View Full Version : Thoughts on the Force

03-13-2008, 01:41 AM
The Force:
A theoretical relationship to Midichlorians

I have constantly show a penchant for being a bit pedantic. Goes with my role in our little homesite here, the old fart who thinks he knows it all.

While I don’t know it ‘all’, I do have a great deal of knowledge, not all of it interconnected. As an example, what I am going to show here is that I am an avid reader/movie viewer, and can do basic ratiocination.

This came oddly enough, from reading the book Star Wars On Trial. Ken Wharton, one of the authors asked to do a portion chose the prosecution on charge 6; Star Wars pretends to be Science Fiction, but is really fantasy. The witness waxed lyrical on why Midichlorians are BS science and since they are, so is any connection between them and the Force. He lambasted the idea that any such microscopic organism could have such a capability, and therefore reviled the idea that the Jedi could use this power.

Me, I love to debate. Give me an argument, and I will take whatever side is available, and make it my own. So they can’t exist…


According to canon, midichlorians live in all forms of life. From the span of races we have seen as Jedi, this would mean that midichlorians are more a family of virus or bacterial forms then a specific actual species. It is in other words a description of life-style rather than a genetic classification. But we have that here on Earth already, everything from the Phytoplankton Zooplankton Bacterioplankton that team the oceans, to green sulfur bacteria who survive by digesting sulfur and use thermal energy as does a plant near volcanic vents. There are bacteria that exist in nature without hosts, only being noticed by us if they are infectious, or live as symbionts, as does E Coli in your stomach and help in digestion, only dangerous if they are taken into the body from the outside.

First, therefore they would have to live under a wide variety of conditions, and
atmospheric conditions. They are not racially specific, so any alien can apply if they can prove they have the count.

But how could they draw in this power, call it what you will, but George Lucas and the Jedi call it the Force?

Again we have that in nature. They are called electric eels. The following are excerpts from two different articles on these fish:

ELECTRIC EEL Electrophorus electricus is famous for its ability to produce strong electrical currents, reaching 500-650 volts. This strong discharge is used to stun or kill prey. This electrical discharge is also used to ward off potential predators.

Up to 6,000 electroplates are arranged like a dry cell in the eel's body. Its internal organs are all in a small area behind the head, with 7/8 of the eel being tail. The electrical shocks come from muscles mainly in the tail portion of the electric eel's body. The body of an electric eel is similar to a battery. The tail end of the eel has a positive charge and the head region is negatively charged. When the eel touches its tail and head to other animals it sends electric shocks through their bodies. When the eel is at rest, there is no generation of electrical impulses.
Although all living creatures generate bio-electricity all known creatures that produce electricity useful for navigation, communication and for attack/defence are water dwelling creatures.

(My own words: Oddly enough I didn’t know exactly how linked they might be to what I was considering until I read this.)

Now, investigations by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., have also revealed some additional sophisticated attributes that make electric fishes one of the most intriguing families of animals on earth.

A research team led by Dr. Walter Heiligenberg has found that the electric current generated by the fish surrounds it like an invisible shield, enabling it to navigate at night, avoid predators, identify food sources and find its way back to safe hiding places in the mud and root masses of a river's edge.

He also found that by altering the frequency and strength of their electric discharges, the fish could send signals of threat, warning, submission and readiness to mate to other nearby fish.

Dr. Heiligenberg's studies, financed by the National Geographic Society, concentrated on the transparent glass knife fish, Eigenmannia virescens, a nine-inch-long electric fish native to Panama, Venezuela and Brazil.

With the use of delicate electric sensors, an oscilloscope and observations of the fish's activities, he discovered that each fish has a highly specialized brain with a kind of ''pacemaker'' that controls the electric organ. Each time the pacemaker fires, electric current flows out through electro-transmitter pores all over the fish's body surface and, in a circular path, back to the tip of the tail where it re-enters the electric organ.

Although glass knife fish are related to the electric eeel that can severely shock a human with a discharge of some 600 volts, electric fish discharges are less than one volt, about equivalent to a tickle. ''But they use these signals to detect objects almost like a radar system does,'' Dr. Heiligenberg said. ''They're similar to a bat's sonar abilities, but they also employ them to communicating with each other.''

Back to me:

The electroplates mentioned are muscle plates with additional amounts of sodium. Each like the similar cells inside a so called ‘dry’ battery. Like that battery, they generate electricity just by existing, and as the article above, they can be discharged on command from the brain of the animal.

