May the Force be with you all! Geeks of Doom will be posting a couple of Star Wars articles today, May 25, for Universal Day of the Jedi, which celebrates the anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie.
Throughout the history of the Star Wars film saga, we’re taught that there are only two perceptions, or sides, of the Force: the side embraced by the Jedi, and the Dark Side as flaunted by Sith Lords. While the “good vs. evil” motif works well in the films, the Expanded Star Wars Universe explores the Force in depth, where fans have learned there is more than meets the eye than just the light side and the dark side.
Indeed, while George Lucas was painting in very broad strokes of black and white when it came to the Force, which added much to its vague and enigmatic nature in the Original Trilogy, subsequent authors and writers have since looked deeper into the shades of gray. As the Jedi continue forward to embrace the light side, and the Dark Jedi and Sith Lords continue their growth in the dark side, we find more characters and cultures that have very differing philosophies of the Force.
Let’s take a look at these different points of view…
The Living Force This is the only perception introduced in the movies, in addition to light vs. dark. The Living Force is first mentioned by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, but was left open to interpretation, and later explored by the Expanded Universe. Essentially, the philosophy of The Living Force ties into common views of the Light Side of the Force, with the exception that the Jedi can learn from the living beings around them in the here and in the now. There is less focus on the past and the future, and more within the present. It is believed that Jinn’s devoted focus on the Living Force was what enabled him to retain his identity after death, and in turn enabled him to train both Yoda and Obi-Wan to retain their identities also and become the Force ghosts we remember from the movies.
The Unifying Force The concept of the Unifying Force is very simple. There is no light side and no dark side, there just is The Force. Those who embraced this philosophy focused mainly on destinies and possible futures, allowing these intuitions and visions guide their current actions. It’s very much an opposing view of the Living Force. This perspective of the Force was mainly brought into play during The New Jedi Order series, when the mysterious Vergere began both breaking and training Jacen Solo in the ideals of the Unifying Force. While embracing the Unifying Force aided the Jedi in winning the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, they would later revert back to their Living Force and Light Side of the Force perspective.
The Potentium The philosophies embraced by the Jedi sect known as The Potentium had a similar view to that of the Unifying Force: There is only the Force; it has no light side or dark side. The argument put forward by the Potentium is that beings can be light or dark, not the Force. The Force just “is”, and can be felt and viewed â€“ though it can be distorted and disturbed by the dark beings who twist it for their own means. Members of the Potentium often found themselves at odd with the greater Jedi order, and many of them had been termed as “Grey Jedi” â€“ some had even been expelled from the Order as well. The Jedi Order considers the Potentium to be misguided.
Way of the Dark In some respects, The Way of the Dark is almost an opposite to The Potentium in the sense that its followers were deniers of the existence of the Force. They claimed that their power came from an element known only as The Dark, and that if the Force did exist, and then the Dark would be more powerful. Some followers did believe the Force, but claimed that the Dark was its opposite and more powerful. The most notable follower of The Dark was Shadowspawn, who was the main villain in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor.
The Aing-Tii Rainbow Philosophy Stone-like, strange, and isolated from the rest of the galaxy, the Aing-Tii were Force sensitive beings that had no concept of a light Force or a dark Force. Resting in the Kathol Rift, away from the mainstream galaxy, only four Jedi have been known to have been guests and to have learned from the Aing-Tii: Yoda, Jacen Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Ben Skywalker. The Aing-Tii embraced the Force as a whole â€“ their unique perspective and view of the universe enabled them not to view the Force in shades of grey, but in hues of colors. This view was often referred to as a “rainbow” by the Skywalkers. The Aing-Tii view also enabled a skill called Flow Walking, which allowed a being to use the Force to move into the past or the future.
The White Current of the Fallanassi The Fallanassi were a religious group that resided on numerous planets, but relocated to a moon known as Pydyr after the Yuuzhan Vong war. The adepts of the culture embraced what they called The White Current. Many misperceived this as what they termed the Force, but in fact, the White Current is an element within the Force itself, something that needed far greater skill to control. The Fallanassi excelled at illusions and invisibility, and concealment of items such as messages for other Adepts. Despite the fact that the Jedi were guardians of peace, the Fallanassi regarded Jedi as too aggressive and militant due to the fact they carried lightsabers and involved themselves in conflict.
From novels and role playing games, we have learned a lot more about the Force in the 34 years since we were first introduced to the light side and the dark side. Like all enigmas, there’s more than meets the eye to the Force â€“ even if you only use it to open the automatic door at the supermarket.
May the Force be with you today on this Universal Day of the Jedi!
To find out more about Universal Day of the Jedi, you can read more at Wookieepedia…