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What is the Force?


"The Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things."

Obi Wan Kenobi - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


"Life creates it, makes it grow,"

Master Yoda - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


                All things that live are a part of the Force. All things that live generate the Force. All things that live make the Force grow ever stronger, and ever more rich and bountiful. Its energies are nigh inexhaustible; as long as life exists, so too will the Force. Any thing that lives, that has life, be it plant, animal, sentient, or even some forms of living minerals, generates energy that contributes to the Force. No one knows the precise nature of this energy, and nothing can calculate its full potential. There are no instruments which can read or tap the energies of the Force, only living cells rich in midi-chlorians posess that ability. The Force's full potential has never been explored, let alone utilized by one being, but we know the Force has the ability to create and destroy life, to lengthen or shorten life, and to do these things on a galactic scale. As Darth Vader truly said "The Ability to Destroy a Planet is INSIGNIFICANT, next to the power of the Force." (Darth Vader, Episode IV: A New Hope.)


"It surrounds us, and pentetrates us, it binds the galaxy together."

Obi Wan Kenobi - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


"Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force, around you - between you and me, the tree, the rock. Yes, even between the land, and the ship."

Master Yoda - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


                Just as the Force is generated by all living things, it is also IN all things. The Force is omni-present - that is - present everywhere. The Force is omni-directional - it is in all directions. There is no where in the galaxy where there is no Force. Even in Ysalamari bubbles, the Force exists, it is rather that the Ysalamari make it inpossible for those Sensative to the Force to be able to touch the Force. The Vong are present within the Force, but cannot be sensed through or directly affected by it, for unknown reasons. It's not an exact science, but to the best and fullest knowledge of the Jedi and other Force Users of note, the Force IS everywhere, IS IN everything, and IS A PART OF everything.


                And if it follows that the Force is everywhere, and in everything, and everyone, then perhaps there are those who know the Force but do not call it by its right name? Ben Kenobi mentioned these types of people to Luke - the pre-Jedi Force Users. (LOOK UP ANH NOTE) ... they were seen as magicicans or wizards in their day, and those dark enough and fell enough were worshipped as terrible Dark Lords, monstrous Emperors, or even set themselves up to be like gods. It was not until shortly under thirty thousand years ago that the Jedi uncovered the existance of the Force as an omnipotent and onmipresent resevior of energy and named it duly - as THE FORCE.


                All mystic energy within the galaxy finds its ultimate wellspring in the Force. Whether you worship an idolized 'god' or serve a magic energy by a differant name, all mystic energies come from the Force. All Force Users use the same Force. White Current, Shamans, Sith, Krath, Aing-Tii, Priestesses of the Goddess - the names may change, the beliefs may differ, and the use of the Force be somewhat differant from that of the Jedi's traditional way, but it is the same Force in all of them. Its is a common wellspring of energy tapped by all mystics and 'wizards.'


                Nor are the souls of sentients any differant. The souls of sentient beings are a part of the Force, a living, personalized embodiement of Force energy, part of the whole. Upon death, the vast majority of sentient souls are drained away into the oneness of the Force, to a state of non-awareness and union with all living things. But some spirits, particularly those of beings strong enough in mind and will, or trained in the use of powers designed for just such a purpose, retain their personalities and individuality upon death, and communicate with one another through the eternal oneness of the Force, on a sort of ‘spiritual plane.’ These beings can also manifest on the physical plain as 'ghosts' and spirits. It is not believed that any plants or non-sentients exist with this capability, but it has also not be extensively researched.


Aspects of the Force

The Living Force


"Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force FLOWING Through him!"

Obi Wan Kenobi - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


"Remember, a Jedi's strength FLOWS from the Force!"

Master Yoda - Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi


"Be mindful of the Living Force, young Padawan."

