Yet another perspective on balance of the Force.

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Dark Lady Mara, Jul 12, 2004.

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  1. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
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    I happened upon this post about balance of the Force by Paul at philosophyforums.com. What do you think of his take on the matter?

    I found it to be a well-thought out opinion, but I wonder if it isn't too oversimplified. He's looking at the Force from a yin-yang sort of perspective, with living and unifying halves that need to be kept in balance. But I would say the Force can be dichotomized in many different ways, and (Aristotle-esquely enough :D ) Anakin exemplified balance of all aspects of the Force at the end of his life. For example, he also succeeded in balancing dark and light sides, having spent time on both and presumably having been able to call on both when he made the decision to kill Palpatine. I think he also succeeded in balancing passiveness and activeness. The old Jedi council may have been too passive and spent too much time in contemplation, and young Anakin may have been too active and rushed into things before he was ready for them, but older Anakin had the patience to wait until the time was right to take action.
  2. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    I think it's a good interpretation, and fits in with the "balance= eliminating the Dark Side" idea.

    (Of course, for that line to make any sense, you firstly need to define what the Dark Side actually is...)

    The two different perspectives of the Force ("living" and "cosmic") are just two different aspects of the same Force; the "cosmic Force" perspective is of the big picture- the Force that surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together, extending into the past and the future. The living Force is the energy field that's generated by every living thing- the same Force, but seen on a small scale, in the "here and now." The living Force from every living thing combines to make up the cosmic Force; the cosmic Force has it's influence on every living thing.

    This is very much the "yin and yang" model- each aspect being nothing in and of itself, but simply a part of a greater whole, each one connecting with, being defined by, and even containing in itself a part of the other.

    In a galaxy where nobody has any Jedi abilities, nobody can manipulate the Force, nobody can create a disturbance, and it remains in balance. The future holds what it holds; nobody can see it, so nobody can change it. Everything is in balance.

    However, when the first Jedi first discover their abilities, then things change. At some point, the Jedi become aware of the cosmic Force; "Through the Force, other places you will see. The past, the future..."

    As soon as someone is aware of what the future holds, then there is the possibility of their knowledge affecting their actions in the present; the "here and now." In turn, their actions in the present will affect the outcome of the future; so the future which was once seen through the Force (ie. "the Will of the Force") can now be changed. The temptation to use their new power/ability to serve themselves would be enormous, and the balance suddenly looks very delicate...

    It's this clash between the perspectives of the Living Force and the cosmic Force that leads to a disturbance in the balance of the Force. And it's the personal desires of the individual which leads them to act against the Will of the Force that causes the clash; their fears, their desires, their greed etc. etc. And this is essentially what I think the Dark Side is; manipulating the Force for personal reasons. (At the smallest, subtlest level, it's a Jedi learning of something that the future holds, wanting to change it and then changing it simply by being aware of it. At the other extreme, it's a Sith Lord, directly manipulating the Force to create bolts of energy as a weapon.)

    Hence the Jedi philosophy; rejecting personal posessions and attachments, because they could distract them from their duty and lead them to the Dark Side (as we see very clearly in Anakin's journey.)

    This also explains the "shroud" of the Dark Side- if a Jedi sees something through the cosmic Force in the future, then this can affect their actions in such a way that the future that they saw is altered... so what happens when another Jedi sees the same thing in the future? Do they see what the Jedi originally saw, or the "new" future that the first Jedi created? Or neither? Maybe it depends when they look. Maybe the future just looks clouded...


    >>>>For example, he also succeeded in balancing dark and light sides, having spent time on both and presumably having been able to call on both when he made the decision to kill Palpatine.

    I don't agree with that idea; I think Vader (and Luke's) victories only come when they reject the Dark Side completely; I just don't see anything of the Dark Side in Luke when he throws away his saber, or in Vader when he sacrifices himself and turns on the Emperor.
  3. LottDodd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2002
    star 4
    I Like the Perspective on the Jedi Council Having Become Too Passive...
  4. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    In a galaxy where nobody has any Jedi abilities, nobody can manipulate the Force, nobody can create a disturbance, and it remains in balance. The future holds what it holds; nobody can see it, so nobody can change it. Everything is in balance.

