Star Wars™: Jedi vs Sith Philosophy
In Star Wars™, the Force is an energy that exists in all things. It is all things. Everything living within the universe came from the Force, and everything living shall return to it. And though the Force contains all things, it is more than just a cosmic construct, it has a will of its own. It wills, almost purely, for balance.
The Force is not good nor evil, though it can be used for actions of either sort. Depending on your method of connection to the force, you can train and gain abilities through the manipulation of the Force itself. Perhaps it’s manipulating yourself to jump higher, perhaps it’s using Jedi mind tricks to manipulate stormtroopers. And on the other hand, it could be manipulating matter itself to create Force Lightning, an expression of pure rage erupting from a Sith’s fingertips.
So what are these methods of connecting with the Force? What are the two predominant philosophies that guide force users all throughout the Galaxy? It’s the philosophy of the Jedi and the Sith.
The Jedi Philosophy
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
– The Jedi Code
The Jedi believe themselves to be peacekeepers. They act based on a code of selflessness, intentionally giving their lives to the protection of the freedom of others. Their philosophy leaves no room for the self. Your identity as a Jedi is significantly less important than your responsibility as a Jedi.
You are intended to release yourself from the burden of emotions. From the perspective of the Jedi, emotions only cloud the connection the Force by bringing something personal to a much larger cosmic energy. To be a Jedi is to relinquish the personal for the greater good. If you can release your hatred, fear, anger, and even your passion, you can learn to connect with the Force in a way that grants incredible powers.
Even with these powers, it is important for the Jedi to rely on visions and communication from the Force itself. The Force wills for balance, and it inspires those who listen to strive for that balance. Often, that balance requires great and immediate action, through highly strategic and massive operations. Taking down Emperor Palpatine was no small feat and required the collaboration of multiple generations of Jedi. And on the other hand, sometimes the Force insists upon inaction. The Jedi have often remained neutral in fights to maintain balance and emotional ambivalence.
This inaction is often confusing to those outside of the Jedi order. Perhaps the Force’s mysterious ways cannot be understood by those who are not Force sensitive, or lack the vision that it offers. However, many believe the Jedi are too passive, and refuse to go far enough to achieve peace.
This has sometimes caused dissent and disagreement in the order, causing students like Ahsoka Tano™ to abandon the path to make her own way in the galaxy.
The Sith Philosophy
Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Through Passion, I gain Strength.
Through Strength, I gain Power.
Through Power, I gain Victory.
Through Victory, my chains are Broken.
The Force shall free me.
– The Sith Code
The Sith believe almost the exact opposite of the Jedi. They believe the Force is simply a power to be claimed, and used for their personal gain. Their emotions are the direct source of their power. Fear, anger, and passion guide them to manipulate the world into the shape that they desire. They can use their emotions in a way that the Jedi can’t. Their emotions give them power and allow them to access aspects of the Force that the Jedi cannot.
Due to the decidedly selfish nature of the Sith, they have the Rule of Two. It ensures that there are only two true Sith at any given time, otherwise, the struggle for power among the selfish Force users would result in the complete annihilation of the Sith. It is interesting that in this way, the Sith practice some form of moderation in a philosophy that is typically violent and excessive. Instead, they recognize that those who want absolute power cannot share it. They believe that their power is the only one that matters, and they will do anything, even bend the Force to their will, to take that power for themselves.
While the Sith are often perceived as the more extreme of the two philosophies, it should be noted that the Jedi are also extreme, just the opposite extreme. While the Sith are constantly acting in self interest, the Jedi are meant to never act in self interest. Balance exists somewhere between the two philosophies, and yet, due to that, neither philosophies are balanced on their own. The Sith could not exist without the Jedi, and the Jedi could not exist without the Sith. Balance in the Force is always the goal, but perhaps these philosophies are incapable of bringing that balance.
Do both of Star Wars‘ philosophies feel true to you? Are the Jedi too narrow-minded, or the Sith too selfish? Do you believe that there is a balance between the two? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!