Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the balance of the Force. Wonderful podcast such as Full of Sith and Fangirls Going Rogue have been discussing the what it is, how it is achieved, what it means for the galaxy, and how certain parts, particularly the Mortis arc of The Clone Wars, have evolved our understanding of it.
The intriguing part about this topic is that a lot of it has to do with one’s own perspective on light, dark, and balancing the two. For instance, I believe it is important to acknowledge all emotion because it helps us get a better understanding of ourselves, and by doing so we are able to properly utilize our emotions to grow and prosper. While most people think that “dark” emotions like anger, hate, and fear are inherently bad, I think that they can be used if they are channeled with the intent of becoming a better person. This is what I think the Jedi missed which ultimately led to their downfall, and what the Sith misused which ultimately led to their’s.
So what does this all mean when it comes to balance? Well, obviously it means that light and dark should balance each other out. But not as normally assumed, wherein the total galactic balance of light and dark must be equal, but rather in the micro of one’s own inner existence. A person must be able to go into the darkness, and at the same time come back from it. Each person must find the balance within his or her self, being able to go enough into the darkness to deal with internal battles, but not so far to the light wherein one loses touch with reality.
It is often accepted that Luke Skywalker is the one that balanced the Force. I believe this to be true, though not completely. Luke did balance the Force within himself, as he chose not to let the dark emotions dominate him to the point of killing his father. He went dark for a moment, using it to put him in a position of having the upper hand, thus best serving the galaxy at large. In the end, he stuck to his word when he said that he would not kill his father, being able to overcome the darkness within himself. More than that, however, he used those emotions to grow. As the rage and anger began to encompass him, he learned what Kanan had told Ezra years before “the greater courage is knowing when not to fight.” Yet he did not bring balance to the Force as a whole, as far as we know, because he did not teach this skill to the galaxy at large.
At the same time that Luke was finding balance, so were Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker.. Vader was learning that his darkness had not completely destroyed who he once was, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was learning that love could conquer darkness instead of creating it. Both were learning that darkness is not something to be denied, but something to be focused for the greater good. He did this first in killing the Emperor, which in itself is an act of balance, as Anakin used the dark act of killing someone to serve the greater good for billions of beings. Ultimately, he showed his inner balance in telling Luke to take his mask off, knowing that allowing father and son to truly see each other for the first time served a far greater purpose than any amount of life he could have redeemed had he not removed the mask.
And then, there’s Mortis. Mortis is a powerful trilogy of episodes, but it does not change the language. It simply adds to the vocabulary.
On Mortis, the light and the dark have begun to conflict and the father brings Anakin to the “planet” to bring balance. He offers to let Anakin stay in order to bring peace to the universe, but the bravado and naivete of Anakin dooms him to follow his path towards becoming Darth Vader.
One important thing that happens on Mortis is that Anakin sees his future as Vader, and in doing so joins the son, aka the dark side, in order to try to prevent his future sins. The problem here is not that Anakin goes to the darkness, but rather that he does grow from the experience. He goes into the darkness in order to run and hide from what he saw. He went to the darkness as a slave instead of an explorer. Due to this, the father has no choice but to wipe his mind and thus remove the possibility of his learning a lesson regarding the internal struggles he so often denied.
Earlier we saw Anakin trying to tame the light and the dark to save Obi-Wan and Ahsoka. Here again, Anakin’s light and dark sides were not at peace. This internal battle, rather than acceptance of all aspects of himself, could be what drove Anakin toward seeking the son initially, but the bottom line is that the internal battles Anakin constantly fought (be it the Jedi Order versus Padme, or the light versus the dark, or numerous others) are what drove “the chosen one” to allow the struggle to consume his soul.
Unlike Anakin, Luke learned from his mistakes. When he ran off from his training on Dagobah, he suffered greatly, as did the friends he was trying to save. In Return of the Jedi we see how he learned from this, as he turns himself over to Vader in order to prevent Vader from being able to pursue the Rebellion at large. Luke turns himself over to the will of the Force instead of trying to manipulate the future. Thanks to this, he is able to show Vader that there is a path wherein dark and light can exist, but good and right ultimately prevail.
The balance of the Force is something that has been and will continue to be discussed by Star Wars fans. With all the new aspects of the mythology coming into the galaxy, our understanding is bound to grow and diversify. Hopefully, it will help us understand ourselves as it did our heroes.