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Justice3442


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Jun
17th
2019

The Force and the Human Condition: A short deconstruction of Star Wars. Patreon reward for Somber Star · 6:18pm Jun 17th, 2019

Hey readers,

Been a while since I've done one of these! As you may have heard, my Patreon stuff has gone over some major changes with a MUCH more active Discord server and different approaches to rewards. Also, I take booze money as a form of gratitude now.

Somber Star is still continuing to let me do whatever with his pledge, so I wrote up some thoughts on my server and figured I'd share here.

So, long-time fans of the Star Wars franchise might know there have been two major attempts in the franchise to deconstruct the light vs. dark aspects of the force. I'll explore these two pieces.

Hahahaha! Just kidding. We're going to stick with Kotor2

I'll dig a little deeper than into the franchise than just what Kotor is suggesting, because, intended or not the Sith themselves can offer up a rather interesting take on human drive.

First and foremost, the force is alive, or at least is always described as the "living force". I a key element to keep in mind here is living things change. To survive they have to move, eat, etc... So, it's important to keep in mind that the force, like other living things, is always in flux, at least a little bit. Sure, there's talk about balance but, this doesn't seem to be a static thing. I'd say a key symbol to visualize when talking about the force is the Chinese Thai Chi symbol.

What we have are two elements in a sort of, push-pull, ebb-and-flow, or even rotating. In fact, this mesmerizing (animated, probably not seizure inducing, but one can never be too careful) version probably demonstrates that better.

So, how does is change occur when it's applied in a very physical sense via magical space samurai?

Carnage. Lots of carnage and death... Perhaps a sort of ongoing war... That takes place amongst, the STARS if you will.

Let's start with the Sith. As mentioned, they tend to personify a type of emotion or drive, and not necessarily in a negative sense on the surface level.

Darth Vader is seemingly pure drive. He just keeps going and going no matter what obstacle is thrown in his way or what horrible thing befalls him.

which is why this commercial makes sense. He should have force chocked the hell out of that bunny.

.

Darth Sidious is also about grown and ambition, his methods are just a bit more obvious with the name, (in)Sidious.

Moving on to Kotor2, I find the characters of Sion and Nihilus interesting to explore through this angle, because they're both "force dead ends", if you will. Sion is basically sheer will to survive, but that doesn't give him a direction. Nihilus is pure desire to consume and annihilate, but with it having that nihilistic quality with nowhere to go, if he succeeds, there's simply nothing left and he's still just hollow and alone.

Now, Darth Traya. THERE'S a drive worth exploring.

So, she's built herself around being the Sith of Betrayal, which... seems like an idea that's not good at first. However, from Traya's perspective, she's basically built herself around the idea of constant and, often dramatic, change within her own life and those around her. One might consider this the "human condition" of never being completely satisfied. Which is to say, it's fairly common for a person to achieve everything they really need to be happy. Sure, they still have to go to work or maintain their car, get a new PC every few years, etc... etc...

However, with many, some might say MOST people, it’s just not enough, or perhaps we’re all just responding to the changes life throws at us. People tend to look around and wonder how they can continue to move forward. Get that promotion. That bigger house. The better car. Faster, faster.

In a strange way, people are betraying themselves. In the grand scheme of things, they’re not really accomplishing except feeding a voice in your head that can never be satiated. But, “Apathy is Death” and something HAS to give. Either you fight the voice tooth and nail, you give in and let it roll you over, or you embrace it and make it your own. That is how true growth occurs.

This is why Kriea in the game is so big on gaining strength on one’s own merits and doing things for oneself. It's those challenges that either destroy us or help us become better versions of ourselves

And this is where the Jedi come to ruin everyone’s fun.

Okay, that’s a tad hyperbolic. The Jedi are and the Light side is there to make sure the Dark side doesn’t completely destroy the galaxy and perhaps the force itself, A la what Darth Nihilus would have accomplished ultimately if left alone.

The Jedi don’t foster change, some might say they actively discourage it, but they do keep the peace. Again, the dark side run-amuck would likely result in the end of everything, if unintentionally in many cases.

