There are two ways you can understand a thing. First, you can examine the thing itself, and from its characteristics and nature, make statements about it. However, you can also describe a thing by what it is not — the absence of it, or its opposite. For the curious, the formal, academic terms for these two routes are cataphasis and apophasis, respectively. The terms are descended from Greek words, so have fun walking into your local sandwich shop and asking the owner to tell you what’s in the gyro — apophatically. If you get a blank look, scream “This is Sparta!” and run out. Now, what we are going to do here is start with the negative (apophatic), move into the caliphatic, draw out into the larger social context, and finally dispell some common misconceptions. To do this, I am going to have to speak in generalized terms, so bear with me. This will take a second, so go grab a snack, take a whizz, or grab a quickie from your partner, and come back.
- Apophatic (Theory):
The reason we will begin here is because this is the easier part to understand. The total absence of Darkworker methods, or the opposite of the Darkworker perspective, is known as Lightworking. Of course, before all the new-age freaks descended on the scene, this was sometimes described as the Right-Hand Path. We have all had exposure to it in some form or another, because it is the foundation of most spiritual paths today. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Paganism, Wicca, most Philosophies, and nearly all daycare providers teach it in differing forms. It is, in a lot of ways, the establishment, or the traditional approach.
- It carries these axioms:
- Love God and your Fellow Beings
- Reach out to Touch the Divine, or Liberation
- Sacrifice Yourself as you Surrender to Higher Will
- And expressed the following ethics, generally:
- Love the Divine, or Consciousness itself
- Love the Created, and other Beings
- Harm None
Keep in mind, in this case, I am using Consciousness and Divine, in the same, totaled manner. But the above is pretty straight-forward and easy, right? In short you can see that, overall, highest truth is expressed by creation itself. We look outwards, at the majesty that is all existence, and through that celebration, attain mastry and bliss. Of course, try not to be too nit-picky with my description, as I am basically making a general divinding line here. Now, lets move into Darkworking.
- Cataphatic (Theory):
Here, we can now talk about what Darkworking is by contrast. Instead of directing attention outwards, the Darkworker focuses energy and concentration inwards. This is actually where the “Dark” in the title comes from — the Darkworker becomes a spiritual spelunker, traveling downwards into the caverns of the self, instead of outwards towards the sun, and creation, the “Light”. The path teaches that yes, creation is divine, but you are also part of Creation. This means that you too, are Divine. Why go jump in your car and drive thousands of miles to Nirvana, when Highest Truth sits in your lap? That same awe and majesty at the world, becomes a driving passion to obtain complete understanding, acceptance, and mastry of the self. Once fully realized, the individual becomes a walking expression of its own Divinity.
- It carries these base axioms:
- Love Yourself
- Reach Inwards to the Divine, or Liberation
- Restrain Yourself as you Persue Individual Desire
- And it carries the following ethics:
- Know Yourself
- Accept Truth
- Achieve Excellence
As you can see, it is quite the shift. This leads many new agers to talk in terms of polarity, but I object slightly, ever so slightly, to this terminology (but, I am forced to use the word due to its popularity). First off, polarity implies that one cannot coexist with the other. But, as a caveat, I hold up Buddhism. The Dharma really teaches one to do both Lightwork and Darkwork. While through compassion they might be operating with Lightworker ethics, the path to Liberation is entirely inwardly directed energy. Keep in mind, the Dalai Lama did not even hear the term “self-hatred” until he came to the United States, and his immediate inner reaction was, “Why would anyone hate theirself?”. This is how strongly his paradigm rejected the idea — he just didn’t get it. And, if you don’t think that Buddhism uses Darkworker energy, think again. Vajrayana has entire libraries devoted to Buddhas in wraithful form, where the entire point is to use “negative” emotions (anger, lust, hate, fear) as driving forces for Enlightenment. Again, the ethics might be Lightworker, but those are Darkworker tools in their robe-wearing, shaved-headed hands. Some argue that in the end, you must use BOTH tool-sets to go all the way. In reality, I don’t know — if I get that far, I’ll keep you posted.
