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The Force

The Force is a (fictional) mystical power which is the object of the Jedi and Sith 'religions' in George Lucas's Star Wars films.

The Force is described as an energy existing between all living things. It can only be harnessed by a minority of people who are described as "Force sensitive", and their Force abilities are the result of a culture of internal micro-organisms called midichlorians. The more midichlorians a body contains, the greater the person's force ability. Force-adepts are able to tap into the Force to perform acts of great skill and agility.

The Jedi refer to two sides of The Force, a dark side and a light side. This echoes the concept of Yin Yang in Eastern philosophy, but is not a straight translation, as the emotional dark-side is denoted as a force of evil by the Jedi. Use of the dark side of the force is distinctly frowned upon within the Jedi order, and is strictly considered the domain of the Sith.

Jedi are keen to keep the Force in balance. They attempt to achieve this by destroying the Sith and denying the dark side, as the dark side is considered to be a corruption. This involves strict emotional discipline as negative emotions such as excessive aggression, anger and hate can easily bring on acceptance of the dark side. In contrast, positive emotions such as love, compassion, and courage help nurture the light side of the Force.

Manifestations of Force-skills include telepathy, telekinesis, enhanced physical and metaphysical perception as well as the ability to bend will of the weakminded and improved physical ability. As a consequence of these skills, the Force has occasionally been associated with the real-life concepts of Taoism and parapsychology.

In addition to the above powers, the Sith cult are also capable of aggressive attacks through The Force alone such producing "force-lightning" from their hands. Apparently, harnessing the dark side increases a person's power, although it also corrupts that person and over time waste away their body. As a contrast, it appears that adherance to the Light Side allows the follower to transcend death to become a "force ghost" which can allow the deceased to exist as an energy being who can interact with other force sensitive individuals.

When Alderaan was destroyed in the original Star Wars movie, Obi Wan Kenobi sensed "a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of souls cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced..."

The Force is associated with a phrase used by some characters in (and fans of) the films: "May the Force be with you", meaning something like "Good luck". If the Force exists between all living things in any case, the phrase reflects a misunderstanding of its nature; it's worth noting that the Jedi knight Obi Wan Kenobi always used a different form that expressed a reminder rather than a wish: "The Force will be with you."

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