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I'm an experienced writer and editor who happens to like ponies.

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The Most Awesomest People Ever

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May
15th
2013

Destiny is one of those interesting topics for me, mostly because everyone has their own idea of what it means. A while ago, Digibrony posted a video about destiny in the MLP universe, and for some reason, I found myself disagreeing with him. It’s not the first time I’ve disagreed without knowing exactly why, but I can usually figure it out after analyzing stuff presented in the show.

Such was not the case this time. The topic has been stewing in the back of my mind since I first saw the video, and I haven’t been able to come up with any real argument against Digi’s video. A few days ago, I finally realized why I want to disagree with him, and it doesn’t have anything to do with ponies but rather a fundamental difference in our views on destiny.

Digi believes that destiny is a predetermined course an individual is bound to follow. Whether he believes this path is determined by genetics, environment, circumstances, deity, or some combination of factors isn’t clear, at least not to me, and doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this blog. I, on the other hand, believe that destiny is a path everyone chooses and builds for themselves. In other words, Digi thinks destiny determines you, and I think you determine your destiny.

I’m not even going to try to delve into the philosophical complexities here and argue which view is “right,” since a) I’m not qualified to do so, and b) I’m pretty sure the people who are qualified to do so don’t have a solid answer themselves (I heard this in a college science class once, so I may be off). What I would like to do is examine how these two viewpoints fit into what we know of the pony universe and also figure out which view is more prevalent in Equestrian society.

Let’s start with Twilight, since she’s the only character so far who’s “fulfilled her destiny.” Twilight’s destiny, according to Celestia, was to become an alicorn princess. I think Lauren Faust said in an interview that she envisioned Twilight taking Celestia’s place, but I can’t find the clip to confirm. Twilight became an alicorn because of her mastery of the “magic of friendship.” She is able to achieve this mastery because Celestia has been guiding her on that path since she took Twilight on as her personal student.

Twilight became Celestia’s student through a combination of circumstances outside her direct control. She has a natural interest and remarkable raw talent in magic; her parents were in a position to get her into a private, presumably elite school for unicorns; and Dash’s sonic rainboom triggered Twilight’s “god mode” (as Digi calls it) during her entrance exam. Based on this evidence, it seems Twilight’s path was chosen for her by innate ability, favorable circumstances, and lucky timing.

However, looking deeper at these evens reveals that Twilight’s own choices did have an impact on the outcome. According to Twilight’s “Chronicles” flashback, her interest in magic began after seeing Celestia raise the sun. She then chose to dedicate her childhood to studying and practicing magic, as seen in “Chronicles” and confirmed by the beginning of “BBBFF” and her general attitude toward studying, especially in the series premiere. Seeing their daughter’s interest and aptitude in all things magical, Twilight’s parents decide to enroll her in a school that will best allow her to explore her talent and interest in a topic she has already chosen to pursue on her own.

Dash’s rainboom triggers a strong magical surge, and while we don’t know exactly how magic works in Equestria, I’ve always thought it was controlled through thought (though Starswirl’s spell in “Mystery Cure” doesn’t fit this idea at all), and Twilight has spent countless hours building and strengthening her mental control over unicorn magic. It’s true Celestia calls this surge “raw ability,” but as I mentioned in my cutie mark blog, talent (which I think is what raw ability means in this context) is often the result of hours upon hours of practice and training—something Twilight has done.

I’m not saying natural ability didn’t play a role. She does cast an aging spell on Spike, after all, which can only be done by the “highest level unicorn” according to “Magic Duel.” However, it is entirely possible that Twilight’s dedication to magic made this surge more powerful that it would have been without the strong connection she had spent much of her childhood building.

