Saga Star Wars Philosophy: Jedi and Sith

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Twi'lekPrince, Mar 24, 2013.

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  1. Twi'lekPrince Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    There are so many intricate and expansive stories in Star Wars. I always wondered about a few of those tales and what they mean. I was thinking, when George Lucas was creating the Jedi and the Sith, was he representing something in reality, or was he just going along with the story? If the Jedi and Sith do represent something... What is it?
  2. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    The Jedi represent good and justice. The Sith represent chaos and evil.
  3. Twi'lekPrince Jedi Padawan

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    Mar 24, 2013
    I agree, but do you think it represents anything else, like government, or religion or something?
  4. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I think there have been some theories that Jedi doctrine, at least, was heavily based on Buddhism, what with the "defence, not attack" and "no attachment".

    The Sith- maybe various selfish philosophies are a basis.

    The Jedi Purge has also occasionally been compared to the purge of the Knights Templar.

    Though the "Sith in hiding" might actually be reminiscent of various conspiracy theories- of what the survivors of the Knights Templar did after they were purged.

    Ultimately, we can't know for certain unless Lucas publishes his design notes.
  5. ezekiel22x Chosen One

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    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    I think it was actually somewhere in the novels I heard my favorite summation of the dynamic--Jedi believe in self sacrifice and Sith choose whatever path best leads to self survival. Of course Anakin's fall isn't strictly reduced to self survival in the physical sense given Padme's role in bringing it on, but I think the self survival idea still applies nicely to Anakin's tragically warped internal recognition of his truth of self. Anakin can't find a way to live without Padme, so he shrouds himself in the form of Darth Vader and wills himself to survive in the physical sense. Until another Jedi finally comes along who can teach Anakin Skywalker the path of self sacrifice.
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  6. bstnsx704 Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
    star 3
    I haven't read any of the novels, but Anakin shared essentially the same belief in Revenge of the Sith. The conversation segued into Palpatine's recounting of 'The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise':

    Supreme Chancellor: Remember back to your early teachings. "All who gain power are afraid to lose it." Even the Jedi.
    Anakin Skywalker: The Jedi use their power for good.
    Supreme Chancellor: Good is a point of view, Anakin. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power.
    Anakin Skywalker: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inward, only about themselves.
    Supreme Chancellor: And the Jedi don't?
    Anakin Skywalker: The Jedi are selfless... they only care about others.
    Last edited by bstnsx704, Mar 25, 2013
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  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    It's interesting to see the novelization version of the same scene:

    "Do you remember," Palpatine said, drawing away from Anakin so that he could lean back in his seat, "how as a young boy, when you first came to this planet, I tried to teach you the ins and outs of politics?"
    Anakin smiled faintly. "I remember that I didn't care much for the lessons."
    "For any lessons, as I recall. But it's a pity; you should have paid more attention. To understand politics is to understand the fundamental nature of thinking beings. Right now, you should renember one of my first teachings. All those who gain power are afraid to lose it."
    "The Jedi use their power for good," Anakin said, a little too firmly.
    "Good is a point of view, Anakin. And the Jedi concept of good is not the only valid one. Take your Dark Lords of the Sith, for example. From my reading, I have gathered that the Sith believed in justice and security every bit as much as the Jedi-"
    "Jedi believe in justice and peace."
    "In these troubled times, is there a difference?" Palpatine asked mildly. "The Jedi have not done a stellar job of bringing peace to the galaxy, you must agree. Who's to say the Sith might not have done better?"
    "This is another of those arguments you probably shouldn't bring up in front of the Council, if you know what I mean," Anakin replied with a disbelieving smile.
    "Oh, yes. Because the Sith would be a treat to the Jedi Order's power. Lesson one."
    Anakin shook his head. "Because the Sith are evil."
    "From a Jedi's point of view," Palpatine allowed. "Evil is a label we all put on those who threaten us, isn't it? Yet the Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power.""
    "The Jedi's quest is for greater understanding," Anakin countered. "For greater knowledge of the Force-"
    "Which brings with it greater power, does it not?"
    "Well ... yes." Anakin had to laugh. "I should know better than to argue with a politician."
    "We're not arguing, Anakin. We're just talking." Palpatine shifted his weight, settling in comfortably. "Perhaps the real difference between the Jedi and the Sith is only in their orientation; a Jedi gains power through understanding, and a Sith gains understanding through power. This is the true reason the Sith have always been more powerful than the Jedi. The Jedi fear the dark side so much they cut themselves off from the most important aspect of life: passion. Of any kind. They don't even allow themselves to love."
    Except for me, Anakin thought. But then, I've never been exactly the perfect Jedi.
    "The Sith do not fear the dark side. The Sith have no fear. They embrace the whole spectrum of experience, from the heights of transcendent joy to the depths of hatred and despair. Beings have these emotions for a reason, Anakin. That is why the Sith are more powerful: they are not afraid to feel."
    "The Sith rely on passion for strength," Anakin said, "but when that passion runs dry, what's left?"
    "Perhaps nothing. Perhaps a great deal. Perhaps it never runs dry at all. Who can say?"
    "They think inward, only about themselves."
    "And the Jedi don't?"
    "The Jedi are selfless- we erase the self, to join with the flow of the Force. We care only about others ..."
    Palpatine again gave him that smile of gentle wisdom. "Or so you've been trained to believe. I hear the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in your answers, Anakin. What do you really think?"
    Anakin suddenly found the ballet a great deal more interesting than Palpatine's face. "I ... don't know any more."
    "It is said that if one could every entirely comprehend a grain of sand- really, truly understand everything about it- one would, at the same time, entirely comprehend the universe. Who's to say that a Sith, by looking inward, sees less than a Jedi does by looking out?"
    "The Jedi- the Jedi are good. That's the difference. I don't care who sees what."
    "What the Jedi are," Palpatine said gently, "is a group of very powerful beings you consider to be your comrades. And you are loyal to your friends; I have known that for as long as I have known you, and I admire you for it. But are your friends loyal to you?"
    Anakin shot him a sudden frown. "What do you mean?"
    "Would a true friend ask you to do something that's wrong?"
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Mar 25, 2013
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  8. Grigsy Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Such things like good and evil are for the simple minded. Darth Caedus fell to the dark side because he thought of the sith in such a way. In my mind Jedi and Sith are institutions that developed from the same group of people. At the beginning a select few had force awareness. As more and more people began to use and study it there became a sincere disagreement. Those who see the force a great tool that exists to serve life (whether or not it was the creator/sustainer of life is another question)- who ended up using using the force in such a way that it became to be known as the "dark side". Those who studied and used it in a more passive manner- the original manner- became institutionalized as the Jedi.

