I’ve been trying to put into conception the issue I have with Midichlorians since the prequels were released, and I just realized something. Consider Qui-gon’s explanation:
“Midichlorians are a microscopic life form residing within all living cells…And we are symbionts with them. Without the Midichlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.”
Now consider Yoda’s explanation:
“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. Yes, even between the land and the ship.”
Notice the remarkable difference between these two statements. In the first, the Midichlorians are posited as a requirement for cellular life, essential building blocks that are themselves alive somehow. Logically it’s a contradictory statement to say that a life form is a requirement for the existence of all life forms, but perhaps he’s simply saying that this first life form is a requirement for everything more advanced. In either case, the Midichlorians here serve as an intermediary between the Force and all other life forms. Nowhere is it said that the Midichlorians embody the Force, but they are merely the conduit from energy to matter.
Now take Yoda’s words. He claims that life creates this energy field of the Force and makes it grow. Notice how the causal chain is reversed here. In Qui-gon’s explanation cellular life could not exist without Midichlorians, whereas Yoda claims that the Force could not exist without (presumably cellular) life. So what came first? Did cellular life arise and create the Force, or did the Force ‘create’ Midichlorians which then allowed for the emergence of cellular life? The only reconciliation I can see is that the Midichlorians were the first life form, giving rise to both the Force and cellular life and acting as the mediator between the two. Admittedly it’s a strange explanation.
That’s all well and strange, but now we get at the big difference between these two explanations. In Qui-gon’s world, the Force is a power that you have, accessible through the Midichlorians in your cells. They transmit the will of the Force to you and you transmit your intention for the Force through them. The ‘crude matter’ of a person exerts its will on the immaterial Force through the Midichlorians. Yoda, on the other hand, proclaims that cellular life and the Force are essentially one and the same. ‘Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter’ after all. He tells Luke to feel the Force - not some intermediary transmitting the will of the Force - but the Force itself, and gestures to the environment.
Qui-gon’s explanation of the Force is one of duality; matter and energy, body and soul, mortal and God. A conduit, an intermediary, is required to bridge the gap and allow for a unification. It is a religious doctrine in keeping with the doctrinaire Jedi Order and its stratified system of authority and control.
Yoda dispenses with duality, implying that matter and energy are merely two appearances of the same essence. It is a spiritual teaching aiming at the highest truth, which is that all appearances of form and difference are merely shadows cast from the light of the eternal Force.
Of course one of these explanations will feel more true than the other, which is why so many people discard Midichlorians as merely a tool for control used by the flawed Jedi Order in their final days.