This where the “balance” idea works. The Star Wars Galaxy has created a system to both foster change within it and keep from destroying itself. From this perspective, the Galaxy might be comparable to a “healthy, well-adjusted adult” on the outside, but is perhaps a strange, cobbled together system of things working and dying to move forward and just to keep the lights on at others.

Now, this explains why the franchise has multiple issues of Jedi opting out of the system and going to exile. There’s no real “end goal”. There’s no “eternal peace” with this system. There are just times of calm and times of tumultuous change and many might find that ultimately disappointing that they can never really sit down, and look at their work and think they’re done…

Sorry, buddy. There’s a whole ‘nother movie coming and… Wait, wrong franchise.

The issue is that this is a somewhat wrong, or perhaps, limited way to look at things. The Jedi want everything to say, but it’s still changing… Much like this song, but with a body count. The Sith want everything to change, but change to fast leaves nothing but a burnt wreck of a galaxy. Together, they complete each other in a perfect balance that goes on forever… and also leaves a body count.

What we have is the Jedi are working from the mistaken idea that the need to “win” and eradicate evil from the universe. The issue is that “evil” is somewhat synonymous with drive, the way the force is built and the Jedi aren’t there to destroy it, but keep it in check. A universe in which the light rules is just pure stagnation and an apathetic attitude to change, I.E. death.

So, the saga continues with those who step up to the challenge continuing to make ripples that will affect the Galaxy for a long time.

If you want to dig a little deeper into Kreia as a character, check out this pretty baller video on her.

And, again, if you want to give me topics to wax poetically on or want to hang out with me and some other super-cool peeps, check out my Patreon and join us on my server.

Catch ya in the comments!

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Comments ( 8 )

I love this blog post because it looks VERY STRONGLY like this is the direction Disney is now flowing.

George, as much as I love his Universe, was very much of the opinion that "Sith = Bad, Jedi = Good" However the fandom began to shift away from that idea long LONG before the Prequals rocked up.We get KoToR, we get Thrawn with his dark mirror of the Jedi 'There is no emotion, their is peace," we get the Witches of Dathomir.

So then we get the Prequals and George, once again at the reins, does a drama of good and evil. (EXCLUDING Qui gon Jin and Windu who never really get to explain their view of the force more then briefly.)

And then Dave Filoni takes over the media part of things....first guided by George, but latter far more free we start getting all kinda of Balance stuff.

The Father, Son and Daughter
The Force Priestesses
The Witches of Dathomir come back and are....while not FRIENDLY to the Jedi, the jedi don't just seek to destroy this Dark side cult merely for existing.
The Bendu and the like exist and speak of balance
We learn that the strongest Force events happen when both the Light and Dark are present with the Holocron thing.

(Technically we get whatever happened in the last season of Rebels, but that was a little bizarre with the time travel, unlimited power, insanity) .

And then we come to the Last Jedi and while it kinda fumbles it more then anything Dave made, it too tries to show that their is a middle road.

5075928

Thanks for your post and contribution! :pinkiehappy:

Yeah, the JLJ certainly stands out as directly dealing with many of the ideas put forth in Kotor2 and indeed ones explored outside the movies, these ideas still using the movies as a foundation to drive these concepts forward. TLJ was SORT of the first steps in incorporating them into core franchise, but, speaking strictly as to it handled the force aspect, it mostly just discussed the balance without nailing down what that means for the Galaxy as a whole, or rather, it probably could have used one or more scenes with just Luke and Rey hammering out how the mystical force manifests through force users and what fate they may or may not be able to escape.

Something that just occurred to me that the movie seemingly glossed over is Yoda has apparently changed how he views the force and is now embracing that sort of movement where he was arguably once THE biggest obstacle for change in the galaxy. He seemingly has rejected the old ways... at least... I'm assuming the arson was a way of invoking change and not just him being a weird douche-bag.

