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Thread: Essence vs Form

  1. #1

    Default Essence vs Form

    Yeah, so I think it's about time we have that talk we've all been putting off. We've beaten around the bush, but let's just get it over with and face the elephant in the room.

    So, I'll begin. *ahem*

    What. The. Fuck.

    StarCraft I

    The StarCraft I spoke of essence and form several times, summarized as follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by StarCraft Manual
    ... Traveling thousands of light years into the burning core of the galaxy, the Xel'Naga eventually settled upon the volatile ash-world of Zerus. The Xel'Naga planned to continue their Grand Experiment of evolution, only this time they dismissed their tenets of physical and focused chiefly on the pursuit of a distinct purity of essence...
    Ostensibly, the Xel'Naga pursued this route because;

    ... The inherent essence and sentience of the Protoss developed far too rapidly, leading to bitter strife and division between them and their creators. The Xel'Naga deemed that the purity of form they sought to create had been sullied by a conflict of essence and thus decreed that the Protoss were, in fact, a failed creation. The Xel'Naga abandoned their children and launched themselves into the void.
    Now, over Zerus, the Xel'Naga stepped back to behold their work;
    The Zerg, despite having an extreme physical handicap, had succeeded in not only surviving, but in retaining the purity of their terrible overriding essence. The Xel'Naga knew that they had achieved their goal.

    Meanwhile, the Protoss bemoaned their lot in life.

    [The Protoss] believed that the Xel’Naga had been right to abandon them and that because their racial essence had been corrupted by the rise of ego, they were indeed a failed creation.... The greatest hope of Khas was that the Khala would instill a new sense of essence and vitality within the Protoss race. Slowly, many Protoss gave up their ages-old feuds and rallied behind the ever-growing legions of the Khalai

    From these passages we've assumed a simple definition for essence and form: Form, quite literal as it seemed, referred to a being's physical aptitude.
    [The Protoss] were incredibly adaptable to harsh natural conditions and climates. Their strength and speed were unparalleled [...] However, their most distinct aspect was that they communicated with each other through a very complex method of instinctive telepathy, allowing them to operate communally with striking efficiency.
    And thus the Protoss conformed, at first, to the Xel'Naga's model of a creature "that would be defined by a distinct Purity of Form." Strong, adaptable, powerful. Able to enact physical change in the universe with skill and efficiency.

    The Zerg's Purity of Essence, on the other hand, was implied to have stemmed from the Overmind itself, which served as manifestation of all their hopes, instincts and intelligence. Essence is who and what you are, and what you plan to do with your strengths.


    Enter Abathur

    Now here comes Abathur, that hoarder of teleonomy.

    Essence

    From the conversations between him and Kerrigan, we are presented with a surprisingly philosophical perspective. To Abathur, the Evolution Engine himself, perfection is unattainable, but it is the pursuit that matters. In philosophy this is called entelechy; continual becoming, but never attaining.

    In the vain hope of perfecting, Abathur and the Primal Zerg absorb essence. Simply, it is the genetic structure underlying an ability. Expanded from there, it is implied that all the experiences and accomplishments of a creature's successful ancestors are given form in DNA, which may be harvested and used by Zerg. DNA itself is almost deified among the Zerg.

    Essence in definition has now been altered; rather than your intelligence and force of will -- who and what you decide to be -- it is now all that which you are. It is all potentialities, all paths given form. It is the change in the universe crystallized in a few million base pairs wound together in a double helix.

    Form

    Now, that leaves Form. What is form? It is clear our prior understanding has been invalidated by HotS; the Protoss have become more human with each game. They require technology and psionics to protect themselves from the elements, otherwise they are helpless. Turn down the thermostat enough and whamo, Protoss Pops in the freezer. The Zerg, however, go, "COME AT ME BRO!!!" and beat nature at its own game.

    So far we've learned the Zerg are incredibly adaptable and versatile. The only thing they cannot assimilate is that which is wholly antithetical to them, namely the Protoss. The Protoss are contrasted by being stolid, stodgy, ill-equipped for change. They are the stagnation to the Zerg's potential.

    Form in definition has now been left curiously nebulous and fallowed. Where it once stood for adaptability and strength, it has now been stripped of all that. Form, the noun, has been assimilated by Essence. So is Form, the verb, all that remains? The ability to form psionic abilities? If so, Kerrigan's beaten the Protoss at their own game.




    So where are the Protoss left standing in this? What advantage. Do. They. Have? There's nothing special about them physically, and Kerrigan has proven humanity has greater psionic potential. In all respects the Protoss seem frozen in time.



