This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Of Star Wars, and the weakness of the side of good

In the Star Wars universe, two sides dominate the philosophical discourse: the light side and dark side. Both sides utilize the Force, which is either a mystical power that binds the universe together or merely a physical manifestation of the energy created by microscopic organisms, depending on which 3 episodes you're watching. The fact that both the dark and the light use the Force for their own ends makes it a basically amoral power. It'll confuse the mind of your opponent just as readily as it will crush his trachea, it doesn't seem to care.

The difference between the Jedi(adherents of the light side) and the Sith(adherents of the dark side) appears to be that the Jedi value stability and democracy above all else, which tends to bring peace, prosperity and stultifying stupidity, while the Sith value chaos but are not above personal rule, which also brings peace, but at the end of a gun. The Jedi also, apparently, have no personal relationships with others, while the Sith do whatever the hell they want. So, on the one hand you have passionless defenders of good, but on the other hand, you have impassioned promoters of “do whatever the hell you want” philosophy. Funny how these things work out.

The Jedi are also deathly afraid of anything to do with the dark side. Passion, anger, fear, hatred, all these lead to the dark side. They socialize this fear into all the new trainees, thereby leaving them completely vulnerable to the very thing they're afraid of. The theory goes that if you tell them about all the things the dark side adherents can do(force lightning is pretty cool), they'll be tempted by it. But isn't that why we're told parents should speak to their children early about drugs and tobacco and alcohol and all that? To have serious discussions about these topics, not just block off certain aspects of their worldview.

The Jedi are told to bury their feelings, but are feelings really what causes the conversion to the dark side? In “Return of the Jedi”, Luke gained orders of magnitude of power when he unleashed his rage against his father and literally chopped his right hand clean off, but he failed to join the dark side because he refused to take that one final act of depravity, he refused to kill his father who was no helpless before him. In “Revenge of the Sith”, Anakin chops off Dooku's hand, and then kills the now-unarmed(Ha ha! Let the hilarity ensue!) and defenseless man.

So what is it the Jedi are really afraid of? It can't be emotion, because emotion in and of itself is like the Force, it's amoral. What I think they're really afraid of is succumbing to their emotions and they will do because of them. And Kenobi got it wrong; Anakin wasn't seduced by the dark side of the Force, he was seduced by an adherent of the dark side who twisted Anakin's love for his wife and made him do twisted things for it.

All this might lead you to suspect that the Jedi Order is weaker than the Sith, but that's actually not true. As a whole, on level ground, they're a match for each other, but the Sith don't believe in fair fights and always try to change the odds in their own favour. Apart from this fear of the dark side, the Jedi Order's only other weakness is overweaning pride in themselves and the belief in their own superiority. This explains why they fell so easily to a bunch of clones.

But the Sith have their own problems. Unlike the Jedi, they're true masters of the Force because they use it to its fullest potential, but that possible advantage is greatly offset by their cackling insanity. It may even be a safety feature of the Force: gain too much power, and the Force literally drives you insane, causing you to do stupid things that hasten your own downfall. Palpatine certainly fell victim to that; so sure was he of his own power, that the notion that his protege, Darth Vader, would betray and destroy him to protect his son never even occured to him. This, despite the obvious fact that Vader had betrayed and destroyed the Jedi Order not thirty years before.

The strengths and weaknesses of both sides, the light and the dark, balance each other out in the end, and in the end, the differences are settled the old-fashioned way, with a sword.

P.S.: Has anybody noticed how much they like chopping people's arms off in these movies?

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