Qui Gon Jinn - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace


                The Force is not by any means a static, unchanging, inactive body of energy that merely waits to be tapped. It also bears a LIVING, viable essence of life, with a basic, primal will of its own. In its active state - also known as the Living Force - it has a conciouss will and a plan for the greater good of the galaxy. It promotes life and peace and harmony in the galaxy through effecting immediate good – saving a life, defending an innocent – merely because these are good things to do, sometimes regardless of what future consequences there may be for this action. The Force, in this manner, is often experiened like one would sense a stream of water washing over you. You immediately detect the currents of water that are hitting you, rushing over you, and you focus on them, as oppossed to paying wider heed to what may be fouling the water upstream somewhere before it reaches you, or how you might be fouling the water for someone further downstream FROM you. Though this view may serve the immediate future better, when this sense of the ‘here and now’ is focused upon to the ignorance of the greater whole, it is a heady, impulsive stance that can lead towards dark tempations, or have serious and grave consequences in the future.

                Consider both Master Qui-Gon Jinn and the Jedi Padawans Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Master Jinn, in the cases of Jar Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker, intervened on the behalf of the two innocents for his own, immediate reasons. He served the Living Force with compassion and nobility, helping those who could not help themselves. He rationaled his decisions by declaring ‘this Gungan may be of help,’ and by stating ‘It’s the boy responsible for getting us these parts.’ Qui-Gon saw only the immediate future, and the immediate surroundings. This made him an incredibly precognitive and accomplished duelist, and a noble ‘hero,’ righting the wrongs of the galaxy whereever and whenever he encountered them. But sometimes this benevolency did not pan out as he had hoped – true, Jar Jar did repay Qui-Gon’s act of kindness by recruiting the army that assisted in saving Naboo, but Anakin Skywalker – though in the end, he DID Balance the Force – became the hideous, monstrous Sith Lord known as Darth Vader, a cruel intergalactic warlord, one the galaxy would be better off for never having known.

                Similarly, the Jedi Padawans Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi also focus on the Living Force somewhat too blindly to see the greater good, on occasion. Luke fled Dagobah to confront his enemy and rescue his friends from Darth Vader – a good and noble goal, to be sure, but one which he would have cause to regret later – in the end, his friends saved HIM, and not only did he not Save them, he lost his hand, his first lightsaber, and discovered the shocking truth about his parentage before he was truly ready for it – and he was nearly lost to the Dark Side.

                Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, heedlessly devoted to the legacy of his fallen Master, made the mistake of throwing away his own reservations about the young ‘Chosen One,’ and the reservations of the Jedi Council, to train the Young Anakin Skywalker, as a promise to his dead Master. He did not heed his warning spirit – or the warnings of Master Yoda - and as he himself later said: his pride had terribly consequences for the galaxy.


The Unifying Force


“The Chosen One The Boy May Be. Nevertheless, Grave Danger I fear in his Training!”

Master Yoda – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace


“With the Force, Things you will see – other places – the Future, the Past, Old Friends Long Gone.”

Master Yoda – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


“Mmmm…Clouded this Boy’s Future is.”

Master Yoda – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace


“Be Patient, Luke!” …”And sacrifce Han and Leia?!” … “If you honor what they fight for – yes.”

Ben Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and Master Yoda – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


                But there is more to the Force than its Living Aspect. There is also a Unifying Aspect – less blindly focused on the immediate here and now, and more universally focused on future and past occurences that affect decisions and choices made in the here and now. In the Movies of the Star Wars Saga, Master Yoda is, among the Jedi, the greatest and most skilled devotee of the Unifying Force, though the entire Jedi Council ascribes to its use.

                Referring back to the analogy used above to explain the Living Force, experiencing the Unifying Force is again like unto the waters of a river flowing over you. However, in this case, you pay less attention to the immediacy of the waters and currents flowing over you, and more attention to the greater whole – are you fouling the water for someone who would need to bathe later? Has someone fouled the water for you – and so, practitioners of the Unifying Force often spend more time searching the Future for visions and guidance in their meditations (What will happen in the future as a result of these actions?), and sometimes ignoring the immediate reprecussions of their choices; as oppossed to the meditations of devotees ascribing to the Living Force, who seek the immediate guidance (What will happen in the here and now?) of the Force in all their actions, sometimes heedless of later consequences..

