What Makes The Dark Side (Of Business And Life) So Tempting? 1. Dualistic Power
I nerded out pretty hard core on Star Wars for this series, but it’s 100% relevant to not only today’s political climate, but also to being a leader and running a business. Read carefully!
For a while now I’ve been exploring and trying to understand what makes the dark side so tempting. How is it that people turned to hatred of others, aggression, and the many isms and phobias (racism, sexism, homophobia…), which are all one or another kind of prejudice?
I’ve been meditating on it, seeing it in my personal life, looking into the current political climate, and analyzing myths, stories, and history to get to the bottom of the nightmare.
In this series I’m sharing what has become apparent.
1. Dualistic Power
The dark side is all about gaining dualistic power.
Power can take several forms (status, wealth, physical dominance…), but it’s always dualistic, that is, in relation to others. This is how most of our society traditionally views power. It goes like this: I have power over you, or you have power over me. It’s one or the other. End of story. Whoever is stronger wins. It’s survival of the fittest and cleansing of the weak.
Power is a tempting pursuit because, the thought goes, we could have anything we wanted. We could dream big and never have to hold back. We could finally fully express ourselves without worrying about what other people thought of us. We could have it all, be it all, win it all, be on top, and finally be happy.
In reality, the idea, “when I’m on top I’ll be happy” is probably one of the most deeply seated and devastating beliefs human beings have ever encountered (especially for us white folks who it was beaten into).
It misses the simple reality that nature is diverse, and no creature is particularly better than another. We each have strengths and weaknesses, natural gifts and natural blind spots. It’s just the way of it. But the most devastating miscalculation is that without global diversity none of us would be alive very long, period.
I consider dualistic power the grand illusion. It’s the mesmerizing display of false, empty power. Dualistic power isn’t authentic power. It’s only imagined in a mind that is constantly referencing someone else who’s either more or less powerful. That agitation and constant comparing is called fear. And we can all relate to the dark side. We’ve all had the experience of fear and the dream of freedom from that fear, no matter who we are, where we live, or what has happened in our life.
Authentic power, on the other hand, has no name or image. It isn’t afraid or caught in comparing, and in fact it’s very kind and loving with the one who is afraid. It couldn’t care less about status, wealth, physical dominance, or any other manifestation of dualistic power. Authentic power is not agitated. It has no need for showiness or manipulation. You’ve experienced it when you’re in a state of flow, of being in harmony with nature, or the universe or whatever you want to call that wordless experience. We’ve all had that experience.
It’s the idea of gaining power, which we think is possible, that is so tempting about the dark side. While the temptation to gain influence or power seems strong, it’s made of illusory papier-mâché. You don’t even need a lightsaber to dismantle it.
May the force be with you.