Shedding Things

“The Force will change you. It will transform you. Some fear this change. The teachings of the Jedi are focused on fighting and controlling this transformation. That is why those who serve the light are limited in what they accomplish. True power can come only to those who embrace the transformation. There can be no compromise. Mercy, compassion, loyalty: all these things will prevent you from claiming what is rightfully yours. Those who follow the dark side must cast aside these conceits. Those who do not, those who try to walk the path of moderation, will fail, dragged down by their own weakness.”
~Darth Revan

I think the idea put into words here, of embracing ones own transformation, is a quintessential part of what a Sith is. And it fits in nicely with the idea of monsters (that is, as a lens through which the practice of Sith alchemy can be applied to individuals) that I’ve explored off and on. How the two relate? To stop thinking so much, and start being, mercy, compassion, equality, guilt, shame… a great deal of notions lots of people like to hold near and dear, they start to fall away. They’re shed, like dead skin from a snake.

“A monster is a person who has stopped pretending…”
~Colson Whitehead

From some of my notes: A monster is someone who has stopped lying to himself. For a while, after discovering the value of it, he tests this new approach of honesty. It’s taken not just with himself but with other people. He drops all the bullshit, the posturing, the masks, the armor, and even the composure; it’s taken to the extreme. But in time it always comes back to the self, full circle. For while learning to express your true nature is essential to the evolution of a monstrous soul, it is just as important to restore the lies that had previously protected others from you, so that you might now protect yourself from them.

Putting it that way, it sounds worse than it really is when it’s truly understood. I don’t have to actively lie to keep myself at a distance or hidden from others, none of us do. All I’ve got to do if I want to keep something from someone is not say much about myself. Thing is, engaging in this actively only works in the short term; long term, your spirit, the real you, always shines through well enough for someone to see. So aside from it being a learning experience (both in dropping all pretense and in learning to use pretense), it falls away in the end to. Because it circles back again to just being what you are, with minimal self-conceptualization.

The intellectual elements involved are just a doorway to walk through in a lot of ways, and after that they become indulgences. Wanted by some, maybe, but not really needed and not always the best means for stimulating further transformation; it can be pretty easy to get absorbed in the reasonswhy‘, the justifications, the mental gymnastics, but that absorption is usually a sign of getting bogged down, stagnating.

However, contrary to what’s said in the red text, rotting isn’t stasis, it’s a part of the process:

“Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem for the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.”
~Pat Barker (Regeneration)

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