The New Sith Order

Out there in the darkness, I thought I would be lost forever... but once my eyes adjusted, I found, much to my surprise, that within this darkness, I had discovered hope.
 
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 The Sith Ideology

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Darth Sanguinus
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Join date : 2013-03-22
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PostSubject: The Sith Ideology   Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:35 am

The New Sith Order


Within the history of philosophy, we find that we, as a species, have the capacity for, and indeed, perhaps even a propensity towards, producing a wide multitude of ideas which can, and often do, vary greatly from one another.  In fact, the variety of ideas that we have proposed, and the frequency with which they tend to disagree with one another is, I believe, one of the most powerful testaments to the depth of the human mind, and our capability to create.  It is within the spirit of that creative nature that I propose now, a school of thought, which I will refer to as The New Sith Order.

The entire ideal must be expressed thoroughly in order for understanding, however, to start, we will begin with a simple code.  This code is taken from the Star Wars universe of fiction, and belongs to an organization of brutal murderers, backstabbing imperialists, who care only about themselves, and the conquering and subjugation of others.  I thought that this would be the perfect type of name to take back.  Especially since the ideals can be so easily interpreted to be something positive and uplifting, giving us an easy foundation to build upon.  So then, the Sith Code reads as follows:


The Sith Code:

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall set me free.

           So then, looking at this code, we can start to break it down one piece at a time, and line by line, find meaning in the simple statements that it makes.  This being an example of creativity, I am sure that we could find many variations of interpretations of this code, as its simplicity lends to the ability of the interpreter to expound upon them without betraying the original statements.  Normally, this code belongs to some of the worst kinds of people you would ever want to meet, in the fictional world from which they come.  But what can we find in it, if we are looking for something positive?  I present the following interpretation:

Peace is a lie. There is only passion.

This is a statement of a very fundamental belief. The idea that is being expressed here is simple, but its implications are large. Within this life, we will never accomplish a true and permanent peace, neither peace between nations, nor peace within ourselves. Our passions, the things that make us who we are, prevent that from happening. Our passions are what make us alive.  Life is defined by both pain and pleasure.  Life is defined in part, by its struggles.  This of course, does not mean that there will be no peace at all, but that the idea of pure peace is a falsehood.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Our passions are what empower us. They are what drive us to achieve, to become more than what we are, to fulfill our fullest potential. Passion is our greatest strength, and the source of all our other  strengths, all in one.  Passion is that which drives us to go the extra mile; to push ourselves to go above and beyond, it is what gives us the strength to keep going when we feel as though we can go no further.

Through strength, I gain power.

Power and strength are different. Just because one has strength, does not necessarily mean that one is powerful. Power is the realistic application of strength; the ability to put that strength to actual use.  Unless one puts their strength to use, it is worthless, hence, the logical goal, and hopeful result of our passions is self-empowerment.  Our passions drive us forward, and in that drive, we gain the strength we need to continue.  However, we realize that determination is not enough all on its own, one needs the realistic ability to apply that determination, and so we empower ourselves with knowledge and training.

Through power, I gain victory.

Victory is a simple enough concept. The idea here is that one’s self-empowerment is the source of his success. This is nothing more than a continuation of a logical stream of thought. If one has strength, they can become powerful, and if one is powerful, they can overcome any obstacle presented to them. This idea of victory does not just apply to some imagined battle, but to everything. It is a sense of absolute victory; the living of a victorious life.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

Being able to overcome the obstacles in one’s life leads one to becoming completely free.  Or rather, as free as anyone can truly be in this life of restraints of all types, internal, physical, and social. This potent form of self-derived freedom is the end result of the proper application of the ideology expressed throughout the entire code.  This does not necessarily lead to a break away from all ideals or ethics that society embraces, nor does it free one from all physical or internal limitations.  However, it does mean that a Sith is not bound to all of those ideals or ethics, but rather, chooses which ones to embrace, and which to ignore, which he can overcome, and which he cannot.

The Force shall set me free.

This is nothing more than a simple statement of summary; the expression of the code in a single sentence. It is the end result of the entire chain of events that has been described already from line to line. It is the simple, pure idea that the code means to aspire to: true personal freedom, in as much abundance as one can manage.

