Saga Star Wars Philosophy: Jedi and Sith

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

Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
  1. Kato Sai Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2014
    star 4
    @darklordoftech, I agree with your point of view. However, there are those who do not believe in absolutes such as good and evil or that one must triumph over the other. Such individuals can take from Sidious' words that he is good from his point of view and if you adopt that point of view then you see the Jedi as evil (like Anakin did at Mustafar, "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!" Sorry I couldn't help it, I quoted that line often during ROTS days). I think Lucas wants us to ultimately see The Emperor as evil, but if you take Yin and Yang and other eastern beliefs like Zoroastrianism into account (all of which Lucas was influenced by) then you can interpret Palpatine's words and point of view differently. To be clear, I am merely sharing as Obi-Wan says, "from a certain point of view."
    Last edited by Kato Sai, Jun 2, 2014
    Iron_lord likes this.
  2. Ananta Chetan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    Do you ever try to see it as a paradox... that within the Absolute Good, exist relative good and relative evil? This sort of perspective would mirror some of the mystic traditions of the East, and would also allow one to reconcile many the philosophical mysteries of the Saga, especially pertaining to the Force.
    EternalHero likes this.
  3. Kato Sai Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2014
    star 4
    @Ananta Chetan, you raise the point I have been trying to make. Thank you. :)
  4. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    For some that's not possible because to do that it would not be Absolute Good.

    I don't think Jedi are Good and Sith are Evil. I haven't for many years. I think the schism shouldn't have happened at all and the two should unify. They would balance one another out and the galaxy as a whole if they accepted differences and came to understand diversity in unison instead of opposites always in contention. For, me, the chief thing both Jedi and Sith get wrong is the handling of emotions. Emotions are not evil of themselves. It is an individual's motives and actions that can be good or evil, positive or negative.

    The other element almost completely missing that's needed is *mercy*. Both Orders are far too rigid and both are wrong.
  5. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    The Jedi don't see emotions as evil. Their issues is that uncontrolled emotions will result in one falling from grace. The problem was during the last war with the Sith, too many fell because of their attachments. Hence they raised new recruits from a young age to help them avoid developing such strong attachments. They can love people, but they shouldn't hate them. They can care for others, but not live in constant fear of their safety. And most important of all, accept that death comes to all people and thus you cannot control fate. The Sith see compassion as a weakness because the Force is fueled by anger and hatred, gives them focus and makes them stronger. After all, it was compassion that lead to Palpatine's demise.
  6. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    That's not what Sith do. They plot to take over the galaxy and they embrace the dark side. If they did not do this they would not be Sith. Similarly, if the Jedi refused to oppose such beings they would not truly be Jedi.
    Jedi Merkurian and Iron_lord like this.
  7. Kato Sai Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2014
    star 4
    @darth_Sinister, you are actually reciting the Jedi Code explained perfectly. "There is no emotion," means to not let emotion get in the way of the mission or to develop attachments that will draw you to the Dark Side.
    Last edited by Kato Sai, Jun 2, 2014
  8. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
  9. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    As far as I can tell, Yin/yang and Zoroastrianism actually have extremely different approaches. Yin/yang is very much the 'balance' between complimentary opposites. Zoroastrianism is almost the prototypical 'cosmic good vs. cosmic evil' model. Many of the later-arriving belief systems modeled their dualism on Zoroastrianism.In some ways it does seem similar to SW in that it at points seems to oppose 'harmony vs. disorder' but at other times opposes 'good and evil'... which don't necessarily map onto each other, I think.

    If SW (ROTS in particular) is supposed to make us feel like the Emperor could possibly be 'in the right,' or with 'good intentions,' I think it does a poor job. There is one line - 'a larger view of the Force' - that kinda works for that, but we don't know enough about the Force to really know what he's talking about, and anyway, everything else he does is either clearly or not-so-clearly devious and malicious. I think that Vader in ESB maybe could be believed when he reached out to Luke on the gantry. But I don't think, now, that his line lamenting 'this destructive conflict' is really meant to be his ultimate motivation. There is lip service to the 'certain point of view' as Anakin shouts on the lava river, but the audience, at least in my experience, doesn't really know what he's talking about and it can come off as psychosis instead of a considered position.

    Dooku is another example of when someone with good intentions could have been used as a foil to the 'heroes' without being assigned categorical evil. But that's also not really how it is depicted/described.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 3, 2014
    TOSCHESTATION and Iron_lord like this.
  10. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I just take that as a reference to the dark side.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  11. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    It is. Palpatine tells Anakin in the opera house that there are abilities with the Force that the Jedi would deem unnatural and that only a Sith Lord could teach these lessons, as the Jedi would never do so due to their beliefs.
    Jedi Merkurian and Iron_lord like this.
  12. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    Perhaps that was bad wording on my part. I guess my point was, are we really supposed to get the impression that Palpatine was actually interested in the Force as anything other than a tool for personal gain there? Is he himself espousing a personal balance between light and dark there? I don't think he is, because his character seems, again, to be pure maliciousness. We don't know how the light and dark sides work, exactly, but I doubt he was rooting just as much for the light as the dark, there. (I think that's what I meant by 'we don't know enough about how it works.')
    darklordoftech and TOSCHESTATION like this.
  13. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I don't think Palpatine was espousing this balance, either. I think he used this argument as a tool to manipulate Anakin even further. It's a pity that he failed to practice what he had preached at that moment.
  14. Master Raze Golladio Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Yes, Palpatine was absolutely using those concepts as tools to manipulate Anakin into following him. The entirety of the scenes between Anakin and Palpatine in RotS were a very clever way for him to steer Anakin gradually into considering some acts and thoughts that, under the leadership of the Jedi, he would not normally have considered.

