Wednesday, May 04, 2005

In Preparation for Episode III

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
In preparation for the release of Revenge of the Sith on May 19th, this quote by Yoda in Episode I keeps coming back to me. It speaks very clearly to the slippery slope to the Dark Side that each one of us is capable of, and it might help us understand why Anakin Skywalker will eventually choose the dark path in this new movie.

While fear and anger are natural human emotions, Star Wars tells us that unchecked, these feelings can become inner "shadows" (this is Swiss psychologist Carl Jung's description of the unchecked, hidden, unresolved parts of ourselves that, if left unattended, will become the dark side of our personality).

Anakin Skywalker let his fears of being left alone were never truly addressed in his Jedi training, and when he had the power to do something about it (i.e. Jedi skills, lightsaber abilities), he let his "shadow" develop as an act of hatred (as seen in Episode II when he murdered the sand people). He later tells Padme that he should have been able to "fix things," and if he had even more power, he would be able to control who lives and who dies. His fear and anger have become hatred, and in Episode III, this inner suffering and conflict will leave him vunerable to the "easier, more seductive" ways of Darth Sidious and the Dark Side to "fix things."

Does this have anything to do with us? Yes! In our everyday lives, the Dark Side is far from obvious. As Yoda notes, the Dark Side is shrouded and deceptive, and as Jung writes, it "thrwarts our most well-meant intentions." Temptations to give into our "shadow," our Dark Side, are lined with great intentions to "fix things," as Anakin wanted to do. "How will I know the good from the bad?" asks Luke Skywalker in Episode V, to which Yoda quickly responds, "You will know... when you are calm."

Where is God in the midst of all this? God is trying to call out to each one of us, through our friends, role models, mentors, and loved ones (for Anakin, it's Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Padme, the Droids, and the Jedi; for Luke, it's Yoda, Obi-Wan, the Droids, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca). We must be calm, pray, and be open to hear God's word through them and through our faith. When we hear Him, God gives us the choice of redemption at any stage on our journey, as the Star Wars films point out and as the Scriptures and tradition tell us. In Episode VI, Anakin is finally redeemed at the last moment by rekindling the love of his son.

We are all loved by God, even a Dark Lord of the Sith like Vader.


Anonymous said...

What a great site! Your insight on Star Wars in refreshing. We all know that there is spirituality in Star Wars but we just didn't know how it works with our Catholic faith. Thank you for justifying it so thoroughly. I will have to read up on Jung.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog! I really like how you took the concept of a blog, figured out the process, and then continued by putting in a religious aspect to cool movies that are around for people of many ages. I hope to learn more in the coming days/weeks as Star Wars hits the big screen. I hope you find much success with your blog, with today's technology and what society views is telling us.

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Sometimes I do find myself wishing I had my own ghost of Obi-Wan telling me what to do.

May the force (I mean peace) be with you.

Keep going with the blog. It's a good concept.

Jarzembowski said...

I like to think that we do indeed have a ghost of Obi-Wan. Reading Thomas Merton is almost like listening to Obi-Wan talking to us (if Merton had bad syntax, he might be the Christian Yoda too). Masters of Christian thought like Merton, Mother Teresa, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and others can be the ghosts we yearn to have. May the force be with you too.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the quote by Yoda. I tend to suffer from much fear, and when you don't know how to accept it, or are too afraid to face it,then it leads to anger, and then when you are feeling just so much rage and get mad, then it becomes more of a hate, and when it becomes more of a hate, you become so overwhelmed with negative thoughts, and very low self esteem, etc. which then leads to suffering, which feels like you are trapped and there is no way out, and then you turn to God, because you know that with him, there is so much that you can accomplish. Suffering is what teaches us as well, though, because if you never had suffering, how could you learn?
I hope you feel that this is on topic to your post.
I got what I think is new insight to your quote, Paul. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll agree, but maybe there is something hidden in the character of Jar Jar Binks, the purple dragon, who can't talk right, because I feel a strong connection with that character, though I know of no one else who thinks he is anything less than annoying.
Second, do you feel that there is any aspect of God in the whole aspect of the movie that revolves around the pod racers? I also had a strong liking to that aspect of the movie and found it to be thrilling.
Could you maybe pass on your thoughts through this blog?
won't be seeing the film for a week or so, after the crowd dies down a little.
Take Care.