Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine

By Kevin S. Decker; Jason T. Eberl | Go to book overview

12
The Force Is with Us:
Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit
Strikes Back at the Empire

JAMES LAWLER

Central to the unfolding plot of Star Wars is a question and a mystery: What is the Force? In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker that his father was betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader, a Jedi Knight who "turned to evil … seduced by the Dark Side of the Force." "The Force?" asks Luke. Obi-Wan replies: "The Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."

All living beings create the energy field of the Force, and at the same time this energy field is essential to living beings, binding the entire galaxy—ultimately the entire cosmos—in a unified whole. The Force has both Dark and Light sides, but there is not a Dark Force and a Light Force, not Evil over against Good. Such a conception of good versus evil is understandable in the context of Episodes IV through VI, dominated by the malevolent Lord Vader. Even when we learn that Vader is actually Luke's father, the news only deepens our sense of repulsion for the evil servant of the Dark Side, which we maintain until the very last moment when Vader unexpectedly turns against his Master— Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith and Emperor of the Galaxy—and dies reconciled to his son.

In the absence of the background trilogy of Episodes I to III, this ending to the entire story lacks depth and a sense of conviction. However, as the background story emerges, not only is the final ending fully justified but our understanding of the nature of the Force becomes more profound. We learn why

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