“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ―
The Dark Side
We’ve all experienced the dark side.
There are times in everyone’s life that causes great stress, anxiety, tension and a narrowing of one’s view and focus. The dark times cause us to shut down, avoid the outside world and turn inwards (Brexit much?).
If you have a difficult relationship with your parents, darkness descends when you have to deal with them. You may choose to stay estranged for thirteen years, as I did.
If you hate your job, the darkness is the face of your boss.
If your parents’ love felt conditional, you may find yourself getting sick every time there’s an exam or a challenging work situation.
Later in life, when you’re inevitably struggling with addictions, the darkness comes after you’ve succumbed to the pull of the substance (a smartphone in my case) that stands between you and the life you’d like (that of a working memoir writer).
In my belief, anyone can become Darth Vader. We slip into the dark side when compassion goes out of the window and all one is left with is the hatred of other people. These may be “dole bludgers”, the wealthy, certain races, other generations, ugly women, handsome men, the LGBTI+ community, the fascists, the lefties and the list goes on.
My most recent trip to the dark side was when I felt like an insignificant speck of dust in the apparent vastness of the media industry. As a blogger, I’m a writer and a publisher and frequently experience an expansion of my views, yet the bosom of the current industry may never embrace me. My feelings of inferiority had me projecting onto Rupert Murdoch the qualities of Darth Vader; oppressiveness, manipulation, iron-fisted and suffocating control. He seemed to be dictating the yet unwritten future of our planet with very little humanity.
When projecting all my insecurities onto someone I don’t even know, Mr Murdoch, I was very much in dark territory.
“You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.” – Darth Vader
How well he knew human nature and how to turn Luke, the would-be hero of Star Wars, to the dark side. Luke’s reason to hate Darth isn’t just ideological; there is a very powerful personal reason too. Darth Vader killed Luke’s father. If Luke lets the darkness within him take over and unleashes his fury on Darth Vader, he’d join him on the dark side and that is what Darth Vader wants, because…
“No… I am your Father…” – Darth Vader
That scene still gives me goosebumps. Those lines are the truth and are the tragedy of all humanity. We are constantly running into the darkness within ourselves and that darkness is the trauma we inherited from our parents. Darth Vader is Luke’s father and he killed Luke’s father. Many of our fathers’ life energy, their light, is oftentimes destroyed by the weight of responsibility society pushes onto their shoulders. They feel they must be the providers and meet the ever-growing and expanding cost of keeping a modern family, with roofs over the heads, private education if they’re in the ”affluent class” and all the other trappings the world has in store.
The revelation of fighting his own father stuns Luke and Darth Vader grabs the opportunity to cut off his arm but fortunately, Luke is saved by his mates who happen to be cruising around beneath the Cloud City as he falls into the abyss.
A sense of humour helps us to enjoy life on Planet Earth, where not everyone agrees with our personal judgments of right and wrong. My father was the Rupert Murdoch of our household. All news that confirmed his worldview was reliable and everything outside of that was nonsense. You can imagine the frustration at the dinner table where no one else’s views were considered.
Dad has told us a few times that he had to turn his back on his childhood dreams of working as a film director when my brother and I came along. He was working in the Turkish state television creating TV programs, which he enjoyed but the pay wasn’t great. He yielded to the pressure he felt to earn more and found jobs that paid more but took him far away from directing films. Then gradually he started trying to direct our lives with his creative energy. Before long he found himself in Voice of America in the world of news media, which made him the household expert on how the world operates.
Personally, I find that, more so than the news media, classics like Star Wars offer us hope and faith in human nature to keep going and making good news. Luke manages to sense the goodness within Darth Vader, who is more machine than man. He cannot even breathe on his own, which is the case for many of us “modern people” too. Somewhere along the way, in trying to meet a machine-like system’s unending list of expectations, we forgot about our own humanity and taking the time to breathe and to find inner peace. This tiny little thought might help us regain our goodness. Our children don’t want our money or investment properties or inheritance; they want our light, our goodness, our humanity. That is all.
Fortunately, Luke keeps his anger under control and through compassion for the man his father was and sensing the humanity that remains in Darth Vader, sacrifices himself. Luke is saved as a result of Darth Vader’s betrayal of the evil Emperor. This is human nature at its finest. We sacrifice ourselves for the younger generation to have a chance at making things better on this planet.
These days I talk to dad every week and share my good news with him. He asks me why I take photos of flowers in bloom? Haven’t I got something better to do with my time like watch the Turkish sitcoms he keeps harping about that he secretly wishes he’d made, and I just say “nope…”
Over to you…
When was a time you felt stuck in a situation or with a person who seemed difficult to you? Were you able to look within and find the reason why you were challenged in that instance? Have you come to accept that previously unknown or rejected part of your psyche that manifested that specific difficulty in your life?