The Tripartite Model

Of all the different ways to approach the Force, the main one currently in use by the majority of Jedi Realists is that of the Tripartite Model. This model revolves around the notion that, while the Force is but a singular energy, for the purposes of aiding in understanding, we have to consider it in a tiered system comprised of three different sections. The smallest of the three is part of the other two, with the largest being the sum total of the smaller two, in addition to something far more.

It should be noted that this model was derived primarily as a result of practical observations made at each stage – we can observe different principles at work at each stage, and infer various different practical implications from the workings of each. However, it needs to be reiterated that, in the end, this model classifies the Force as being but a singular, indivisible form of energy, so the categories used in the model are literally designed to allow us to comprehend something that might otherwise be quite beyond our understanding, given how simply large the Force happens to be.

The three categories we use are Personal Energy, Living Energy and Unified Energy, the first of the three being the smallest of the categories, with the third being the largest. Essentially, the relationships between the three can be demonstrated with a simple equation:

Personal Energy -> Living Energy -> Unified Energy

The model itself is best explained by looking at the three individually, prior to giving consideration to the relationships of the three organisational tiers with each other. As always, it is best to start at the beginning, so we’ll begin by looking at the smallest of the three tiers: that of Personal Energy.

Personal Energy

Personal energy (alternatively, individual energy) is the sum of all energy contained within the body of any living organism at any one point in time – it is, if you will, the energy required by that organism to continue to survive and be maintained in a physical state of existence, in addition to that ‘static’ energy contained within the actual physical make-up of an organism’s cells. Every living organism possesses this energy, from the largest right down to the smallest – without it, not only would the organism be unable to live, but it would not physically exist, since it would have no shape, form etc.

This last aspect perhaps needs explaining, for those unfamiliar with energetic principles. All physical matter contains energy – indeed, energy is the very basis for physical matter, since it would be unable to exist without it. If you ever look at the structure of an atom, you’ll see that it is not, in fact, static at all, but instead moves in a very limited way of its own. In order for this movement to be achieved, as well as for the actual mass of the atoms to exist, in addition to the cohesion of that atom, energy has to be present. In molecules, constituted by two or more atoms (either of the same or different atoms), energy exists between the bonds that form the molecule. Indeed, biologically, this is how energy is physically stored – a compound known as Adenosine Triphosphate is created by the body to store energy in the short-term, with this energy being contained between the phosphate bonds.

So, within any organism – a complex organisation of atoms into compounds, in turn forming into organelles, cells, organs and so on – there is a particular amount of energy that is required to exist as part of that organism in order for it to exist. We’ve already discussed the nature of life energy in the previous section, so this need not be reiterated. But within any organism, there must exist the energy which constitutes the physical form of that organism, in addition to the life energy required to animate it. This is that which we call Personal Energy.

However, it would be fallacious to suggest that this energy is naturally static – the truth is quite to the contrary, as it happens. Anyone familiar with biology will understand that all biological material inevitably degrades over time and consequently must be replaced or repaired. As was noted in the previous section, this is the purview of life energy – lacking that, biological maintenance is impossible, since only things containing that energy will have that natural restorative ability. Energy, however, is required to perform these processes – energy is released when material is broken down (catabolic processes), while energy is needed in order to allow for the formation of new material (anabolic processes). If you remember the First Law of Thermodynamics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely converted into different forms. When you use energy to perform any particular function, whether internal or external, this needs to be replaced, so the energies of any organism inevitably shift.

Consequently, it has to be noted that personal energy is constantly being exchanged with the environment – you eat to replenish the body with necessary materials for the various processes of the body (carbohydrates to be catabolised for energy, proteins for cellular repair and synthesis etc), you lose energy through various excretions and so on. Hence, we do not consider personal energy to be a ‘fixed’ energy – the processes of exchange are ongoing, so that energy is never the same from one moment to the next.

Despite the fact that this is the smallest of our organisational tiers, Personal Energy is nonetheless incredibly important as far as understanding it is concerned. The implications and practical observations resulting from it are many and varied, some of which can be explained here, others of which will simply have to be determined as you continue your studies – there would be far too many to document here.

Firstly, we have to observe that everyone has an effect upon their own personal energy while it is part of them - since this energy is in itself contained within your system, it is the most impressionable of all forms of life energy - and you impress upon this through your thoughts and through your emotions. This might sound as though it is completely unfounded, but even if you can’t take it purely on faith, you may be able to observe this effect with regards to interpersonal relations, which I’ll talk about more when we look at the second organisational tier: Living Energy. So we’ll come back to this notion later.

