Lit Why does the Force favor the Light Side over the Dark Side so much?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Matthew78, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    The Force is not so much Yin And Yang where you need some sort of equal measure of both.

    "Balance" is the key word and I can make a silly everyday occurance to illustrate.

    You are walking down the street, everything is peaceful and easy. The someone trips you and you break your face. That's the Darkside at work. Balance is not equal meaures of both, it is a matter of non-conflict that is upset when someone or something tries to take it from you.
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  2. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    What were they supposed to have done?

    Lucas has described the Force using the terms yin and yang, and the yin-yang symbol appears in the clouds in AOTC.

    The word balance has an intrinsic meaning that cannot be entirely done away with. A situation which is all positives and no negatives, such as the complete absence of the dark side, cannot reasonably be called "balanced". Balance does not mean negatives are eliminated. It means you accept that you have to take some bad along with the good.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Jun 14, 2013
  3. rumsmuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2000
    star 7
    no, that happened because of the Sith..
  4. Ulicus Lit'ari

    Manager
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    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    I don't know about that. A "balanced diet" doesn't mean half your diet is healthy, and the other half is unhealthy. Though I suppose even a balanced diet allows for the occasional junk binge. :p

    Anyhoo, if we're going to accept that the dark side is literally the "yin" of the Force -- and it's hard to argue against, in light (hur hur) of Mortis -- then I don't see why it would be "bad" in its proper cosmological context.

    I mean, really, the Dark Empire Sourcebook already gave us all the answers, years ago:

    "The Dark Side (sic) is a part of nature -- it is not inherently evil, but evil comes from its irrationality, its intolerance and its lack of control."

    ...

    Actually, let's just get a full extract.

    I've bolded the parts I like the most. ;)

    ALL HAIL WEG.
    Last edited by Ulicus, Jun 14, 2013
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  5. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I think you're using a limited idea of balance. Sure, balance can be an old-timey scale, and then you put "dark" on one side and an equal amount of "light" on the other and it balances. But that's a literalistic and simplistic idea of balance.

    [IMG]

    There is more to the idea of balance -- ideas of stability and harmony, not just equality. We speak of a balanced diet or balanced ecosystem -- meaning that they are healthy and harmonious with well-being. They are states of good, which can be thrown off by the introduction of a single bad element. When we speak of a person who is mentally imbalanced, we mean that mental illness has made their mind unhealthy and unstable; a stable mind is one of health, not of mental illness somehow balanced against mental health in equal measures. Hey, half the time Larry thinks he's Larry, and half the time Larry thinks he's Dean Wormer! He's in balance! That's not how it works. Balance can also be understood as a state of harmonious good that can be imbalanced by the introduction of an imbalancing element.

    Here is another visual example of balance:

    [IMG]

    We are better off understanding the Force as that rock than as a set of scales. The rock is in balance; its natural state is harmony. The rock is the "light side" -- the natural, uncorrupted state of the Force. The rock, however, can become unbalanced. Depending on the delicacy of its balance, if you scatter a few small black pebbles on top of the rock, it probably won't topple. Their weight won't be enough to imbalance it. But if you find a decent-sized chunk of black stone and set it on top, the rock will likely become off-balance; balance would be restored by removing the stone and stabilizing the rock.

    The Force's balance is not that of a scale, with the dark side over here and the light side over there and some kind of constant calculus of whether they're equal, in which thousands of Sith conquering half the galaxy aren't enough to throw the balance to the dark side, but two Sith plotting in back rooms are, and apparently we have to fear "too much good," in the most inane and imbecilic concept of morality ever that casts the light side and dark side as moral equals. The Force's balance is that of harmonious and stable good, which can be imbalanced by the introduction of a sufficient corrupting element that destabilizes the Force.
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  6. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    I've heard this point before about the Daughter not having and examples of how too much light being bad, but I'm not so sure. Consider the scene where she makes the statement you quoted about her and her brothers' natures. She comes across as extremely passive and in denial. She refuses to accept that her brother tried to kill their father when it was blatantly obvious that he had. When confronted with the truth all she does is make excuses for the Son's behaviour and it takes Obi Wan to goad her into taking a stand against her brother. The fact that she didn't want to stand up to her brother simply because her father (who'd just been attacked) said so shows a bit of naivety. I think these bits demonstrate flaws in too much light.
  7. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Exactly. But it's clearly viewed as "bad" by some who would like to see it purged from the Force entirely. It generally attains the "bad" descriptor through association: the alignment of its habitual users and their typical actions.