    The scenes in the Mortis episodes of TCW with Anakin and The Father, The Daughter and The Son were interesting from a philosophical and religious perspective as well, because it introduced staples of our world's belief structures, like deities, trinities and duality. They were quite polarising in terms of the meanings of the light and dark sides of the Force, showing that the light side was very much peaceful, considerate and giving, whereas the dark side was far more anarchic, power-driven and selfish. The trouble I have with this is that any truly good story with any kind of depth to it really needs to have morally grey characters, by which I mean like those characters that can be created in AD&D under the overall alignment headings of Chaotic Good and Lawful Evil:

    These are the types of characters that really flesh out a story and give it more dimension than the average "good vs. evil" plot for most movies. The article mentions Boba Fett as a Lawful Evil type of character, but I think if you truly want to make a story good, you need to have core characters like that - people doing bad things, but for the right reasons - and I think if you stop and think about it enough, you'll see that most of the characters in the Saga are like that. Luke and Han both participate in the murder of thousands of people aboard the Death Star in order to save millions of lives across the galaxy. And in the same vein, Anakin brutally slaughters Dooku in order to try and end the Clone War.

    But in terms of core Jedi vs. Sith philosophy, I think what it really boils down to is personal gain. The Jedi ideal (to whatever degree it is upheld) is to be completely altruistic and of a "service to others" mindset, without emotional involvement, since passion and attachment lead to vulnerability and corruption. The Sith ideal, on the other hand, is a selfish need to demonstrate and maintain power and superiority over others by means of caring too much about things to a point where they defend them with terminal intensity (as I believe the military like to phrase it). The trouble is, we're not machines, so we're all prone to corruption and aspiration, so neither path is truly, completely and purely achievable.
  15. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    It should be noted that it is possible to have much "viler" LE characters - D&D devils are LE.

    Conversely, an anarchistic CE character could be opposed to tyranny "for the right reasons" but crossing the line into "evil acts" in their fight.

    Still - the basic idea, that not all Evil characters have to be especially cruel and selfish, is a good one.
    Jedi Merkurian and Lord_Anzeroth like this.
  16. Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2014
    star 1
    For some reason reading this reminds me of reading of Mace Windu and his view on the Vaapad version of Lightsaber Form VII. He states that a Jedi gives himself/herself over to the thrill of battle and accepts an opponent's fury. He stated that fighting style was one that is on the penumbra of the Dark Side, mentioning one apprentice of his had fallen prey to the dark side via Vaapad.
  17. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2004
    star 4
    After many years and many discussions (here and elsewhere) I've come to the conclusion that the Jedi and Sith philosophies are essentially defined by their polar opposite views on one thing - control. The Jedi believe that some things are uncontrollable and so we must be prepared to let go of our attachments to these things. The Sith see that as a failure to fully utilise the Force, and that if one can control something, one need not fear it. Logically, if one can control everything, one need fear nothing. Pretty much everything else that the respective groups espouse flows from this essential difference, IMHO.
  18. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    And thus the core philosophical differences is finally laid bare.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  19. Kato Sai Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2014
    star 4
    Very profound MOC Yak Face. I shall ruminate on that for a while.
  20. Drewdude91 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2011
    star 2
    Jedi: Attachment is bad because it can lead to selfishness, being manipulated, fear of loss, etc.

    Sith: Attachment is bad because love and happiness are weaknesses.
  21. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Some Sith, at least, note the issue with Attachment, without overtly despising happiness:

    "Want everything you wish, hunger, burn for it, if that fuels you. But never love anyone or anything so much that you cannot bear to lose it."
    (Lady Rhea, Lost Tribe of the Sith)
    MOC Yak Face and Jedi Merkurian like this.
  22. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    This is in keeping with Lord Sidious' assertion that the Sith and the Jedi have many similarities, seeking different means to the same end. One quote attributed to him by way of the EU (I think) is

    "The Jedi seek understanding to gain power. The Sith seek power to gain understanding. "
    MOC Yak Face likes this.
  23. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6

    It comes from the RoTS novel:

    "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 threat 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."
  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    It's also in Dark Lord:

    "Do you recall what I told you about the relationship between power and understanding, Lord Vader?"

    "Yes, Master. Where the Jedi gained power through understanding, the Sith gain understanding through power."
    Jedi Merkurian and Iron_lord like this.
  25. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Luceno's very good when it comes to continuity nods.
Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn