Friday, December 30, 2011

The Benefits of the Sith Code

Note from K-Vap: I asked fellow blogger Reco Aric of Philosophical Rantings to write this post soon after I started reading Geek Wisdom by N.K. Jemisin.  A year ago, we had a discussion about how the Sith code is assumed to be bad because the Sith are always portrayed as bad.  Below are his thoughts on this misunderstanding:

The Jedi and Sith Code side by side.

I don't know why I'm being asked to do a guest appearance on this blog. I rarely actually read this blog, but it appears that I'm mentioned a lot. So I have been asked to write a post about the benefits of the Sith code, a topic that I am very passionate (see the pun there) about.

The Sith code is something that unfortunately fails to get mentioned in the movies so only people who are familiar with the Star Wars expanded  universe tend to know what it is. What's even worse is that those who do know of its existence, tend to view it in a negative light since Star Wars is generally more focused on Jedi than the Sith. And often this reputation is deserved since there are many Sith who don't understand the code either. This was mostly due to the fact that many Sith (especially Brotherhood of Darkness era) had relinquished the teachings of the Sith code and ended up becoming closer to the Jedi council but with more killing (until Darth Bane came around and slapped some sense into them. Unfortunately he slapped about 2,000 Dark Lords a little to hard).

Darth Bane
Peace is a lie there is only passion: The first line in the Sith code is one of the few lines that actually opposes the Jedi code since the Jedi code puts so much emphasis on peace and balance. Yet, can anyone be in perfect balance? Most well-practiced Buddhists try to seek balance, which often leads to a loss in balance since you end up spending time focusing on things that you should let come naturally. Thus you can never truly attain peace. This only leaves passion--what and who you care about. To obtain "peace" you have to get rid of these passions, but that's just not possible since you will always be passionate about something even if it's obtaining peace. Often these passions are looked at as the very things that put you out of balance; however, if peace is suppose to come naturally through the pursuit of life, then you should follow your passions since going against them will only cause inner conflict--the true cause of not being able to find peace.

Through passion I gain strength: If you let your passions drive you, your passion will only become stronger. These passions eventually fuel you and drive you. The strength of your passions become your own strength. This does not imply a violent passion though. I am very passionate about my religion but very few people consider me a religious person due to the fact that I don't let my passion control my life. Like the Jedi code dictates, you must be controlled by your pursuit for peace. But I become stronger by allowing my passions flow through me and fuel my actions.

Through strength I gain power: Only the strong deserve power because only the strong can wield it properly. Strength goes beyond mere brute force, you need to have intellectual strength. Often people who try to obtain power through brute strength alone will become the targets of others vying for power since they're prone to falling into direct conflict. This is often why power seeking is seen as such an immoral prospect. Using brute force tactics to gain power hurts those around you because you have to take power from others. You need intellectual strength so you know how to wield the power properly in a way that won't hurt others.

Through power I gain victory: Victory at all costs has often been the battle cry of many people across the world. They are also very famous last words of people who don't understand what victory really is. You can throw your power around arbitrarily and claim "victory" over others, but if it doesn't lead to significant change then the victory was not worth it. This is why attrition should be avoided. It doesn't matter if you win or not, your resources will be greatly diminished and make it difficult for you to prove superiority. If you have enough power to destroy someone in a single master-stroke the you will gain true victory.

Through victory my chains are broken: This refers to the chains that keep us bound to the mortal realm. Victory is the only true way to rise above the masses and gain peace and harmony. The more victories we win, the less we need  future wins since people already know our power is superior. Therefore, you become victorious over your own realm and can do whatever you want. After all, you are superior to them. Once this state of superiority is achieved then all that's left to do is gain victory over yourself, and through this you will gain peace.

The Force shall free me: The force allows my passions to flow, allows my strength to rise, my power to grow, and my victories to be more numerous. The force takes many forms for different people. For some its religion, for some its just life. It's what enables us to move forward. It's what guides us to our eventual freedom. Because of it we can be free.

"I am not a man of words. But I respect the power of words, for that is what transformed me. The words of the Sith Code. Others had heard them, contemplated them, and so on. But I understood them, and they changed me. For what was I before I heard those words? Nothing."
-Darth Bane

K-VAP's final note:  I asked Reco Aric why he didn't address the Jedi code with the same detail.  He raised his famous left eyebrow and said: "Woman, there are six movies and an extended universe that explain the Jedi code.  Get a life."

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