So then, the Sith Code basically states that because of our passions, we will never know true and perfect peace.  But why fight that? The universe itself is a place forged by imperfections, flaws, and tiny errors.  Embrace it. For when you embrace it, you will find that your passions give you the personal strength to rise up, and empower yourself, to move beyond your limitations and those things that would hold you back, and to accomplish greatness. Then, with that greatness, you can achieve true, personal freedom through victory over the obstacles in one’s life, be they internal, physical, or social.

           Now we need to ask ourselves a few questions that must be answered before we can continue any conversation about these ideas, and those questions are as follows: 1.)  What is The Force?  and 2.)  How do we define a free and victorious life?  Both of these questions are essential to the discussion of these ideas, and so, we must then answer them before we can have any meaningful discussion further on the subject.  The answers to these questions, I believe, are rather simple and elegant, which is only fitting, as this entire school of thought is based upon simple, elegant ideas functioning together in harmony to create something more than the simple sum of their parts.

           So then, what is The Force?  I won’t bother going into depth on the application of The Force in the fictional work from whence it comes, but rather, will give a simple definition.  The Force is a universal force that surrounds all things, is within all things, and binds the universe together.  Many may describe The Force as being a deity; however, I would argue that this is a terrible fallacy.  The Force as it is described, most easily represents the energy that makes up all things in the universe.  Far from being a deity, the only consciousness it possesses would be the consciousness of those creatures that exist within it that possess consciousness of their own, as they are made from that energy.  We would be a perfect example of that in action.

           However, this definition leaves something to be desired, as it raises another question of its own: how can The Force, as we have just defined it, set one free?  After all, if it is simply the energy that makes up the universe, it cannot act with any sense of will.  However, I think that this is simply explained with a little thought.  The entire universe is made of energy.  This means that everything that holds you back, and everything that sets you free exists within it.  However, it also means that you are a part of The Force; and not any unimportant part of The Force, but one of the few parts of it that has consciousness.  When you free yourself, it is truly The Force setting itself free.  The beautiful truth of the matter, is that you are conscious energy, capable of your own liberation.

           Now, with that question answered, we can move on to the second question, which is, what does it mean to live a free and victorious life?  I believe that yet again, the answer to this question is all too simple: a free and victorious life is the life lived in the most positive manner possible under the circumstances in which it takes place.  The question then, that must then be asked, is how does one accomplish such a life?  I believe that the answer to that question is rather simple as well.  Such a life is obtained by maximizing ones joy while minimizing ones pain.  Of course, it is not possible to lead a perfect life.  There will always be struggle and pain, this we know from the code, and from the nature of the universe itself, but learning to embrace life in its fullness, and to find beauty and joy even in that which causes us pain while working to avoid unnecessary struggle is the key to living life victoriously.

One thing that must always be kept in mind when one pursues pleasure is that excess can often bring about hardship, struggle, pain, and suffering.  If one strives towards pleasure too hard, one will almost undoubtedly find themselves worse off for it in the long run.  The key, therefore, is to practice enough moderation to avoid bringing about unnecessary suffering while practicing enough excess to maximize ones bliss.  Finding the ability to discover empowerment and strength in our pain and struggles is difficult, but when one develops this ability, the final step towards ultimate victory has been gained.  When one experiences victory even in that which most would call defeat, then you are truly free.

           So then, this brings us to our next points of discussion; what are the three types of obstacles we face in life, how can we overcome them, and by what means can we find empowerment and victory in those things that most would consider defeat?  The three types of obstacles that we face, as described before, are internal, physical, and social.  Internal limitations are the limitations that we have constructed within our own minds.  These are the limitations that we place on ourselves, that are not truly enforced by outside influences.  These limitations may be the result of faulty thought processes, fears, or even self-doubt.  These limitations are purely internal, and are only given power by our own mind.  Hence, their defeat lies also in the mind.  It is concentrated will, time, and determination that overcomes the internal limitation.  Some understanding and knowledge go a long way in helping that process along as well.

