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Mind Reading and Troubling Implications

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' started by Just Passing Through, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through Rebel General

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    In TFA we were introduced to another aspect of force abilities, mind reading/interrogation, which expanded upon an already established ability displayed throughout the OT, most notably in during the duel between Vader and Luke in ROTJ. Now while this technique is fitting addition to the universe of Star Wars and was portrayed very effectively, with the painful and invasive/rape connotations implied when it was used, it nevertheless becomes a troublesome element for the rest of the story. Not a major one but one aspect of it becomes quite a nuisance if one theory is proved to be correct.

    What theory am I talking about? One of the multitude of theories used to explain just how Rey was able to become so adept at the use of force abilities within a remarkably small period of time. No, not that she was remembering previous training, my preferred theory, nor that she is simply "that good", get out of here, but that she pulled these techniques out of Kylo's mind when they were telepathically fighting. I believe Pablo Hidalgo, among others, has suggested this explanation for why Rey was able to use Jedi mind tricks et al. which is not entirely unreasonable in terms of feasibility but definitely raises problems for the rest of the trilogy.

    How so, you ask? Because then we have to explain away why this method wasn't used to teach previous Jedi/Force Users, and why Luke won't teach Rey using this method. All Luke has to do is establish an mental connection with Rey and she can Matrix her way into Jedi Knighthood:

    Matrix-Star Wars.jpg
    Now of course you could argue that Kylo developed this method himself and that Luke wouldn't be privy to it or that Snoke had taught him. However, one I doubt there are many techniques that Luke doesn't know, weak I know, but more importantly Rey herself has experienced this technique first hand so why wouldn't she be able to learn it herself or tell Luke about it? If she can pull Jedi mind tricks out of Kylo's head why not the very technique he was using against her at the time?

    Essentially what I'm saying is that this explanation for Rey's abilities in the Force in TFA causes more problems than it solves. Do you agree? Am I making a mountain out of molehill? Will this discussion devolve into a debate over Rey's universal aptitude and thus May Sueness? probably

    Find out below.
     
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  2. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order CPS
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    when hidalgo suggests that Rey learned the mind trick from Ren, i don't take that as literal "taking" of knowledge. she didn't slurp the skill, she just realized it was there ~ which to me is very different. by connecting with her mind, she discovered she could push back into his. he opened that door, so to speak.

    it's like being set on roller skates without any previous experience and being pushed ~ only to realize you have good balance and can stay up.

    she is actually no less adept at fighting in the final battle than she was when she started ~ her technique doesn't change. she's just finally really aggressive about pushing him back (she had been mostly poking and running prior). she didn't suddenly acquire new skills, she just centered herself (and drew from the Dark).

    i don't think the intention was ever to say she reached in and took roller skating skills directly out of his head.
     
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  3. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through Rebel General

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    A more acceptable way of interpreting the knowledge stealing but still reading someone's mind is not the same as taking over someone's mind: I think it's quite a leap. Furthermore Rey demonstrates a force pull, whatever it is technically called, when she grabs the lightsaber from the snow so where would she have learnt that skill? You could hand wave it away by saying that the lightsaber excepted her/sword in the stone moment but that's from a thematic viewpoint that doesn't explain her ability to pull off telekinesis in such a short amount of time.

    I agree with you on her drawing on the dark side and increasing her aggression even if that is far from universal opinion.
     
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  4. FN-3263827

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    well you got me on the telekinesis. she's seen him do it with a push and a freeze. and she probably sees him reach for the saber, but it is a bit of a leap.

    interestingly, we don't see her, what she's doing, whether she reaches. so we have no sense of how she determined to go for it. she's certainly surprised that it comes to her (as surprised as he is).

    will have to think of this some more.
     
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  5. Ammianus Marcellinus

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    Awesome thread!

    I think she did not learn any particular Force powers when she by coincidence read Kylo's mind. But the fact that she could enter Kylo's mind, a strong mind, was the quintessential learning experience for her. She figured that if she could get into a strong mind, it might also work on a weak mind. She tried it out on the stormtrooper and it worked after a third try. Perhaps she might also have read Kylo's emotional state and how it gives him power, which would explain how she tapped into the Force to break Kylo's saberlock and defeated him.

