Sunday, February 5, 2012

What the Jedi Teach Us

You might all be surprised to learn that the only Star Wars movie of the trilogies that I have seen was the first release in 1977. Considering my dearest friends are geeks (and I use this in the most endearing term) it’s hard to believe. Often, one philosophy or another is referenced with an explicit mention of Star Wars, and it goes right over my head. I don’t often go to the movies or even rent them, so references to movies going over my head are not uncommon. I usually shrug it off. Yet, Lee uses Star Wars often when trying to explain something to me. When I read Stephen Covey reference it in his book The 7 Habits I started paying more attention.

As time went on Lee often had to tell part of scene to help me understand the particular philosophy he was expounding in the moment. This is time consuming, and some of the context gets lost in the translation. This is how we decided to view the movies together, and watch for particular spots where the philosophies are being exampled. Our first experiment happened last night. Our movie for the evening Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones. Poor Deb looked bored, as I’m sure she has seen this a million times, and living with Lee must hear these referenced time and again. Andy, while understanding what we were about, was finding his analogies with WWII, Hitler and Mussolini. He began to ponder what moves people to desire total power and dictatorship over mass populations.

With all this we tried to stay focused on our mission. The movie was paused time and again as we spotted concepts of thinking we have talked about in the past or habits we are trying to recognize in ourselves and move away from. We see Anakin warned to guard against his negative thinking. We watch him blame others for his actions, and react to his emotions in the moment. He blames Obi-Wan Kenobi for holding him back, he annihilates an entire village, men, women and children in retaliation for the death of his mother; the anger seething behind his eyes. He jumps ahead in an armed confrontation with Count Dooku, against Obi-Wan’s orders, and loses his hand.

The power of the force is strong in Anakin, yet he doesn’t manage it well. He is reckless. There are moments when we see focused concentration on his powers especially when paired with Obi-Wan. It is then that we see the master’s skill at training his student. Yet once out of sight, the student disregards the lessons, and allows his powerful emotions and arrogance to rule him and misuse the power of the force within him.

We will continue with the trilogies to learn what we can from them. For now, we will watch ourselves so as not to blame others for our own actions and circumstances. When struck by powerful emotions, will not give in to the moment, but think our way through to places that serve us better. After all, when reacting in the moment, we never know what we are really sacrificing. We all need to guard against our negative thinking and to get through life with both hands intact.

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