The Force

The Force

In the Star Wars films there is a fictional force that “binds everything together and maintains balance.”

“The act of living generates a force field, an energy. That energy surrounds us; when we die, that energy joins with all the other energy. There is a giant mass of energy in the universe that has a good side and a bad side. We are part of the Force because we generate the power that makes the Force live. When we die, we become part of that Force, so we never really die; we continue as part of the Force.”
– George Lucas

Philosophically, it’s not very logical. For example, we create the Force by living yet unite with the Force at death? And energy has a good and bad side? Isn’t that in its application? The principles are like the actual life force, described traditionally by words like prana and chi. But life force powers life – it doesn’t bind or balance. That aspect sounds more like the deeper idea of dharma – that which sustains.

Dharma is the influence that sustains the world in relative balance so that we can use it as a platform for experience and growth. As I commented on the linked article, “Dharma maintains a balance between creative and destructive forces, thus upholding creation.”

The Vedas use Adharma to describe what does not uphold creation. Lucas has said that it’s the intention, the “willingness or will to be selfless or selfish” that determines if it is light or dark. This somewhat contradicts the quote above. I would add this isn’t the core influence that makes something destructive or not. What darkens things is the qualities we give to the energy being used. For example, we can selfishly give to charity to feel good. This will have a positive influence, if a bit muted by the motivation. And many spiritual organizations illustrate how they can selflessly be cruel.

Interestingly, Lucas said the more detail he gave about the Force and how it works, the more it took away from its core meaning. I’d suggest this is partly because it’s not internally consistent nor based on experience. It mixes ideas of dharma, karma, and life force together in a mush.

But it does offer a non-religious way to think about our life experience in a little less physical away. A spiritual teaser, we might say. 🙂

May the Force be with you!


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  1. John Lamenzo

    George Lucas was a devoted follower of the work Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy. (Star Wars is based on this).

    So, do you really want to criticize Steiner…? (some of your comments seem to indicate you have not studied Steiner’s work).

    1. Hi John
      From what I’ve read, Lucas explored many things, including Joseph Campbell, the Upanishads, etc.

      This article is about how he described the Force and the way it was portrayed in the films. From what I’ve read, it evolved quite a bit from his early ideas, which are now framed as early Jedi philosophy. (the greys, etc)

      I have not studied Steiners work nor is this article about this.

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