    However, when the first Jedi first discover their abilities, then things change. At some point, the Jedi become aware of the cosmic Force; "Through the Force, other places you will see. The past, the future..."


    That's an interesting take on loss of balance. If that were true, wouldn't the easiest way to restore balance be to destroy everyone with Jedi abilities, Jedi and Sith alike? The funny thing is, Anakin did that too.

    I had imagined perhaps there were Jedi in the past who did know how to use or appropriately control the living Force, which I think of as the microscale version of the cosmic Force's macroscale. For example, if looking into the future of the galaxy involves knowing and manipulating the cosmic Force, perhaps to use the living Force is to affect a single person. But then, if the Force doesn't "want" to be changed or affected by people at all, it's hard to imagine how the Force would be more in balance if it were used on both the macroscale and the microscale.

    As soon as someone is aware of what the future holds, then there is the possibility of their knowledge affecting their actions in the present; the "here and now." In turn, their actions in the present will affect the outcome of the future; so the future which was once seen through the Force (ie. "the Will of the Force") can now be changed. The temptation to use their new power/ability to serve themselves would be enormous, and the balance suddenly looks very delicate...

    I think it depends how active a role the Force can take in the way events play out. If the Force indeed has a will and is able to do things like create a child, it seems to me it should be able to take other actions to push the fate it wants onto those who try to avoid it. For example, if the Force had originally meant for Anakin to overthrow Palpatine at the time of E3 but Anakin succeeded in avoiding what was destined for him, the Force could set further events in motion later by bringing the droids to Luke, which got Luke entangled in the affairs of the galaxy and ultimately led to Luke creating a situation that once again put Anakin in a position to fulfill his destiny.
  5. Davin Felth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 1999
    star 1
    I found Mara's posts rather interesting. Obviously, it's very difficult to explain any kind of realistic notion of balance with regard to the Force, if in fact it exists as a duality of light and dark, due largely to the outcome of the story.
    With that in mind, it's fairly apparent, as stated, that what is commonly refered to as the darkside, is in reality little more than a perversion of the true force(which, arguably, I suppose you can further reduce into cosmic and living forces). Seemingly, that is a very Taoist oriented response, with regards to the various interdependancies between these different aspects.
  6. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    >>>>I had imagined perhaps there were Jedi in the past who did know how to use or appropriately control the living Force, which I think of as the microscale version of the cosmic Force's macroscale. For example, if looking into the future of the galaxy involves knowing and manipulating the cosmic Force, perhaps to use the living Force is to affect a single person.

    I'm not sure if I follow... you mean something like a mind trick, or force-choke?

    I think that any time a Jedi manipulates the Force, they are doing it in the "here and now", and are dealing with the Living Force. (Interestingly, Qui Gon?s name loosely translates as ?energy manipulation.?) Although they can affect the cosmic Force, it?s not by directly manipulating it, and it's only when their actions go against the "Will of the Force" that it causes a disturbance in the cosmic Force.

    >>>>But then, if the Force doesn't "want" to be changed or affected by people at all, it's hard to imagine how the Force would be more in balance if it were used on both the macroscale and the microscale.


    Well, this raises the question of what the Force is capable of, and exactly how sentient it is. I think it?s clear from the films alone that the Force doesn?t have the power to stop people from using it if it doesn?t want them to (otherwise there would be no Sith for starters?)

    Personally, I don?t think the Force really has a consciousness- it?s ?Will? is simply a reflection of the life that creates it. Effectively, it?s the ultimate democracy (a parallel that is clear in the films.)
  7. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    I have to admit that a lot of the philosophical arguments in the linked post were over my head.

    The way I see it, The Force is not God; it is not an omniscient, perfect cosmic uber-Yoda type deity; The Force is not a superior intelligence to man, not a higher authority, rather it is, for want of a better term, the spiritual body of the universe.

