There are three subgroups into which we categorise the Force in order to make it a little easier to swallow, as it were. Since this is such a huge topic, it’s necessary to make some small points like this in order to enable a student to understand the Force and the way in which it affects the Universe and, indeed, everything contained therein. There are three categories here, going from least to most:
Personal Force –> Living Force –> Unified Force
The Personal or Individual Force is the life energy contained within the body of any organism at any singular point in time – if you will, it is the energy you require to continue to survive and be maintained in a physical (and more than likely, a psychological) state of existence. Every individual has their own personal energy, which is in itself the smallest division of life energy within the Universe. Essentially, this is Personal Force.
Now, Personal Force, as a general rule, does not remain the same throughout the existence of an individual. Like Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide, it is exchanged and converted constantly with the energy around you – if your body is injured, life energy is used to repair your cells (to a certain extent at least), but, if you remember the first law of Thermodynamics, this energy is converted, not destroyed. As you use energy and convert it, clearly the energy you have used needs to be replaced in that the energy you have used is no longer within your individual system. It has passed outside of yourself into the environment around you, in various forms. Essentially, then, this energy will be replaced from an external source, that which we call the Living Force. I’ll come back to that momentarily.
The most important academic observation made about Personal Force is that it is at this stage and this one alone that we find and can identify the beginnings of an apparent duality to the Force. Since this energy is in itself contained within your system, it is the most impressionable of all forms of life energy – and you impress upon this through your thoughts and through your emotions. Since, however, this energy does not remain contained within your body permanently, this becomes the most basic and natural form of individual energy projection – wherein that as energy that was maintained as Personal Force within your body leaves it, the impressions you have made upon it will begin to effect the energy flow around you. This is agreed upon by almost every single Vitalist theory – but if you have time, I recommend you read James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy for more on how such energy affects the world around you as a result of individual impressions upon it.
In order to give this further consideration, however, we need to consider the next form of the Force – the Living Force.
The Living Force is the sum of all the personal Force in existence. Though they are of course all one and the same thing in the macroscopic view, we break it down into these two in order to work both on the effects individuals can have on the Force, and the ways in which you can apply a use of the Force. Hence, we tend to consider the Personal Force as being the most basic and normative of applicative systems, since it is easier to manipulate your own personal energies than to manipulate energy across a wider spectrum.
It is here where we find an overall picture of the so-called duality of the Force. Since people leave their own positive and/or negative impressions upon their individual energies, when this is collected together in sum total, you inevitably get positive energy, negative energy and neutral energy. Here we find the Light and the Dark sides – but these are not as major as they seem. Though both do have their influences, since a person surrounded by negative energy will inevitably absorb some of it themselves, which creates a change in their own physical and psychological make-up – and such is the effect of the duality. However, the influences created by these impressions on the Force are not as profound as they would seem – the affect they have on any individual is done by choice as opposed to by being ‘corrupted’ or some such term. With control, and a little self-discipline, people can learn to ascertain the influences of living force energy, and therefore to make their own choices regarding it’s influence.
On a base level, it is of course possible that the Living Force can affect a person based on positive or negative impressions, but at the level of the Unifying Force, good and evil, positive and negative become irrelevant. If you act as a student of the Living Force, the aspects are more your forte. Still, in order to give you more of an idea as to how this relates, I first ought to talk about the Unifying Force.
The Unifying Force, also Unified or Universal Force, is the universal level of the Force. It is the sum of the Living Force – that which exists as the sum of all life energy in existence at any one point in time, and all the other forms of energy in the Universe. Since forms of energy change from one to another with extreme ease, it seems logical that all forms are connected in some way. And this is the Unifying Force – Life Energy as it fits alongside all other energies.
Here, the Force becomes neutral. There is no good, no evil. No positive, no negative. And, above all, the Unifying Force is completely timeless. It encompasses all states, all forms, all energies. It is, essentially, the underlying system of the Universe. That might sound a little preposterous, but if you think about it, energy is required to perform every single process or function of the Universe. For a star to engage in nuclear fusion, for planets to orbit around those stars – all of these processes require energy. And since energy cannot be destroyed, only converted, the Unifying Force is, logically, a force of the Universe.
However, the ramifications of this particular observation serve to create significant problems for many Jedi Realists, certainly on an ethical level. The Unifying Force has no sides, and thus in itself has no particular basis upon which one following it can necessarily adhere to – with the Living Force, where it is possible to extrapolate dualistic concepts like Good and Evil if you are that way inclined, you are granted a basis of action by the definitions produced as a result of such concepts – within the Unifying Force, such a thing is not possible. Allow me to elaborate on this a little further.
At the level of Personal Force, the influence of that particular energy on an individual is literally the result of their actions, not the possible cause or influence upon which their actions are based. An individual may use their energy as they see fit, and they create impressions upon their own personal energy based upon their thoughts and feelings – the results of their actions and reactions to the world around them. As a result, we may consider the Personal Force to be the singular domain of the individual – it is the individual who influences it, directs it and uses it for their purposes.
As we move on to the Living Force, we come across the point wherein the energy is capable of affecting the actions of an individual. The impressions generated by the positive and negative thoughts and feelings of an individual at the level of the Personal Force become more manifest as these individual quantities of personal energy are collated as the Living Force. While it is true to say that the energy of an individual is under their control, it is not logical to suggest that this energy can have no exerted effect upon anyone else since, as I’ve already maintained, the personal energy of an individual is not restricted to their own bodies, but is constantly changed and shared with all life as part of the Living Force.
As a result of the positive and negative influences on the Living Force’s collective energies, it is possible to see a dualistic system emerging – we have the basic level of positive and negative, from which people can extrapolate Good and Evil, and similar such ideas which maintain the dual position.