The Force, The Whole Force, and Nothing but The Force

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The Youngling’s guide to the Force!

Hai Guys! Trimaj here, with my first post on this here blog, and I’ve been ruminating on the Force (as if you can’t tell by the title, I mean really). Mainly on how it’s evolved from the magical and mystical “energy field created by all living things” of the Old Trilogy to the pseudo-scientific midichlorians of the Prequel Trilogy into even more… strange things when you get into the Expanded Universe and Clone Wars cartoons. Overall it seems like Lucas hadn’t really considered what the Force really was when he started all of this, and it sort of got lost in the expansion of the EU with the PT midichlorians being his attempt to ground it, as it were, in reality. Personally I think it’s a real shame that Lucas even felt the need to do this, but it also makes sense in universe for the Jedi to have figured out what connected them to the Force after something like 35,000 years. But I don’t think that when Lucas did that it was actually known how long the Jedi had actually been founded (feel free to correct me on this one in the comments). Overall, I’d have to say that the mystical, penetrating, life energy was probably my favorite phase of the Force, just because it’s so mysterious and you know so little about it. It seemed like anything was possible back then, just like the entire Star Wars universe was so much of a blank slate with the OT and immediately after. Admittedly I’m not QUITE that old, but I did see the movies before I was able to even pretend to read any of the books, and it was such a captivating place. I never imagined back then that we’d actually GET another set of movies, and was amazed when I did finally get into the books, starting with TImothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy (a great starting place for anyone really). Then we got The Phantom Menace, and the picture of the Force changed forever.

You see, what Lucas did by grounding the ability to use the Force in an organic organism was to irrevocably change it and make it less mystical and more magience. This was a sad thing to me, mainly because there is so little in Sci-Fi worlds left mysterious in many ways. Everything has to be grounded in Science, even if it’s in another galaxy where not everyone is going to understand everything because that’s just the nature of reality. That is one thing I’ve always liked about fantasy worlds in general, that mysterious unknown where they don’t even attempt to explain things, but that’s another discussion entirely. Basically we’ve gone from magic to magience, which I suppose is a typically good thing in a Sci-Fi world, but this doesn’t do anything to explain how it works, or what the Force even is. That’s what we have the next section of this post for.

Now things start getting slightly wacky, as we have to look at Mortis, the Ones and how they fit into things. Or how they don’t, because they jive with this universe about as well as actual time travel and Waru. Sadly both of these actually exist in this universe via The Crystal Star and Crosscurrent (no I’m not saying either of them are actually bad books (though Crystal Star is), just that they don’t really fit within the established mythos of Star Wars. While it was interesting to finally get some information on the mysterious Celestials in Apocalypse, going and looking at the Ones was just underwhelming and confusing. If the Force has a will, was it theirs? Where did they come from? Were they the original Force users? And that’s just the tip of the questionberg that we’re left with relative to them.

What I’ve personally been able to glean from them was that they influenced the will of the Force, otherwise how could it have a light and dark will if it is just an energy field? I could never really figure that one out, and in a way it is a relief to know that there is something outside of the Force that is influencing it. But since they’re kind of dead, it would suggest that they’ve merged with the force and legitimately become its will after Anakin was there and all of the Ones died. Or merged with the Force, or whatever it is that Force Entities actually do. Basically what I’m thinking is that the Jedi were guided by the Daughter, for a time, and to a degree turned their back on her to do whatever the republic wanted them to do, which is why their ability to use the Force started diminishing. As a result of that the influence of the Lightside was grossly weakened (which might have been why the Father got sick, now that I think about it. This entire thing is almost stupidly convoluted at this point :-P). Darth Plagueis even commented on this in the book of the same name by James Luceno. This was what started me thinking about this, along with my colleague’s post Blinded, Are the Knights. Plagueis was talking about that time, and what had happened the entire thousand plus years running up to that, and how they had lost their opposite to deal with. Essentially the war between the Son and Daughter was taken away from them as the Son started a different kind of war, and the Jedi stagnated and ended up pulling away from the Daughter. Given that this is what the entirety of the balance of the Force is about, their fight and how it evens out under the Father’s watchful eye, it does make sense that the Jedi became lost and in essence had a perverted lightside imbalance as it wasn’t lining up with the Daughter’s will. Now, whether this is actually a GOOD thing or not I can’t really say, but it does seem like that’s what happened. In a way, by the Daughter winning the war between the Jedi and Sith she ultimately lost, because the Jedi didn’t have as much need of listening to the will of the Force, or the will of the Daughter if you will.

