Hi all, I thought I would provide an interesting perspective on Star Wars and argue for the case of the Sith. Before we dive in I’d like to cover a little bit of the history behind the Sith and the philosophy of their code. Based on Star Wars canon and legends continuity, the Sith started from a great schism of Dark Jedi from the original Jedi or Jed’aii order depending on canon or legends. Dark Jedi were exiled to the outer rim of the galaxy like a disease by light adherent Jedi. The Dark Jedi eventually found the world Korriban where the native race was known as Sith. Through the mixing of Dark Jedi and the Sith race’s philosophy, the concept of a Dark Lord of the Sith was born. The Jedi didn’t like this emergence and commited genocide against the Sith race and Dark Jedi. The tragic thing was, through the centuries of war and genocide the original Sith race was wiped out from the galaxy.
In light of this context, it shows the self-righteous Jedi as being the first transgressors in the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Since that genocide, the Sith, describing those who follow the Sith code and philosophy, have been trying to enact revenge on the Jedi. Had the Jedi not been so ruthless and dogmatic it’s quite possible that the conflict spanning millennia of galactic warfare between the Jedi and Sith wouldn’t have started.
To really argue for the case of the Sith I’m going to have to look into their code and see how it compares with the Jedi’s. The Sith and Jedi codes are polar opposites and arguably two sides to the same coin.
The Jedi code reads:
There is no emotion, there is peace
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge
There is no passion, there is serenity
There is no chaos, there is harmony
There is no death, there is the Force
The Sith code reads:
Peace is a lie, there is only passion
Through passion, I gain strength
Through strength, I gain power
Through power, I gain victory
The Force shall break my chains
Let’s unpack what the Jedi code means. According to the code, a Jedi should strive to be calm and at peace at all times, be knowledgeable rather than ignorant, be serene rather than passionate, and seek to bring harmony rather than chaos. A Jedi has no fear of death because “there is only the Force”. At face value, the code exudes a lot of good virtues: peace, serenity, knowledge, harmony, and courage. The problem is that the Jedi fail to practice what they preach. Ever since the first Jedi Schism the Jedi have succumbed to fear of the Darkside, which has translated to having a fear of the unknown. The Jedi choose to be ignorant of the Darkside, of their past crimes, and their own darker natures. They use their code as a mantra that reassures them that they are still the “good guys” that they are still fighting for the light. As Grandmaster Yoda is quoted as saying: “Fear is a path to the Darkside. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering”. This is especially true between the Jedi and Sith. The Fear of the Darkside and Sith teaching led to anger and hatred against the Dark Jedi and Sith race which led to the subsequent suffering and genocide of the Sith race and centuries of galactic conflict. This wasn’t the only occurrence of galactic scale genocide by the Jedi either. Revan was ruthless against the Mandalorian warriors and activated a terrifying weapon called “The Mass Shadow Generator” on Malachor V. The thing is the Darkside really isn’t that bad. When properly harnessed the Darkside can also do a lot of good. According to legends, the ancient Rakata used the Darkside in their technology and even discovered hyperspace routes using the Darkside of the Force. The ancient Sith used Force blades of Darkside energy which became the inspiration for the first modern lightsaber.
This obsessive fear of the Darkside led to other atrocities committed by the Jedi. The Jedi may be quick to condemn the Sith for having used slave labor but the Jedi are just as guilty. The Jedi coerce parents to give up Force-sensitive children age two or younger. This is great for parents who were in favor of giving up their children for adoption but what about the parennts that don’t want to let go of their children regardless of their Force potential? Well, it is my understanding that the Jedi would do anything they can to convince the parents to surrender their children. Including but not limited to credits, Force persuasion, blackmail, and physical violence. Jedi then brainwashed these Force sensitive children into their order at an early age. When Jedi younglings grew to early adolescence they were deemed ready to become Padawans. Anakin Skywalker was still a young teen, 16 at most, when he fought on Geonosis and faced Count Dooku in lightsaber combat. It’s my understanding that Ahsoka Tano was even younger, perhaps 12-14 when she first became Anakin’s Padawan and fought in the Clone Wars. The Jedi are raising Force wielding child soldiers.They believe that training them young would help them resist the temptations of the world and fight against the Darkside. However I would argue that it’s this very same practice of exposing younglings to violence which traumatized them an made them more vulnerable to turning to the Darkside. Consider Anakin Skywalker and Bariss Offee as an example. The Sith on the other hand tend to take in adults in their order. Preferring someone with life experience and knowledge outside of their religion.
Compared to the Jedi Code the Sith Code is far more practical and easier to live by. Rather than denying one’s emotions like the Jedi do the Sith embrace theirs. The Sith seek knowledge of all apsects of the Force, including the more feared practices, such as the Darkside. Rather than giving empty platitudes the Sith Code provides a road map for how one can gain strength and power from their passions and use said power to achieve victory and freedom. With this freedom one also gains peace and tranquility.
The Sith’s drive and passion was hijacked by a burning hatred for the Jedi. Had the Sith not been so terribly wronged they may have figured out ways to express more aspects of human emotion besides anger and hatred. The Jedi are at the core of this never-ending cycle of warfare in the Galaxy. Neither order can be seen as good or virtuous. They both have fallen in different ways after the great schism. In order for the galaxy to truly return to peace, Force wielders must put down their lightsabers and really listen and learn from each other. It’s not natural to deny one’s own emotions. Nor is it natural to let one’s emotions run rampant, being only controlled by one’s ID. True balance and goodness lies somewhere in the middle of these two ideologies. Power needs to be led by wisdom and wisdom needs the power to enact change.
Lastly, I just realized that the Star Wars movies are written from the perspective of the Jedi. We regard the Sith as evil because we are essentially told that by the Jedi. Regardless of whether or not the Sith were around during the Clone Wars era the Trade Federation would have still revolted against the Republic and it is very likely that the Separatists would have built a droid army with or without Count Dooku’s help. Had Palpatine not planned for the Clone Army to counter it the Republic would have likely fell. The clones kept the war relatively bloodless. By bloodless I mean that the only significant casualties were Jedi Knights and Clone Troopers. Far less than would have been if Republic citizens were conscripted into the military. Keep in mind that Palpatine was voted into the office of Supreme Chancellor legally. The Jedi didn’t have any significant evidence against Palpatine when Mace Windu and the rest of the Jedi Council came to arrest him. The Jedi were arguably in the wrong here. It doesn’t matter what religion Palpatine subscribed to, you can’t just arrest the galactic president on the testimony of one Jedi Knight. That would be a little like the Christian church trying to arrest the US president because someone testified that he was the antichrist. While Order 66 was tragic, Palpatine was well within his legal right to issue that order as pre-determined by Republic law. Arresting the Supreme Chancellor without significant evidence and fighting him when he resisted constitutes a betrayal of the Republic. The Jedi were also considering taking over the Republic government had Palpatine continued his term after Grevious’ death, that isn’t their decision to make. The Jedi Order became too arrogant, believing themselves to have the market cornered on justice, they were wrong and it was this belief that became their downfall. The Sith Order, on the other hand, acknowledges it’s faults and seeks to improve. The Sith have gone through many iterations throughout the centuries while the Jedi remained stagnant. This all culminated with Darth Sidious and the rise of the Galactic Empire.