    Many times there have been reckless, stupid, and selfish Jedi Knights who while wern't "evil" or Sith, have caused more problems than many Sith or Dark Siders. Because of the Sith's commitment to order and power, many have gone all palpatine and crazy, some have been sloppy and ruthless, some just stupid. But the Jedi's commitment to peace, rationality, and democracy even were its own downfall.

    Neither group is perfect, though in the films its normal that we sympathasize with Skywalker over Vader, but the Jedi order put in practices (celibacy, government control, etc.) that drove SKywalker evil fundamentally. In the Clone Wars they were willing to in theory let the government use capital punishment against Ashoka. They put their duty over their convictions.

    If I may steal an analogy from another series, Think of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (actually think of the spin-off series Angel). Even when he had a soul, he made many bad choices that had horrible consequences. Just because Someone is a sith, that doesn't mean he can't help the innocent and just because someone is a Jedi that doesn't mean they will do the right thing. The force (or light side) and dark side and different only in perspective, what someone does with that power and why they choose one side or another (or didn't) tells much more about them as a person. I would trust a well balanced and practical Sith who cares about order over an obsessed Jedi who has some idealistic anarchistic notion of freedom.
  9. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I'll expand it from Jedi and Sith to Light and Dark, because I think there could be multiple organizations, or non-aligned people who affiliate themselves with either. The light side focuses on means, the dark side on ends. The light sided resolution to a problem will involve (more often than not) going along to get along, trying to find the least-brute force method. The dark sided approach will involve using whatever means are necessary, including and especially direct Force power (like lightning).
  10. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    Really? So, there is nothing evil about killing younglings? Equally, there is nothing good in defending the defenceless against the greed and aggression of the powerful?


    Well..... this could open a whole can of worms. I'll re-phrase what you said. George Lucas put in practices, such as celibacy, and other dogmas not apparent from the OT, after he decided to make the saga about the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, and in order to give an easier path to that choice. By which I mean, he almost bends over to allow Anakin to be 'excused' his choices. Equally, in terms of celibacy, Anakin was not prohibited from marrying Padmé. He simply could not do so and remain in the Jedi. Instead of making that choice he wanted it all and so lived a lie. He did that quite a lot, or at least 'forgot' to mention some rather important events (his slaughter of the sandpeople, his execution in cold blood of Dooku).

    In another way, though you here decry the celibacy aspect of the Jedi code, it is his marriage (and the attachment that it represents) that leads to Anakin's fall. As for government control? They weren't controlled by the government (and Palpatine's attempts to gain control are an aspect of ROTS). Instead they serve the Republic.

    I don't agree. The dark side is an imbalance of the Force, brought about by the actions of the Sith to bend it to their will. As to your last point......how nice that you are able to offer such an opinion. Freedom, eh? Idealistic and anarchistic? What is a "well balanced... Sith"?

    You started your post by stating how such things as good or evil are for the simple minded, and end here with a juxtaposition of 'practical, balanced order' and "idealistic, anarchistic freedom'.

