discussions

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.)

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Questions on Standing

“Where do you stand? Are you above others? Below them? Or do you see yourself as equal to them?”
~Alethea Thompson, Jedi Master

The answers these usually illicit tend to speak to a persons dispositions and self perception, but in answer to all of them, I’d ask for context. Are you better than me at reasoning, in debate? Then you’re above me. Are you ranked higher than me in an organization? Then in that context I’m lower than you. Am I better at you in creating prose, able to build a wider audience and yield more votes in literary competition? Than in that context I’m better than you. But there’s no fixed answer, so any broad stroke given as a response to these will always fall short, save for one: we are not equal.

In any given situation, at any given time, for any given purpose, when you compare one individual to another someone will be better than the other. I always believe I am above others though, because if I pay attention, if I’m perceptive, if I’m mindful, then I can see who I’m above. Further, I can see who I’m below and how, and trust that all it takes for me to shift into a higher position is the desire to (follow through on that desire goes without saying).

“How does this impact your life?”
~Alethea Thompson

My outlook, my perception on the matter of equality, on comparing and contrasting people, translates into greater efficiency. Simple as that.

These are the initial thoughts I had when I read a thread started by Alethea entitled Above, Below, or Equal?.

Do ‘Losers’ Matter?

A guy came to the FA about a year ago presenting his “vision for a real Sith Order” and advertising his website. I think it (the guys website) has actually progressed a little since then to. It’s not exactly my kind of thing, especially in that even when measured to other similar sites his Sith Academy is still a relatively young one, but I also don’t think it’s a waste of time to browse through it every now and then.

Of course, I guess you’ve got to keep in mind that I’m generally not as dismissive of people like Sean or his efforts as others tend to be; I find the newer sites, especially those in their infantile stages and/or appealing to a younger audience base, to be interesting most of the time, and I like watching how they progress… and, more often than I would like, how far they go before they’re shelf life runs out. But getting back to the discussion started at the Force Academy…

Sean (aka Imperius) decided to call it quits and, I guess because nobody really jumped at the idea he was talking about and people criticized the content and mannerisms of his little presentation, said that the FA was a forum of losers, and that moderators could feel free to lock or delete the thread. (Because of the loose regulation/moderation there niether of those actions were taken , so you can still read through it if you want: My vision of a real Sith Order.) That brings me to what I really wanted to post about: Irvine’s response to the guys decision to abandon further discussion.

“Surely your model of gaining social control requires precisely that you would gain the support of ‘losers’. ‘Winners’, after all, would be potential competitors.”
~Richard Irvine

The funny thing is that, at the time, everyone seemed to be treating Sean/Imperius like a loser, yet what Richard said could just as fairly have been applied to us. Granted, most people at the FA probably don’t have even remotely similar aims to those expressed by the would-be Sith Master, but Darksiders tend to be elitists and – assuming some degree of prudence in how one might deal with people one might deem lesser – the approach suggessted by Richard still seems relevant – and in the context of this discussion, could have just as easily been suggested to us.

(Originally Written December 8th, 2012 // Last Revised January 30th, 2013)

The Cancer Cell

(Written July 18th & October 24th, 2012)

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
~Edward Abbey

Without direction, without purpose? That’s an interesting notion. But maybe it does have some kind of purpose that just seems irrlevant to the one the cancer is killing or harming. Lack of known purpose doesn’t mean lack of purpose. Not knowing what it is doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

“Cancer is fundamentally a disease of failure of regulation of tissue growth. In order for a normal cell to transform into a cancer cell, the genes which regulate cell growth and differentiation must be altered.”
~Wikipedia

Really, this reminds me of some of the conflicts that went on as the shark tanks population began to grow sparse, during the last days of the sixth dynasty. To some, the discussions – often petty, malicious, even short-sighted – might have seemed like cancerous growths. And perhaps they were. But they served a purpose.

In that sort of context, few seem to understand or acknowledge their purpose or comprehend what the presence of them might signify. But they have their value, as an indication of how far along in the cycles the people, the place, and the overall community might be in the midst of. Among other things.

It’s an illness of sorts to, just like the real deal. The part that isn’t entirely literal is that it isn’t fatal, at least not nearly as often.

