“Only dead fish go with the flow.”
“Only dead fish go with the flow.”
“Only dead fish go with the flow.”
☶ Passion may sleep, but it never dies. ☲
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.
The Nature of Power
The only time I ever seem to hear people talk of power is when they’re talking about politics. Or when someone commits genocide. Or else something of the like. I find this hilarious, personally, and I’ll tell you why. The only time they talk about this is when it is a vulgar display of power. It’s almost a profane word in the way most people use it. Me? I happen to like power, in fact I am exercising my power in writing, at this very moment. And these words have an affect; whether you think I’m full of myself and reject every proposition of mine, or you completely agree with what I say. Furthermore, how you react to that power is within your power. It’s your choice on what you take and what you filter out, it’s even your choice to continue reading or, alternatively, to ignore these words.
In the simplest terms, power is influence. It’s hardly exclusive to the politicians and the business executives. It’s comical to me that anyone would believe themselves not to have it. You don’t think your choices have affected what talents you have, what college you’re attending, or what hobbies you pursue? And what about your relationships, do you really believe you have no impact on the thinking and emotional state of people you interact with on a daily basis? You don’t think you have an effect on what your best friend thinks of you? No, you have power. The question isn’t “do I have it?”, but rather, “will I admit that I have power?”
There are what I might call different intensities though, if someone were interested in a sort of classification system. The kind most commonly cited today is, as I said, vulgar. It’s heavy, in your face, and is rarely seen in a ‘positive’ way.
The Role of Choice
Choice is the agent through which power is exercised; and we all have the power of choice, inevery aspect of our lives. Does a drug ‘addict’ have a choice in doing heroine? I would say yes, it was a choice to start, and the physical dependency is a symptom (or consequence, if you will) of that choice. Does a homeless guy have a choice between starving and stealing food? I say yes, because even if in some uncommonly principled man, the principles driving his decision would have been his choice. I could give you examples all day, or you could offer your own and I doubt it’d take long to see where it came down to individual choice.
This is what power’s all about: choice. Fate is a crock, destiny’s bullshit; if this life is a rollercoaster, I’m not just the one riding, I’m also the grunt that makes the tracks.
Consequences. When it comes right down to it, there will always be ripples, affects of the choices you make. If you just saved someone’s life, that wasn’t God, it wasn’t a miracle, it was your choice. If you just flunked an exam in your favorite college class, that’s a ripple of your choices.
Seeing power in a different light, almost to the point of trivializing it, is just a matter of accountability, to yourself above all others.
Yeah, that’s right, responsibility. To yourself and, by extension, to the people you care about. I’ve heard people talk about wanting to do whatever they want whenever they want all the way through high school, I’ve heard myself gripe about that to over the years. The only response I have to that these days is pretty straightforward… Everybody has the power to do as they please; the trick is to legitimately figure out what you want as an individual, what your dreams and aspirations are, to put value into saying “I want”.
And once you’ve done that, there’s no excuse. With that kind of awareness, you have responsibility to yourself to make choices and exercise your personal power, moving yourself closer to those dreams you’ve had. If you don’t, that’s your choice to… and it’s a weak one.
Concerning others, they are accountable to themselves to. As self-absorbed as I can be, I am not the only Individual in the world.
“Respect the Individual, not just yourself.”
Returning once more to this lecture as an example, I don’t feel I’m responsible for how you take my words. Do with ’em what you like, I couldn’t force them down your throat even if I wanted to. Power over others is just as much of an illusion as others having power over you, at least in the sense that most people seem to see it.
Vulgarity and Subtlety
Some of the examples, as broad as they’ve been, hopefully point out that those blatant displays of influence aren’t the whole picture. Power, like passion, is a defining point of all life, from one-cell organisms to humans.
Violence is blatant, and there’s power in it; legislative influence affects a lot of people, so it’s easy to see. But take a closer look, and you can see it’s a hell of a lot more than that.
It’s only a matter of awareness. Right under your nose is all the power over your life, maybe more than you would believe. It’s not something you can attain, just something to recognize. The air you breath, it’s there to, even if you don’t acknowledge it. You use it even if your ignorant of its presence.
Desire is a seed that can blossom into avarice, or wither into contentment.
Morals, as passed down from one generation to another, are usually crap. Not just because they aren’t worth standing by, but because they’re simply inherited. It’s the same way with those normalcy’s that come about through imitating one’s peers. I think that they go unexamined in a persons life all to often, and are even used in some ways to gain respect within a given community for upholding certain ‘proper’ morals; which, you would do well to note, vary from one social environment to another. What is deemed acceptable in one group becomes deplorable in another. I would like to think that this alone could convince people that there are no universal morals, but that just isn’t the case, in spite of how easy it is to see.
