“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” - Ben Kenobi, ANH.
So it’s an energy field. With our current contemporary understanding it might be that physics seems more mystical, but I’m not sure if that’s only because its science is less familiar to us than biology and bacteria.
For reference, this is what Qui-Gon says about midichlorians so we can see both statements back to back:
“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life-form that resides within all living cells. (…) And we are symbionts with them (…) Life-forms living together for mutual advantage. Without the midi-chlorians, 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.”
So the Force is what gives a Jedi his power, midichlorians are the material life that channel energy and act as receptors, this is no more science fiction than officially declaring atoms in the SW universe, or that under a Jedi’s skin are muscles and a nervous system controlled by a brain. It is a communication between the conscious and the unconscious, which we can also think of as the material connecting to the spiritual world, or personal and cosmic Force.
“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, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” - Yoda
Kenobi and Yoda were the ones to use the word power, and both were in reference to the Force. Looking at all the quotes here Qui-Gon never says the word power in reference to midichlorians, what he does say is that they can communicate the will of the Force, don’t shoot the messenger!
If you’re against demystifying the Force then maybe it’s the Whills you’re after, not the midichlorians which explain nothing about what the Force actually is, only that there is an interaction between the energy and the physical world, which is what we’ve always been told and shown from the beginning. Copper doesn’t explain electricity.
||Wow a ton of people got in and busted out the quotes already, hope I’m not too redundant, in addition here are a few more thoughts…||
Call the Jedi Order flawed and materialist leaning with their blood check approach by TPM that’s fine if you want, but I disagree with the idea that Yoda in ESB views the world all that differently from Qui-Gon in TPM, in fact I believe they are saying the same thing. Yoda acknowledges that life creates the energy, life becomes a shorthand for the details of things like molecules and cells. The force flows through everything, Qui-Gon only describes the mechanics behind that process, not the Force itself. Of course in Yoda’s scene what he’s emphasizing is the immaterial which can’t be as easily observed as the crude matter of the material world, but still addresses the symbiotic nature of the two the same as Qui-Gon.
So, the Force binds everything together, and midichlorians are the material receiver, more modern than your average fairy-tale, but far from wholly material. You need to ask the philosophical question to reach the spiritual link, the OT tells us what the Force is, the PT explains how, what remains a complete and total mystery is why. Why is this the will of the Force? According to George the Whills have something to do with it, if midichlorians are the intermediary between the body and the spirit, the Whills seem to be the intermediary between the cosmic Force and the midichlorians.
In some ways the Force has been so ignored as a point of discussion, I don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to finally get into what it really is as the largest elephant in the room, especially if we’re concluding the saga.
This is maybe just too far for people personally, for me it’s too juicy, in my heart I wanted the most mind-bending finale possible. Apart from ghosts we have only really witnessed effects of those highly in tune with the Force, I just wanted to see the other side and what the hell a Whill was!