Light vs Dark: is the dark side of the force truly evil?

Oh Captain My Captain

Growing up we are taught there is good and there is evil and as kids, we see things as black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. When we grow enough, we see that the world is grayer than black and white and that there are more stages between good and evil and rarely is something or someone 100% evil. Grasping this concept is part of growing up and it informs the world around us.

If you asked ten of your friends if they have seen star wars you are almost guaranteed to have at least one who has seen it, but the average is about 50%. One reason people like Star Wars is because it gives us a pure good vs evil story that relates to that childlike need for clear cut good and evil but do we really get that?

By their very name the light side is said to be good and the dark side is said to be evil but are they? It is undoubtable that the Sith have done great evil, and the Jedi have done great good but are they both inherently good and evil based on what they believe?

The Sith and Jedi codes:

Both the Jedi and the Sith live by a code that guides their actions, let’s take a look at them.

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 Sith are fueled by passion and emotion and in of themselves those are not bad things; we all need healthy amounts of both to lead productive life’s but they are also poisons that can destroy if we let them. The difference we need to draw is the inherent difference between evil and potential evil. There are so many things in this world that can be used for evil, but that does not make them inherently evil.

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”

Just like passion and emotion, restraint, serenity and knowledge are good things, but are not inherently good or evil. Too much restraint and serenity can lead to stagnation; too much knowledge can also hurt you. Knowledge is a form of power, and as it is widely known, Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. The removal or suppression of emotion has never shown itself to be a good thing in the long run for any type of society Vulcans excluded of course.

A way of life:

It’s very interesting to look at the two factions of the force and see how their beliefs inform their lives. The Jedi know that death is not the end for them, so they don’t fear it and when you don’t fear death, you don’t work as hard to avoid it. But the Sith are driven by passion and emotion; they push hard and work hard like they only got one shot, and they need to make it count.

Throughout the movies, books and video games, it is seen that the Sith evolved and changed to meet the times and the Jedi for the most part, won’t change their ways and adapt. This is one of the reasons that the Jedi were almost totally destroyed. The Sith have an almost self-destructive culture of betrayal, revenge and mistrust that do not allow them to work in the same numbers as the Jedi. In an odd way both of these societies are inherently self-destructive either through lack of adoption or through constant betrayal from within.

Two halves of the same coin:

I honestly see the force as one entity and that the light side and dark side only exist because the Sith, and the Jedi chooses to use one-half of the truly whole. This is just my view, but maybe some time long ago, there was only the force, and you need to balance passion and restraint. And then there were people who thought that either passion was more powerful or that restraint and peace was more worthy of achieving. Such disagreements arise in most groups over time; one side thinks they have a better way of teaching or being and that the other side is wrong. You can see this with Gryffindor house and Slytherin house in harry potter or even our own political parties.

Over time, the Sith and Jedi made themselves the perfect enemies, the Jedi only uses the force for defense, and the Sith are overly offensive. It’s the old question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object. The answer is nothing but when it comes to these two factions of the force, it’s more of numbers. Whoever has the greater numbers tips the balance.

The final outcome:

I think a good way to look at things is from the mouth of Obi-Wan himself:
“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
Good or bad…… it all depends on your perspective.”
 – Return of the Jedi

I believe that there is no true dark side and no true light side, without the Sith and the Jedi, there would only be one force and no split down the middle. Both sides don’t have it 100% right or wrong because the Sith are full of anger and malice that are the ugly side of passion and emotion, but the Jedi have stagnation and pride that come from lack of change and believing they are on a higher road.

Mace Windu was even quite powerful because he invented a style called Vaapad that used the light and dark side of the force in perfect balance and because of this, he was said to be the best fighter the Jedi ever had.

I will not refute that the Sith are bad and have done horrible things, but the Jedi are not perfect either, but think of this; the Sith would only take on those who were like them, full of passion and anger. The Jedi would only take students who did not show the passion and fear of the Sith. In this, both sides only took what would only reinforce their own beliefs and so there was never any room for change. When you only have two groups on either extremes of a line, everyone in the middle gets crushed.

Is there really a light side and a dark side of the force? Or is there just the Sith and the Jedi who only choose to use one-half of the same whole.

Thanks for reading, I love comments and to hear your thoughts about my views on the force

The Fedora Nerd – Ben Crawford

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2 thoughts on “Light vs Dark: is the dark side of the force truly evil?

  1. I think the real problem with the debate (excluding what Lucas said about the dark side being evil, he doesn’t own it anymore so it can be retconned) is that too many people portray the sith as stupid evil, swtor is awful about that on the empire side, Only a few like Darth Traya from kotor 2 were really smart and practical evil.

    And even though most of the Revan book was awful, I did like his take on the force, the sides being surging rivers that intertwine and that good emotions like love were useful and a power of their own.

    1. I would agree with you, i don’t like stupid evil. I would rather have cunning and inventive evil because it makes for a better story.

      Also i think Lucas has done enough damage to Star Wars.

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