                Yoda, who routinely spares more thought for the Future and for the Unifying Force than any of his fellow Council Members, is the most attune out of all the Jedi to the shadowy, phantomed danger hidden in the innocent boy Skywalker and his future. Qui-Gon Jinn sees only the immediate good the boy can do, and that he IS indeed the Chosen One. Upon those two criterium, he decides that Anni will be a great assest to the Jedi Order, and brings him to Coruscant for training. But despite the boy’s great powers, Yoda sees further than the other Council Members and feels a hidden danger in this boy’s future. It is too clouded for even Yoda to see for certain, but It is a certain enough feeling to cause the Jedi Master to decline to train young Anakin, or to even allow for his training by others.

                Another key point of note when looking at the Unifying Force is the fitfth movie, “The Empire Strikes Back,” Here, as the Living Force and his Moral Compass of right and wrong seem to propel Luke out to face Vader and (attempt) to save his friends, he is rebuked by Yoda and Ben, both having insights from the Unifying Force, who attempt to dissuade Luke from going. And though all turned out alright in the end, Luke had a very close call. It is most interesting to note that, as far as the Expanded Universe Goes, Luke remains a firmly dedicated proponent of the Living Force (with all the blindness that entails) well throughout the books, until the Hand of Thrawn Duology. After this point he begins to see a more rounded view of the galaxy, and becomes more of a practitioner of the Unifying Force.

                But the Unifying Force has disadvantages of its own. When seperated from a healthy respect for the Living Force, pure dedication to the Unifying Force can make a Jedi cold, heartless, and content to allow for the suffering of others in order to maintain the greater good. Thus, Ben and Yoda come across very harsh and cold when they try to force Luke to stay on Dagobah. Their utter lack of compassion makes it impossible for them to view the suffering of three lives as anything important in the grand scheme.


“Everything which has transpired has done so according to MY Design!”

Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi


                One other key aspect of the Unifying Force, however, is that through extensive foresight, it is possible to affect future events, and alter them to your will. Emperor Palpatine uses this skill EXTENSIVELY. Like Yoda, his command over Foretelling Future events is INCREDIBLE. It is possible that his range of broad scope surpasses even that of Yoda, for neither Yoda nor Ben foretell the disastrous outcome of the Rebel Assault on the Death Star, but it is clearly shown that not only had the Emperor forewarning of the assault, as far back as the beginning of “Shadows of the Empire,”but that he was orchestrating the entirty of those events to bring about HIS will. He had carefully prepared the whole, devilish affair in hopes of seducing the last Jedi – young Skywalker – to the Dark Side.

                But this skill is not without fault, occassionaly … for as we see …


“I have forseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will come to you, and then you will bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the Dark Side of the Force.”

Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi


“Everything is proceeding as I have Forseen.”

Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi


                Despite the Emperor’s awesome command over the Unifying Aspect of the Force – despite all his foreknowledge, his planning, his designs – he failed to grasp the entire scope of the future. He foresaw neither that the young Skywalker would resist turning to the Dark Side – the young imp of a Jedi had more power than he! – nor that his trusted, docile servant would just as surprisingly turn BACK to the Light Side. These short-sights, few and small in scope as they may seem, brought about the Emperor’s great fall, and the end of his reign. Their meaning is all too clear – trust not overmuch on your perceptions of the Future for “Always in motion Is the Future.”


Sides of the Force


The Light Side of the Force


                Although many great and memorable quotes in the vast wealth of Star Wars refer to the Dark Side of the Force, not near as many pay attention to the Light Side. This is because, in the view of the Jedi, and indeed, in the proven view of the Force itself, the 'Light Side' of the Force is not so much a distinct SIDE of the Force, as is widely believed, as it is simply the native, un-perverted true nature of the Force - the Force in its untainted form.

