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the Star Wars Saga

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Author Topic: the Star Wars Saga  (Read 1779 times)
Darth Maul
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Posts: 110

« Reply #90 on: July 22, 2007, 07:36:16 pm »

The Force

“May The Force Be With You.”

In the fictional Star Wars universe, The Force is a binding, magical and ubiquitous power that is the object of the Jedi and Sith monastic orders.


The Force as described by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi: "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together." Master Yoda states "Luminous beings are we," underscoring the presence of the Force within all living organisms. Some think of the Force as a sentient entity that may be capable of intelligent activities, pervading and infusing the material universe as a sort of panentheistic god, while others consider it merely a resource that can be manipulated and used. A common compromise is that it is an "energy tool" but one which forms a fundamental part of the universe. Fundamental to its nature are certain practical aspects such as its ability to cause change within the physical realm. An analogy is a sword with no handle—it can only be used by gripping the blade and therefore any attempt to strike someone would result in similar harm to the hand of the striker—the sword itself has no sentience or morality, but nevertheless exacts a price on those who use it unethically.

In the Expanded Universe, two aspects of the Force are given emphasis: the light side and the dark side. These are concerned with the moral compass of the Force in its various manifestations. The light side of the Force is its elegance and beauty. The dark side of the Force is the element aligned with fear, hatred, aggression, and malevolence; this side of the Force seems more powerful, though it is just more tempting to those that can touch upon the power as it doesn't impose any restrictions on its use.

The Force has also been described as having two additional aspects: the Unifying Force and the Living Force. These aspects were not expounded upon in the prequels, but in the Expanded Universe they are defined by prominent Jedi philosophies. The Unifying Force essentially embraces space and time in its entirety. The Living Force deals with the directly ongoing niches present in the Force and compassion to living things. These two aspects are not considered canon by many fans, as they are not discussed in the films or film novelizations. The only mention of the term "Living Force" in the films is made by Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I, and many people consider the word "living" to be a simple adjective describing the Force, just as the use of "almighty God" does not imply the existence of another God. It is clear, however, that Qui-Gon is speaking of the Force concerning the present.

It can only be harnessed by a minority of beings described as "Force-sensitive." (In the books Luke Skywalker states that all are Force Sensitive.) These have been defined as either having a high count of microorganisms called midi-chlorians—the more midi-chlorians, the greater the person's Force ability—or having a strong Force "aura." It is probable that these traits are connected. Force-adepts are able to tap into the Force to perform acts of great skill and agility as well as control and shape the world around them. It allows them to control its various embodying powers (see below).

The Force appears to be connected to, or responsible for, the destinies of living beings. As Chancellor Palpatine says in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, some Sith masters were able to use the Force to manipulate life and death.

The sides of the Force

Light Side of the Force (Orthodox Jedi code)

There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no chaos; there is harmony.
There is no death; there is the Force.
Note: There are typically only four lines in this code. See Jedi for an explanation of the anomalous line on "harmony".

The Jedi and others refer to two sides of the Force, a dark side and a light side. This echoes the concept of Yin Yang in Eastern philosophy, but is not a straight translation, as the emotional dark side is denoted as a Force of evil by the Jedi. The dark side is not made up of specific "parts" or "abilities" of the Force: the dark and light sides of the Force exist inside of the life form which uses it, made from their emotions. George Lucas compared the light and dark sides to the processes of symbiosis and cancer. A follower of the light side tries to live in harmony with those around him. Mutual trust, respect, and the ability to form alliances give the Jedi their distinct advantage over the Sith. In contrast, a follower of the dark side is only interested in him- or herself. To strike down a living creature with the Force out of anger, fear or another emotion is of the dark side. To refrain and clear one's self of these emotions is of the light side. Use of the dark side of the Force is forbidden within the Jedi Order, and is strictly considered the domain of the Sith.

One might compare the Jedi code to some of the principles of Buddhism. One of the main concepts of Buddhism is that in order to escape the suffering of life, one must cease their cravings or passions. Only by not craving or wanting anything can you be at peace. Buddhism promotes wisdom, and the doing of good. All of these are teachings that Jedi learn to follow.

The Force plays a major part in the Jedi use of a lightsaber in that their heightened awareness keeps them from accidentally injuring themselves while using the weapon in combat, as the blade has no relative weight, making it difficult to judge its position. Similarly, the Force allows a Jedi to use his/her lightsaber to deflect incoming blaster bolts. The Force also comes into play during the construction of a lightsaber, both in assembling its intricate innards, and the initial charging of the power cell.

Traditional Jedi are keen to keep the Force "in balance". They attempt to achieve this by destroying the Sith and denying the dark side—essentially "keeping balance" by combating the dark side, as they view dark side as "corruption". This involves the purging of negative emotions such as aggression, anger, and hatred, since they can easily bring on acceptance of the dark side. In contrast, positive emotions such as compassion and courage nurture the light side of the Force. The Jedi Code compares such feelings and provides insight into the ethical use of the Force.

Passion is considered dangerous as it may lead to strong emotions that could unbalance the Jedi and lead them to the Dark Side. Love is, curiously enough, seen as something both Jedi and Sith avoid. While the Jedi espouse a broad, all-encompassing, self-sacrificing love for all beings, love for another being—romance, a possessive love by nature—is shunned. Possession of all types is shunned by the era of Episode I, save for the individuality of a Jedi's lightsaber. The Sith view love as a danger best left untouched. While the passion that comes with love could lead to hatred and anger—as the case of Anakin Skywalker represents—it could also lead to pity, self-sacrifice and compassion, emotions the Sith do not see as beneficial and led to Anakin's reversal at the end of his life. To summarize, the Sith tend to see Love as a weakness.

One might speculate that this indicates that love is the true binding factor between the light and the dark. Neither the Jedi nor the Sith accept the other because they are either side to the extreme.

The Jedi approach to emotions may be seen as one of the key reasons for their fall during the movies. Denying themselves the right to feel the emotions of the Dark Side and abstaining from passion and love, many Jedi often fall under the sway of them when finally exposed. Unfamiliar with such emotions, they fail to see how they can come to dominate the personality and eventually become the personality. The repression of the emotions merely causes the fall of a Jedi to be even more violent and complete.

It seems most Jedi are proponents for The Unified Force, wherein they focus on the past, present, and future as a whole (however, visions of the future are of particular significance in the conservative Jedi mindset), ignoring primary use of The Living Force. Voices for the latter espouse a philosophy of "live for the moment" and heavily rely on their instincts. This viewpoint might have allowed the Jedi Order to prevent the conflict that gave rise to the Galactic Empire, as its members did not look forward into the future and began analyzing the unfolding events before them.

The organizational goal of the Jedi Order is to maintain peace and justice in the galaxy.

Jedi Master Mace Windu elaborates, "Jedi do not fight for peace; that is a slogan and is misleading as slogans naturally are. Jedi fight for civilization, as civilization creates peace." (Windu in diary in Shatterpoint)

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