It seems to me that Force abilities like Force lightning or Force jump or any of the others are just tools. How can they be innately good or evil? What if you use Force lightning for a good cause, or you use Battle Meditation in support of an evil cause?

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    Force lightning is created by deforming the Living Force. It can't be used for good (or at least not easily) because it's an inherently bad thing. – Valorum Dec 12 '19 at 0:42
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    @Ryan_L Don't fall for Jedi propaganda. They weren't capable enough to produce Force Lightning, so they called it bad. And, they called their Jedi Mind Tricks good despite the fact that it could be called Unforgivable Curse if it was in Harry Potter universe. How can hacking someone's brain without their consent be good? – Umbrella Corporation Dec 12 '19 at 3:29
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    Don't continue to be a pawn of the Jedi Council! The Jedi are taking over. If you wish to be a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of the Force. The Dark Side is a pathway to many abilities. – Adamant Dec 12 '19 at 6:52
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    @SpacePhoenix - That being the same movie in which he gets tempted by the Emperor, of course. – Adamant Dec 12 '19 at 7:10
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    @Adamant Force Lightning might come from Dark side, but how is it bad? Dark doesn't mean bad. Besides, attack is the best form of defense. Siths didn't go on rampage to use Force Lightning on innocents in the street. Did they? – Umbrella Corporation Dec 12 '19 at 11:24

To quote Yoda: "A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack." Using the Force to cause suffering directly requires drawing upon the Dark Side, which is very risky. This is true for simply using the Force to exert a physical force upon someone, but it is doubly true for Force lightning, a technique which, far from being the mere production of electricity, does not behave like real lightning, seems to be specifically designed and primarily employed for torture, and is almost exclusively used as such by Sidious and Snoke.

  • What about using the Force to cause suffering indirectly? This is still a possible path to the dark side. Only using the Force to summon your lightsaber so that you can slaughter "not just the men but the women and children too" isn't going to be good for your long term attachment to the light side. But it isn't as risky as drawing upon the dark side directly. The Jedi involvement in the Clone Wars is thought to have made it easier for Sidious to fool them, even though they weren't necessarily using dark-side-associated techniques, even though one could argue that they were fighting for a righteous cause, simply because they were constantly going on the offensive.

  • What about using the Force to control people's minds? Still morally shady, but because it doesn't involve causing direct suffering it doesn't appear to be strongly aligned with the dark side. Again, not drawing upon the dark side is no guarantee of moral actions. Billions or trillions of sentient beings in the Star Wars universe have next to no ability to use the Force whatsoever, and manage to commit all kinds of immoral actions. That said, the dark side is also about controlling others, and doing this in excess by any means will certainly lead to cackling and yellow eyes. As we see with Ezra's enhanced mind trick in Rebels, which he was taught by Maul and which allows greater control, there is definitely a dark side connotation to at least certain uses of mind control in Star Wars. We see relatively few Jedi using the mind trick outside of pressing circumstances, with Obi-Wan's admonition to "go home and rethink your life" being an exception, so it's hard to say what would happen to Jedi who used it regularly.

  • What about the Force choke? As a technique that causes suffering relatively directly, the Force choke is associated with the dark side. It is the signature technique of Darth Vader, and we have also seen Darth Sidious employ it in The Clone Wars series. We only see Luke employ it in the same film in which he is shown to be tempted by the dark side. There is no indication that you need to be fully immersed in the dark side to use it, but it is clearly such a technique. Other uses of Force telekinesis as a direct weapon in combat seem to be far more common among dark side adepts, for a similar if lesser reason.

  • What about battle meditation? This appears only in Legends by that name. As such, it seems to be non-canon. In Legends, the exact nature of the Force is a fair mess, and I don't think one can give a definitive answer about light side and dark side and neutral techniques.

  • What about Force ghosts? Force ghosts are technique of the light side, because they require giving in to the will of the Force. A Force ghost will eventually become one with the force in current canon, effectively ceasing to exist as a separate entity and possibly properly dying. This is not a state of mind that the Sith or anyone else fully dedicated to the dark side can place themselves in. Sith methods of cheating death seek to attain indefinite life through tying their spirit to the physical world, such as the mask of Lord Moomin, the Dathomir witches' ghosts, or the very probable return of Palpatine.

    While nothing says Jedi couldn't use such techniques, it would require a selfishness that is unusual in Jedi. As a Force ghost, they can accomplish the same thing, but leaving the duration of their stay up to the will of the Force.

You can use a dark side technique for a good cause, certainly. See Luke and the Force choke, or Anakin's use of the same to extract information in the Clone Wars. It's going to bring you closer to the dark side, though, so it is a risk.

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Force abilities are not inherently good or bad according to the (admittedly no longer considered canon) game Jedi Academy.

Remember, abilities aren't inherently good or evil... it's how you use them - Kyle Katarn, Jedi Academy

Though the game does also classify all powers as light, dark or neutral.

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The Force, in terms of utilisation by the Force Sensitive, does not really have an alignment per se. However some techniques are significantly more limited in their acceptable usage in accordance with Jedi/Sith creed. The use of lightning that will cause tremendous pain or even death will never be permitted for use on a human being by the Jedi, meanwhile the Sith would never approve of healing methods that alleviate pain, as pain and suffering is a core tenet of their beliefs.

We see Luke use force choke in ROTJ for a few reasons, the first is as a means of incapacitation, but there are means to do this that cause less pain and suffering at his disposal. The second reason is that it shows that Luke is vulnerable to falling to the dark side. Throughout the film is struggling with his willingness to break moral/Jedi codes in order to save his friends, and is something he overcomes by the end.

Some video games do split force powers into light and dark, however these are done for gameplay balancing purposes and are no more canon than the Force meters these games typically use (which is to say, have never been canon at all)

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It also depends on how the person using them draws on the power to do so.

There's Force Lightning, which is dark side based where it springs up from the user's hate, rage, and emotion, while there's also Electric Judgement, which is basically the same power, but instead it draws upon the user's sense of determination and justice. Exact same power, but the way it is drawn out is different.

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This seems to imply that Force powers are not intrinsically light or dark, but you need to make that a clear statement since that is what answers the question. – DavidW Apr 23 at 4:35

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