Sith Realism

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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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 Honesty of Darkness

The death of a star – falling in upon itself – takes place in those of strength; those to weak are consumed. This is the beginning of insatiable hunger, ambitions, wants, passion; and it is the end of contentment, rest, peace. The individual becomes a black hole, and has lost all convention, all comfort, for having dispelled the light that had once constituted his being.

You look into it, and it returns your gaze. The darkness that defines it – that creates an abyss – will begin to speak. Understanding will emerge, and you will come to realize that this abyss is within yourself. Eventually, it will dawn on you: the abyss isn’t merely a part of you, it is who you truly are. Formerly distorted by the surrounding light, it will become clear to you, ready to be embraced.

∞ ◊ ∞

I am the Heart of Darkness.
I know no fear; but rather I instill it in my enemies.
I know the power of the Dark Side.
I am the fire of hate; the universe bows before me.
I pledge myself to the Darkness.
For I have found true life, in the Death of the Light.
~Author Unknown

I read this code a long, long time ago. Vallen – the darksider, not Spark – had used it in a lecture. Then, I had passed it over years ago, having decided it was poorly contructed and didn’t represent darkness or the way of the Sith accurately. Later, I had a change of heart and used it in a lecture of my own. Here, now, I seek to present the treasures to be found in the ways of our archetypes yet again.

I am the Heart of Darkness.

There is Darkness within everyone; it is the home of painful truths, of secret wants and desires. It is the hiding place of those things we willfully ignore, and it is more. Above all, it is the cradle of the heart. Sith taste, feel, and accept that this is where their heart really is, that this is even what the heart itself is; and that alone is an acknowledgment that takes strength.

But one does not become the Heart of Darkness suddenly or effortlessly, even after having found it. Pain, sweat, and struggle ensue, for it remains an elusive creature, always prancing here and there. When the individual begins to look outward, he becomes acquainted with the nature of this playful, mischievous, slippery fish of a heart. Only with an inward gaze can an adept begin to fathom it, feel it, and let it guide his hand.

I know no fear; but rather I instill it in my enemies.

It is, at first glance, a poor choice of words to say that a Sith knows no fear. Nevertheless, a message of value can still be discerned, especially by those well versed in our ways. To paraphrase an old friend, “to be feared by a Sith is no benefit, for the object of his fear becomes a target”. While it is not always the case that it becomes targeted as a result, to be feared by a Sith is no advantage. Speaking for myself, I know fear well. But the difference evident to me, a line seperating a common man from a true Sith, is that we do not become crippled; it is passed through, and we draw strength from the experience.

I imagine this could scare other people when enountered in someone like myself, and it is also a given that instilling fear in others can have a desirable effect on the outcome of certain situations; but unless the outcome being aimed for is close to the individuals heart, unless the purpose of this kind of manipulation is sincere, it’s a hollow tactic.

I know the power of the Dark Side.

Darkness, the Dark Side, is something different to each and every practitioner; it is about the individual. For myself, it is the individual. The Dark demands strength, through which there is the potential to gain greater power.

Power, when bolstered by strength, can become self-perpetuating. To know power, revelation and understanding has a greater oppurtunity to flourish. And though power is not the “be all, end all” of our way, possessing it and expanding it is a defining characteristic of the Dark practitioner. The strong and mindful will always find ways grow their influence, both in range and intensity.

I am the fire of hate; the universe bows before me.

Another picture is painted in proclaiming one’s self to be “the fire of hate”, not unlike the earlier line on fear. For the discerning eye, this to is an attempt to put on diplay an adepts willingness to attune himself to his feelings; to not only stand at the edge of the chasm, but to leap into the dark abyss beyond. To jump into the black hole… into yourself. To embrace your true nature.

As to the ‘universe’, that too is simply the individual bowing before himself. Not in submission, but in enthusiastic service to his own life. For the dead star recognizes that it is an entire universe in and of itself.

I pledge myself to the Darkness.

I must reiterate that the nature of darkness is left for the individual to experience and describe. No one can do that for you, and few will respect the sacrifices and strife demanded of those that come to know the Dark intimately, viscerally. To stand by what you’ve discovered within and what you’ve grown to become, to commit one’s self so absolutely is something many will not or cannot do.

But there are those that have, and those that will. Most of these few will eventually comprehend that conviction is indicative of strength. Taking the risks of their conviction in stride, they pledge themselves unflichingly to darkness.

