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The Assassin’s Creed, Part 1

Posted in All, Economics, Miscellaneous, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by marushiadark

“Only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world.  This is our greatest asset … It presents us with challenges, yes, but freedom yields greater rewards than the alternative.” ~ Altair, Assassin’s Creed.

In my post on chakras, I mentioned that I often lose faith in humanity; but that, once in a while, someone will come along and restore it and remind me that I’m on the right track.  The brilliant minds over at Ubisoft responsible for the Assassin’s Creed series are another such group of people.

For those who don’t know what it is, you can check out the Assassin’s Creed wiki, or play the games yourself.

Suffice to say, it involves global conspiracies throughout history that are well-researched and quite plausible, in my opinion.  It’s a work of fiction, of course; but much like the works of Dan Brown, I doubt such stories could be made believably if there weren’t a great deal of truth to the subject matter.

The main idea behind Assassin’s Creed is that there are two overarching factions at work: the Templars, who seek to control everyone and everything in an Orwellian oligarchy, and the Assassins, who seek to restore freedom and sovereignty to the individual.  Over the years, these two sides go by different names, have different faces, and use different methods, but the core ideas of order versus chaos, control versus freedom still prevail.

The Assassin’s Guild has its own rules and hierarchy, but these are much more general and loosely defined in what is known as The Assassin’s Creed.

“Justice is balance.  You burnt my house and left me for dead.  Consider us even.” ~ Raz Al-Ghul.

Like many factions, both real and fictitious, the Assassins see themselves as the agents of natural law and divine justice.  They believe in balance above all things and the authority of the individual to act as judge, jury, and executioner in maintaining that balance.

Justice is balance, and the purpose of any system of justice should be to restore a situation to its proper state.  If a person’s property is damaged, justice demands that the offending party fix the property or pay fair compensation for the damage.  If something is taken, it must be returned.

In our modern society, prison does not always serve as appropriate punishment.  All prison really does is remove the person from society, but this does not always remove their criminal influence on society, nor does it guarantee their reform.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Goodfellas, you know that people of wealth and power can easily circumvent the rules to avoid truly paying off their debts by turning punishment into a luxury.  Thus, the power of the offender often determines the method by which justice is best applied.

One cannot undo rape or murder or reverse psychological trauma easily.  Thus, justice would demand that the individual be made to understand the severity of the damage caused in kind, so as to deter them from further damage in the future.  A rapist is sodomized, a murderer killed, and one who destroys a person’s life has their own destroyed.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, … that is true justice.

The word “justice” itself derives from Latin justistia, meaning “equitable.”  It is an economic term that refers to the application of natural law in determining the monetary value of something.  The term “equitable” relates to “equatable,” meaning that two things can be considered the same.  This is the basis of our entire monetary system.

There’s a reason Lady Justice is blindfolded and carries a sword and balance scales.

The blindfold suggests the impartiality and unbias of true justice in the ideal.  The sword represents execution on the law in a strict sense, which may literally include the execution of an individual in taking their life.  The balance scales are used in commerce and are the best visual metaphor of equity.  If you place a weight on one side, the scales very obviously tip to that side.  If you then place a weight on the other side, the scales will tip back the other way.  If the scales are not even, then the two sides are not equitable.

Mercy is altogether a different thing from justice.  In fact, mercy is the special allowance of an imbalance to exist.  For instance, it is normally wrong to take a life because this causes great pain, but it is generally considered more wrong to allow a person to suffer for a long period of time.  Thus, the idea of a mercy killing creates an exception to the rule because it serves a greater good.

The term “mercy” derives from Old French mercit, meaning “reward, gift, or kindness.”  Mercy is linked to the concept of forgiveness: “For I give.”

If you give a gift, you are relinquishing your right to something in exchange for nothing.  You are putting something on the scales and the other person isn’t.  You are creating an exception in ordinary rules of justice.

