Izzet Color Pie Study | Definitive Duality
The combination of Blue and Red, or Izzet, is one of true inner conflict, a battle of the heart and the mind. It's a combination we often associate with wild magic and science and yet there is a greater truth at the heart of these colors, one that goes beyond that of its typical representation in Magic the Gathering. In this article I will guide you through the core conflicts of these colors, all in an effort to find the space in between their opposing ideologies, that way we can truly understand the pairing of Blue and Red. After this article is done you will have a better grasp on the characters we meet and the factions we encounter who fall under this combination. What's more is that you may even see yourself discussed in this set of colors as well. With that said, put on your thinking cap and follow your heart into our first conflict.
Impulsive vs Methodical
On a Macro level the conflict that best represents these enemy colors is that of the methodical mind versus that of the impulsive heart. In literal terms the brain works as a system of switches that help guide us through life using proven paths that we have discovered through trial error. In abstract terms the heart is the inner self, the guide that is spontaneous, it pulls us here and there based on impulses and emotions. In this way Blue is the color of one who plans things out, of one who acts in a methodical manor, just as Red is the opposite, allowing itself to be swept away by impulse. In this way the combination of Izzet is one that wrestles with these two guiding forces.
The interesting thing is that this conflict is present in every one of us. Some can remove impulse from their life and live a completely rigid lifestyle and thrive in it, while others will follow the winds of their heart, casting aside any structure, but for most of us it is somewhere in between. What we do know is that for an Izzet personality both must be present for we cannot exclude one of the colors. This then tells us that the Izzet personality is one of two things, either a person who fights with both forces constantly, or that of someone who has found a balance.
In my mind a balance can be hard to reach without one more color's' influence and since we are talking about the pairing of Izzet and not that of of the wedge of Jeskai then I believe that the Izzet character isn't necessarily one who has a perfect grasp on both sides of the argument, but rather someone who struggles with it. Just as the heart nor the mind can ever be fully ignored, the Izzet personality is one that struggles as well. They can have a well laid out plan and still see it brought to ruin through their reactions to events, as the pull of the heart can outweigh any methodical process for them. Just as the heart may feel stifled when structure trumps that of its desires.
This isn't to say that either will always lead to a corruption of the others values, in fact the mind of a Blue Red person can accept that this is the function they have been dealt. It is then this, no plan can outweigh an impulse that must be followed and no impulse should lead to total chaos. In this way an Izzet personality is methodical so that it can be impulsive in the refuge of its own design. One is the mechanism to experience life while the other is the safety net that allows it to do so. As to be carried away by one or the other would lead to a life that felt incomplete in either regard.
Emotion vs Logic
If we break open the conflicts of our previous discussion we find two concepts, and those are emotion versus that of logic. What I mean is that impulses are the result of emotion and logic is the mechanism behind that of the methodical mind. Both logic and emotion are at odds with one another because one is the rejection of the other. You see, Blue regards emotion as the folly of man while Red deems logic as the casting off of our true self. In many ways both are right, and once again this is a conflict found within us all, one that is all too human, but for us we often weigh one more important than the other.
It must be stated that neither can be ignored in the case of the Izzet aligned person. What is emotion, when it's combined with that of a logical mind then? Can a logical mind find that there is truth in expressing who we are? Well yes, through logic one could surmise that there is truth in emotion, and on the flip side could it not be said that logic is the refinement of emotion, the taking into account of every aspect of ones self in order to find a satisfying conclusion? To help you visualize this dichotomy I want to do an exercise. Look to a time when you knew what you should do or say and yet you could not pull yourself away from where your heart was leading you.
Love in many ways is the greatest example of this. We know what we should do and yet we act against our own interests for the sake of our deep seated emotions. On the other side of it, have you ever convinced yourself not to do something even though your heart tugged at you to do so, simply because it was not the logical decision. To me this feeling, this gnawing that is conjured up is Izzet. If you feel this about more things than that of our single example then perhaps this combination is true to you.