    So, I shall conclude thusly. Essence vs Form: What. The. Fuck.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    Form is also known as... beauty. :3 Protoss things are REALLY pretty!
    I've fought for the Terran revolution, I've seen the promise of the Protoss, and now I'm ready to join the might of the Swarm...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    The way you put it VoK, it sounds like Zerg purity of essence is actually purity of form. Maybe the Xel'naga accidentally switched them at their conception and had kept messy research notes?
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  4. #4

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    The way you put it VoK, it sounds like Zerg purity of essence is actually purity of form. Maybe the Xel'naga accidentally switched them at their conception and had kept messy research notes?
    I know, and that's how it seemed! The Zerg take in DNA and channel it into their many forms, adapting to anything and everything! The Protoss can't do that...
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    How blizzard came up with those concepts:

    -Person1 at blizzard(metzen?):''Mannn I was thinking we could do something cool for our tyranid/alien and eldar/predator. Ya know like make them contrast each other with like deep stuff. You know like our zergs are gonna be purity of essence and our protoss are gonna be like purity of foooormmm."
    -Person2: ''Bro! That's amazing! Those words are like so deep and stuff! What does it mean though?''
    -Person1 : ''It's like perfect form man and like essence is like so abstract and powerful! Get it man!?''
    -Person2: ''Yeah...''

    That's pretty much how they came up with ''vision'' too. Oh and the ''power of the void'' too(seriously, what is that supposed to be?? Magic? Kinda... At least it's more concrete I guess).
    Last edited by sandwich_bird; 03-20-2013 at 11:37 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    Zagara: "What is... vision, my Queen?"
    Kerrigan: "To Abathur's torture chambers, you go!"


    Seriously. It was like Kerrigan beat her over the head with a rolled up newspaper every time.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    I think 'vision' is what you need to witness 'the entropy of entire realities'.

    But about the redefinition of purity of essence, I can't add anything. I have not yet found a coping mechanism for this one.
    Zeratul: I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities...
    Aldaris: Did not! That doesn't even make sense!
    Zeratul: Shut up, I totally did!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    Well you are kinda right... but the purity of from vs essence battle was kind of a little messed up back in sc1. The zerg only used their bodies while the protoss had to use tech? I think essence is more like the continual drive to be something more while the purity of form is the ability to be an allpowerfull being. The protoss have their bodies with all their physical abilities, but their true form... is the archon a force that can take on anything and everything. The problem is that Tassadar and Adun have been the only ones to truely be able to master that form, which is where legacy of the void comes in.

    Also I believe the concept of form vs essence come from ancient greece or rome. Could be wrong though.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    I've always understood that form was the individual and essence was the collective. Originally, the Xel'Naga weren't going for purity of form or essence, they were going for outright perfection. They hoped to find this in the Protoss, but when the Protoss started fighting and severed themselves from the Khala, the Xel'Naga realised that while the Protoss may have had purity of form, they had a conflict of essence.

    So they turned to the Zerg and decided, forget this entire form business, let's try for purity of essence alone. To avoid the conflict of essence observed in the Protoss, to avoid the dangers of competing egos, they created the Overmind. With the Zerg they crafter something that had purity as a species, rather than a species that had purity in its individuals.
    Zeratul: I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities...
    Aldaris: Did not! That doesn't even make sense!
    Zeratul: Shut up, I totally did!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Essence vs Form

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodthegod
    Also I believe the concept of form vs essence come from ancient greece or rome. Could be wrong though.
    You're right. I was looking into concepts such as teleonomy, hexis, entelechy and energeia when I originally wrote the post. A lot of that comes from Socrates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodthegod
    The protoss have their bodies with all their physical abilities, but their true form... is the archon a force that can take on anything and everything.
    Y'know I hadn't considered the Archons. It is the ultimate expression of the Protoss, both Khalai and Dark Archons. But even these are simply two halves of something greater. When combined, they can create something that nothing can withstand, probably even Kerrigan. Tassadar's Khala/Void Archon obliterated the Overmind; and combining the Uraj and Khalis unleashed worldwide holocaust on Shakuras. And we all know VRs had to be nerfed, so there's always that, too.

    But this particular expression of "Form", if that's what we're going to call it, has happened, what, only twice now? The Zerg have been mastering the universe in pursuit of essence, whereas the Protoss have been regressing ever since the Xel'Naga left them.

    There have, however, been other clues to a deeper potential in Protoss. The Overmind remarks that the Protoss haven't even begun to use Khaydarin to its fullest extent, a sentiment echoed years later by Ego Stetman.

    Perhaps it was the Protoss' pursuits and egoes -- their selfishness and rage on the outset of the Aeon of Strife -- that somehow blinded them to their own innate potential. I mean, we know that they're afraid of themselves. Maybe the Protoss we're seeing are just shadows of their former selves? Maybe it's their ability to combine individuals on a psychic level that will finally bridge the gap between Zerg and Protoss?



    Will Zeratul and Kerrigan form an Archon to defeat Amon and finally resurrect the Xel'Naga in their truest form? Because I have the strangest feeling that of the three main characters -- Raynor, Zeratul and Kerrigan -- some of them won't survive LotV.

    That's given me some good imagery, I should draw that.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

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