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Comparing the Jedi and Sith Codes

Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.

The Jedi and Sith Codes

The Jedi and Sith Codes

The Jedi and Sith Codes in Star Wars

The tenets of the Jedi and Sith Orders represent their contrasting views of the Force. Identical in both the canon and legends timelines, these provide practitioners with fundamental beliefs, although not everyone fully agrees with them (Qui-Gon being a prime example).

So, what separates—and occasionally connects—the two schools? Here are the similarities and differences between the Jedi and Sith codes in Star Wars!

Jedi in Star Wars

Jedi in Star Wars

The Jedi Code

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Focused on surrender to the Force rather than control over it, the Jedi Code promotes peace and knowledge, echoing Yoda's lecture on defense over attack. However, the first and third lines are perhaps outdated, as (in legends at least), Luke improves the New Jedi Order by embracing concepts of love rather than rejecting them. Emotion brings power and is dangerous in the wrong hands, but can be used for good when kept in check.

The last verse is also somewhat prophetic, foreshadowing the Light Side-exclusive ability to retain individuality after death.

Younglings in Star Wars

Younglings in Star Wars

The Jedi Code (Alternate)

Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet the Force.

Often recited by younglings, I actually prefer this condensed version of the original mantra. It doesn't completely reject the original concepts (allowing room for emotion and passion to have their place), but reminds Jedi that such ideas must be moderated to fully utilize the Light Side. "Passion, yet serenity" is far less restrictive than "there is no passion".

Sith in Star Wars

Sith in Star Wars

The Sith Code

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

The Sith Code heavily mirrors the Jedi's, contradicting their ideas with new, self-emphasizing viewpoints. But while many fans think of Sith as evil, their actual Code really isn't so dark.

The verses emphasize passion, strength, and power, which (when used in proper situations) adhere pretty closely to Luke's new Jedi Order. Even the last line, "The Force shall free me", is something you might hear a Jedi echo. In other words, while many Sith eventually cross a moral line, their actual code doesn't demand it, and some Sith practice the Dark Side in surprisingly humane ways.

The Gray Jedi symbol

The Gray Jedi symbol

The Gray Jedi Code

Flowing through all, there is balance
There is no peace without a passion to create
There is no passion without peace to guide
Knowledge fades without the strength to act
Power blinds without the serenity to see
There is freedom in life
There is purpose in death

The Force is all things and I am the Force

Gray Jedi believe in balance, emphasizing that too much of the Light is as bad as too much of the Dark. Their mantra essentially combines the Jedi and Sith codes into one unified perspective, recognizing the importance of both peace and passion, life and death.

Though it may just be coincidence, the last line is remarkably similar to Rogue One character Chirrut Îmwe's motto, which goes "I am one with the Force and the Force is with me".

Luke and Yoda on Dagobah

Luke and Yoda on Dagobah

Luke's Planned Jedi Oath

"I, Luke Skywalker, do swear on my honor, and on the faith of the brotherhood of knights, to use the Force only for good, denying, turning always from the Dark Side; to dedicate my life to the cause of freedom, and justice. If I should fail of this vow, my life shall be forfeit, here and hereafter."

This text appears in drafts of The Empire Strikes Back, signaling Luke's dedication to the Jedi before he rushes to Cloud City to help his friends. Most interestingly, it signals a forfeiture of the right to live should one fall to the Dark Side.

Learning More About Jedi And Sith

Looking at the parallels between the Jedi and Sith mottos, we can see surprising amounts of overlap. After all, the first Sith were just fallen Jedi, and the rival schools actually have a lot in common.

For further details about the workings of the two Orders, I recommend books The Jedi Path and Book of Sith. With commentary from various in-universe characters, they're both great reads that explore contrasting philosophies. You can bundle them together for $30, but for now, vote for your favorite perspective and I'll see you at our next Star Wars countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill

Comments

Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on April 11, 2020:

@Tim

Thank you! I've always found it interesting that Palpatine (alongside Tarkin) would have the Empire discriminate against aliens, considering his former master and apprentice (Plagueis and Maul) were among them.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on April 10, 2020:

Thank you, Jeremy. Brilliant explanations of these different codes. I've just read Darth Plagueis, and it's interesting how he drilled into Darth Sidious the need to take control of the force to make it do a practitioner's bidding. Your explanations helped clarify many of the differences in these codes, but I like the gray code the most. Have a pleasant holiday.