In the Mosaic Law, there was execution on the law and an emphasis on justice and equity, taking back what is rightfully yours.  When Christ came along, he placed great emphasis on justice, but a greater emphasis on forgiveness.  This is because forgiveness represents a superior position.  If you have an abundance of money or power or love, you can give of yourself without suffering any significant loss.  Taking is easy, giving is hard.  If you are constantly giving, the other party will have no need to take from you, nor can they, as you cannot take something that is given freely.

“Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent.” ~ First tenant of the Assassin’s Creed

In carrying out their charge, the Assassins employ a variety of techniques and practices, including the killing of those that cause harm to others.

As you can imagine, having such power to take life can be easily abused.  Towards that end, the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed was developed, which cautions against the spilling of innocent blood.  More generally, this cautions against collateral damage of any kind, instructing members of the order to act only when it serves the greater good.

This is one of the few rules that differentiates the Assassins from the Templars.  Where the Templars are willing to do anything and everything to achieve power, without regards for those they hurt, the Assassins exercise restraint and mercy alongside their administration of divine justice.

The term “fungible goods” is used to refer to anything that is equivalent to another thing of the same kind.  For instance, all one-dollar bills are worth the same amount.  It is generally assumed that all things of a kind (an eye, a tooth, a life) are fungible goods.  In the administration of justice, it is sometimes necessary to distinguish something as not being fungible. For instance, you cannot refuse a dollar bill as payment unless you can prove that it is counterfeit and therefore worthless.

In law, human bodies are considered physical property of the soul and fungible as a general rule.  Of course, in practice, not all human beings are equal.  Some people have more to offer than others.  Some are better at a craft or are better teachers, etc.

In the case of capital punishment, the value of a murderer’s life is considered diminished because the vessel has a history of causing damage to other vessels.  If the body or mind cannot be restored to a state of health, the vessel must be destroyed to prevent further damage.  This is not unlike a car with faulty parts that tends to lean to the left and drive into on-coming traffic.  If the issue can’t be corrected, and no other value can be gained from the vehicle, the car must be removed from the road and destroyed.

This is what the Assassins do in carrying out divine justice – rounding up and destroying the vessels that damage other vessels, leaving all others to their own devices.  Just as you would not needlessly destroy a perfectly working automobile, so too does the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed guard against the needless and unjustified destruction of innocent human beings.

Just as crushed cars are recycled, so too will the human body and mind be recycled by the universe.

However, unlike a car, human beings are self-correcting machines.  Given enough time, even the most vile of persons can come around.  Unfortunately, this could be several hundred years, which is enough to span several lifetimes.

Thus, it is a very delicate matter being an Assassin.  It requires great wisdom and experience to determine whether a person is too far-gone to be healed, if they are worth saving or too dangerous to be kept alive.  Because human beings are not yet at the point where we can restore life as easily as we can take it away, I think capital punishment should be reserved as a last resort and for those that are truly incurable.

Hierarchy of Law

Posted in All, Economics, Politics, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by marushiadark

“Then God said, ‘Let us create man in our own image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion … over all the earth and every other creeping thing that creeps upon on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26

In my last post, I talked about how we tend to identify with things that have nothing to do with who we really are, and how we are simply the observers on this universe.  It is important that we understand who we are and what are place is in the hierarchy of the universe.  If we don’t, then we become the slaves of our creations instead of their masters.  Many people are suffering at the hands of religions, governments, and corporations because they have forgotten that they are the creators and that our position is of higher authority.  It’s as though we are serving our spoons and our hammers.  To correct this, we need only remember our place in this world and who we are and then exercise our authority as true sovereigns.

So the most fundamental level is the level of God and the soul, which is the level of being.

From there, the soul may choose to create a mind to think and reason with, which may entail the temporary division of the mind into parts to create the illusion of separateness.  So now we have two levels: the level of the soul and the level of the mind.  We are a soul, but have a mind.

