The Edge of Transformation by Kennian
Runner-Up for July 2022
On Becoming Necessary
Necessity: being required or indispensable; the principle according to which something must be so, by virtue either of logic or of natural law therefor a condition that cannot be otherwise
In your youth, people tend to make you feel as though you are necessary to this world in one way or another. Your parents are kind, creating this idea within you that you somehow belong or are required for the Basin to continue existing. Your parents are cruel. You are needed to take out their anger and withstand their punishments. You. Are. Necessary.
When I was young, my family, my father especially, told me that I would accomplish great things. I would bathe the Basin in Light and cleanse it of all things unholy. In this way, my presence in the world was a necessity, in my mind. I never questioned otherwise. It is easy to believe you are important when you are surrounded by people who tell you so. Likewise, it is easy to assume that importance makes you an indispensable being.
When you believe you are important, you work to maintain that importance at all cost. You grow weary but push forward in an effort to maintain this completely unearned facade - trying to convince yourself you deserve it.
When you believe you are important, you try so very desperately to convince those around you of the same. You look for ways to enrich every life, regardless of how small, and search for the things you can do for others.
As life progressed, a thought crept into my brain. For days, weeks, even months, it washed over me, coming in waves of differing intensity - "What if I'm not important?"
After all, if I was sent by the Elders and guided by the Supernals, why was the Basin not cleansed? Why was the entire city falling to apathy? Why was my very best effort not accomplishing anything?
This brings us to the true meaning of necessity and it revolves around one simple thing - the goal. If your goal is to cleanse the world of the unclean and bring Light to all, you will fail and you are unimportant. If your goal is to protect the weak from the horrors of the Basin, you will fail and you are similarly unimportant.
When you give yourself over to the true goal - creating a world where progress is fueled by Innovation and dedication, you become important. While not all cogs are required in the wheel of progress, the ones that spin with purpose and push others forward become necessary.
Once the necessary pieces are determined and lined up, the goal can be pursued. This requires Precision.
On Becoming Precise
Precision: marked by or adapted for accuracy and exactness; the fact of being accurate
With renewed purpose you can work toward a central goal. This goal should always involve the betterment of one's self, others, or the world around them.
In order to achieve this goal, you must take precise measures, starting with determining what must be kept, what must be improved, and what must be discarded entirely. This is often no easy task and must be approached with a highly analytical mind.
During my time of weakness, after determining that my goal must now be to stamp out the Light due to its uselessness and misguided, blinding ideals, I fell into self-reflection first. What was it about me that needed to be changed, improved, or discarded? What held me back from my full potential?
After reviewing what made me weak - a need to impress my family, a need to help those who didn't deserve it - a need to maintain my unearned feeling of importance - it was easy to see which pieces needed to be removed.
The tools available to you can vary, of course. However, the selection of the instrument is just as important has developing the goal and analyzing the subject. While others may throw up their hands when they are missing what they need, a truly dedicated cog will seek out these tools by any means necessary, understanding that progress needs a cost. Those that hold you back or otherwise hinder your ability to gather what you need, must be snuffed out. There is no cost too great in accomplish what you've set out to do.
Obtaining your tools, you must begin the process of change. It is an easy mistake for the unpracticed to remove too much when attempting to perfect the being. In my case, while ending my connection to my weak bloodline, I lost the confidence in battle that came from being a warrior family. I mistakenly saw a connection there that didn't exist. Amidst the blood and gore, with tools that are too sharp or too dull, when disrupted in mind or body, it can be nearly impossible to see all of the interwoven components you are dealing with. This is how you hone your Precision. Through mistakes you learn to steady your hand as a surgeon does. In an error lies the opportunity for growth.
This includes freeing those around you from the trials of a life they are unworthy of, if necessary. One may walk the streets of the Engine, but their footsteps do not swirl with the taint and their mind does not yearn for transformation.
On Becoming Innovative
After scraping away that which makes you weak and unnecessary, it is time to rebuild the areas of yourself that have been lost. Likewise, in the world around you, the trimming of the useless leaves room for new growth. The key desire here, though, is not only to revive a thing in its previous form, but to enhance it during the process. After all, why kill a weed only to craft another to grow in its place?
Innovation starts with ideas. Walking for so long on one path can make it extraordinarily difficult to craft thoughts that branch out to new and better things. It is vital, especially in the beginning of your regrowth, to surround yourself with those who are strong in areas that you are not.
Opening your mind is, in itself, Innovative. Steal shamelessly the knowledge of those around you, but do not keep it for yourself. Look for those with potential who would become strong.
Stripped of all that weakened me and exposed to those around me who would see me bettered, I set out to achieve my goal - approaching a man of knowledge and science and requesting to be transformed. Transformation of the mind must come before transformation of the body.
Once I came to understand what true transformation meant, the work on my body began to shed my lesser forms and uncover my inner viscanti. Through scalpel and infusions, blood and pain, I was not only healed but enhanced.
Innovation is a wheel that, once set in motion, must continuously be pushed to stay in motion. The moment you stop pushing is the moment progress halts. Perfection can never be achieved. Those who consider themselves perfect have succumb to stagnation, perhaps lacking a goal or perhaps lacking motivation.
Initially, I had thought to play on my strengths to push myself forward. I crafted designs and focused on things that I knew I was good at. After learning more of the Chiurgeon, I came to realize this is not Innovation. This is stagnation. While I was doing things, I was simply doing the same things repeatedly. To begin exploring areas I've previously avoided, I've chosen to write a book.
To move forward one must seek the unknown and conquer it. One stamp out their fears and inhibitions, finding instead confidence and motivation. Only then can you truly reflect the tenets of Necessity, Precision and Innovation.