Star Wars: Use the Force, Part 1

The Force is one of those weird setting touchpoints that means something different to everyone. Here are some of my thoughts.

The Force:

  • Is Mysterious. It doesn't allow you to lift "up to 100kg" of material or choke someone "1d10 meters away". It shouldn't be quantifiable.
  • Lets You Do Impossible Things. You can't do merely possible things with the Force. It's impossible to fire lightning from your fingers, or see the future, or close your eyes and fire a torpedo at precisely the right moment... but you can do these things through the Force.
  • Requires Faith, Not Training. This one requires some more explanation.



Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, had.... maybe a week of actual training. Obi-Wan sat with him for a few hours on the Falcon, and he spent a few days with Yoda on Dagobah. That's it.

It wasn't particularly conventional training. Obi-Wan made him wear a blindfold and block irritating lasers. Yoda made him do headstands and run around a swamp. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Surely, becoming a Jedi takes more than a few pushups. What's really going on here?

Luke is a skeptic. He doubts everything, gets frustrated, and wants to quit. He knows you can't block blaster bolts while blindfolded. He knows an X-wing is heavier than rock. He knows these things because they are true... from a certain point of view.

But as we know, that's not the truth at all. To the Force, there is no weight. There is no time. That's why Yoda says, "Do, or do not. There is no try." Your effort has nothing to do with it. It's all about faith. If you believe that the X-Wing will be lifted, it will be lifted.

Yoda isn't building Luke's muscles. He's breaking down his resistance. The constant exercise and lousy food is just like boot camp, except this is some weird Gnostic version. It's the same thing with the training on the Falcon. Obi-Wan isn't training Luke to block blaster shots. He's forcing him to confront the impossible and accept it. On the final attack run on the Death Star, Obi-Wan says to "Use the Force, Luke." But he immediately says to "Let go."

One the main criticism of Rey's character in The Force Awakens was her ability to instantly, without any training, use the Force to do "difficult" tasks. She moves objects with her mind, plants commands, senses memories, all that, and with no training at all. How?

She believes. She is a complete and utter fanatic. She closes her eyes and really trusts in the Force. Luke constantly struggles to overcome his doubt and let go, but Rey doesn't. She believes unconditionally. For her, there is no "try".

Han tells her it's all true, and she believes.

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