s more, is that Esper doesn't try to fulfill a destiny; it will instead carve out its own path.
Esper, then, is the Shard that thinks only of what can be done and not what should be done,
at least as far as the natural order is concerned. To Esper, nature and its inhabitants are nothing more than a resource.
Alright, so now that we have crafted the framework for our discussion, we will have to put it all to use. To that end, we will discuss three possible versions of what White, Blue, and Black's relationship could potentially look like, as the traditional Esper perspective isn't the whole story. Just as we’ve learned in the duality series, there are many interpretations to any color and its combinations. So, let's start with the first concept. Perfection through ruthless order
Perfection through ruthless order
So, we know that Blue and Black, when combined, are interested in self-improvement unhindered by morality, while on the other hand, White and Blue believe that society as a whole may be perfected through the use of systems. So of course the first clash is with Black and White over the idea of improvement of self or improvement of society. What Blue says is that, no, we must improve society, for if society may prosper, then so too will I. You see, for a world to reach its potential, it must create an environment where potential may be cultivated. And if a person is not interested in this idea, then to Esper, that person has no place in it.
Esper is not the combination to waste its energy on those who do not share its vision. This is a combination that does have what’s best in mind for its kin, or those under its rule, but it will not tolerate those who would step against the flow of its ideals. You see, where one might be influenced to find order through peace, an ideal guided by empathy, this just isn't the case for Esper, as being devoid of Red mana leaves no room for trivial emotions such as these. They know that only under a unified front, guided only by logic, may we make any progress. And in progress, we gain power, and through power, perfection.
To those who would step out of line, Esper will use the prisons of White, the re-education of Blue, or the swift execution of Black. In any case, a culture is created under the watch of this version of Esper. One where the ideals of progress trump individual rights. “Wisdom can be summed up in two rules: Control what you can. Eliminate what you can't.” What we have here is a belief system that culls weakness from its ranks so that what is left is better for it. I mean, you can't argue with the results. OK, so now you see what happens when we lean into Blue and White’s idea of an ideal society mixed with Black's ruthlessness. Let's move onto our next version, which leans more into its Blue-Black side.
Power of unrestricted knowledge
Power of unrestricted knowledge is an ideal that supersedes humanity and attempts to grasp into the darkness for answers. Esper puts value in the concept that, to obtain perfection, knowledge must be unrestricted by morality and that we must be willing to look for answers from those who reside in darkness. Then, within those answers that others have neglected, we may evolve our understanding of our place within the world.
The issue is that the knowledge that Esper values are one that is often rejected by humanity as a whole, so this pushes Esper into the shadows. In the previous example, we had a group that controlled swaths of society or a whole world. This version instead must rely on like-minded individuals who share their same fervor and resolve.
This version of Esper utilizes White’s piety and belief in a higher power, Black's willingness to seek out what is forbidden, and Blue's curiosity, all combining to form cults or dark brotherhoods. From there, they may gain an understanding and control over the powers that lay outside of man's grasp. You see, true enlightenment may only be obtained by those willing to stare into the void, and from there, a man may evolve to reach heights that it would otherwise keep at arm’s length. In White, these bonds are formed, in Blue, the insatiable desire to learn is fostered, and in Black that curiosity is extended to the dark places of the multiverse.
Resources of Progression
We know that without any Green mana present and with the lack of emotion found in Red, coupled with its already strong belief in perfection and order, Esper is the Shard that views everything as a resource to be used for its ambitions. White states that we must all add to the collective, Black will consume without much thought to the consequences, Blue will look for any advantage it can. What we get is a Shard that combines all of these aspects into a philosophy that perceives the world around it, including its people, as a resource.
Anything, whether it be humanoid life or nature itself, has a more useful or productive form than what it currently is. It is not necessarily evolution, but a sure and careful hand, crafting raw life into a useful machine of progress.
If a tree can be cut down to make a house, should it not? If death can create an endless servant, why should we mourn a life lost? If flesh can become a machine, isn't that peak efficiency? If we set aside our worries of ethics and empathy, we can then take what is lying dormant and unused, then put it to work. To some, they may see the extinction of life, but to Esper, they see the use of life. There is more we can do for the world than simply exist, and this is extended to the Plane itself. We should not fear progress; we should devote ourselves to it.
There is not much more to be said about Esper and its beliefs. It keeps its intentions quite clear. This is a Shard whose philosophy is rooted in a desire to perfect society, a goal unhindered by morality. On some planes, it may be on a large scale, an unrelenting hand that forcefully guides society towards an ever-shifting view of an ideal world. While on other Planes, this concept may be carried out on a small scale with others who share its vision, one of knowledge found in forgotten dark corners.
Only through knowledge may we be set free, and that knowledge must come from places the weak may be too afraid to touch.
No matter the goal, though, the method is always the same. Do not feel empathy for what needs changing, whether that be for a man or the world. Everything is a resource to be utilized on the path to perfection, and it is our duty not just to ourselves but to our comrades to foster progress, for progress is power.
If you enjoyed this one then be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think and be sure to come back to get more articles just like this. Thanks again, with that, I'll catch you in the multiverse bye!
Special thanks to Cameron Davis for his work on Editing the script