    Her only use of the Force which is less easily explained was her pulling the sabre towards her. Though we never see anyone tell Luke how to do it, yet he did do so in the Empire Strikes Back (twice). There might be two possibilities:

    1. If the willpower and concentration are there a force user can pull the weapon towards him or her. In this case it is an extension of natural talent. She had already learned that she has a connection to the Force. It might be the same as learning a child to walk up straight and find his or her balance. Walking up straight and balance are a natural condition for humans. Yet small children struggle to do so, partly because of their physique, but also because they don't know how walking up straight and finding natural balance works. This might also explain Luke's use of the Force pull without prior training. Like Rey, he found his natural balance and learned to walk up straight.

    2. Let's try an Arthurian trope. Rey has a special connection to the weapon she uses. The Takodana vision sequence already established that Rey has an intimate and mysterious connection to the Skywalker heirloom. It has also been established that the weapon has agency and manages to call people towards it. Both Kylo and Rey tried to pull the saber towards them. At that moment the sabre is in a sort of "tug of war" by means of the Force. If the weapon has agency, like Excalibur in the Arthurian tradition, it is quite unsurprising that it eventually ends up in the hand of its rightfull user: Rey. This might also explain Finn's meagre succes with the weapon. The weapon as a heirloom is only successful when it is used by the rightful heir. Having agency, the weapon might also chose to abandon it's user when its morals or behaviour conflict with the purpose for which the weapon was made. You also see the same trope in The Lord of the Rings with both the ring and Isildur's sword Narsil.
     
    #5 Ammianus Marcellinus, Jan 30, 2016
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  6. MeBeJedi

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    It really all depends on how the Jedi Mind Trick/Mind reading works.....if it's a means of establishing a connection between two minds by one Force user, then perhaps another powerful Force user at the other end can also take advantage of the connection, reversing the flow, so to speak. If Kylo didn't suspect her to be a Force user, then he wouldn't have considered using any kind of protective measures to keep her out.

    We know Vader did this to Luke in ROTJ, but Luke was trying to hold everything in.
     
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  7. JediMasterRobert

    JediMasterRobert Rebel Official

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    Rey's life on Jakku as a scavenger enabled her already Force-capable mind, by experience, to go into intricate and dangerous places to extract things she could use for personal gain and sustenance.

    Just as she was able, in short time, to enter, scale, identify, and retrieve parts from a Star Destroyer at the beginning of The Force Awakens, we learn she is also able to relate this ability psychologically when Kylo Ren invasively interrogates her via the Force.

    Rey seems to catch on very quickly, most likely after having been conditioned to such a think-on-your-feet and you-must-be-smart-enough-to-survive lifestyle amidst all the thugs on Jakku.

    Not only do we see her dispensing thugs easily and quickly (as does Finn witness this with us during that scene), we see this ability of her rapid adaptability play out with Kylo Ren.

    It feels very martial arts inspired while this scene is conducted along a mental plane, somewhat reminiscent of Judo and its earlier inspiration Ju-jitsu (e.g. "adjusting to and evading your opponent's attack will cause him to lose his balance, his power will be reduced, and you will defeat him" source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judo see also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujutsu).

    One Kylo Ren enters her mind, she adjusts to and evades him (not before giving up some mental imagery and sensations), but she does repel him enough so as to push him mentally off-balance and reduce his abilities, defeating him in that scene. She realizes how he does this and soon uses this newly gained knowledge on a Storm Trooper.

    This mental-besting marks her first victory over Kylo Ren, and her final one in The Force Awakens plays out much the same way once Kylo reminds her of the Force.


    JediMasterRobert
     
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  8. Tygger

    Tygger Rebelscum

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    I agree.. However, this is not Luke's first time using telekinesis, canonically speaking. He had actually been training this skill, which is described in Heir of the Jedi book. The first thing he managed to move with his mind was a noodle, part of his lunch, which is so lame, but hilarious too..
     
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  9. Ammianus Marcellinus

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    Heir of the Jedi is no longer canon :). It was a good book though.
     
  10. FN-3263827

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  11. Ammianus Marcellinus

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  12. Rey24B

    Rey24B Rebel General

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    In the context of the films, Luke can use Force Pull in ESB despite never even having been TOLD about it onscreen before, let alone shown it. And actually it plays out very similarly in both cases (initially they struggle to pull it out of mere snow, and it takes 10-15 seconds or so to get it right). She also has him use Force Push on her, and sees him trying to use Force Pull as well, so she knows about them.

