[Palpy was right] Maybe one does need to know the dark side to be a complete Jedi.

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Dark Lady Mara, May 25, 2005.

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  1. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 19, 1999
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    I've been thinking about Mace Windu and Vaapad. It seems that Mace is rather close to the dark side, and it's a critical component in his Force strength. I remember the AotC novelization also discussed Yoda's delving into the dark side to attempt to learn more about current events. Do you think, perhaps, it's no coincidence that the greatest Jedi masters all sampled the dark side before doing their greatest deeds?

    Also consider Luke and Vader - both of them had to experience the dark side for themselves before they were able to toss Palpatine. Perhaps Anakin had to fall to the dark side before he was ready to fulfill his destiny.

    The way I see it, the Jedi have an awfully dichotomized and limited view of the Force, and I find it hard to believe that the Force really wanted its students to slice it up that way. Why does the dark side exist if it's not meant to be used and encouraged at times?

    Just a few rambling thoughts.
  2. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Very few Jedi have the willpower and ability to see the dark and go back.

    Mace Windu uses Vaapad because of his own inner aggression and darkness. Yoda studies the Dark Side due to his amassed wisdom and knowledge--though EU hints that he once mistakenly fell.

    But let's consider Anakin Skywalker. He fell to the Dark Side and very nearly stayed there for eternity. He's no slouch of a Jedi either, he has a heart and a sense of duty.

    If someone like him could fall, imagine normal Jedi learning Dark Side secrets for information? Sometimes there's a such thing as too much--especially since it may just hurt the Jedi more than help them.
  3. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Interesting points.

    I think it's possible that to be a truly great or complete Jedi, you sort of have to delve into the study of the dark side. The big question may be whether many Jedi had the capability of even studying it without finding themselves tempted into turning away from the light side. Then again, that raises the question of whether there really should be distinct "light side" and "dark side" categories.
  4. Kakkaraun Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
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    The Dark Side and Light Side, I think, are only manners of using the same thing. I think the distinction is in the intention and source of the action: if you intend to do good, and the source of your action is love, compassion, etc, then it's an action of the Light Side. If you intend to do something wrong, or you're calling on your anger, hate, greed, whatever, then it's an action of the Dark Side. I don't believe in any of this "ultimate power of the Dark Side/ultimate power of the Light Side" crap, it's all the same thing. This is why the Dark Side is "easier, faster, more seductive;" it calls on emotions, desires, and inclinations that come easily, whereas the light is based on restraint, austerity, and duty--but they both access the same Force, and can accomplish the same things.

    One whole in my theory is the "Force Lightning is automatically evil" thing...the EU says (and the movies insinuate) that any usage of Force Lightning requires drawing on the evil inside you. I think that if the "good" Jedi could find a way to "source" force lightning in the light side, then it would be a light side thing.

    Basically, Dark and Light are within the practitioner, not the Force itself.

    Or at least that's my opinion. And I'm still thinking on the Unifying/Living division.
  5. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    >>>>Then again, that raises the question of whether there really should be distinct "light side" and "dark side" categories.

    I'm a very firm believer that there's no such thing as the "light side." I think that the Jedi embrace the Force as a whole, but to do that you need to avoid the Dark Side, because of it's all-consuming nature.

    >>>>The way I see it, the Jedi have an awfully dichotomized and limited view of the Force, and I find it hard to believe that the Force really wanted its students to slice it up that way. Why does the dark side exist if it's not meant to be used and encouraged at times?

    The Dark Side is a corruption of the Force. The way I see it, the Jedi philosophy is all about "letting go" and giving yourself to the Force, allowing the Will of the Force to work through you, using it's power to serve it. The Dark Side is about ignoring the idea of the Will of the Force and using it's power to serve themselves.

    The obvious question that raises (and the one I think Luke was trying to ask Yoda in ESB when he's being taught about the dark side) is why can't you use the Dark Side to do good deeds? The answer being that you can try, but it will consume you and turn you into that which you are trying to fight against. As ROTS shows us- Anakin trying to use all his powers to save Padme, but comitting terrible acts in the process. It wasn't love behind his actions- it was fear.

    Also, a master of the Dark Side doesn't just have powers like lightning skillz- there is the ability to manipulate others simply through their fears and anger, as we see time and time again. The key to Palpatine's victory lies in the way he does this- he doesn't need mind tricks to make the Rebels attack on Endor, or to prompt Padme to vote down Valorum and so on.

    I think the EU's elaboration of Windu's character as tapping into the Dark Side is interesting, as it's his attack on an (apparently) defenceless Palpatine which prompts Anakin's decision that the Jedi are corrupt.
  6. Kakkaraun Jedi Knight

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    May 19, 2005
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    Palpatine's Machiavellian gig is non-force-related--it's all mundane maneuvering. Although I think he may have whipped out the old Mind Trick every once in a while.

