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The Force

The Force is a (fictional) mystical power which is the object of the Jedi and Sith religions in George Lucas's Star Wars films. As a cult, it has been recognized official in Australia thanks to the large number of citizens who profess on the census to follow the Jedi philosophy.

Table of contents
1 The Definition of the Force
2 The Sides of the Force
3 The Abilities of a Jedi
4 Disturbances in the Force
5 May the Force be with you . . .

The Definition of the Force

The Force is described by Obi-Wan Kenobi as "an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together." The Force is life, and life is the Force. It can only be harnessed by a minority of beings described as "Force sensitive", and their Force abilities are the result of a culture of internal micro-organisms called midi-chlorians. The more midi-chlorians a body contains, the greater the person's force ability. Force-adepts are able to tap into the Force to perform acts of great skill and agility.

The Sides of the Force

The Jedi refer to two sides of The Force, a dark side and a light side. This echoes the concept of Yin Yang in Eastern philosophy, but is not a straight translation, as the emotional dark side is denoted as a force of evil by the Jedi. The dark side is not made up of specific "parts" or "abilities" of the Force: the dark and light sides of the Force exist inside of the life form which uses it, made from their emotions. To strike down a living creature with the Force out of anger, fear or other emotion is of the dark side. To refrain and clear one's self of these emotions is of the light side. Use of the dark side of the force is distinctly frowned upon within the Jedi order, and is strictly considered the domain of the Sith. Jedi use a lightsaber so that they can fight the inevitable battles without direct use of the Force.

Jedi are keen to keep the Force in balance. They attempt to achieve this by destroying the Sith and denying the dark side, as the dark side is corruption. This involves the purging of negative emotions such as aggression, anger, and hate since they can easily bring on acceptance of the dark side. In contrast, positive emotions such as love, compassion, and courage nurture the light side of the Force. The Jedi Code compares such feelings and provides insight into the ethical use of the Force.

It may seem that harnessing the dark side increases a person's power. This may be because of the "abilities" the darkness provides, such as the ability to kill. However, the dark side also corrupts the user and over time wastes away their body (see Palpatine).

The Abilities of a Jedi

Manifestations of Force-skills include telepathy, telekinesis, enhanced physical and metaphysical perception as well as the abilities to bend the will of the weakminded and improve one's own physical ability. The Force can also be used to allow an adept's body to be guided by the Force itself: such action enabled Luke Skywalker to launch a proton torpedo into an extremely difficult target on the Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. Through this ability one can cease to react to his or her surroundings and predict the future, such as the next blow in a dual. As a consequence of these skills, the Force has occasionally been associated with the real-life concepts of Taoism and parapsychology.

In addition to the above powers, Jedi are also capable of attacks through The Force by producing "force-lightning" from their hands. Use of this ability murderously is of the Sith cult. As a contrast, adherence to the Light Side allows its user to transcend death and become a "force ghost", allowing the deceased to exist as an energy being who can interact with other Force sensitive individuals. According to Kenobi, in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire book, this can only continue for a while before the Jedi must "move on".

Disturbances in the Force

When Alderaan was destroyed in the original Star Wars movie, Obi Wan Kenobi sensed "a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of souls cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced..." The Force exists in all life, and when great amounts of life pass away, a disturbance is created, running through the Force like a scream which only Force-adept can hear.

May the Force be with you . . .

The Force is associated with a phrase used by some characters in (and fans of) the films: "May the Force be with you", meaning something like "Good luck".

Some might believe that, as the Force exists between all living things in any case, the phrase reflects a misunderstanding of its nature. In fact, the phrase implies a wish that the power of the Force is working alongside you, in order that your goals are more effectively accomplished.Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi always used a different form that expressed a reminder rather than a wish: "The Force will be with you.", stating that his apprentice would succeed, as he working alongside the power of the force.