Lit Jedi and Sith = Yin and Yang?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by darklordoftech, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    I recognize that this is both probably how the SW system thinks of things, and how the cultures most of us on here live in operate, but I am not sure it is accurate to how things really are. Firstly, 'evil' is a label, dependent on cultural and individual construction. In SW, perhaps there is such a thing as absolute, universal evil. In real life, I just don't think the universe cares that much what a bunch of creatures on a planet orbiting some obscure star in some obscure galaxy in a corner of space are doing. Other humans do, but not the universe (at least as far as I can tell).

    Also, every action is preceded by mind-activity. Some of that takes the form of thoughts accessible to consciousness, some of it doesn't. But that mind-activity is really brain-activity, which means it's material in some way. Chemicals, biological mechanisms, and electricity. As a material system, its current state is dependent on previous states. Those previous states are also traceable. Etc and so on, meaning that ultimately the mind and human action are part of a huge system that is fully dependent on chains of inputs originating outside that brain/body, plus quantum randomness.

    It's important that you mentioned malice, because it is here that some remnants of the typical thought process can be salvaged. If someone did something out of malice, they are malicious (obviously), but they are also ultimately a victim of bad ideas (conscious or un-). I don't think we can argue that that is their fault, because even if the 'bad ideas' appeal to them, the fact that they could appeal to this person's mind was driven by the prior states of the brain-system. Which again, can be traced back to factors outside the mind itself, be they recent environmental factors or even genetic/developmental ones. The person can be "responsible" in a certain sense, but not in the same sense that is usually meant when a totally Free Will is assumed.

    I guess that doesn't really conflict with what you said. Ah well.

    Also: how do we know a shark doesn't act with malice? Its sense of morality (if it has one at all) may or may not be similar to a human's, but we don't know. To what degree is being a shark like being a human? There is no answer at the moment, but maybe with better fMRI technology into the future we could actually figure some of that out (ridiculous as it may sound).
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jul 21, 2013
    Sophdeon likes this.
  2. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    If you ask me, Jedi and Sith being doomed to fight for all time = no free will.
  3. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    Jedi and Sith have their own agency. They're not doomed to fight it out for eternity, they could choose to stop if they wanted.
  4. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    Sort of. It says the dark side is a naturally occurring and necessary phenomenon and because it exists, the very things we know to power it also exist as a matter of necessity. It's something of a closed circle. The existence of the dark side is the very thing that allows death, entropy, anger, fear, hate, and other things to be real. Literally, the emotion of anger exists because the dark side does. Death exists because the dark side does. That, by itself, isn't good or bad. it just...is.

    But there's a twist. Once you call upon these things, once you start channeling these things around you or in you in order to have power, you're opening yourself up to the Force in a way that's unhealthy and dangerous. A way that, because your calling upon the energy that literally causes entropy, erodes you as well. Your sanity, your soul, your judgement, your reservations, and more.
    Last edited by AlyxDinas, Jul 21, 2013
    Gamiel and Circular_Logic like this.
  5. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    I'd say that makes the Dark Side quite evil.
    That explains alot about the Saga if Essential Reader's Companion's claim that GL said that Dark Siders are doomed to kill each other is correct.
    Last edited by darklordoftech, Jul 21, 2013
  6. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    "Choosing" only has that strong of a meaning if wills aren't constrained. Take Luke. Could he stop fighting the Sith? On some abstract level, it feels like it. But in any given situation, the actions he takes, as well as the actions his opponent(s) take, are determined by previous events, thoughts, etc. So while it might feel like he could have done otherwise, the logistics of that just don't make sense to me. Before an event, it's not fully predictable which path will be taken (because no one has perfect knowledge - not even in Star Wars: "Always in motion is the future."). After an event, it could not have happened otherwise.

    I realize this might be a bit of a derail, so sorry.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jul 21, 2013
  7. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    It makes it real. Observable. But he dark side can't be evil anymore than a tornado or an erupting volcano can be evil. The label implies intent. The dark side doesn't do what it does because it has a motive, enjoys it, or chooses to. It does what it does because it has to. Without it existing, the nature of the very cosmos would be fundamentally different. And, potentially, not for the better.
  8. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    If you're saying that the Dark Side isn't conscious, I see what you're saying.

    I'm fascinated by the idea of the galaxy being a better place if the Dark Side didn't exist.
  9. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    The will of the Force is much more comparable to how the current of a stream affects the pebbles in it than any actual conscious process. As for the galaxy being better off without the dark side, I would decidedly say that...hypothetically, if there was a "good guy" who wanted to destroy the dark side the same way that Kreia wanted to destroy the Force, they'd be very misguided in their goal.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    But the PT and subsequent works have changed the understanding of the Force. They've shown the Force has a will, and the dark side is the rejection of that will. That old sourcebook is wrong. TCW's Mortis trilogy is all about this... the Father believes in this old view that light and dark need to be balanced, but that is rejected. Similarly, the Je'Daii also believe in the older view of needing both the light and the dark... and we can see that they're wrong, the Force Wars will soon erupt and the Jedi will be born.

