What is the Force?
There are many diverse opinions on what the force is. What started out as a vision of George Lucas has developed into a multi-cultural and in-depth philosophy emphasizing a multitude of aspects and theories based on the portfolio of mankind’s spiritual legacy.
Meeting different people pledged to studying the force, we also encounter many different core considerations. Some believe eastern teachings, reflecting the spirituality and lore of philosophies such as Zen, Tao and Chi, represent the best roadmap to explain the force. Others take a more western approach, looking at Christianity, Druidism and even Witchcraft for the right answers.
Within the force again, the practicing majority agree that different aspects exist, defining the moral values any student should follow. Some believe the force should be studied to do good in the world, others believe it is solely a personal path to mainly benefit own and individual goals.
While the communities agree and consolidate all such initiatives under a joint brand, acknowledging equal value for each concept presented, there is little information provided on theories trying to encompass a holistic view, describing the force in its entirety. This post is devoted to that goal.
At this point and before I proceed, I would like to mention the perhaps obvious disclaimer: That these are only my own personal thoughts, based on my personal and individual experience studying the force and by no means intend to represent an absolute truth or represent a majority opinion on anyone’s behalf. The presented theory is not a comprehensive answer, but only an attempt to connect certain dots and present a pattern and next level model for personal consideration. I would also like to highlight that this theory is currently in what I would refer to as a draft status. The focus point of consideration is the logical and spiritual contents, in the understanding that the mentioned theory requires further refinement before it can be ideally presented as teaching material.
The force represents the universe in its entirety. Including all living beings as well as the energies existing between all matter, living beings and the universe itself. In its core, I see the force as a polar trinity of energies. Imagine a diagram of a point in three dimensional space. You have three axis determining its position. One axis represents Good and Evil. The second axis represents Order and Chaos. The third, Life and Death. In the middle, the center point and intersection of all three axis, you find your average human being. In a first step, I would like to outline more around the axis and the forces they represent.
Many people believe that physical beings, eg. human beings, are not the only form of sentient beings in existence. They believe there are powers, deities and other forms of sentience that are accessible to us, representing certain moral or ethical values and intentions. Regarding terminology, I would like to distinguish between Sentient Entities and Energies. The Sentient Entities being non physical forms of cognitive life that exist within the universe. Energies being a form of power that can provide and fuel, but that also represent a direct or indirect part of these Entities. An extension of their will. But one that also connects with other living beings and influences them.
If I try and summarize the historic development of the universe, to further outline the above, I would see it as follows. First there was the universe. It was there, but it was empty . And I will leave the question of who or what put it there aside for now. What did exist within the universe at that time was raw energy. Without direction or purpose. This perhaps being by definition the origin of Chaos. As the energy further stabilized, it began to separate, distinguishing different forms of energy with their own first patterns and behaviors. This again, potentially marking the birth of Order.
As these first Energies grew in age and diversity, contributing further to their complexity and purpose, first matter came into existence. Gases developed creating stars and matter. Some things came into being and some again became unstable and dissolved. This again potentially marking the birth of Life and Death in terms of creation and destruction. While it is tempting to argue that destruction is nothing but Chaos, the opposite is untrue. Creation is also a matter of Chaos. Out of given energies, a change must occur. A pattern needs to reshape and redefine itself to create. It can be argued that a form of Order is developing out of Chaos, but creation is movement and thus, not Order by definition. Therefore I have considered it as part of the more traditional terminology of Life and Death.
So at this point we have Energies with a purpose. A program that they follow, interacting with each other, whereas the dominant manifestation of one source of Energy began to dictate physical occurrence in the universe. With age, the sum of each Energy, expanded in an ever-complex pattern throughout the universe, eventually developing its own sentience. This is a point that can be obviously argued and is certainly a point of controversy. In my personal beliefs and theories, anything that exists for long enough will develop sentience.
Let’s say you would throw a piece of toast on your front lawn. It will grow moldy, it will decompose and become a part of the soil. At the same time, the soil will offer by-products: grass will grow out of it; maybe bushes and trees. But also bacteria, which is nothing other than Life. Bacteria will develop eventually into more sophisticated life forms. Water creatures, later land animals and eventually human beings. Somewhere along that line sentience developed out of our piece of toast.
If you take a stone, the same thing will happen. Granted we need maybe some more time. Some wind to turn it into sand. Some rain to turn sand into mud. Inevitably you are granted soil again, or at least algae growing on the side of our original stone. I concur that this is not a comprehensive answer, but explains the gist of what I am getting at. Everything eventually becomes alive with its own energies that it encompasses but also adheres to. If this is true for physical matter, which is just a reflection of energy, why should it not be equally true for energy itself.
