Heart of the Order

Looked at honestly, is (Order of the Sith) anything but a means of connecting with, using, and being used by other Sith practitioners? It can be used toward specific ends, for a greater purpose, but it also seems, over time, to have become a thing in and of itself. When you look at it like that though, you detract from what it actually is. What it can be. This order, in the scheme of things, is not very important in itself. What’s important is that it’s here for Sith, solitary practitioners, to use as they so choose. For a while we somehow seemed to fall under the illusion that training is practically the whole point of sites like this… and you know what, for a place that calls itself an academy, that might be a fair assertion. But this is not one of them.

It’s an order, and to put into words the way I’ve looked at it since its inception, it does not decide or even define what a legitimate Sith is. Here, individuals are welcome to share their ideas, practices, experimentations, and whatever else they so desire; inevitably, it shapes the Order, but that is only a side effect. Standards, responsibilities, and many other things begin to take shape and define the place, and they’re challenged, altered, championed… but all of it pales in comparison to the importance of the individual practitioner. Be what you are, and let the chips fall where they will.

It’s as simple as that, and their placement really doesn’t need to be engineered, because to do that is limited, contrived, and indicative of a persons limits. The trials here, for instance, consist of various questions that relate to your own development. They will require you to draw upon your work here at the Order, but their purpose is to get a sense of your comprehension and practice of the Sith Ways, how they apply to life in general, and how they apply to your life in particular. It’s not worth the time or effort when that time and effort can be better spent on things that truly matter. The work you do here needs to reflect the life you live, the person you are. Not whether you’re clever or eloquent. If it doesn’t, you won’t pass.

Membership here doesn’t make you Sith anymore than not being here makes you “non-Sith”. The recognition, the site itself, the connections we make with one another and the systems and methods we build around them… they’re all ripples, manifestations, of real people being here, people who live as Sith. Reptitious talked about a day at his job a while back… that is what makes him Sith. Not his membership here, or the training he’s been exposed to through this place (or others), or the recognition he might get. His practice, his life, may have been affected by all of that, but any recognition someone receives here is, ideally, because of where they’re at and what they’ve become in their actual lives. Without that the recognition means nothing.

The idea of it has always been to gauge as accurately as possible what rank best fits someone in their own lives; it’s one of the main reasons I’m always wary of over-emphasizing contribution here, or dedication, or even responsibility. All of that is necessary for this place to keep going, but none of them spring from roleplaying or intellectualizing. Stolas is another example; look through the forum and you’ll see evidence that his passion manifested in his time here. On Halloween last year he won a costume competition; more recently, he’s shared some of his music. Years before that he wrote an anthem for the Sith, applying his individual talents and passion for music to something here. What he added came from his life.

The same is true of all of us. I’m Sith because I live as one, I go to work and act as one, I get home and think like one, I call a few friends and party as one. Nothing I do is separate from my way of life. I, and others like me, are what give shape to the standards, ranks, advancement of the Sith Way, not the other way around. The heart of an Order like this one rests not in its teachings or systems of recognition, but in the people who those grew out of. The heart of it all, lies within the individual. Over the last few years, we’ve discovered ways in which the growth in the individual can be triggered through work done here, but ultimately, it’s what the individual brings and chooses to take, not what he’s told or given, that makes him a Sith.

(8-24-14)

Altering The Past

People say you can’t change the past, but that’s not really true. All that survives of it is our rememberance, and memory… is just as malleable and imaginary as foresight. In fact, we alter it all the time. Drug addicts in “recovery” re-cast their indulgences as a sickness, as something completely different than what it was when they were high. Their present attitude changes, and that carries over, trasnmuting their weaknessor recreation into something very different than it had always been before, when their attitude was more receptive to the idea of drug use.

Folks change what their childhood was like, all the time: the serial killer who believes, in retrospect, that mommy and daddy kicking the shit out of him was the root of his later habits; the successful corporate douche who rose out of “poverty”. None of these examples apply in a general sense, nor do they mean that there wasn’t a solid, objective reality of what has occured… but all we have is what’s with us of it, in the present moment. Memories that we almost invariably alter in one way or another, in relation to the present, and to the potentials of the future we see in those present moments.

What I’m talking about is reminiscent of a fictional force technique.

When you drop a pebble into a river, what happens? There’s a splash, and then the splash disappears. The splash is real, but the river doesn’t change. It continues on just the same.
~Darth Caedus

Above is a metaphor used to describe the nature of that technique, by one of the most notable characters to use it. He further explained it to his apprentice at one point… and told her that the change was real, but that there was no danger of altering the objective past. Desperate to believe the changes she had made were real, Tahiri pointed out that while the objective reality of the past was unaffected, that pebble is still there. His response was that yes, it was still there, but only in her mind. My point, in recounting all of this, is that you can change the present and future by altering (a persons perceptions of) the past.

He used the flow walking technique to manipulate a woman into learning from him, supporting his efforts and values, and working with him against people they had both considered family, friends, and allies for the better part of their short lives. Not unlike any real, non-fictional person that changes his perception of the past to motivate him or herself, or to gain a sense of empowerment… or even of accomplishment. The only part of the past that needs to change in order to influence the present, is the perception of it. When that is transmuted, the reality of history (personal or collective) is virtually irrelevant.

In effect, for all intents and purposes, it’s changed all the time.

The Past is a Garden

I can’t think of a time when dwelling was ever really a good idea. I’m stubborn, and analytical, so I tend to do it often. But it’s definitely got a cost. There’s a reason I incorporated an aphorism to follow the first actual part of my holocron, the part summarizing my history with the online force realist communities:

The past is a garden of lessons, but chains can grow from any one of them.

