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How is the Jedi Mind Trick not a Dark Side technique? Isn't tricking another person's mind unethical? How can the Jedi use it and not become Dark?

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    @Richard K. I edited my question after considering your poignant analysis. – LCIII Sep 30 '14 at 15:59
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    By this argument, lightsabers should also probably not be in use. Given the choice between slicing someone in half and convincing them with force mind control to leave you alone, I'd opt for the latter. – Zibbobz Sep 30 '14 at 16:14
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    I'm sorry, I'm not seeing any duplication between this and honor/morals question. This isn't asking about honor or morals, it's asking about light side vs. dark side. – Martha Sep 30 '14 at 16:41
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    @Zibbobz - In general, Jedi use lightsabers purely for defence. Based on what I recall from various books involving lightsaber battles and/or guides on the subject, most of the common Jedi lightsaber fighting styles focus on avoidance of aggression and only allowed for opportunistic strikes in scenarios where there was no other viable option than to disable or kill your opponent. – Adrian Sep 30 '14 at 19:30
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    Why do you believe there's a correlation between light/dark and ethics? Both sides engage in ethically questionable actions. – Greenstone Walker Mar 17 '16 at 0:31
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Specifically focusing on the ability of the Jedi to alter the minds of others, the main principle is that this power (as with all Jedi powers) should only be used sparingly, with discipline and only for the accomplishment of the greater good.

The officially licensed "The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force" offers this advice to potential Jedi knights:

Affect mind, commonly referred to as the “Jedi mind trick”; can override the impulses of an undisciplined brain. This ability should be a temporary means to accomplish a greater good. It should never be used for profit or gain.

Alter abilities can be used to heal others, but also to injure. Both are Jedi abilities, though the latter must be used sparingly because the po-tential for abuse is so great. Among the Sith, Force injure was used without reservation to kill others from a distance.

The "Jedi Vs Sith : Essential Guide to the Force" also offers this advice (edited for brevity and clarity)

While it can be most useful in conflict resolution, affect mind must be used with restraint, almost always as a last resort, after exhausting less dangerous avenues that lead to peace. Yes, less dangerous, say I, for the power can easily cause permanent damage to a relatively innocent subject.

I need not lecture that you are responsible for your decisions and actions. How-ever, I will remind you that any course will leave a wake, and that even the smallest ripple can cause death. I also will remind you that you have yet to resolve that problem with the guard.

Before you answer, consider this: While the guard may prove to be an obstacle on your mission. he is also a living being. He may not be menacing by nature, merely an employee or servant. He may have a family, others who care about him. Had you met him under different circumstances. you might have discovered him to be a friend and ally.

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    Is Star Wars making the argument that mind control doesn't lead one to dark side but rather people leads themselves to the dark side. That line of reasoning certainly sounds familiar nowadays in certain other familiar topics. – Lie Ryan Oct 1 '14 at 1:39
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    @LieRyan - It's repeatedly stressed that the force is merely a tool. It's what you do with it that determines whether it's a dark side power. Your focus determines your reality. – Valorum Oct 1 '14 at 6:13
  • @Richard: That is astonishingly similar to the Force-based religion the Potentium, which George Lucas tried to argue against himself, and took pains to force (teehee) later EU authors to discredit. Mind you, I'm a firm believer in Vergere's little doctrine. Also, you should note that Luke Skywalker expresses reservations about this power himself on at least one occasion. I unfortunately do not recall if it was Shadows of the Empire, or an early Zahn book. I've read both recently. – James Sheridan Oct 1 '14 at 8:26
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There will always be times when a Jedi will be at an impasse or a right spot. Obi-Wan needed the stormtrooper to not check his and Luke's ID in Episode IV. Luke Skywalker needed Bib to bring him in to see Jabba the Hutt in Episode VI. Rey needed to escape Starkiller base in Episode VII. Mind tricks allowed these light-side agents to serve the greater good without a show of force or unnecessary bloodshed, cruelty or torture, something that the Sith would be all too happy to do. As Darth Vader explains in Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 to a gasping Jabba the Hutt:

Mind tricks are not of the Dark side. We prefer force.

*All sources used are within the new Canon.

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    Don't forget, Obi-Wan also used a mind trick to cause the drug dealer to go home and rethink his life. – Joel H. Jun 1 '16 at 14:56
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I think this is a good example of how "light side/dark side" differs from "ethical/non-ethical." The defining feature of the light side is that it flows from calm and tranquility; the dark side flows from anger and hate.

Jedi doing mind tricks speak in a slow, soothing way. Presumably that suggests the mental state required: Calm, empathetic, focused on the other person's point of view (so you can bend it toward your own). Invariably the goal is to resolve a tense situation without violence or open conflict. That all points toward the light side rather than the dark.

Does that mean using mind tricks is always ethical? Heck no. I would say that you need extraordinary justification to use mind tricks, in much the same way that you need extraordinary justification to chop someone in half with a lightsaber - a thing Jedi have also been known to do.

The films suggest that the light side guides its users toward good and the dark side toward evil. But that doesn't mean a specific technique is only usable for one or the other.

  • Can you provide any sources for your answer, such as quotes or video clips? It is recommended that you support your answer with as much evidence to show proof your answer is valid and not just an assumption you've made. – Edlothiad May 8 '17 at 16:32
  • I like this answer. – Gallifreyan May 8 '17 at 17:09
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I think there isn't a fine line for this, and it all really depends on the circumstances. Using a mind trick as obi wan did to thwart storm troopers, is being safe. else the emperor would have continued his rule for another 500,000 years (exaggerated, of course)

Of course, it would be wrong to use a mind trick to get a weak minded person to strip and consent to intercourse. just saying.

  • Actually it's not a exaggeration. Sideous' "Grand Plan" all along was the discover the secret to cheating death and becoming immortal, something which his master almost achieved before being killed in his sleep with force lightning by Sideous. Has he succeeded in both overthrowing the Jedi and the Rebels, and learning the secrets to immortality, he would've ruled the galaxy for the rest of eternity, or at least until he had lost the will to live any longer. We all know the gift of men is overrated. – John Bell Nov 27 '15 at 16:40

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