Saga Is Star Wars morality too black and white?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Polydroxol, May 28, 2014.

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  1. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

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    Right I saw that just the other day. :p

    Just to clarify my own stance: I don't think the Jedi are white/good and the Sith are black/evil. I grasp this is the view being forced in SW very poorly when in fact all characters are shown grey. Thus I stand by my belief all are grey and unification is needed for true balance. :)
  2. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    That's because it is. Every Jedi who became a Sith did so because they thought that their ideas, their ideals, were better and more sound than the Jedi's. But the power controlled and corrupted them. Anakin just wanted to save his wife from dying and then causes her death with his actions. Dooku wanted a better government that would prevent such incidences as what happened on Naboo, only to turn around and support the genocide of his master and his fellow Jedi. Luke is told that in order to save his friends, he must kill either Palpatine or his father in cold blood, using his aggressive feelings and letting the hate flow through you. Yoda had his own vision where he was tempted by evil, in order to save all the Jedi.

    This is why the Jedi do believe that the dark side will dominate and consume you.

    There's a difference in causing harm with malicious intent, like Anakin killing the Tusken Raiders and causing harm in defense of another, such as Obi-wan slicing off Ponda Baba's arm to save Luke. As to inflate self, how does that apply to the Jedi?
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  3. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    Even if a person did not intend to cause harm, he or she has to take responsibility for their actions and not use intent as an excuse to evade that responsibility. That person also needs to learn to check him or herself and contemplate on whether their action is the right one . . . even if his or her intent is good. And you will be surprised at how many people use good intentions to excuse their poor decision or choice.


    I believe they had an inflated sense of their own goodness that led to their arrogance.
    Last edited by DRush76, Jun 2, 2014
  4. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    And he has also mentioned balance between good and evil. So...
  5. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Personally I've never quite understood how that's supposed to work, but yeah, that is what he has said.
  6. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    That's just the way nature is. Take elements such as water, fire, air and earth. All of them can be both destructive and beneficial. Even when they are being destructive, this destructiveness can sometime end up as beneficial. The reverse can also be said.

    Sometimes, doing something wrong can turn out to be either destructive or beneficial in the end. Sometimes, doing something right can either be destructive or beneficial. It depends on the situation . . . and more importantly, it depends upon the moment.
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  7. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    To me there is a difference between complimentary opposites (like up/down, in/out, creation/destruction, etc) and opposites that seem, by their nature, to be uncomplimentary - like 'good' and 'evil.' And so things like Lucas saying 'balance of good and evil' don't make a whole lot of sense to me, especially where you have things like in Mortis the brother (already sort of aligned with the dark side) then 'falling' to the dark side. Perhaps each wielder should be 'in balance,' but then, the Jedi never talked about such a thing (even in the OT). There are some ideas from ESB's development to that effect (the dark side being what allows for telekinesis), but it's not clear how much, if any, of that survived.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 3, 2014
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  8. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    It's another way of referring to the "natural" state of things, when there is no predominant evil ( Palpatine/Empire ) in control.
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  9. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    And you don't think that the Jedi don't do that? They take responsibility for their actions. They weigh heavily what it is that they should do and only draw their Lightsabers against a living person as a means of last resort. They seldom kill living beings, often preferring to disarm at best.

    The arrogance was born in thinking that they didn't need to change and adapt to the times. They remained as they were and never took the time to learn more about the Force.


    Brother and Sister were polar opposites of each other. One shrouded in darkness, the other bathed in the light. When the Brother chose to do evil as he did, that is when he fell to the dark side. When Sister died, the Force fell out of balance on Mortis and was restored again with Brother's death.

    There is balance within the person, as Lucas noted. But the Jedi in the PT era haven't quite achieved their own balance. It is in letting Luke be raised by his family and have a grasp on his emotions growing up that he is able to start to master his emotions and thus balance himself. He sees what fear, anger and hate can lead to. But he also understands what compassion, unconditional love and kindness will bring.
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  10. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I get the intention (basically it's trying to talk about the kind of balance yin/yang represents), but by using those words, I think it undoes itself. Things like creation and destruction balance each other. It's necessary to have some elements of each, and each is contained within the other. But what 'good' is it to have 'evil'? Those two are a different kind of opposition. They don't balance.