If you've read anything on Vitalism, you’ll likely understand the many of the disciplines derived from it rely upon the notion that one’s internal energies (those which constitute Personal Energy) are responsible for their physical and psychological wellbeing. When these energies are channelled incorrectly, they can cause blockages, inevitably causing medical or psychological issues which can only be reversed or rectified when they blockage is removed. Again, while that might sound like an unfounded principle, remember that it is one that has existed in practical terms for several thousand years and are the basis for many medical practices that are now used as mainstream therapeutic methods: Acupuncture, Reiki and Tai Chi etc. Certainly the majority of such methods originate from Eastern countries, but this is primarily the result of a greater belief in the notions of life energy compared to Western belief – much of which has focused on various deities, rather than to the forces of nature or life.

As a result of this last notion, inevitably we encourage all Jedi Realists to pursue some learning with regards to these practices – or at the very least, to try and understand something of the energetic movements within the body, so that they might learn what they might do to prevent energy blockages, through changes in diet, exercise, lifestyle etc. Certainly it requires that the student be responsible with their own body, for abuse of one’s body inevitably increases the risk of energetic blockages and, thus, negative consequences for the body.

In order to further discuss the ramifications of the lowest organisational tier, we need to give consideration to the second one: that of Living Energy.

Living Energy

The second stage of the model is that of Living Energy – as we define it, the sum of all Personal Energy in existence. Hence it is, if you will, the cumulative total of all energy contained within the physical bodies of all living organisms, including their life energy, as well as that which constitutes the physical matter which makes up their bodies. As with Personal Energy, the energy which constitutes the second stage are also constantly shifting – not through the smaller things, such as metabolic processes and the like – but instead as a result of new life coming into existence through the process of reproduction and existing organisms dying out in the many various ways in which this is possible. As the physical body dies, the energy contained therein is transferred out of the body as it decomposes – to be consumed by other organisms as food, or to simply convert into other forms of energy that are then absorbed by the environment etc. When new life is brought into the world, energy is required to give physical form to that organism, while life energy is required to animate it and make it alive.

However, energy is exchanged in many other ways than simply the physical manifestations. Life energy naturally flows between living things and thus is not always restricted to the physical body of an organism. This itself is a principle of many different ideologies and belief systems – indeed, many Eastern ideologies have asserted this principle for thousands of years, as we do now. It is here that we first come to understand the notions of affecting energy beyond manipulating our own physical and mental energies, which is something we all do naturally anyway – mental energies can range from simple thought energy to that which connects the mental to the physical, while physical energy has very obvious manifestations – indeed, lacking it, I could not type these words, nor could you read them. Nonetheless, when we consider the first two levels of our model, it becomes necessary to consider how we can affect our own life energy, and how this in turn affects others around us.

Consider, if you will, the following: within our bodies, we all possess life energy, that which enables us to live – responsible for the animation of our cells and the various processes that occur as a result. All living things generate this energy naturally, and exchange it with their environment. Consequently, this creates a field of energy – one that is projected by all living creatures. Some call this a person’s ‘aura’, others simply consider it a bioelectric field. Regardless of what you call it, this leads to the notion that all life is, in some way, connected as a result of this energy. This being the case, is it therefore possible that one person might be able to manipulate their energetic aura in such a way that it might affect another? Inevitably, we believe it to be true that this is the case – and that we affect our own energy field through our psychological states: if we are happy, we have an overall positive effect on that energy, and thus project an aura of positivism. If we are unhappy or angry, we have a negative effect on our energy and project that outwardly, so much so that others can perceive this if sensitive to that energy (as most people unconsciously are). If you look at arts such as Reiki, you will discover that one can go further than this and project their own energy outward in order to promote physical healing or psychological wellbeing in another.

This inevitably has some significant ramifications for us as Jedi Realists. If we can affect our energies and, thus, effect other people (both positively and negatively), this therefore requires that we have to take responsibility for the impressions we place upon that energy, since if we do not, it becomes possible that we could adversely affect others through our inadvertent effects upon our own energetic field. We tend to believe that this results from our state of mind – impressions upon energy result from our mood (internally felt and externally expressed) and our overall approach to life (positive or negative). Subsequently, we therefore feel it is necessary to adopt a particular state of mind, namely that of serenity, enabling us to act not only from a position of calm objectivity (in keeping with our ideals), but also to ensure that we don’t have an adverse effect upon our energy in such a way that it might cause issues for others – were we to adopt a generally negative state of mind (one of anger, jealousy, arrogance etc), inevitably that would have a similar effect on others.

It should, at this point, be noted that the results are not the same with everyone, however. Some people can quite successfully resist the impressions they sense from other people’s energy, whether they are consciously aware of it or not, while others are very much subject to the psychological effects of being touched by another person’s energy.

