the necessity of the sith

So where to start?  After seeing Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens, for what will be the first of many times, I was struck by an idea for something to blog about.  Start with the joke about the similarities between the Force and duct tape, replace the duct tape with mathematics, and thusly entertain the readers.

But then, procrastination (and see something I’ve been meaning to do for a while for more on that particular topic) and the idea got put on the pile of things awaiting attention.  The more I thought about it, the more I began to doubt my original plan.  Comparing duct tape and mathematics is only one part of the issue.  The other is that I am beginning to doubt that the Force has a light side and a dark side.

Heretical as this might sound, at least to those of you who declared yourselves as Jedi in the previous census, I don’t believe that the Force has a light side and a dark side.

Before going further, though, I should say that I have not done any reading through the now extensive literature of the extended Star Wars universe, nor watched any of the animated films or series.  At least, none beyond The Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which came out before episode V.   So perhaps this is something that’s been kicked around therein.

So why no light side and no dark side.  First of all, I believe that nature abhors such a dichotomy.  A light side and a dark side leaves no space for the ambiguity that pervades our intentions and actions.

But even beyond this, I am not convinced that we are so significant to the Force that it moulds itself to our petty concerns and squabbles over power.  I prefer to think that what we view as the light side and the dark side are the reflections of ourselves that we see in the mirror of the Force.  We create the light side and we create the dark side, and the Force just abides.

I will admit that part of the reason I prefer this interpretation is that this makes our relationship to the Force into an active relationship.  We are not passive tools of some dichotomy that exists beyond us.  Instead, we make a choice of the direction towards which we tilt.  It also allows for the possibility of a dynamically unstable middle ground, a grey servant of the Force.

The necessity of the Sith then is that we each have something of a dark side, the thoughts and desires that inform the entertainments with which we like to spend our time.  The necessity of the Sith is that we are human, or one of the other remarkably similar races that fill the ranks of both the Jedi and the Sith.


~ by Jim Anderson on 9 April 2016.

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