So use this; picture this family of bacteria across the galaxy learning to draw in an energy more basic than electricity. Something that like a dry battery, is naturally occurring just by it’s existence. They store this up until needed for what ever. Maybe on their own level, to discourage that roving amoeba that thinks they’re dinner…

Why the Jedi…

But why would they be proof of the ability to use the force? It only works if there is something different about Jedi in comparison to others of their race. So I considered…

What if Jedi taste better?

This is possible if you consider that along with everything else in the human body you have some chemicals that are in infinitesimal amounts. As an example, the average human has less that .05% of cobalt, copper zinc and iodine, and less that .01% of selenium and Fluorine. So in humans, maybe it is these chemicals that they like in humans.

But the amounts at this smaller level are not constant. They fluctuate from day to day, and are the primary reason for vitamin supplements. Cobalt is part of vitamin B12 for example.

But with the Jedi I postulate the balance is off not because of supplements, but intrinsically in their bodies. Enough that the midichlorians breed more rapidly in Jedi than the average person. In other a rare benign mutation.

Now think of two different movies/books, Andromeda Strain and The Stand.

Let’s take them in reverse order;

Base premise. An American bioweapons lab develops a ‘shifting antigen’ form of the flu. Such things do exist, after all, the actual flu virus is one on a much slower scale. The flu is actually a family of virus that mutates from time to time depending on what a previous host was.
As an example, the modern ‘bird’ flu was caused by a mutation that first affected birds, then was found to be genetically adaptable enough to affect humans just as the ‘Swine‘ flue of two decades ago was one that went through a period where it affected pigs. The infamous pandemic that later was called the Spanish flu was recorded in the United States right before the 1st World War in Army camps. The first cases were mild to slightly bothersome, but it evolved. Those that survived it were among the millions sent to Flanders, and suddenly it raged across Europe across the world, eliminating a quarter of the planet’s population. It struck not at the elderly or the very young; rather it struck at the most prolific of society, those between 15 and 30, the ones who had not bred yet. Since a third of the population is in that group, the ‘breeding’ population, the human genome was hit hard in one area that if it had been more prolific would have destroyed an entire generation.

One modern ‘conspiracy theory’ claim is that scientists have dug up bodies of those that died in that plague to release it again and reproduce that winnowing on the population.

Do I believe it? Give me a break! H1N1, the designation of the Spanish flu has already shot it’s bolt. If your parents came from Europe, Asia, South America or North America since 1918, the odds of you catching this and dying horribly is vanishingly small. Your ancestors faced it, and lived through it. You gained the antibodies to protect you from mom when at breast. Were you bottle fed? Maybe you might have a chance of catching it, but remember that even if mom used the bottle, you have been breathing in H1N1 since you were a babe because her ancestors dealt with it and survived.

Stop worrying.

But the Stand is different. You see, a ‘generation’ for a virus is about three weeks, not the 25 years of humans. The difference between a natural flu and the Superflu of the Stand was that it went through a generation in days rather than weeks. So you would get sick, your body would fight, and the flu would evolve, causing your body to fight, and it would evolve again…

In other words, like AIDS, which leaves you open to ‘opportunistic’ infections, the super flu would make your body fight again and again until your body says ‘I can’t take this any more‘, and you die. Not from the flu, but because your body can’t fight anymore.

But in the Stand, there is a codicil. King says that it is 99.7% infectious. Out of an average 1000 people, three tenths of a percent have the innate ability to survive naturally.

Of course any of you raised on actual percentile rolls, meaning before the games went electronic, 1- one hundred percentile rolls doesn’t mean a perfect repetition of one in one hundred. Luck plays too much of a role. If you take two 20 sided percentile dice and roll them exactly 100 times, the odds that you will have exactly one of every number is vanishingly small. Believe me, I have tried this just to see what would happen (Hey, who said I had a life?).

But let us accept that as an exact number. 24 million survivors worldwide. Out of three hundred million (Last census) 900,000 Americans.

What I did was apply it in reverse. Before you ask ‘WTF”, take into account The Andromeda Strain.

Premise: An alien bacteria arrive on Earth thanks to a satellite designed to capture a meteor and bring it to Earth intact. However the meteor contains an alien microbe that slaughter an entire town except for two people. One, an old man, the other, a baby. The team created by our own government discovers these two, and tries to find out why they survived.