    As for the other stuff, I suspect that it'll be a plot point going forward. But it seems like she was just doing it on instinct when back into desperate situations. Kylo tries to probe her mind, which somehow triggers her latent Force abilities/makes her realize subconsciously that it can be done, and she reacts. She basically just turns his own mind-reading back around on him briefly.

    Obi Wan in ANH talks about how "The Force will guide your actions, but it will also obey your commands," and tells Luke to "trust on instinct," which he does and then can quickly block multiple blaster rounds with the lightsaber, despite having not used one before and having his vision blocked. Later on he "trusts in The Force" to make a near-Impossible shot on the DS without a targeting computer. Then in ESB, Yoda chalks up his failure to lift the X-Wing out of swamp to a lack of belief and confidence.

    Luke: "I don't believe it."

    Yoda: "That, is why you fail."

    It seems like those ideas are present with Rey as well, just un a different way/context. I'm interesting to see if/how they expand on this going forward, especially since Luke is no in the picture and Snoke has taken an interest in her.

    As for her fighting, she's shown early on to be skilled at staff-fighting. And she uses the lightsaber more like it's a staff, which makes her technique clumsy and awkward. Basically it takes Kylo being handicapped in multiple ways, both physical and mental, and her tapping into The Force (again when back into a desperate situation) to BARELY beat him. And she mostly just overpowers him through brute force/aggression. Not unlike Luke beating/pummeling Vader into submission in ROTJ, now that I think about it, hmm.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 30, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 30, 2016 ---
    Kylo didn't expect her to be a FS-user before that scene, it seemed pretty clear to me. It explains is confidence in deciding to let BB-8 go when he captures her, because he though that she was just some random scavenger (he says as much) who'd be easy prey for his mind-probe. And he's clearly shocked when she can resist him later, as is Snoke for that matter.
     
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  13. Ninjitsubob

    Ninjitsubob Rebelscum

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    Power corrupts. My boy finn on the other hand, he'll come in to bring her back. Then she can beat the big bad cause she's force jesus.
    Perhaps, she's supposed to be the best at what she does, not in anew overpowered fan character sense, but in a "this actually serves the purpose of the story and will have a satisfying conclusion "
     
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  14. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through Rebel General

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    Some good discussion going on here. I am slightly concerned we're deviating towards an automatic defence of Rey's prowess in general rather than the problem of Rey taking techniques from Kylo's mind. Although that seems to indicate that people don't believe this to be the reason behind Rey's quick learning which is gratifying to say the least.

    I would argue over whether Kylo was exactly what we would call a "strong mind" at the time but I do see your point about the mental interrogation scene between Rey and Kylo. Then again where would she get the idea that she could command the Stormtrooper to do specific things? Did Kylo ever give her commands that she felt mentally compelled to obey? Did she get the idea from when Kylo froze her(although that seems to be more physical than mental)? Don't get me wrong, it's not ridiculous for her to figure out mental control after being mind probed but I certainly think's too much to be taken for granted that she could do so.

    The problem with the comparison to Luke's training arc is that a great deal of it is done off screen: we have him given a brief summary by Obi-Wan, training with Yoda in ESB and then the rest is entirely off-screen. I don't know how the extra material deals with the time in between ANH and ESB, I haven't read any of it, but what we do know is that there is a gap of a few years so throughout all that time we can assume that Luke has been building on what Obi-Wan told him, both pre and post death, and all he managed to do by that time was what Rey achieved in a mere day.

    Building up to their use of telekinesis both Luke and Rey knew that they had a connection to the Force and both had seen/felt amazing/magical things. Luke had seen Obi-Wan use a mind trick, Obi-Wan disappear into mid-air and later talk to him in his head, felt the force guide him to deflect blaster bolts and blow up the deathstar. Rey had seen a force vision, felt Kylo freeze her/deflect blaster bolts, read her mind and then push her into a tree. However, the only difference between them gaining their balance and utilising the, arguably, more advanced techniques of the force is a matter of time. Now this could all be explained by Rey simply having a more open mind than Luke (although I would think hearing a dead person speak to you after vanishing would be enough to convince anyone but he's a difficult boy) and thus able to use the Force more readily but to be frank this just rubs me up the wrong way. But then Rey is the new protagonist/chosen one of this trilogy so this can only be expected, alas the woes of not being attached to the protagonist.