5075932

Its important to note that the last season of The Clone Wars, Yoda came close to accepting and understanding the importance of Balance. It was through this that he was able to become a Force Ghost. He fought and accepted his Dark Side and everything, and I believe he even spoke on what part they had played in their own destruction.

That leads to the question of why did he act the way he did in Empire and Return?

Two ideas.

1) Just flat out different writers with different eras of Cannon to deal with.

2) Yoda may have accepted that a 'Balanced Force' was important for the Galaxy and the old Jedi order had unbalanced the Force, become corrupt and arguably was responsible for the situation they were in. BUT he also needed to deal with the Vader and Sideous situation and prevent the Balance from shattering far worse in the other direction.

Luke cannot beat Vader in a fair fight its impossible.
Luke cannot beat Sideous in a fair fight, thats even more impossible.

In fact all current Jedi and possible Jedi can't beat either of those in a fight. To powerful and to experienced, INSTEAD Luke's training is designed to weld him to the Light Side of the Force, make it so no temptation pulls him towards the Dark Side. The aim of Luke's training in my head is not to defeat Vader....

Its to use Anakin's passion, his love, the very thing that makes him a good Sith, against Sidious.

This is reinforced in my head by Yoda telling Luke that 'there is another Skywalker' Just as Anakin doesn't want to hurt his children, Luke doesn't want to hurt his sister and thus refuses to join the Darkness. In addition, it means Luke is more willing to die to save Anakin.

It makes Yoda's part in the story far FAR more cynical... but then he is a man who has lived on a planet strong in the Dark Side and who felt the death of the Younglings. Frankly the fact that Yoda is as sane as he is, is a testament to his faith in the Light Side of the Force.


As for Rey and Luke....

I think what that film lacked was Rey rejecting Luke's ideas of the Force. Luke, by coming to this Temple, clearly was CLOSE to understanding the Light and Dark needed to be in balance, but he was held back by both how flawed his education was AND how close he came to falling, and the fall of his students.

(Oh, and also bad writing happer. I mean SERIOUSLY Luke can look at Vader and go, 'I know their is good in you' but at Kylo he is that concerned that he sneaks into Kylo's room, ignites his Lightsaber and raises it as if to strike. I am sorry Luke, no matter what you say, you did not briefly consider killing Kylo. You were not tempted. This was night a minor flight of fancy. You were GOING to kill him. You were literally seconds from the act.
I may not mind most of the film's writing [unlike some] but that scene was fucking stupid and OOC.)

Luke came to the conclusion that the Jedi needed to die and that would bring the Force back to Balance....which is fucking not how this works at all, you daft fool. Unlike Yoda testing Luke with the Cave, Luke did everything in his power to limit what Rey could see, especially of the Dark side.

5075965
Another great addition. And yes... Your aside with Luke is part of the rub with Luke's part in TLJ, it's very out of character for Luke and maybe one can argue that he was so enamored with the idea of peace in the Galaxy that for an instant...a VERY long instant, he lost himself and was willing to become a sort of... Light Side Zealot to achieve his goals.

Which, interestingly enough, might have kick-started a new war from the perspective everyone has to stop Luke.

Of course, the issue with this theory is if it was a momentary lapse in judgment, then why didn't he course correct? And yes... it's unclear how the Jedi doing brings balance to anything... the whole point is that the force seemingly will always find a way to keep up the cycle.

Before they threw the old cannon out the window, I used to love the Jedi and Sith Codes. Pretty much boiled down what both sides believed in.

The Jedi Code

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 Sith Code

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.


Why I love the online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. While you can play as Jedi and Sith, you can also play Bounty Hunters and the like. And while the story you play through with each of your Characters are linear, the game boils down to the choices your character makes. Good choices net you Light Side points and Evil choices net you Dark Side. So, if you play as a Jedi or Sith, you can have a Jedi that is completely steeped in the Dark Side and Sith who are completely Light Side.