    I think that The Force is like nature: it?s a system that works. All life creates The Force, and The Force attempts to protect itself by preserving life. The Jedi serve The Force to better protect life, they pay attention to it the way you should pay attention to your body, it?s just common sense. This doesn?t mean that The Force is something you should obey slavishly though; for example: sometimes your body tells you it needs to pee, however while it may be right to inform you of its needs, the situation may not be appropriate for you to follow your body?s advice, it could even put you in danger; basically you have to make the choice. If The Force was all-knowing and all-good you wouldn?t have to make a choice, you could/should just listen to it and do what it says; you would be just a cog in a big wheel and you wouldn?t have to think for yourself ever again. Very boring.

    I think that rather than The Force having this incredibly complex plan involving Anakin becoming a Jedi, falling to the Dark Side, wiping out all the Jedi, then turning on his master, it merely generated Anakin to combat Palpatine like a human body would create an antibody to fight an infection. This kind of fits in with the symbiotic subtext of TPM, plus it makes sense with what Ben tells Luke in ANH: The Force can control your actions, but it will also obey your commands; it?s not just there for you to follow, sometimes you must take control.

    The Sith are not symbiotic, they are parasitic. They are by their very nature self-destructive rather than constuctive.The Sith are a cancer that is overwhelming the Jedi and making the universe an unhealthy place to live in, thus endangering The Force; left unchecked they endanger the future of life in the universe, ergo they need to be wiped out .

    That?s pretty much my take on the whole balancing The Force thing.

  8. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    I dont really buy into the whole darkside eradication in order for balance. There is no such thing as light without darkness. Star Wars asks the question that many provactive sci-fi stories ask: What is the nature of evil? Is the darkside alone spinning around in a maelstrom evil intrinsically or does one who wants to be in symbiance with that power source create an evil end product when he/she combines that power source with their own needs for power and control? We know from the cave on Dagobah that the darkside resides in things other than intelligent life. Its as much of the binding matter of everything as the light side. Some people want to believe that the death of Palpatine is the death of the darkside. That cant be the case. Some things are not meant to be handled. I think ultimately that is the symbolism of the darkside. Ive heard it compared to nuclear energy and I think that is an accurate analogy even if I dont believe that was what Lucas intended ( the darkside symbolizing nuclear power, that is ). Its an amazing power source that deserves recognition, maybe even reverance from afar, but not utilization by someone or something that is fallable or can be corrupted, such as a human being.
  9. Darth-Seldon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 6
    A very good and interesting interpretation.
    I think it is very thoughtful and gives a new light to what the balance means.
    I think there are many examples within the films and the EU which would provide as evidence for this POV provided by Paul.

    Luke does act on the moment while thinking about the far effects.

    This in my opinion is very true to book and film. I agree with it very strongly.

    I do think that Luke is the by-product of Anakin's equilbrium. Anakin found his balance in the final minutes of the film and Luke is the product of that. Then Luke will pass on what he has learned which will create a better balance.

    If you by the EU, there is sort of a balance between living and cosmic force. I think this is illustrated by the EU's two groups of Jedi. In The New Jedi Order there is the Kyp Durron group that act on the moment and any means to accomplish their goals. Then the Luke side of the Jedi that think more before acting.

    I do agree with a lot of Paul said.



    Darth-Seldon
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  10. Hoth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2000
    star 1
    Ah, I haven't posted on TFN for years (last post May 2002 I see) but someone told me my thread was being discussed.

    If that were true, wouldn't the easiest way to restore balance be to destroy everyone with Jedi abilities, Jedi and Sith alike?

    The easiest way to bring balance to your own mind may be suicide (eliminating the problem), but that doesn't make it the ideal way.

    Since Star Wars is a monomyth, I try to look at the Star Wars galaxy as one large mind, with each character as an aspect of it (hence why characters tend to be one dimensional in monomyths... they're not whole people). I went into the microcosm/macrocosm aspect of the monomyth and applying it to Star Wars at http://forums.philosophyforums.com/showthread.php?t=202 . As I said in there, with the universe of Star Wars being the mind of a person the force represents thought. The force-users are thus the ability to control thought. Going without any of them would either be a complete lack of self-control or brain death... I'm not sure which.