Another thing I’m thinking is that the Son might have noticed how much Exar Kun was capable of doing on his own, and might have realized that there doesn’t have to be a lot of people following what he wants so long as they are powerful. In essence he focused almost all of the darkside of the Force in the Baneite Sith to bring about the downfall of the Jedi and the Daughter. And as I said, I think this might be why the Father grew ill, because things were so far out of balance due to the Son’s actions that he essentially caused the fall of the Ones at the hands of Anakin Skywalker. I do find it very interesting WHEN precisely Anakin Skywalker happened, and that it was right after Plagueis and Sidious had raised someone from the dead for the first time, and done it over and over. Even more interesting that Plagueis had been playing with that very idea, a being created by the Force. To me, this is something that has the Father’s fingerprints all over it, especially since he wanted Anakin to be his replacement. So in a way, the prophecy about Anakin was completely correct, he WAS meant to bring balance to the Force in a far more penultimate role than even Lucas could have imagined. What makes this even more interesting is when you look back at the Dawn of the Jedi series of comics, and what the Jedi originally were as the Jed’aii. But that’s for another post (my next one in fact :-P).

As this is starting to get rather on the longside, I’ll leave you all with this: The Force is something that will continue to evolve, and likely change completely with the new trilogy of movies coming out as well as all of the tie-ins that are planned. Not to mention that the current EU will also probably end up dumped by the wayside (this saddens me greatly, but what can you do?). But we can be sure that with the evolution of the Force, and by extension the very foundation of Star Wars itself, that we’ll have new theories and ideas to keep interest in the philosophical and metaphysical side of that galaxy far, far away.

Join me later this week as we look at the origins of the Jedi, and I’m sure I’ll be returning to this topic sometime in the future (hopefully in the comments on this post, but if not at a later date). Thanks for reading, any thoughts and comments in general are appreciated.

Trimaj out.

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Posted on August 29, 2013, in Deep Thoughts, Tristan/Trimaj and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Trim,

    Fascinating post. I have two comments, one as a question. The timing of Shmi Skywalker’s pregnancy coincided with the experiments on Venamis, and Luceno tells us that this was the action of the “Force”- which, by and large, a very broad answer. The concept that it may have, in fact, been the actions of the Father is not one that I had considered, nor the possibility that he had something to do with it. I am intrigued to see if we are ever to get more information on the Ones, including some constraints on their own ability- at this point, all we know is that they are a manifestation of the Force- however, as we discussed in an earlier post, is there “only so much Force to go around?”

    My second comment is this, and this is purely an opinion. You mention that the Order’s ability to use the Force diminished as they began to act more autonomously from the Republic, likely coinciding with much of the corruption that mired the Senate. For much of that time, Yoda was likely a leading member or Grand Master of the Order, so the decision to do so (either intentionally or unintentionally) likely was in part, his. Luke also breaks with new Republic, multiple times, yet we don’t see his Force capacity diminish. My question is, do you think the PT Order’s ability to use the force diminished more as the moved away from the Republic, or was it more due to the very concentrated, expanding role that Damask and Palpatine played in the Republic? Luke did not have the Sith to contend with, at least not at the strength Yoda did- I personally think that the Sith were the ones doing most of the moving- they steered the Republic away from the Order, moreso than the Jedi turning their own backs. And of course we know that the Jedi Order’s allegiance, even to a very flawed Republic, is best shown by their willingness to sacrifice an overwhelming number of their own in the Clone Wars.

    So much to talk about. Interested to see what you think.