The basis of why they survive is incredibly simple. The baby cried all the time. Humans when they hyperventilate (As a baby does when it cries) causes the blood to be to alkaline. The Man is a Sterno drinker, the methyl alcohol making his blood too acidic. The virus, the ‘Andromeda Strain’ has a very narrow survival area, between acid and alkali in our system. Above or below that narrow spike humans survive. Between them we die.

Now reverse that. Instead of saying ‘you die’ you say, ‘you have the capability, but not where it can be used to effect the world around you’ whereas those who are affected can say ’with training you can do wonders.

Actually I did this earlier as some of you might have noticed. From my own Return of my exile, where Marai explains why there are so few who are actually Jedi
The odds of someone being a Jedi were one in about a billion.
The last census said 100 trillion, four hundred seventy-five billion, 220 million, 478 thousand, 221. Spread across 250,000 planets

Which means there should be 100475 Jedi.

Assuming an equal spread, which is facetious because no two planets have exactly the same population, that would place 4 potential Jedi on each planet. It isn’t true, but let’s pretend that it is for a minute. That person would be between the ages of newborn and 120. Again, if they are spread equally, there would be one at birth one at age forty, another at eighty, up to one doddering along at 120.

Now there is argument as to the cut-off age for a Jedi to be accepted for training. We know 9 is considered too old but how young can you take them? I had already addressed that in a previous article.

So three of the four are too old, and we ignore them.

To detect a person with that capability, you need someone looking for them. A prospective Jedi is found when they display abilities that amaze or alarm their neighbors. The group among the Jedi called Sentinels are charged with this duty, because they specialize in detecting the smallest variations in the Force.

However they are the watchmen that hunt for the evils people do as well, so they honestly do not have time to go planet to planet and seek the nascent Jedi.

Now add into the equation that something like ten to 20 percent of them are not members of the Republic, so the Jedi would very rarely go to them. Both the Twi-lek and Hutt control their own colonies, as does the Hapes Consortium. The Jedi have no authority there. There are also corporate sanctuaries where we have no authority. Tatooine for instance is a wholly owned planet operated by Czerka in KOTOR and the Hutts in the modern era and Daley created the Corporate Sector which is an entire chunk of a spiral arm owned by a super corporation.
But a lot of them are passed up because of pure chance. If the ship had not landed where they did in Phantom Menace they would not have met Anakin. Picture the movie if that had happened. The Naboo would had fought the valiant fight and won only because Padme captured the Viceroy. The gungan would be either extinct or slaves. There would have been a hostage crisis because while Padme holds him, the droids and their masters hold everyone else. Can you see her standing there and not surrendering as they trot out a couple of hundred people and execute them one by one?

I for one am surprised they found even the ones they did.

So we have this. Now let’s address what some of you have already considered, as did the man I am rebutting, in a society with their medical technology, why haven’t they either cloned off a few million Jedi? Or better yet, use the trick in the Star Trek Episode Plato’s Stepchildren:

Dealing with people boasting psychokinetic powers, they discover that it was caused by the food they are eating. A quick shot of multivitamins and suddenly they’re more powerful!

That is pretty much the premise behind the Reborn in the two Jedi Outcast stories. Someone finds a giant Jedi battery and start producing energizer Jedi! Never mind that it takes years to teach them to fight.

But if you think about it, there’s a reason they don’t pop up earlier. To do this you would need not only genetic material from a Jedi, you’d need a living breathing Jedi. The chemical balance of the human body changes when the person dies and corruption sets in. You’d also have to figure out why this guy’s body maintains a constantly atypical chemical balance.

As for cloning, something like a dozen of the EU have just that, clones used by Thrawn, a clone of Thrawn himself, clones of Jedi from Jorus C’Boath to Luke to repeated versions of the Emperor. The biggest beef I have with using cloned Jedi is simple. You could us the same system as the Empire seems to have of imprinting skills and capabilities on someone in seconds (Mentioned maybe three times through the EU) but that’s muscle memory. To fire a rifle, you need to hold it tight against your shoulder, line up the sights on target, then BRASS, breath relax aim slack and squeeze. Any idiot can do that, and if you ask a DI at any training center in the world they will tell you less than 2% cannot be taught how to do that.

But is the Force that simple? Terry Pratchett made a sideways comment at this when one of his characters didn’t die on time because Death had been fired, and the new version of Death had not been assigned yet. The character is confused when he eats for the first time because while his body knew all it did, what he didn’t know about Anerobic Glycolosis was astounding. Primarily because you and I don’t need to know about it unless you have a bent for organic chemistry. Our bodies do it automatically.

