Yoda, Absolutes, and the Sith Paradox

01 July 2023
The Star Wars universe is a treasure trove of philosophical quandaries, moral dilemmas, and ethical conundrums.

One such intriguing point of discussion arises from the line, "Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes," spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi during his fateful duel with Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar in "Revenge of the Sith." 

This line has sparked debates, memes, and even political analogies. But what really catches the eye of fans is the paradox it creates when juxtaposed with Yoda's famous line from "The Empire Strikes Back":

"Do, or do not, there is no try."

Is Yoda, the venerable Jedi Master, actually dealing in absolutes, and does that thus make him a Sith Lord? 

Let's delve into this complex web of galactic philosophy.

if you're not with me you're against me

The Mustafar Duel: A Turning Point

The duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin is not just a physical battle; it's a clash of ideologies. Anakin, now Darth Vader, has embraced the Sith philosophy of dealing in absolutes. His statement, "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," epitomizes this mindset. Obi-Wan's retort serves as a critique of Anakin's newfound extremism, highlighting the Sith's propensity for binary thinking. 

The line also apparently serves as a commentary on the political climate of the time, echoing George W. Bush's post-9/11 rhetoric. George Lucas has often used Star Wars as a lens to examine real-world issues, and this scene is no exception - indeed Star Wars can be viewed in some ways as a commentary on the Vietname War.

The Paradox of Obi-Wan's Statement

Obi-Wan's line has been scrutinized for being an absolute statement itself, leading some to jest that Obi-Wan is also a Sith. However, this interpretation misses the nuance of the statement. Obi-Wan is not laying down an unalterable law; he is making an observation about Anakin's behavior at that specific moment. 

He is diagnosing, not prescribing. The line is less an absolute and more a heuristic for understanding the Sith mindset.

sith absolutes

Yoda's Wisdom: A Statement of Fact or an Absolute?

Now, let's turn to Yoda's iconic line, "Do, or do not, there is no try." On the surface, this seems like an absolute statement, fueling memes that jokingly claim Yoda is a Sith Lord. 

However, context is key.

Yoda utters these words to Luke Skywalker during his Jedi training on Dagobah. The statement is not an ideological stance but a pedagogical tool. Yoda aims to shift Luke's mindset from a state of 'trying' to a state of 'doing,' thereby increasing his chances of success. It's a psychological nudge, not a dogmatic decree.

yoda saber green

The Nature of Absolutes in the Force

The Force itself is a complex entity, neither wholly good nor wholly evil. The Jedi and Sith are interpretations of how to interact with the Force, each with its own set of rules and philosophies. Dealing in absolutes is a Sith trait because it aligns with their view of the Force as a tool to impose their will, leaving no room for nuance or compromise. The Jedi, on the other hand, see the Force as a guide to be followed, which inherently allows for flexibility and adaptability.

The Internet Meme Culture: Fun but Misleading

The meme suggesting Yoda is a Sith Lord is undoubtedly amusing but can be misleading for those not in on the joke. It's essential to differentiate between poking fun at the Star Wars universe and using such examples to critique the storytelling or writing. The meme is more a commentary on the fans' penchant for over-analysis than a serious critique of the characters or the narrative.


The lines spoken by Obi-Wan and Yoda are not contradictions but reflections of their individual philosophies and the situations they find themselves in. Obi-Wan's line serves as a diagnostic tool for understanding the Sith mindset, while Yoda's line is a motivational mantra aimed at empowering Luke. Neither is dealing in absolutes in the way the Sith do. So, despite the humorous memes and debates, Yoda remains a Jedi Master, not a Sith Lord in disguise.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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