    • Yea, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the will of the Force even is, and with the Ones around it really muddies the waters a lot as to what that actually even is. What it sounds like to me is that you essentially have four voices talking through one medium, and you can really only be tuned into three of them at most (as a Sith). You have the Father, which is trying to balance everything out, the Son who is into destruction and the darkside being in power, the Daughter who is creation and the lightside, and then Abeloth who only wants chaos and doesn’t care how you get it. I’m pretty sure about the first three being legit, but less certain about Abeloth having a voice in things simply because of what she is. I figure that the Sith get stuff from Father (rarely, more of a Dookuish type), the Son (all of them) and Abeloth (the crazy destructive ones, and then it’s still somewhat questionable) while the Jedi only hear from the Father and Daughter since that’s what they’re aligned towards. None of which even touches on what you were talking about like… at all. So back on topic, it does seem like the Father would take the overarching guiding role of balancing everything out, which is essentially what Anakin was to what the Sith were doing. However I’m starting to think that it’s not so much that there’s “only so much of the Force to go around” as it is how closely you’re following the will of the Son or Daughter, depending on which side you’re on. Maybe that plays into it a little bit, because it does explain the concentration of the Force in darkside users, but they were also doing EXACTLY what the Son wanted them to do as well, while the Jedi started doing what the Republic wanted instead of what the will of the Daughter or Father was. You also have a lot more Jedi not following that will, so it dilutes their power as well, making that entire side of the Force weaker.

      Actually, you have that slightly backwards (which means I wasn’t as clear as I should have been). It was as they acted with the Republic instead of what the will of the Force was (by way of the Father and Daughter wanted) that they started losing their powers, and the darkside was able to cloud things so that they couldn’t see what was going on. It was a double whammy, they grew weaker while the darkside grew stronger. With Luke it’s precisely because he DOES break from the Republic and do what the Force wants him to do that he and the order aren’t losing their powers (that and they haven’t had anywhere near long enough for that to start taking effect either way, I mean it was around a thousand years for the Old Republic Jedi to reach that point).

      To answer your question, I think it was probably a combination of the Jedi having basically done what the Republic wanted for a thousand years without really questioning it so much, combined with the Republic itself becoming corrupt and thereby opening the way for Damask and Palpatine to infiltrate it and corrupt it even more. A vicious circle that fed on itself, essentially.

      Part of why Luke wasn’t having the same problems is because he broke away from what the Old Jedi Order was doing, very directly. He became more what they were originally (ironic that), and he was also in a more balanced time because he came after Anakin restored balance by leaving Luke as the only known Force user at the time. Or at least the only important one left, as Sidious and Vader were then gone and their galaxy wide influence disappeared with them, as the Empire then became a mundane thing instead of Force fueled.

      Oy this ended up being longer than I wanted. 😛

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head on just about all points. Darth Bane, early on, is driven by the destruction of Kaan’s false order, and concentrating his power within himself and his apprentice- focused on what the Son wants, what the great Sith Lords like Revan taught, and less on the politics of war. So, in essence, the Sith of Bane’s era shared the same problem that the Jedi of the Republic era did- they allowed themselves to be drawn away from their teachings, the will of the son/daughter, and their distraction led to their destruction.

    So, going back to this thought that we have challenged about a finite amount of force ability in the universe, I have another question for you- why do you think that the Jedi can sustain a large order, and the Sith cannot? Do you believe that it is just the nature of the two orders- the Jedi aren’t bent on domination and rivalries, thus they co-exist? Or is it perhaps that the Sith are so self-centered that they do not put the effort into teaching/mentoring in the way Knights and Masters teach Padawans? Surely relationships such as Kas’im’s with Bane would challenge that, but perhaps that is an aberration. Sidious took time to train Maul from birth, but left him stranded on Mustafar to suffer for most of his existence. If we assume that the Son and Daughter are of equal ability, and there is one being from which the force flows directly to each side, how is it then that, if the power of the Son is only channelled into only two vessels (as opposed to thousands of Jedi), that each Sith is not infinitely more powerful? And yet we see that no Sith is without their doppleganger on the light side. The Jedi Order was at its strongest when it was large, in the days before Palpatine. The Sith were strongest when they were but two, Plagueis and Sidious. An interesting dichotomy.

