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In Star Wars episodes II and III we can see how Anakin slowly accepts the Dark Side (even though he was not willing to do it), and that once he does it, there is no turning back.

However, in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is

struggling to go to the Dark Side, even though he is doing it willingly, and apparently only really embraces the Dark Side after killing Han.

So why is it so hard for Ren to

go to the Dark Side?

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Shorter answer.

Kylo Ren is evil, but to paraphrase what Darth Vader said to Luke, “The Force is with you, young Solo, but you are not a Sith yet.”

He’s a moody teenager with little direction. He’s conflicted. He looks up to Darth Vader (his grandfather) as someone who had great ambitions but was “corrupted” by the light side. This is confirmed in this short interview with J.J. Abrams on the topic titled, “J.J. Abrams Explains Why Kylo Ren Turned to the Dark Side”:

Q: Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, but Darth Vader turns good. So why does Kylo Ren idolize Darth Vader so much if he’s bad?

A: Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker. He idolizes what Vader represents… What Vader was trying to do… The idea that Vader didn’t succeed he was—if you look at it from Ren’s point of view—he was seduced by the enemy. And failed because of that seduction and so the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing Vader started.

Q: And what is inside Ren that made him turn bad?

A: An incredible power. An incredible force and incredible potential. That was… Like with many young people misguided and unclear. And the story for him is one of conflict… Not just external conflict but internal conflict. And it’s what makes him what I think is a rather interesting villain.

Longer answer.

The hard part about being a Jedi is the temptation to slip into the evil encompassed in the dark side that would change who you fundamentally are. The hard part about being Sith is you have to—essentially—kill yourself to become something that is no longer connected to you; you become a monster and can never go back.

Generally—not just in the Star Wars universe—it is easier to be nice/light/good as a matter of basic existence. How many of us wake up each day to create acts of evil and chaos as easily as we breathe? Few to none and those people who do engage the n constant acts of evil are considered psychologically imbalanced because they do not fit into the rest of the world where the vast majority of us are simply good by default.

To accept a dark side of yourself—and your interactions with the world—you really need to make a strong effort. Yes, at times performing acts of evil seem like the quick, easy and even justified way to act. But most of us when confronted with such a choice just want to move on and get it over with. To force the constant conflict that evil demands is really a painful and strenuous thing.

In the case of “The Force,” the power the Force has amplifies this struggle on a seemingly biological level: You get more out of the Force the more you put into it. But since being good is a natural state, amplifying the good in you makes you better but it takes longer to achieve that strength. With the dark side of the Force, you get immediate gratification but it slowly kills you. To master the dark side you have to truly kill yourself in a way in which you will be consumed to the point you are definitely a part of something larger but lose a part of your inherent persona.

Jedis are Jedis and only amplify who they are since being good is a natural state; Jedi are truly “super human” in that respect. Sith need to become something else and can never go back. Any rational person who has all of their limbs dismembered wouldn’t even get to that point. Chop off one arm—or even a hand in Luke’s case—and most people will just “wake up” and realize they are slowly killing themselves and stop.

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    Good find! Note: JJA was pretty emphathic that he's NOT a Sith – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 21 '15 at 12:57
  • @dvk I honestly would have got google eyed if he was said to be a sith......as it was anakins destiny to DESTROY the sith for good.....so them coming back just 30 years better would have been a lets call it a strange feeling surprise – Thomas Dec 21 '15 at 18:34
  • I would disagree with it being easier to be good. I pretty much have to force myself to NOT be a total **** around people. If I didn't have to worry about things like jail and/or hell, I'd burn the world while laughing. – Omegacron Jan 13 '16 at 19:04
  • "Generally—not just in the Star Wars universe—it is easier to be nice/light/good as a matter of basic existence. How many of us wake up each day to create acts of evil and chaos as easily as we breathe?" I reject this premise. It is everyone's everyday temptation to put others aside and focus on only oneself. Often, we are "good" not because we especially want to be, but because it is beneficial to self. – jpmc26 May 3 '16 at 10:31
  • @Thomas - actually, it was never Anakin's destiny to destroy the Sith. It was his destiny to restore balance to The Force, and the Jedi simply assumed that meant destroying the Sith. – Omegacron Jul 5 '16 at 20:41
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Many force users have been conflicted over their chosen side. Even Vader turned back from the Dark Side in the end. Luke struggled with it as well, often using the Dark Side to fuel his rage, before ultimately turning good.

As a Skywalker, Kylo is carrying on the family tradition of being conflicted. It's obviously hard for him to reject his families Light Side entirely.

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