Clerical Error #13 some Notions

Doctor Futurity

Camazotz the Death Bat
Validated User
Really good article, I am enjoying it very much....which is to say, I am still reading it in bits and pieces as time permits at work. Just a couple observations from a verrry long time Star Wars nut:

1. I don't think, even if it is inferred, that the Dark Side is ever presumed to be evil; dark/light sides of the force imply good/evil, yes, but the underlying message has always struck me as being intentionally separate from the notion of good and evil, which are moral byproducts of the actions we commit. The Force is always presented as a tool, one which molds according to the user....and a user who is out of control (or more precisely, lets his negative emotions control his actions) heads towards the dark side.

2. When they talk about "trust your feelings" throughout Star Wars, the context has always been in an intuitive sense. When Luke is asked to do so on occasion, it is invariably with regards to a sense of instinct, a sense that one can reach in to the force and see otherwise intangible connections between things.
Another way to think of it, is as follows: The message for both Jedi and Sith is that how one feels, emotionally and instinctually, is critical to how one behaves. The difference is that the Jedi seek to understand their emotions, use them as a guide, but not let their actions be dictated by their feelings. Some Force users have the problem of letting their emotions dictate their actions: they feel, and they act; consequence of their actions are justified by their need to fulfill their emotional drive. But the real schism arrives when the Sith pop up. The Sith are defined by their strongest emotions, which are invariably hatred, anger, fear. When you let your actions be dictated by those emotions, you find yourself spiraling in to the Dark. The Sith promote this, and indeed it is implied that the true essence of the Dark Side (power without limit) can be attained through this "letting go" of oneself in to the strongest emotions. But You are right: the Sith believe in absolute power, but have limits. The Jedi are self-limiting, but in reality they are the ones who can achieve true perfection, without limit (albeit through death, it seems).

3. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the perception of Sith decaying, physically and morally, is both a visual/story element and a cool effect, but is not actually defined by use of Sith powers. For example, Vader and Palpatine are both, obviously, wrecks by the end of RotS, but neither became such becaus of using the Dark Side, but because of the consequence of their actions. Put another way, if you lead a rough and dangerous life, you'll start to look it eventually :)

4. One of the underlying themes of the Jedi Council and its relationship to the Senate and the Republic is a central element that shows up in the books, but is only hinted at in the films. One important (but unsaid notion) in the movies is that it was this 1,000 year reign of Light and peace that created the ncessary elements for the Dark Side to force itself upon the universe in the first place. Now, that seems to imply a greater motivating force....or at least, some sort of social gestalt, at work, which makes sense, if the Force is a bonding energy between all living things, and therefore reacts to all living things. But of course, that implies that there is a hidden unconscious sense of fatalism in the minds of the Old Republic Jedi, contributing to this sense that the Dark Side will inevitably rise up to balance out things.....hmmmm!

Anyway, just wanted to share some thoughts. Again, great article!
 
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Tykhin Vess

Retired User
Great Post Tori

It is worth considering that what the Jedi and Sith believe and what is actually true may not be the same thing. The Jedi have a faith, which is by nature something they cannot completely explain (or it would be a knowledge), so here are some thoughts:

a) The Force is one, light and dark and these really reflect the same kind of dualistic, circle of life dichotomies that are actually very common. Summer and Winter are both necessary, Life and Death are part of the cycle, and in balance things are the way they should be. This is hinted at through the history of the Jedi and Sith and the Prophecy. One notes that in ancient times the Sith nearly beat out the Jedi, then the Force intervened and balanced things out. Then the Jedi nearly beat all the Sith and the Force intervened and balanced things out. Then the Sith nearly won again and the Force intervened and balanced things out. This sense of balanced and holisitic nature to the universe seems central to the actual functioning of the setting. The Force simply *is*, it is assumed to be a concrete and essential part, perhaps the underlying governing principle, of the universe or at the very least of life.

