My problem with the Star Wars movies

It’s been implied yesterday that I may be encouraged to watch one of the Star Wars films next year (I presume it’s the original Star Wars) as part of a narrative assignment. Because of this, I felt like writing about my personal problems with the story of the Star Wars films. Specifically, the narrative centering around the concept of the Force.

Oh look, one side’s going left and the other’s going right. Just like…

The Force, in the Star Wars universe, refers to a field of energy that binds all life and the galaxy together. Obi Wan Kenobi also described such energy being created by all beings, and surrounding and penetrating all beings. In the Star Wars films, there is the light side of the Force and the dark side of the Force. The dark side of the Force as used by the Sith is universally depicted as the evil source of power. The Force as used by the Jedi, meanwhile, is seen as the good or proper source of power. Supposedly, the light side of the force is aligned with enlightenment, selflessness, compassion, healing, and benevolence, while the dark side of the force is aligned with hatred, aggression, jealousy, fear, and malevolence. And therein lies my personal problem with this narrative.

The narrative surrounding the Force in these movies seems designed to teach us that goodness is based on harmony, peace, and an idealized light side, while evil is based on passion, personal power, and the “dark” side. This is not only a regurgitation of Christian and Zoroastrian cosmology but it also reflects the Buddhist view on suffering and desire. The Buddhists view suffering as being caused by desires, passions, craving, and attachment, and consequently desire and passion are viewed negatively. It also reminds me of the distinction between “white” magic and “black” magic as espoused by popular culture, New Age types, and so many flawed magicians. It tries to teach that the force of harmony is good, the force of passion is evil, and you can’t use passion for good or harmony for evil because one is exclusively good and the other is bad. I find it be a warped logic.

As I understand it, the light side of the force espoused by the Jedi seems to be focused on peace and harmony while the dark side of the force espoused by the Sith seems to be based on passion and desire. And outside the films, the nature of the light and dark sides of the force are expanded upon, and the nature of the philosophies behind them are revealed. I’m sure the Sith are still basically the villains, but the philosophy behind them can’t be dismissed as evil entirely, nor can the Jedi philosophy be exalted as purely good. I feel that the “dark” and “light” sides of the force are things that can be used for any purpose, that can be used for good or bad depending on the motives of the individual. Much like magic, it’s not necessarily about attributes, but how you relate to them and what your intention is. The problem with the Star Wars conception of the Force is that it takes something so broad, but limits it significantly as to how people can use it.

A much needed addendum to Bright Darkness

Two years ago I wrote a very short post about the concept of “bright darkness”. Looking back on it, it sucked. It was barely a paragraph long, and didn’t do anything to elaborate on the concept. Back then, I had very little concept of what bright darkness could be other than it having something to do with the carnal self, particularly in its enjoyable form. But now, I think I may have gained a different perspective on it.

I think bright darkness might be something that is both light and dark at the same time. Try to imagine light and darkness coming together, not fused and dissolved into a singular void essence, or rather like when you mix two paints together and they make a single color, but rather mixed together like when you put two Starbursts together into a ball (for lack of a better example). Put another way, it is much like a fusion of the brighter and the darker aspects of the human self. The righteous and morally concerned side of the human self, mixed with the carnal and indulgent side of the human self. I have always felt that the traditional representations of brightness and light and the representations for the dark and the demonic fit quite well together from an aesthetic point of view (except in cases where light is too clean and white and dark is too morbidly black). Maybe that’s part of perceiving bright darkness.

I think there could be other terms for it as well, like shining darkness (derived from the Shivatoshini), Black Light (borrowed from the teachings of Ayn al-Qozat Hamadani), or my own suggestions dark light, dark starlight, or black starlight. It could relate to the concept of the Black Flame itself. It could also be part of Baphomet’s symbolism, since Baphomet is a symbol that brings all opposites together without dissolving their essential characteristics at the same time. I’d also like to mention the ideas of Michael W. Ford once again (whom personally I seem to be a growing fan of) tend to present the perspective that while the infernal power of desire is the motivator of human existence, it can be lead in positive directions, or that bringing the “angelic” energies together with the infernal can lead to unlimited possibilities for the self. His works identify a spiritual focus as well as a material or carnal focus, and the spiritual focus is sometimes referred to as celestial or empyrean.

Now here’s the thing about the word empyrean. It refers to the concept of the highest heaven, which was thought to be associated with fire and thought to contain the pure element of fire. The word itself means “in the fire”. I am thinking: could the Black Flame basically be the heavenly flame fused with the power of darkness, and bright darkness the name of the quality of the Black Flame itself? This also translates well into the symbolism of my alter ego: black referring to the powers of darkness, and red being the flame. Of course white tends to work better for the heavenly element, and red tends to represent desire and passion. Who knows, maybe the fact that empyrean refers to fire is why I have some affinity towards some images of the bright and the divine across the religions of mankind (though a lot less of Christian and Islamic imagery) as well as images of the sun and its light, and its effect on the environment and how it makes everything brighter.

Fire, light, darkness, chaos, Satan, and God

In Hindu belief, the Aum is the symbol of divine energy and creative force, which is believed to be permeate the entire universe.

Lately I have been thinking a couple of things, about some new ideas about Satan, Chaos, God, light and darkness, and a great fire, and it has been difficult to express these things.

