There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
Peace is a lie.
Through victory my chains are broken.
In Speculative Fiction
, whenever there are two innate forces
at work (usually Good Versus Evil
or Order Versus Chaos
), the "Light" side (that is, the heroic side) will be transcendent, calm and rational; the "Dark" side (the antagonistic side) will be passionate, impulsive and chaotic. Rarely are the two inversed, with the good side being the emotional one and the evil side being the indifferent.
Related to Villains Act, Heroes React
, although that particular trope is more about how the events of the story are motivated by the villain's actions. Also, do not confuse with Ambition Is Evil
, in which you can tell the good guys from the bad guys because the bad guys are the one who want to change the Status Quo
. This trope is specifically about when there are two metaphysical forces in opposition and one of them motivates through passion and emotion and the other through peace and enlightenment.
Tends to be a common trait for a Strawman Emotional
. May invoke a Superpowered Evil Side
and, inversely, a Helpless Good Side
Compare Emotions vs. Stoicism
and Harmony Vs Discipline
Contrast Straw Vulcan
, Japanese Spirit
Anime & Manga
- In Naruto, it is later revealed that the Kyuubi (Nine-Tails) gains his power from Naruto's hatred and despair. Or rather, those emotions make it easier for him to take control. Even later, it's revealed that strong emotions are the "curse" of the Uchiha clan, and that feeling strong emotions, then suddenly losing them, is what creates the Sharingan.
- X-Men: Several Face Heel Turns are caused by emotional overload throughout the series—but the most shining example is the Dark Phoenix. This is the explanation for Dark Phoenix—the result of the Hellfire Club feeding decadent and hedonistic desires to the Phoenix Force.
- A frequent theme in the Green Lantern mythos. Especially when the Guardians became despotic and started condemning emotions and the other Lantern Corps turned up as Foils. Essentially, the Green Lanterns are in the "center" of the light spectrum (Willpower) and so they're the most stoic. Red Lanterns and Star Sapphires represent Rage and Love, specifically, and since their colors are on the far ends, their emotions control them. The more powerful the emotion, the more it controls the Lantern.
- Star Wars, of course. The Light and Dark sides of the force tend to play this trope completely straight, although how true this plays out is a case of Depending on the Writer. According to several sources (including George Lucas himself), the Light Side is not merely dull apathy and cold indifference; it's supposed to be all positive synergy and symbiosis that makes the galaxy a better place. Things like love, romance, friendship, and peaceful ambitions are supposed to embody the Light Side just as much as hatred, lust, competition, and violence embody the Dark. This is not how it plays out, normally.
- The rage-filled Honored Matres from Dune, as opposed to the highly disciplined Bene Gesserit. The Bene Gesserit aren't necesarily a "good" counterpoint though—this is more a case of Black and Gray Morality.
- Vulcans in Star Trek definitely believe this. Their race happens to have vast emotions which they must completely clamp down, lest they all become raging psychotics.
- In many religions, Angels, or an equivalent good side, embody purity and self-restraint, while Demons, or equivalent evil side, embody sexual, violent, and greedy desires.
- In Buddhism, "Dukkha" (suffering) is directly linked to passions such as greed, physical lust and anger. One of the Four Noble Truths is to recognize these as the causes of suffering and take proper action (meditation, moderation, and moral behavior) to correct them.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40K: The Chaos Gods are the sum of every sentient being's rage, hope, lust and despair. Worshipped via mass slaughter and warfare, mutation and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, rape and torture, and spreading disease and pestilence like a demented Santa Claus. The only workable alternative is to cut off the emotions, either by turning the entire world undead (which was one vampire's plan in Warhammer) or by killing everything down to the last bacterium (the Necrons in Warhammer 40K).
- In it's early days, Magic: The Gathering pitted the wise, intellectual Blue and the orderly and moral White colors with the passionate and excessively aggressive Red. Nowadays, while Red still suffers from depictions as a bully, it is definitely by far depicted more heroically thanks to positive attributes like empathy and creativity, while Blue's sociopathic and deceptive traits and White's authoritarian and tyrannical side are both played up.