The parable of Darth Vader
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Fight scene video: Darth versus Luke
I sense my son's presence, but Luke is using his Force abilities to block me from exactly pinpointing him. His compassion for me is his undoing. I will never turn from the dark side. I must obey my master. Luke was wrong when he said he sensed good in me. I am too far gone, done too much evil, tasted the flavor of it, and it is good tasting food for me and my emperor. Luke is naive to think he can turn me back to the light side of the Force. I sense something. I can not locate Luke, but his mind is wandering, thinking of someone he loves...yes there I see it in his mind!
"A sister," I say with intentional emphasis, hoping to stir some passion to fight again. I must speak these next words with dark confidence, so Luke knows she is in danger. If I make him fear enough for her, his fear will turn to anger, and his anger will turn to hate, and hate leads to the dark side of the Force. I can turn the light of love to the darkness of hate, and my emperor then is more skilled than me to permanently twist his character. "You have a twin sister. Obi Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will." I said that last phrase in way that Luke feels it is true. I have some dark Force skills he is not aware of, and I plant that suggestion now deeply in his subconscious. He thinks it guaranteed she will turn, and now I will see if hate can make him powerful.
"No!" I see my son's light saber ignite, the glow showing a face of rage. I have him now.
I parry his light saber blows, but he is enraged. His reflexes are fast! I can barely deflect in time, pushing me back, and back! Perhaps I overdid it, as he is intent on killing me. I see it in his eyes. I don't want to die, only turn him to the dark side. My back is to the precipice now, can feel it. I can't keep up. "Arrgh" Luke has successfully cut off my saber hand, enraged. I am at his mercy. I am afraid to die.
I hear my emperor laughing, as he says, "Your hate has made you powerful. Now strike your father down and take his place at my side." Exactly what I expect of Palpatine.
My son hesitates. I feel the emperor directing dark side hate amplification feelings towards Luke, some naturally deflecting off his light side character-shield and saturating me. I would kill Luke now if I could. I see Luke examining his saber hand, mechanical parts showing from his mechanical hand. Perhaps he is reconsidering becoming like me, more machine than man. He turned off his light saber.
"No. I'll never turn to the dark side. You've failed your highness. I am a Jedi Knight. Like my father before me."
His words are naive. I am no Jedi Knight anymore. I am a Sith Lord.
"So be it, Jedi," I hear my master say. "If you will not turn to the dark side, then you shall be destroyed." Blue lightning comes from my master's hands. I felt it once from him before and know how it burns. I limp to the emperor's side to watch my son burn to death.
"Father please," I hear Luke plea. He groans in burning pain and keeps saying, "Father please", as if I can do anything. I will die if I oppose my emperor. But I feel something. Something I have not felt in a long time. The feeling of love I felt for Luke's mother, Padme. I had forgotten what it felt like. I would have died to save Padme, but things turned out different. I loved her. I feel it now, again, love buried so deep I did not know it was there. Luke was right when he said he sensed good in me and the emperor had not driven it from me completely. I just could not sense it then. But now I do. I could not die for you Padme, but I will die for our son.
I grab my master by the shoulders, and drag him above my head to the precipice railing. His blue lightning sears me, burning my whole body. I know I will die but do not care. I only have to live long enough to throw Palpatine over the railing and save my son. I hear the emperor scream, surprised I live long enough to throw him over. I collapse, near death. My son runs to my side and says he won't let me die and has to save me.
"You already have, Luke. You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right." I close my eyes in the sleep of death, content to die, knowing my last act at least saved our son, Padme. I come to you now, my darling.
I open my eyes and my son says, "You died, father. But Yoda taught me a little known Jedi death trick to bring you back to life. You’ll be fine."
We go together to Coruscant, the vibrant heart and capital of the galaxy, featuring a diverse mix of citizens and culture. I heal in time and get to know my son, Luke, for the first time, and also my daughter princess Leia. I become friends with Yoda and other light side Jedi, and try to re-learn the ways of the light side of the Force. My act of self-sacrifice imbued me with some light side power, but as I battle bad guys with my son Luke, I find myself slipping often. It is too tempting and I find I fall back into old ways often.
