Discussion in 'Literature' started by sabarte, May 12, 2008.
Plus we know there are some rocks who have souls.
And crying mountains.
In Star Wars: if it can use a lightsaber, it has a soul
Since everything in Star Wars is part of the Force (re: ESB), I'm pretty sure the "soul" argument is moot.
EDIT: I think it's certainly true to say that the orthodox Jedi position is that droids do not have "souls" ("If droids could think, there'd be none of us here, would there?" - Obi-Wan) but, like I said, this is an opinion that I sincerely hope will be both challenged and overturned at some point.
I've always been disappointed we've never had a story with a Jedi really stressing himself out over whether it's right or wrong to be killing all those droids in TCW.
Even if the question doesn't have an answer, I'd find it interesting to see Luke muse over it one day, wondering if it's where the OJO went wrong, condoning 'murder'.
Well of course, there's no need for a story like that. Indeed, the main lesson to take away from the Clone Wars is that it doesn't matter if those droids are made of metal or flesh... beings that annoying deserve swift death.
I see. Its because of Kybo-Ren, isn't it? He does tend to leave a sore impression.
And if isn't, if it is just some energy field produced by organic beings, then sapience matters more than a soul if you ask me.
What I think is interesting is that this position is relatively new: in the Marvel comics, droid rights was actually one of the main issues. Hell, there was even a story about Obi-Wan risking his life to help a droid, set during the Clone Wars no less.
Particularly after that comic about that B1 and that Grapple Droid. One of the most depressing things in all of Star Wars, I swear.....
This soul business is bizarre. As Mia said (stupid tags not working with spaces), what is a soul, exactly? It seems a foreign concept imposed on Star Wars. I don't think I've seen much of a discussion on it in-universe.
The Force is created by life, Yoda tells us. That involves the intermediation of midi-chlorians apparently (ugh). But being Force-sensitive and being alive aren't the same thing: you can have an entire species that hasn't had a single Force-sensitive, and yet they're clearly alive. Ysalamiri are clearly alive.
So is the remaining distinction between organic and in-organic beings? And where does that distinction blur? The Yuuzhan Vong have organic machines, whereas the GFFA has inorganic people. If we accept the former, why not the latter?
A soul is a very foreign concept, one that is really only capable of existing in purely figurative terms, if even that. In Star Wars, I imagine the concept of a soul would translate simply to something touched/influenced by the Force, which would be pretty much everything (except those slimy ysalamiri). Oh, and Jar-Jar. He most definitely doesn't have a soul.
Also, the soul of Trioculous is as black as the night.
I'm not convinced it's particularly foreign at all, nor simply figurative, and would go as far as to say it's directly addressed in TESB with the "luminous beings" quote. And, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, in this kind of context one does not have a soul; one is a soul.
Also, importantly, I think it's a mistake to regard the Force -- Living or otherwise -- as some kind of "bio-field": it's metaphysical in nature. Indeed, Yoda tells Luke that the Life he's talking about has nothing to do with "crude matter", which divorces biology/organic material from the process of "Force creation" entirely -- even if midichlorians are (usually) necessary interlocutors for one to sense the Force -- and implies that capital "L" Life and the Force are, fundamentally, one and the same. I'd argue that every genuinely conscious/sapient/whatever being is a pattern in and of the Living Force.
I mean, the question of inorganic people is already settled, I think, because we have the Shards -- and the Jedi have no problem accepting them as being alive. So... I dunno, I'm fairly comfortable in thinking that the droids are just on a wavelength that has yet to register to most Jedi senses. Kinda wish they'd have explored this with Anakin Skywalker, though, as him being the sole Jedi who could feel that droids were alive would have played rather well into his obsession with saving others from death ("If I can restore a droid to life, why not a person?" etc) as well as his eventually coming to regard the Jedi as hypocrites and liars.
Oh man, I would have loved that. Heck, it'd be even more fitting for he who was more machine than man, coming to accept that there was no difference.
I wish the "Droids and the Force" article wasn't lost in Hyperspace limbo - there were some very interesting thoughts on the topic there.
@Ulicus , but Yoda also says that "life creates it, makes it grow" -- so whether or not it is "between the rock, and the tree" and "between the land, and the ship," it's clear that life is part of it. You're right in that it needn't be biological life necessarily, but there's something about that. Is there a relationship between life and "luminous beings?" Was Yoda merely saying that a person's connection to the Force isn't a matter of size (relating to the contextual comments) or was he actually talking about souls? I don't know if there's enough there to be conclusive.
We do know that people's essences can live on beyond death: Force ghosts and Sith spirits come to mind. We also know that a person's pain and suffering, or even their happiness, can suffuse a place. Does that provide indirect evidence of something that can be likened to a soul? It might well serve as indicia of such.
As yet, we've not seen such of droids. We've seen droids exhibit emotions, we've seen droids develop personality, and we've seen them essentially adopt personhood. So why not the rest of it? It might be the wavelength thing you mention -- but Jedi seem to be able to detect other lifeforms and the like, it's just that they're "foreign." Why are droids -- something that Jedi are so familiar with -- different? Is it because people are conditioned to regard them as furniture or tools, so they're deadened to that kind of perception? Does the Force even work that way?
Yes, I think so. While other interpretations are surely possible, I'd insist that "Life creates it, makes it grow. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter" is meant to be taken as a whole and that the life to which Yoda is referring is the luminous. And if it's not material, fleshy stuff, what can it be "made" of but the Force? And, if that's the case, Yoda's effectively saying that the Force, in the form of Life, self-engenders.