           Physical limitations are the limitations placed on us by physics, the laws of the natural world, or more specifically at times, our own physical bodies.  These limitations can sometimes be overcome by knowledge, technology, and ingenuity, but these limitations are much more concrete than internal limitations, and we should be glad for that, as there are certainly benefits to living in a rational universe.  Finally, there are Social limitations.  These are the limitations placed upon us by our fellow humans.  They are enforced in a variety of different ways, but defeating these obstacles can be tricky, as the process involves other people.  The only way one can truly overcome social limitations is by social change, accomplished either by moving to a different society, or by changing the society that one is in.

           Furthering our discussion, we reach the point at which we must now address the question that defines the entire code; how does one find victory in that which most would surely consider defeat?  This is the answer that we must have if we wish to find that true and personal freedom that the code aspires to.  This answer has three very important parts that must all come together in order to achieve the desired result.  First, we need pride, both in ourselves as people, and in our actions and behavior.  Then, we need an appreciation for what we do understand about reality.  Finally, we need to understand our very limited ability to truly perceive reality in the first place.  When all of these things come into place, it becomes possible for one to smile in the face of adversity.  So how then, do these parts come together, and what role does each of them play?

           First, a sense of pride is absolutely necessary for this goal to be even remotely reachable.  Without a strong sense of self-worth, it is almost impossible to find happiness and value in moments that would be considered simply mundane, let alone in perceived failure.  A pride in one’s behavior and actions is also absolutely necessary, as it will keep us from dragging ourselves too low.  A strong sense of self-worth, and personal value, along with a sense of pride in one’s behavior keeps us from performing actions that we would view as below ourselves. Of course, this pride must be moderated, so that it does not go out of control, and cause us unnecessary problems itself, but that is not such a difficult task to take on.

           Second, we need an appreciation for the world as we understand it.  This means having an appreciation for many things, from the simple but elegant laws that govern the universe, to how unlikely you are to exist at all; from the absolute joy of a good story, to the utter sorrow of a tragedy played on the same screen.  Personal taste will always play a role in this area of course, but the point is that we must learn to appreciate the world around us, and the fact that we get to experience it at all.  It is only with the understanding that we may very well have never entered this world at all… that we may have never heard music, or even had a single thought, or a single waking moment, that this world starts to become beautiful.

           Still, though, finding happiness in tragedy in one’s own life experiences would still be nearly impossible, I think, if not for this last bit of truth.  It is the cosmic joke that weaves through every experience that we have.  The fact of the matter is, that our ability to observe and understand reality is insanely simplistic by comparison to what knowledge we could have, and that the knowledge we have is so limited, that it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the impact of events on our life in a comprehensive manner.  For instance, we can take any example of any perceived “mistake” from your past, and make the following argument: How do you know, that if things went differently, they would have turned out better?

           The question seems silly at first, but critical thinking brings us to the quick conclusion that it is not a silly question at all.  Life, by any definition, is an incredibly complex thing; a long string of cause and effect, decisions and repercussions.  So then, since we cannot see the future, how can we truly know that our perceived “mistake” was not also the cause of many of the things in our lives that we consider the best things to have ever happened to us?  In the same vein, how would we know that if we had not made that mistake, we would even still be alive to think about it now?  Or if we would be the same person thinking about it now?  If one is happy with who they are as a person, once they come to this realization, a part of them has to let go.

           When these three things combine together, the attitude that it helps to form is one of self-reinforcing optimism, driven by a healthy appreciation for life, one’s self, and an understanding of the fact, that despite how things seem, all parts of life, even the difficult parts, and sometimes, especially the difficult parts, offer up the opportunity for something great.  It does not necessarily make the pain go away, but it does leave a part of your mind smiling for the fact that you were able to experience it at all.  And when that is the case, what can tear you down?

           This now brings us back to the idea of how we should attempt to achieve a life that is free and victorious.  As expressed before, we should attempt to maximize our joy and pleasure, minimize unnecessary pain, and live in a fullness of life that allows us to appreciate even our darkest moments.  It is at this point, that I would like to take a short time to discuss the idea of Altruism, and how it fits into this school of thought.  Up until this point in the discussion, everything has been very centered on the self, and that is by design.  One cannot give someone the shirt off their back, if they themselves are naked.  That is why The Sith should always be looking for opportunities to train.

