Star Wars. A story of Jedi and Sith, good versus evil. But what IS a Jedi, and why DO they hate the Sith? Sure one follows the “Light” Side of the Force, and the other the “Dark” Side, but who determined that there are two sides, and who drew the line in between?
We are going to have to go beyond canon, beyond the movies, and get into Star Wars Legends (Expanded Universe) and other sources for this article. So what this says might be invalid once another movie, show, or comic book is released, but for now, this is what we know, about the Jedi and the Sith.
The Force is that thing that lets the cool characters in Star Wars move things with their minds, sense things beyond their sight or hearing, convince people to say or do things they wouldn’t normally do, or even shoot lightning out of their fingertips. Of course, it has to come from somewhere, and not just be a fun plot device.
In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn explains that The Force is somehow connected to Midi-Chlorians, a “microscopic life form that resides within all living cells,” which also fall in line with how Obi-Wan Kenobi explains it in A New Hope.
It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.
However Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back mentions that The Force lives beyond just living things.
For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.
Technically Yoda said that it is between the non-living things, so perhaps he was implying that it is in the air itself.
The Force was created before the first living beings in the universe. However, it’s not until after the ability of hyperspace travel is discovered that a religious group of Force Sensitive people gathered on Ahch-To. They were led by an individual now known only as Prime Jedi, who created the Jedi order. We see a mosaic of him in The Last Jedi, balancing between the Light and Dark sides of The Force, in a very Yin-Yang pattern.
On another planet, Jedha, a temple dedicated to Kyber Crystals is formed, which are a Force attuned mineral that is the core part of a lightsaber. Kyber Crystals were seen on other planets as well, seeing as how Prime Jedi above is holding what appears to be a proto-lightsaber.
The Jedi grow, and eventually some members split off and create the Sith. Overtime, the Jedi and Sith continued to grow and continued to fight, leading to the destruction of the Old Republic. It was only because of a Sith, Darth Bane, that the Sith fell into hiding, and the Jedi believing they were completely destroyed. You see, Darth Bane, in his researching the Light and Dark sides of the Force, realized that the Jedi create the Light side, and the Sith use the Dark side. Therefore, the more Sith there are, the less Darkness there is to use. So he destroys his own brotherhood of Sith, so that he can be as powerful as all of them combined. Of course, he needed someone to teach his powers to, so they could continue, and created the Rule of Two, one master, one apprentice.
The Sith return almost 1,000 years later, with the appearance of Darth Maul, who tries to help enforce the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo by killing Qui-Gon Jinn. This begins the Fall of the Jedi, which ends when Darth Sidious executes Order 66 with the Clone Troopers, who then attempt to kill every Jedi, with the help of the new Darth Vader.
Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring balance to the Force. In the movies, he plunges it into Darkness, which is clearly not what the Jedi wanted. It wasn’t until he killed the Emperor in Return of the Jedi that he finally ended the Sith. What is balance of the Force though? The Jedi certainly weren’t balanced, as they only practiced the Light Side exclusively. It hasn’t been explored more yet regarding what “balance” means, because after Vader’s death, only one Jedi remained, Luke, who only caused more imbalance through his actions. So did the prophecy actually refer to Anakin, and if so, was it fulfilled?
There is no emotion; there is peace.The Jedi Code, Expanded
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; There is serenity.
There is no death; there is only the Force.
A Jedi does not act for personal power or wealth but seeks knowledge and enlightenment.
A Jedi never acts from hatred, anger, fear, or aggression but acts when calm and at peace with the Force.
Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
Jedi use the powers to defend and to protect, never to attack others.
Jedi respect life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than ruling over them, for the good of the galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.
There is a lot to unpack here, but essentially Jedi believe themselves to be nothing more than conduits for The Force, specifically the Light Side of the Force. Jedi see themselves not as an individual with hopes, dreams, desires, but instead as a fraction of the greater good, only to serve others.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.The Sith Code, Darth Bane
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
The Sith believe that the Force is a tool for them to use. If you remember, the goal of the Empire wasn’t to kill people, it wasn’t to destroy planets, it was to bring peace, freedom, justice, and security. The Sith aren’t inherently evil, but like any dictator in history, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lastly, there have been some that try to toe the line between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force, and they are generally called Grey Jedi. The closest we’ve seen in the films is Mace Windu, who used a form of combat that relied on the user allowing themselves to draw from their passion during combat, which was reflected in his purple lightsaber.
Belief that the Force isn’t specifically divided into Light and Dark is prominent in the belief of the Unifying Force. Unfortunately no one on the Jedi Council seemed to follow this belief in the Force, as the Jedi were dogmatic in their pursuit of cutting themselves off of half of the Force’s power.
Overall it seems that the only people that see the distinction between the Light and Dark sides of the Force are the Jedi Order, who determine that any part of the Force that requires emotion or selfishness is Dark and bad.