Coming back to our Energies. Our existing Energies at this point, with their own program and intent as well as a growing sentience. Not all energy is always applied in full utilization. There are always remaining energies, a by-product that disperses and is recycled back into the whole. If we allow for existing Energies to have achieved sentience then in the end we must allow for the same regarding their by-products.
The Energies continued to diversify and develop into more and more forms. Each form weaker than the parent it came from (principal of dividing energy). At some point there was a mesh of energies indirectly supporting the overall expansion of the universal program. From Chaos would come Life that would continue to expand in its manifestations. A pattern and Order of its own. These new energies, this mesh, focused on the preservation of these activities, and given enough age, developed a sentience of their own. And thus what was considered Good and right to occur in the universe became defined. As each energy must have its opposite in equal measure, a different mesh of by-product focused on the destructive aspect of the universal programming. The more action occurred in terms of productive expansion and Order, the stronger opposing forces would need to develop to support an equilibrium and balance. From this nature of opposing Good Energies, came in simplified terms, the Energy of Evil.
As the universe continued to unfold and Energies continued to produce their own offspring of sorts through a mix of mentioned by-products, first independent sentient beings developed. Made of incorporeal energies, and with a far more diverse pattern in terms of programming and behaviors, beings developed that we would refer to as deities.
And this assumption rings true as well if we revisit our own historic religions: Almost each religion and god or pantheon offers a story of creation, where the gods were born by the parents of Life, creation, Order and other defined energies.
The deities existed in the same framework of polar trinity. Depending on the underlying energies of their birth, and what they chose to associate themselves with, they can be profiled in our three dimensional diagram. Each deity known in history can be mapped out. Did he or she stand more for Good or Evil? Each one had a closer affiliation with Life or Death as well as Order or Chaos. Were they preservers or destroyers for mankind.
And here I make also a clear distinction that their birth pattern played as important a role as their conscious actions. I align with something I read from Jediknight G the other day. The more we do Good and think Good, the more we become aligned with that power, force or Energy. The same goes for Evil. The same goes for any other alignment within the trinity. The same goes for human beings as it does for deities. Some deities were more distinct in their alignment towards the trinity. The Midgard-Serpent will one day devour the world (Death). He has little else to add or which he seeks. Zeus on the other hand was more sophisticated in his alignment. He created man (Life), but also didn’t hesitate to punish his foes (Death, Order). The Christian God in the old testament seems to be more harsh, apparently focusing more around Order than around Good, which becomes later his dominant role in the new testament.
Again, this part of the theory makes further assumptions. That the deities allied and battled each other, and eventually turned their attention to mankind as an extension of their battleground.
Which is where the ever forming creation of lesser Energies inevitably lead to. The first cognitive sentience that did not have enough energy to sustain itself without a physical shell, i.e. human beings.
Looking at the above assumption that opposed Energies would try and hinder each other, it is logical to assume that deities would do the same based on their alignments.
With that humanity came into the picture. Our own as well as potentially that of other worlds and their version of a corporal sentience. And as perhaps the older Energies did unto the deities, so did they try and do unto us. Approach us and explain what they stand for and seek that we align our own behaviors and core with the values (pattern of the alignment) they stand for.
But no matter how the deities aligned themselves according to our diagram, they would have one dominant axis of alignment which is usually what they became famous for and is the dominant Energy they project.
A valid question here is: why serve? What is the purpose or benefit for a deity to have a human align himself to a specific Energy. I believe this has to do with trying to further and nurture the strength of that Energy. If we simplify again: A Good god approaches you and wants you to do Good. Your actions, behaviors and thoughts continue to align yourself with the Energies of Good. It strengthens your link to it, over which you receive more and more guidance from your deity and the guiding principle, as well as your energies and by-products flowing, recycling back to the Energy you are aligned to most. This is probably valid in life as much as in any form of afterlife. Although logically, and regarding the big picture, no Energy can supersede the other without potentially putting the universe as we know it at risk, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try. We all know we are going to die one day, but still we try and do something meaningful with our lives, in accordance with our personal values. To support certain things and oppose others. We are fundamentally the same as deities in terms of our basic programming (if on a lesser scale). Which brings me back to our diagram.
What are the aspects of the Force?
Regarding the aspects, we distinguish between the Light, Dark and Shadow side within the force. In our diagram, I would consider the light side an area, including the area from the center to the end of the poles for Life, Good and Order. This is based on both the original information provided by the star wars universe, as much as it is based on how we see the Light Side practiced among its followers today.
