As every Star Wars fan knows, the Force is no simple thing. (In fact, if this extremely in-depth wiki is to be believed, it's very, very complicated indeed!) There is the light side, aligned with compassion and goodness, and the powerful but destructive dark side.
It's a story that makes for compelling movie mythology -- and as we'll no doubt see today, incredible ticket sales -- but it only exists in a fictional galaxy far, far away, right?
The dark triad
Of course, here on earth, no one has yet succeeded in moving objects with their mind (despite the efforts of countless Star Wars fans over the years), but that doesn't mean that we've totally escaped the pull of the dark side. Psychologists insist there really is such a thing.
In our world there may be no nebulous spiritual powers or Jedi knights, but there is what psychologists call the "dark triad" of personality traits. This trio of qualities -- narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy -- would do Darth Vader proud, but you don't have to be an evil Sith lord to embrace the dark triad. In fact, while those who express these traits in the extreme tend to flame out in terrible or criminal ways, those who express them in moderation can actually benefit from them professionally.
As my colleague Minda Zetlin has pointed out, narcissists are great at presenting themselves, manipulation is just an extreme form of influence, and psychopaths aren't held back by doubt and regret. In short, in real life as in Star Wars, the dark side pulls on us all.
Is the dark side strong in this one?
But how strongly does it pull on you specifically? Are you more Anakin or Luke? The BBC has a short quiz that can help you find out if you're in danger of crossing over to the dark side.
No one's claiming scientific rigor here -- though the BBC explains that its quiz was "inspired by questionnaires developed by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones (Assessment, vol 21, p 28)" -- but if you're curious how strongly you exhibit dark triad characteristics, simply spend a few minutes answering straightforward questions about your behavior and beliefs, and you can get a sense of which side of the force is strongest with you.
Looking for more Star Wars-related quizzes to celebrate the opening of the new movie? Buzzfeed has an even less scientific questionnaire that analyzes such important variables as your favorite drone or light saber of choice to reveal if you're more light side or dark side. Enjoy!