- Social Context:
It should be noted that these are the extremes, most people just sit in the middle. In fact, polarization at all is a truly rare thing, and that is fine, for now, and I think, natural to a certain extent. But what surprises people is that they use Darkworker methods all the time, even if they think the left-hand path is something to be avoided. Ever cut someone off in traffic? Ever use a little attitude or intimidation to get a clerk or phone operator to do what you want? Ever cheated on anyone, ever? These are all little examples where you are, ultimately, at least playing hopskotch on the Darkworker Path, at least for a moment. Why? Because you’re putting yourself first. Welcome to the Dark Side, baby.
In reality the left-hand vs. right-hand path question is a fluid thing, a spectrum where we may find ourselves at any given time, at any given moment, with any given choice. Both paths are part of us, inherently. Some people simply choose to spend more time in one mode than the other, and assuming they are awake, realized, polarized, they are rewarded for their dedication. But, either way, we should move to try to step away from hard, fixed labels.
Think Darkworkers are rare? Nope, sorry. This country (the US) is ruled by Darkworkers. Always has been, always will be. The American Revolution didn’t start because of morality — it wasn’t a bunch of debauched nobles drinking and carousing while the people starved, or the sick savageries of slavery, or even the mass-murder of an entire continent of inhabitants that rallied people to freedom. It was people taking their shit, in the form of taxes, that started the war. Oh sure, there might be a bunch of Lightworker-sounding rhetoric, but those are Darkworker tools in their little white-wig-wearing, apple-pie-baking hands. In fact, your boss is probably a Darkworker. Then again, those new hires, who just joined up with the company fresh out of college — they’re probably Lightworkers, or at least naive. You should have sex with them.
- Common Misconceptions:
Darkworkers are evil…..
Well, they may be self-interested, sure. But, everyone is to a certain extent. They just don’t bullshit themselves about it. What this question isn’t understanding is that these ideas are just tools, a means to an end. Lightworkers will have to be aware of that at some point in their journey. How are you going to save the environment if you don’t stand up to the corporations? What are you going to do, hug them to death? True Lightworking will eventually encounter conflict, at which point we are here with our so-called evil arms outstretched. Or, you can go the Ghandi route, and in today’s world, I will sit back, and as a courtesy, squirt one out at your funeral. After which, I will probably hit on your spouse.
Darkworking is based in fear, anger, and hatred…..
Darkworking is no more based in those emotions than Lightworking is based on blind-devotion, obsession, and finaticism. Those emotions are simply tools which, while Lightworkers try to suppress them, Darkworkers will use them in a controlled fashion to achieve any goal.
Playing around with that stuff will lead to self-destruction….
Sure, its possible, but this is also true for Lightworkers. You can give to others to the point that it is self-destructive. Just go to an abused women’s shelter, and tail one of those ladies as they go home, yet again. Make an evening of it, take along a slurpee, and just sit in the front yard of the house. Shortly before the action, you’ll probably hear the sound of a beer cracking open, then some yelling. Then will come the dull thuds, screaming, and breaking glass. As the brain-freeze grabs ahold of you, I’d like you to take a moment to re-reflect on this question.
Keep in mind, if you are truly grounded in self-love, you won’t do anything self-destructive, or even harm yourself unless it has a higher purpose. So this idea is actually opposed to the very idea of the left-hand path. Compare it to Lightworking, which actually encourages martyrdom and self-sacrifice.
Darkworkers are selfish, mean, dumb, bad-smelling, and sometimes just creepy-weird.
Usually, this happens because you are seeing amateurs, what we call Apprentices, who thanks to people like Antoine LaVey got crappy tools and had no guidance from a teacher. This is really just sad. But, don’t be mad at them, everyone had to start somewhere. Hopefully they’ll head my way, be patient, I’m doing what I can.
Alternatively, you could be seeing some geek who really ins’t a Darkworker, but because they feel powerless and spend their evenings playing Dungeons and Dragons, and for their little gaming tribe or whatever they are the resident experts on the Book of Vile Darkness — think they can masquerade as a teacher. I’d say shoot them in the face, but they’re not worth the bullet.