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.