Fragments

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

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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.

The Star Wars Canon

I’ve come across a link to an article (Lucasfilm Have Convened A Star Wars Story Group And They’re Working On Defining A Single, Coherent Canon) basically explaining just what the mouthful of a title implies: an effort to synthesize the “core” mythos of the six movies and the expanded universe. It’s for continuity, for a ‘coherent canon’. But I guess what I’m failing to understand is… what, exactly, makes it so incoherent right now?

As far as I know most of the expanded universe lines up pretty damn well with the films; what doesn’t, well, doesn’t even line up with the rest of the expanded universe and is already deemed “non-canon”.

Back when there was talk of abandoning the expanded universe when putting together the story for the new Disney created movies set to come out, I didn’t get it. You’ve got a whole galactic history spanning thousands and thousands of years, and pretty much all of it ties in together neatly. Who in their right mind would disregard that?

The talk about reworking the hierarchy system of Lucas’s “core” works as he primary, and the “expanded universe” as the secondary, seems somewhat reassuring. It still leaves me wondering though, what exactly does the work of this “story group” consist of? The currently designated “canon” is, as far as I can tell, almost entirely coherent already.

Take a look at wookiepedia sometime: there’s an existing distinction between non-canon that doesn’t match up with everything else, and canon that does. They’ve done a pretty good job of that over the years. I guess what I’m saying is, they don’t exactly have a lot of work cut out for them, because it’s already been done gradually and (imo) pretty effectively over the years. A quote from the article…

“Anyway, it’s clear that Lucasfilm and Disney want to tie all new Star Wars anythings into the same continuity, and I can’t say I blame them.” ~Brendon Connelly

Well hell man, neither can I.

It just kind of puzzles me that they could think there’s all that much to do in the way of tieing things together for continuity. Unless there’s a lot I’m just totally unaware of; which, I suppose, is a (remote) possibility. After all, all except for one of the book stores in my town are gone, and I almost don’t count that one because it’s mainly a used book store.

They’ve only recently branched out into carrying new books, and acting as a middle-man for people that want to order one through a store instead of through a computer. It’s still slowed me down a bit though, in staying up to date on every detail of the newer developments. So who knows, maybe the canon designations for all the difference stories need re-examined with a magnifying glass… I just kind of doubt it.

Whatever happens though, I’m looking forward to the new movies. Hopefully they have enough sense to build on – or at least refrain from contradicting – the expanded universe. If they can do that, then they won’t have to worry about killing my interest in the new movies they’re planning to put out.

Notables of 2013

Oh what to say – or even think – about the past year, for this blog. I usually don’t reflect on it that much, and I definately haven’t done so in “proper” blogging fashion. There was one post, probably the first year Maleficus Amor existed, where I listed a few things I was looking forward to – (which, by the way, I very much enjoyed, with one exception). But I rarely do well timed holiday posts to say Merry Christmas (for instance). So I guess this year must be a fluke, because I did a holiday post on the 25th and here you are, reading this.

So, how was 2013? In terms of this blog, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great. Writing posts here is a secondary priority at best, and often times it doesn’t even make it that high up, proving to be a distant question mark on the list. With how much this place has been neglected though, ultimately… it hasn’t been half bad. Hell, so far the tally now is up to over 20,000 views. No, all things considered that’s not bad at all. Given that, I guess I’ll furnish some highlights in ‘celebration’ (or whatever) of the past year here…

Notables of 2013

Feeling Darkness
A Monster
Chains of Shimmersilk
Apprenticeship
The Critics’ Trap
Arrogance & Modesty
Where’s Your Focus?
Sojourn

As far as other websites go… there’s plenty to tell, I suppose, but overall things have worked out pretty well thus far. That’s the long and short of it, for the moment. If you want to find out more about them you can always sign up at one of them (Order of the Sith), but I’m sure I’ll end up touching on that stuff here before to long into the new year, so if it’s of any interest you can also just wait for that to happen. In fact, you can probably expect something by tomorrow, if not within the next few hours. In any case, that about does it for this post.

Ladies & Gentleman…
Happy New Year.

Blog Updates

A few new pages here have been up for awhile. They’re still kind of works in progress, but the indexing has come together rather nicely. I organized it by year, so the list isn’t ridiculously long per each section. Each sub-page is titled for the year of its listed posts (e.g. 2011, 2012, etc.), with it’s parent page being Lest We Forget.

