It’s been too long! I can’t take it anymore. Bioware is bombarding us with Old republic info and I need to let my Star Wars geek out. Today we’re going talk about philosophy, Sith philosophy! If background doesn’t interest you feel free to skip this post.
So the Sith have been an obsession of mine ever since I started reading about the extended Star Wars univers back when I was in high school (Truce at Bakura was my first book I think). How could a old guy like Palpatine become the ruler of the Empire and best all the jedis fascinated me. Over the years I’ve read all I could on the Sith and while a lot of the information keeps being retconned or changes according to the author, things are getting more or less stable and Bioware seems to be heading in the same direction as established lore. So without further introduction, lets look at what the Sith belive in.
A quick glossary
The Sith (race): the Sith was originally an extraterrestrial race from wich the first Sith took inspiration from for their society (design and such). They also enslaved them but that’s the Sith for you.
The Sith (political): The Sith empire was a region of space governed by the Sith (force-users). As an empire it governed all kind of people, both good and bad and from all walks of life. Bioware is playing that fact with the alignment system. You can serve the Sith faction and still be as good or bad as you want.
The Sith(force-users): The Sith as religious/philosophical movement. These are the evil guys in black robes we all think about. They want power, they want to rule the galaxy and we love them for it. Plus they have better taste in style!
Darkside users: It’s not because you use the dark side that you are a Sith! Far from it in fact. The Sith, like the Jedi order, have rules and all kind of trials to make sure not anybody joins them. Besides, a raving lunatic doped on the dark side doesn’t make for a great world conqueror (though it can be incredibly fun to mess with them).
Sith vs Jedi
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.
-The Sith Code
In the end it all comes down to emotions. Both the Jedi and the Sith acknowledge than one has emotion, the difference is in how you handle them. The Jedi claims that emotions will cloud your judgement and as such they need to be controlled. Through calm and meditation a Jedi will be able to see the best path open to him and choose the right action to take.
The Sith on the other hand believe that emotions are your truest guides. They are the Force speaking to you and directing you toward truth. To deny your emotions is to be false and dishonest with yourself and the rest of the world. It is natural to be angry, happy or sad and normal to act upon those emotions.
Both the Sith and the Jedi agree on one point though, is that you cannot be ruled by your emotions. The Jedi do it through control, the Sith do it by harnessing their emotions. They view emotions as a wild river to be harnessed. Unchecked it can be destructive but if you channel said river it can also be incredibly useful. To be a Sith is to walk a fine line between acknowledging your emotions and to be ruled by them. This is also what separates them from other dark side users who often lack the control the Sith have.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
I’m not going to review the whole Sith code but the first line is particularly relevant to understand why the Sith are viewed as evil. Sith believe that every being is ruled by their emotions. Left to ourselves, without order, we would all be ruled by our passions and kill one another, no better than beasts. That doesn’t mean they dislike order, far from it in fact. But they point out that the only way order can be enforced is through force. No society, they claim, can be held together only with good intentions.
So in a world of dog eat dog, better be on top right? So, if you want to be true to yourself, thus listening to your emotions and in doing so, be true to nature, using said emotions is the best way to rise to power. And wich side of the force feeds on emotion? The dark side of course!
So are the Sith evil?
For the vast majority, yes, absolutely. The the dark side is the strongest when it feeds on dark, strong emotions most of wich are considered evil or require evil acts. While it’s not absolutely necessary to be evil to be a Sith, it does lead to that more often than not. A few Siths, more interested in science and research were known to be more or less neutral.
Hope you enjoyed this little primer on the Sith! Now if only ToR can come out