This post will discuss The Force as related to theories and concepts such as Qi, the Ether and quantum physics. I’m indulging my own fascination with the topic because my 44th birthday is tomorrow and I’m giving this article to myself as a present in order to love it even more. I was 5 years old when the first Star Wars came out, and the Force was to me the most spectacular element of the film.
Fans of Star Wars must wonder if there is some truth to this fictional concept for the franchise to remain as popular as it has. According to the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars film, “the Force is an energy field created by all living things. It binds us and it penetrates us, it’s what holds the Galaxy together.” He later went on to answer Luke Skywalker‘s question as to if it controls our actions with, “partially, but it also responds to your commands”.
In the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, Jedi Master Yoda went into depth about the Force during Luke’s training. He explained,”a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they”. When asked how to tell the good side from the dark, he said, “You will know when you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack”. The phenomenal effects of the Force include seeing the future, speaking mind to mind with others across great distance, telekinesis, mind control and manipulating electricity. This concept was interesting enough as a five year old, but it becomes even more interesting as I continue to learn about similar non-fiction concepts over the years.
For instance, in the obscure book by Cyril Davson The Physics of the Primary State of Matter, based on the work of Austrian scientist-inventor Karl Schappeller, he describes an “all-pervading consciousness” saturating all space both outside and within the cosmos (pp. 38-40). The texture of space inside the boundary of the cosmos is the Ether, a conscious-physical ‘energy soil’ forming the background of all energies, matter and physical phenomenon. The ether is a fluid-like conduit for energies like electricity, magnetism, and even thoughts. In terms of theoretical physics, the Ether would seem to have the some of the same characteristics as The Force.
In terms of the Hindu religion, the concept of Brahman is also similar to the Force. Brahaman is a single unifying principle from which all life and matter emerge, and to which all return. The concept of Brahaman is expressed as an infinite and eternal consciousness that is the essence of all that exists physically. Also similar in terms of the duality of the Force is Zoroasterism, a belief system from the ancient Persian Empire. Zoroasterism is one of the world’s oldest religions, dating back to the 6th century BC. It was a notably monotheistic religion from an era when polytheism was common. Based on the writings of the prophet Zarathustra, Zoroasterism taught the importance of using free will to choose sides in the cosmic struggle of light and darkness. The virtues of doing the right thing, truth and good thought, deeds and words were the path that lead to the perfection and renewal of the world. This reminds us of the belief system of the Jedi and frequent references in Star Wars to the light and dark sides of the force.
The icon of Yin and Yang central to the Taoist philosophy is also similar to the dualistic nature of the Force. Yin and Yang are both manifestations of Chi, the universal life force present in all energy and matter. Another definition of Chi is ‘ether’. When Luke Skywalker asks Master Yoda if the dark side of the force is stronger than the good, Yoda replies, “No. Easier, quicker, more seductive”. Like the image of Chi manifested as Yin and Yang, the two aspects of the Force are equal opposites in the same way that all that everything that exists also casts a shadow.
From the realm of quantum physics, the Force is recognizable in the quantum field theory of matter. In The Tao of Physics, p. 199, Physicist Hermann Weyl theorizes that everything that exists is basically ultra high intensity electrical charges in a universe-sized electrical field. Like static on a three dimensional television screen, this field is the background supporting ‘denser’ forms of energy like electricity and magnetism, as well as the atomic particles that comprise matter. Weyl’s theory recalls Master Yoda’s statement from The Empire Strikes Back, “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter”.
The Force is the underlying thread that has kept people engaged with the Star Wars franchise for over 40 years. We eagerly await a deeper understanding of the Force in the upcoming next two Star Wars films.