TL;DR: Spoiler Alert: It isn't about the destination, it's the journey that counts!
Originally Written: 18-Nov-2021
Word Count: 1263
Read Time: 7 minutes
Readability Score: 71.3 (7th Grade)
One of my greatest heroes in modern times is Aloy.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven't played Horizon: Zero Dawn yet and intend to, please do not proceed.
Side Note: Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the greatest stories I have ever played through.
Aloy does not have a last name, for her birth under was mysterious circumstances and the matriarchs could not agree whether she is a gift or a curse.
In a tribe upholding the matriarch, a child with no mother to claim it is anything but acceptable, Aloy was labeled an outcast.
Raised by a man considered dead by many, even to himself, Aloy had a hard time being an outcast.
Wherever they went, people of the tribe, including other outcasts, were forbidden from speaking to them.
Imagine feeling like your very existence in this world is a problem to people.
Not anything you did by choice, you just existed!
What the fuck!
I digress, but in doing so am making a point. One not revealed unless you read further.
Aloy questioned her existence constantly as a result of this.
I mean, who wouldn't?
What kind of worldview does one have if the world views one as not belonging in it?
Probably one that attempts to justify itself as meaningful to the world it doesn't feel a part of.
In fact, meaning is what Aloy chased her entire childhood as she trained to become good enough.
Good enough for The Proving, a ceremony that would give her the chance to join the tribe at last.
A chance to earn what she felt would be acceptance.
A chance to learn the origins of her birth.
A chance to understand why she was not accepted in the first place as she was.
Her hard work coming to fruition, Aloy achieved a goal she thought would grant her meaning she sought.
Meaning she sought for her entire life to rid herself of the feeling of not being good enough.
But, as it would turn out, her success was met with title alone.
There was nothing about her life, other than a status, that had changed.
She still felt like an outcast, shunned from a tribe she now had to protect as its strongest hunter.
An obligation of any member of the tribe.
Not only did she need to protect them, she now had the ability to leave the lands she grew up in, without recourse, in order to venture off to places completely unknown to her.
Forging her own path to a whole new world, if you will, on behalf of the tribe.
Wherever she went, she helped those who she came across who were not able to help themselves.
In fact, nothing was too menial or mundane for her to address.
Neither too bloody or barbaric in its objective.
Aloy was raised a hunter and, not only a hunter, but one taught to use their skills to help others.
In a world where robots roam the lands freely and attack humans without warning, my thoughts are that the skill sets of a hunter are, how do you say, in demand in lifetime.
With cunning instinct and access to technology lost in an age long forgotten, she excelled in her ability to track down and deliver on any hunt, errand, or objective she sought out to complete.
Over time, she became known for her ability to help others and, eventually, even leaders became dependent to her skills and prowess.
However, none of this was doing anything for Aloy in the cause of finding her purpose, which, to her, was why she was born in the first place. Who was her mother? Why did she not claim her?
There was much to do in the realm of helping others and discovering the secrets of the Old World, but she was pulled by something driving her to find out the real meaning of her existence.
Who wouldn't? With your very existence questioned as valid from birth, I can imagine one would feel compelled to do whatever was in front of them that would give them what they felt they lacked.
Driven by a desire to discover her purpose, Aloy uncovered secrets that, once revealed, prevented her from being able to unsee it.
Aloy's desire to understand her purpose led her to discover something incredible.
She was the genetic clone of a woman named Elizabet Sobeck, a person with incredible gifts at a young age that led her to become one of the greatest minds in artificial intelligence and robotics in her day.
Not only that, Elizabet led what became Project: Zero Dawn, a massive, top-secret terraforming system designed to restore life to Earth after its extermination by the Faro Plague.
The plague refers to the rogue swarm of war machines that caused the extinction of all life on Earth in the mid 21st century. Centuries of evolution, converted to fuel for these robots.
Not a human soul survived and, if it weren't for the actions of Elizabet Sobeck, from design to execution of her ideas, no one be alive in the world Aloy now lived in 3040, some 974 years after the human extinction back in circa 2066.
Aloy, the genetic copy of Elizbet, was beside herself with the level of achievement this person did for, not only the human species, but all life that came after Zero Day, the day that all life ceased to exist on Earth.
Learning of her origins as being born of machine and not being the descendant of a fellow human, Aloy still had questions. In fact, she had more questions than answers.
What was her purpose, if not to just be the clone of someone great who came before her?
As it would turn out, Aloy would go on to be the same, selfless human that Elizabet was.
Learning she was the key to unlocking what would be the only way to override a particular problem, Aloy was overwhelmed with the responsibility she now shouldered.
Risking her life to save humankind, Aloy stepped into her potential as a human being through discovering and achieving her purpose: to discover herself as something meaningful in this world.
Perhaps the greatest moment of frisson I experienced from witnessing Aloy's journey when she had a literal chance to declare herself as Alpha Prime.
Not only a chance, she had to in order to save life on the planet. There is such power in that.
What if being the key to overcoming your obstacles merely required declaring oneself as more than capable of overcoming them?
What if it actually required it?
An outcast given few reasons to believe in themselves as anything important did the work necessary to find her purpose, realize her purpose was to find her purpose, accept it, and then stand in it.
There is something powerful about the declaration of oneself as important to the cause of anything.
It puts your desires out into the universe as a potential to reach.
The point isn't to even reach it.
It's to try in the first place.
Just like Elizabet did.
Just like Aloy did.
If you haven't heard of and/or played Horizon: Zero Dawn, you are missing out on something incredible.
There are many ways to connect to the content we consume, but this was how I did.
I would be too if I felt the need to judge someone for how they cope with a particular feeling in life.
I'm sure you have your ways of dealing too.
I just happen to share mine.
My gift, to you.