Way back when there wasn’t an “original trilogy” and there was just “the Star Wars movies,” I thought the Force was something good and pure that the Jedi used correctly, and the Sith misused for their own evil agendas. It was a simpler time when the Force was merely a tool to be wielded and not the more complex entity it is today; and what was the first thing that really started to broaden the Force’s horizons? The idea of “bringing balance to the Force.” A vague prophecy that even Yoda thought the Jedi may have misinterpreted, but one that I, nevertheless, am going to attempt to solve in this post (okay, not really “solve” so much as babble on about). So if you like the Force, and you like babble, this is the blog you’re looking for…
What is balance?
At first blush, this seems pretty cut and dry, right? Balance is balance; it’s things being the same, or equal, right? Well, kind of…Merriam-Webster defines balance as “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance,” and that caveat of “or proper amounts” is where all preconceived notions of balance go out the window. It’s not as simple as “well, Anakin did bring balance to the Force because by becoming Darth Vader and destroying all the Jedi except Obi-wan and Yoda it left two Jedi and two Sith, thus balance.” First of all, I mean, we know now that there were other Force users out there of differing degrees of light and dark, so that theory is complete hogwash anyway, but, second of all, and more importantly, balance doesn’t mean the same number of each, it means “proper amounts” of each…now what does that mean? Let’s use Mortis (before Anakin & Co. arrive, that is) as the example of ideal balance: you have the daughter who is light incarnate, the son who is dark to the core, and the father making sure that they both stay that way, but that one doesn’t become more powerful than the other. That’s what’s missing from the galaxy at large; there’s no father figure keeping the kids in line so they keep swaying the Force too far to either the dark or the light…how’s there ever going to be balance?
The short answer is: there isn’t. Balance is basically unattainable because the galaxy isn’t like the tiny bubble of Mortis (which turned out to be easily thrown out of balance by the introduction of a foreign element); what is attainable, however, and what I would argue exists in the Force, is homeostasis (it doesn’t roll off the tongue like “balance,” though, so I understand not using it in the prophecy). According to my good friend Merriam-Webster, homeostasis is “a relatively stable state of equilibrium or a tendency toward such a state between the different but interdependent elements or groups of elements of an organism, population, or group.” The important part to keep in mind is the “tendency toward such a state.” The state itself may never exist, but it’s always the goal. It’s like trying to do something perfectly: you know you never will, but you continue to attempt to nonetheless. So think of the Force as an organism, a hive-mind of all the midi-chlorians if you will, that’s constantly trying to keep itself balanced between light and dark whilst also being constantly tugged this way and that by a myriad of Force users. Or think of it in terms of emotions, like the Force Priestesses: it’s always attempting to control its emotions and stay in a calm state, but there’s just too many outside stimuli pushing one emotion or another to the forefront. So what, exactly, can the Force actively do to try to attain balance without simply relying on those using it to do it?
Say you’re a cosmic entity of immense, incalculable power that exists in all living things and you’re tired of being pushed around by lowly mortals vying for their own power…what do you do to tip the scales toward the balance you’re looking for? I’d say a good start would be creating a child that will be able to harness more of your power than anyone else in the galaxy, coax events into happening to lead to him being trained to use your power, then plant seeds in his head of loss so great that they cause him to do the unthinkable and become what he hates…all leading to the near destruction of the Jedi, a huge group over-using your power and making it impossible to even think about moving toward balance…things go okay for a while, but then the darkness starts to go overboard so you help the farm boy son of the child you created blow up a Death Star, causing a rebellion to get rolling that eventually leads to the destruction of the Sith so things are more balanced again…but uh oh, that Jedi farm boy starts teaching new Jedi, disrupting the balance toward the light so you have his sister’s son go dark and put an end to that and then breathe a sigh of relief because that was fairly easy…but turn your back for one second and this Snoke guy is getting the darkness all riled up again so you have to find another “no one” scavenger, make sure she’s whisked off her backwater world, and awaken yourself inside her so she can start the balance train rolling back in the direction of light station…how exhausting is being the Force, right? But, if you think about it, everything’s the will of the Force, like Qui-gon said, and it’s all because the Force is ultimately willing itself into balance.
Alright, alright, alright! …not sure where that came from, but, anyway, there you have it, the solution to the prophecy of balance to the Force…pretty good, right? Okay, seriously though, what do you think? Is it like I said and the Force is in homeostasis, constantly attempting to reach and maintain balance, or do you think the Force really is just a tool and its up to those who wield it to achieve balance? Or do you think the prophecy was complete garbage to begin with and balance and the Force have nothing to do with one another? Or maybe you’re a prequel hater and dismiss the idea of balance on principle because it came from the prequels (you’re entitled to your opinion, but that’s a pretty narrow-minded way to enjoy Star Wars if you ask me)…at any rate, I’d be interested to hear what people have to say, as always, but if not, don’t worry, I’ll live…now, as the jet setter that I am, I’ll be out of town next weekend and unable to come up with another mind-blowing post, but I’ll be back the following week, plus I’ll have a Thinkin’ ‘Bout Ink post up Wednesday if there are any comics coming out next week (I should look into that) so you shouldn’t miss me too much…