Monday, August 8, 2011

Empires and Supermen

If you choose to walk the path of the Sith masters, you will begin to see the world in an entirely new darkness. As the realization dawns upon your Force-heightened mind that Light Side society wants only servants of the status quo and not masters of New Orders, you will find yourself re-evaluating all its myths from a Sith perspective. In that spirit, I thought it would be interesting to consider a few empires and supermen of myth and history, and see what lessons they may offer to disciples of the Dark Side.

Khan and the Augments
“The trip is over. The battle begins again. Only this time, it's not a world we'll win. It's a universe.”
Khan Noonien Singh was the greatest of the genetically engineered supermen (“Augments”), whose rise to power led to the Eugenics Wars of the 1990’s. The Augments had five times the strength and twice the intelligence of ordinary humans, which enabled them to take control of over 40 nations before their defeat. Khan and a few of his followers escaped into space and lay in suspended animation until their discovery by the Enterprise in the 23rd century. Upon his revival, Khan quickly took control of the Enterprise and sought new worlds to conquer. However, Khan was betrayed and the Augments were exiled to the desolate planet of Ceti Alpha V. Years later, Khan hijacked a Federation starship and sought revenge on Kirk, but was killed.

The story of Khan is a true tragedy. The Augments were engineered to have superior ability, which naturally bred superior ambition, but when they acted upon that ambition they were destroyed by the combined forces of an inferior humanity. The Eugenics Wars led to a ban on genetic engineering, such that by the 23rd century humans were still the same sorry apes we’ve always been. As Khan observed: “Captain, although your abilities intrigue me, you are quite honestly inferior. Mentally, physically. In fact, I am surprised how little improvement there has been in human evolution. Oh, there has been technical advancement, but how little man himself has changed.”

What a sad, anti-progressive story! My main take-away from this tale is, if you’re going to build an empire of supermen, be sure to crush the normals totally before they crush you. No one ever said progress was easy!

The Terran Empire
"Terror must be maintained or the Empire is doomed. It is the logic of history." –Mirror Spock
The Moon Landing as it looked in the Mirror Universe
The Terran Empire of the Star Trek Mirror Universe is one of my favorite Dark Side archetypes. Here is a cosmic civilization you can root for the complete inverse of the sterile, timid Federation with its pathetic Prime Directive and total lack of any great ambition. Mirror Spock was essentially a goateed, Vulcan Sith, which is one of the more awesome role models I can imagine. Every Sith student should study the Terran Empire closely as a model for the future Galactic Empire.

Emperor Palpatine and the Galactic Empire
“The New Order of peace has triumphed over the shadowy secrecy of shameful magicians. The direction of our course is clear. I will lead the Empire to glories beyond imagining. We have been tested, but we have emerged stronger. We move forward as one people: the Imperial citizens of the first Galactic Empire. We will prevail. Ten thousand years of peace begins today.” Emperor Palpatine
We are supposed to see in Emperor Palpatine the very personification of evil, but as a Sith disciple I of course see just the opposite. I see a visionary who by the force of his will brought order, unity and peace to a galaxy. I see a master of the Dark Side of the Force of unmatched power. I see the founder of an empire capable of building death stars and vast fleets of star destroyers. I see a man capable of turning someone as powerful as Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side and using him as an instrument of his will. Compared to all that, what are the Jedi and the Rebel Alliance but a rather pathetic, unambitious rabble? Why would I want to see the Empire, the very apex of power in the universe, destroyed? This is the insidious spirit of our time that every Sith disciple must resist. We must totally reject any ideology that makes villains of the strong and heroes of the weak. Like the Sith orders of legend, we must stand outside of time and place and remain forever galactic in our ambitions.

Imperial Japan

It’s natural for aspiring Sith to be fascinated by feudal Japanese culture, since it was such a major influence on Star Wars. The Sith and Jedi are essentially galactic Ninja and Samurai, and the Force is based on the “ki” or “chi” familiar to martial artists. Before its defeat in World War II, Imperial Japan, like Nazi Germany, had many similarities to a Sith empire. Emperor Hirohito truly was a god in human form, with a power that few modern Westerners can even imagine. The video below gives you a little taste of the dark beauty of Imperial Japanese culture:

"In blossom today, then scattered: Life is so like a delicate flower. How can one expect the fragrance to last forever?"

I am particularly fascinated by the Black Dragon Society, the Sith-like secret society of former samurai who ruthlessly promoted Japanese interests throughout the world in the early 20th century. In many ways they were the precursor of modern groups like al-Qaeda, and are a model for secret societies of the future. The New Sith should seek to create an Order with that level of will and commitment, because in the chaotic 21st century, creeds of weakness simply won’t survive.

Nazi Germany

Whatever else Adolph Hitler was, his life is a testament to the incredible power of human will. Has any individual in history had a more dramatic impact upon the world than this unpromising son of an Austrian civil servant? All aspiring Sith should study Hitler’s story closely, because there is no chapter of modern history with more to teach us than the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. The anti-Semitism, Aryan racial mysticism and other aspects of Nazism that are petty and untenable should be discarded, but the best parts – the tremendous energy, ambition, vision, futurism, spectacle and Nietzschean spirit – are precisely what I believe the modern world needs.

Empires of the Future

It seems that we live in an age of ruin, a time when every recent empire – Great Britain, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union and now the United States – has entered the dustbin of history. So where do aspiring empire-builders go from here?

Certainly China shows many signs of becoming the next great imperial power. The 2008 Beijing Olympics was a grand spectacle that echoed the 1936 Berlin games, and announced to the world that the Middle Kingdom was ready to return to the center of the world stage. I don’t have any special insights into Chinese culture, but I do see a powerful non-Western form of modernity developing there that will be quite interesting to follow.

I am particular encouraged by China’s strong interest in space exploration, the growing influence of Nietzschean ideas on its leaders since the demise of Maoism, and their sense of collective destiny that the West seems to have lost. I have even read anecdotal accounts of Chinese plans to breed supermen, by scientists who are apparently keen on conducting eugenics experiments on their vast population. Without a strong Judeo-Christian or secular humanist tradition, there would seem to be little to prevent the Chinese from attempting to engineer real "Augments". Just as Khan and his supermen emerged in Asia, it seems quite possible that real Eugenics Wars could originate from China in this century.

I also foresee the possibility of a 21st century techno-fascism emerging which will be global in scope – a “New World Order” which unleashes Nazi-like energies but dispenses with the racialist and nationalist cultural baggage. These new fascists would be transhumanists with a fanatically rational desire to reshape the world technologically, improve humanity genetically, and bring about a "Singularity." The creation of such an aggressive brand of modernity seems essential if the power of the fecund fundamentalists is to be thwarted. Perhaps we will finally see the birth of the kind of cosmic, Nietzschean civilization that I favor – one led by a new spiritual order such as the Sith, and a precursor to the coming Galactic Empire.
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