    Of course, control is a major issue here. The Jedi council is unable to control the events of the galaxy (being old, weak and out of touch). The Sith are good at control, so they naturally fill the void and fill it to an extreme. But neither the apathetic state of the Jedi council nor the repressive state of Palpatine's empire is the kind of controlled thought we want, so a balance must be struck. We can't exlcude intuitiveness/impulsiveness from ourselves, but neither can we exclude rationality to the point where we don't stop to consider the difference between right and wrong... so we need the middle ground provided by Anakin following his emotions to do something good for once.

    Palpatine tells Anakin in Ep II to trust his feelings, but ironically that's exactly what Anakin is doing when he kills Palpatine to save his son, isn't it? Of course this makes it hard to figure out where rationality comes in during that redeeming moment, so perhaps I've just wrecked my own theory... perhaps Anakin brings the living force back into balance while Luke brings the cosmic force into balance (as Luke uses his judgement as a check for instinct but not to the exclusion of instinct). Admitedly it's much easier to find the balance in Luke and just say that Anakin accomplished it by passing his legacy on to Luke, but it still strikes me as an act of balancing by Anakin to take something which has caused evil (his trusting of his feelings) and bring it back to the kind of good that it'd previously done with Qui-Gon and the like.

    If the Force indeed has a will and is able to do things like create a child

    I would prefer not to interpret it that way. If the force is generated by life and and binds the universe togeather, it should perhaps take on charactaristics of the overall will of the life in the universe. However when someone speaks of obeying the will of the force it should be more of a matter of the group collective consciosuness (or collective energry field I guess in this case) imposing itself on the individual. With the force as thought and the force users as incluences/aspects, the whole of the thought is the sum of the influences that compose it.

    As for conception of a child, being conceived by the midichlorians is different from being conceived by the force I think (as the midichlorians are just the intermediary for contacting the force). I believe that every reference to the chosen one in the movies says he's conceived by the midichlorians, never by the force? (Perhaps I'm stretching here.)
  11. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    >>>>If The Force was all-knowing and all-good you wouldn?t have to make a choice, you could/should just listen to it and do what it says; you would be just a cog in a big wheel and you wouldn?t have to think for yourself ever again. Very boring.

    Somewhat reminiscent of Qui Gon Jinn's "feel, don't think" philosophy though...

    I think it's this attitude and the arrogance and complacency that it fosters that's the problem with the PT Jedi (which the Sith exploit.) I mean, Qui Gon seems convinced that he is following the Will of the Force and doing the right thing, all the time. However, once Darth Sidious starts pulling the strings, things change; in TPM we see Qui Gon unwittingly helping Sidious carry out his plan. (It's also worth noting that every time we see him using the Force, it's morally questionable- from effectively stealing Boss Nass' submarine, to trying to make Watto accept a currency that's worthless to him, and most significantly cheating the bet with Watto when he manipulates the roll of the "chance cube" which sets Anakin on a new path to his Jedi training...)

    Dooku's moral ambiguity is much more obvious- does he really mean what he says to Obi Wan about bringing down the Sith? Or was that just supposed to throw him off the scent of their masterplan? Is he genuinely trying to help the systems who want to leave the corrupt Republic, or is it just a "divide and conquer" mentality?


    >>>>I dont really buy into the whole darkside eradication in order for balance. There is no such thing as light without darkness.

    Well, that's not really true- darkness does not exist on it's own, as it's simply the absence of light; the reverse isn't true though- light is not the absence of darkness; it's a form of electromagnetic energy which can be detected and measured. Darkness can't. (In the same way, cold is simply the absence of heat.)

    However, as there is no reference to or mention of a "light side of the Force" in the 5/6 films we've seen so far, I don't think the analogy holds up either...

    >>>Some people want to believe that the death of Palpatine is the death of the darkside. That cant be the case.

