64

May the Force be with you is the catch phrase of Star-Wars, but does it make any sense?

Obi-Wan himself explains the force like this:

LUKE: The Force?

BEN: Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

If "it surrounds us and penetrates us", how could it not be with you?

  • 17
    May the fourth be with you? – NominSim May 4 '12 at 13:21
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    Better than saying, "May the Midichlorians be with you!" – Wikis May 4 '12 at 14:22
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    And Happy Star Wars Day to you, too! – Beofett May 4 '12 at 16:14
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    = may the force be ever in your favor – Andres Riofrio May 5 '12 at 3:05
  • @NominSim May the fourth is still with you. – kingledion May 4 '17 at 12:41
83

I always assumed it was a twist on the dominus vobiscum of Christianity.

Dominus vobiscum, a Latin phrase meaning "The Lord be with you", is an ancient salutation and blessing traditionally used by the clergy in the Roman Catholic Mass, as well as in the liturgies of other Western Christian denominations.

In modern services it's often translated as "may the Lord be with you".

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    Knowing the origins of this one in particular, and knowing the proper response of congregants to be "and also with you," some friends and I at the opening of Star Wars: Episode III agreed that we would respond accordingly. The joke was on me when they said nothing, and I received angry stares. I was thankful this was still overshadowed by the pre-show impromptu battle between a very rotund Darth Vader and a rather slender Obi-Wan, which resulted in two broken lightsabers. – user6168 May 4 '12 at 19:33
  • Is this the fastest upvoted answer ever? – Wikis May 4 '12 at 20:11
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    Also, as I understand it in this blessing "with you" means "not against you" rather than "not absent from you", meaning the the question of the omnipresence of God or midichlorians is not an issue. – DJClayworth May 4 '12 at 21:00
  • @DJClayworth, granted, I'm not a Latin scholar, but as far as I know, Latin -cum has pretty much the same range of meanings as English with. In other words, "not against you" is certainly a possible meaning, but it's not the most probable one. – Martha May 4 '12 at 21:16
  • I think debating the precise connotations of a ritualistic blessing removed by at least three translations is both not productive and off-topic; regardless of whether it means immanence or a form of favor or congruence, the Star Wars saying derives from it all the same. – user1030 May 4 '12 at 22:10
57

It doesn't mean a wish that the force will be physically with you, it is an expression of hope that it will be on your side. It is essentially "Good luck."

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    "In my experience, there is no such thing as luck" - Obi Wan Kenobe – Zoot May 4 '12 at 21:22
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    "Spit not into the force" sounds too negative. – Major Stackings May 5 '12 at 1:55
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    It is made clear through the movie that the Force has its own "will". For instance, Qui-Gon teaches Anakin in The Phantom Menace that the Midichlorians tell him the will of the Force, and that when he learns to quiet his mind he will hear them speaking to him. Therefore, I find this answer more accurate lore-wise. – user2952 May 10 '12 at 18:01
  • @Phong Which is the same as "Good Luck" only that the Force actually can be on your side. – DampeS8N May 10 '12 at 19:19
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    Yes, which is why I said you answer is more accurate lore-wise than the accepted one. – user2952 May 10 '12 at 20:21
12

In theory, couldn't the Force be against you as well?

So maybe it's saying, hope it's around, and hope it will help instead of kicking you in the ass.

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    Thought exactly the same. May the force not be against you. – Lodewijk May 4 '12 at 18:39
6

Even if the force is at all times around us (therefore it would be WITH everyone), it doesn't me it is WORKING for us, otherwise said it might favor the other!

2

Like those who reference Christinaity, it's similar to saying "peace be with you" in Catholic mass.

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    Just to be technical, this would be the equivalent of "Pax Vobiscum" and not "Dominus Vobiscum" - peace is, well... passive whereas the Force is active. Just sharing something 41 months after the conversation. :) – Nate Dec 16 '15 at 21:25

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