In my search for a reliable print newspaper I finally succumbed to the advertising of the Epoch Times. I am now on a one year subscription. I will refer to articles featured in the print edition and try to link them online for anyone interested. Some posts will deal with the news shared and others will deal with my odyssey of deciding if the Epoch Times is a reliable source of news.
Star Wars was a cultural event, or at least the first three films were. The first three told a rousing story of adventure set in a new world of special effects. I really enjoyed the original three but I am not sure if I have seen any of the others all the way through. Even today my son and I refer to what we call the “Star Wars Effect”. This came from some of the battle scenes where the good guys in their X-wing fighters would do World War I Sopwith Camel style rolls in a vacuum. If you know anything about physics you know that ain’t gonna happen. We didn’t care. It was a fun visual. Who cared what the laws of the universe said.
I also read a lot of the books about the characters. I noticed that eventually someone with some knowledge of physics got hold of them and they came up with some kind of explanation of how the roll was achieved. Eventually fiction catches up with life. Many of the books I would not bother finishing. I find the concept of The Force an insult to my intelligence for a couple of reasons and if the story had too many forced Deus ex machina moments it meant the author needed to take a writing class. If the force was just a background theme to set the venue, okay. All I ask it quit trying to turn Star Wars into a cheap fantasy novel.
A second factor drained the joy of the story. I figured it out in the first movie and saw it growing as we went along. The Force is simply another face for Eastern religion. You have the Ying and Yang of the good side and the dark side of the force. Both are impersonal, as in Buddhism. When Obi Wan appears to Luke he explains how he will be fading into Nirvana so his time is limited. He didn’t use those terms, but that was what it was about.
The Epoch Times explains this. I don’t know if I have seen it anywhere else. In an article called “The Wisdom of a Jedi Master” it gives some insight that proves my insight correct.
“The influence Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Taoism had on George Lucas can best be seen in Yoda’s attempts to teach Luke Skywalker. Lucas believed there was profound wisdom in Eastern teachings, and sought to share this wisdom with his Western audience. Looking back, I have a deeper appreciation for the words Yoda has to impart.”So the author found Star Wars inspirational.
He elaborates more later.
“‘Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering,’ Yoda tells a young Anakin Skywalker in “The Phantom Menace.” In Buddhist thought, things such as fear, anger, lust, jealousy, wealth, and fame are attachments. Attachments are said to be the root of all suffering, and thus, must be given up. As Yoda warns, attachments are fraught with peril and lead to the dark side.”Christianity agrees that life has its misery but for the Christian life is meant to be good. The problem is sin and only the grace of God can deal with it. In Buddhism life is miserable and you are to disassociate yourself from it. In Christianity we are involved but the real source of strength is God Himself. In Buddhism it is a matter of self-help.
The author is obviously very much on the side of the life view encouraged by the Buddhist philosophy taught by Star Wars. At the end he says this,
“The strength of the Jedi comes from selflessness, letting go, and becoming one with all that’s around them. This requires self-examination, for that’s how growth and learning occur. Like the Jedi, we should make the most of each day, striving always to improve, in our quest to be our best selves.”Sounds good but he overlooks one thing: At the beginning of Star Wars there are no more functional Jedi. In other words, it only works for one or two out of the trillions of people in the Empire and Republic.
Not much of a message of hope.
homo unius libri