b) The Jedi have aligned themselves with the positive/creative/growing aspects of the Force. The desire to do so would be natural, it seems to emphasize many of the things healthy, well-adjusted life-forms enjoy - growing, order, protection, peace, etc. All the things necessary for a healthy society or ecosystem, etc. That the Jedi then emphasized these as holy principles is really little different than the growth of any other religion. They found what they wanted in the Force, explored what resonated with the aspects of the Force they felt drawn to and over time their knowledge and system of belief grew. The principles that grow out of this are relatively pro-social and can be judged in that context. Whatever promotes growth/life/creation/etc is considered "good" and whatever harms these things is considered "evil". It is worth noting that the rest of the universe in the Star Wars movies acknowledges there are Sith and Jedi, but does not seem to enter into a moral issue about them. There is merely the fact that the Jedi are fairly pro-social and generally enhance the lives of those around them, and the Sith do not.

The Sith then are the opposite reflection, having chosen the dark side and then emphasized the powers and personal characteristics needed to advance in it. They certainly wouldn't consider themselves evil, they are just as dedicated to what they perceive as 'good', in this case the acquisition of power through the holy gift of power that is the dark side, as the Jedi are to the light side.

The distinction then is in emphasis and which parts of the Force really draw a person. If you are inclined to believe in relatively liberal beliefs then the light side is probably for you. If you are by nature illiberal, the dark side is probably for you. Depending on whether the Force is a continuum between light and dark or two distinct faces, there may even be a middle way then, a balance in the individual between both sides, which in terms of sheer ability, would probably represent the pinnacle of achievement in use of the Force. It would be just as limiting as either the light or the dark side though because of the need to preserve that balance...

c) Why act in Star Wars? Another good question, and one I think the writers actually comment on. You could likely look at the draw to the dark side both in terms of a standard religious draw and also those motivators that might draw people into ogranized crime. The dark side speaks to many powerful, inherent motivators in people.

The light side is more demanding, requiring a different kind of motivator. Some people are born and conditioned into the right kind of outlook to find it attractive, again on the moral sense, and certainly from the point of view of judeo-christian upbringing, the light side engages many sympathies and motivators (compassion, etc) that would be attractive to some.

It is worth noting though, that the Jedi faced the classic issue we all realize in life... It is just easier to give in to your temptations and not live a social, well-adjusted life! Consider then that the Jedi Order in the Republic was known for recruiting padawans in early childhood and teaching them in the Jedi Temple from that time, sculpting their formative years and using indoctrination at an age that would have profound, life-long effects....

As to why go out and do, that depends on who you are. Some Jedi probably were quite happy to sit in a hut and meditate, just as many Sith likely were and as many different religious sub-groups have been in history. Many others would not be for many reasons, some of which are inherent to the perspective of light and dark, and some that would just be personal. The Jedi training cultivates compassion, a sense of duty, responsibility for others and a desire to promote the light side in the universe; This means going outside. The Sith training cultivates accumulation of power and control (I'm being simplistic, forgive me); This also means going outside.

I agree, the presentation of the Jedi was often not deep, or of the metaphysics of the Star Wars universe, but I think with some thought and very little tweaking, it makes a rewarding and engaging arena for moral and political play.
 

DoctorDogGirl

New member
Banned
The Jedi Knights are really a kind of weird Taoist, Christian, Buddhist meta-religion.

1. The Dark Side is the destructive side of the universe. Fear, Anger, and so on are defined by the Jedi as leading to Suffering. That is why the Jedi Knights teach oneself control over one's emotions.

2. The Jedi promote the Republic because they actually believe it's a Force (pun intended) for good in the galaxy. The Republic sponsors the Jedi Knights because it's viewed as a force of tremendous influence and good for the world.

At least one hierarchical religion is recognized as such in our world.

3. The Jedi are actually very Zen. People forget that Zen wisdom IS SUPPOSED TO BE CONTRADICTORY. When Obi-Wan gives a contradiction, "Only the Sith believe in absolutes" as an absolute, he's actually encouraging you to think outside the box.

And Obi Wan is right, the Sith's absolutism is evil because it is one that allows no other views.
 
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