    At any rate, I don't think our distinctions are mutually exclusive. My main point was that the dark and light aren't distinctions within the body of the Force itself, but that they come from within the agent.
  7. Smithenguan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2005
    star 2
    Dooku contemplated how it was possible that Yoda knew how to control and redirect the lightning he shot at him. He brought up the possibility that Yoda dabbled in the dark side at some point in his long life. Mace Windu used a lightsaber style that was both light and dark. These were the two greatest masters on the Jedi Council. I think they've both touched on the dark side at some point in their lives in order to get a better understanding of the force.

    Also, I don't recall Luke ever touching on the dark side. He gave in to rage once, and gave in to fear once. That was about it.

    Obi Wan gave in to rage once as well.

    These are not examples of gaining knowledge from the dark side.

    Force Lightning has no positive, good, selfless purpose, so that's why I think it's not a Jedi ability. What purpose would a Jedi have in using Force lightning? Restarting a downed R2 unit? Using hands as a defibulator?

    "Only a Sith deals in absolutes"

    The Jedi and Sith are, in themselves, Absolutes. The Light side is the absolute good, the Dark side is the absolute evil. I believe that the Jedi only use the absolutes as example, and don't actually believe the force itself is dark or light.
  8. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    if you intend to do good, and the source of your action is love, compassion, etc, then it's an action of the Light Side.


    A teleologist, then?

    Suppose by killing a hundred thousand people, I could save a million. That is, after all, an act of absolutely good intentions--isn't it not?

    Unfortunately, ends do not justify the means. Palpatine would have used this sort of argument to convince he was doing good: murder a few dozen businessmen and end a war, right?

    That's the very epitome of what it means to be evil. One makes excuses for reprehensible acts by saying that they have the ultimate good in mind: and the evilest sort of people even have themselves convinced that this is so.
  9. Kakkaraun Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 1
    If you're confronted with an opportunity to save a million people by killing 100,000, well, then you are resonsible for the death of 900,000 people. Period. Certainly if there was another way to do it, that would be better (and real morality comes in there, finding the best way to accomplish an end), but the simple fact of the matter is that if you're left with the two choices of:

    1. I killed 100,000 people

    and

    2. 1,000,000 people are dead at someone else's hands,

    then electing the second choice is not only massively wrong, morally, but the height of egoism. A Jedi, more than any other type of person, would see themselves as a moral agent FIRST and a victim/reacter/etc last.

    Palpatine's problems were threefold: he accomplished his mission in a way that was much less moral than it could've been, the ultimate "positive end" of his actions (order) WASN'T a good thing, and all of it was a ruse in the first place, he really only wanted the personal power.

    Utilizing catchphrases like "the ends justify the means" or "ends don't justify means" is the height of childish simplification. These aphorisms are utterly meaningless and worthless. Ends and means both have relative values, and these must be weighed. Ultimately, the means only matter in terms of the results of those means. Take the earlier example. Can you honestly say that not being responsible for the death of 100,000 people on your part outweighs 900,000 lives? If so, that's probably the most egoistic, immoral thing I've ever heard. If your head's in the right place anyway, you'll know that that blood isn't on your hands anyway--you did what had to be done (unless, of course, there was a less costly route you didn't explore).

    Killing, stealing, lying, cheating, all these are means. If the bad that comes from them is outweighed by the good they result in (and sometimes, there's no bad at all--say, stealing a razor blade from a person planning on killing himself), then ultimately it's a positive act. Again, the only difficult part comes in finding the path of least damage.
  10. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Kakkaraun, your line of reasoning is one that is frighteningly all-too-common these days, and reminds me of a qoute (by Stalin, IIRC) along the lines of, "One person dying is a tragedy. One million dying is a statistic."


    This is the sort of thinking used to justify the US's use of the nuclear bomb in WWII, and it's just flat-out WRONG. You can't weigh people's lives mathematically. If you kill 100,000 people, you are responsible for the deaths of those 100,000 people. If you refuse to kill those people 100,000 and they turn around and kill 1,000,000 you are NOT responsible for those deaths. The people who killed the 1,000,000 are responsible.
  11. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I would think it wise to know the ways of your enemy, even if that means, in this case, studying how an ability of the Sith works in order to counter it.

    Yoda probably did not teach Luke anything about Force Lightning even though he may have suspected Palpatine would use it. Luke was not fully trained when he rushed off, and could possibly have been turned by Vader. Luke was simply not ready, and the less he knew the better off he was at the time he left Dagobah.