Of course, from this, we can infer that the mind in turn creates illusions and avatars in the form of a physical body.  So now we know there are at least three levels: soul, mind, and body.  We are a soul, but have a mind and a body.

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.” ~ Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 1-2

If you take something and someone else then claims it as their own, it’s common to retort, “Well, I didn’t see your name on it.”  Of course, we know that there is no such mark.  There’s nothing there to identify the object as being the property of any individual in particular, so it becomes fair game to all.  Yet in our everyday lives, we place so much identity and attachment to our names in reference to who we are.

When you were born, you didn’t come out of your mother’s womb with a UPC barcode on your body, did you?  There were no inherent identifying marks of any kind that could be misconstrued as labels stating who you are, were there?  Of course not.  So why is it that when asked, “Who are you?” we answer with our name?

A name is not something you have inherently.  It is something bestowed upon you by another.  And such a name can be different depending on who’s referring to you.  A child may call you “Mom.”  A parent may call you “Son.”  Your dog may call you “Arf.”  The IRS calls you by your Social Security Number “123-45-6789.”  These are all names given to you as a means of referring to you, but they aren’t you.  There’s not even a rule that says you have to have a name at all.  There’s no law that says you have to carry around any sort of identification of any kind just to walk down the street.

In that scene from the movie Shooter where the cop stops Bob Swagger and asks to see his ID, he could have just turned around and asked, “Are you suggesting I’m obligated to carry around ID with me?”  The cop would then have had to either let him go or prove that there was a law requiring him to carry ID.

In the spy business, agents rarely use their real names.  Those names are just NOCs the agency gives them.  Those names have no more to do with who those agents are than your birth name has anything to do with who you are.  Your name is something that you choose to use or not.  You can change it anytime you like.

You are a soul, you have a mind, a body, and a name.  This distinction is very important for anyone that considers themselves a free individual because, as you’ll soon see, a name is everything in law.

“Bob Marley isn’t my name.  I don’t even know my name yet.” ~ Bob Marley

Do you know what your name is and when you were born?  If you do, you must have a time machine or some sort of clairvoyant powers, because you weren’t alive at the time of your birth to know all that stuff.  What you think you know is the result of hearsay from your parents and others who were around at that time.  But you, yourself, don’t have first-hand knowledge of that.  So your name is, at best, an accepted designation; and your date of birth, at best, is an estimation.

Were you also aware that you have not one, but two names and dates of birth?  In the legal system, you actually represent two persons: a natural person and a legal person.

The word “person” in law is a tricky thing because it can refer to either a natural person or a legal person, and often there is no telling which is being used.  Usually, it applies to both.  You see, law is a very precise thing.  Every word, phrase, spelling, and punctuation mark changes the meaning of what is written.  For instance, the phrase “A young, bare man” has a totally different meaning from “A young bear-man.”  But if I were to say both sentences aloud, without you seeing the spelling and punctuation, it could get quite confusing.

Just as there are two types of person, there are also two types of law: common law (the law of the land) and admiralty law (the law of water).  Common law is common sense and is the law of flesh and blood human beings.  Admiralty law is maritime law and is the law of commerce, taxes, businesses, and corporations.  Each has its own jurisdiction.

The so-called natural person is the name given to the flesh and blood human being.  It’s written using proper English Grammar with a capital initial letter and the rest in lower-case, such as John Henry Doe.  The legal person, however, is the name of a corporation and is written in all caps, such as JOHN HENRY DOE.  If you don’t believe that, just go ask a lawyer or a judge.

If you look at your driver’s license, credit card, bank statement, Social Security card, or other such commercial documents, you will likely see that the name on the document is written in ALL CAPS.  This means that you are operating under the jurisdiction of commercial law, not common law, and the rules are very different between the two.

Knowing that, it begins to make sense how a burglar can enter someone’s house illegally and win at court because he got hurt, even though he’s the one at fault.  It’s because you’re fighting in common law and he’s fighting in admiralty, and because he’s the plaintiff coming forward with a claim, he gets to choose which court to play in.

