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.

Mindful Corruption

If strict adherence to set instructions doesn’t sit right with you, then don’t adhere to them. Twist it to be used in whatever way you feel is best. The end result may not be what any instructors might have wanted you to get out of it, but the point is ultimately to get something out of it. I’ve always approached lectures, exercises, and means of training with the idea that they are meant to serve me. Whether it’s as their creators intended or not.

On the other side of that, I’ve long since learned the benefits of mastering something – skills, techniques, etc. – ‘properly’, but basterdizing these things into something I feel more in tune with or that I like better is always a possiblilty. It’s part of what has often made the teachings from one Sith to another so diverse. No one feels bound to honor the intent of the teachings from Sith that have more experience, or that were around long before they themselves were.

That is, of course, different from when you’re involved in a one-on-one training arrangement. If you aren’t looking to learn something via the manner a more experienced practitioner wishes to teach it (more or less), then there’s very little point to it. But in terms of independent and solitary study… I say be mindful of the possibilities. If you come across material that seems like it’s to much to handle as is, or that resonates in spirit but not quite in the details… play with it.

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.

Helper Monkeys…?

Yep, helper monkeys.
The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

It’s not something I was sure about posting here, but then I figured… fuck it, why not. Maybe someone will find it to be of interest. If it’s not, you can always skip over this post. I’ll probably put out one more “end of the year” post after this, maybe list a few ‘notable’ posts from 2013. Then, if you’re like me and only mildly interested (or not interested at all) in posts like these, it’ll be over. I might post something about the reader’s choice thing at OotS, which (sort of) has to do with “looking back” at 2013, in a sense, but it’s a little different, and as it’s almost midnight right now it probably won’t be posted before the new year begins.

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.

Arrogance & Modesty

There’s something to be said for demureness. Brazen, unapologetic arrogance has been all the rage at times, but it doesn’t suit me. Of course that’s far from saying I’m humble (lower, or less than), or that I’m lacking in arrogance, but pride, confidence and modesty aren’t mutually exclusive.

For me, their co-mingling has always been the most to my liking, the most honest demeanor I’ve been seen to embrace and express. It’s an interesting shift in perspective on this, for me, if I look at how it’s changed over time, because years and years ago I wrote what was probably my first ‘lecture‘ (entitled Power, Arrogance, and Corruption) and the essence of it was a warning about the danger to oneself and ones progress posed by becoming arrogant (the tell-tale sign that power had corrupted).

Somewhere along the lines though, I ended up on the other side of the spectrum. It started to look to me as though humility was a cop out, a nifty device to fall back on; in other words, a person being humble only acted that way because they couldn’t handle the baggage that comes with arrogance, and they didn’t want to admit that their weakness – their inability to act or feel secure in their sense of importance – was the reason.

On some level, I still think that’s right on the mark, but what I’ve since realized is that the two (arrogance and modesty) aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s one of those things that seems like it should have been obvious, but it took a while to fully dawn on me. Not to long ago, I was of a like mind to something David Edge said…

Pride and arrogance are so easy a child can do them, seemingly. The problems people have with pride and arrogance is that it is NOT easy to do, at least not well. So, in an effort to mask inadequacywe have conceptualized humbleness. People think its better to claim theyre not playing than to admit they play poorly.”
~David Edge

At first glance the statement he made didn’t seem to me to leave any room for humility or modesty; that is, if you were someone that could ‘play well’. If that is really what’s meant by it, then from that perspective any sign of humbleness or tendencies to be unassuming becomes anathema, signs that you play poorly and don’t want to admit it. At least that’s the way I took it for a while, kind of on the other end of the spectrum from my earlier views, and I came to agree with it. But my view of all this has changed as I’ve reflected on it lately.

The way I see it, arrogance tempered by modesty is playing par excellence, because I still have an underlying belief that I’m better than others, but I don’t usually assume that about any specific ‘somebody’ I meet or talk to or don’t know. I’m very unassuming in that sense, in that I take people as they are. It just doesn’t take away from the underlying belief I have that I’m better than other people, generally speaking.

