On Purpose

We speak much about purpose, as a goal toward which to apply yourself, to draw you on against odds. In old ages past, the goal was often thrust upon you; you were a baker, you were a priest, you were a warrior. Now, you have the lucky task of determining your own goal. But the goal, the purpose, I want to address now is not the ‘I want to be an artist’ or the goal of getting up on time for work each morning. When I speak of purpose, I mean Purpose.

The Will is not something to be taken lightly. The possession of such a thing is such a power that many of us, aware of the epic proportion of energy we have lurking beneath the surface of our mind, yearn for a purpose to apply it fully. A war, some great effort, something -epic- that captures us like a cause, sings in our blood, forces us to apply every fibre of our beings to an effort greater than ourselves. The world rarely gives that awakening to us, that challenge.

It’s conflict and opposition, something to test our mettle against and find out just how far we can go. It is becoming the hunter, the soldier, the fullness of potential. In battle it is physical and brings forth the will’s courage. In war and hardship is the will to survive. Each conflict demands some part of us.

But do we wait for such a thing to come along, some great challenge to test ourselves? Perhaps. Let me paint you a picture.

The pace of the world is accelerating, each ‘age’ is about one-tenth the length of the one before it; you see the world in the Information Age, the preceeding one the Industrial. Growing smaller and smaller as technology advances us into a future not even the technologists quite understand. It is called ‘punctuated equilibrium’: periods of relative equilibrium punctuated by major changes to a higher level of development. It is not something those who are in power now can handle easily. Follow the news. Nations are unprepared for the rapid pace around them, leaving the gap between Third World and those more advanced yawning and widening to the point where many countries and cultures will find themselves so far behind that the difference will be akin to shuttling them into the Stone Age. Technology is defining so much of the world, yet there is a great shortage of technologists; the rate at which people who understand it is not even close to the tempo of it’s application in our world.

It’s all in the tempo, the rate at which you can think. Knowledge areas are mingling in unpredictable ways; do you really think the US Justice Department thought to hire judges with degrees in computer science to understand what a Microsoft monopoly was or just what the real issue behind the Napster debate was? The complexity of the system that governs this globalized world is growing ahead of most peoples’ ability or training to understand, to cope with it. Leave it to the specialists who do understand, no one wants to take on fifteen careers just to get a grip.

But that is precisely what the problem is. Everything is a system, everything is a process in motion, growing in a biological way, joining, dispersing, shrinking and branching in a sort of chaotic motion. It’s very tempting to leave the handling of this new emerging paradigm to the ‘people who know’. Soon you will not be able to operate your oven without a network engineer troubleshooting why it can’t communicate with the main cooking computer in your home. THAT is the danger of the gap emerging. With the lines becoming so blurred, the traditional governments are trying to realign policy to take it all into account. What will be left in the hands of others as the social contract is tested at this accelerated rate?

But then we return to tempo, and how this relates to you. And how it relates to purpose, the Dark Side, and everything we do here. In the next ten years, maybe sooner, your environment, many factors that affect your life, will undergo rapid change, become more complex, some may go out of control as the people at their heads drop behind the tempo. You are here, learning, seeking knowledge, not just to survive this new paradigm, but to take command and control and make it an extension of your will. There is a vast storm coming, but to the right people, with the right mindset and power in their hands, it is opportunity.

This is no flowery speech, no promises you will be riding at the head of some army, but very real advice, a very real picture of a purpose. I am not saying that you should run right out and learn computers, or withdraw to the forest and stock guns. I am saying, charging and challenging you, to learn to think in a new way. To think laterally, connectionist thinking, to see where the relations are, to be able to swing from one thought and concept to the other, to dodge the blockages the tempo tosses in your way and navigate at the speed of the change. It is your world still. Take it.

This is called ‘systems thinking’, a way of thinking that focuses on recognizing interconnections between the parts of a system and synthesizing them into a unified view of the whole. To be dynamic in thought, quick in response, powerful in will and focused in determination is our aim. The picture I paint of the evolving world needs such people, unified if possible, but with the awareness and strength within to avoid being washed aside with those who cling to the old ways.

For those who have asked me “what is the Dark’s purpose”, then here it is. This is what we work for here, and it’s a very serious thing. Become aware of it yourself, in the news, in the small things, and the movements of big things. Guage reactions to change and make your own judgements on the turning of the tide. Then you will feel your purpose, and may it draw you to the strength I speak of.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Machiavelli

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