Saga The Force, Dark Side, The Light, and "The Light Side"

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by George_W_Boushh, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. George_W_Boushh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2001
    star 1
    I am not sure where to post this, but I think that it would be interesting to have this discussion from a "Classic Trilogy" perspective in this forum.

    Background for my post (You may skip this if you want to read less text): I have been a Star Wars fan since I was first introduced to them in my childhood during the early 1990s. Much like all of you, I have seen the original trilogy films hundreds of times, and I have seen the prequel films at least 50 times each. I have already seen Rogue One over ten times, and I have seen The Force Awakens at least ten times as well. I have also read the Darth Vader comic book series, Leia comic book series, and the new Star Wars comic book series. To add to the list, I have seen everything pertaining to the Clone Wars cartoons and the Star Wars Rebels cartoon. While I am probably not win many Jeopardy rounds or Trivial Pursuit games with many of you, I do respect your knowledge of the Star Wars universe, which I why I am here.

    Ever since watching the original trilogy, I was always under the impression that force users can fall within two aspects of the mystical force – The Light (referred to “The Force”) and the “Darkside of the Force”. However, I keep seeing Star Wars fans tossing around the concept of “The Light Side of the Force” even though that terminology has never been used.

    To believe in “light side of the force”, then would “balancing the force” not be a reality in which the “dark side” and the “light side” effectively cancel each other out? How can just a “light side” bring “balance” to the force? No. No. Even with the addition of the prequel trilogy, sequel trilogy, and the anthology works (the films and television shows), I have always interpreted (and still interpret) the “balance of the force” as being “The Force” in the existence that is absent of “The Darkside”. Sure, there is reference to “the light” in The Force Awakens and in the original trilogy films, but why do all of the character seemingly go out of their way not to use “The light side of the force” when describing the “good and bad” associated with “The Force”? One could argue that “the light” implicitly refers to a “light side”, but I have yet to hear that term explicitly mentioned whenever there are hundreds of cases throughout the entire Star Wars canon of “the darkside” being mentioned. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi in “A New Hope” and Yoda explicitly discuss “The Force” with Luke as being an all-powerful mystical field that just so happens to have a “dark side”.

    My theory is that games such as “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” that have allowed players to choose “light side” and “dark side” actions within the game have, unfortunately, given Star Wars fans an incorrect understanding of “The Force” and the concept of “The Light Side” and “The Dark Side”. Over time, this incorrect understanding of the force has become “head canon” in much the same way that people still continue to play the Monopoly Board Game with incorrect rules pertaining to the free parking spot; what was once wrong has grown to be accepted and even correct over time even when evidence suggests otherwise.

    So, here is my challenge. If this challenge can be met, I will immediately lock this thread (do we still do that around here), admit my misunderstanding of “The Force”, accept “The Light Side” and then move on to bigger and better things within my own life.

    All I ask from you is just ONE quote or reference to a "light side". You can argue that it is implicit, but why does every single property of Star Wars continue to avoid "light side" language when they explicitly refer to the "dark side" times. All I want is the following - using the eight films, the animated film, Clone Wars Cartoon, Rebels Cartoon, or ANY of the Disney Star Wars comic books/novels, find a reference that mentions "the light side". Out of all of those forms of media, why has there not been a SINGLE mention of "the light side" when ALL of those properties mention "the dark side" in an explicit and consistent basis. That is all I ask. You have every single bit of the canon at your disposal. Just please, for the love of God, find a single reference to such a thing called "The Light Side". You can keep saying that it is implicitly mentioned, but I find it curious that if it exists in the way of a "side" that not a single form of media has referred to it as "the light side". That is all I ask. I will admit defeat and my misinterpretation of the entire concept of the Force if you can just find anything to suggest a "light side". Until then, it makes more sense to refer to the "force" and the dark side of the force.

    I understand that the following links can be used to make the argument against me, but I refuse to allow “Press Junkets” to make “The Light Side” canon or details of a running marathon.

    http://mashable.com/2015/12/08/star-wars-calendar-8/#Ns_oxa33FEqj

    https://www.rundisney.com/star-wars-half-marathon/
    Lt. Hija likes this.
  2. George_W_Boushh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2001
    star 1
    I am not sure where to post this, but I think that it would be interesting to have this discussion from a "Saga (Entire)" perspective in this forum.

    Background for my post (You may skip this if you want to read less text): I have been a Star Wars fan since I was first introduced to them in my childhood during the early 1990s. Much like all of you, I have seen the original trilogy films hundreds of times, and I have seen the prequel films at least 50 times each. I have already seen Rogue One over ten times, and I have seen The Force Awakens at least ten times as well. I have also read the Darth Vader comic book series, Leia comic book series, and the new Star Wars comic book series. To add to the list, I have seen everything pertaining to the Clone Wars cartoons and the Star Wars Rebels cartoon. While I am probably not win many Jeopardy rounds or Trivial Pursuit games with many of you, I do respect your knowledge of the Star Wars universe, which I why I am here.

