In Star Wars, we often hear Yoda and the other Jedi Masters talking about the Light side of the Force and the Dark side of the Force. They warn their padawans away from emotions like fear, anger, and hatred because they are part of the Dark. We are also led to believe that Dark Jedi are evil, power hungry creatures who will let nothing stop them from getting what they want, no matter the consequences.

Okay, so taking what we have learned from the movies, the Force is made of two sides (Dark and Light)that are polar opposites of each other. Oh how I wish life was that simple.

There is really only one word that I can use here to describe what the Force is, neutral. Depending on what your background is, right now some of you are thinking, “Well, dah, of course the Force is neutral” while others may be thinking more along the lines of “The Force is neutral? What the . . .” No matter what you are thinking right now, the words are still truth; the Force IS neutral.

For those of you who have read The New Jedi Order: Traitor, you know that it tells the story of Jacen Solo’s long path to understanding (if you haven’t read Traitor, I highly recommend that you do, whether you are a fan of the books or not). This idea of neutrality is one that he also had to face.

”the force is one, jacen. it encompasses all opposites. truth and lies, life and death, new republic and yuuzhan vong. light and dark and good and evil. They’re all each other because each thing and everything is the same thing. the force is one.” --Anakin Solo

”The Force is one, Jacen Solo. The Force is everything, and everything is the Force. I’ve told you already: The Force does not take sides. The Force does not even have sides.” --Vergere

”The only dark side you need fear, Jacen Solo, is the one in your own heart.” --Vergere

For your homework this week, I would like you to expand on the idea of neutrality. How does this fit into how you already view the Force? Is this a new idea for you, or is it something you have always known?

Okay, here’s where the blurring begins. There really isn’t a dark side or a light side, but there ARE Dark Jedi and Light Jedi. These are what we call Force Perspectives. Simply put, perspectives are different points of view on how Jedi apply the Force and philosophy to their lives. Think of them as the several different routes, or roads, that you could take to get from your house to town. There are five perspectives that JEDI recognizes: Light, Dark, Shadow, Gray, and Uber. While these will be discussed in some depth in Essential 2, 3, and 4, I do want to mention them here.

When most people think of Jedi, they think of Light Jedi. Those who follow this perspective believe in putting others before the self. Light Jedi seek to gain balance through control over their bodies, emotions, feelings, thoughts, or anything else that relates to their actions or ideals.

Usually when someone uses the term Dark Jedi, most people conjure an image of Darth Vader. However, Dark Jedi are NOT Sith, and they are not evil. Those who follow the Dark perspective see power in the self rather than in others. To them, it is okay to have an ego and be prideful because it is natural to care for the self.

Shadow Jedi seek balance by controlling the extremes of Light and Dark Jedi. Those who follow the Shadow perspective go wherever the Force shows them with no regard to personal beliefs as to what the right and moral way is. They are also the only perspective without this restriction.

Gray (or Grey) Jedi represent the epitome of balance. They believe that moderation is crucial to the Jedi lifestyle, and if this balance is not found it could lead to terrible consequences. Those who choose to follow this perspective must be willing to practice and understand both the Light and the Dark paths to the point when they can take out the parts they find are not needed from the parts that should be used.

The final perspective is one that is little known and little practiced: Uber Jedi. The Uber Jedi began as a group of gamers (you may recognize the term uber, meaning total Force powers from the Star Wars games). They believe that the Jedi are a group who need to take any ability, whether focused on the Dark or Light, whatever ability, and use it to gain power to do what must be done.