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This essay is from Adam Lenhardt
Published on November 20, 2000

The Force and the Dao

The Force and the Dao

While brushing up on Chinese history, I found reference to a philosophy called Daoism. Being the ignorant but curious person that I am, I researched further about a Chinese philosophy not really talked about in the United States. What I found (Besides the fact that it was/is the second to Confucianism in influence) were interesting parallels to the Force.

Compare this quote from the Encarta entry: "Through spontaneous compliance with the impulses of one's own essential nature and by emptying oneself of all doctrines and knowledge, one achieves unity with the Dao and derives from it a mystical power." to this quote from A New Hope: "The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us... penetrates us... binds the galaxy together." Also Qui-Gon's "Feel, don't think..." line plays into this as well.

The Dao, or Way, is the underlying pattern of the universe, while the Force is the underlying pattern of the Star Wars galaxy. The biggest difference is that to be one with the Dao was to forget all problems and differences and conform to nature, whereas the Jedi sought to at least partially conform the Force to them.

Perhaps a thousand years from now Chinese Daoists with be running around in brown and white bathrobes moving objects with their mind, and protecting the planet, with Laozi, Daoism's founder, their Yoda. Or perhaps, horror of horrors, we'll all be flying living in some Star Trek incarnation, with no thought of a lightsaber...

If you know of any other parallels between Chinese philospophy and the Force, please email me at lenhardt@cg-realms.com. I will include it in an expanded version of this article covering philosophies of the world and their relation to Star Wars which I will send once the first offical poster or trailer comes out next year!

Feedback welcome


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