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Friday, January 17, 2014

Talent and Destiny

This illustration by Matt Curtis is for a pretty intense scene in Book #4, "The Saeshell Book of Time Part 4: The Ceremony of Life". A quote from the book in this scene: "Such is the fate for all Children of Sophista. For as soon as they see how good life can be, they no longer control their destiny."

Not only is this scene an apex for the dramatic tension in the storyline, but it is also a philosophical apex of sorts. Much of the storyline for the serial is metaphoric for the lives of some gifted children. Usually their talents are shackled or limited in some way (there are a lucky few who might be able to claim otherwise) and a gifted child must go through a sometimes convoluted process of self-discovery to find those talents and then a painful process where they become comfortable using and then developing  those talents. But the stinger the book warns about is that once those talents become apparent, the kid may not be the only one interested in those talents becoming well developed. At points in their lives, perhaps, they feel like screaming, "I am not my talent," because they want to be recognized as a living being capable of fully experiencing life even though the way they experience it may seem quite different or unusual.  So the warning buried in the book is that as the kid discovers the pleasure of being able to use their talents fully, that those talents they love using may become a shackle via other people's expectations that controls what they are forced to become---their destiny no longer is theirs to command. In the past, those expectations might have been set by caring and well meaning people. But today, where the ease of commercial exploitation is the value by which everything and everyone is measured, this forcing of the child's destiny is no longer benevolent but simply profitable.