Let’s start with God. I feel like I am seeing that God is something that can be interpreted differently by different people, and how we interpret God in a way shapes our belief system, and this includes both the left and right hand paths. Personally I feel that the concept of God as a single deity that creates, rules, and operates the universe is a mistake. It doesn’t matter if that deity is Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu, or even Shiva, or Satan that matter, and it doesn’t matter if the belief system is theistic or anti-theistic, right-handed or left-handed, it still means falling for a kind of ignorance because the conception of God being employed is erroneous, and it kind of risks a victim mentality depending on how you take it. I think if God is anything it is a divine spark of creation within each of us, Creator in Man rather than Creator above.

Then we have Chaos. I think that the divine spark I mentioned (or God) could be pure, raw, undisciplined energy, perhaps even calling back to my earlier definitions of Chaos (which might not have been so skewed after all). And as long as chaos is pure energy, perhaps light and darkness are forms of that energy, with Chaos being between them as the purest state of energy. Who knows? There could be a lot that is based on the energy of Chaos, like emotion, ecstasy, bliss, what we feel in the senses, righteous feeling and fervor, our very instincts themselves.

Now I finally get to say something about what Satan is. If light and darkness are phases of the same energy, then Satan surely must be the symbol of the dark side of that force, the carnal side. And for the light side of that energy, I would pick either Shiva or Lucifer to represent it (the latter inspired by a conversation with Tadashi), or even Amun Ra. If Shiva isn’t the light side, then he could still represent a certain aspect of that energy, like the male to the female of Shakti. Gods in general can be symbolic of states of energy, in addition to my own being. Despite my identity as a Satanist, I am concerned about having Satan refer to everything in the universe because I feel it doesn’t fully make sense. It’d be hardly different from making Jehovah (or should that be El) the god of everything, and we all know about that story. Personally I think the Baphomet, while it’s not actually a symbol of Satan, could refer to all phases of the energy of Chaos, and it probably still wouldn’t be the symbol of all. God? The Aum. Chaos? Energy is its own symbol, and it’s usually better to feel energy.

This is the closest I’ve gotten to being sure about this whole thing, enough at least to write a blog post, and I still feel I am not so sure. I personally lament not being fully conclusive on this, having all the answers I need. It would be best to just do what works for me, but I ain’t sure yet what works for me. Frankly, what if there’s not just one energy?

Maybe my problem is dealing with what relates to reality too much but what if it’s just my spiritual reality, my truth?

Will manifest from heat and light

There’s something about the Indian deity Agni that inspired me and was not already talked about on the blog thus far. Apparently the Vedic Indians did not just see Agni as a fire deity. They also saw Agni as the power that is connected to the will and action and related powers. One of the Upanishads portrays Agni in a similar vein. In some interpretations, Agni is not just a singular deity, but a force of fire that motivates willpower.

In my opinion, this idea can be expanded outside the Hindu context. I believe I have mentioned the Fires of Chaos at some point. Well perhaps the Fires of Chaos can be taken as as a force behind the will. Or, you could apply a similar theory to Satan depending on how you choose to interpret Satan, or even God for that matter. Not to mention the concept of the chthonic flame I mentioned in the past. Invariably, it could be an extension of a greater fire.

Going back to Agni, it’s interesting to note how the Vedic Indians believed that the power associated with Agni could be strengthened by Rig Vedic chants to Agni. Given they believed willpower was a projection of Agni, would it make sense that chanting Vedic chants to Agni was meant to strengthen willpower? It’s certainly an interesting concept to adapt.

Chaos giving birth to a star

I’m sure many people are familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche’s saying, “you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”. I think I have a perspective of what that might mean to me. Only out of Chaos can the light of being emerge, and it is we that create order. Only out of Chaos can the harmony that we find in the universe arise. Only out of Chaos and life be born. And only out of Chaos, can a creation burst out and/or a God arise. Without Chaos, where is your order?

Out of chaos, gods are born

Also, when one thinks of a star, one immediately thinks of light in the cosmos, as well as beauty. Without Chaos then, there is no light and beauty. Neither is there the Sun also, neither is there the star that alights life.

There is no Jekyll, and no Hyde

I’m sure that ever since Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published and entered our cultural memory, we’ve had this idea of a “dark side” that is separate and distinct from our personalities and yet lurking within us waiting to come out and strike. The problem with that concept, however, is that it is a faulty analysis of the human psyche and the self.

If we have a dark side, it is not at all separate from us. Such an idea is an arrogant denial, and is nonsense. There is no separate dark side, we are light and dark at once, and everything in between. They are all a part of our nature. We are not fundamentally evil, sinful monsters, but we are not fundamentally good or virtuous either, we are only capable of those things. And it’s very ethically chauvinistic to place the normal human as symbolic of light, when the human being is a union of light and darkness (ideally anyway). And it is of no use denying either the light or the dark side, for both are a part of each other.

Elements

Remember my previous post about personal elements? Well since then, my element spread has changed, mainly since I realize Ego and Chaos should not be considered elements, let alone personal elements. So the four elements are as follows:

Fire, Earth, Sun, and Id

Fire is the same as I previously described it, so is Earth. Id still refers to carnal energy.

Sun is like Light with a more fire edge, and it’s not Sun. Basically not the same as the generic Light principle. It’s the hot light of the bright sun.

And that’s it.