    It's not correct to view the balance as being between the light and dark sides, even though that is said to be the case in multiple C-canon sources, but we're going to refer to Sith numbers? Numbers really have nothing to do with it, unless we treat the balance of the Force as a balance of Force-users. For one thing, we know very little about the state of the Force’s balance in eras chronologically predating the films. In many cases this is because when the relevant sources were written the balance of the Force had not yet been invented; Lucas appears to have borrowed the idea from the DESB. Even post-PT sources set in earlier eras have often avoided mentioning the topic one way or the other. Thus the Force could have been out of balance in earlier eras as well. But not all Sith are created equal.

    Those thousands of past Sith never conquered the entire galaxy, yet two Sith plotting in back rooms did. This was their philosophy – a “rule of two”, if you will come to fruition. You might have heard of it. But more to the point, we’re not somehow forced to assume that Sith can’t discover new Force powers, or rediscover long-lost ones. One of the latter-day Sith developed the ability to directly shift the balance, as a Force power. Should it be considered impossible that earlier Sith had not developed the same ability?

    Not too much good, too much light side ( which would be equivalent to not enough dark side ). But let’s say, for the sake of argument, we were to go along with the substitutions “light side = good” and “dark side = evil”. How exactly would “too much good” be achieved or enforced? A crusade?

    This seems to conflate the sides of the Force themselves with the alignments of their respective adherents. It’s the DESB which claims The Dark Side is a part of nature -- it is not inherently evil. And also: Just as with any aspect of life and death, both the Dark Side and the Light Side are intertwined with each other, are necessary to each other and form a cosmic balance. Here we’re told that the dark side and the light side are necessary to each other. The dark side is thus a necessary component of the Force, which means getting rid of it would be a bad thing, like taking a vital component out of a machine. Accepting this does not imply that one sees Jedi and Sith as moral equals.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Jun 14, 2013
  8. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Balanced ecosystem is a misnomer though, it doesn't really exist as anything more than a theoretical construct. All ecosystems, and in fact pretty much all complex systems known, are in a constant state of flux. Harmony is largely an illusion.

    That is hardly an insane or imbecilic concept, and is rather common in fantasy. Without evil, there is nothing. Without conflict there is no change, nothing ever happens, there can be no growth, no struggle, and as a result, nothing of value. Perfect 'light' is a perpetual system - in the most basic physical sense, a universe without entropy is a single quark-gluon plasma that burns at a high energy state forever. It is only through entropic interaction that there is even matter to begin with.

    So the light and dark side are not moral equals, but both are essential.

    Now, in Star Wars the question is more a matter of where the point of equivalence would be. The EU has been guilty of a D&D-esque viewpoint wherein a 'balance' would be found in precise equality between light and dark, even though this is a rather unpleasant place generally (this is a particularly Denning-based viewpoint, if you read Pages of Pain, his best work by a large margin, this is the ethic system it advocates). The most balanced scale point of the Force we've really ever seen is TOR - massive armies for the Light and Dark engaged in perpetual violent conflict.

    Perhaps the balance sought in Star Wars is one where the dark side is perpetually suppressed, kept at a reduced level. Actually, if FotJ is to be believed the Son is a considerably more restrained and limited representation of the dark side than Abeloth - who most assuredly also represents it. If we think of the Force not as a dualistic system, but a system of four parts: Father, Daughter, Son, and Destroyer, then the 'balanced' system would be dominated by the Daughter and Father, with the Son playing a minor role and Abeloth locked away.
  9. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    I think when people discuss balance they're too fixated on Jedi and Sith and their numbers. Jedi =/= light side and Sith =/= dark side when it comes to balance. The Sith disrupt balance because they are agents of chaos, not directly because they are agents of darkness -- though they are agents of chaos because of their personal darkness informing their actions. There can't be "no dark side" because sapient beings feel anger, hate, aggression, and some of them act on it. There's things like Jabba's organization, or the greedy Trade Federation, which will act on the dark side. There's also always going to be death and violence no matter what is done. It's simply a fact of the Force, and a fact of life. As Ulicus said, the dark side's nature makes it more prone toward disrupting balance than the light for the reasons that violence begets violence and perpetuates Yoda's cycle of anger, hate, and suffering. But the fact that the Sith are dark is not why they disrupt balance; it is because they are chaotic due to that darkness, and perpetuate that cycle on a grand scale through their machinations for more power.
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  10. Dawud786 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2006
    star 4