    Ever since watching the original trilogy, I was always under the impression that force users can fall within two aspects of the mystical force – The Light (referred to “The Force”) and the “Darkside of the Force”. However, I keep seeing Star Wars fans tossing around the concept of “The Light Side of the Force” even though that terminology has never been used.

    To believe in “light side of the force”, then would “balancing the force” not be a reality in which the “dark side” and the “light side” effectively cancel each other out? How can just a “light side” bring “balance” to the force? No. No. Even with the addition of the prequel trilogy, sequel trilogy, and the anthology works (the films and television shows), I have always interpreted (and still interpret) the “balance of the force” as being “The Force” in the existence that is absent of “The Darkside”. Sure, there is reference to “the light” in The Force Awakens and in the original trilogy films, but why do all of the character seemingly go out of their way not to use “The light side of the force” when describing the “good and bad” associated with “The Force”? One could argue that “the light” implicitly refers to a “light side”, but I have yet to hear that term explicitly mentioned whenever there are hundreds of cases throughout the entire Star Wars canon of “the darkside” being mentioned. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi in “A New Hope” and Yoda explicitly discuss “The Force” with Luke as being an all-powerful mystical field that just so happens to have a “dark side”.

    My theory is that games such as “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” that have allowed players to choose “light side” and “dark side” actions within the game have, unfortunately, given Star Wars fans an incorrect understanding of “The Force” and the concept of “The Light Side” and “The Dark Side”. Over time, this incorrect understanding of the force has become “head canon” in much the same way that people still continue to play the Monopoly Board Game with incorrect rules pertaining to the free parking spot; what was once wrong has grown to be accepted and even correct over time even when evidence suggests otherwise.

    So, here is my challenge. If this challenge can be met, I will immediately lock this thread (do we still do that around here), admit my misunderstanding of “The Force”, accept “The Light Side” and then move on to bigger and better things within my own life.

    All I ask from you is just ONE quote or reference to a "light side". You can argue that it is implicit, but why does every single property of Star Wars continue to avoid "light side" language when they explicitly refer to the "dark side" times. All I want is the following - using the eight films, the animated film, Clone Wars Cartoon, Rebels Cartoon, or ANY of the Disney Star Wars comic books/novels, find a reference that mentions "the light side". Out of all of those forms of media, why has there not been a SINGLE mention of "the light side" when ALL of those properties mention "the dark side" in an explicit and consistent basis. That is all I ask. You have every single bit of the canon at your disposal. Just please, for the love of God, find a single reference to such a thing called "The Light Side". You can keep saying that it is implicitly mentioned, but I find it curious that if it exists in the way of a "side" that not a single form of media has referred to it as "the light side". That is all I ask. I will admit defeat and my misinterpretation of the entire concept of the Force if you can just find anything to suggest a "light side". Until then, it makes more sense to refer to the "force" and the dark side of the force.

    I understand that the following links can be used to make the argument against me, but I refuse to allow “Press Junkets” to make “The Light Side” canon or details of a running marathon.

    http://mashable.com/2015/12/08/star-wars-calendar-8/#Ns_oxa33FEqj

    https://www.rundisney.com/star-wars-half-marathon/
  3. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    Very good post and question, it had been discussed repeatedly but I find myself unable to indicate all the relevant posts and discussions from the past.
    Nevertheless, I'm currently reading The Power of Myth transcript from the TV series featuring the interviews with Joseph Campbell (Lucas' "Yoda") and Bill Moyers, conducted at Skywalker Ranch.

    According to Campbell's observations the "dark side" or animalistic nature are within each and everyone of us. So it's not something you can actually get rid of exept to acknowledge that it's there and deal with it.

    Or in other words: It's technically impossible to move to a "light side" or 'change sides'.
    At best you can achieve some sort of balance, i.e. grow beyond the "dark side" and keep it in check, become an "illuminated being" rather than just "crude matter" (Yoda).
    Last edited by Lt. Hija, Oct 11, 2017
  4. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    Very good post and question, it had been discussed repeatedly but I find myself unable to indicate all the relevant posts and discussions from the past.
    Nevertheless, I'm currently reading The Power of Myth transcript from the TV series featuring the interviews with Joseph Campbell (Lucas' "Yoda") and Bill Moyers, conducted at Skywalker Ranch.

    According to Campbell's observations the "dark side" or animalistic nature are within each and everyone of us. So it's not something you can actually get rid of exept to acknowledge that it's there and deal with it.

    Or in other words: It's technically impossible to move to a "light side" or 'change sides'.
    At best you can achieve some sort of balance, i.e. grow beyond the "dark side" and keep it in check, become an "illuminated being" rather than just "crude matter" (Yoda).

