The Way Of Bane

(I pulled the following from a discussion I participated on at the FA towards the beginning of 2010. There’s a link to it at the bottom of this post if anyone’s interested in the context of this response.)

I’ve always rather liked Darth Bane, though there are some points in the characters beliefs and practice throughout the trilogy centering around him that I disagree with.

“Why choose a bitter, angry, abused-so-abusing, never-truly-happy character as a source for wisdom?”
~Pelar

I’ll address this, briefly. Bitter? Yes, to some degree maybe. Never-truly happy? Perhaps; but some feel entitled to their bitterness and, at times, rightfully so. Anger, well it’s something a lot of people, myself included, can identify with (though I do not agree with focusing solely on anger when there is an entire spectrum of emotion; ditto for happiness). I wouldn’t really describe him as abusing though *shrugs* . Anyways, that’s just a little of my perspective on the fictional Sith in question. From where I’m standing, I can see the appeal.

That being said, there are numerous emotional technique’s I don’t see as effective and, in some cases, see as mentally and emotionally crippling. Not to mention a select few philosophical disagreements I have with the beliefs of various fictional Sith, Bane included. A few attempts to elaborate…

“Follow the path that embraces suffering, drawing strength from the ordeal.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

I identify and agree with this, to an extent. I see it as completely sensible, but if you take it at face value and see it as the entirety of the concept – which Bane admittedly did in the story – then, well, let’s just say it’s lacking, not looking at the whole picture. I believe in embracing suffering, embracing pain, growing from it and seeing it for the oppurtunity it is. However, that only becomes necessary when pain and suffering occur. It alludes to part of the path, not the whole path. I also advocate embracing pleasure, thriving on joy, etc. The whole idea, to me, is to “draw strength from the ordeal” by embracing it, whatever the ordeal may be.

“Feel the anger, welcome it, embrace it.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

As with the above, I agree with this to a point. Replace “anger” with any emotion you please and, to my mind, you have a sound, effective approach to emotion.

“Regret, remorse, pity, guilt are worthless emotions. They mean and change nothing. Feel anger.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

Out of context, it doesn’t make as much sense, but in context of killing someone for the death of a dear friend, I can see this as a valid perpective, which is the context in which Bane conveyed his opinion on what his apprentice was feeling about killing for the first time.

“Believe in self. Be more than just a servant of prophecy. Forge your own destiny through strength and cunning.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

All I can say to this one is a resounding “Hell Yes, Precisely”. I’m a strong believer in the potential strength of the individual, in the power of choice. I completely agree with this one.

“Transform pain into anger and hate.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

Ah, and here is one of those techniques I view as potentially detrimental to the individual who uses them. Now, I won’t go so far as to call it invalid, because in my experience it isn’t, at least not completely. However, if this is a person’s sole approach to emotion…I’ll put it this way, we men and women tend to be creatures of habit.

“Only the strong survive.”
~Smite (his rendition of a Darth Bane quote)

This is another I’m fond of, on that coincides with the belief that equality is “a myth to appease the masses” and that equality “binds the weak to the strong” both of which I happen to agree with. With regards to survival of the strong, my entire life this has been re-iterated. While this world isn’t always brutal, it sure as hell can be at times. You either toughen up or die, in the spiritual sense if not literally. And seeing as how there are weak willed people and strong willed people, diversity in talent, ability, and potential, and so on, I’d say equality is a lie. Equality under the law is fine on the societal scale (in that one is able to get relatively fair treatment), but aside from law and a society as a whole, the weak either hide from or are subjected to the will of the strong. Now, don’t get me wrong, me desiring and working towards {inner} strength has nothing to do with making the weak serve me or any such nonsense. No, I strengthen myself and try to evolve so that I am not subjugated to the will of anyone else and so that I may have power not over others, but over myself.
________

“Words of wisdom can be found anywhere, in almost any book, even a cook book. What separates this trilogy from any other work?”
~Miles

I agree. The only thing that really seems to separate the Darth Bane trilogy from any other works is its appeal to those who came upon the Sith path by way of the Star Wars Mythos, which I must say does not demand it be elevated to a kind of “training manual” as it were. In that, we certainly see eye to eye.

On last thing to address…

“- Assassination is quick, clean, & effective. (Have you ever tried to intentionally hurt someone and find it “quick, clean and effective”?)
– Mercy, compassion, loyalty: all these things will prevent you from claiming what is rightfully yours. Do not fail & be dragged down by these weaknesses. (What exactly is the game being played here? What are its objectives and rules? Who’s the “winner”?)
– Show the power & strength of your will to those who stand in your way. (There’s always a bigger fish. What do you do if it’s in your way?)
– Always obscure truth with half-truths, to blind and confuse your enemies. (What about your “friends”?)”

~Pelar

I’ll just offer my answers to each of these questions, for the sake of further attempting to communicate my thoughts.

– Yes, I have tried, and successfully hurt someone, and more than once. I don’t take kindly to people hurting anyone in my family, so yup… Though I’ve never killed anyone, and don’t ever really plan on it; I doubt I’d ever try to assassinate anyone though, that’s a bit chickenshit to me, and screams pre-meditation (which wouldn’t exactly help me out in a coutroom).

– The second question I can only repeat your questions to you, what game? Winner? BTW, nothing wrong with loyalty in my life, so long as I keep it confined to those I love.

– What do I do if a bigger fish is in my way? Well, I get out of its way or, providing that’s not viable, I get eaten and digested. I pick myself up and turn the pile of shit I’ve become {due to just being digested} and I work on getting stronger again, reaching a higher peak than I previously had.

– Well, the friends you treat with respect and, with it, some degree of wariness. There’s usually no need to decieve someone that you’d consider a real friend unless you think it absolutely necessary which would obviously have to be decide in a case by case basis by the individual.

Hopefully that conveys some of my thoughts on this.

(From The Way Of Bane | Written January 4th, 2010 | I’ve altered certain parts slightly for the sake of clarity, but it’s basically the same as when I originally posted this in a discussion at the FA.)

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