I’ve played both sides (Light Side Jedi and Dark Side Sith as is normal, but I also have a Light Side Sith and Dark Side Jedi) and I find the story interesting with how it goes depending on how you play your character. Recently, I’ve been trying out characters that are in balance with the choices they make: like I may have them save a character from being killed who may help out in your story down the line, while killing a Sith character who really does nothing to further it (and yes, in some cases, killing a Sith story character can be considered a Dark Side choice if you are playing a Jedi. But this is just an example and not really an actual part of the story).

I mean, using the mechanics of the game previously, a lot of the things that Luke did could be considered Dark Side choices. And in some cases, some of the Sith during the age of The Rule of Two could actually be considered Light Side choices.

It really all boils down to perspective and what you feel about the Star Wars.

(Honestly, I have no idea where this whole thing is going. So, I’m just going to stop here before I ramble on even more.)

5076091
The codes are great, and yes, I agree with your points on Luke. Luke's hero's journey has him treading a sort of middle-path where he ultimately is confronted with a choice, which, come to think of it, many of the games have your character make a final decision between the light and the dark, but it's based on how much light/darkside "points" you've acquired. But yeah, Luke, especially in Jabba's place, did some things that Jedi of the Prequel Order would look at and just be, W-T-F, mate! Man though, would Anakin Skywalker be proud!

5076118

Yeah, the Old Republic game is weird with choices like that. Taking the Jedi characters, for instance, that you can play (and there are 2 classes you can play: Knight and Consular and you can expand on those even further), there is a scene in one of their storylines where you fight a Sith who has challenged your character to an all or nothing duel and once you defeat him, you are presented with a choice: Let him live or Kill him.

Now, in my mind, the choice is pretty obvious: he’s a Sith, Sith are bad (at least in the context of the game), kill the Sith. But if you choose to the “Kill Him” option, it’s considered a Dark Side choice. And you’re left with a little confusion here, because you have been given the same choice earlier in the game and it’s always been a Light Side choice.

Turns out, if you let the Sith live, he turns himself in to the Jedi Order and gets redeemed and becomes a Jedi himself. And towards the end of your main storyline, that former Sith provides you with information that helps you out with your final mission. If you kill him, you still get the same information (from a different source) and you are left feeling really confused. It’s like, “I’ve been killing Sith left and right during my story with no problems. But, I kill this one and get punished for it, even though I still get the same information that I needed from another source. WTF?”

The same sort of thing happens in another Classes storyline. You can play as a Trooper Class (sort of the soldiers of the Republic and the Trooper you’re playing is a Black Ops kind) and during your storyline, you are questioned by the Republic Council due to an issue that happens during your story. If you tell them the truth, it’s considered Dark Side choices and you get you chewed out by your boss. But if you lie, it gets you Light Side choices and you frustrate the Council. Either way, you still continue on with your story. But, it’s like, “Why wouldn’t I tell them the truth? They could help me out with the issue and maybe end it sooner by providing resources and the like”. But the game is like, “Nope. Tell them the truth and get punished for it “.

The game is really weird sometimes when it comes to choices that should be obvious. It’s still a fun game and all, but you are definitely left scratching your head in confusion during parts of it as to why certain choices are considered bad, when they would normally be considered a good thing.

I...have to admit that I always preferred George Lucas’ explanation of the Force. There is JUST the Force, not a “light” side. The Dark Side is like a cancer or corruption in the Force. A body wracked with cancer isn’t “in balance”, it’s dying. Bringing balance means getting rid of the cancer - or the Dark Side.

As for Kreia...a major problem with accepting her philosophy is the fact that Kreia lies. Like, a lot. It’s practically the game’s catchphrase. Yet she is also the game’s primary source of exposition, and she’s good at lying, using half-truths and certain-point-of-views to mislead and obfuscate.

But beneath and behind everything, she’s ultimately just a bitter old woman who decided to construct an entire philosophy out of betrayal and come up with a grand scheme to kill the Force, rather than admit that she made mistakes in training Revan that played a part in him falling to the Dark Side.

She’s kind of like Starlight Glimmer, come to think of it, only mile fifty years older and less prone to shouting.

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