People tend to see what they want to see, sacrificing perceptiveness, awareness, and useful information in favor of pleasant ignorance; to a frightening degree, both in intensity on an individual level and as a widespread approach on a societal level. It seems a prevalent phenomenon to flash your ‘morals’ at others to feel accepted, or to validate them. It reminds me of Jediism (note the -ism, reference: churchy Jedi), because a lot of those people apparently need others to validate their personal beliefs; it isn’t restricted to obscure spiritual movements either though, plenty of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or whatever else – when meeting new people – act as though they’re compelled to announce their religious affiliation.
In my eyes, this is all silliness, and it all misses the point of morality. It isn’t for showing off, it isn’t something an individual should conform to in order to satisfy peers or parents, and there are no morals that should be lived by without evaluating your own values for yourself. The attempts to manipulate other people into validating one’s beliefs, the affiliation with beliefs for the sake of acceptance, and other similar behaviors are part of a sad facade, speaking to a lack of self-awareness… and an immature spirit. If morals are to be adhered to in any sense at all, then they should be practical and functional, geared towards a certain purpose or ideal.
To simplify what I’m saying… pseudo morals are fake morals, unexamined, untested or otherwise inadequate. A striking comparison would be of pseudo morals to articles of a Halloween costume, the more realistic and impressive the costume, the better. It’s more for show than anything else though, and usually uncomfortable to run around in all day.
To be fair, I think most – if not all – people start the earlier parts of their lives under the guise their parents, friends, and siblings have given them, and which they’ve accepted without knowing any better alternative. I’m not really calling for any rebellion either; that’s not necessarily what I mean. But learn about what you value and how you exercise those values in your world through experience and introspection, don’t just take what you’ve been taught or assimilated through imitation and live by it. Pseudo morality works real well for the weak, but if you’re anything like me then that’s not going be good enough for you. Get some firsthand experience, become more aware of what you value, and listen to your heart.
A recent journal entry at OotS, posted here as Motivations & Timing, seems to have acted as a catalyst for shifting the attention, intentions, and experimentation I’ve been giving to the Resource over to the Order of the Sith. I’m personally both glad and irritated, because on the one hand the success of the former has been on a fairly rapid rise. I know there’s interest, even if most there are quiet and the rest read through without bothering to sign up, because in places like Facebook people are all over it (at least in comparison to the Order), not only in likes, but in that it catches peoples interest. I’ve also enjoyed the blank slate it’s allowed me, among a few other perks.
Hence the irritation. But I suspect that in some ways it’s going to go the same way as the ‘mystery blog’ I started when I went on my little break from the communities; that is, I had a blank slate and got a lot out of it, in part because it was something entirely new, but when I ‘returned’, I realized that it wouldn’t be a satisfying substitute or replacement for this blog. So I took what I’d experimented with and liked, and the things I learned, and integrated them into what I do here. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
But the bitch of it is still this: the fate of the Sith Resource is up in the air, and if we’re making comparisons to that blog I did for a while elsewhere… then it’s future isn’t looking so bright. So there’s irritation, but on the other hand there’s that process of integration, and further, when you get right down to it the Order of the Sith is my home site, which is touched on a little more in the announcement I made over there, so I’ll share that here as well (below).
The Announcement (as it was posted at the Order)
Nearly four years ago, I handed the reigns over to the two most competent, pro-active Sith Lords of the time.
In the announcement that made it ‘official’, the opening paragraph was this:
“I may have started this site, but recently me being the sole administrator – especially with my increasingly extended absences over the last few months – and my shifting focus on where my path as a Sith is going has caused me to come to a decision. I will not be leaving the Order of the Sith, but I am stepping down from leadership and administration responsibilities. While I will retain my abilities as an administrator, I will not be acting as one except to help the new Leaders when possible.”
As I made an announcement back then, it makes sense to do the same now.
So for anyone it may interest, I’d like to announce that I’m stepping back up.
Rising from the ashes, so to speak.
For me this comes after a time of reflecting on changes, personally and in relation to the Order. I know that this place has been described recently as a monastery, and it brought to mind a question: is the state of the place as a monastery really viable or, more to the point, desirable? My own answer: It doesn’t entirely satisfy what I would want to see in a site centered around Sith Realism. Initially I created the Sith Resource as an outlet for that dissatisfaction. But this is my home site, a place I’m very fond of and attached to, so it is here that I’ve decided to redirect my enduring desire to see the Sith Ways continue to develop and evolve as I believe they can.
So while Miles isn’t going anywhere, I’ll be taking lead in the direction of the site overall. However having said all of that, the strength of this site is only ever augmented by the members here and their participation, which will always be both welcome and encouraged. Of course, along with that I feel compelled to say… don’t feel obligated, as this is an invitation to be as involved as you wish, not a demand. But with every change, large or small, I would appreciate feedback if you have any to give. And if you have any questions, now or along the way, feel free to ask.
In the meantime, as always, don’t hesitate to start or participate in discussions if you feel moved to do so.