"Awww, dad," I remember Luke castigating me once, as I choked a bad guy to death with the dark side of the Force. "You promised me you wouldn't use the dark side anymore."
"Sorry, son. I can't help myself sometimes. I have had too much experience with the dark side and it is just part of me now. I can't help but use it sometimes."
Luke sighed. Yoda and the other light Jedi could not help me either. They said I had become a new type of Jedi never seen before, one who engages in both the light side of the Force and the dark side, as necessary to get the job done. They accept me in time, that I cannot totally change my ways, but they also do not fear me anymore, as my heart is now at least always in the right place, and fight for good and not evil. This seems to be something the other Jedi have hard time understanding, and I am not sure how to make them understand. It has taken me time even, to understand how to put it into words. Some Jedi, who show promise and desire to become like me, I am allowed to teach. It is dangerous to try and teach Jedi how to engage in this type of light and dark balance, but really it is not balance. I am all light, and I have difficulty trying to teach my students, who do not have my experience, how this can be. Controlled entry and experience with the dark side is tricky and dangerous to teach, and only certain Jedi, who pass certain aptitude tests, am I even allowed to teach. The danger of losing oneself to the dark side is great.
Each Jedi course I teach, I always begin with my story. "My name is Anakin Skywalker. I used to be a good Jedi, but I did not have wisdom to fear the dark side and became Darth Vader. I remember telling my old friend, Obi Wan, that I did not fear the dark side like he did. I should have. I was wrong. I killed my old friend, Obi Wan, who sacrificed himself to save my son, Luke, one evil act among many in my nefarious career as Darth Vader. I came back to the light. All it took was the suffering of a family member, my son, who was dying in defiance to my evil emperor, who wanted him to kill me but Luke refused. When I also did an act of self-sacrifice to save my son, I died but came back to life a new man. Sort of. I tried to be good by the definition and understanding of other light Jedi, but I discovered I can't get the dark side out of me completely. I have had too much experience with it. It is just a part of me now. But I discovered I can use both the light side and the dark side as necessary to get the job done. I have mastered the ability to project energy from my hands. When Yoda uses the Force this way, a coherent beam of steady white light comes from his hands, but when Sith use the Force this way, cackling and chaotic blue lightning comes from their hands. When I use the Force this way, both types of energy displays come from my hands. As such, Sith Lords are no match for me anymore, as I can cut right through their energy projections with my own double hit. Yodas are no match for me either, but I don't need to fight with Yodas, unless I want practice. I choose the light side, but I don't have to. They are the same."
My students are always confused at this point and ask the same question. "How can the light side and dark side be the same? How can both good and evil be the same?"
My answer is always the same too. "When I was Darth Vader, I sent probes into deep space, searching for rebel bases. One time a probe went through a wormhole and was sent to a distant galaxy called the Milky way. The probe was programmed with rudimentary Force detection abilities, ostensibly to detect Jedi at rebel bases and report back, but this time it was drawn to a planet called Earth and detected a book there called the Holy Bible, which the probe determined was radiating both light and dark sides of the Force. The probe collected the book and returned through the wormhole, as it was designed to do. I read the book from cover to cover, as it was a fascinating read. It seemed fiction to me at the time, so I didn't give it much more attention, until I came back to the light and was searching for answers to what I had become. Let me share some wisdom from that book. 'Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.' (Psalm 139:12) This book claims to be a history about Earthlings, and all about a man named Jesus, who claimed to be God and got crucified for this claim, a painful form of execution even I never did as Darth Vader. If I am to believe the New Testament stories about Him, He seemed to demonstrate Force abilities no Jedi has ever done in our galaxy. But He taught humans in amazing ways, displaying wisdom and powers that almost make me believe He truly is the Son of God. Religious leaders tried to trap Him once by asking if it was proper to pay taxes to the secular government or not. He asked for a coin, which the religious leaders used for currency, and made the point that the coin, which they endorse by its use, had the picture of Caesar on it, and told them to give to Caesar what is his and to give to God what is His. Let me try to teach in similar style."