In many ways the combination of Red and Blue is defined by that empty and anxious feeling. Not empty in a way that is incomplete but rather a desire that is never satisfied. It is a combination that perhaps struggles with its balance, with one side winning out over the other depending on the situation. There is never a true balance in between, as logic will always be remiss to lose to emotion, just as emotion rejects logic wherever it can. And you know what, that's fine. There does not have to be some perfect place between. Of all the enemy pairs it can be said that this is the one most comfortable in that turmoil. For neither the heart nor the mind can ever be truly be ignored. This inner turmoil leads us directly into our next discussion
Chaos vs Perfection
An ideology defined by the conflict of heart and mind leads us to a conclusion based on their output, and that is chaos versus perfection. Its no surprise that when Red follows through with its beliefs it is a color who has no true structure to its way of life, following ones impulses and emotions fully can lead to a chaos of being, and yet Red thrives in this very way. The opposite is then said about Blue, it is a color who finds purpose through rational and methodical thought, with an eye out for perfection, a concept, it is said, that cannot be found in chaos and yet here we are. The interesting thing is that this representation of the combination, that of chaos and perfection, is the one we see the most in Magic the Gathering. That of the scientist who plays with chaos to inch closer to discovery or that of the artist who crafts perfection through expression. There is something to be said about those who can dance between the ying and yang of these ideals.
The card Expressive Iteration states this better than I ever could “Prismari students dance in the tension between passion and perfection” You see it's just that, a constant tension between these two states of being. Yes perfection is not quite a state in literal terms. Rather in this context it relates to a person who looks for the perfect outcome in life wishing to shed chaos. So in this way the truth of this combination is a tension of being, and yet through this push and pull the Blue Red person is someone who can thrive even though there is this gnawing of self.
To me this conflict is a yearning for both sides of the coin. For one they want to push the boundaries of what they feel comfortable with, to dance in chaos and yet their eye is always looking for that one discovery that will take them to their ideal self, the perfect vision. There is a playfulness here, one that spits in the face of safety and yet acts with purpose. When red is alone there is no perfection, just action, and when Blue is alone action can be stifled by the pursuit of perfection. In this way Red frees blue from its shackles and Blue guides red beyond its impulses. It is not a finding of the perfect space between but rather an addition to each others ideals that creates something new in that chaos.
Present vs Future
If we take on a wider lens to our discussion on Izzet there is an idea that is touched on but never said and that is the conflict between the present and the future. Much of the beliefs of Blue lead into this idea of creating a better future. Acting in a manor that is efficient and yields the best returns based on a logical outcome for itself. What's more is that the idea of perfection is an iterative process which aims to shape its future. The opposite then can be said about Red. If one is always following their heart, impulses and emotions, then one is very much in the present. Red does not look to the future or how its actions effect it, and to Red, that is how it should be.
So then where does this leave us with Izzet? I believe it's then that same gnawing feeling we have discussed before, that of of both wanting to enjoy ones life all while looking to what the future holds. For this idea I think of the artist who wants to master their craft but does not want life to pass them by. What I mean is that our life is limited, if we always look to the future we will miss the present and if we only look to the present then the future may be tainted for it. So once again we see that Izzet is a combination always in flux with such strong ideas pushing against one another.
In no way can either truly be satisfied without the degradation of the other, and yet once again this is where Izzet plays and I believe play is the perfect word to use. The Blue Red person has an ideal self envisioned. One who can both experience life and one who shapes it. This is not to say that they ever get either right, but rather, that they may bounce around between the two. They may spend their summers dancing in the moonlight, but then toil away in the winter, in some ways ashamed of the time wasted but truthfully fuller for it. They master their craft until the call of their heart pulls them away, then once their heart is full they focus on who they want to be, satisfying their vision of the future for themselves.
Like I said the Izzet personality is not one to find a perfect balance, said once more it is that gnawing feeling. The push and pull of the future verses the present. There will be times when one wins over the other, and they hyper fixate on that one thing until it does not feed them anymore and they move on. That is why I use the example of the artist, as the artist needs to experience life all while desiring to master a craft. The tragedy is that neither can truly be fulfilled in the short life we are granted. As there can always be something to experience in the present while there can always be something mastered for the future.
As we have learned Izzet is the combination that dances in extremes of being, a conflict of the heart and mind. When both Logic and emotion are present in equal measure there will be this constant struggle to fill a hole in ones self. A hole that is not bread of emptiness but rather one that overflows and yet never remains filled. An Izzet personality may experience more than most in their lifetime, and yet, will lay on their deathbed wishing they could have done more. There is a beauty and yet a sadness here, but to those who fall under this combination they would not dare shed one or the other color, as this turmoil defines them. So if you feel I have revealed your personality here, do not fear the gnawing at your heart, lean into it and perhaps even you will find perfection in chaos.
Thanks for reading my latest article in the definitive duality series, the only series you will need when it comes to understanding the color pairs of Magic the Gathering. Stay tuned as over the course of 2023 we will be releasing the rest of the color pairs. Consider becoming a site member that way you can be notified when the next article goes live.
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