(Written July 18th & October 24th, 2012)

To Remain Silent

There’ve been times when I find myself with a choice of whether or not to practice silence. Whether I’m faced with a conversation I might not want to get involved in or come to a point in the midst of a discussion and find I might not care to pursue any farther, the reasons I might become or remain silent is anyone’s guess. Take a discussion on The Futility Of Morality at the FA for example; I’ve said my piece, and really don’t feel I’ll be gaining anything from continuing the back and forth between me, Cole, and Unjust Jester. Cole and I happen to disagree, and I think we’ve got a fair understanding of each others perspectives on the value and credibility of statistics, the subjectivity involved in different individuals determining whether they’re acceptable ‘support’ for an opinion, what constitutes a leech on society, who or what might be refere to as a ‘leech’, and so on.

As a sidenote: what I think is really awesome about that discussion is that even with the periphereal  issues we’re discussing, Unjust Jester and William just kind of went back to the original topic of discussion, seemingly unhindered by the topics we branched into and the friction present in the differing opinions on them. If you don’t like topics being derailed, feel free to take a fucking page out of their book. That’s the way to handle it, it’s usually effective, at least in terms of engaging others with the topic you wanted to talk about, in a way that encourages others to talk about the same topic without further derailing it by bitching at people that converse and end-up branching off from the original path the discussion was taking.

Another example that comes to mind, and that I’ve pointed to once before, is when I appeared to ignore Ben’s critique of my attitude and approach to leadership of the Dark Aspect. In that, I really didn’t feel the criticisms were of merit and decided it would be a waste of my time to address them. I could have, alternatively, chosen to use it as a platform to explain myself on some of the things he raised, but that wouldn’t have served my intent either. So I refrained. Silence doesn’t equal agreement, or disagreement. Really, it doesn’t necessarily indicate anything in particular. The only thing you can be sure of is that people have their reasons – some don’t care about the subject matter, others are afraid of looking like they’re stupid or being made to feel that way. And still others are interested in the topics at hand but act (or refrain from action) deliberately, to serve a purpose.

(Written July 30th, 2012 / Relates to Restrained Passion?.)

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Because I Say So

“As an atheist, you can very well choose to prescribe morals yourself.

Ultimately, anyone can say ‘this is wrong because I SAY SO’ . Sure then you can go with the ‘oh I say it isn´t wrong’, but…”
~MeMyself (excerpt of his response in a discussion)

The discussion I pulled the above from was linked to by Aemilius in his holocoan at the FA (Liber Aemilii). The guy (or girl?) I’m quoting goes on to one of them citing laws, and those being the collectives “I say so”, but this is where the whole idea of “might makes right” comes in, the way I look at it. Just because you “say so” doesn’t mean a damn thing unless you can enforce it. Sometimes, you can turn to laws to enforce your view, to bolster your efforts and asserting it and maybe even imposing it. Other times, they don’t have enough weight or inspire enough fear to back your play. And of course on the other side of that, sometimes the collective “because I say so” is enough to intimidate you into compliance, and sometimes it isn’t. At all depends. Point being, it seems to come down to the idea of “might makes right”.

Networking Stuff

I recently discovered I can change the titles of the links I share on Facebook, which is awesome. On the Force Academy pages on Facebook (both the Force Academy page and the Dark Aspect page), discussions, open training, and other things from the forums get shared there, but what’s bugged me since the DA page was created is the titles of the links.

To give you an idea of what I mean, when I posted/linked to a topic started in General Discussion on Using Anger, it showed up on the DA’s Facebook wall with this title: The Force Academy – View Topic – Using Anger. Maybe it’s just me, but that looks… messy. When I posted/linked to Love Your Anger, the one on the DA’s page looks messy to, but the version shared on my wall reads: Love Your Anger (an FA discussion). To me, that looks better.

Now, I should say ahead of time that I might not modify the link titles all the time, sometimes I just won’t feel like it. I’m not going to make it to where posting there to my satisfaction is such a pain in the ass for me, with tweaks and changes to be made in abundance everytime, that the page won’t get updated. But I do have to say, I like that I’m able to tweak it at my convenience.

Oh, and on another note, I changed the background for my twitter account (@DDraconis), and think it looks a lot better now. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t take any longer to load and for some reason the color for the links I tweet has changed to red, which I also rather like.

