Please allow me to introduce my subject. He is a man of power and strength. He’s been around for long, long years, and laid many a Jedi souls to waste. Staring into our souls from every poster, every toy store peg and the merchandising for The Phantom Menace was this red devil instilling fear and unease. His presence in the rise of the Sith is palpable, though his loss of usefulness caused his expulsion from the Sith. But in the end, he is a cautionary tale for us who are buffeted by the pains of this world.
Maul was a being that was victimized from the very beginning of his life. Now, I will offer a lot of sympathy for him in this article. Do not get lost or sidetracked: we must get to his tragic end to find the value to meditating upon such unmitigated evil. So our victim. He is the very flesh of a strong Dark Side practitioner, Mother Talzin. He was marked before his age of reason with those monstrous tattoos, as signs of his intended purpose. In her entanglement with Darth Sidious, Maul was the pawn. Sidious stole the lad when he recognized his immense strength and trainability. By his tutelage, Maul became enraptured with the idea of vengeance being rained down upon the Jedi. He was literally fed the images and anguish of the Sith defeats – and he yearned for their revenge. All of this was implanted in him, without respect for the person, without concern for his freedom, without deference to his own desires.
But what’s puzzling you, what’s confusing you, Is the nature of his game
Darth Maul was marked as a weapon. Trained to be a fearsome warrior, he was the face of the unveiling of the Sith, thought to be long gone. He was used in his majesty’s vengeful service. Maul was not seen as a partner by his master. He was a weapon, a being that was useful to Sidious’ own purposes. There was no regard for him as a sentient being. He was a utilitarian tool. And what happens when a tool breaks? Where is that hammer of yours that has the broken handle? Sadly, he himself blindly said “I was apprentice to the most powerful being in the galaxy once. I was destined to become … so much more.”
And then Palpatine Washed his hands and sealed Maul’s fate.
He was strong, full of potential and imbued with Force sensitivity. Imagine the promise in another circumstance!
Maul was trash. Or more directly, he was treated as trash. You use this word. You do! That person with the suspicious sores, that child of God enraptured in the drug world, that person who betrayed you and made you feel insignificant. This is the dirty world we really live in, one where sometimes a person’s value is dependent on my use for them. So Maul is trash, from a certain point of view. Used as the opening salvo in the renewed Jedi-Sith conflict, he was a soldier sent on a suicide mission. You know the battle. You can hear the music, the red force fields separating him from his prey. And that definitive lightsaber swipe. Obi-Wan Kenobi, moved to avenge his master.
A strength growing; Pitched fighting; Evisceration; The look of surprise and fear as Maul Is rent asunder; His fall down a bottomless chasm. And at the bottom of it all, he was tossed away by his master as garbage.
But while he was in his exile, he lost something more important. Legs, in the larger picture, are a small deal. His mind was lost. Incensed with a burning rage that consumed his rationality; a purpose existentially held yet suddenly incinerated. This phase of his life was marked by having half of his body replaced with cybernetically. This trash was healed with trash. And he being a man bent on vengeance, sought to exact it upon Obi-Wan. There are many more exploits here. Trace his life and you will find an incredibly satisfying story. But let us move to his end.
Stuck around Mandalore
When he saw it was a time for a change.
Killed the Duchess Satine and her ministers.
Bo-Katan howled in pain.
Dear readers, my life is also a bit of a mess. Myriad changes have come my way in the past year. My very self-definition has been challenged, honed – and some of it even buried. And through it all, I still have hope that healing is possible. I have hope that something good will come around the corner even as I am fallen down right here. I aim to always be the hope guy.
Now Maul was not the same. He was malformed by the hands of many others. Revenge was his constant motivation. In his life in the shadows, he built up a criminal empire to visit pain upon the master who had previously shunned him. Sidious, Obi-Wan, Mandalore, the Galaxy: He wanted it all to hurt. This wasted him. Or more accurately, by his own actions, he wasted the end of his life. He had no overlord to subjugate him. He was his own being. And he stalked Obi-Wan. But in that final showdown of ancient foes, bright truth dawned on him under the crimson and yellow suns of Tatooine. Maul learned that a new hope was rising, that Luke Skywalker would bring balance to the Force and destruction to the Sith. This final piece offered the lone bit of solace to his blackened heart. As he was at his end dying in the arms of his first Jedi enemy, Maul learned who Luke was and what he would bring about. Maul asks is he “the chosen one? … He will avenge us!” Maul had been a pawn. Someone else’s weapon. Trash. Yet in the end, compassion, honesty and respect were given by Obi-Wan. His life was wasted, but his value as a being would not be consigned to oblivion.
Now, I am not offering sympathy for Satan (and indeed, there are apologists for all sorts of evil clogging up the hyperspace lanes). My point here is that as humans we are given the great gift of free will. Zabraks too. And out of that free will, all options are possible. Faced with a lost wallet, one could keep the contents or search for the owner. Faced with immense power, it could be used for service or degradation.
So: what happens when that free will is somehow seemingly inhibited? You see, freedom is God-given, and inherent. But what about the kid who was born to those with evil intentions? What about the young one who is raised with his range of choices restricted to maleficent ends? How much can that babe be blamed? Rather, does the blame belong to the devil himself? Perhaps more so it belongs somewhere closer. The parents, the community, the larger culture.
We are products of a lot that has gone before us. We are benefactors and sufferers of much out of our control. So the judgment of the actions of a person cannot be simply judged by static rules. Rather, we must understand the actions and life of a person based on their efforts and intentions. And be forgiving. In addition to being free, the heart is inherently good. This law of goodness is written on every heart, and offers the possibility for some grasp, whether tenuous or perfect, on the hope in the one who does not make us unwitting slaves, but partners through respecting our free will.
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Please leave comments on this and all my posts – I really look forward to it. You can find me on Twitter at @adelphotheos and email at jamesw@CoffeeWithKenobi.com, occasionally at TheForceandFaith.blogspot.com as long as I am not listening to the latest edition of the several podcasts in the Coffee With Kenobi family!
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