Though not shown in the show (yet), Faust said in an interview that she had a destiny in mind for every one of the mane six (still can’t find the clip). The other two I remember are Rarity getting a shop in Canterlot and Dash joining the Wonderbolts. It’s hard to analyze these two in terms of destiny because I don’t feel like we know as much about how they got to where they are. For example, is Dash’s speed a result of natural talent and an aerodynamic body build, or is it the result of her choosing to train and possibly being inspired by a Wonderbolts show the same way Twilight was inspired at the Summer Sun Celebration? Or, more likely, is it a combination of both? And which one determines her destiny? Rarity appears to have a natural talent for finding gems, which helps her make awesome designs, but the reason her designs are so good is because she refuses to settle for “good enough” as shown in “Art of the Dress” and her “Chronicles” flashback—she chooses to strive for excellence and even perfection, which is why she’s good at what she does.

Let’s move on to the mane six’s destiny as a group. At the end of “Chronicles,” Flutters says the group shared a “special connection” before they met. Twi later states that they share a “special magical connection” when dictating her letter to Celestia. Digibrony connects these statements to the Elements of Harmony, pointing out that Twi’s magic surge during her entrance exam looks similar to the magic surge she gets using the Elements against Nightmare Moon. He also points out that the Elements match the mane six’s cutie marks, which they all earned as a result of the sonic rainboom that connected them, and concludes that the mane six were bound to the Elements long before the events of “Friendship is Magic” and that this path was therefore laid out for them.

While this is an interesting theory, I don’t really agree with it. I’ve always thought the cutie mark determined the Element’s form, not the other way around. For example, the Element of Kindness changes to the shape of the butterfly because its current bearer happens to have butterflies as her cutie mark. If Fluttershy had an ice cream cone or tree cutie mark, the Element would take that shape. When Celestia and Luna bore them, the Elements they wielded would have been moon- and sun-shaped. In other words, the Elements change their forms to align themselves with their current bearers’ cutie marks.

As for the statements at the end of “Chronicles,” I tend to think Flutters and Twi mean they and their friends had something in common and were unwittingly affecting each other before they met. After all, Twi says “everypony everywhere” has a special magical connection with her friends, and not every pony everywhere is connected to the Elements.

While on the subject of cutie marks, let’s take a broad look at cutie marks in general. They’re called “a mark of one’s destiny” in Starswirl’s spell in “Mystery Cure,” so clearly the cutie mark is tied to destiny, and cutie marks represent a pony’s talent. Digi rightly takes this to mean that from a young age, a pony’s destiny is literally branded on them for all to see. They have a specific role to fulfil in society, and this role is determined by their talents—what they’re inherently good at doing.

I’ve already mentioned talent being the result of dedicated practice, so I won’t go into it again. However, [url= readers]http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/160994/magic-and-cutie-marks]readers of my blog[/url] will remember my proposal that cutie marks represent desire, not talent, which opens up room for interpretation. If a “mark of destiny” is also a mark of desire, it indicates that destiny is determined by what a pony wants—in other words, they shape their own destinies.

I can’t really conclude which view of destiny is “right” in the pony universe any more than I could do the same for our own. What I can say is that I think there is plenty of room for both views, both in Equestria and in the real world. Whether this was an intentional choice on the part of the writers or the inevitable result of the world we live in is impossible to tell.

So, which view do ponies tend to subscribe to? Well, “Mystery Cure” is the episode that deals most with destiny, and there’s one line that seems to indicate which view Twilight holds. After returning home, Spike suggests Twi’s friends will learn to like their new lives. Twilight responds by saying her friends “aren’t who they are meant to be anymore” (emphasis added). That word meant to me indicates that Twilight believes destiny is not a result of choice but of predetermination. After all, if destiny is what you make it to be, how can anyone say you are “meant” to be anything? If M. A. Larson had used another word—supposed, for example—I might be able to see some ambiguity, but as it stands, I have to agree, at least partially, with Digi—Twilight, at least, seems to see destiny as a predetermined path.

But hey, that’s just what I think. What about you?

~Scribblestick

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#67 · 95w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1919036 okay I was asking because of your bio saying that your an experienced writer and editor

#66 · 95w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1918997 I'm afraid I'm busy with other projects right now. However, there are plenty of groups here on Fimfic with people who are totally available.

#65 · 95w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1261841 can I ask you for your help with a story I'm making?

#63 · 150w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1258580 Oh yeah, the Sonic one. I've been busy/on vacation, but I'll get to that this weekend.

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