    Mod edit: Enough with this sneering antagonism. Films, not fans, remember?
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Mar 26, 2013
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  11. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    There's actually a Star Wars and Philosophy book which goes into quite a bit of detail on Jedi, Sith, and various other things.
  12. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    I'm sorry WHAT?!?!? The Sith do NOT "serve" life!! They only use the force to serve themselves! Its the Jedi who live to serve life.
  13. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I think he meant that the Sith see the Force as being there to serve life, i.e. themselves, rather than the other way around. It's a tool for their own purposes, not something they need to worship or necessarily even respect.
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  14. Twi'lekPrince Jedi Padawan

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    Mar 24, 2013
    Yes, I agree. The most infamous Sith lords served themselves to gain power. A large amount of the Sith do this feeding off of power thing. Take Darth Vader for example, he was hungry for power, and once he got it... he wanted more.
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  15. Darth Vader's Chest Plate Jedi Master

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    Mar 18, 2013
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    Did he? Why did he not try to topple the Emporer then? In ESB he suggests it to Luke, but it always felt more like a line to seduce Luke rather than a genine lust to overthrow the Emporer.
  16. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    In The RotJ novelization, Vader's desire to overthrow the Emperor is shown very strongly. The only thing he needs the Emperor for is to guarantee that Luke is turned- once that's happened, his plan will go into motion.
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  17. Darth Vader's Chest Plate Jedi Master

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    Mar 18, 2013
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    But it took him over 20 years to get to that point. A point, may i add , that he didn't know would come as he was ignorant of Luke's existance until near the end of that period.

    For me Vader never had designs on the top job as he couldn't deal with pressure, he ruled through fear with rash decisions, much in the same way that as Anakin he slaughtered SandPeople and was a maverick. To lead an empire he would need to be calculated in his stratagies, something which is never shown in the films. He's still the frightened little boy we see in TPM who has a lot of emotional issues unresolved which only escalate as more happens to him.
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  18. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    In the EU we see lots of "Vader students"- Hethrir, Lumiya, Flint, Starkiller, etc. Vader had a Plan- it's just none of his candidates really seemed up to it till Luke came along.

    Of course, that's the EU. Still, the RoTJ novelization does support the notion that "Vader wants the top job".

    So does RoTS "Together we can overthrow him, and rule the galaxy. Make things the way we want them to be."

    That doesn't mean he has the skills to do so- but there's plenty of evidence that he has the desire to.
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  19. Darth Vader's Chest Plate Jedi Master

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    Mar 18, 2013
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    Fair point. Although I do believe that the Opera scene in RotS in which, as Anakin he alludes about not understanding/having an interest in politics may have been put in to show that he doesn't have the ability to conspire and stratagize and he is essentially a flat track bully against those with less focre ability then him.
  20. bstnsx704 Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
    star 3
    ANAKIN: We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problems, agree what's in the best interests of all the people, and then do it.
    PADME: That is exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don't always agree. In fact, they hardly ever do.
    ANAKIN: Then they should be made to.
    PADME: By whom? Who's going to make them?
    ANAKIN: I don't know. Someone.
    PADME: You?
    ANAKIN: Of course not me.
    PADME: But someone.
    ANAKIN: Someone wise.
    PADME: That sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.
    ANAKIN: Well, if it works...

    Now there's some chilling pre-Vader Vader right there. Even if, by the end of the conversation, it trailed off into joking and flirting with Padme, this mentality had been subconsciously creeping around in Anakin's mind for probably as long as he has know Palpatine.
  21. Darth Vader's Chest Plate Jedi Master

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    That's just it, he want's what's in the best interest of all the people, but he want's them to agree to a solution. Showing he doesn't just want destruction but harmony, but it also shows his mis-understanding of politics, which probably comes from being a slave and knowing no other way than direct instruction.
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  22. darklordoftech Force Ghost

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    Sep 30, 2012
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    10 years isn't long enough to learn about democracy?
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  23. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    10 years in the Jedi Order, rather than the 'real world' though...
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  24. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    Jan 30, 2013
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    The point isn't so much that he hasn't learned, but that in his heart he doesn't believe in it. It was something that should have been explored much deeper. It deserved more than a throwaway line.

    He believes in the "give me someone who makes the trains run on time" line of thought.
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Mar 26, 2013
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  25. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Jul 2, 2004
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    Wrong. The Sith did not create the dark side, which is a fundamental part of the Force in its natural state according to Lucas. The Force is two-sided ( Lucas version ), not one-sided ( dark side denier version ). The balance is between the light and dark sides of the Force, and so it makes no sense to say that the dark side is itself an imbalance. Balance requires both light and dark, according to Lucas and a certain Force Wielder, which is a result consistent with the meaning of the word balance, unlike the concept that balance somehow means all of one thing and none of the other ( also known as the exact opposite of balance ).
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Mar 28, 2013
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