Sunday, January 02, 2005

A Few Words on Midichlorians

Okay, enough of shallow topics like politics and religion. Back to what's really important: Star Wars.

The whole midichlorians thing never really bothered me much. To me, the difference between "the Force is with you" and "you have a high concentration of midichlorians" is six of one, half dozen of the other. It's just another way of saying the Force is strong with some people.

But, a lot of people felt the midichlorians took away some of the mystery of the Force. I can understand that. But, I wonder, is that feeling tied to the idea that the midichlorians create the Force, that Force is the midichlorians?

Because that's not necessarily how it is. Qui-Gon says, "the midichlorians tell us the will of the Force," indicating that they are not one in the same.

What I am proposing is that the Force is still just as Yoda describes: an omnipresent energy field created by all life, not by the midichlorians. But suppose that the midichlorians do not create the Force, but rather that the Force creates the midichlorians. Suppose that the midichlorians are simply the means by which the Force is able to interface with living beings. The midichlorians are just a means of channeling the omnipresent Force.

Thus, when the Force decides someone will be "strong with the Force," the Force creates midichlorians in order that the Force can communicate its will to that person, and also so that that person can access the power of the Force to accomplish the Force's will.

In this model, all life still creates the Force simply by being alive. Whether a being has midichlorians or not, that being generates the Force and is surrounded and suffused by the Force. But he or she still lacks a means to access the Force. Kind of like being stuck in a raft on the ocean and dying of thirst: though water is all around you, you don't have the capability to remove the salt and turn it into a form you can use.

Using some of the life force generated by living beings, the Force is able to generate life itself: the midichlorians. Because, of course, since the Force is life force, it could only be accessed through something that is alive. And, since turning life force back into living matter uses up a lot of the Force's power, the Force has to pick and choose who will get the midichlorians.

As such, the only function of the midichlorians is to provide the Force access to living beings and provide living beings access to the Force. That is why everyone who is strong with the Force both can use the Force (he or she can access the Force's power) but also is saddled with the burden of hearing the will of the Force (getting visions, Obi-Wan feeling Alderaan's destruction, etc.) The Force gives certain people the ability to use its power but in exchange expects its will to be heard.

I don't know if that would make it any better for the people who don't like the midichlorians. I think it restores some of the mystery if the Force, for no apparent reason, creates symbiotes within the cells of some people and not others. Because the Force is once again the actor and has its own will, rather than just being a side effect of some microscopic organisms.

Also, I think this would solve the "can you clone a Jedi and get more Jedi" or "can you clone the midichlorians and inject them into someone's blood and get Force powers?" questions: No, you can't. The Force creates the midichlorians, so they don't reproduce naturally, and thus aren't replicable. At least not replicable in a way that they still work: the Force could just not allow access through midichlorians created artificially.

And, this theory fits well with the virgin birth idea from EPISODE I, since it presupposes that the Force can create life, if it so wills. So, when Qui-Gon says "it is possible he [Anakin] was conceived by the midichlorians," I think perhaps we could take this as a technical description, sort of like saying a sperm conceived a child. In this case, it doesn't mean that the midichlorians (the sperm) chose to conceive the child. The father (the Force) did that and the sperm (midichlorians) were simply the means.


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