Theology of Star Wars

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SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 09:32

No further Star Wars films should be made about the Death Star... We get it, it was a novel idea, and then you used it and kept on using it.

Now here's an interesting question regarding the prequels... Was Palpatine always evil, or did he go down the Anakin route where his genuine concerns perverted him?

The best of the Disney films is Rogue One IMHO.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 07 Apr 2019, 09:37

SO what does this mean to me? What's the spiritual message and philosophy behind it all?

First, there's the "Universal Myth", the "Hero's Journey" as Joseph Campbell puts it. The universal inspiring story arch, that speaks across generations, in all religions, most popular fiction, etc. I could go on and on about the symbolic significance of this...
Image

Second, you have Jungian psychology concept of the shadow. Each one of us have within us the "Dark Side". The more we deny it, the more we push it down and try to hide it, the darker and more powerful it becomes. The Jedi, like with many religions, seek to supress and exterminate the dark side, which causes the diachotemy to become more powerful. In order to banish it, the Jedi forbid attachment, even to family. They forbid feelings of rage, hatred, fear, as well as feelings of love, because they are of the "dark side".

However, it is only by embracing both the light and the dark side side, that the dark side can be subdued and "balance" established. It was Luke's attachement to his friends, his love for his sister and father, his rage out of love for his sister, that he was able to defeat Darth Vader. It was also, through Vader's attachments, his love that he first abandoned the Jedi ways, and later abandoned the Sith ways as well. As the "Chosen One" he brought balance to the force, not by banishing the dark as the Jedi thought, but by ending the diachotomy, and bringing both the light and dark into harmony with one another.

It also says a lot about religion, as well as good intentions. Democracy is destroyed and the evil empire rises, slowly, and through "good intentions". The Jedi cause the Sith to rise, and herald in their own destruction through "good intentions". Obiwan decieves Luke through "good intentions". It is the epitome of "bad religion with good intentions". The Sith, on the other hand, is "bad religion with bad intentions". And funnily enough, both want the same thing from both Luke and Anakin; to fight. To destroy one another. To reject the other side. But neither is actually "good". Both fall short in their denial of the other. Family, friends... that's what's most important.

The "Disney Sequels", I like least of all, because Luke obviously does not embrace this revelation. He restarts the Jedi Order, in much the same way, and runs into the same problems. A new empire pops up, a planet killing weapon... Capitalism and democracy still sucks. Denying the dark side, embracing the light... his dark side becomes to power and he almost murders his nephew out of fear. His nephew, realizing the hatred and fear of his uncle destroys the Jedi, and becomes a Sith. But then Kylo regonizes the Sith have the same problems. Kylo's master recognizes this. Cycles. "Darkness rises and light to meet it". As DJ puts it:
Finn, let me learn you something big: It's all a machine, partner. Live free. Don't join.
But then it goes ahead and flips itself. What the Jedi need to overcome the dark, is not the paradigm shift, it needs a powerful woman in charge. And THIS is what rubs me the wrong way. I feel the same way about women in the priesthood. Sure, if they are allowed to recieve the priesthood, and serve as bishops, stake presidents, and the Q15, great for them! But is it really going to fix anything? Same problems, different faces. When women achieve powerful positions, it's no longer a powerful man taking advantage of the "little guy", the men and women working on ground floor. It's now a woman taking advantage. Having Hillary Clinton as the first female president would still lead to the same problems, and same corruption as before (not that Trump is better). Same issues. Nothing has changed.

I don't like the Disney episodes, because the cycle continues. The cycle with the LDS Church and religion continues. A shift is needs. The cycle must be broken, or it will carry on forever. And yet... all we get are surface changes that perpetuate the status quo. Kylo is right. Of all the characters, I empathize and respect him the most. DJ is right. And yet, they're portrayed as the "bad guys"? And "Mary Sue" Rey, perfect at everything, doesn't need training, is the "good guy"? She can fix the Jedi Order, because she's a flawless woman? I digress. I didn't like it. I want change. I want a better world.
Last edited by dande48 on 07 Apr 2019, 09:48, edited 1 time in total.
"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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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 07 Apr 2019, 09:47

SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 09:32
No further Star Wars films should be made about the Death Star... We get it, it was a novel idea, and then you used it and kept on using it.
Yeah... because it's not like here on earth we aren't constantly making, and maintaining our own "Death Stars", and trying endlessly to stop others from having them.
SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 09:32
Now here's an interesting question regarding the prequels... Was Palpatine always evil, or did he go down the Anakin route where his genuine concerns perverted him?
I read the book Darth Plagus a few times. It was a very good book, covering the history of Palpatine, and his background, up through the ending of episode 1. Palpatine was more or less a rich kid, with some bad attributes, and parents who covered for him, to shield him from responsibility. He more or less had his traits exploited for the purposes of the Sith. But really, the Sith Religion has many contrasts with the Jedi. They both have "good intentions" and want to "make the galaxy a better place", but attempt to achieve it through bad action, and try to solely embrace the "dark side", and deny the "light", which turns against them.
SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 09:32
The best of the Disney films is Rogue One IMHO.
I LOVED Rogue One. It's my favorite, maybe including the original trilogy.
"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

SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 10:16

dande48 wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 09:47
SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 09:32
No further Star Wars films should be made about the Death Star... We get it, it was a novel idea, and then you used it and kept on using it.
Yeah... because it's not like here on earth we aren't constantly making, and maintaining our own "Death Stars", and trying endlessly to stop others from having them.
I get what you're saying and personally I wish nuclear weapons had never been invented, but as a plot device? There's only so far you get with it. There are many other nasty weapons they could come up with - what about a Star Killer? That would be similar but make a star go nova and wipe out entire systems... That's just a minor tweak but much more interesting.
First, there's the "Universal Myth", the "Hero's Journey" as Joseph Campbell puts it. The universal inspiring story arch, that speaks across generations, in all religions, most popular fiction, etc. I could go on and on about the symbolic significance of this...
While I was aware Lucas was influenced by Campbell, I didn't realize they knew each other personally. (I also lazily assumed Lucas was a Jew, albeit a lapsed one, a common position in Hollywood. Turns out he's a cultural Methodist... Much like Stephen King.) And there is an LDS connection here:

http://www.adherents.com/people/pl/George_Lucas.html
Lucas was born and raised in a strongly Methodist family. After inserting religious themes into Star Wars he would eventually come to identify strongly with the Eastern religious philosophies he studied and incorporated into his movies, which were a major inspiration for "the Force." Lucas eventually came to state that his religion was "Buddhist Methodist." Gary Kurtz, a Latter-day Saint who had studied Comparative Religion extensively in college and on his own, was pivotal in introducing Lucas to Eastern religions (particularly Buddhism) and Native American religion, and discussing with Lucas how best to improve "Star Wars" by giving it a believable but sufficiently universal religious underpinning. Kurtz was the producer of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" and also did some work on the "Star Wars" screenplay.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by nibbler » 07 Apr 2019, 10:22

SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:16
There are many other nasty weapons they could come up with - what about a Star Killer? That would be similar but make a star go nova and wipe out entire systems... That's just a minor tweak but much more interesting.
They did exactly that in The Force Awakens. They even called it exactly that.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Starkiller_Base

It was still too similar a plot device IMO but that movie was more about the characters than the plot.
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, "And this too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
― Abraham Lincoln

SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 10:26

Discussing the development of the idea of the Force, Lucas said: "The Force evolved out of various developments of character and plot. I wanted a concept of religion based on the premise that there is a God and there is good and evil. I began to distill the essence of all religions into what I thought was a basic idea common to all religions and common to primitive thinking. I wanted to develop something that was nondenominational but still had a kind of religious reality. I believe in God and I believe in right and wrong. I also believe that there are basic tenets which through history have developed into certainties, such as 'thou shalt not kill.' I don't want to hurt other people. 'Do unto others...' is the philosophy that permeates my work
One can detect Judaeo-Christian elements in his thinking here, but the Force isn't God as Christians quite conceive of. There isn't really an outright mention of God in Star Wars (unlike in Indiana Jones where Jehovah, Kali and Shiva all get name checked.)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 10:27

nibbler wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:22
SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:16
There are many other nasty weapons they could come up with - what about a Star Killer? That would be similar but make a star go nova and wipe out entire systems... That's just a minor tweak but much more interesting.
They did exactly that in The Force Awakens. They even called it exactly that.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Starkiller_Base

It was still too similar a plot device IMO but that movie was more about the characters than the plot.
Thanks for that... Either I have not been paying attention or remembered it unconsciously!!!
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by nibbler » 07 Apr 2019, 10:34

I was going to say... man, you should be helping them write the stories. :P :thumbup:
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, "And this too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
― Abraham Lincoln

SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 11:27

nibbler wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:34
I was going to say... man, you should be helping them write the stories. :P :thumbup:
:lol: I sometimes think I could come up with better story arcs, given my interest in literature and mythology. My script writing abilities are strictly amateur though...

Like I've said elsewhere, Frank Herbert's Dune series - for all its faults - handles a lot of these issues well. It never really says whether there is a god, but there are attempts to make one, and he makes a lot of very interesting points about religion, not all of which I agree with, but which still make me think. Like Lucas, Herbert does re-use some old themes and ideas, but I think he's far cleverer with how he blends them. Did I mention Lucas stole liberally from Herbert as well?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 08 Apr 2019, 08:32

SamBee wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 11:27
:lol: I sometimes think I could come up with better story arcs, given my interest in literature and mythology. My script writing abilities are strictly amateur though...

Like I've said elsewhere, Frank Herbert's Dune series - for all its faults - handles a lot of these issues well. It never really says whether there is a god, but there are attempts to make one, and he makes a lot of very interesting points about religion, not all of which I agree with, but which still make me think. Like Lucas, Herbert does re-use some old themes and ideas, but I think he's far cleverer with how he blends them. Did I mention Lucas stole liberally from Herbert as well?
I think one of the reasons Star Wars has done so fantastically well, and continued to be relevant (pre-Disney), was that George Lucas was very liberal in letting other people create content and write "canon". He took from other people, other people took from him... his "bad ideas" were either written off ("Holiday Special", anyone?), or embraced (i.e. Boba Fett from the "Holiday Special"), or expanded (Darth Maul is now freakin' awesome!).

Speaking of Star Wars "weapons of mass destruction", KoTOR2 had the "Mass Shadow Generator", which would distort a planet's gravity, sending ships crashing into its surface, and destroying everything thereon. They also had Darth Nihilus, who would use the force to consume the lifeforce from entire planets. Lots of great ideas out there, that George Lucas didn't create, but embraced. He played to the strengths of others. Disney on the other hand, scrapped all that, and felt they could churn out whatever dribble they want and it'd sell well.
"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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