    My point was: If he was already shrouded in darkness, what does it mean for him to then 'fall to the dark side'? What is the difference? It could very well just be a semantic problem - this type of thing may be an instance where the terms use obfuscate what is supposed to be happening. For example, if the dark side is NOT supposed to be evil, but rather is simply destruction/night/etc, and 'falling to the dark side' is focusing on that side versus balancing it with creation, etc. But imagine if we used a color here: someone is shrouded in blue, and then falls to the blue side. It could be clearer, if that's the intent.

    This would make more sense to me if 'the dark side' were depicted as less 'evil' and more 'destruction,' etc. As above: it makes sense for complimentary opposites to demand each other. But 'good' doesn't demand 'evil,' nor vice versa. Conceptually, they oppose in a different way, an exclusionary way.

    And by 'balance within a person,' do you mean using both sides of the Force? Because that's sort of what I was getting at, and it seems opposed to what's in the films now... ?
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 3, 2014
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  11. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    There will always be some evil, unless everyone is somehow mind-controlled and forced to be nice all the time.

    And in so destroying, sows the seeds of its own destruction.
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  12. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    That's true. But that doesn't mean that evil is something to be celebrated or accepted. With creation/destruction, up/down, in/out, etc, the existence of one part of the pair demands the presence of the other. It's 'good' to have a mix of creation and destruction. It's 'good' to balance up with down. In those schemas, neither element has a moral aspect attached to it, though the balance of the two elements overall might be a 'moral good.' That's a different thing, I think, from each element in the pair explicitly being a moral aspect.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 3, 2014
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  13. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    If one accepts the premise "there will always be some evil", the existence of some evil is something to be accepted.
  14. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Fine: "The existence of evil doesn't mean that any particular instance of evil is something to be celebrated. Evil, while possibly something that will never disappear, is nonetheless not something to be driven towards, very unlike - for example - creation and destruction, each of which can be celebrated yet can also 'go too far.'"
  15. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    How do you know? How do you know that good and evil don't balance? You could ask me how would I know whether good and evil do balance. My answer would be . . . I don't. If I must be honest, I really don't. But considering that all sentient forms of nature - including humans - seemed to have both good and evil, or are capable of being both destructive and beneficial - I don't see the point in demanding that evil or any form of destruction should cease to exist. And that's because I don't see that ever happening. And considering the chaotic nature of this world, I do find it odd that sometimes an evil act or choice can lead to something beneficial sometime in the future . . . even if that person never intended for any kind of good to result in the first place. Frankly, I just think this world is too ambiguous and chaotic to demand for some kind of neat labeling of "good" and "evil".

    I suspect we human beings like to think we know the answers to most, if not all matters of this world. Especially in regard to morality. But I suspect that deep down, we really don't.
    Last edited by DRush76, Jun 4, 2014
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  16. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    The concepts that we define as good and evil are part of the complex structure of what it means to be a person. These things existed in our collective conscious since we first evolved from apes. These things will never truly go away, but we can balance them within us. Externally, the Force itself would be balanced because there needs to be the right amount of one over the other. So long as there is good then the evil can never truly win and dominate.

    Brother falls because he chooses to embrace the darkness within him. Before they arrived on Mortis, Brother had never truly given into that which he was born into. He had always walked a fine line and it was through the war and the events that were set in motion once Obi-wan, Anakin and Ahsoka arrived that he began his fall. He willingly and purposely embraced his inner nature.

    They don't demand each other. But what they do is compliment each other. They are the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. In the Eastern philosophies this means that as long as they're deadlocked, there always the chance that good will stop evil without ever truly destroying it. The circle will always go on into infinity. If it breaks down then all is lost.