What's interesting is that RotS established ghosting as a specific technique one can learn, rather than being the simple result of a Jedi's essence separating from his body. If that's the case, to me, it almost speaks against the existence of souls in the greater sentient populace - or else, what's happening to everybody else's when they die? Why would someone have a soul if it can't live beyond their physical body unless they took the time to take Ghosting 101? Seems kind of unfair.
I was under the impression that what made ghosting different was the "coming back"- everybody's soul passes on- except those of ghosts, who can delay their passing on for a time.
At least, at the time I read Heir to the Empire.
I got the same impression. Ghosting lets you anchor, but in a more flexible way than malevolent Sith spirits and all that. Other than that, you go to the afterlife which is apparently some sort of madness for darksiders and something... else for lightsiders. I don't think we need to make it terribly clear either way though, because it sounds a liiiittle too much like terran theology to me.
They transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.
I think of a person's being or "Self" as a Force pattern, individual by virtue of its will and kept distinct by subsisting in a physical form. When the physical form dies, the will of the Self is subsumed by the will of the Force, and the pattern dissolves into the whole. The Self might want to go one way, but the Force is like "no, dude, gotta go this way", and it can't survive being pulled in so many different directions. This is what a Sith experiences as "chaos", as Plagueis outlines in Book of Sith, but what a Jedi would call harmony. There is no death, there is the Force, and all that raz.
Obi-Wan transforms into the Force too, of course, but the implication from what Qui-Gon says in the RotS novel is that he persists because by the time he dies his Self is Selflessness, so unselfish and in tune with the will of the Force that it makes no difference. His will and that of the Force are one and the same. He's not being pulled in any direction he wasn't already going.
Or, at least, that used to be the case before the CSWE turned Force Ghosts into selfish undead jackasses who deny the will of the Force.
Obi-Wan does say he has "stayed too long and can no longer postpone his passage to what lies beyond" in Heir. Not that far out of tune with the notion that he is, to a degree "denying the will of the Force" by staying as long as he does.
Personally, and not factoring in the fact that we only learnt what ghosting actually entailed many years after HttE, I think he was spinning Luke a line. It is Obi-Wan, after all. But I'm also content to think that the ghosted Jedi isn't perfectly in step with the will of the Force, but rather in step enough that the process of dissolution is incredibly slowed in comparison to the typical person or Jedi.
Either way, as Qui-Gon says in the RotS novel, it can be achieved only through selflessness, not greed, and involves retaining one's influence while actually being one with the Force. Not holding off becoming one with the Force.
Kenobi had a selfless purpose, but once that selflessness was achieved (Luke becoming a Jedi) then Kenobi's reason was gone and he had to move on. I don't think he was or ever intended to babysit Luke forever. That, I think, bridges the two positions.
I'm referring more to the concept of a soul in general rather than its relevance in Star Wars; it's a concept that, by its very nature, is abstract and speculative, so I think it can be difficult to say whether droids truly have "souls" in the context of the universe. I really don't believe in any concept of a "soul", though I do think we're probably meant to believe that they do exist in the SW universe.
I like this, actually. Obi-Wan is often referred to as quite stubborn... fun to think that he denies the will of the Force itself, in a manner, by remaining to help Luke for as long as he did.
I can't express how much it annoyed me that Anakin's affinity for machines was downplayed as much as it was in the PT, particularly for one who is, as you mentioned, destined to become part machine himself.
The large emphasis on droids and "droid rights" is actually a plot element I miss from Marvel Star Wars. That, and hoojibs.
Sure, I'd just hesitate to rule out the possibility of his ever appearing again. Especially if there's an open bar.
Denying the will of the Force is not the Jedi way. It's not "fun", it's practically blasphemous.
Food for thought: do trees have midi-chlorians?
They're organic, sure, but it's not like they have "flesh" in the same way. They've alive, and in magic space biology you get talking trees like T'ra Saa, but... if you're going to compare a tree's connection to the Force with a fish, it's not that different to comparing a robot with a human, as both exhibit their own particular similarities and differences.
It seems unfair that consciousness (robots) is less important than what you're made of (plants).
So his denial of the will of the Force was actually the will of the Force anyway.
Equally, I was annoyed when Luke didn't have a hand when he went beyond shadows in Abyss (come to think of it, was he still one-handed in Apocalypse?). I'd much rather have seen a character who didn't have an arm -- and didn't use a prosthetic -- get their arm back beyond shadows.
After all, it's not like Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost was a floating dismembered torso.
Obi-Wan seems to bend the Jedi Code almost as much as Anakin does . At least in "blinding himself" to Anakin and Padme.
I don't like to think that everything in SW is governed directly by the "will of the Force", though, with the Force serving as the Hand of God rather than an omnipotent energy field. An oddly fatalistic perspective to a series originally all about the small numbered Rebels defeating the much more powerful Empire through force of will and through the power of individual choice (in Anakin's redemption). I don't really think that the Force was destined to balance itself out: Anakin had to do that. You could certainly argue that Anakin himself was the Force's way of righting itself, but it still ultimately came down to his own personal choice. The fact that Palpatine and Plagueis were able to alter the balance of the Force that much by themselves, to me, says that the will of the Force is far from anything resembling predestination.
If the very existence of Force ghosts is not denying the Force, it's certainly a very blunt denial of death. And hey, if ROTS had a discernible message, it's that the Jedi and their most sacred doctrine needed to change.
Midi-chlorians were inspired in part by mitochondria, and planets certainly have those, so I see no reason why they wouldn't have midis either. There's nothing about plants that excludes the possibility of having symbiotic lifeforms running around inside them.