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The Dark Side of the Force. Much has been said about it, and it’s certainly been the focus point of many a heated discussion. But the fact is—not many people understand it for what it is. And the truth of it may shock you, for the Dark Side is you. It is all the things that you fear to even think about. All of the things that you are capable of, but dare not to even consider. For you all are capable of the worst atrocities imaginable, and more. Sound impossible? I would imagine to some of you that it does. And in that arrogance lies one of infinite paths towards darkness.

The Dark Side feeds off your selfish desires. That is basically the simplest way to put it. You may secretly hate someone for merely cutting you off in traffic. It is irrational—you don’t know that person, and they didn’t do anything terribly bad, but sometimes you just feel your anger rising, and your hatred growing. Would you do anything about it? Probably not. Most people have a pretty good grasp on their hatred, and are able to keep it in check. The Dark Side is, however, only one mistake away.

All the Dark Side needs to have you is for you to give up following the moral guidelines that keep you in check. And it just takes one time. Because it will happen again. And again. The infractions upon your moral system will become bigger and bigger until you start to resent the feeling of guilt for breaking them. You start to question why you are following a code of conduct at all. Why do that when doing whatever you want makes you feel so good? And then, one day, you will cast aside your morals completely. You will be living only for what you want. You let nothing stand in your way, especially morals. People become either annoyances or means to get what you want. And that is when the price comes to bear.

You then feel all the things that matter to you start slipping away. Your friends, your family, and your goals. Because they don’t fit with your new lifestyle. They ask you what is wrong, and you would like to tell them, but know they would never understand. So, you begin to resent them as well. How dare they question you? You are strong, and they haven’t seen the reality, and therefore, they are weaker than you, and not deserving of your interest any longer.

And then, my friends, when you have voluntarily given up all the things that made you who you were, you have fallen to the Dark Side. And then the pain begins. You wonder why you have no one to confide in, or to trust. The answer is something you don’t want to think about. And the loneliness sets in next. You are completely by yourself, as you have cast off everyone and everything that you used to know and love. And the reason is because you drove them away. But at this point, there’s nothing you can do. You certainly don’t want to give up the freedom to do whatever you want. So, you become bitter, and even more angry. Angry at the world for being unfair. Why can’t you do whatever you want, and still keep things that are important to you? And the Darkness in you will continue to grow. Your powers will increase, but so will the pain. You will begin to lose control. Soon, you have no control over anything you do any longer. You are but a conduit for which the Dark Side uses you. And when you have nothing left to give, you are left a burnt-out husk. The Dark Side and its power has abandoned you. You can no longer serve its purposes. And if you managed to survive the burn-out, you are left a shattered person who realizes they have nothing left at all.

You may notice that I have not spoken of powers or abilities that the Dark Side grants you. Oh, I assure you, they are there. The Force grants many powers and abilities to those who truly give themselves to Darkness. All that you can imagine and more. But they are inconsequential. No matter what you can do, who you can destroy, or what you can sense, the end result is exactly the same. When the Dark Side has used you up completely, you are left with nothing.

Now, you may be telling yourself that you won’t fall, you’re too strong. Don’t kid yourself. There are a million ways to fall. Perhaps your arrogance will continue to grow until you’re tired of people contradicting you. And one day, you’ll have enough and give in just a little bit. You won’t care, you’ll be glad you did. It will feel wonderful. And you will ask yourself why you ever held it in for so long.

Or maybe you’ll do what I did and pretend to be dark, hoping for a greater good. I knew that it wasn’t the right way. I knew that you could never build a greater good upon lies and deception. But the fact was—I wanted to. I wanted to lash out at the people who questioned me. I wanted to lash out at the people who disagreed with what I believed or said. And I thought I was strong enough to stop one day. I justified it by saying I was helping people. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. And I hurt a lot of people, and created a lot of trouble. And the benefits of what I did, are far outweighed by the damage I caused. Only through support of friends was I able to break free. But it was close—far too close. Most of me didn’t want to stop. I liked the feeling of freedom. I didn’t have to mince words with people. I could manipulate them, insult them, and hurt them, and there was nothing they could do to stop me. If I didn’t like someone, it didn’t bother me. I knew I could crush them anytime I wished. And it was a good feeling. But in the end, I knew that I could no longer justify my actions as being towards a greater good. I was evil, and I knew it. And if I continued, I would do so as a consciously evil person. And I wasn’t prepared to pay the price I knew would come.

So, in conclusion, never underestimate your own capacity for darkness. Because it is in you. Every time you feel a selfish urge, you feel the Dark Side knocking at your door. When you feel the guilt, that is the light telling you it is wrong. As long as you listen to and heed the voice of the light, you will be okay. But remember, the Dark Side is only one very small step away, so small that it almost seems inconsequential. And there it lies. Looking innocent enough, just waiting for you to take that small step, when it will hook you in, and keep you coming back. So, be careful. Remember your training. Keep in mind how much you care about your friends and family, and other things that matter for you. Know that they are worth fighting for. And know that no matter what, when you play the Dark Side’s game, it ALWAYS wins, no matter how much you stack the deck in your favor.