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Star Wars theory perfectly explains what "balance to the force" really means

"You were supposed to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!"

What does it mean to bring balance to the Force? The Jedi seem to think the Chosen One's purpose is to destroy the Sith, but wouldn't that create even more imbalance? Throughout Star Wars, we see the Force act on its own to ensure a balance of Light and Dark in the galaxy, though exactly what that means often changes depending on who's directing each movie or TV episode.

Not even George Lucas seems to understand the question at the heart of the Star Wars story, but one fan theory just solved it with an elegant metaphor.

Posted in the comments of a Reddit thread wondering whether Anakin totally missed his chance to be the Chosen One, a Star Wars fan with the username Oddmic146 offered a beautiful metaphor that does a better job of explaining the Force than anything I've heard before:

Here's how the force works. The force is a valley. The galaxy is part of that valley. The dark side is the river that runs through it, and the light side is the river bank.
The valley would decay and die without the river. But when the river overruns the riverbank, it floods and destroys the valley. The riverbank needs must be strong so as to not permit the river from overflowing. It will never destory the river, no matter how strong. It'll only protect the valley.
So while the Jedi can be a stand in for the light and the riverbank, the Sith are not the river. Rather, they are trying to destroy the riverbank so that it may flood the river.
The Sith are not the dark side. The Sith are using the dark side to pervert the valley. Darkness, like the river, is not intrinsically bad. In fact, it's even necessary for the valley's health. But using the darkness to overflow the river and destroy the valley is evil.
That's why bringing balance to the force requires their destruction.
BalanceShutterstock

What I love about this metaphor for the Force — besides the fact that it's just really pleasant — is that it makes a clear distinction between Light side and Jedi, and Dark side and Sith. The valley, which represents the Force and therefore all life in the universe, needs both Light and Dark to exist. The two work in tandem to create a balanced ecosystem.

The Jedi recognize this (for the most part) and are mostly interested in stopping the Sith and keeping the peace more broadly across the galaxy. They only become a militarized force during the Clone Wars after succumbing to Palpatine's careful string-pulling, which also speaks to the decline of the Jedi in the years leading up to the prequels.

But even then, the Jedi never wanted to destroy the Dark side, just contain it. By comparison, the Sith want to flood the galaxy and wipe out the Light side entirely. And if we go by this metaphor, we know that flooding the valley will destroy it.

Balancing the Force doesn't mean having an equal amount of Jedi and Sith because as long as the Sith exist, they'll attempt to unbalance the Force. Instead, it's all about allowing Dark and Light to interact in harmony, like a river and the verdant river bank.