The teachers you see in the Jedi order constantly harp on concentration, patience and control. From Ben to Yoda to Gui Gonn to Obi Wan all suggest their students focus, relax, and just do it.

Let’s say for a second, you have to visualize the effect the object, say lifting your fighter out of the swamp. So you must concentrate on it, relax then merely direct the midichlorians in the atmosphere to move their little protoplasmic butts beneath the ship and all lift together to make the Force work. This is not something you can program into the flash teaching apparatus. It is not something that can be hardwired, in other words. Yet the cloned Jedi immediately have all the capabilities of the man they were cloned from.

The last point was raised by Robert A Metzger, one of the defense witness when he says ‘If Vader Obi Wan Yoda and eventually Luke can access these bugs… why not take advantage of these abilities?’ Then goes on to suggest crushing someone’s heart using the Force, or reaching in with the Force to trip the safety switches and make either Death Star just blow up.

The first I will give him. If you know what a heart looks like, and where it is located, you should be able to merely reach in grab it and squeeze. I had some of my Jedi do that in my own work because it is faster than a strangle hold.

But that is because of familiarity with our own form. To shut down the safeties on even a primitive nuclear reactor of today would require more knowledge than just ‘shut it down and it blows up’ even with the ‘full technical schematics‘.

So there it is. Any arguments? And that is not a sneer. It’s an honest question.

03-13-2008, 03:13 AM
As far as your comparison to bacteria or viruses, I think blue-green algae and chloroplasts is a good comparison to midichlorians. Genetically and structurally chloroplasts are almost the same as blue green algae except for two difference.

1) The majority of chloroplast dna has been transfered to their host cell, but they do have almost all the same genes divided up between the main cell nucleus and the center of the chloroplast/organelle as is in the nucleus of a blue green algal cell.

2) Blue green algae have a single layer of cell membrane chemically structured any like prokaryotic cell. Chloroplasts have a layer of eukaryotic lipid and protiein on the outside of this.

It is thought by many biologists that early blue green algae were either ingested by ancestors of plants, or they invaded them as a parasitic infection, and rather than one feeding on the other, they came to a mutualistic relationship and allowed plants to use the krebs cycle. The blue green algae that later became chloroplasts gave their host eukaryotic cells a greater amount of energy than they could draw from the environment with the introduction of photosynthesis and the electron transport chain. The chloroplasts in return recieved greater protection from environmental predators and other hazards. The energy and safety payoffs are obvious.

I will point off something I know that I heard a from a visiting Clemson University biology professor to where I went to school relating to mitochondrial reproduction in plants and animals, that probably applies to chloroplast reproduction inside plants as well, but I don't know for 100% sure. First of all mitochondria are almost genetically and structurally identical to a type of ricksettia bacteria still found in nature. Variations of them are found in all eukaryotic life and make oxygen respiration possible within cells. One of the things they were trying to discover was how the mitochondria reproduced. It couldn't only be the nuclear DNA stored from the mitochondria, because 1) some tissues and organs within the same multicellular organism seem to inherently have more mitochondria than others (the liver has more mitochondria per cell than any other tisssue or organ) and 2) there are mitochondrial disorders where people either have too much mitochondria, too little mitochondria, or where it turns against the host cells and turns pathogenic.

Some of the Ph.D candidates (and it was one of these I heard from giving a presentation) were studying how to cause differential rates of mitochondria reproduction within samples of cells. Ironic you should mention pH. Apparently, internally making the inside of a cell more acidic by .1 pH was enough to send the mitochondria into a breeding frenzy so extensive that it lysed the host cell.

Anyway, so I don't see your way of looking at midichlorians that far fetched as far as another type of cellular organelle with specialized pigments that absorbs yet another specialized form of energy in a symbiotic interaction with their host cells. I'd say that their reproduction would have to be regulated by something other than pH though, because mitochondria are already regulated by that within eukaryotic cells. I do recall mention somewhere in the SWU about greater midichorian concentration with greater intelligence/sentience to a point. That's why you see human and sentient aliens as Jedi more often, but it's extremely rare to see non sentient species with force powers (even though it does happen in Star Wars) so I'd say that their method of reproduction would more likely be electrochemical or electrostatic than pH based.

Bee Hoon
03-13-2008, 05:37 AM
Mmm, there are bits which are scientifically dubious. Regarding immunity, the mother's antibodies in the breast milk will only protect the baby pretty much as long as it is breastfed. After that, you're on your own, but rest assured that our immune systems are marvelously sophisticated.