    I entirely agree with you about the similarities to excalibur and the Arthurian slant that courses all the way through the TFA, and Star Wars as a whole, is perhaps one of its more interesting themes. Enough so that I think we should have a stickied(sp?) thread entirely concerned with the Arthurian elements present in TFA, I had a thought about equating Rey to Lancelot in the grand scheme of things but I forgot what exactly my thought was, lol. I remember the Ring having its own agency but not so much Narsil, then again it has been a while since I read the books. Anyway your thoughts on the lightsaber's agency and how that may explain Finn's poor handling was an interesting take, and also quite amusing to think about, but I hope they don't take the lightsaber's self-awareness too far. Just imagine Rey acting cruel to someone one day and then becoming puzzled as to why she feels so sluggish when fighting and all the while the Lightsaber is like "it's because you're acting like a b***h right now, behave yourself".

    True, what I thought was interesting was that Kylo didn't think he could get the information even after he found out she was fs. He would be prepared for her force sensitivity and therefore guard himself more thoroughly for the second, or third I suppose, round of mind torture. He didn't even try though. Now either this was because she was simply stronger than him, jeez let Kylo keep some credibility, or he was really rattled by what she said to him and we know Kylo is a sensitive soul so he wasn't in any hurry to go back there and be insulted again. Now that I think about it, definitely the latter.

    Maybe force users can't read each other's minds but then Vader was doing so to Luke and at a distance at that.

    I would definitely say that Rey is mentally stronger than Kylo at this stage of the film, or even throughout the entire film, but I must wonder why that is the case. The obvious answer is that Rey is our quintessential good person, who doesn't consider selling her new robot friend for food(although that's just the film version by some accounts) but that's so boring and makes Rey quite flat, and no that wasn't a reference to her assets.....but it is now. Rey should have just as much mental trauma as Kylo, maybe even more so (pre-Han murder this is), because she has been raised in a sandy hellhole where she waits for her absentee parents who she deep down knows aren't coming back. Those are problems that will probably be explored during the rest of the trilogy but nevertheless it seems strange to me that Rey would be in a healthier mental state than Kylo but I suppose her natural instinct is to strike back violently which is why I thought she might have been drawing on the dark side when she mentally overpowered Kylo during the interrogation.

    Also I hope you'll forgive me but would you be offended if I summarised your argument as essentially "Rey is just that good", it's not a bad view to take, and probably the most likely explanation for most of these questions, but I personally find it damaging to her character and the one of the contributing factors to the "overpowered/Mary Sue" arguments.

    I covered this in my response to Ammianus above but I'll expand a bit in my response by saying that with Luke we don't know exactly how he learnt to use telekinesis that and the years he may have spent self-teaching allow us excuse his meagre display of force abilities. Rey has neither of these things, perhaps the best explanation is that she is just more talented but my god is that deeply unsatisfying.

    I hope so but it'll be a difficult thing to write around. My personal hope is that Kylo's mind probing unlocked some latent memories/training but the flashback to childhood on Jakku makes it less likely and then we have to deal with awkward potentially story breaking power of mind wiping/memory alteration. No, I suspect the explanation simply will be that Rey is that good. The general audience probably don't care about this and just enjoyed their badass adorable heroine kick the Han murderer to the curb or mind trick James Bond(I did not realise it was him the first time), I doubt they wasted one iota wondering why Kylo lost or why Rey was as accomplished as she was with the force.

    Yes, I mentioned this above as well but I do believe that Rey is probably more openminded than Luke, although God knows he saw enough strange s**t to become a believer. No wonder his school failed.

    I wouldn't say she barely beat him. He was prostrate on the ground and disarmed with multiple wounds, not all of them by Rey, while she herself was entirely unharmed. Sure he was pushing her until the "force revelation" but she completely overwhelmed him afterwards. Why she did so is certainly due to his wounds and emotional instability, hopefully she was also drawing on the dark side to add some spice later on, but it is undeniable that Kylo was utterly defeated at this duels conclusion. I do agree about the Luke v Vader ROTJ comparison with crucial difference being that Rey didn't choose to spare Kylo, that decision was taken away from her by chance.
     