But how did all this happen?  How did we get two names and two birth dates?

“Your birth is a mistake you’ll spend your whole life trying to correct.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, satirist

When a ship enters port, it travels down a canal, leaves the water, and is then placed onto dry land where the ship is then said to be “berthed.”  An officer of the State (such as a customs agent) will then ensure that the vessel is registered, complete with the ship’s name and date of berth.  He then gives the ship a registration number, which is recorded on a special piece of paper called a certificate of value and cargo manifest.  From that point on, the ship is subject to all the statutes and commercial laws of the jurisdiction that it’s in, so long as it resides in port.  In order to operate in commerce, the ship must obey these rules or it cannot do business.

What does that sound like to you?  Does that sound like something you’ve possibly heard of before?  No?  How about this.

Approximately nine months after your dad knocks up your mom, your body (a vessel for your soul) travels down your mother’s birth canal and leaves the water of the womb to enter onto dry land.  At this point, you have been birthed.  Shortly after, your mother will register the birth on a birth certificate and a State officer will file that with the county as proof of your manifestation into this world.  From that point on, you are subject to all the laws (commercial laws, that is) of whatever jurisdiction you were born in if you wish to do business and operate in commerce.

My, my, isn’t that interesting?  So does that mean your body is actually a commercial vessel subject to admiralty law?  It certainly sounds that way, doesn’t it?

“Like everyone else, you were born into bondage.  Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch.” ~ Morpheus

The 14th Amendment states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.  Recall that I said “person” has a dual meaning, that it can refer to a natural person or a legal person.  Wal-Mart is a corporation, a legal person, and has all the same rights as a person like you or me.  Doesn’t that just make your blood boil?

All of the commercial documents that you get over the course of your lifetime, from bank accounts, to credit cards, to driver’s licenses (or any licenses) … they all require you to have a birth certificate.  And those that don’t usually require presentment of other documents that do.

The ALL CAPS name on your documents is, in fact, a corporation.  The birth certificate your mother registered is actually a unique piece of work.  It bridges the gap between natural person and legal person and is what created the legal person in the first place, allowing it all the rights and privileges under commercial law, according to the 14th Amendment. In the game of commerce, it’s your playing token.

Having a registered birth certificate is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, being under admiralty law affords you certain rights and privileges.  You can own a business, have a bank account, take out a mortgage for a home, collect Social Security and Medicare benefits, etc.  On the other hand, it also means you have to pay taxes and avoid certain things like putting drugs into your body.  After all, the State doesn’t want anything to happen to your vessel while you’re in their port.  Damaged ships on their turf reflect a bad image and can be a potential threat to their property.  Why do you think illegal immigrants are such a concern for them?

But you can’t have it both ways.  Either you accept the pros with the cons, or you give it all up entirely.

It’s been said that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  That may be true if you’re talking about common law, where the only real rule you have to remember is don’t infringe upon the rights and/or property of others.  But when it comes to the 16,000,000 or so commercial laws and statutes, I think most people would say that ignorance of the law is every excuse, because it’s just too much information to keep track of.  Yet, if you don’t know how to play the commercial game, you’ll likely suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of those that do.

So you have two options.  Learn how to play the game properly, or stop playing.  Stopping is hard because so much of our society is based upon the commerce game.  However there are those that have gone and done this successfully.  Such people often form their own little communes away from civilization, away from commerce, technology, and all the trappings of modern life.

However, it would seem that a far more practical solution would be to learn the rules and enjoy the game as it was meant to be played so that we can take advantage of all the good things that modern life can offer us as well.

To do that, though, you must first realize who you really are.  You are a soul, which has a mind and a body.  The body has the name of a natural person and that natural person is then the player with the legal person being the game token.

You can think of the legal person as yet another avatar for your natural person, just like how a car acts as an avatar of your physical body, which is in turn the avatar of your soul.

