Theology of Star Wars

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 14 Apr 2019, 11:59

Rumin8 wrote:
13 Apr 2019, 22:56
An interesting aside, well interesting to me. I’ve always identified as dark side. But not the “evil” dark side, if that makes sense. When I had the choice when playing Star Wars video games I always chose dark side, but tried to do good things. I know that sounds odd. And the reason is simple: I always felt the Jedi side needlessly strict, conservative, and slow to change. The Jedi order seemed to have way too many rules. Does this sound familiar, anyone?
One of the sources from which Star Wars stemmed, was the Jungian concept of the "Shadow self". To sum up, there are two aspects of our psychology, the "ego" (our identity) and our "shadow", or the attributes and characteristics within ourselves that contradict our "ego". They are not necessicarily evil in themselves, but are aspects we largely resent. In Star Wars, these aspects are reflected in what's considered "the Dark Side", such as the emotions of anger, fear, or hatred.
Carl Jung wrote:"Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."
These "shadows" are prone to what Jung called "psychological projection", where in failure to regonize this "flaw of characeter" without ourselves, we project it onto someone or something outside ourselves. This leads to a very real conflict between both the outside our shadow has been projected onto, and the shadow within ourselves. However, if the "shadow" can be accepted, or "merged with the ego", only then can it truly be "conquored".

A good example of this from Star Wars, are Anakin and Luke. Anakin was told from the get go, that his feelings of missing his mother and worry about her were wrong.
"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate... leads to suffering".
So he sets about, just like all the other Jedi, repressing the "dark side", or the shadow. But what happens? It builds up and grows stronger. At its culmination, it gets projected back onto the Republic and the Jedi. The Republic projects it onto the "separatists", and also have it manifest in themselves by erroding its own freedom and control. The Jedi likewise project it onto the "Sith", and onto themselves in a way which destroys their order. In fear and anger, they try to dethrone Palpatine because he's a "Sith Lord". But it is manifest in Anakin most of all, with the "shadow" consuming him and turning him into Darth Vader.
"From my perspective, the Jedi are evil!"
Luke, on the other hand (as well as Vader in the end), is able to achieve balance by accepting his shadow. He fears for his friends safety. He gets angry at Darth Vader for threatening his sister. And with accepting his "shadow" he has the strength to defeat Darth Vader. BUT he is also able to refrain from killing Darth Vader (or in other words, Luke's Shadow). If he had, his shadow would've consumed him.

And I think that's one of the major themes and greatest messages of Star Wars. Self-denial doesn't work. It makes the "dark side" stronger. We can't overcome ___(insert aspect or characteristic you despise)___ in the world and in ourselves, until we accept we're inherently that way too.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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DarkJedi
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Apr 2019, 13:19

dande48 wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 11:59
Luke, on the other hand (as well as Vader in the end), is able to achieve balance by accepting his shadow. He fears for his friends safety. He gets angry at Darth Vader for threatening his sister. And with accepting his "shadow" he has the strength to defeat Darth Vader. BUT he is also able to refrain from killing Darth Vader (or in other words, Luke's Shadow). If he had, his shadow would've consumed him.

And I think that's one of the major themes and greatest messages of Star Wars. Self-denial doesn't work. It makes the "dark side" stronger. We can't overcome ___(insert aspect or characteristic you despise)___ in the world and in ourselves, until we accept we're inherently that way too.
I think very much like modern religions, the balance to the Force came about in an unexpected way. Obi Wan was clearly disappointed in Anakin because he thought he had failed as the promised one, the one who would bring balance to the Force. My take on it is that he did bring balance to the Force - through Luke. The Jedi could not possibly have expected it to happen that way because Jedi didn't marry and reproduce because of their traditions and teaching of strict obedience to Jedi codes. And apparently the Sith didn't expect it either. But, I think what you have described about Luke and his own internal turmoil is exactly the way balance was brought to the Force and why Luke is the way he is in the most recent episode.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Arrakeen
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by Arrakeen » 14 Apr 2019, 13:50

Rumin8 wrote:
13 Apr 2019, 22:56
An interesting aside, well interesting to me. I’ve always identified as dark side. But not the “evil” dark side, if that makes sense. When I had the choice when playing Star Wars video games I always chose dark side, but tried to do good things.
I sometimes identify as dark side, but for a slightly different reason. I also often identify with the "bad guys" in a lot of other series. I just often find the villains to be more relatable. Anakin/Darth Vader is deeply conflicted, neither all good or all bad. I think this is quite common, and is a big reason people seem to like Kylo Ren in the new movies, or Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. Flawed people, but with some good inside of them. It's easy to identify with the inner struggle between good and evil.

I don't really relate to the Palpatines who are always bad or the Yodas who are always good, but with Anakin, who is torn between the light and dark. This is also why I don't really identify with any of the "scripture heroes" like Nephi or Captain Moroni.

For the most part, the real world isn't filled with "good guys" and "bad guys". It is filled with complex individuals who can be both good and evil at the same time. People who have good desires but sometimes do bad things, who also have bad desires but still do good things. The whole galaxy thought Vader was all evil (including himself), but Luke redeemed him by seeing the good in him and helping him see it too.

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 14 Apr 2019, 17:56

DarkJedi wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 13:19
But, I think what you have described about Luke and his own internal turmoil is exactly the way balance was brought to the Force and why Luke is the way he is in the most recent episode.
It felt like to me, Luke had a character regression in the latest episode. It was one of the things I didn't like about it. Attempting to kill your nephew out of fear of the dark side seems like a very "classical Jedi" thing to do, but not at all aligned with the character of a man who refused to kill Vader because "there's still goodness in him". It felt like, ultimately, there was no progress. Rather quickly too, the same thing that happened to the old Jedi Order, happened to the one Luke established. The inability to "shadow accept" his nephew, caused the "shadow" to over manifest, leading to the destruction of the Jedi and rise of another empire.

It felt like the whole of episode 7 was trying to say something important and take steps toward progress... but then ultimately doubled back on itself. Rey faces her own "shadow" of being a nobody, who's parents abandoned her (just like parents formerly abandoned their children to the Jedi). Luke recognizes the fact that the Jedi are ultimately responsible for the rise of the Sith. He also regonizes himself as a "false legend", just like the jedi. Kylo realizes the false division between the Sith and Jedi, the Order and Rebellion, and wants to do away with it. The Rebellion and Order are part of the same "machine"... don't be a hero... but then do be the hero. Save the Jedi books. Deny the "shadow", to be the morally pure, infallible Jedi hero. Carry on the Order, the Resistance, and the war. Luke remains a legendary hero. And the jedi mantle will carry on.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

nibbler
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by nibbler » 14 Apr 2019, 18:43

Here's a meme that was floating around before TLJ came out:

Image

I think they may have been going for that in the movie, but failed to pull it off successfully.

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 14 Apr 2019, 20:06

nibbler wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 18:43
I think they may have been going for that in the movie, but failed to pull it off successfully.
Haha, yeah... Except now I feel like Rey is the "optimistic liberal reformist college freshman", who proves her radicalized anarcho-marxist retired professor wrong by reminding him of the power of the "light side", and goes on to do everything he couldn't. Back to churchy analogies, it feels like those times my struggles with the Church get reflected back on me by someone saying, "If only you had been more faithful." If only Luke had been as committed to the lightside, and goodness, and being awesome as Rey...
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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