In the star wars universe, we encounter jedis as protectors of peace; as warriors, scholars, diplomats and advisors. They follow a belief in a natural Order, accessing the force to seek guidance and insight. The jedi believe in peace and prosperity, in love and kinship as key values. They strive to protect and support what is Good in the universe, encouraging others to seek the same. They believe in the power and beauty of Life as the unique creation of the force.
The people following this path mutually follow the path as scholars. They study the force and offer advice and teachings to those seeking them out. But then we begin to see the differences in terms of which areas within the Light Side they take the most interest in. Many come from Christian background. They believe in the prevalence of Good, the importance to distinguish between right and wrong and nurture right in both own behavior as in the advice given unto others. Some come from a more esoteric background, from pagan belief systems, bringing with them ideas and concepts supporting the importance of creation and preservation of life.
Again many turn to the east, embracing traditional philosophies around Zen, Tao and Chi. Mind over matter, karma as the pathway to follow. From my own experience with eastern philosophies, I consider them most closely affiliated to Order. There is a destiny, a path that we all follow. Karma is the reflection of how we deal with that path. And while the path, as a reflection of Life will include its highs and lows, importance is given to maintaining inner peace. It is most important to maintain an inner balance, following a higher direction and Order. While events happen and emotions are incurred, it is about preserving balance within the inner self. We grow by the Good we encounter and make a part of ourselves. Change (Chaos) is often an important part of this. But we are also to let go of that which is negative and undesirable. The path is one of change, but the goal is to maintain Order despite the storm around us.
In many regards, with time, these cornerstones have become a weave of fabric which all graze with their fingers and clothes themselves in as they travel on their path through Life.
The Dark Side accordingly covers the area from the center to the end of the poles for Evil, Death and Chaos. Again, we find support of this both in the original star wars characters as well as the followers of the path today.
In the movies, we find quite obviously the theme of supporting Evil for its own sake. Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side as a result of his experienced pain and his inability to process it successfully. He brings terror and fear to others, so that they shall feel as he did. Bringing pain and suffering for its own sake is the very root description of Evil. We find death, in terms of what the sith bring to their enemies (destruction) as much as in their own philosophy. They take on every risk and challenge to further develop their own strength (Chaos), they maintain Death as a close companion. Any equilibrium they encounter, they try to disrupt. The only balance they achieve is within the Empire, but that only with two of them left and directing their order and will unto others.
Among the followers of the Dark Side, we find similar concepts. Many, I believe, focus actually on Chaos. They enjoy challenging the status quo, playing the devil’s advocate to test boundaries and gain a glimpse and insight of what lies beyond. Some do this for their own benefit, some to disadvantage their victims. You will find more esoteric practitioners in these ranks, many studying power and methods of achieving it. They tend to dissect human kind both physically and emotionally, detached and callous towards those they experiment on. They do this to fuel their own skills and powers, to sharpen the blade with which they bring destruction to any opposition. The relationship they entertain with destruction and Death, as per our definition, is a classical mark of their handwriting. Both in terms of their goals and action.
And then there are those who serve the Dark Side. Either in return for benefits acquired or for servitude’s sake. And with that, Evil grows within them and among them and is what they bring unto others and mankind.
The majority of current day followers of this path touch upon all three fields, again showing that there are roots, as well as a joint culture which has developed thereof.
The Shadow Side is not an aspect originally supported by the movies and the star wars universe (to my knowledge). And this is the aspect most difficult to pin point and define in terms of their culture. In our diagram I have concluded that they are themselves in the center, equally exposed to all poles. The difference to our “average human being” that has no (conscious) knowledge or relationship with the force is the way they experience and practice within their specific area. They create their own perimeter around the center point, equally seeking involvement and distance from each of the energies they are exposed to. They will embrace Chaos considering change a way of Life. They will focus on maintaining Order despite the storm around them. They will act in accordance with Good and Evil, believing there is justification in neither and both. They will look at Life as the path they travel on, but welcome Death and destruction as an inevitable step and encounter in their journey. From Death comes rebirth and the path continues.
Again the above focuses on what we predominantly expose ourselves to in terms of the Energies around us. These are our main focal points. But the diagram is more, giving us opportunity to also map out our own nature and thus understand our relationship towards others. As the deities, so do we have our own profile within the diagram.
If I look at my previous days, Evil would have been the power I most strongly aligned myself with. But seemingly contradictory, I also possess(ed) a strong sense of Order. I do believe in Chaos in terms of change, but seek to establish Order in all that I outline and teach. Life and Death I always respected in equal measure. And while on the one hand I supported creation through my teachings and apprentices on that path, I applied destruction as well to those who opposed me and stood in my way.