For I have found true life, in the Death of the Light.

The definition of Light: a force of distortion, a Lie. The light of an individual is who he thinks he is, who and how he thinks others percieve him, the very opinions of other people on who he is, it is the ideals that would sublimate his heart, his nature. It comes from looking outward for definition and direction. The death of the Lie – the Light – gives birth to true life.

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

∞ ◊ ∞

The death of a stars light can be the birth of a monstrous soul, a dark abyss. You need only dispell the light, to be shamelessly honest with yourself, to be reborn as an infantile monster, and to grow into something you’re proud to be.

(5-7-10)

Merry Christmas

Christmas… A time to celebrate and revel in the connections we have with one another. Perhaps to reflect on the influence I’ve had on those around me, and the affect they’ve had on me. It’s not that different from how I saw it when I was a kid, actually; I use different words, but in many ways it’s still the same.

It’s fascinating, really, in the sense that gift giving, family gatherings, and parties are all customs that we engage in which demonstrate the connections we have to others, and the ties they have to us.

Cut out all the religous and anti-religious crap, all the commercialism and the griping about said commercialism, and that is what you’re left with. Demonstrations of the webwork of power we all exist within. It’s not about spreading love, being jolly, or giving and recieving; it’s not even about family or friends. Not exactly. All of these things come into it, but underlying everything…

…Christmas is about power.
How much we have, and how much we allow others to have over us.
The ways we all exercise it with one another, and the intensity of those influences.
The place (within) that it springs from.
The tapestry our connections make between us.

So fellow practitioners, and casual roamers of the internet…
Merry Christmas. Have a good one.

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.

The Critics’ Trap

I’ve had my fair share of being burnt out on the force realist communities, but in all honesty, the source of all that dissatisfaction is almost always myself. There are and probably always will be plenty to criticize, but what matters is where you place your focus. If you look at the vast majority of students, for instance, you might see a disheartening lack of passion, dedication, or commitment. Or if you come to rely on direct opposition and challenges as the only form of interaction (i.e. conflict) that you find viable, it might be hard to see or use other forms.

I could go on, because in addition to the list of critiques someone else has recently been putting together, you can be sure I have a list of my own. But if I were to focus on the shortcomings or failings to much, or get caught up in them… well, it’s comparable to the differences I’ve pointed out between being ‘self absorbed’ and ‘self centered’ or ‘thinking’ and ‘overthinking’. You can compare it – to a certain degree – to the “traps” along our path, as Miles has described in the past, the traps of passion, strength, power, and even victory.

To do that is basically the same as looking at a quality and deciding it is entirely, irrevocably a weakness. But that’s bullshit; patience can be one or the other; stubborness can be one or the other. Name a trait, a quality, and whether it’s a strength or a weakness is mainly a matter of awareness, and choice. Being aware of them, even having to deal with them, is one thing; being tripped up by them is another. Getting hung up on any of these things is a choice though, whether consciously made or not, and I’m the one responsible for making it. Even the difference between a quality being a strength or a weakness is comparable.

None of these things, in and of themselves, are irreconcilable problems, they’re just challenges to deal with. Even opportunities to learn, adapt, and grow. Pretty much any and all problems one can point to in the communities are the same in that regard. They are the bitter that someone who’s been around the block a few times has to take with the sweet. And there’s really no denying that there’s a sweet side to all of it, because there have been a number of passionate, dedicated, and outright inspiring people exemplify (and share) the ways of the Sith.

All I can say, to anyone that believes the former eclipses the latter, is that you determine where your focus is at. Positives or negatives, useful or useless, immersion or escape, strength or weakness. Make your choice, and be honest with yourself about it. It’s no different from the practices some find worthwhile while others deem them to be escapist practices, nor any different from the exercising power, influence, while others obsess over how to control things, and fail.

The critics trap is defined by tunnel vision, by focus on the negatives, the shortcomings and failings of a thing, or of people, to the point that they overshadow and eclipse all of the victories, accomplishments, and overall value that a community can have. It can be climbed out of though, simply by focusing on the things that matter to you, the things you resonate with and feel are important, the things you care about.

Related Posts (by Me)

Ran Its Course
Escapist Practices
Due Consideration
Where’s Your Focus?
Degrees of Control

Related Posts (by Khaos)

Filters
Be Consumed By Your Passion
Passion & Reason
The Relationship Between Master & Apprentice

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…)

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.