                The Force, and its Light Side, as was seen above, is made from the energies of all life. Indeed, the Light Side of the Force encourages the natural order of life - and it can be truly argued that Death is merely a perversion of life - and it enhances the living of all things that do live.

                Those who serve the Light Side, the Native nature of the Force, find themselves commonly empowered by the Life Force of the galaxy - strength just naturally FLOWS into them. Their bodies are refreshed, and often the life span of a Jedi is extended to far greater that of non-Jedi of his species. Touching the Light Side of the Force is often a pleasant, peaceful sensation much like that of bathing in a crystal clear spring, or walking through green fields while the cool breeze brushes over your face. It is the most perfect way of experiencing the unadulteraded peace and calm of the Force that exists today.

                Those non-Jedi Force Users who practice the Force and are not claimed by the Dark Side, whether they be servants of the Goddess, Witches of Dathomir, or even the Aing-Tii Monks, find themselves almost exclusively serving the Light Side of the Force, for as long as they serve the betterment of others, and not the good of their own selves, they remain pure - though long affiliation with Dark Side power or with great power of any degree is likely to consume even the best-meaning of users - and in the Light.


                Although the Light Side existed before - long before - the advent of the Earliest Jedi, no other Order of Force Users in the galaxy has ever so completely defined the Light Side and worked to stay well within the Light. They are the most experienced of Force Users in the ways of Light and Dark, and know well the boundaries between them. Therefore it is moot that in explaining the Light Side of the Force, we should also give some explanation of the Jedi Order, and its teachings, for truly - if you wish to understand the Light Side of the Force - you must understand the Jedi Order.


The Jedi Order - An Introduction


                Some 25,000 years or more before the onset of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Jedi came together as an intergalactic council of philosophers and teachers and academacians, who debated openly the mystic energy field known as the Force - debated its uses, its purpose, and its nature. Not long after this group was founded, some of its members began to learn how to manipulate the Force, how to wield it, and to harnass its power. These beings became known as the Jedi Knights, an intergalactic order of peacekeepers which would last for more than a thousand generations of the Old Republic. Legend states that the earliest of the Jedi learned the moral rights and wrongs of their power from the ancient and peaceful race of the Camaasi, though this has never been substantiated.

                Not long after the Jedi Knights emerged, the first Jedi Council convened, and a Code of conduct for all the Jedi was formed, a Code which governed the actions and processees of the Order, and dictated how it would function. This Code has largely now passed away, but its key precepts, along with an ancient Mantra of Jedi Lore, have survived to guide the new Jedi Order in their misson to the galaxy.

                As I said earlier, it is almost nessecary, in this day and age, if one seeks to understand the nature of the "Light Side of the Force," for that one to first understand the nature of the Jedi Order. To this end, I have compiled many key lines and quotes which refer to the nature of the Jedi and their relation to the Light Side of the Force. I hope these may be of assistance.


The Nature of the Light Side of the Force


                Before we begin, it is nessecary to realise that whatever the Light Side may be, it is the direct, polar opposite of the Dark Side. White against Black. There is no Grey, and there is no blurring of the lines between Light and Dark.

                It is also good to realise that, just as the essential Nature of the DARK SIDE, as we will discuss later, is greed, the essential Nature of the Light Side is self-sacrifce. Where as a Dark Sider invariably uses his power to further HIS desires and wishes over that of the galaxy's, the Jedi humble themselves to the greater good of the galaxy, serving the Light Side of the Force, Serving Life itself, and protecting the galaxy's many peoples and worlds from evil. Thus, if one seeks to determine whether they are acting in the interests of the Light Side or of the Dark Side, they should ask themselves the following question "Is it my glory or the glory of another small number of beings that I seek to enlarge, or do I seek to enhance the glory of the greater good through my sacrifice?"


"A Jedi Uses the Force for Knowledge and Defense, Never For Attack."

