The Force and its Sides in Star Wars and Theosophical Literature

George Lucas specifically created and used these concepts in Star Wars, not as mere fiction, but to awaken spirituality in young people. Stars Wars blends eastern metaphysics, the bushidō, and martial arts.

Here are two central concepts between Star Wars and Theosophy.

[1] The Force
[2] The Two Paths

 The Force


Star Wars

“The Force” is a metaphysical binding principle that connects all living things in the fictional universe of the Star Wars galaxy. It was created by George Lucas, and inspired by both a 1963 abstract film 21-87 (Silberman, Steve (May 2005). “Life After Darth”); and the universal concept of the life force held long among ancient traditions. It is the object of study among the Jedi and Sith orders. The Force has different aspects, such as the Cosmic Force, that binds the galaxy and living things together, and communicates through the midi-chlorians. The cosmic force is a ubiquitous presence, and energy field, that can be sensed, and living things effect “turbulence” in the field. It is connected with the awakening of latent force abilities in the force-sensitive. The living force, another aspect of the Force however, is described as force fed from the energy of living things, which makes possible, e.g., the phenomenon of Force spirits. A knowledge of this dynamic side of the Force, among both the Jedi, Sith, and other users, give them different abilities, “some consider to be unnatural.”

The simplicity of the teaching, through Star Wars, come from more than 2,000 years of traditions and beliefs.


Fohat” is a misleading spelling, that has been identified with ’pho-ba (verb form) or spros-pa (noun form) in Tibetan transliteration. Blavatsky first uses this term in 1885, spelling it pho-hat, in a conversation on the concept of 魂 (hun) and 魄 (pò) she spelt “hwun [hun]and “pho” in Chinese philosophy. It represents the symbol of the “root of matter” and manifestation, or of Motion (Spirit). It asserts that this unified force animates and electrifies the atoms into life, and permeates every nerve of Nature.

Like the Force in Star Wars, it has many aspects, and thus has force-correlations with every force in the cosmos, being but its own aspects, because it is the aggregate of all these.

“In reality there is only one force, which on the manifested plane appears to us in millions and millions of forms. As said, all proceeds from the one universal primordial fire, and electricity is on our plane one of the most comprehensive aspects of this fire. All contains, and is, electricity, from the nettle which stings to the lightning which kills, from the spark in the pebble to the blood in the body. But the electricity which is seen, for instance, in an electric lamp is quite another thing from Fohat.” (Helena Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 10, 1889, pg. 379.)

This FORCE, or Cosmic Energy is the synthesis of all the primary Energies, with the centripetal and centrifugal forces of nature representing two aspects of one Primordial Force. It is the synthesis and guide of those primary differentiations of MATTER.

“Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan.”
(Qui-Gon Jin, The Phantom Menace: Episode I)

“ALL IS LIFE, and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism. “The very atoms,” says Tyndall, “seem instinct with a desire for life.” Whence, then, we would ask, comes the tendency “to run into organic form”? Is it in any way explicable except according to the teachings of Occult Science?” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., pp. 248-249.)

 The Two Paths


Star Wars

The dark and the light-side are two aspects of the Force — a metaphysical power that binds the Galaxy together. In Star Wars Legends (non-canon), at the dawn of the Galactic Empire, a discussion and investigation, between scientists, priests, warriors, and philosophers, of an ambiguous energy in the universe, led to the discovery of what would come to be known as Ashla (the Force, or light side of the force). Later, the dark side of the force was discovered. Both aspects have a particular nature. The light side is described as a flowing river, with hidden strength; and aligned with love, benevolence, happiness, joy, or calmness. The dark side is often aligned with darker emotions, but appears to be a pathway, that claims to embrace everything the Force offers; and darksiders gain this, by not repressing emotions. Lightsiders, however, are taught to be aware of the dark side of the force; and also claiming the darksiders have much to learn about the Force.


Mainly, the two paths have different ultimate objectives; and refer to the difference between two kinds of adepts on the path of compassion as opposed to the path of selfishness (or selfish attainment of Buddha-hood), which is a recognizable set of concepts in Buddhism. Helena P. Blavatsky, a Buddhist and Theosophist differentiated this, between: (a) the Bodhisattva; and (b) the Pratyeka Buddhas. The two paths, does not also only come from the Buddhist tradition, for theosophy, but it is also a Stoic and Pythagorean conception:

“The Pythagoric Letter two ways spread,
Shows the two paths in which Man’s life is led.
The right hand track to sacred Virtue tends,
Though steep and rough at first, in rest it ends;
The other broad and smooth, but from its Crown
On rocks the Traveller is tumbled down.
He who to Virtue by harsh toils aspires,
Subduing pains, worth and renown acquires;
But who seeks slothful luxury, and flies,
The labor of great acts, dishonored dies.”
(The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, 1987, pg. 158)

In the Hesiod (Chapter I, Book II), Xenophon details, in the youth of Hercules, how he had to make a choice between two paths.

In The Secret Doctrine, Helena P. Blavatsky curiously asserts:

“The Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, is but a series of historical records of the great struggle between white and black Magic, between the Adepts of the right path, the Prophets, and those of the Left, the Levites, the clergy of the brutal masses (…) That there were two schools of Magic, and the orthodox Levites did not belong to the holy one, is shown in the words pronounced by the dying Jacob.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, 1888, pg. 211)

T. Subba Row, an Indian theosophist and scholar, had differentiated the two paths, as a safe path of steady development, from the occult path of dealing with the inner forces. It is a difficult and dangerous path. It is the “narrow path,” the Secret path of the “Heart Doctrine.” The doctrine of the heart, the Secret Path they teach, leads to Parinirvana. The Buddha of Compassion, like the Vedantist, feels no man is liberated, until all beings are liberated, similarly to the Jesus of The New Testament. In psychology, ordinarily this leads to ‘pathological altruism.’

The Open path, as it is called, leads to the goal of Liberation, and second — the Secret path (of Renunciation) to Self-Immolation (though it is the “Path of Woe”). This might lead students to self-destruction, and “sorcery,” if they fail, T. Subba Row warns. Many proclaim they are prepared, but have failed, and fallen into its traps. The adepts hope this path in Nature will make of its candidates, adepts or great philanthropists — beneficial to the epoch. Hence, theosophy states, that the ethics of theosophy is much more vital, than the divulgence of psychic laws.

What Path will you choose?

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