    Balance within the person is acknowledging that you can become evil. That you have fear, anger and hate. That you can be driven by greed. That you can never truly banish it, but that you can guard it. Lock it away. Keep it from controlling you. On the other side, there is acknowledging that you have love for yourself and for others. Compassion for all living things. That you know when it is time to let go of those that you love and accept that you must let go of everything that you fear to lose. That is balance within.
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  17. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    I feel that balance is acknowledging that you can give in or embrace all sides of your nature. I also believe that you should guard all aspects of your nature . . . not just the less positive aspects. Sometimes, giving into your compassion, love, etc. can lead to disastrous results. It all depends upon the situation.
  18. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    And some people think that this is exactly what a 'good' god 'should' do, otherwise, he/she/it are said to not be 'wholly' or all-good (according to these folk). Yes, a 'theodicy' of sorts is an unspoken but very important aspect of this thread's topic.
    Last edited by TOSCHESTATION, Jun 4, 2014
  19. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    How do we even know for certain that he was born into anything?
  20. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I don't see the two bolded sections as being equivalent, though. Creation and destruction (as examples) are each amoral forces - they're outside the bounds of any moral approach - and both are necessary in order to have a harmonious whole. Too much creation and you end up with a cancer, too much destruction and you end up with everything broken.

    In contrast, if you are doing something good, or you notice that things are really going well in general in the world, you don't stand up and say 'boy, I've really gotta add some evil to this mix - that is to say, some deliberate, malicious harm. That'll really balance things out. That's what the world needs.' Good and evil are labels for human moral categories, and I think that makes them different sorts of things than the type of dichotomies that balance against each other (up/down, etc.).

    If we define 'evil' as 'harm,' then we may see it as necessary or justified. But then, if we are simply defining it as 'harm,' why not just say 'harm'? I think there's more to the meaning of evil than 'harm' or 'destruction' - it's more deliberate, malicious, and uncaring/uncompassionate. And I don't think those elements are things that are ever 'necessary'... even if 'harm' sometimes might be (as it might be in, for example, a one-vs-many Spockian dilemma).

    @darth-sinister , I think this also probably responds to some of the points you bring up as well.
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  21. thejeditraitor Force Ghost

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    whether you believe in God or not "free will" is a part of life. "evil" actions are a choice that people are free to make. some people are mentally unable to tell the difference but most of us have a set of rules or morals we live by. that being said, some people take actions and make decisions that are "bad" and they may not see them that way. that's where societies' collective morality comes into play. going around killing people is unacceptable in our society and there are good reasons for that. whether it breaks your religious views or the laws of the land it is "wrong". it is "evil".
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, Jun 4, 2014
  22. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    I'm quite aware of that. when I spoke of creation and destruction, along with good and evil; I was speaking of forces that seemed to be in opposition of each other.
  23. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding the issue, then... ? Do you agree or disagree that the insertion of moral aspects changes the equation a bit? You asked earlier how I 'know' that good and evil don't balance. I think it simply has to do with the meanings of the words. In a certain sense, good is pretty much 'desirable, right action' and evil is pretty much 'undesirable, wrong action.' Parsimonious? We would not expect a balanced (in whichever sense of the word you like) person to do 'wrong' (in their own mind) just for the sake of it. (Though we might expect them to do 'wrong' for the sake of their sense of 'right' - but that's not the same thing.) To contrast, a 'balanced' person very well might take up either side of creation/destruction, depending on circumstance, and perform 'good' in so doing.

    Good and evil are of a different type of category than creation and destruction, I think.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 5, 2014
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  24. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    Yes, I know that. I just said that in an earlier post.
  25. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    The understanding I have is that both siblings were representatives of good and evil. Brother is noted as having fallen once he initiates his plan. The evidence so far, circumstantial it may be, suggests that they were both born within their mutual sides, but only Brother walked the line.

    That's how the Sith justify their actions. That they're for the greater good and that they don't show any compassion and consideration for others. They don't second guess themselves about what they do. This is how sociopaths are described as being. Take Lex Luthor in "Superman". He is willing to kill everyone living on the west coast side of the San Andreas fault and doesn't care that it will happen. All he cares about the profits that he will glean in the future. Likewise, Palpatine is willing to blow up entire planets and cause massive bloodshed in the war the proceeded that, in order to enforce his will over others and achieve peace through tyranny. Someone who is defined as good, would stop to consider the moral and ethical actions that they are about to take. They won't enforce their views upon others. They will feel the suffering of others and stop to help them. They will put the welfare of others ahead of their goals. Obi-wan is this way because that is the person that he is. He has a conscience. He has compassion. He questions his actions.
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