In addition to this, there is also the general psychological effect that energy exchange possesses. As has already been discussed, life energy is generally considered as being vital for physical and psychological wellbeing. This being the case, it becomes necessary to discuss the transfer and exchange of energy between people as it relates to interpersonal relationships. Many Vitalist theories (including the Chinese notion of ‘Chi’, as well as the energy of James Redfield’s ‘Celestine Prophecy’) have suggested that, in addition to simply exchanging energy between individuals, it becomes possible for energy to be manipulated in the sense that it can be attracted to an individual, or projected outwards. This in itself, or so these theories would suggest, is one of the governing factors within any human relationships. Allow me to explain a little further.

Assuming we accept the premise that energy is responsible for psychological wellbeing, we can assume then that it operates in one of two ways: a large amount of energy equates to a positive personality, or a large amount equates to a negative personality. Most theories that discuss this suggest that the former is true, as indeed do Jedi Realists, for the most part. Now, consider energy as a substance that can be exchanged between people – you can give energy to others, accept energy from them, steal energy from others and, of course, absorb it from your environment. Relationships, then, are as much to do about energy as personality – in a balanced relationship, energy is shared between those involved – both giving, both receiving. In an unbalanced relationship, one gives more than they receive, or one takes more than they give.

How does this affect the relationship? To answer that, we need to consider the psychological effects on those within these different relationships. If two people are engaged in any type of relationship, energy will inevitably be shared (consciously or unconsciously). Hence, we obtain several different types of relationship:

If shared equally, whereby they both give and receive energy naturally, both benefit from the relationship. In this, both gain something from the relationship, hence giving them reason to continue it (assuming that they want to do this – remember that there are obviously other factors involved). This is the more common form of successful relationship – two individuals sharing equally and benefiting equally. Marriage is usually a good example.

If a relationship consists of one person who takes more their fair share while giving back less energy than they receive and another who gives more than they receive, inevitably, one becomes dominant while the other becomes naturally submissive – one will be able to exert a greater level of assertiveness, while the other simply chooses to accept this, and is therefore more likely to be receptive to the wishes of the other individual in the relationship.

To better consider this, we should also look at how the methods by which they exchange energy affect individuals, since this will determine the nature of their relationships in the long term. I should also note the effects of different energy levels – higher energy levels allow a person to feel positive and enthusiastic (ironically, sometimes considered ‘energetic’, emotionally and physically) while a person with low energy levels will be more likely to find themselves on the negative end of the emotional spectrum – moody, depressed, angry, tired etc.

Firstly, we have the balanced individual, one who will give as much energy as they obtain from others (whether they take it or are given it - an important distinction). Most people fall into this category – their energy levels operate on the same spectrum as the one I have already described: when energy is high, they tend to be more positive; when energy is low, they tend to feel more negative.

Secondly, we come upon those that are considered ‘energetic vampires’, since these are the types who literally feed off the energy others project, taking that energy through simple force of will, rather than simply being receptive to the energy projected by others. Consequently, this particular individual tends to feel significantly positive about themselves, although in some cases, they can often feel very negative, since they usually want more energy than they have (hence why they take that energy if they can). This would be the negative receptive personality type, since these individuals are not only receptive to the energy others project, but also steal energy from others (whether consciously or otherwise), taking more than they give to others, hence benefiting at the expense of another. Such individuals tend to be very much dominant and aggressive, although the more balanced ones tend to be highly assertive rather than aggressive by nature.

The positive receptive personality type is our third archetype, this being an individual that is naturally amenable to accepting energy projected by others, absorbing it indiscriminately. However, they don’t generally seek out this energy, but are simply open to receiving any. Usually they maintain the same level of energy as a balanced person (first archetype) but have a greater receptiveness to energy around them, and thus can absorb a great deal more energy than most people. This does, though, have some disadvantages, since a person of this archetype can sometimes become used to a high level of energy within their environment (thus meaning they absorb more), so when in areas or circumstances whereby there is less energy available for them to absorb, they become more depressive or negative – hence, something of a bipolar individual, experiencing energetic highs and lows, but rarely tending towards the middle ground.

Finally, we come to the fourth archetype – the projective. These are individuals that give off a great deal more energy than they ever absorb, thus meaning that they are often less likely to be positive, since most of their energy is going to other people – benefiting others at the expense of themselves. Usually this manifests itself as a submissive or depressive nature, although sometimes (if their nature is as philanthropic as their energy projection), they can be very much humble but content individuals – able to be positive with less energy than most people, or perhaps simply happier when giving off energy to others and seeing them benefit from it. Hence, the personality of such an individual varies dependent on their circumstances – if they are within a group, they might be the social type that always involves themselves, projecting that energy outward to the others within their group, or they might be the reticent type, who gives off plenty of energy to the others, thus becoming submissive or dispassionate compared to the others in that group.