Master Yoda - Star Wars Episode V: The Return of the Jedi


"Article II: Jedi Use Their Powers to Defend and Protect, Never to Attack Others."

The Jedi Code


                The Light Side seeks to understand the nature of things. It seeks to root out the causes of evil and malignancy, for knowledge is power to combat evil. Thus, the Jedi are often seen as scholarly, studious beings with deep and investigative minds. The Jedi are slow to action, because they seek first to understand the nature of the problem at hand, lest rash actions cause undue problems in the future. Furthermore, the Jedi are instructed to regularly engage in meditation - to meditate deeply upon their actions and to determine whether they were both just and in the interests of the Light Side of the Force.

                Coupled with the desire for knowledge and understanding is a hesitancy in the Light Side to attack. The Light Side promotes the life and well-being of all creatures, good or evil, and the Jedi are instructed - aye, the Jedi feel an overwhelming compulsion from the Force itself - not to kill or to take a life unless absolutely nessecary. This places the Jedi in the position of being defensive from the get-go, slow to action, slow to combat of any kind, but even beyond THIS stipulation, there is yet another. A Jedi who uses the Force to attack others, and not merely to defend when forced to, indirectly seeks to extert HIS will upon the galaxy, and this agression can lead to the DARK SIDE of the Force.

The Dark Side

The Force is like any element of nature -- it has bother positive and negative aspects: the light side and the dark side. The light teaches peace and harmony. It is the constructive side of the Force from which all love, understanding and knowledge originate -- it is the essence of life. Those who are at peace with themselves can learn to harness the amazing powers of the Force. The dark side is the counterweight to the light. Many young students falsely believe that the dark side is stronger than the light -- in truth, it is only easier. The dark side springs from the negative and destructive impulses of all living beings -- anger, fear, and hatred are its symptoms. Death and war are the byproducts of the dark side. It is dangerously seductive to those who lack the ability to control their emotions and passions. Those who give in to the dark side find their abilities greatly enhanced at first, but as time passes, the dark side does not respond so readily. The dark side seduces individuals with promises of power, but once someone takes up the darkness, the only rewards are pain and helplessness. The dark side controls her, rather than her controlling it. The dark side demands more and more of those in its power. Those who are sensitive to the Force soon learn that there is no middle ground between the dark and the light. For most beings -- unaware of the power of the Force -- the struggle between good and evil is not as powerful, not as compelling. For those attuned to the Force, the struggle of good versus evil, life versus death, is of utmost importance. Those who learn the ways of the Force must be careful to remember their own inner peace or they will surrender themselves to the dark side, as Anakin Skywalker did many, many years ago. They must be careful not to start down the path of the dark side, for its self-destructive ways are difficult to leave once embraced.

The Force's Many Guises

Even those who don't believe in the Force can unconsciously manipulate it and be manipulated by it. They may not be truly "sensitive" to its flow, but they still call upon the Force without even realizing. These people seem to have an almost unnatural ability to accomplish their objectives, whether their intent is good, evil or somewhere in between. The skeptical call it luck. The unskeptical call it destiny or fate. It is the Force. Among those who learn to manipulate the Force, the most common path is that of the Jedi. Each Jedi relates to the Force in a different way, drawing upon a wide variety of powers -- different manifestations of how the Jedi can manipulate her internal Force and the Force of the universe around her. Students of the Force can learn to slow or stop their own life functions, accomplish physical tasks that others would consider impossible, and even move physical objects by the power of the mind alone. Others beside the Jedi Knights know how to manipulate the Force. They often attribute their powers to different sources -- magic, shamanism, religion, meditation, ancestor worship, or any of a million other forms of insight -- but through whatever means, they are using this mystic energy to change the world around them. Some examples are the following:
  • Jedi
  • Sith
  • Dark Jedi
  • Jensaari
  • Aii-Ting
  • Tyia
  • Ysanna
  • Dark Jedi
  • Nightsisters