    P.S. I think "Saga" serves this thread best as it's currently in the Classic Trilogy section, too.
  5. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    I was watching Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam war last night and one of the talking heads on it (sorry to say I've already forgotten who said it) talks about this. He said that the US's tendency to objectify that side of human psychology externally of itself as an institution and a society (rather than recognise it with self awareness) is what leads it to justify fighting in wars it probably shouldn't.
    Kev-Mas_Colcha likes this.
  6. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    In the films, no. But the term 'good side' has been used.

    It means both sides are in balance. The Force was brought out of balance when the Sith used the dark side in such a way that it took over the light side.

    What is the dark side? Anger, fear, agression, greed, etc... The "light side" is the opposite. The light side doesn't 'seek' domination. The dark side does. Balance is basically keeping the dark side in its place. Not give into it.

    But that's not and never was balance. The dark side is part of the Force. The dark side doesn't cease to exist when the Force is in balance. It's there, as it should be. But it's not being exploited.

    Because that's what it is. To say that there is a dark side implies the existence of a 'light' side. But to the Jedi, the light side is the way to follow and focus on. As such there's no need to name it explicitly. The Force strives naturally for balance. The Jedi follow the ways and will of the Force. That means not give into/use the dark side. All that remains is the good side.

    Note that we are dealing with Jedi protagonists. And the dark side of the Force is always referred to when speaking to one of their own. Either to alert or goad. They don't have to worry about the 'light side'.

    Games and other works definitely have misrepresented the mythological and spiritual aspects for their own purposes (gameplay, entertainment). But the people should be aware of that intention. Sadly they don't.
  7. Pacified_llama Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2017
    star 2
    Indeed - "the light side" is an abstraction - a reductive explanation to show the counterpoint to the Dark.
    The light side in reality is the Force. Whereas the Dark Side, by contrast, is an attempt to move away from harmony ('balance') with it - to attempt to bend it to one's own ends.

    The difficulty has always been the idea of 'feeling the Force around you' - because if the Dark Side is a move away from the Force's will, how is it that dark-siders are able to harness its power, albeit in corrupted, dark-sided forms?
  8. PadawanGussin Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 6, 2017
    star 1
    The only time I can find the word "light" being applied to the Force is when Maz speaks with Rey after her Force vision.

    "the light that has always been there"

    Its not very clear though if Maz is refereeing to Reys overall connection to the Force or the specific path that Rey is on.
  9. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    As a Legends partisan and Vergere partisan my interpretation is that the force has four surface aspects-light, dark, unifying, and living. The light and the dark are within the force reflected by what is in the heart of sentient beings and this reflection is made permanent in itself by the permanence of sentient life.
    Kev-Mas_Colcha likes this.
  10. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    The first analogy that came to my mind was fire. You can use it to bring light to the dark and keep yourself warm - but you can also use it to burn somebody or something.
  11. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    There's a living and cosmic aspect to the Force, yes. No unifying.
  12. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/the-force-dark-side-the-light-and-the-light-side.50046656/

    Here is the first time from ESB:

    LUKE But how am I to know the good side from the bad?

    And the other one from ROJ:

    LUKE Because...there is good in him. I've felt it. He won't turn me over to
    the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I
    have to try.

    However, please bear in mind that all Yoda ever replied to Luke in ESB was this:

    YODA You will know. When you are calm,
    at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses
    the Force for knowledge and
    defense, never for attack.

    There is no confirmation whether there really is a good or a bad side from an authority on the subject, Yoda merely tells him that Luke will eventually "know" which could imply that Luke will eventually find out that there isn't really a good or bad side.
    Last edited by Lt. Hija, Oct 12, 2017
  13. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    I think it's pretty clear that Luke is asking how will he know the good side from the bad (since Yoda is instructing him on that very issue), not wether or not they exist. The dark side is bad and one shouldn't fall into it, the light side (which is all that remains) is good and he should follow it.
  14. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    I'm unable to draw the same conclusion from the actual dialogue, it could just as well be that there is a middle way with tempation diverting from it and leading to the dark side:

    YODA Run! Yes. A Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger... fear... aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice. LUKE Vader. Is the dark side stronger? YODA No... no... no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

    There is not one single clue suggesting a "light" or "bright" side. For all we know the original context could have been that the middle or "balanced" way is "good" enough to qualify as the good "side".
  15. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Yoda is basically telling him 'avoid the dark side, it's easy to fall'. And Luke's basically asking: 'how will I know how to?' There's no middle between light and dark. By avoiding one, you're left with the other. The good/light side. Compassion, harmony, altruism. The Jedi way.
    theraphos likes this.
  16. CLee Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2017
    star 1
    Luke did refer to and contrast the Dark Side with "the good side"; Light Side seems a reasonable synonym. But the filmmakers probably avoided using the term Light Side (and using Good Side too often) because it suggests that they are equivalently large sides or factions of the whole when it's a nicer idea that the Dark Side is just a smaller though admittedly strong segment. The term may also, even unintentionally, suggest some moral equivalency; the Jedi don't specifically mention being on the Light Side because they're supposed to be thought of as fighting for good, for everyone, rather than just one side against another.

