Yoda

[© 2018]

Explain Dominant Color Explain Auxiliary Color

The Blue in this spiritual portrait represents Yoda's dominant personality trait, his strong preference for seeing the world more in terms of ideas than facts. In Extraverts, the dominant trait is directed outwardly, and spiritual portraits use a long vertical line to represent this, because it is the side of their personality that is most evident. Yoda demonstrates this trait when he performs psychokinesis, using his powers of concentration to get The Force to move objects.

The Green in this spiritual portrait represents Yoda's auxiliary personality trait, his strong preference for making logical rather than emotional decisions. In Extraverts, the auxiliary trait is directed inwardly, and spiritual portraits use a horizontal line to represent this. Yoda demonstrates this trait when he remains focused when fighting, refusing to let emotions like fear interfere with his determination to vanquish his opponent.

Grand Master of the Jedi Order and Mentor of Luke Skywalker

At 900 years old, Yoda is the oldest character in both the original and prequel trilogies.

As the mentor of countless padawans — most notably Luke....

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Yoda:
The Story

At 900 years old, Yoda is the oldest character in both the original and prequel trilogies.

As the mentor of countless padawans — most notably Luke Skywalker — the lessons he passes on to Luke in the original trilogy give viewers insight into the workings of the mind of a Jedi.

All About the Force, Jedi Are

The Blue in Yoda's spiritual portrait represents his belief in Jedi ideals — his belief in the Force. He tells Luke his take on what the Force is in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back:

For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere!
 — Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, 1980.

In Star Wars, the Force is most visible when a Jedi dies then returns as a force spirit, and when a Jedi or Sith uses their powers of psychokinesis.

Seeing the Force

Yoda demonstrates his powerful psychokinetic abilities when he levitates Luke's spaceship, which has sunk in a swamp on Dagobah, about midway through Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Having learned to use the Force to levitate rocks, storage crates, and R2-D2, Luke tries to raise his ship, but gives up, claiming It's too big. Yoda stubbornly insists Size matters not, and — much to the frustrated Luke's amazement — proceeds to use the Force to raise his ship out of the murky water:

Luke: I - I don't believe it!
Yoda: That, is why you fail.
 — From The Empire Strikes Back, 1980.

The ability of a Jedi to use the Force depends not just on the microscopic midi-chlorians that support it, but also on the Jedi's faith in their ability to use it.

No Fear, No Hate, No Anger

The Green in Yoda's spiritual portrait represents his strong preference for logical decisions — and his knowledge of how emotions can cloud a Jedi's thinking, leading to disaster.

In one of Yoda's most well-known quotes, he explains why a Jedi is wise to be mindful about negative emotions:

Fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
 — Yoda in The Phantom Menace, 1999.

Falling into this vortex of negative emotions is, of course, exactly what happens to Anakin Skywalker as he becomes Darth Vader in the prequel trilogy.

Obi-Wan and Luke, and the Siths

Yoda's spiritual portrait looks very similar to the portraits of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. All three have significant amounts of Blue, representing their idealistic belief in the Force, and Green, representing their preference for being logical.

In contrast, Yoda's spiritual portrait looks very different from the portraits of the Sith Lords, Darth Vader and Darth Sidious. The Sith Lords' portraits lack the Blue of the Jedi's — they have lost their idealistic view of the Force, and see it only as a means to personal power.

Good and Evil: Not Just a Point of View

In Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith Darth Sidious tells Anakin Skywalker that Good is a point of view. Using lies like this, Sidious successfully seduces Anakin to the dark side, and Anakin becomes Darth Vader.

Darth Sidious and Darth Vader go on to create a Death Star and use it in Episode IV, A New Hope to destroy Alderaan, a totally peaceful planet — all to serve their lust for power.

In contrast, the Jedi have ideals, such as the principle of non-agression. As Yoda teaches Luke on Dagobah in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back:

Luke: How am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never attack.
 — From The Empire Strikes Back, 1980.

It is clear the Sith's death star is not for defense, but for attacking others and even destroying entire planets. In choosing the dark side and destroying a peaceful planet, the Sith Lords show their contempt for Jedi ideals and the Jedi point of view.

Idealism Does Not Imply Virtue

It is important to realize that, while the idealism of the Jedi correlates to respect for others in the Star Wars universe, this is not necessarily true everywhere. Just because someone is idealistic does not mean they are virtuous and treat other people with kindness and respect.

Most importantly, whether someone is good is not a matter of whether they are idealistic, but rather it depends on the nature of their ideals — and even more so on how they actually treat other people.

Moreover, regardless of Anakin's psychological preferences and the content of his spiritual portrait, he proved Luke was right when he killed Sidious at the end of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

In saving Luke from certain death at the hands of Darth Sidious, Anakin proved that he — the feared, monstrous Darth Vader — still had some good in him.

To learn more about morality, virtue, good, and bad in Star Wars, see Star Wars Psychology: The Dark Side of the Mind.


About This Portrait

This spiritual portrait is based on the first six Star Wars movies, both the original trilogy (1977-1980) and the prequel trilogy (1999-2005).

The book Star Wars Psychology: The Dark Side of the Mind, by Travis Langley and with a forward by Carrie Goldman, was also helpful in creating these portraits. This excellent book is a collection of immensely entertaining and enlightening essays and if you are a fan of Star Wars, I recommend it highly!