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  15. FN-3263827

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    definitely this.

    we know the probe is painful, both for her and for him, so he's probably worn down. when he talks to Snoke, he's completely rattled. he wants to beat her at this, but he's not about to try again because he's afraid of what she sees in him and has lost his confidence to control the situation. he clearly wants Snoke to tell him how to do it.
     
  16. JediMasterRobert

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    No. I would say, as I have attempted to illustrate in my post anove, "Rey is that resourceful."

    She has had to learn to survive and become resourceful under exacting conditions, and this, over many years, hardened her psychologically, even as, at her core, she maintained the dim hope of being with her parents again.

    Her path is much like Luke's, having grown up on a desert planet, but with even less social interaction than he had and no family. She has a drive to learn and move on with her life, nevertheless, and she finds ways to keep some hope alive deep with her.

    I draw much of my insight from personal experience: I lost my father to cancer at a young age, and rather than use that as an excuse to become weak and sad and useless I committed myself to hard work, education, and doing everything I could to help my family once I was old enough to work. We had no car, my mother was a stay-at-home mom, were losing our home, and all seemed lost. But I had no time to stop and feel sorry for myself and had to be stronger and grow up fast. No one else was there for us, and it was apparent from early on there would be no external saviors or magical solutions coming. I had to step up. And I did.

    Being alone and facing incredible odds can toughen you fast. You learn to think on your feet, to fortify your mind, to act and think without the luxury of time and comfort and external support others enjoy in their lives. You will yourself to become stronger because there is really no other viable choice.

    I believe Rey has strength because she is strong, and her strength is not automatic: she fought for it and earned it the old fashioned way living as she had.

    JediMasterRobert
     
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  17. MeBeJedi

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    Well, TFA's interrogation scene shows that they can...both ways. That said, Luke was trying to hide his thoughts, rather than attempting to read Vader's (as Rey had Kylo's)

    But I would imagine that a trained Force user could hide their thoughts to some extent (as Ben told Luke to do). Consider these:

    "The idea of Vader using telekinetic powers during his fight with Luke was created during story meetings. There was concern, however, that the audience might think back to the first film and wonder why Vader didn't use all his powers on Ben; this was easily explained by the fact that Ben was possibly stronger than Vader. George Lucas and Leigh Brackett also discussed the different levels of the Force; maybe Ben was a six, Vader was a four and Luke is now at level two." - Annotated Screenplays

    And this line from the ROTJ novelization:

    Palpatine raised his spidery arms toward Luke: blinding white bolts of energy coruscated from his fingers, shot across the room like sorcerous lightning, and tore through the boy's insides, looking for ground. The young Jedi was at once confounded and in agony-he'd never heard of such a power, such a corruption of the Force, let alone experienced it.
    But if it was Force-generated, it could be Force-repelled. Luke raised his arms to deflect the bolts.


    I don't doubt that it can be painful, either through resistance (as Rey demonstrated) or through intent (Kylo probing Poe). However, Luke did not appear to be in pain from Vader's probe, and Yoda probed young Anakin's mind in TPM.
     
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  18. FN-3263827

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    i don't know all the nuances of mind-probing, but we know this particular procedure is painful because Kylo Ren tries to reassure Rey ("don't be afraid: i feel it too"), the actors demonstrate the stress of it, and, ultimately, the book says so (hahaha).

    if others can do it painlessly, that may be the case. Ren may not know how to be more gentle about it (and has probably never needed to be). he's not polished in much of anything: he's learning too.
     
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  19. MeBeJedi

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    I took that to mean he can feel her fear.

    Well, he does say this in the novel:

    “True.” He rose, resigned. “I would have preferred to avoid this. Despite what you may believe, it gives me no pleasure. I will go as easily as possible—but I will take what I need.”
     
  20. FN-3263827

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    right ~ like i said, he's doing the best he can, but it's still not an easy thing. if i recall, we understand the pain of it from Rey's pov in this scene and for sure in the forest on Takodana.

    but i do believe that when he says "i feel it too" he's not talking about her fear, he's talking about the pain. he has no problem admitting the pain (because that makes him look tough). but we do know he has serious problems admitting fear.

    i really need to read the book again because i keep referencing it and it's gotten fuzzy for me.
     
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