    The OT didn't emphasize there being balance to the Force, not as a concept and certainly not the goal; instead it emphasized that you should and needed to stay firmly on the Light and fight and defeat the Dark.

    Why is it bothersome to use the term light side of the Force? The Jedi simultaneously claim to revere and serve the Force but simultaneously acknowledge that parts of it can be misused and have corrupting and destructive effects, they even are in conflict with and eschew one side so it seems fair to acknowledge that they really are on another side.
    Last edited by CLee, Oct 12, 2017
  17. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    @CLee wrote

    The OT didn't emphasize there being balance to the Force, not as a concept and certainly not the goal; instead it emphasized that you should and needed to stay firmly on the Light and fight and defeat the Dark.

    That's not possible, you can't defeat the "Dark". It's part of human nature and our animalistic tendencies are within every single one of us. You can keep it in check, at best, but you can't get rid of it.

    Why is it bothersome to use the term light side of the Force? The Jedi simultaneously claim to revere and serve the Force but simultaneously acknowledge that parts of it can be misused and have corrupting and destructive effects, they even are in conflict with and eschew one side so it seems fair to acknowledge that they really are on another side.

    Because it's unattainable for most mortals, IMHO. In contrast you have the dark side, in Yoda's words "Quicker, easier, more seductive". It's easier to destroy than to build, you get instantaneous results ("instant gratification") instead of waiting for a long time or even your life, it's more seductive to mob somebody than to help defend a person etc., etc.

    To be truly on the light side would almost require supernatural or extraordinary spiritual powers, e.g. the Buddha or Jesus Christ. In ESB Luke is so far from that kind of spiritual level, that Yoda's essential first lessons are designed to prevent him from slipping onto the path of the Dark Side, but "good side" doesn't automatically indicate that he's walking on the "light" or "bright" side already.
  18. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    "Luminous beings are we...." :-B
  19. Lt. Hija Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2015
    star 4
    I think the key word or correct "luminous" interpretation is "enlighted" by the light, but not being the source of that light (i.e. "self-luminous"). ;)
    Last edited by Lt. Hija, Oct 13, 2017
  20. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    No it's referring to the difference between energy (the force being often referred to as an energy field) and matter in the context in which it is being used. "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. (pinches Luke's flesh)". In an effort to get the pupil to discard their preconceptions about physical properties.

    Saying that we are enlightened people as opposed to physical matter makes no sense.
    Last edited by Martoto77, Oct 13, 2017
  21. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    I don't think the "light side" is ever mentioned in the OT. Originally there was only "the Force" and it's dark side. This makes it plainly obvious that the dark side is a perversion of the Force, twisting it away from what it should be.
    Pacified_llama likes this.
  22. Harbour Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2015
    star 2
    Well, they just pulled some twitter stuff on that matter.
    https://twitter.com/starwars/status/919178480834826240

    And used the Light Side term. Im confused. I totally disagree with them about "Light and Dark Side should balance each other" because that means that there should always be an evil element for Force to be balanced. Everything Jedi including Qui Gon and Yoda said implies that Force comes to balance when there is no place for negative emotions, only serenity, peace and quiet. Dark Side brings chaos, intensity and destruction. Since the source of the Force are living forms, then their destruction only damaging the Force, as well as Dark Side usually damages wielder's body, spirit and mind.
  23. Harbour Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2015
    star 2
  24. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6

    Perhaps....but in the end, Luke eventually saves the day by NOT using the Force.....or, more specifically, neither side of the Force. And it's arguable that Vader didn't use the Force when he lifted and threw Palpatine as well (especially since that would be using the Force "for attack".)

    LUCAS: It will be about how young Anakin Skywalker became evil and then was redeemed
    by his son. But it's also about the transformation of how his son came to find the call and
    then ultimately realize what it was. Because Luke works intuitively through most of the
    original trilogy until he gets to the very end. And it's only in the last act--when he throws
    his sword down and says, "I'm not going to fight this"--that he makes a more conscious,
    rational decision. And he does it at the risk of his life because the Emperor is going to kill
    him. It's only that way that he is able to redeem his father. It's not as apparent in the earlier
    movies, but when you see the next trilogy, then you see the issue is, How do we get Darth
    Vader back? How do we get him back to that little boy that he was in the first movie, that
    good person who loved and was generous and kind? Who had a good heart.
    Last edited by MeBeJedi, Oct 15, 2017
  25. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    How is compassion and selflessness not part of the 'good/light' side of the Force?