    As Luke Skywalker says, and I believe the more recent Jedi vs Sith guide too... the dark side didn't exist until sentient life-forms arose.
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Jul 21, 2013
    Jedi Ben likes this.
  11. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    The Will of the Force can be considered as natural law. It is an understanding of how the universe is supposed to be. The dark side is a violation of those laws.

    Now, arguably, the dark side is a necessary violation of those laws in order for 1. complex systems to exist at all rather than a happy super-energetic quark-gluon plasma dancing through eternity and 2. for there to be any sort of story to tell.

    This can be compared to a world with God and the Devil and a world with just god. The current world, which contains both, is deeply, terribly flawed, but it is also interesting. The post-Revelation world (wherein God triumphs) will be perfect, uniform, and glorious, and also very much the same eternal oneness with the almighty all the time (this is a gross simplification of Christian theology designed to serve a purpose as an example, not jump down anyone's throat).

    So the dark side may be considered an evil to be ultimately eliminated, but as the reader this is not something we can hope for because it means the story ends forever at that point.
    Jedi Ben likes this.
  12. General Immodet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2012
    star 4
    Un peu de vin, messieurs?
  13. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    Exactly.

    Similarly, I remember there was a Greek philosopher who stressed the importance of balance in all things...except for things which are defined as inherently bad. So there is no need to balance imbalance and balance, or murder with not-murder and the like.

    So, similarly, there is no need to balance the harmony of the jedi with the destructiveness of the sith, since the harmony of the Jedi is the result of their balance, and the sith the result of imbalance.

    And on that note it should be remembered that the Sith come in a wide range of philosophies, some so far apart as being pretty much living incarnations of extreme order and extreme chaos. In DnD terms, Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil. The only constant is the need to use violence to enforce their viewpoints.

    Finally, when you consider force traditions besides Jedi and Sith, it becomes even more clear that the Jedi have a balanced and broad view of the force in comparison to often narrow focus of other orders, and in particular stand in-between the more violent traditions and the pacifist ones.
  14. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    You could posit a world where the dark side has been so far reduced as to be only mere possibility and potentiality, as to remove that removes free will, but that beings have become sufficiently enlightened in their outlook to simply not opt for that which the dark side counsels. Say perhaps by actually implementing the Golden Rule?

    On a different note, however, the dark side characterisation varies greatly. For the last decade, the Luciferian aspect has been played down, where it was very pronounced in Bantam. For myself I don't really see any need to choose between either version though.
  15. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    According to Campbell neither is to be equated precisely with either good or evil, but one is described as positive and the other as negative or malignant.

    The balance is between the light and dark sides, so the dark side cannot "be" imbalance. As stated in this thread, it is cosmologically necessary in some form. In a similar vein, the mere existence of evil somewhere in the galaxy does not connote automatic imbalance. The Force was in balance before it was out of balance, and there was certainly some evil in existence during that period.

    The equivalents of yin and yang would be the dark side and the light side respectively, as seen in the Mortis symbols. In the Taoist scheme the living Force would be approximated by the hither shore and the unifying Force by the yonder shore. So to answer the thread question, no.

    I don't necessarily find that to be the case. For example, in Dark Lord the dark side whispers to Anakin to slaughter the younglings. Other recent works refer to the Sith serving it and state that it has a will of its own. It may prompt instances of Sith succession and it seems to answer when the Force is queried for Anakin's Sith name.

    No, the PT established no such thing.

    In no way was that ever rejected, during Mortis or anywhere else.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Aug 10, 2013
    DigitalMessiah likes this.
  16. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I'm not sure why the dark side requires characterization at all, as it isn't a character. It's not even an energy field, but part of one. The Force isn't a conscious entity, nor are its sides.

    And I apologize for intentionally misinterpreting what you mean by characterization, but it served my point!
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 10, 2013
  17. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Taoism existed long before Campbell.

    And it doesn't seem to me like the balance is between the dark side and the light side. Also, as I explained before, the dark side may be imbalance, but the entire Force wasn't thrown out of balance until Tenebrous's master, there can still be a dark side existing and have the Force in balance.
  18. WriterMan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2012
    star 1
    (Heads up, everything I say in this post will be based on what's seen in the films only.)

    Addressing the OP, I am not entirely sure if I believe that the Jedi and Sith are direct opposites.

    They have quite a few basic goals in common (order being one of them).