Regarding the alien microbe-- you should bear in mind that our body's cells *also* need to maintain conditions at an optimum for themselves in order to survive. Otherwise, all sorts of funky things happen to them, and past a certain stage, they will simply die. Therefore, in all likelihood, to pass the threshold where the alien microbes would die would probably kill off the host as well.

03-13-2008, 11:30 AM
very good points the both of you. I do know and realize that ph could not be the governing factor, and any chemical change gross enough to be readily detected (At our modern level of technology) would also be life threatening.

keep it up people. Please, more comments

03-13-2008, 08:20 PM
Loved this one, mach. I'm not well versed in science, but you and I have similar ideas on how midichlorians work. In Grey Code (My own personal fanon Star Wars Universe), I have been thinking up a number of conversations for Jedi and a few scientists to have on midichlorians levels, and how they can affect the body. I had a few ideas popping around that I wanted to ask:

Midichlorian Stillbirth/Miscarriage
This was one idea I had been thinking about for awhile. As is usual for most things, too much of anything can be a bad thing.

If Force-sensitives are born with midichlorians, and the amount your body either receives or creates is based on genetics, then could there not be bad mutations? The requirement to become a Force-sensitive seems to be the right mutation in the right place. But, as per most mutations, things can go wrong. Lets say a new fetus, somewhere down the line of development, gains a mutation that ends up creating too many midichlorians within the body. Either during development, or before or after birth, the baby's body dies from over exposure.

This could be for a number of reasons. The massive number of midichlorians could result in them becoming pathogenic. The exposure to that much of the Force could result in the mind collapsing in upon itself, and the body not being able to survive. As far as your theory goes, how valid would you say a situation like this would be? It could explain why there aren't a lot of Anakin's running around, and why the power of Jedi/Sith seems to be fairly consistant, not putting training into account.

The One:
Putting the fantasy themes aside, I had a few theories on Jedi like Anakin Skywalker and how they may come into existence.

Putting aside the belief that the Force has a sort of "will" of its own, Anakin seems to be a genetic mutation. The exact details on how he came into being are debated, but the explaining on a few fronts seems to be that he was conceived through midiclorians. How would that work exactly?

There is the theory that an outside source could manipulate midichlorians to create a child. Is the host mother's midichlorians used to do this? Are outside midichlorians used to do this? For one, an advanced knowledge of both the physical aspects of humans would be needed, along with an advanced knowledge of the Force and midichlorians. At that point, do you simply put a genetic structure together and tell it to grow? I'm sure if it was that simple, people like the Arkanians would have done it to themselves by now.

One that I was throwing around was midichlorians adaptation, or midichlorians creating their own environment to survive in. Lets say a girl is born, and she had a mutation that over created midichlorians. But, she also had a mutation or some other factor that did not lead the over abundance of midichlorians to kill her. Outside of other complications this may lead to, lets say she grows to a healthy adult. When deemed fit enough, the midichlorians then use her womb and genetic material to create a host that the midichlorians can thrive in. The midichlorians from the mother could travel to this host, and the baby could be born with the mutation for over abundance, but with an innate ability to survive and control the Force.

I have more, but I'll leave it to this for now.

03-14-2008, 11:03 PM
True: It would make for at least one interesting story to focus on some people with force or midichorian diseases.

By that reckoning, of what you said about "the one" (Sith'ari) would quite possibly be one of many, given enough time. Perhaps if LA ever does a story about the original Jedi world, or the time with the original fight between light and dark jedi that led to the dark jedi being exiled to sith space.

03-16-2008, 11:28 PM
True: It would make for at least one interesting story to focus on some people with force or midichorian diseases.

By that reckoning, of what you said about "the one" (Sith'ari) would quite possibly be one of many, given enough time. Perhaps if LA ever does a story about the original Jedi world, or the time with the original fight between light and dark jedi that led to the dark jedi being exiled to sith space.

I was considering from the wording of the legend, Revan could be the Sith'ari, because if she succeeds in destroying the Sith, it would remake the survivors, making them different.

By the same token, Darth Bane could be defined by that because he destroyed the Sith of his time, and remade them in his image with the rule of 2.

03-17-2008, 01:59 AM
I think it was supposed to be ambiguous like that. Generally, that's how prophecies are.

03-17-2008, 03:37 PM
Except neither Revan nor Bane had midichlorians for a daddy. Buy otherwise yeah.