How the Chosen One Brings Balance to the Force
There is, as one would expect, quite a bit of debate about how Anakin brings balance to the Force. He obviously does not accomplish this in Episode III. As Obi Wan says to him, ” You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them!” You were supposed to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in Darkness!
There are those who suppose that Anakin/DV brings balance to the Force when he finally destroys the Emperor to save Luke. And there are those who think that it is really Luke who brings balance to the Force. Both of these lines of thinking are based on the assumption that the manner of bringing balance to the Force is to destroy the Sith. I see no reason to dispute this as at least part of the result, but I do not think that it is the main function that Anakin serves.
Anakin, as far as we can tell, is conceived by the midi-chlorians, perhaps as a result of the actions of Darth Plageius. He has immense potential in the Force. And he arise outside of the Republic, meaning that the Jedi do not have an influence over him at as early an age as they like to have with respect to their padawans. The latter throws a change in the mix, so to speak, when Anakin does become a Jedi. And the former – Anakin’s immense power potential – means that this change is going to have a powerful affect in the Force.
Give this line of reasoning, I believe that Anakin would have brought balance to the Force whether or not he had turned to the Dark Side. And I also believe that he would have brought balance to the Force whether or not the Sith had been destroyed. That turns out to be a critical result, but as long as there is choice, Jedi can turn to the Dark Side and restore the Sith, or at least some semblance of it. But what Anakin was actually meant to do would either result in destruction of the Sith – for the present – or give the Jedi a better means of combating the Dark Side.
So what was it that Anakin was really supposed to do? As noted above, being outside the Republic, and outside of where he would come to the attention of the Jedi, he was quite old for beginning Jedi training. He already had attachments – not in an unhealthy sense of possessions and greed – but in what most of us would consider a healthy sense. He already knew love and affection and loyalty. And Anakin never learned to give those up. He never learned to protect against the Dark Side by letting go love to his mother and Padme, affection and loyalty to close friends.
Anakin, on many occasions (see The Labyrinth of Evil), endangered the mission by refusing to leave Obi-Wan, in particular, as well as others, to death when he could save them. It is a testimony to his skill that the mission always succeeded as well. But he was not prepared to do what Yoda advised him: “Learn to let go that which you fear to lose.” At least, not when it was a friend or love. Had Anakin not turned to the Dark Side, his relationship with Padme would have been discovered, but I believe that eventually the relationship would have been accepted, and Anakin would have either been allowed to remain a Jedi or, perhaps, would have been readmitted to the Jedi Order.
Because of Anakin’s innate power, once this adjustment to the strict Jedi code was introduced, there was no taking it back. It was like a stone thrown into a pool whose ripples go out in all directions. After all, there was a large measure of truth in Palpatine’s words to Anakin: Anakin had longed for a life of significance beyond that of a normal Jedi. But I think the truth is that normal Jedi had also longed for such a life.
More than once in the novelization there is an admission that the Jedi needed to change, but it is never spelled out. And, again in the novelization, Yoda notes that he had taught the Jedi to fight the last war, not the next one. I believe that the Jedi needed to embrace a larger world, a world that embraced the bedrock of human existence: affection, love and loyalty.
Certainly, these qualities can make one vulnerable. But generally, they would not make one any more vulnerable than simply admitting our human limitations and vulnerabilities. In fact, these qualities could make an individual, and the Jedi Order, more resilient. Anakin’s relationship with Padme certainly made him vulnerable, but largely because he had no one to whom he could go and really spell out the full truth. He was vulnerable because allowing himself these human experiences was forbidden and he had nowhere to turn for aid, except to the one who was manipulating the events to take advantage of his vulnerability.
Nevertheless, these qualities have now been introduced to the Force. Qualities that can moderate the absolute, uncontrolled release of things like anger and hatred. Qualities that can give a person a larger life, one that lets one receive as well as give goodness in a most basic, existential way. Too much is lost to take detachment to the degree that one readily sacrifices friends and love. It might come to that, through certain dire circumstances, but too much is lost to make it a general rule.
Through a bit of serendipity, Anakin’s son follows in his footsteps, up to a point. Luke has a “normal” childhood, as opposed to being a Jedi padawan as long as he can remember. He comes to value affection and love and loyalty long before he begins Jedi training. Once these qualities are introduced, they are not easily removed. As Yoda says in the novelization, there are other ways than Jedi training to learn basic self-discipline. And, we might add, Jedi training is not the only way to learn basic human self-worth and integrity.
Luke has an advantage over his father. While he is trying to be a responsible, moral being he is not faced with the intentional, manipulative and seductive pressure added by the Emperor. But these qualities have at least as firm and– whining aside –mature hold in Luke as they do in Anakin. Luke was no more willing than Anakin to put aside the needs of those close to him – again at Yoda’s admonition, I might add.
But it was Anakin who brought about balance to the Force by refusing to deny either his power or these innate human experiences. It was Anakin who tossed the pebble in the pond. It was Anakin, and the changes his life introduced, that brought balance to the Force.
It is Anakin who blends the truth of the Sith and the truth of the Jedi into a larger truth of the Force. Later, in the Expanded Universe of The New Jedi Order, Luke is married to Mara Jade; he is in relationship not only to Han and Leia, but also to their children – Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin – who are also Jedi. Balance is brought back to the Force – the balance of passion, friendship, love, and loyalty – as well as utter commitment to that mysterious, mystical energy field known as the Force that binds all together.
© 2005 Ron L. Clayton