We use digital currency in the Republic of our galaxy, but there was a time long ago when we also used metal coins. My students always recognize my show and tell display, when I pull out an old Republic coin and ask them all to examine it. It also has an old Republic leader's face on it, and the other side has an animal picture. Then I attempt to explain, as I take the coin back, and tell them, "This Bible from Earth contains a word called Holy, which describes their God of pure goodness and love and perfection. The Bible even calls itself the Holy Bible in reference to inspiration from this God. Like Jesus in the Bible, I see this old Republic coin represents both light and dark sides of the Force. They are just different sides of the same coin, but the whole coin is Holy." I show them the side with the head. "The heads side is the good and light side of the Force because light Jedi have good motivations for using the Force. When you use the Force with good and loving motivations that is the light side." Then I turn the coin to the picture of the animal. "The tails side is rightly an animal, representing the animal nature of Sith Lords, as I used to be so understand well. The tails side is the evil and dark side of the Force because dark Jedi, Sith, have evil motivations for using the Force. When you use the Force with evil and self-serving, hateful, motivations that is the dark side. But to me, as the Bible says, light and darkness are the same. To me, the whole coin is Holy, both the heads and tails sides."
Typically, my students still don't understand, and I attempt to clarify. "When I use the light side of the Force, my motivations are always Holy...goodness and love. When I use the dark side of the Force, my motivations are always Holy...goodness and love, though on the outside, you may think I am 100% my old Darth Vader self."
My students typically can understand the concept a little with more mild forms of evil, but find it hard to understand how one can do apparently extreme evil with 100% loving and good motivations. "I don't think we will ever understand the Force like you do Master Anakin."
"That's why I am a different Jedi than most. I think like the God of this Bible, that I confiscated from the planet called Earth, in the distant Milky Way galaxy. I still have outward Darth Vader qualities, but inwardly I am all good Anakin Skywalker now. Obi Wan sort of did some mild evil when he sort of lied to Luke, that when Darth Vader's personality took over Anakin, the good man who was his father was killed by Darth Vader, implying Anakin was literally killed by Darth Vader, but not clearly specifying it was a parable of the internal realities of the same man. But Luke saw good in me. When I died physically saving my son, I also came back to life, with his assistance. I only died to my old self at that point, but went on to become a different type of Jedi, one who uses both the light and dark sides of the Force as necessary to get the job done. Only my inward motivations you cannot see, and this is why I can use the Force like I do. The God of the Bible seems like me in many ways, but the Earthlings never seemed to understand this God very well, and were always confused and rebellious. I think this God of Earth in the Milky Way galaxy would make an excellent light/dark Jedi like me."
Upon inevitable confused looks, I add, "Even my old friend, Master Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi, only partly understood, as he sort of did the same when he did some mild evil by cleverly lying to Luke about who I was. Luke was upset that Obi Wan defended his mild clever lies by saying what he said was true from a certain point of view, but Obi Wan continued to justify himself to my son by saying, 'Luke you are going to find many of the truths we hold so dear depend greatly on our own point of view.'
“The difference between good and evil is a slightly different point of view, and even that is an inner motivations thing, which we cannot see on the outside. Obi Wan did some mild evil lying and justified it, as everybody does their own versions of evils, and justify it and consider it mild. To those who have done extreme evil like me, it naturally makes more sense to clearly see how everybody is a hypocrite to some degree, but everybody judges others on a relative scale of their own convenience. I've learned the ultimate in Force discernment to know my own motivations and the true difference between good and evil, and know how to use the Force to maintain 100% absolute loving and good motivations always, like the God of the Bible, even though on the outside I may appear to act like the devil sometimes. This is why I often feel as poorly understood as I think this God of the Holy Bible, from the planet called Earth, in the distant Milky Way galaxy, must have felt. Yes, I think, in another reality, this God is someone I could have called a very good friend."
My students still have hard time understanding, and I don't desire they have as extreme an experience as I to understand. The probe also brought back some interesting information about fabled Greek gods from Earth history, from an insert that happened to be in the Holy Bible it brought back. I think perhaps I will legally change my name to Dennis, the Greek god of ecstatic states, particularly those produced by wine, an Earth drink that could alter the mind's cognitive perceptions. My new name might better reflect the new way of thinking and cognitive perceptions that I hope to impart to my students. Yes, I think Dennis is a better name to describe the type of Jedi I am.