Stream of consciousness ahead. Be warned.
I’m not a Star Wars nerd. I don’t follow it intensely (or at all really), I don’t know all the names and trivia of the whatnot, and I don’t read the fan fiction. I’m just an average guy who likes Star Wars, as are most of us. I saw the new Episode VII: The Force Awakens trailer and it inspired me to write this. I write stuff. It’s what I do when I’m inspired. What can I say.
I love nights. I love being alone. I of course love being married and having kids as well, thank God, and only love being alone when I know the loneliness can end at will. But I’m a night person. The darkness and the loneliness activate me, make me think. I’m a Dark Side guy.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching the Star Wars movies, 3, 4, 5, and 6 so I don’t come into the 7th one forgetting the whole story. I skipped the first two because they stunk. Now, I don’t normally think about Star Wars at all, but there is something to be said about the most successful movie franchise in all of movie history. It hit something. It’s a beautiful work. I’m no film critic, and I don’t break down films frame by frame. But I do break down concepts. The concepts of Star Wars hit something very deep in human nature, otherwise they’d be Die Hard, or Terminator, or some other popular trilogy that’s pretty cool but not amazingly magical and inspiring like Star Wars.
Mark Hamill, the guy that plays Luke Skywalker, is not the greatest actor. He is the ultimate typecast. He didn’t get anywhere big in his career, ironically thanks to playing one of the most iconic characters ever. And yet, someone like him, who frankly is not the best, to play a role like that and to succeed so magnificently, he is the only one ever to do that. In that sense he is the best actor ever.
Now as to Star Wars itself. I saw the trailer for Episode VII. It gave me goose bumps. Strange for something fiction. But there’s something there. The bifurcation of good and evil through “the force” is something that really is inside us. While the movies make it into something that can move objects at a distance, the force does exist. There is action at a distance in quantum mechanics and it is observable through the double slit experiment, so perhaps one day when our brains evolve to those pulsating cartoons, we’ll be able to use the force like Jedi.
The problem is that the movies simplify the force and bifurcate it absolutely. The Jedi are never allowed to use their negative emotions, and any move in that direction means they’ll become a Sith. This is a consequence of Christian theology that simplifies reality into a children’s game. There is the Jedi, and the Sith, the Dark Side, and never the twain shall meet. The Force suddenly becomes something that can move objects and divide good and evil in straight lines. (There is a straight line, but it’s not what the Jedi say it is.)
The fact that the Jedi can never use their destructive emotions shows that they are weak characters. That’s why they never have much of a personality.
The Jedi act as priests, never marrying, never indulging in the their own physicality, never existing purely as human beings, never indulging in their feelings. They are “out of this world” and therefore any touch with ambition converts them to the Dark Side. The Dark Side is portrayed as emotion, hate and anger, rather than strictly a lust for power and control over others.
I have ambition. A lot of me is motivated by the dark emotions of hate and anger. As Darth Sidius, the Emperor, says, it makes me stronger. It gives me focus. But that doesn’t mean I go all bat crazy and start killing people. It depends what your ambition is. If it is to rule, libido dominante, then you’re just a politician.
Libertarian ambition is to destroy power. Depending on personality, different people are driven by different emotions, usually having to do with enneagram typology. I am driven by a combination of hate, anger, love, and hope. All emotions combined into one, that’s what motivates me. Everything that is human, from negative to positive, the light side and the dark side, that’s what propels me forward. That’s why you’ll see a lot of sarcasm here but then again a lot of hope for the ultimate goal, which is no power over anybody, liberty for all. It all combines together.
The Sith have a point. One should not neglect the passionate aspects of existence. It does make you stronger. It does give you focus. The rage, the hate, the anger, it can all be used positively. Directed towards good. The Jedi have a point, too. The destructive aspects of human personality, which are the same rage and hate, must not be used to simply destroy. They must be harnessed towards constructive ends.
But then again, the “letting go” of all that we fear to lose, as Yoda says, can also be destructive. It will lead to atrophy and the lack of a will to get up in the morning and fight. Indulge to much in letting go of your Yetzer Harah, in rabbinic jargon, or evil inclination, and there will be nothing driving you in the end.
Chazal say that without the Yetzer Harah, nobody would get up in the morning. Humanity needs both the light side and the dark side. The challenge is not to deny the dark side. The challenge is to use it for good.
Of course, Anakin Skywalker is the Jesus figure who was immaculately conceived and whatever. There’s something in Christianity about Jesus fighting the devil or something and overcoming in the end (maybe I’m making that up, I’ve never read their book) and I guess that’s what Anakin fighting Darth Vader means, and then dying killing the Emperor etc.
If Star Wars were written by a Jew with Rabbinic conceptions, the Jedi would be masters of the Dark Side as well, except they would be able to control the Dark Side rather than be controlled by it. They would also be married and have personalities rather than being stoic priests.
They also would not be beholden to “republics” and politicians.
The same theme runs throughout the X Men franchise with Magneto vs Professor X. Magneto is Dark Side, Charles Xavier of the Light. The force in X Men is mutation, same stuff.
As good as Star Wars is, its heroes are not well rounded. They are priests, and they are weak. A true hero would not shy away from any aspect of existence, but utilize all of it towards one goal.
In the end, the good goal is liberty. The evil goal is power. As long as you know that simple truth, the Dark Side is no threat to changing you.
One thought on “Star Wars, the Jedi, the Dark Side, and Libertarianism”
Ok, a song for Anakin/Darth
P.S. If not for freedom did Vader ask Luke in “The Empire Strikes Back” [after he cuts his son’s hand true] to “Join me! [..] The Emperor is afraid of you.” What makes SW a striking saga is definitely around the very complex father-son relationship it contains. Maybe at different levels it means different things.