    The way I see it, the original definitions of the characteristics of the light and dark sides in the old RPGs give us a hint. I'm using the Dark Empire Sourcebook for this: the light side is "holistic" it's concern is with the whole. It is all-embracing. The dark side, on the other hand, is concerned with the "individual," it's not particularly concerned with the whole. If the Force itself is the unified life energy of all beings... well, it stands to reason that the light side itself, even as it serves as a yang to the dark side's yin, still resonates more with the totality of the Force in the first place. Hard to be strictly yin-yang Tao cosmology with it in that regard. I tend to approach it with Islamic/Sufic cosmology. God's relationship with creation is defined by tanzih and tashbih or incomparability and comparability. The Divine Names are categorized along these lines... for instance, the Names The Giver of Life(al-Muhyi) and The Taker of Life(al-Mumit) are both God's Names/Attributues, and God is also The Living(al-Hayy). The Living could be thought of as The Force, and The Giver of Life, the light side of the Force, and The Taker of Life, the dark side of the Force. Clearly, The Giver of Life resonates more closely with The Living than does The Taker of Life. The Divine Names are often classified as Names of Wrath and Names of Mercy. There is a saying "God's Mercy takes precedent over His Wrath." The positive is more fundamental to the nature of the Force than the negative.
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  11. Dawud786 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2006
    star 4
    Even if we were to use the scale model, we must consider that perhaps the dark side is more "dense" in the scale. To the point that you could have many "bars" of the light side on the one side, and a single "atom" of dark on the other... and it would throw things out of whack.

    Take a forest for example... in a "balanced" system there is life and death... but they are not at equivalent rates. Life, birth, is generally in a superior measure to death. If that forest is devastated by a clear cut or a wild fire... it takes quite some time for it to recover from the devastation. Whole swathes are left barren and charred for years or decades. Had it remained untouched, it would have continued to grow and things would have continued to die but most likely death would not have come to such an extent that the forest is nearly completely destroyed. That usually happens because of sapient beings. Same deal with the Force, yeah? Numbers of Sith don't matter, it just happened to be a couple really determined pyromaniacs that set the fire versus thousands of less determined and directed guys hacking at the bark of the trees with blunt hatchets.
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  12. Darth_Doku Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2013
    In my opinion, it favors neither. In reference to the Order vs Chaos and Dark vs Light spectrum. The Force can be represented on all 4 sides. Therefore, it's neither Bogan or Ashla.

    The only reason why there's this idea that the "Light-Side" is something that is always favorable comes from the fact that the Star Wars movies are trying to present lighter things only. But for Star Wars games, the path of the dark side is one that a fair number of players chose.
  13. Chessalvakia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2006
    star 1
    Perhaps on some level the force can be hurt and the force defends itself when it sees something that may reach that point or has reached that point. Jedi aren't known for experimenting but Sith do experiment. Also, I suspect if the force is an actual entity it's favorites probably would lean towards good simply because in the long run evil would get old. One might root for a villian occasionally but most people would never do it the majority of the time
  14. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Well, yes; but we might hope they do not follow a similar path in real life.

    This connects with what Lucas is reported to have said on the Clone Wars DVDs:
    "The core of the Force. I mean, you got the dark side, the light side, one is selfless, one is selfish, and you want to keep them in balance."
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Jun 17, 2013
  15. The Kulvax Sisters Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2013
    star 2
    There is the deeper meaning to 'balance in the force' and then there is the very real imbalance the Order of the Sith Lords created and made worse and worse over time, to the point where the most powerful Jedi Order ever seen was limited, the shroud of the Dark Side and the imbalance of the force had diminished their ability to harness it properly, in James Luceno's Darth Plagueis this is described very well.
  16. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    But these are not different meanings; they refer to the same balance ( or imbalance ).
  17. The Kulvax Sisters Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2013
    star 2
    There does seem to be a strong suggestion especially in the Mortis arc that the balance of the force goes far beyond just the restoration of balance referred to in the movies.
  18. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    I'm not sure if the Mortis episodes should be taken literally. If you do take them literally the way you are intended to by Apocalypse, then Anakin never restored balance, which is incongruous with what we know. Unless there's some other interpretation of which I am unaware?
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Well the Father says Anakin did bring balance to the Mortis system (by wiping them all out), and that he will one day bring balance to the entire Force.
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  20. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I don't quite get that from the arc - unless "destroy the Sith" changes to "destroy the Sith and the Son", or something along those lines. Or it's the idea that someone must be in the Father's place to ensure the maintenance of the balance, an idea which may be somewhat undermined by the fact that at least part of the reason to sit in the Father's place was to control the children. But in any case the point is that it's still the same balance, even if it can be influenced by beings in Mortis.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Jun 17, 2013
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