There is no “Other”: The Force Connects Us All
When Luke Skywalker asks Obi-Wan Kenobi, “What is the Force?” the first thing that Obi-Wan says is that the Force is what gives a Jedi their power. This has led to some confusion that the Force is a means to power. While it is true that a Jedi (or even a Sith) can find almost unlimited potential when the dig deep and use the Force, that is not what the Force is about at all. The power of the Force is not measured in its strength of what it can accomplish, but rather by what it is. The Force is not about power at all, it is about connection.
Through the Force and through the very nature of the universe, all things are interconnected and interdependent. Before the big bang, when the universe existed as a primeval atom, all things were literally the same thing. That we are individual and unconnected is the illusion. The only thing that has made a difference in the makeup of the universe is distance and time.
When we see the Force as connection, we begin to see that we are not alone in anything we do. While some connections are stronger than others, even a stranger on the other side of the globe is connected to us, how much more are our neighbors and those in our community. The people we see when we go out in the world are all part of the same connection, we share with everything in the universe. This presents us with a choice: acknowledge the connection and seek to strengthen it thus strengthening our connection to the Force or try to seek isolation and diminish our connection to our fellow beings and the Force. It is the Force that guides us to look outward of ourselves and wanting to better the world, but it is the Dark Side that seeks to isolate gathering power for personal gain.
For some, it is not enough to simply make personal gain, but they misuse power to control others instead of the connected ideal of cooperation, they turn to the idea of imposing their will on others. They seek to advance their agenda at the expense of others. They buy into the illusion that they are not connected to those they wish to harm. They set up a false dichotomy that if one group succeeds, others must carry the cost and fail. But when you see that we are connected, then life ceases to be a zero-sum game. We either all make it together, or we do not make it at all.
It is when we see our fellow beings as something different than us that we open the door to evil acts. When we allow ourselves to indulge in the illusion of disconnection, we lose sight that what we do to others, affects ourselves deeply. Despite what some may tell you, it is not human nature to harm another. Our natural impulses resist doing harm to people, and only an imbalance in our intangible aspects with too much darkness allow people to overcome their protective impulses and cause harm. As Jedi, it is our hope to restore balance, but there come times where intercession is necessary. If we come from a motivation of defense we need to protect those that imbalanced individuals would cause harm towards. This can take many forms such as deplatforming those that propagate harmful, hateful messages which in turn motivate physical harm to bodily intervening with those that would do harm. What we must keep in mind, is that in doing this we must deny those that would do harm the ability to do so without denying their humanity. If at all possible, we must try to reconnect harmful individuals to the light of mutual protection of all beings and reconnection to the Force, without ignoring the immediacy of intervening so that harm they intend never comes to pass.
We are all connected. To quote Stan Lee shortly before his death, "That man next to you, he's your brother. That woman over there, she's your sister. And that kid walking by, hey, who knows — he may have the proportionate strength of a spider. We’re all part of one big family, the human family…” Lee recognized that bigotry and racism was one of deadliest social ills in plaguing the world today. Recent events in the world have shown just how deadly it is. As Jedi, we cannot allow ourselves inaction in the face of those that need defense and justice. These deadly actions only happen because of the illusion of the “other” which sets up an “us vs. them “mentality instead of the realization that there is no “other” the Force connects us all.