Hope (A Hollow Stimulant)

I always liked the way Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker put it in Revenge of the Sith

“Anticipation-“
“Is distraction. I know. And I know that hope is as hollow as fear.”
-Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, just before their last battle with Tyranus

That is, hollow in the same sense as I am. Hollow as the dark individual. There’s something there, in that hollow, but unless you’ve got intimate experience with it (and maybe only if your enraptured/immersed in it) it simply seems hollow. You just need to know/learn how to fill the void it represents. It’s a component of the dynmics involved in the gravity an individual possesses. Passion, or a black hole is ‘hollow’ in a similar sense, I think. (ref. Life of a Star, rough version/draft of The Dark Is Nothing & Fragments on Gravity)

“I found freedom. Loosing all hope is freedom.”
-Rupert(?)

It all depends on what you do with it. I see a lack of hope as freedom in a similar way to death being freedom, albeit to a lesser degree. If by ‘freedom’ Rupert means disconnected or not invested or not interested, then I guess losing hope equates to losing freedom.

A loss of hope can be liberating in the same sense that if you’re content or happy with all that you have, if you make yourself feel like or believe you want nothing more, you have the “greatest wealth” already. Like Khaos said, if it works for you then fine. But to me that seems like slave mentality, like a choice of weakness over strength, seeking contentment at all is, in that context… trying to be content with what you have instead of suffering the burn of desire, greed, or ambition is just weak.

“I do think “hitting bottom” gives you a good place to start off from though. Sort of a lease to act(which most don’t, and even those that do, only a few do honestly and in accordance with their will) because something is better than nothing, and in a real essence you can in fact, do anything. Perhaps, what you want to do…..I know, a novel thought for most.

Hence the saying “Things can only go up from here!”, lol, but most of us know better, and that there’s always lower levels that one can fall to. Still, I think that saying exemplifies hope in way, no?

Or as my first CPR instructor said, if it comes to the point that you have to perform it, you can only help at that point, so being a afraid of screwing up is an irrelevent thought.

Granted one does like to perform it as best they can, but I mean c’mon, when the heart ain’t pumping and they aint breathing, anything’s better than nothing.”
-Khaos

Yeah, there’s that to. It’s a stage to pass through in that case though, kind of like passing through the world of victim. But yes, I’ve seen that (and been there) to. Settling for it is the problem, at least for me, and it seems like that’s what a lot of people do.

“It has been said that only after you’ve lost everything are you free to do anything. Would you agree with this?”
-David

I think people can do whatever they want, right now. I can pick up my computer, throw it through my window, and trash both window and computer. I can go buy a gun and shoot someone. I can burn the bible. So can you. You might lose things in the process… a computer and a sheet of glass, your ability to roam as you please beyond the confinement of a prison, the respect of your christian neighbor, respectively. You can help a kid on the side of the road fix his bike, do a few errands for a friend, take your best friends girlfriend (who, let’s say, is a good friend of yours) to lunch. These have consequences, reverberations, too.

To have to lose everything before having ‘freedom’ is just a way of being less attached or invested or touched/affected by the consequences. It’s the easy way out, so to speak. You can do things without dealing with as many repercussions, I guess, but your losing out on the upsides as well as all the possible losses, aren’t you? It seems likes a way of going about life, but…. not my (only) way. (“Strong hope is a much greater stimulant of life than any single realized joy could be.”-Friedrich Nietzsche)

“The real question is, how can one tell what “working” is if they’ve never experienced it.”
-David

I think people generally know, on some level, if their life isn’t what they want it to be. Maybe emotionally, intuitively. If someone has never experienced it “working”, then they’ve at least experienced it “not-working”, or so I would think.

(From Hope | A Discussion at the Force Academy)

Treachery Is Everywhere

The following pertains to a discussion at the FA entitled The Treachery of Language. Questions arose concerning the negativity of the title, and the supposed focus on weakness instead of empowerment. The assertion was made that the discussion was titled/labeled in a “dis-empowering” way. 

My opinion on the title being “dis-empowering”…

Treachery is everywhere. The world is a treacherous place.
And I believe treachery is, in fact, empowering.
So many contradictions in life.
So many dissonant situations, conversations, events, people, beliefs, etc.

