Cursed be Moon and Stars above
May darkness everlasting old
That waits outside in surges cold
Drown Manwë, Varda and the Sun
May all in hatred be begun
And all in evil ended be
In the darkness of the Moaning Sea
-Oath of the Melkorhini, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales1
A few weeks ago, I posted an entry about the Jedi Code and started this thread in convert_me on the topic of panentheism and the Jedi belief system.
There is no fear, there is power.
There is no death, there is immortality.
There is no weakness, there is the dark side.
-The Sith Code
Besides being an inverse of the Jedi litany, the Sith Code is an abjuration of the products of darkness. It's interesting to think that fear and death are weapons wielded by the Sith, weakness, a condition they exploit. The Sith are harbingers of fear and death; the detect and seek out weakness and their very name is associated with terror.
As galrudula wrote:
Jediism embraces noninvolvement with mental states. Note its creed. It basically says 'In the absence of X, there is Y.' Not to mention Y tends to be something full of goodies. If you read up on the history of the Jedi (which I really didn't), you'll notice they were pacifists and didn't get themselves involved in anything until [appealed to], at which point they employed the force in defensive aggression.
The Dark side, on the other hand, embraces indulgence. Although its creed just emphasizes the "Dark" in their name, you'll notice that many of their beliefs tend to be "If there is a lot of X, there is Y." X tends to be something like hate or anger or fear or whatnot, and Y tends to be victory, or something down that path.
Now, interestingly, galrudula saw this as dualistic in nature, but most of the respondents to my first thread in convert_me did not.
Edit, 01:00 CST Fri 02 Apr 2004: Thanks to darana for providing this in her independent discussion, which she posted first.
I know no fear, but rather I instill it in my enemies.
I am the destroyer of worlds.
I know the power of the dark side.
I am the fire of hate.
All the universe bow before me.
I pledge myself to the darkness,
For I have found true life in the death of light.
-The Sith Creed
The parallels between the Sith creed and the creed of the Children of Darkness in Tolkien's universe provide and interesting study. Like the Melkorhini, we see from the Sith Creed that they (both the "modern" Sith Lords and the fierce aboriginal race called the Sith) abjure compassion, love, and preservation of life (and presumably the rule of order).
My first reaction to this assertion was to wonder whether it was practical as a belief system, even a fictitious one; then, suspending my disbelief, I wondered whether there was any story-external source. Does anyone know whether there has ever been a religion, genuine or putative, that actually espoused hate as a way of life and a source of power? In both cases, the pledge is to literal hatred as a source of power and freedom ("may all in hatred be begun" and "I am the fire of hate / I pledge myself to the darkness").
The nearest fictitious schism I can think of is the Vulcan-Romulan split. I think it was Spock's World (which I read about 12 years ago together with Star Trek: The Lost Years) that contained the following attribution:
Violence accelerates the heat-death of the universe.
1 BTW, look at this site where I found the verse - specifically, the user who posted it! Scawwy.
2 Here's a short summary Warning: contains post-original trilogy spoilers, if you don't like those.3
3 I've been really good about avoiding those with respect to the post-Endor novels, but gradually I've been worn down. jereeza and I have discussed spoiler-aversion in the past. She isn't averse, and I'm mostly neutral except for a few "brand name" continua that I hate to have spoiled. I'm still not religious about it even so. For instance, I couldn't resist looking up Kyp Durron, and then afterwards just had to peek at the entry on Exar Kun. It was the same way with Jacen, Jaina, Anakin, and Mara Jade1, and of course Forces of the Empire has introduced me perforce (quite literally, I might add) to Xanatos Du'Cruet. SW as a whole is a space opera genre with brilliant infusions of the epic, but what few novels I've read have all been delicious pulp and mind candy at a time when I needed it. For some reason, I can't find a single SW novel in our library. The UIUC Reading Room had every Kurtz and McCaffrey book I could name, and I got all the Lackey books I could read via Interlibrary Loan... :sigh: Shutting up, apologies for rambling.
4 (OK, I've gone footnote-happy.) I still don't know Thrawn, the clone Emperor, Joruus C'Baoth, or the Yuzhaan Vong other than by name, so please, help me preserve some interest in actually picking up the novels. And while we're on the subject, where would you suggest I start?