Balanced individuals feel best around others of their type, while positive receptives pair best with projectives, since they will inevitably be able to better absorb the energy given by the one who projects most of theirs outwardly. However, this can be disadvantageous in that the positive receptive can inadvertently harm the projective, taking more energy simply because the supply and demand relationship is such that they might naturally absorb more than the projective is willing to provide, but that the generous nature of the latter feels obligated to satisfy. Negative receptives tend not to pair well with others except their own archetype, although prefer to pair with projectives, simply because they can absorb the energy given off by the latter, understanding the lesser need for an energy return by the projective. If you want to see examples of this, watch how people interact with each other and see if you can identify their energy type as they relate to other people.

Jedi Realists consider this primarily because it provides us with a working model of how manipulating our own energy can affect different people in different ways and also to ensure that we are neither energetically taken advantage of, nor take advantage of others in that same regard. Hence, we all strive towards being balanced with regards to our energetic natures (since this can change as your personality does), primarily through adopting our emotional methodology of serene objectivity, combined with the mindful knowledge of what our energy does to others and vice versa.

With these things taken into consideration, we have to carefully consider the nature of personal responsibility, since our actions, even when they do not affect others directly, can affect them as a result of the energy we project. If we act selfishly, even when others will not be harmed in so doing, it becomes possible that they might be affected through interacting with our energetic field. The same is true for all our actions – hence the need for objectivity in both thought and action.

However, it now becomes necessary to move on to the third and final tier within our model: that of Unified Energy, the largest of the three, of which Living Energy is inevitably a part.

Unified Energy

This final stage of the model is, as noted, the largest of the three – the universal level of the Force. It is, by definition, the sum of Living Energy – that which exists as the sum of all life energy in existence at any one point in time – in addition to all other forms of energy in the Universe. If it is true (as science contends) that all energy is capable of converting into any other form of energy given the right environmental circumstances, it seems logical to suggest that all forms of energy are, in some way, connected to each other. Thus, this stage is where we finally see life energy as it relates to every other form of energy – part of a larger picture, the specific nature of the energy defined purely by function and consequence.

We consider this stage primarily as a result of the fact that it inevitably places our very particular form of energetic focus – that of Life Energy – into a much broader context: where precisely it fits in, if you will. However, there is, for us, one overwhelming theme that constitutes the ramifications of this final stage – the overall neutrality of the Force itself.

As you may read about with regards to the Dualistic Model (an alternative to the Tripartite Model), some believed that the Force itself was an energy based on two opposite positions – those of positive and negative (alternatively, light and dark or good and evil). Methodologically, the differences between the two models come down to this fundamental disagreement – the Tripartite Model asserts that the Force is a neutral energy, while the Dualistic Model maintains that there is an inherent duality within the energies of the Force.

The reason we consider the Force to be a neutral energy (especially at the level of Unified Energy) is simply because nature, as a rule, always seeks to ensure a balance in all potential aspects of equilibrium – hence, all things possess an opposite. Matter has Antimatter; Predators have Prey and so on. The notion that energy could be divided between two forces that don’t, in themselves, exist within nature – namely, those of good and evil – inevitably seems somewhat spurious. Good and Evil are human concepts and only apply to humans – for our purposes, we always define Good by pro-life action and intent, while Evil is defined by actions that harm life, particularly those that intend to cause such harm. Within nature, this does not occur – death comes either as a result of natural predator-prey mechanisms (in themselves, a method of balancing populations between the two), natural disasters or accidents (floods, landslides etc) or through natural causes (illness, age etc). Only humans take life unnecessarily, so the notions of good and evil begin and end with us. To suggest that these are part of the nature of Life Energy seems illogical.

With this in mind, the Tripartite Model makes a final assertion: evil exists not as part of the Force, but as part of human action. Hence, any evil that exists in the world does so because humans choose to create it. Thus, for Jedi Realists, all of whom have pro-life ethical tendencies, it teaches one lesson: you are responsible for your actions, so if you cause harm to others, it is entirely your own doing and the consequences of those actions are yours to accept. This in itself is one of the reasons that we choose to take the approach to life that we have – understanding that we are responsible for our actions, we undertake to adopt a way of life that causes the least possible harm to others, since we choose to prevent causing harm through mindful objectivity, understanding that if we cause harm, we have to accept responsibility for doing so, and act to minimize the harm.