Above all, make sure you’re getting something out of being here.
The Sith Resource is, in essence, a resource and experiment.
Whether you’re a practitioner or a curious onlooker, this site might serve as a resource for you, should you choose to use it. Just be sure to take note of the latin at the top of the forum, “Monstrum in Anima – Solus Sum” which means “Monster in Soul – I Am Alone” – newcomers should pay special attention to the second part, the statement ‘Solus Sum’. Essentially it’s meant to imply that those that go there, that sign up, are free to use the site as a resource – but the caveat is I’m not promising anything. I’m making and doing something, and opening the door for you to watch and encourage you to walk through and use what’s there, and maybe even to participate in making it. This is a new project, one that you’re welcome to jump in on and one that I’m willing to serve you through as best I can. But however you choose to put this resource to use, including how you use other people there, is entirely up to you. If it sounds like it might be of interest, feel free to Click Here.
If you’re familiar with other resources I’ve worked on, it might seem like this is based on the original wiki-styled site, The Sith Resource. If it is though, it’s only loosely – the most direct tie one has to the other is that they share a name. It’s purpose is similar; it’s meant to function as an interactive resource, a place free of any sense of obligation, a place of communication, independence, and perhaps a bit more welcoming than other venues. But unlike the original Resource project, it’s not a part of the Order of the Sith, the material here is organized differently and the scope of the contents will hopefully be far more expansive. There might be assignments, lectures, training courses, practices and techniques, and other works of various Sith, all from various sources; but regardless of how all of that plays out, there’ll definitely be space for discussion, journaling, and study.
My vested interest in this is, quite simply, an enduring desire to see the Sith Ways continue to develop and evolve. The aim here isn’t companionship, nor competition, it isn’t a forge, or a shark tank, or even a proper community. First and foremost it is a resource I’m putting together and experimenting with. Meaning that for any one person, for you, the one reading this, anyone else there is only another resource; just as you’re a resource to them. I’m not really asking for anything except that you take and use anything you find to be useful, anything that resonates with you, and I’m not really offering anything beyond what I’m doing in service to my own desires to experiment, further the development and spread of the Sith Ways, and showcase them as they were and are in the meantime. Questions, suggestions, etc. are welcome, but what you get out of the Resource is on you. My role there is to create something the way I believe it should be, perhaps collaborate with others, and to experiment independent of the responsibility or obligation that usually comes with hierarchy and community building.
That means, for anyone that happens to stop in there, the rule is solus sum.
Anyone and everyone is welcome, just keep in mind: you’re not entitled to anything.
I think a big part of the problem I had with teachers in high school was that they weren’t people I respected. To this day, I still say that’s with good reason too, because there were a few throughout the years that I had a lot of respect for as people that were worth paying attention to. It didn’t really occur to me until just now, but in retrospect it was their passion and their striving to feed it that caught my attention; these men and women fucking cared, about their students and about their jobs (really, their callings). Not all of them were the typical ‘cool’ ones either, in fact almost all of them expected a lot… some expected excellence as a base line.
Which is something they had in common with a lot of teachers that I wrote off as idiots or lazy twats, but in them I took it in stride because of what it sprang from. The latter wanted precision and perfection because they were snobbish, to lazy to do their part and fulfill their role, and – in my eyes – seemed to hate their job. But the ones I liked expected it because they cared, not just about their students but for their own responsibilities (which, really, is the only way you can do your students much good). And I could see it. I imagine it’s not unlike instilling morale and loyalty in a group of subordinates, or inspiring confidence and receptivity in people you work with on a regular basis.
Ultimately, I students are responsible for their own accomplishments in failures – in school, at the Force Academy or the Order, in the work place… anywhere. And piss poor teachers are only an excuse to fall back on for failures. It comes down to what the student learns, not what the teacher teaches. But if there’s to be an actual, genuine relationship between teacher and student it has to be symbiotic. If a teacher wants to be respected, listened to, or worked with, then their heart needs to be in it just as much as that of the student; it’s a two way street.
I got to thinking about this because of a blog I follow called Mysteries and Manners. See, when I’d first stumbled onto it, I’d thought about this, and before reading through all of her last post I decided to articulate the thoughts that had been simmering on it, because I can already tell she would have been a teacher that had my respect and attention in class. I think it shows in the things she writes that she’s one of those teachers that’s got a calling, and a passion for what she does. The fact that she has so much to say about school, her students, how she approaches them and things she’s learned from her experiences… the blog kind of centers around this, which you’ll see pretty quick if you read the “About” page.
Anyways, that’s what inspired this post (i.e. the passion she seems to have for what she does). It’s admittedly from a student’s perspective and reflections on experiences in public schools (K-12th), which I can’t help but see as a bit one-sided given the experience I’ve accumulated over these last few years, but it’s probably close to what the student in high school (or in earlier grade levels) sees and responds to on an instinctual level at that age, in that setting.