    I agree- but it is the end of the Sith, and the end of the Dark Side's dominance of the galaxy.

    The point is that there has been an ongoing battle between the Jedi and the Sith for thousands of years- one which the Jedi thought they had won a millenia prior to TPM, and one which the Sith will no doubt appear to have won by the end of Episode III. But at the end of ROTJ, the Jedi do finally conquer the Sith.




    >>>>Of course, control is a major issue here. The Jedi council is unable to control the events of the galaxy (being old, weak and out of touch).

    Unable? Or unwilling...

    I don't think that the Jedi have any desire to be in control of the galaxy- and let's face it; if a single Sith can rise to a position of Emperor, then hundreds of Jedi wouldn't have any problems taking over the galaxy if that's what they really wanted.

    Instead, we see them as observers, advisors, and keepers of the peace. (Which apparently works fine, until Sidious comes along and starts manipulating them.)

    This restraint and refusal to exercise their powers is a key difference between the Jedi and the Sith. Watch Dooku and Yoda's fight (before the lightsabers come out)- note that Yoda displays more power/mastery of the Force than Dooku in every move, but only uses that power to defend himself- not to counter-attack.


    >>>>Palpatine tells Anakin in Ep II to trust his feelings, but ironically that's exactly what Anakin is doing when he kills Palpatine to save his son, isn't it? Of course this makes it hard to figure out where rationality comes in during that redeeming moment, so perhaps I've just wrecked my own theory...

    Or perhaps you're just looking in the wrong place for it?


    It [SW] 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
  12. Hoth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2000
    star 1
    Unable? Or unwilling...

    Unable to do it by Jedi methods. That's the point. The Jedi had been the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy for millenia, so they had always been in control -- control meaning being able to prevent dangerous disorder. Yet by the time of TPM they no longer have that control, corruption is everywhere and the senate is helpless and crime is rampant, and the Jedi can no longer do anything about it. Thus in order to avoid losing control, the living force switches over from Jedi to Sith, since the Sith methods of control can still work where the Jedi methods have come to fail.

    (Which apparently works fine, until Sidious comes along and starts manipulating them.)

    I certainly disagree with that. Palpatine is just filling a void. He's a solution to the problem -- abeit a solution even worse than the problem was -- not the original problem. In the good days of the old republic, Palpatine would not have been in a position to manipulate... the weakness of the republic and more importantly the weakness of the Jedi creates his window of opportunity for him, which he would not have had if the galaxy had not already been in a bad state.

    The problem is "the Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates who are only looking out for themselves and their home sytems. There is no interest in the common good...no civility, only politics...its disgusting." As evidenced by their inablity to even act to prevent the invasion of a major planet. The problem is that the Jedi are no longer able to act as a solution to guard peace and justice. (Note the Jedi ordering Qui-Gon to only protect the Queen, not actually do anything to free the planet, and obviously not sending any help to do so.) The solution is that the Sith step in to restore stability and control.
  13. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    " Well, that's not really true- darkness does not exist on it's own, as it's simply the absence of light; "

    Im sorry, I should have stated it more clearly than that. I wasnt going for a scientific angle with this, I just meant that theorhetically without darkness you wouldnt have to put a name to " light ", it would just simply " be ", until something changed that would make cause to invent a new word.
  14. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Hmm, I don't think that's true, unless you assume there are only two possibilities, darkness and light. If there's any gray area between the two at all, then it's still possible to define light without darkness and darkness without light. For example, even if you live in a world where no evil act is ever committed, you can still discern that some acts are more good than others. Refusing to step on ants is good. Saving a person's life is better.
  15. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    Its kind of hard to say whats right or wrong when the topic is philosophical, which this one is. Its all valid, however. Good thread, Mara.
  16. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I've always believed it would be better to eliminate the Force. Since killing anyoen with Force potential would be rather Draconian, I would favor flooding the Galaxy with ysalamari, but yes, the principle stands. All major political turmoil and instability in the Saga has been caused solely by the whims of the force as it favors different groups of Force users.

    I would post more, but I'm tired right now.
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