As far as the cost of such a stance… if I interact with you, whether it’s the first time we’ve had an exchange or it’s the thousandth, my view and attitude towards you specifically isn’t going to be affected in a ‘bad’ way by my ego. If I don’t know you, then I don’t know you, so there’s no reason to say “I’m better than you” or, really, even think it, because I wouldn’t know (yet). And if we’re talking about someone I know, then what I think about who’s better than who is going to depend on context and on what I know about that person.

(Written awhile ago, still more or less applies…)

Talking Dead

I finally watched the latest episode of the Talking Dead (the one that followed last Sundays episode of The Walking DeadIsolation) and given the amount of talk surrounding it I took a few different things into consideration before even watching it. One was that Manson can wander around his point before getting to it, which would’ve explained some of the things I read about in the last day or so. Another was that the host of the show can be kind of a dick, just in general, and overall the show is pretty shallow and fast-paced.

Honestly, I went into it about as undecided and unbiased as I ever get and I was predicting that some valid points were probably being made on both sides  of the chatter. Meaning, of course, that I wasn’t expecting to find myself on one side or the other. Sympathy for both sides was a possibility I saw, and so was indifference. But after watching the show myself from start to finish, it’s ended up completely defying any of my expectations.

Halfway through I started to wonder what everyone on the net was talking about because as far as I could tell it was moving along pretty smoothly. There was the occasional minor tangent (and I do stress, minor) from Manson, and here and there the host was condescending, but nothing that lived up to all the virtual yapping people have been doing. So when I hit thirty minutes I was beginning to wonder, ” well, just what the hell are people talking about?”

Then five minutes after that I started to see exactly what people were talking about, and found I was completely wrong about boths sides having a point. I wasn’t torn between the two at all: the host was being a dick. Even the people that say (in M.M.’s defense) it was the wrong type of show for Manson to be on have me rolling my eyes. Manson’s tendency to meander around a subject notwithstanding, I didn’t see much of that going on at all. And what little I did see didn’t cause any “second-hand emberassment” for me, because every time he said something he made a point, or was cut off right as he was making it.

Not just cut off either, but cut off with snide, outright rude comments about being off topic. For mentioning World War Z, for instance, and how the “mega-herd” of walkers in The Walking Dead are better than the herds in Z, which I thought was a fair point. If you’ve seen so much as a fucking preview of that movie then you probably got what Manson was saying. In fact, it’s actually because of those previews, and the way the zombies look like an abstract swarm of insects instead of like zombies, that killed any interest I might have had in it before then (i.e. because of the zombie hoards in a preview of it, I doubt I’ll ever watch WWZ).

Anyways, about thirty-five minutes in I go from questioning what all the internet chatter is about to wondering why there’s any debate whatsoever about the host being a dick. I mean, there are only about two times I can recall, after having just watched it, where you could say Manson went off-topic.

Pretty much the only one that’s fair to point out though, is pretty minor and happened towards the beginning, which is: his comparison of Carrie to Jamee Lee Curtis in those Activia commercials. (lol, and for christs sake, there’s no denying the resemblance.) But I don’t consider a comparison to World War Z zombie hoardes to be anywhere near off-topic; seemed like a pretty straightforward compliment to the special effects of The Walking Dead to me, which just so happened to be what they were talking about at the time.

Other than that, they were almost all theories and comparisons the host didn’t agree with, but that weren’t hard to grasp. Nor did I find it difficult to follow as they were explained. The rest, the few offhand comments and the sillier theories were put out there for the sake of humor. Case in point was when Manson was talking about Rick getting a tractor and “de-legging” zombies. I was amused, and the host, instead of letting it pass as a casual comment, decided to essentially say, “ha, that’s stupid”. Funny thing is, if it hadn’t been for the tone and the look on his face, I would’ve just figured the host was joining in for all of five seconds. It looked like mocking to me though.

Now, all that being said… how this had people arguing or talking about it as much as it has, really baffles me. Yeah, the host was a bit of a dick, but was this whole fan base bickering really about anything? Not really. There’s not really a whole lot worth saying about the episode beyond that it was an episode of the Talking Dead, and that one of the guests that night was Marilyn Manson. Honestly. When I say there’s not really much beyond that worth saying, I’m also refering to most of this post.

(I think I wrote this on October 29th. Meant to post it then, and apparently I must have forgotten about it. So I’m posting it now.)