Written by Katie Mock
What is the Force?
I started this essay typing in ‘The force is a nebulous and complicated concept’, and then promptly deleted it, because that isn’t true. The Force is very simple: it is whatever you think it is. Quite likely you already have some idea of what the Force is to you: a deity, your sense of self, your will, the Tao, something unexplainable but tangible, all or none of the above, or something completely different.
For example, to me the Force is the universe, is everything that exists, has existed, or will exist. Everything is made up of some variety of matter, whether mundane or unusual, terrestrial or in the void of space, and all matter is energy in one way or another. They are mathematically linked and even transmutable in some conditions. What we perceive as solid or liquid is just energy at a different frequency of existence. So I see the force scientifically, but that does not preclude a sense of sacred and awe.
When I look at other people and think about the complexity and harmony of untold atoms joined together that is a human being, that all those atoms exchange and interact with another person, another collection of matter that can think and talk and feel, and furthermore that every one of those atoms was made in a star somewhere in the universe, it floors me. We are sentient stardust, and as Carl Sagan says, “we are the way that the cosmos can know itself”.
We live in a world that can be described with the precision of mathematics, but will always have new mysteries to solve. We see the same beauty and patterns in telescopes that we see under microscopes. When I sit outside and feel the wind on my face, I know it exists because our planet is spinning through space at unimaginable speeds in a pattern that reminds us humans of DNA.
When I remember that ‘There is no death, there is The Force’, I know it to be true, because the energy I absorb doesn’t disappear when I die, but is transmuted and absorbed by other creatures, who in turn give life to others. Yoda says “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter”: he is correct, we are indeed luminous beings, but the matter is luminous too. The force is a fact of life and science, but beyond that it is the core of all that is real and beautiful in the universe; even further, I am made of the Force and can interact with it. How incredible is that?
For me, the Force is an integral part of my Jedi path not for any powers it should give me. (“There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny!”) But the Force is the way I see the world: with passion, awe, and joy in the beauty that is existence as a whole, and my experience of it. It is when I remember to live life to the fullest that I am most at one with the Force.
I’ll leave you with some music for thought along those lines.