    I don't think one needs to turn to the darkside in order to be complete, but knowledge of evil does not make one evil. Studying the abilities of Sith is not a bad thing. Using certain abilities, and then also abusing those abilities, would lead a Jedi to the Darkside.
  12. MasterVodo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 1
    I agree with Master Halcyon. A Jedi would NEVER murder 100,000 to save 1,000,000. They would "let go and rejoice for those that have become one with The Force." With the exception of Mace Windu's attemted murder (a topic for another disscusion) of Chancellor Palpatine, Jedi have never killed outright without immediate defence in mind.

    I consider Obi-Wan to be a great example of a "perfect Jedi" in that we never see him give in to the dark side wholly. (Yes he got a little angry with Darth Maul, but controlled his emotions shortly thereafter to defeat him). He would be much more likely to find a way to disarm (sometimes literally!) his opponent than to just murder them. Ponda Baba and Zam Wessel are good examples of this. He also sacraficed himself and bought time for Luke and company to escape so they could come back and destroy the Death Star (again disarming) rather than run around and try to kill Vader and Tarkin and all the other Imperial leadership aboard.
  13. Atticus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    star 4
    I agree 100% with SomeRandomNerd, that all sounds good to me.
  14. Ghetto-Wookie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2005
    Yeah, those are interesting thoughts...

    I would say yes, to be knowledgable of the Force you have to recognize and understand its full interpretations and its full power...
  15. sith_rising Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2004
    star 4
    I think Palpatine had the right idea. The light side and dark side both have their advantages and disadvantages, as per the opera discussion. It may be foolhardy to try to merge the two, but I believe in balance in all things.
  16. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    I think he was wrong I'd say Obi-Wan Kenobi is a fully complete Jedi and he never truly knew the Dark. Luke also is a complete Jedi who never fully knew the Dark.
  17. Chewie_Bone Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2005
    I beleive they are ways of accomplishing different things, different goals. To know the Force you do have experience both sides...or are there really sides? The Force is the Force. A Jedi, by definition, only knows the light side. We can't say the dark side is evil, just different, more seductive. After all, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes...."
  18. Kakkaraun Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 1
    <<Kakkaraun, your line of reasoning is one that is frighteningly all-too-common these days, and reminds me of a qoute (by Stalin, IIRC) along the lines of, "One person dying is a tragedy. One million dying is a statistic.">>

    I'm sorry that you have to believe that people doing wrong things is based on the structure of their logic rather than the ends of their intentions. One person dying is a tragedy. One million dying is one million tragedies. In case you don't get it, 100,000 tragedies is less than a million tragedies.

    Oh, and nice attempt at a straw man, but the whole "utilitarians are just moral mathematicians" line got old around the time people started realizing that more people dead is worse than less people dead.

    <<This is the sort of thinking used to justify the US's use of the nuclear bomb in WWII, and it's just flat-out WRONG.>>

    Yeah, but it's wrong because by so doing they were causing much more harm than good. If I'm killing 100,000 to save a million, I'm causing more good than harm. If I don't find an alternate route when there is one, I'm guilty of jumping the gun and causing more deaths than necessary.

    How about this (again, a wholly hypothetical, simplified situation)--what if some spy is walking around Japan and he knows that in a few hours they're going to launch planes to drop the nuke. Through an incredible stroke of luck he sees Tojo and he knows that if Tojo dies the war is over (obviously not the case in reality, but what's important here is the core situation). So, he can kill Tojo and end the war, or let "someone else" kill millions of people to accomplish the same end (we'll also have to ignore that the Americans knew the war with Japan was a given win for them before they dropped the bombs and it was only an act of strategic cruelty).

    So what do you do if you're that soldier?

    You might say this "moral math" is heartless, but I personally think it's heartless to allow people to die when you can stop it from happening, just because it's more important to you to not have the responsibility.

    <<You can't weigh people's lives mathematically. If you kill 100,000 people, you are responsible for the deaths of those 100,000 people. If you refuse to kill those people 100,000 and they turn around and kill 1,000,000 you are NOT responsible for those deaths. The people who killed the 1,000,000 are responsible.>>

    Yes, and so are you, because you allowed it to happen. Negative responsibility exists.

    Look, let's go from the core.

    What is the purpose of morality? It is to reach the best universal situation possible. What is the best? Well, this is a difficult question, but I'd wager to say that a universal situation where 100,000 innocents die (while not good) is much better than a universal situation where a million innocents die.

    Is it not? Obviously, you must respond yes.

    Also, on a personal level, a situation where you have blood on your hands is better than one where you don't. Your problem is you let this perception of having killed be more important than 900,000 lives.