Satelle on the other hand, as I would profile her in this example, didn’t give much importance to Evil. What she did was to support her own position and expand on the opportunities and benefits at her disposal. But in her methodology, I would also rank her high on Order, which is probably the best example of why we still got along and always maintained respect for each other’s work, as differently as they valued the importance of Evil or lack thereof. Satelle’s relationship with Life and Death, Creation and Destruction. She would destroy to dissect, to learn and understand, but more in a scientific sense. On this axis, I would place her more towards creation and Life. For all her endeavors focused on developing and creating a unique methodology.
Richard is again different. By now I believe everyone has noticed how little we seem to get along. Richard doesn’t think much of Evil either in my point of view. He is strong in Chaos, which opposes my sense and striving for Order. In terms of Life and Death I would score him a bit more on the side of Death. I do see that he doesn’t hesitate to try and destroy something if he believes it will bring him additional insight. But I see no true creation of Life that he brings forward from his teachings. Of course, this is more based on his earlier workings as I’ve not seen any of his newer material. But if you look at the three of us, depicting us next to each other, you can see both what we have in common as much as what sets us apart. Maybe a fun suggestion for you to try and score yourself in the diagram and compare with people in your own environment. Both people you like and perhaps less appreciate.
And this is where I’ll stop for now. There is certainly more to discuss at this point: How does our exposure to the poles change us? How much choice do we really have in all this? And my favorite: Is it then better for us to strive to be in the middle, or towards the outer rims, as far down the poles as possible? These and other subjects I will expand on, if there is interest in going further down the rabbit hole presented above.
I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read and potentially reflect on this. Please do let me know your feed-back, as I mentioned it’s currently still a work in progress. What parts do you agree with? Which do you oppose? Where have I perhaps not outlined with enough consistency or enough detail? The benefit of sharing this with a community of scholars: To have the opportunity to bring the best out of myself and my own workings.
Darth Draeth wrote:Why do you equate the dark side with evil?
I don’t equate the two, but I do believe that Evil is part of the dark side.
Darth Draeth wrote:Similarly, it should not be hard to find lightsiders who lean to evil: they are the hypocrites, those who spout their moral code at every chance, who associate themselves with everything which is holy and pure… but who, in the end, are dodgy themselves, resorting to all around nastiness whenever their agenda meets opposition.
I understand the logic of the model you present, but I would see it differently. The “light sider” you describe embraces symbols of power, to strengthen the authority and control he has over others. If we abstract the symbolism used, as the tool it is, I would characterize him in one of three ways.
1.) He is indeed Evil and consciously misuses the authority others grant him in good faith.
2.) He is drawn to the Order the symbols and related structures represent but is not true to their teachings. This can be something the person is perhaps not even aware of.
3.) The combination of 1.) and 2.)
Darth Draeth wrote:Does this mean that when you responded to the title of Darth you were in fact evil?
Yes. In case you hadn’t noticed.
Darth Draeth wrote:I do not know if this is the case, i can only speak for myself and say that i am, in no way, evil, even though i am dark all the way.
As per my definition, a dark sider has a dominant interest in one of three areas: Chaos, Death or Evil. His remaining attributes can relate to any pole(s) of the trinity.
A sensitive topic certainly, and potentially a daring move on my behalf, but I could also understand your statement as a question. The question of how I would profile you in my model. I’ve certainly not known you long enough, but if you’re asking for my current perception, here you go:
You have a sense of Good in you. You believe in helping and protecting others, as you state yourself. You do have a sense for rules and conduct. I don’t believe you follow them purely for tactical purposes, which implies that you have a true code of conduct you believe in. You don’t seem to me to score high in destruction. You would if prompted to. Self defense or perhaps for the lesser reason of personal desire. But you also value creation. I would say these two hold a reasonable balance, with a slight tendancy towards creation (Life).
I would rank you third, with a balanced view, on the pole of Life and Death.
I would rank you second on Good.
Which means that you rank first on Chaos. And again, Chaos perhaps appearing to be a negative word, let’s replace it with Movement and Change for now.
You follow a certain Order, but your path is about gaining diverse experience. You enjoy expanding your understanding by absorbing alternating viewpoints. This helps you discover elements you wish to absorb and make your own. I agree this could be true for most people, without them aligning predominantly with Movement and Change. Unless Movement was an essential, fundamental principle of your path. Which is where I would bet my money, even if a longshot. This shows also in your statements of moral relativism and your flexibility to set out your own behavioral rules, situationally as they appear appropriate, from your own perspective.