“That’s why you must always remain receptive to the currents of the Dark Side, because no matter how nimble you are, or think you are, the Force will show you no pity.”
-Darth Plagueis

Echoes of the Past

A few fragments of past discussions at the Force Academy.

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“But looking at this aspect now I find myself wondering if all the flavours and colours of passion are embraced here?”
-Salome

I think so, but the ones more commonly seen are those manifestations you named as being prominent, “fighting, anger, aggressive engagement”, at least in the forum because, in the given context these are the most beneficial manifestations. And of the mind, ever since I read a phrase on one of Kukai’s sites (forget which one), I have thought it best when passion marries reason. After all, what are we beyond animals without our precious intellect? And what are we but automatons without our passions?

(Written February 9th, 2010)

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I’m curious of something that’s bothered me occasionally for years. Why is it that some of us that walk a dark path insist on belittling the concept of darkness? Simply the absence of light? Is that all it is, because to me it is much, much more. A blanket, to be shrugged off at some point? Another stab at it!

I wonder if anyone is familiar with a poem in the novel of “Star Wars: Episode III”, in which it is said that the dark is patient, because even stars die out in time.

(Written April 5th, 2010)

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“So the question I ask is, do you think there is a difference and if so what in your opinion are the differences between a Darksider and a Sith?”
-Smite

People’s opinions might give you food for thought, but this – at least to me – is a question of spirit, not intellect, and the answer should come from within. Nothing says you can’t share it for discussion afterward and allow it to evolve, to be forged, but I feel you ought to ask You first.

I could offer my opinion, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll offer a question for you to ask yourself. If you cannot discern a distinction for yourself, then why do you call yourself Sith? Your answer, I suspect, will either show you the distinction or you will not find one and ought not bother with claiming yourself a Sith.

I don’t know what you’ll answer, or if you’ll answer here, and I don’t really care either way. But ask yourself your own question along with mine… ask yourself, for the only worthwhile answer.

(Written October 22nd, 2010)

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To me, the Dark is more vast than can be comprehended. It’s similar to the Force, in my mind, or rather, how Tao is refered to. The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.

As for separating Light and Dark… I don’t know about that. I’ve come to see light as a transitory element of darkness, decieving when stepped into. I’m not arguing against it, even in the way that light is viewed as it pertains to my own life. But it’s a set back, a stage to be passed through. Often, many more times than once.

“So if Darkness isn’t something you actually have, like and want – I don’t see any reason to seek it out just because it’s some kind of mythical ultimate “truth”.”
-Pelar

I have it, I like it, I want it. But this is coming from an understanding that I am an individual, and therefore I am darkness. Of course, that’s a limiting perspective, if the individual (be it you, me, or joe smuckatelly) is seen as limited. But I think that, as you said, since energy and matter don’t dissappear, they just change form and state, the Individual, me, my chosen focus to look through, is infinite.

I don’t know if I’ve communicated what I want to… it’s not something easily articulated on an intellectual level for me, it’s more like something to be experienced, felt.

(Written August 18th, 2010)

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I think I do need emotions and feelings so that I may live, personally. Otherwise, I would theorize that a sort of spiritual decadence would ensue, if not physical death. See, I reason that emotion is a manifestation of passion, something I have come to consider to be the ‘fuel’ of all life. Further, I think emotion is manifested, in most instances, as a way of overcoming impediments to my passion. I feel a lack of emotion would be evidence of me lacking passion, or – to put it more accurately – being out of touch with my passion. Existing in such a state, completely out of touch with my passion, my will to power, my innate desire to expand, is not something I see as desirable.

To reduce the above, I think ‘feeling’ is necessary to living, and if I want to live than naturally I would need to feel. My thoughts.

(Written June 22nd, 2010)

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“I think that’s part of the reason why people try to set aside feelings and emotions throughout the process, especially when making judgments concerning future situations and past experiences, in order to control the situation better, and make a unbiased judgment on the current situation.”
-Azrael

But what exactly is the real problem here? You yourself seem to think it is that people in large part seem unable to properly deal with their feeling, and so they attempt to set them aside. That’s called avoidance on the basis of not being able to handle something.

Contrary to the popular solution, I think it smarter to learn how to deal with my emotions rather than run from them or, as some people like to word it, to “set them aside”. That’s how I choose to approach my emotions anyways.

(Written July 1st, 2010)

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