The lectures I’ve written (and favor enough to have posted here and, in some cases, touched up), are listed, as is some of the poetry… however, the whole Vanitas section is still a work in progress. (By the way: “vanitas” is latin; feel free to look it up if it’s of any interest).

I’ve also been posting aphorisms. Started doing that on twitter, actually, but with the “aside” feature for posts I had been mostly using for quotes, I decided to post them here to, in a similar way. Who knew twitter would actually have any uses beyond the obvious ones.

I’d have included some of the quotes from others, but, well, it didn’t quite click with the way I wanted to use them for this site, so I’ve been using some of my own cute, concise one liners. That might change, but we’ll just have to see.

Sojourn

It is a constant struggle for me to cast aside dead skin, or burn it away, to keep from being smothered by it. It seems as if I am always in danger of asphyxiating on the ashes I can’t help but inhale, or suffocating as I make my way out of the husk of old growth that’s wrapped around me. More often the latter, actually, because it takes an intense flame to burn it away and I don’t seem to always have that. And so I wrap myself in dead skin, like a cocoon that’s warm enough, comfortable enough… and miserable enough, but that I’m compelled to break out of.

Even in creating a journal I’ve struggled in trying to reconcile it with the ones I’ve kept in the past; the intentions behind them, the value they’ve had, how I might find inspiration from the way I went about writing in them. Again and again I kept getting stuck on the possibilities, and worrying about a new journal I’ll just lose interest in writing in if I don’t figure out how I want to go about it, and what intention the tone should be set with. But I’ve finally decided to just say fuck it. See, I know better. The idea, as ever, is to choose, and act. Far more effective an approach than over-thinking and getting all indecisive about it.

I’ve returned many times to the question of what a journal is, what purpose it serves, and I have plenty of answers. To many. This is one of those times I’ve had to collapse the overwhelming amount of possibilities to bring the important things into focus, because a journal can be used in countless ways. Reflectively, contemplating memories and lessons of the past. Actively, tracking progress in the present and leaving a trail that can be looked back on later. It can be abstract, intellectual, centered around ideology, concepts, and explorations of one paradigm or another. Or it can be visceral, emotive, filled with emotional texture and tied inseparably to the context of the present moment of each and every entry.

As a notebook too, a collection of quotations, rough notes, fragments of thought, preserved bits of text from external sources, and personal studies of people, methods, experiences, or anything else deemed noteworthy enough to put into a book of notes. And it can be a place to preserve certain lessons, exercises, assertions, and any other material one might wish to be showcased in the manner of a journal, a sort of disorganized compendium to store less refined materials and unpolished writings. There’s really no shortage of possibilities.

So to choose and act, I am incidentally brought back to the sweet scent of ashes I all to often get seduced by, only to choke on. As unintentional as that circle jerk was though, I don’t think arriving back at some of my own self made, fiery dust is going to have the usual effect. It was made from something William Blake said about desire only being restrained if it is weak enough to be restrained. That, and a poem I wrote a few years ago. Neither being likely to trip me up because I arrived at them quite by accident. See, it might be a struggle, but that’s how I operate, and I just keep on ticking. This is what brought Blake’s words to mind…

When there is a want, there is a way.
Whether it’s found depends entirely on how bad you want to find it.
I wanted a journal that felt right, and now I have it: Sojourn.
Which, like this blog itself…

is whatever I want it to be.
A managerie of poetry.

Filthy love or clean hate.
Parts of the self I won‘t sedate.

And other things from inside of me.
Begging and tearing to be free.

Unplugged…?

Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

Daily Prompt: Unplugged, October 8th, 2013

I guess I kind of play it by ear. When I get tired of all the different parts of the online world, when I feel overwhelmed by all the different things I might do, or all the things I probably ought to be doing, or even when I can’t make myself feel interested in any of it, I just take a break. The “how” of it is pretty simple: I just don’t bother going online, or don’t sign on as frequently as I usually do, and don’t go to more than one or two different platforms. Basically, I don’t bother if I’m not feelings moved to it. I suppose that’s really the long and short of it… at least, in terms of how I currently approach “unplugging” (though I have to say, I don’t usually think of it that way, it’s not normally that deliberate).

I’ll Eat Your Heart

Cartoony Heart

We all want something.
Or lots of somethings.
You do, and so do I.

We’ve all got hearts.
You can follow yours,
And I’ll follow mine.

But if you take what I Want,
I’ll eat your heart,
If only to please mine.

daenarys-eating-heart-600-thumb-560x300

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)