The Sith Order was a dark side organization bent on galactic conquest. The Order existed in many forms and structures throughout history. Originally, the Sith were a humanoid species, enslaved by a group of exiled Dark Jedi. These renegades came to call themselves the Lords of the Sith, or simply Sith. Through the years, it became common for the Sith to append the name "Darth" to their own. The goal of the Sith was to conquer the Galactic Republic and exact vengeance on the Jedi Order.
The tenets of the sinister order were cunning, stealth, subterfuge and most of all, a virtue borrowed from their worst enemy, patience.
"The Force gives us all power, even the Jedi. It is our mastery of our passion that gives us the strength they lack." - Yuthura Ban
The Sith believed that the true power of the Force lay not through contemplation and passivity, but rather by tapping into the emotion-filled and hateful energies of the dark side. They believed it was their passion for things - anger, hatred, fear - that fueled their power of the Force. The Sith desired to become stronger, both as individuals and as an organization, so they could achieve a higher potential of being. They compared the passive teachings of the Jedi to the actions of shepherds, while the Sith themselves were seekers of true knowledge and power.
Improvement through Conflict
"Without strife, your victory has no meaning. Without strife, you do not advance. Without strife, there is only stagnation." - Uthar Wynn
The Sith philosophy pointed out that it was conflict that lead to the improvement of both individuals and civilizations, because it encouraged people to better themselves. Conflict forced change, growth, adaptation, and evolution. Conflict ensured that the strongest survived. This could be seen throughout the galaxy, as stronger organisms flourished and weaker ones died off. The Sith believed that this same philosophy, one not invented by them but used by the universe itself, was the path towards true perfection. Without conflict there would be only stagnation. They saw the teachings of the Jedi as a crux that prevented change and improvement.
The Sith believed that any opportunity, even an unsure one, must be snatched. They believed that beings only deserved what they were strong enough to take and protect, and that those too weak to stand against the strong deserved their fate. The way of the Sith was for the pupil to outshine the master and the stronger Sith to take the lead, often through the destruction of one former partner. Some, but not all, Sith believed that morality was but an obstacle to overcome, because it got in the way of a Sith's ability to recognize and grasp opportunities.
Some Jedi who left the Order to join the Sith felt that their mettle and worth was tested far more often as a Sith than as a padawan learner, and that this made them stronger in a shorter amount of time.
It is interesting to note that use of the dark side of the Force sometimes left the user horribly disfigured. Some Force users argued that this was because the dark side corrupted those who use it, as it was an improper use of the Force, but a few Sith believed that the true power of the Force was simply too much for mere mortal bodies to withstand, and took disfigurement as a sign of their increased capability.
"The Force is our servant and our master. Our teacher and our companion. A weapon and a tool. Know it and you know the universe. Master it and you master the universe. Strive for perfection and the Force shall reward you." - Yuthura Ban
The Sith did not think of emotions as a negative force but rather a tool or path to power. Whereas a Jedi would teach that fear was a negative emotion that must be overcome, a Sith would point out that every living creature was subject to fear, and that without feelings of fear that told it to run or feelings of anger that told it to fight the creature would probably die. The Sith did not consider themselves beyond the need of simple passions, but recognized the key role certain passions played in channeling the power of the Force.
The Sith felt that Jedi teachings treated the Force as a burden where users must guard against weakness and evil. The Sith preferred to think of the Force as a gift. They celebrated the Force and used it to acquire power over others because they felt that was how the Force was meant to be. The Sith challenged and embraced the passions that lay within them and used them to realize their true potential. Many Sith described this goal as "being what they were meant to be."
Like Jedi, love was a dangerous emotion to the Sith. Some Jedi discouraged love because it led to attachment. The Sith taught that love could be a beneficial emotion because it often lead to anger or hatred, which fueled a Sith's power in the Force. Often, however, love lead to mercy, which was one of the worst emotions a Sith could have, as it displayed weakness. The Sith did not believe in showing mercy to those weaker than you, as that meant beings that were unfit still survived. The only way to ensure the survival of the strong was for the strong to prove their power by removing obstacles that stood in their path, including, if necessary, those weaker than them. Contrary to popular belief, removal did not always mean death, though many Sith were ruthless and considered leaving potential opponents alive to be a weakness.
History of the Sith
Timeline of major events in Sith history
Dark Lords of the Sith
The Dark Lords of the Sith were acknowledged as the leaders of their order, and were the most powerful Sith of their time. Up until the reign of Kaan, only one Dark Lord existed at a time.