Not very clever, but hopefully pretty clear about what I think when it comes to dwelling on the past. Take a walk through the garden every now and then, pick a few of the edibles, and be on your way. Stick around to long, poke and prod the fruits, wonder what they are, and they’ll sprout chains. To a point it’s unavoidable, we all walk into new chains all the time, but doing it when there’s no need is just stupid. Just as stupid as beating yourself up for being stupid of course, but the fact remains that if you’re being mindful you don’t always need to get wrapped up by shit like that. Walk in, pick a few fruits, and walk out. Instead of having the fruits of the past in your grasp, still on their trees and stalks as you study them, pick it, bite it, and decide what it is, whether you want more, based on how it tastes.

This isn’t a particularly unattached existence for people like me, what we learn is felt, tasted, judged. It’s visceral, and indecision, long pauses, tunnel vision, all get in the way of the next experience, the next step. “The Dark Side is a thing you must be enthralled in – in the grips of it, immersed in it, married and devoted to it – to truly perceive, appreciate, or understand. (~excerpt from ‘The Dark Is Nothing’). Continuing to move forward, evolve, grow, is part of what defines this path.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Right? Right.

Related to the Above

The Honesty of Darkness

The Room

Light & Dark (OotS Discussion)

The Dark Is Nothing

Wanting to Believe

It occurred to me recently, when seeing someone talk about how much they want to believe in a benevolent creator, that maybe most people have that desire. That desire to believe some creator set things in motion, and that it all has a purpose. But there’s this question that pops up in my head, completely sincere: Why?

I don’t understand it. Never will.

Even if there was a god, it wouldn’t be one to believe in.

If ever there was an exercise in futitlity…..

My Old Lectures

Sometimes, I’d like to disown some of the lectures I’ve written. Like when someone references it in a discussion. Or when I happen to be revisting some of my own, and see one that’s gotten worse with age. Fortunately the ones this usually applies to, with how far back they were written and the age I was, that’s not to much of a real issue… It’s not that I ever really want to pretend it was someone else that wrote them, it’s that I’ve come far enough in my understanding and actual practice that I pretty much just look down my nose at those past writings. None of them are that bad either, to be honest; especially not for what they were at the time.

Some of them, I even have enough fondness for to rewrite. I did that with The Necessity of Power. It’s just that I’ve come so far since writing things like Power, Arrogance, & Corruption and The First Line: The Lie, I hardly know where to begin when I think about revisions. They seem so alien to me, and clumsy as hell. The message wasn’t conveyed clearly enough, the tone wasn’t as confident or definitive. When it comes to catologuing though… whether they fall under the category of what I’m talking about here or not, it would be nice to have some of the dates for when I wrote them. A select few… their age really ought to show as much as possible, because they’re just so far off from what I might say now.

That is, if they’re included, because in the end maybe they just don’t deserve to be archived or preserved. Case in point being with something like Power, Arrogance, & Corruption. You could probably find it somewhere anyways, with enough research. But as far as making an effort to keep it “logged”, so to speak, it just isn’t good enough to include. I kind of revisited the same things I wrote about recently in Arrogance & Modesty, and while that’s far from what I’d consider an adequate ‘replacement lecture’, it still gets across a more up to date understanding of arrogance than what I had back when I wrote my first contribution to the written lectures of the Sith.

We’re All Selfish

“Genuine selflessness usually lies in the more mundane of actions. Of course giving 10 bucks to a charity is indirectly self-serving, it makes me feel better contributing to the community. However, getting up at 6 AM with the kids so that my mother might get some much needed rest, is not. That’s because I love my mother and I want to make her life a bit easier when I can.”
~Anirac Morgan

And yet…

“That’s because I love my mother and I want to make her life a bit easier when I can.”
~Anirac Morgan

I’m failing to see how it’s not self-centric.

Nothing you can do will ever revolve around someone else.

There’s a difference between being self-absorbed and being self-centered. There’s also a difference between those two things (both categorized hapharzardly by you and Vandor as ‘selfish’) and ‘true selflessness’. The latter is mistakenly believed to be different because of an incomplete awareness. See the above quotes. Self-centric, despite that you’re not focusing on the source of your actions.

We’re all selfish. Recognizing that is just a matter of self awareness.


(Posted in Happiness & Service ♠ a discussion thread at the Force Academy.)

Contamination

Written June 27th, 2011…

Masks are a relic of the past when it comes to conveying what my path is all about. So is aloofness, escapism, playing the victim, forsaking compassion, and so on. As is the shrewd selection of ‘proper’ friends. I do not “pick my company wisely”. I interact with people in the world around me, and I contaminate them; not the other way around.

I know, I know; we are not islands unto ourselves. Blah, blah, blah. I know. But the influence other people have on me is up to… guess who… That’s Right! Me. And the avoidance is not my only option in dealing with influences I don’t care for.

I am the way I am.

I know the kind of qualities I admire, and the ones I despise. And I’ll say so. Some people don’t like honesty, and they avoid me. People more akin to what I like, and that like me, tend to gravitate towards me. I don’t move out of the way of people I don’t like, nor of those that don’t like me. They want me out of their world, they’ll have to run, ’cause I won’t.

I am open to the virus of undesirables, the contagion they carry, but I try to be aware of how that can affect me, how I want it to affect me, and I decide. I do not believe in avoiding them, or their weakness and decadence. I am the one who decides how people affect me. When it comes to Me, their power is within Mine.

(Inspired by Luciana)

Note: this was a journal entry from one of my more memorable journals online, the one I kept at the previous version of the Order of the Sith (before we moved to new web hosting). Don’t have much to say here at the moment but I happened to log in today and remembered this was in my drafts folder.