I don’t mean what is the force in the Star Wars movies or what people wish it could be.
I mean if the Force were real, here-and-now; what is it?
The Force is very close to the Taoist concept of the Tao itself and in particular qi.
The Force is NOT the same ‘force’ as used in Physics, it’s more than that.
The Force is, quite simply-put, Transformation as both the Energy and Substance of reality. It is the ineffable fact that Things Change. I personally believe it is just like the Tao, in that it is a contradiction – the ‘force’ of something being both 1 and -1, both True and False. It is the ‘strife’ of Empedocles or referred to by Heraclitus as ‘flux’:
Empedocles continues explaining how the universe as we know it evolved from the original appearance of the four elements and two forces. Imagine that the cosmos is like a large kitchen blender that contains equal portions of earth, air, fire and water, all swirling around. Suppose, then, that the two forces of Love and Strife are thrown into the blender, where Love has the power to draw the elements together, and Strife has the power to have the elements separate from each other. As the mixture swirls around in the blender, it will exhibit four separate states, depending on how much Love and Strife are sucked into the mix.
Empedocles’ Love and Strife parallel my own understanding of Sameness and Difference, respectively – both Transformations (Sameness is a cancelled transformation – i.e. a transformed transformation; and Difference is a transformation itself – that is, one that transforms one Sameness into another, different, Sameness).
And again, The Force is a bit like the Apeiron of Anaximander:
the ultimate cause of things must be some invisible and limitless physical substance, which is capable of morphing into all the physical things that we see. The importance of Anaximander’s theory is that he was the first to ground ultimate reality in something which is non-perceptible. Unlike earth, air, fire and water, which we know through the senses, the boundless is a substance that we cannot detect in that way.
Jedi and Sith alike speak of the ‘will’ of The Force – as though it were sentient which I personally find ridiculous. I feel it is senseless and spiritually immature to attribute a ‘grand plan’ to the actions of The Force. It just IS (and IS NOT) and if ever any ‘prime directive’ must be attributed to it, the most suitable would be to be “Not Itself” (i.e. to Always Change).
So really the Jedi and the Sith distinguish themselves in terms of their moral compass and whether they put The Force to use (Sith) or let the Force use them (Jedi).
What the Jedi do not see is that by following any kind of Code, they are putting the Force to Use by creating Rules – rules by which they will or will not act – so ultimately hold sway over whether or not The Force will ‘act’ through them.
What the Sith do not see is that they exist as transformations (they are ‘made of the Force’) and so it is a deception to believe they have any kind of ‘say’ in their actions and how they ‘use’ the Force, since transformations transform transformations and so on in a vastly complex and highly self-referrential system. So the idea that their ‘choices’ in any way determine how the Force will act is a delusion since they are the very product of the Force and so are ‘carrying-out its will’ (to anthropomorphize it) at all times.
A ‘true’ Master of the Force understands that they are both Light and Dark sides of the Force simultaneously – to understand that they do not exist but are mere manifestations of the interface (or boundary) between Light and Dark.
Buddhists would be those ‘both jedi and sith’ – they are those who walk the line – and that is what is meant when we become ‘one’ with the Force – when we just ARE and the ego ceases.
Ultimately it is even futile to talk of the Force (the Zen Buddhists grasp this, as do the Taoists and in particular Lao Tzu himself if he ever really existed).
So really what ‘matters’ is not WHAT pushes you to action but HOW you act. The Force will always ‘be there’ and what determines whether you are ‘Light’ or ‘Dark’ is the arbitrary (human-devised) list of motivations, attitudes and objectives that Sith and Jedi agree upon (they agree, or must agree, in order to identify themselves to one or the other).
So to follow is a list I quickly threw together of each of Jedi and Sith traits:
|All for one (“ME”)||One for All (“NOT ME”)|
|I use the Force||I am moved by the Force|
|I seek to ensure my security by amassing power||I see to ensure my security by helping others|
|My passion is my motivation||My compassion is my motivation|
|I use FEAR to obtain cooperation and thus power||I use LOVE to obtain cooperation and thus harmony|
|People are stupid||People are the world.|
If you know of any more, please, let me know!