I know that can sound quote complicated, but it’s really very simple.  Just remember that there is a hierarchy to all this: God / soul, mind, body, natural person (John Doe), legal person (JOHN DOE).  It’s really as simple as that.  No creation can be higher than its creator, so long as the creator is operating from a position of creator instead of a position of victim.  If you remember that you are a living soul and a part of God, then you are already three-quarters of the way to being totally free from the legal and corporate entities that we created down below.  The rest is just putting it into practice.

Who Are You Really?

Posted in All, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by marushiadark

“You may be wondering who I am, or why I say this.  Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.” ~ Prince of Persia

At this point, you may be wondering who I am.  Who the hell am I to be telling anyone anything?  What authority do I have?  Why call myself something evil-sounding like Marushia Dark?  Why name my blog something scary-sounding like “The Darkness Files”?  Why did I chose to begin my very first post with a quote by a nihilistic villain from a movie that many people dislike in comparison to its predecessor.

No doubt, you have a lot of questions about me and my intentions, but unless you know who you are first, you can never know me, let alone my intentions or behaviors.

Maybe some of you are even sitting there judging me right now for my arrogance (which is only in your mind, by the way), but how much do you actually know about me?  Next to nothing, really … unless you happen to know me in real life.  And even then, that’s probably not even the whole story.

“They look like me, but none of them are me.” ~ I, Robot

Just from what you’ve read so far, what can you really tell about me?  Am I male or female?  Am I black or am I white?  Am I Hispanic or Native American?  Am I straight or am I gay?  Could I be bisexual or asexual?  Am I even a human being?  Could I possibly be an alien or a computer program?  Could I be an angel or a demon?  Am I a good person or a bad person?  Am I wealthy or poor?  What color is my hair?  What color are my eyes?  What kind of car do I drive?  What foods do I eat? What country do I hail from?  Am I an Arab?  A Jew?  A Christian?  A Muslim?  A Buddhist?  Am I a dog-lover or a cat-lover?  What kind of clothes do I wear?

You can’t tell any of that stuff, can you?  All you see is my avatar – a symbol that represents me – be it a name or a picture or even my physical body.  But you don’t see or know the real me, do you?

For all you can tell, I could be the very sort of person that you love or the very sort of person that you hate.  Throughout this blog, you’ll continue to catch glimpses of my beliefs and my behaviors, my likes and my dislikes, but none of them are me.  They’re just things that describe me, but they don’t necessarily define me.  Only I can define me.

“I don’t see color.  People tell me I’m white and I believe them.” ~ Stephen Colbert

Do you know who you are?  I mean, do you really know?  Do you know all the ins and outs of what makes you you and not somebody else?  Did you come to conclude this yourself or is it something that someone else told you and you simply accepted it without questioning it first to see if it was really true?

You might say you are this, that, or the other thing.  You might say you’re a fireman or a nurse or a father or middle class or American, but these are all titles – things that describe you, but none of them are you.  Most of them were given to you by somebody else, including the name your parents gave you at birth.  Most people have never even stopped to ask themselves, “Am I Steve?  Am I Helen?  I don’t think that name suits me very much.  I like Jim or Denise better.  It has a better resonance with who I really am.”  Who says Jim can’t be a girl’s name or Denise a boy’s name, anyway?

It’s become almost a New Age cliche to ask the question: “Who am I?”  But it’s a very important question.  How quick we are to identify with things that merely describe us and how we forget who we really are.  Who we are and why we’re here sets the stage for everything we do in life.  Or rather, who we think we are and why we think we’re here is what actually sets that stage.  If we think of ourselves as a slave, we act in a slave-like mentality.  If we think of ourselves as a free man, then we act that way as well.  If we think of ourselves as poor, or rich, or healthy, or sickly, or whatever, then we tailor our actions and behaviors and attitudes towards that particular identity.  How we think of ourselves determines what actions we will take, what clothes we will wear (if any), what foods we will eat, what vehicle we will use, how we’ll wear our hair, who are friends will be, what beliefs we hold, and so forth.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King

Often times, we construct evaluations based on the titles that we use to describe ourselves.  We judge certain groups of people as good or bad based on an adjective, rather than an action, and this has caused a great many problems for our world.  How many times have you heard about one group of people killing a different group of people over some sort of generalization?