    Of course, your excuse is that classic line "But it's not my fault--they did it! I only allowed it to happen with full knowledge that it would and complete capability to stop it!" Actually that line probably isn't classic because nobody in their right mind would say it, they'd only say cleverly-masked phrases that sound sweeter but mean the same thing.

    Here's an example. You're riding down the street with your friend, who is driving the car. A child runs into the street in front of the car, but the driver doesn't see. Now, if the car hits the kid, it's the driver's fault, not yours. But if you do nothing to try to stop the car, then you're guilty of allowing that death, and you're therefore just as morally wrong as your friend is--moreso, possibly, if he has a good excuse for not seeing the kid, like a sudden bout of hysterical blindness.

    <<They would "let go and rejoice for those that have become one with The Force.">>

    Yeah, and that's why they fight wars to defend live
  19. LightJedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2005
    You cannot have light without dark, you cannot have white without black, you cannot have anger without peace. All life is in balance, as it is in real life and in star wars. Without this balance the other could not exist. Heroism and bravery are made by men in their time of greatest need, their would be no need for heros or jedi without a constant evil force. Whether the evil inside ourselves (temptation, greed, corruption) or evil from outside it is a necessary thing so that good can be compared to it. Without an evil to be compared to the good, moral Jedi would just be gray and neutral.
  20. Old_Republic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2005
    star 1
    I think what makes Obi-wan such great Jedi is that when they are in the heat of battle, to him there is no light and there is no dark, there is only the force. I believe that you become corrupt once you start to use the 'dark side' and you become blind when you use the 'light side'. To become a balanced Force user you must not create distinctions between light and dark, there is only one Force. That's what Obi-wan means when he says that line about absolutes.

    About Force lightning:
    "A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack." This is why you'd never see a Jedi use this power.

    On a side note about Mace Windu, I think it's kind of neat how he is portrayed as delving into the dark side and the colour of his lightsabre (unintentionally) reflects this. Jedi only use blue and green while Sith seem to only use red so his purple sabre is a combination of blue and red. I know it's malarky and it's only purple because SLJ asked for a purple one but to me it adds a bit to the Windu charatcer.
  21. Wester547 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2004
    star 4
    A Jedi could also use an orange or yellow lightsaber... ah I guess that only counts in the EU anyway.
  22. JBRO_13 Jedi Knight

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    Jun 1, 2002
    star 3
    Hasn't this always been the case?

    I thought that the reason that Luke was able to defeat Vader and then Vader was able to, subsequently, bring balance, was because they both dipped into both sides of the Force.

    Luke obviously uses the Dark Side throughout Episode VI, force-choking the guards, and going crazy against Vader. He pulls himself back, though, right before he joins the Emperor.

    Seems to me that "bringing balance to the Force" would not mean completely destroying one side of the Force, but rather, knowing a lot about both sides and keeping balance within yourself.

    I know Anakin is the Chosen One, and he DID bring balance, but Luke represents that balance, as he used both the light and dark side without committing himself completely to one.

    It seems that dedicating yourself completely to the light side resulted in ignorance of the dark side, and, we need not look further than the PT. The Jedi couldn't believe the Sith would've returned without them knowing, so they ignored the threat, assuming that even CONTEMPLATING the dark side was dangerous.

    Fact is, had they used their heads and done some investigation and worked some things out, they might've been able to unearth Sidious's plot earlier.

    So, I think Palpatine was actually just baiting Anakin, but, his speech turned out to have relevance and truth.
  23. MasterVodo Jedi Knight

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    Apr 9, 2005
    star 1
    Let's clear one thing up. Luke did not KILL the Gamorrean guards in JEDI. At least not that we see, and it is more logical to assume he just stopped them enough to let him pass. Therefore that is not an example of him using the dark side.

  24. JBRO_13 Jedi Knight

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    Jun 1, 2002
    star 3
  25. DarthSyphus Jedi Master

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    May 26, 2005
    star 1
    Remember that GL is influenced by Joseph Campbell. According to Campbell, the hero must make a journey through the underworld, and emerge again victorious, bestowing a great boon on humanity. The underworld is the Dark Side of the Force. The Jedi were too afraid to journey into the Dark Side, while Vader was lost in it and could not come back. It was Luke who was able to experience the Dark Side and still come back. This is symbolically shown in the Cave, and also when he is close to killing Vader. It is at that moment that Luke returns from the Dark Side, lets go of his anger about Vader, and sees how similar he has become to him, symbolically shown with their two hands. At that moment, Luke completes the hero's journey, emerging victorious from the Dark Side. The victory is not about killing the Emperor, or anyone else, it is about becoming master of oneself, inhabiting both the visible world and the underworld, without being held down by either of them.
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