But what is Sith training, you may wonder, since we have described The Force so much differently than how it functions in the fiction that it originates from.  Yet again, the answer is simple, elegant, and effective.  Sith training has truly already been explained in the code.  Strength is built through passion, and that means learning to channel ones passions into inner strength.  To develop power is to develop the means by which to use that strength, the skills through which inner strength becomes useful.  This is done by learning and educating one’s self on the proper application of power, be it physical, mental, emotional, or social.  Learning the martial arts, psychology, meditation, or how to invest ones money properly would all be considered equally as Sith training.

So then, with all of this training, and focus on self, we come to the idea of Altruism, and how it fits into this school of thought.  Altruism may seem as though it has no place in this school of thought up until this point, but I assure you, that it is there every step of the way.  Human beings whom we would consider well adjusted, decent people by any civilized social standard are very capable of, and sometimes cannot seem to escape a very natural, and under the right circumstances, incredibly powerful sense of empathy.  Empathy is the cornerstone of all human ethics and morals, and it can be found in almost every person in the world.  It is also the birthplace of Altruism; the selfless desire to help others.

As creatures of empathy, we want to live by each other’s happiness.  It is always easier to be happy when those around you are happy.  It does not guarantee happiness, but it certainly increases the odds of it.  By contrast, being happy in the company of those that are visibly miserable is very difficult.  Altruism works to fix this problem, by promoting the happiness of every individual by promoting the happiness and wellbeing of others.  In other words, by helping others, and working to ensure their happiness, you will find that being happy yourself becomes easier, as those around you will be happier due to your efforts.  If the efforts are mutual, you will find that this effect is compounded.

So then, if Altruism has a place in this school of thought that is so powerful, are there any other moral or ethical guidelines that may help us tie all of this together into something more complete?  Of course there are, and I believe we can even lay out a roadmap to help ourselves get to the place that we want to be.  The introduction of a few more ideas, may very well bring this school of thought to a robust fulfillment, and that is fortunate, since it is exactly what we are about to do.  Ethical guidelines are a key focus of most philosophical schools of thought, but how does one go about introducing a code of ethics into a school of thought that is based so heavily upon relative perspective?  I propose that we work with a simple list of basic ethical principles, and work forward from there, and hence, I propose the seven principles.

The first of these principles is honesty.  Honesty is a simple enough concept to grasp, it is the consistent delivery of truth in its entirety, and the absence of falsehood in ones statements.  Honesty is an important staple in any set of ethics, and it must be understood to include internal honesty; sincerity.  The second of these principles is polite courtesy.  The courtesy and respect that we show other people, especially those who do not show us the same, defines us.  It shows that our moral behavior is not dependent on others, but rather, the product of our own decisions.

           The third principle is courage.  This school of thought encourages us to be people of action; to rise up above the masses of people who are afraid to act.  Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all.  This courage is not blind, but rather, it is tempered with intelligence.  The fourth is compassion.  Compassion is defined as a deep understanding of the suffering of others, and the desire to relieve it.  The understanding of others is absolutely necessary in this life.  We all have to share this world, and live together.

           The fifth principle is responsibility.  If we have done something or said something we must know that we own that thing.  We are responsible for it and all the consequences that follow. Responsibility could easily include ideas such as loyalty and duty, but most importantly, it addresses self-ownership; the ownership of our own words and actions.  The sixth principle is pride.  Many would call pride a sin; a deadly sin at that.  But the truth is that having a high opinion of one’s self is the key to ethical behavior.  It is what gives us the strength to resist behavior  that we would consider below us.

           The final, and most important principle, is honor.  It is imperative that we realize that we have only one judge of our honor, and this is our self.  Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are.  We are almost always our own worst critics, and who would understand our motives and desires more completely than ourselves?  But what does this really mean?  It means that we must use our own conscience to determine what is right and wrong; that we must decide for ourselves in any given situation, how to apply these moral guidelines, and when they may not be appropriate.

           This all comes together to present the idea of self-control, and self-driven ideology.  Self-determination and self-ownership are the hallmark of this school of thought. The last thing that must be understood is that the entire system must always be supported by logic, reason, and critical thinking.  This is the manner by which we can check our ideas, and make sure that they still have value and still ring true. It insists that we never stop asking questions, and never stop questioning answers.
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