    It's their method of attaining that goal and their version of that goal that separates them. Often times, they both cause havoc and make the lives of the people around them harder. Although the Jedi don't purposely do it, it is still a result of their doings. And while the Sith are the ones hatching the plans for evil and destruction ([face_devil]) the Jedi certainly have an agenda as well (as seen in Episode III). The Jedi are sometimes drawn to do the same things the Sith would do (i.e. Mace Windu almost murdering the Chancellor, Luke almost killing Vader). And the fact that these Jedi during the time of the Clone Wars serve as generals should be enough to show they're not entirely against violence to achieve a goal. Sure, they're working for the common good (according to their certain point of view.) They wish to bring order to the galaxy. Which, in their opinion, is when they're the ones in charge. The Sith honestly see the same thing. And, to be honest, their society, while much more censored than that of the Jedi's, is just as orderly if not more orderly. Sure, they have to go to extremes and kill people to achieve their goal, but they still achieve order.

    It almost asks the audience the moral question of: Is it better to live in a chaotic democracy or an orderly dictatorship? Quite a few of us would pick the former, but some may lean more towards the latter. It's all from a certain point of view.
  19. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Well, since this is a Literature forum, I feel compelled to point out that at least three SW books say that it is, and those are just the ones that I know about. There's also Mortis, of course, which presents the same idea.

    That doesn't make sense. If the dark side "is" imbalance of the Force, as long as the dark side exists the Force cannot be in balance.

    Yes. His source was the Tao Te Ching.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Aug 11, 2013
  20. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I know, I've read the Tao Te Ching, I've had classes on Taoism, and I've talked to actual Taoists who say yin and yang are not good and evil. I've read Joseph Campbell too.

    And what doesn't make sense? The dark side is imbalance. Individuals can be out of balance, regions, planets, systems, galactic regions, even an entire galaxy. But to throw the entire Force out of balance is something that only Tenebrous's master, Tenebrous, Plagueis, Sidious, and maybe Sidious's apprenctices, have ever managed to accomplish. And putting the entire Force out of balance makes it a lot more difficult for everything else to keep balance. Sidious was making the dark side grow stronger, the imbalance take deeper root.

    And which books say the dark side is about balancing the dark side and the light side? The idea seems as silly to me as the old idea that balance was between the Jedi and the Sith. I also talked about Mortis, and how I interpreted it to mean the Father was wrong about how he initially believed the light side and dark side could exist in balance.
  21. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    @Summer Dreamer

    On the "Secrets of Mortis" feature on TCW Season 3 blu-ray, George Lucas says: "The core of the Force, I mean you got the dark side [and the] light side. One is selfless, one is selfish, and you want to keep them in balance."
    Sophdeon and CeiranHarmony like this.
  22. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Would fit.

    If you think of "selfish" as an instinctive behaviour that all life exhibits at least some of the time, and "selfless" as something rare, more common to intelligent life- then the Dark Side might even be something that was predominant until intelligent life arose- and even after that, it was in balance with the Light Side, rather than the Light Side having taken over.
  23. Sophdeon Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2010
    This has been one of the most interesting discussions I've seen, largely because I love seeing talk about balance and the Force (even if that wasn't the original topic). Sorry for my relative lack of understanding of yin and yang, but here are my thoughts.

    I actually just finished a book that talked about the real life human traits of "selfish" vs. "selfless." Basically, the author argued that humans (as well as most organisms) have selfish traits due to the way individual natural selection works (altruism doesn't exactly help spread one's DNA). Essentially, the Dark Side represents this very real evolutionary trait that we have.

    However, humans (and some other species) have developed altruistic attitudes as a result of becoming social (which supports the overall survival of selfless traits in the population as a whole). Thus, the Light Side presents altruism as the counter to the Dark Side. In real life, these two traits are in constant conflict with one another. This real life occurance mirrors the conflict between the Light Side and the Dark Side that occurs in the Star Wars universe. Just as in real life, either trait being out of balance is not desired, thus balance is needed.

    Now, as to the Jedi and Sith being yin and yang...I think that is a nice comparison with limits. They certainly are percieved as opposites whose history is interwoven with one another. Plus, the Sith Code plays off of the "lies" of the Jedi Code (Peace is a lie...). However, I think it is more important to understand that the Jedi and Sith can be percieved as representations of the Light Side and Dark Side. If the Light Side and Dark Side represent "selflessness" and "selfishness," and we take into consideration the way those traits are related (I would argue they are related at an evolutionary level), then the Light and Dark Side may indeed be yin and yang.
    Iron_lord likes this.
  24. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    The Jedi and Sith aren't complementary opposites that are defined by each other. The Jedi have more pre-Sith history than post-Sith history. The comparison to the Taijitu breaks down there, and I think that correspondence between those two groups and the two sides of the Force breaks down there as well, especially when one considers the etymology of "Jedi."
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 14, 2013
    darklordoftech likes this.
  25. Bib Fartuna Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 2012
    star 4
    Good analogy.

    My personal view of Yin-Yang, is that even the most purest people have a little evil in them, and even the most evil people have a little good in them. Sorry to invoke Godwin's law, however, Hitler was good with children (well I suppose Aryan ones), animals and the environment.