Midi-chlorians: Was Darth Vader Bi-polar?

My living room looks like George Lucas threw up all over the place.

Decals, posters, clocks, framed puzzles and all.

Our daughter plays with my old action figures and vehicles.

My wife has a bin full of collectibles along with two massive Star Wars tattoos.

We’re major fans.


In order to truly understand Star Wars, you have to understand midi-chlorians.

“Midi-chlorians were intelligent microscopic life forms that lived symbiotically inside the cells of all living things. When present in sufficient numbers, they could allow their host to detect the pervasive energy field known as the Force.”― Qui-Gon Jinn*

In essence, midi-chlorians made it possible for their host to become increasingly in tune with all other life. The highest midi-chlorian level ever discovered was in Anakin Skywalker; his count was over 20,000.

When Qui-Gon discovers this in Anakin, he brings him to the Jedi Council to request permission to train the boy. The Council denies the request to formally train Anakin claiming that it would be too dangerous. His potential was unlike any that came before him and whispers of old prophecies began attaching themselves to his name — “The Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force.”

If you have any familiarity with Star Wars, you know that Anakin became a powerful Jedi,

took a wife against the Jedi Order,

betrayed the Council,

aided in the genocide of almost all the Jedi,

and inevitably became the menacing Darth Vader.

All would appear to be lost.

But in the end, Anakin fulfills the prophecy.

He kills the Emperor (you know, the old guy wrinkly guy with lightning hands) and peace is restored.


If you put this storyline in the real world, it just doesn’t make sense.

Imagine the headlines, “Former Serial Killer and Leader of the Galactic Empire Has a Change of Heart.”

We lock people up for life for being a serial killer. (There might be a lesson in there somewhere about hope and redemption, but I’ll leave that be for now.)

What we see is that the Council was right with both the prophecy and in their apprehension to give Anakin the opportunity that was rightfully his.

I think I identify with Anakin because he is capable of such great emotion. Throughout all the movies, his peers see him as overly emotional, and at times, completely irrational.

But is that Anakin’s fault?

I’m not excusing genocide but is it his fault for feeling things so deeply? It makes him capable of the most abhorrent evils and the most enlightening good.


“Balance to the Force”

I think many of us out there are the same.

We are chronically misunderstood and cast down for our inherent ability to feel things deeply.

The best way I can describe it is to visualize a seesaw.

One side is everything we associate with peace and goodness.

The other side is everything we associate with uncertainty and anger.

Many people accomplish balance by staying close to the middle of the board — never venturing out to an extreme.

And then there are some of us who jump from one side of the board to the other, with such blinding speed, neither of the ends ever touch the ground and our board is essentially just as balanced as everyone else’s.

It’s when you are truly upset as you pass by the dog pound and you can’t stop thinking about it all day.

Or when pizza can actually turn your day around.

Small or seemingly insignificant things effect you on a microscopic level.

You can taste the cheese in your midi-chlorians.

How is there something wrong with that?

I don’t believe there is.

I will say this; peace and goodness are exactly that.

We should never be aiming for calamity or depression but you should never shame yourself for landing there. When you experience life with a high midi-chlorian count, you have to keep moving, keep jumping, or you’ll burn out.

Counterintuitive but it’s true. You can never sit in one of the extremes.

As Yoda reminds us, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.”

Even so, you’ll find you don’t fit in with the Jedi or the Sith.

And that’s okay.

Keep jumping,

stay empathetic,

and enjoy your pizza.

-The Ideas Guy

  • http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Midi-chlorian/Legends

I do not own the rights to any of the pictures in this article. Darth Vader and Star Wars are a property of Disney and Lucasfilm.

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