Perhaps the idea has special meaning to you.  Maybe you’re thinking of the relationship between white man and Native Americans.  Maybe you’re thinking of the Crusades or the conflict in the Middle East.  Maybe you’re thinking of modern examples of racial profiling or the division between the wealthy elite and the working poor.  Chances are, we can all think of an example.  Maybe you’re even guilty of doing it yourself?

Now stop and ask yourself, what is the real difference between these people?  Why do you hate them so much?  Is it because they did something to hurt someone else, or is it because of some title or description given to them?  Does that title reflect the full extent of who they are?  Probably not.

Consider how, in the recent history of America, it was popular to be racist against Irishmen and Germans.  Nowadays, I bet most people couldn’t even tell the difference.  They’d probably just see white guy, white guy, white guy.  And how many of us use the term “African American” for dark-skinned Puerto Ricans or black people in Europe, when the terms have nothing to do with them?  How great it would be to get to the point where we just start seeing human beings.  Or better still, to not even need to rely on physical descriptions to define who a person is.

Our society places great emphasis on diversity: we must acknowledge and call attention to the differences between us.  But I think that is a mistake.  Rather than calling attention to our differences, we should call attention to our similarities and those things that make us the same.  Appreciate and respect the differences that exist, certainly, but don’t dote on them, because life is much more than just one or two adjectives.

“Who are you really?” ~ Atreyu, to G’mork

Fortunately or unfortunately, I cannot tell you who you are.  Only you can know that.  You’ve known yourself your whole life; certainly longer, and in more detail, than I or anyone else could ever know you for.  For some of you, that may be twenty years.  For some of you, fifty.  For some, even longer than that.  If you don’t know who you are, then how can you know who anyone else is?

One way that I’ve learned to help figure out who I am is by keeping a personal journal and writing in it almost everyday.  It’s useful for solving whatever problems I may be having and I can say whatever I want in it without fear of repercussions because I’m the only one who ever has to know what I wrote.  A journal won’t judge you.  A journal won’t lie to you.  A journal is like a mirror, reflecting your true self.  If you lie to yourself, if you hide something from yourself, then your journal will reflect that right back at you.  If some part of your character is ugly, it will reflect that.  If some part of your character is beautiful, it will reflect that too.  Your journal is like your very own magic mirror gate from The Never Ending Story.  Whoever, whatever you are, if you write it down, you’ll be able to tell exactly what you really look like on the inside.

Just as with a regular mirror, if you work on yourself, your reflection will reflect that.  If you’re growing fatter or slimmer, taller or shorter, the mirror will show you what’s really going on.  In the same way, if you work on your own self-improvement, then your journal should reflect the change as well.

Another good way of figuring out who you are is through triangulating the relationships you have with other people and the ways in which they interact with you.  One or two people’s opinions might not matter, but if it comes from a lot of people that care about you and whom you trust to know you well, then chances are, it’s more accurate.  Unlike a journal, sometimes people lie or exaggerate the truth and we aren’t always so forthcoming with other people out of fear they might not understand us completely, but unlike a journal, you can establish an emotional connection with people to determine whether or not you like the sort of person that’s being reflected and how that person affects and influences those around you.

The eyes are the windows to the soul.  Just as you can’t see your own eyes without a mirror, so to do you require a mirror to see what your own soul looks like.  Like that Michael Jackson song, “Man in the Mirror,” says, we each need to take a good hard look at who we are in our own mirrors before we can begin to understand or improve ourselves and those around us.