A friend of mine said that Sith aren't necessarily motivated by hate and anger, but rather that they draw their power from volatile emotions in general, while the Jedi focus on a zen-like inner calm. He mentioned the possibility of a Sith warrior motivated by more positive emotions, like passion or lust for life, enjoying his grand adventure as he fights against the stick-in-the-mud Jedi.

Is that a thing? In the movies it seems like the Sith are straight-up evil, start to finish. Are there members of the Sith who are motivated by something other than hatred?

Note that I'm not asking about the possibility of a good Sith, I'm talking about the midset of a Sith warrior, good or evil. I'm asking, whether the Jedi/Sith split is one of emotionlessness vs emotion, or whether the Sith specifically work with negative emotions only.

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    like i love you so much ill do anything to save you?
    – Himarm
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:28
  • One example that springs to mind is Darth Nihilus, who is motivated by hunger rather than conscious malice. Whether or not you consider him a Sith (or if he considers himself a Sith) is a sticking point though Feb 19, 2015 at 20:36
  • @Himarm Any motivation that doesn't involve hatred. For one example, an Errol Flynn Sith, powerful in the Force but more interested in adventure than serving a stuffy order like the Jedi. For another, an anarchist Sith, who fights the idea of the Jedi Order for ideological reasons, but who doesn't actually have anything against his enemy personally. Basically, can there be Sith without hatred, or do they come hand-in-hand?
    – Nerrolken
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:36
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    @Himarm I'll do anything save you, but then I will kill you with my force-choking and bad acting.
    – KSmarts
    Feb 19, 2015 at 22:00
  • @KSmarts exactly... :D
    – Himarm
    Feb 19, 2015 at 22:11

3 Answers 3


While not addressing the notion of "volatile" emotions, or even hatred specifically, the EU (Legends) novel Shadows of the Empire DID establish that feeling joy or happiness weakens a Sith's connection to the Dark Side of the Force.

In the novel, Vader is shown - from his own POV - attempting to breathe without his helmet while inside his hyperbaric chamber (the spherical 'throne' seen in Episode V). Unfortunately, every time he managed to heal his lungs somewhat using the Dark Side, he would then feel elation at being able to breathe on his own. The joy he feels at his success would immediately cause him to "lose" his grip on the Dark Side, and puts him back at square one. Here is the relevant part:

He concentrated on the injustice of his condition, on his hatred of Obi-Wan, who had made him so. With the anger and hatred, the Dark Side of the Force permeated Vader.

For a moment, his ruined tissues altered, his scarred lungs and dead alveoli and constricted passages smoothed out and became whole. For a moment, he could breathe as normal beings breathed.

His sense of relief, his triumph, his joy at being able to do so drove the Dark Side from him as surely as a light chases away shadow. The Dark Side eagerly consumed anger, but it was poisoned by happiness. It left him, and when it did he could breathe no longer.

Also, in one of the many stories featured in Star Wars: Tales, a Sith master explains to his apprentice that "good" feelings, such as love or joy, are useless to a Sith. In the story "The Apprentice", the current Sith Master explicitly refers to compassion as a Jedi trait.

EDIT: I felt I should add that your friend is partially right, however. Unlike a Jedi - who attempts to tightly control both what they feel AND the motivations behind those feelings - a Sith embraces emotion. Therefore a Sith would not shy away from lust or passion, and in fact many Sith took lovers to sate those emotions. In short, a Sith does whatever the heck they want when they want.

  • Those two sources seem pretty conclusive. Unless anyone else posts something to the contrary soon, I'll go ahead and accept this as answered. Thanks!
    – Nerrolken
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:44
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    @Oldcat : That policy has more to do with the prevention of negative emotions. The Jedi feel that love & marriage - being too attached to someone or something - can lead to the negative ones like jealousy or anger. Several Jedi did, in fact, fall in love and embrace the emotion without taking it any further. Anakin's fall to the Dark Side seems to be a textbook example of why they ban it, though.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 19, 2015 at 22:19
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    @Oldcat It's not that the Jedi ban love. In fact, they even allow some members to marry. And, in the New Jedi Order, marriage is common. The issue is attachment, not love. Attachment leads to dark emotions, which bring you closer to the dark side. Anakin's fall to the dark side was not because he loved or he was married, it's because he was so attached to Padme, that he was willing to sacrifice everything to protect her.
    – Nick2253
    Feb 19, 2015 at 22:31
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    Love without attachment seems a contradiction in terms.
    – Oldcat
    Feb 19, 2015 at 23:11
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    Darth Malgus gets stronger due to love at one point. When his Twi'lek slave gets shot during his invasion of the jedi temple he's worried for her and uses it to fuel his rage. It's still not drawing from positive emotion but it does show a sith using a positive emotion to invoke a negative one and become stronger.
    – sevvack
    Feb 20, 2015 at 6:41


Sith can be and often are motivated by Passion and a thirst for Strength and Power as you can see in 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 will set me Free.

So you can see that Sith aren't just motivated by Hatred and Anger but also a desire to better themselves.

  • If you would provide a source for this quote, I will upvote and award a bounty. Apr 14, 2017 at 23:03
  • starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Code_of_the_Sith @can-ned_food May 9, 2017 at 19:00
  • That page cites two books, both published in 2017. Characters who said it, and were known at the time of your post, would be either Darth Bane or Darth Revan in KotOR. May 9, 2017 at 22:36

Think about how powerful Anakin was. He really only joined the sith because he was manipulated. He was on his way to becoming the most powerful Jedi despite having so many emotions. I'm sure if Padme survived and Anakin continued training, (perhaps separately from the Jedi order since he was butting heads with them) he would have achieved a great sense of peace and joy and would have become perhaps a figure like Revan. I think any argument would be that Anakin wouldn't have any stimulation to become stronger in the force, but to protect his family and teach them the force Anakin would've kept on growing in power

  • But Revan wan't exactly a Sith, if memory serves, so this doesn't really apply in the case of this question. Apr 12, 2017 at 17:49
  • You could be right, but I think Anakin's eventual fall to the Dark Side was inevitable. He was literally his own worst enemy. In fact, the only reason he butted heads with the Jedi Council and their rules was because of his own arrogance. Basically, he felt that he was so powerful, the rules for other Jedi shouldn't apply to him.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 12, 2017 at 17:50
  • So are you saying that a Sith can be motivated by happiness, or not?
    – Blackwood
    Apr 12, 2017 at 18:25
  • But all that is beside the point, methinks. Anakin never really exhibited that exuberance which I would associate with joie de vivre. His power, vengence, and anger are all in line with Sith mindset, of course, but do not quite qualify him for consideration. Despite any intrinsic legitimacy of your answer, it doesn't seem to me like it can apply to the question. :-/ Apr 12, 2017 at 21:22

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