The Force of Logic

While I am a huge science-fiction fan, the Star Wars series really has not grabbed me like other series. I do have some friends who are really into this universe of telekinetic swashbucklers and scoundrels. When one of these friends told me to watch the last few episodes of the last season of the animated Clone Wars show; I asked why. He told me that it put all the pieces together between the 2nd and 3rd film of the prequel trilogy. I am a sucker for storytelling and how storytellers connect their work, so I was intrigued. Recently, I took a day off work to spend some more time with my baby daughter.

The last three episodes (‘Voices’, ‘Destiny’, and  ‘Sacrifice’)  were essentially a personal soul quest by Yoda. It started with the him hearing the voice of Liam Neeson telling him that there can be individual life after death. In this story universe when someone dies they lose their identity as they enter the Force Cosmic. So, the news that one can train to keep their identity after death is a huge thing – because you can become a floating light and/or a disembodied voice like what is shown in the movies. At this point in plot history, only Liam Neeson’s character has done this (just to show you how awesome his voice really is). After that revelation, Yoda leaves all the other main characters except for R2D2 and travels to the hidden planet, from which all life came. On this planet, he finds floating spirit priestesses and has to face many challenges, which include fighting the evil inside himself. After many mental and physical challenges to prove himself worthy, Yoda learns the following: That ‘all is one’.

So, overall Yoda learns what he needed to know to maintain his identity after his death, what will happen in the future including Luke Skywalker (the hero of the original trilogy).

Sometimes, even in a story world, things pop out better when put into logical form. Let’s do that now:

  1. Evil must be stopped or balance in the force must be restored.
  2. All is one

Premise 1 comes from this: throughout the whole storyworld, there is the battle between the Jedi and the Sith. (Side note: if you can shoot lighting from your hands while laughing you may be evil.) The first premise is also stated in this way by the characters many times in the show “Balance in the force must be restored,” but also when they say “[such and such] is evil and must be stopped”.

Premise 2 comes from what Yoda learned in these episodes. Stated basically in the Star Wars cosmology, everything comes from the same source and will end in the same source and is of the same source. The source being the Force. If you are into philosophy you could say that everything comes from the same substance, everything will end in the same substance, and everything is of the same substance.

The new premise however contradicts the first and violates one of the rules of logic: the rule of non-contradiction. What is meant by that is that there are two premises that directly contradict each other.

Here is the contradiction: if evil must be stopped then there are basically two sides: good and evil.  In the Star Wars universe I think I can safely assume that living in peace is good while sending robot armies to kill millions to start a civil war so that you can become emperor of the galaxy is evil. So we have two opposing sides: good and the evil that must be stopped. However, if ‘all is one’, that would mean that good is evil and that evil is good. There cannot be two sides or any sides at all. There is only oneness. If that is true, then being the person who is killing millions is the same as the person living in peace. Logically, we have a contradiction: There is evil and good (a distinction) and everything is one (no distinctions).

Sadly, it seems that Yoda wasted his time on his quest because what he learned cannot be true.

A wise character once said something like this: “Hokey logic is no match for a good blaster at your side… and a baby in my lap.”