Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why I'm Darth Kelly

Just about everyone is familiar with the Star Wars universe in at least some way.  The original trilogy told the story of the Force, and how there is the Light Side and the Dark Side.  Many view this as a struggle of Good vs Evil.  In the original trilogy, this is appropriate.  The Sith, the users of the Dark Side of the Force have become twisted individuals.  They have gotten rid of the Republic, and started a ruthless Empire.  Our young hero, Luke Skywalker, is there to set things right.

However, when reading the novels and comics, and playing the video games, we see an expanded understanding of the Force, the Sith, and the Jedi.  While Jedi are traditionally tied to the Light Side, and the Sith are traditionally tied to the Dark Side, there is nothing in their respective codes that actually force them to use either "side" of the Force.

Here is 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 free me.

And here is the Jedi Code:

There is no emotion, there is peace. 
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony. 
There is no death, there is the Force.

As you can see, there is nothing innately "evil" about the Sith Code, nor innately  "good" about the Jedi code.  Both are philosophies that we can identify with various non-fictional cultures.  Both are compelling ways to look at life.  One of the themes of the "New Republic" era novels (post Return of the Jedi), is Luke trying to find a balance between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force.  He tries to be more neutral towards both.  He also sees the failures in the old Jedi order - that they, despite being Light Side users, and Jedi, were corrupt.  While rebuilding the Jedi, he holds them apart during training, but them encourages them to be a part of "normal" life, upon being considered Jedi.  He does this because he feels that the old Jedi did not identify themselves as a part of the culture of the galaxy; that in their serenity, they lost a part of their humanity.

In Dungeons and Dragons, there are two axes of morality.  There's the traditional Good vs Evil, but there is also Lawful vs Chaotic.  Many people familiar with both Star Wars and D&D view the Sith as being Chaotic, and the Jedi as being Lawful, rather than either being Good or Evil.

Many people ask why I use "DarthKelly" as a user name on so many websites, and why I use it as "stage name" while singing karaoke.  I started using it when volunteering for a group that was unofficially called "Team Sith".  However, it has recently become more meaningful to me.  Historically, I've flattened or numbed my emotions as a way of dealing with them when they've become overwhelming.  As such, I have often not processed them, and dealt with them.  This has caused some unfortunate build up, and left me with some baggage that, after decades of putting it off, I'm having to deal with now.

Although it was never intended for this purpose, the username now reminds me of the fictional Sith Code, and reminds me that I can actually feel my emotions, rather than tramping them down somewhere largely unreachable.  I have historically looked upon strong emotions as a weakness, and this reminds me that they can be a strength.  I started out being Darth Kelly for inconsequential reasons, but as time has gone on, it has become a very poignant reminder of what my goals are as far as my mental health is concerned.  It's a tool, and I am going to continue to use it.

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