    Staying on this theme, how do we treat those who switch sides? For example, Ventress; Dooku betrays her, she essentially leaves the Sith cause. Is she then receiving her Force powers from the Daughter and Father, instead of the Son and Father? This all leads me to make the following conjecture- that all force users are provided powers from each of the Ones, and the innate or assumed personality of each user is what determines whose powers they use, and whose they do not. This would then help to explain the somewhat level playing field, which is violated by only the strongest force users, like Anakin and Luke, who master abilities of both sides.

    There are a lot of thoughts just scrawled out here. If any of them make sense, feel free to pick them apart!

    • Well, think about where they each get their powers. The Son is interested in chaos and destruction, the survival of the fittest, and conflict creates strength. It makes sense that the Sith would be the embodiment of this, as we see throughout the books and movies. It’s what they are because of where they get their power, and whose will they follow. They want, they need, and they aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to fulfill those desires, no matter the consequences to someone else.

      Then you take the Jedi, and the Daughter, who is the embodiment of everything that is opposite of the Son and it makes sense that they would be able to sustain a larger order, because they are taking power from creation and growth through nurturing. Yes, conflict is necessary, but you attempt to nurture life and protect people instead of going after selfish desires. In essence, they subjugate themselves for the greater good, while the Sith subjugate everything else for the good of themselves.

      As for those that switch sides, well look at how they still go about acting. Ventress was still a fairly destructive force wasn’t she? It would suggest she was still getting her powers from the Son and Father (and Abeloth), but I do think you’re right about everyone having access to all of them, save the most extreme abilities like Force Light or something like essence transferal. Those seem to be distinctly one or the other powers that you have to have devoted your life towards going down that path to even have a chance of using them. Or things like Sith Magic, which it takes an inherent connection to the darkside to really be good at. So… I guess you could say it’s a bit of both?

      As to why the Jedi were strongest when they were… were they actually the strongest during the thousand year run up to Sidious becoming Emperor? It certainly didn’t seem like it to me. You had a few notable exceptions in Yoda, Mace and Obi-wan, but everyone else was essentially below them and even their powers were weakened because they were following the Republic instead of the will of the Force for their order. They pretty explicitly stated that actually. Plagueis said as much as well. I would contend that they were at their strongest during wars against the Sith, for instance when they had to deal with Kaan’s Sith, or before then during TOR. I wouldn’t say KOTOR because they were all but wiped out during the second game, but that seems… to be things balancing out again in some ways. Or with Luke’s NJO when they’re fighting against the Vong, because they represented an absence of the Force, so you essentially had the entirety of the Force backing them to keep the perversion that the Vong were out of power. Then you have the NJO during the FOTJ series, and they seemed pretty powerful again because they were fighting the Sith. Many of them grew stronger far faster than before because of that. But again, that’s the will of the Force coming into play and actually following it. That’s why Luke ultimately withdrew the Jedi from Coruscant, and disassociated the Order from the Republic so they could do what they needed to everywhere instead of just at the Republics beck and call.

      I think that’s all I’m going to say in this post, because it’ll just get too convoluted otherwise. 😉

      • When looking at the Jedi Order and their relative strength, it is hard not to look at the top and then judge down- like you say, they had Yoda and Mace, and then Obi-Wan and Anakin, all in the same era, four of the most powerful Jedi in the history of the galaxy. That being said, I think an argument could be made for Hoth’s order, given what they were up against. Luke’s NJO was a very different animal in that you didn’t always have “full-time” Jedi- some had other lives, and just pitched in when needed (a real beauty of the post-OT Jedi, IMO). Although the threat they faced was daunting, it is not one that I think would have defeated the PT Order, either.

        Hoth’s order doesn’t enjoy the recognition or specifics that we have for the PT Order, but the fact that they survived as long as they did against the Brotherhood is in itself impressive. The order that Satele headed up was surely strong and large in numbers, but they also enjoy the contrast with the Order in its state prior to Satele taking over, when they were hoodwinked by Angral and Malgus, and suffered devastating decimation in numbers and structure.

        So, in the end, it’s hard to say. I am most familiar with the PT Order, we’ve got the most on them- however, they were the caretakers of the Republic leading up to its darkest hour, leaving them open to endless criticism.

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