Have you read Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? The main character, Phaedrus (a kind of Morpheus) talks about “The Quality”. He gives an example—which is extremely important and precious for me—popular music. When you hear a good pop song for the first time, you like it a lot, you say “wow! this is really good”. You want to listen to it more & more. It’s ok for some time but then something happens. You don’t like the song that much any more. It doesn’t amaze your ears and brain like before. After certain times listening, you don’t want to hear that song again. It’s gone. You may even say “how could I love that song”, it’s rubbish! The Quality is gone.
This was a precious example for me because I really love good music. And I have same kind of problem with pop-music. Therefore I always prefer classic rock music, the classics which never dies with the passing time. A soapy pop song may be forgotten in little time even if it’s a hit, but if you’re good and careful listener, how can you forget Stairway to Heaven or Wish You Were Here? They can still affect you the same way after listening to it hundreds of times. They are not to fade away with the time or temporary musical trends.
Then something struck me while I was thinking about the dark side. Dark side is about quantity. Look at all the armies, religious castes, secret or open societies etc… All rely on numbers. Quantity is important. But The Quality (with capital letter, The Quality that Phaedrus talks about) is always low. Take it as moral Quality, emotional Quality, spiritual Quality etc… The Quality gets even lower when the quantitiy is raised. A metaphor from economy; if a country is very crowded, life-quality goes lower, income per person goes lower etc…
If we look at today’s world, we see that more & more people are acting as dark side—willingly or not. This may be because of conscious choice (which is rare) or because of being in asleep mode (as Morpheus says in Matrix, most of the people are not ready to get out of the matrix, they may even fight to keep their positions). But even the quality of dark side practices is very low. Imagine the ancient times; your neighbour should suddenly come and cut your throat for food, for your gold etc etc… Today, in normal situations you don’t expect this from your neighbour. But he/she may open the music or TV very loud and distract you heavily. As a result, this is still a dark side practice, but lighter—less harmful to you. Your head is still there on your shoulders, but it’s distracted or filled with anger.
It’s just the opposite with the positive-side. Positive side is not about the quantity, it’s never important how many light-warriors or jedi knights there are. They always have the high Quality of power, emotions, spiritual insight etc… I think that there are less positive side warriors than ancient times, but they have real high & concentrated power within them. I feel that they are more elegant and ready in many ways to confront with the dark side.
So we may even think of it as a mathematical equation; for darkside quantity rises, but quality gets down. For positive side quantity may go down but the Quality always rises.
Here comes a very essential and important difference between dark side & positive side, in terms of quality/quantity relation. Positive side use Power, dark side use force. David R. Hawkins gives the example of Mahatma Gandhi and British Empire in his excellent work Power vs Force. Gandhi was only one person (low quantity) with great personal power (high quality). British Empire had a big army (high quantity) but very low spiritual quality—and power. Hawkins writes “... and when force meets power, force is eventually defeated”. Another example from The Matrix; Neo (anagram for ONE) is literally one person but has The Power, Agent Smiths are literally hundreds and hundreds but with lesser quality.
There’s a very important reason for this, as I observe. Force is about quantity and so it’s limited with the resource that it gets nourished. Maybe that’s because darkside always seeks for new followers.
You may use an axe to break the doors that comes in your way, one door after another to reach an inner chamber, for example. But your strength has a limit and after some time you get exhausted. Or alternatively you may have a lot of keys in your hand and use these to open the doors. Remember Keymaker in Matrix Reloaded movie? He had the access to every door, because he was a master to make keys. He had the Power to use these keys.
As a result, true positive side is not after the numbers, does not struggle to win “new companions” or “soldiers” on his side. He/she just works on himself/herself to raise the inner Power – which is limitless. The companions automatically comes in his/her way along the journey. But darkside is after quantity, the more the better; more soldiers, more weapons, more followers. This seems as a universal equation and this is one good way to distinguish darkside process for me.