Star Wars

Joe

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Ascien said:
"Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete." Damn! The article (from the previous page) does make a good case though!
Yeah, but I don't think it happens, at least not in the new movie. Luke is seen in the first trailer, when he puts his hand on R2. In any case, that sith lord is called kylo ren and has a history, so I can't see how it could be luke.
 

Ennio

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A few of us had a re-screening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith recently and we were so impressed by its many psychological insights that we decided to do a show about it.

And on different topic, we've got a really interesting guest lined up for next week's show, so do keep an eye open for that.

MindMatters: The Hidden Psychological Depth of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

The tragic fall that started it all... Darth Vader: we're all familiar with the hulking half-man half-machine embodiment of inhuman domination, brutal ambition and a malevolent will to rule the galaxy with a robotic fist - as portrayed in the very widely seen and loved Star Wars series. But as we look back at what made these almost mythical stories great to begin with, we are reminded of who this character was before he became such a powerful agent of the dark side. As shown in the Star Wars prequels, and particularly in the mostly-overlooked film, Episode III: Revenge of The Sith, we learn that the person who was to become Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, was first a Jedi, a prodigious and sincere student of the force, and one of a number of warrior priests who sought to protect the republic and fight for the side of the greater good.

On this week's MindMatters we take a look into Anakin's 'darkened mind' and the emotional and psychological processes he underwent that fueled his tragic descent to become Darth Vader, as well as the excellent portrayal of Palpatine's manipulation of confused Anakin's young mind. Revenge of the Sith may be one of the most relevant of the Star Wars movies for this very reason: in the context of a cosmic 'space opera', it teaches some all-important lessons on how our human frailties, worst instincts and egotistical natures can be played upon - and grown - to allow for some truly horrendous consequences. And may the force be with you, dear listener. Always.

 

Jenn

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Thanks for sharing Ennio, I thought your analysis of Star Wars was really interesting and it inspired me and Keyhole to watch the movie Revenge of the Sith last night. I had seen it before but when I was much younger (my Father is a big Star Wars fan!).

Some particularly interesting things to witness were Annakin's brat like behavior and immature attitude, especially when he wasn't allowed to become a Jedi master. At times we also saw his self-importance at play, he appeared to bask in praise and was particularly susceptible to flattery and ego-stroking, which began to grow a dark seed inside him.

He knew right from wrong based on his Jedi training, this was evidenced in the scene where he could choose whether to kill Duku or not. However, he chose NOT to listen to this inner voice, and instead listen to Palpatine who urged him to kill Duku- an unarmed prisoner.
This reminded me of Anna Salter's book Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders where she describes that initially, these types of people had an inkling that what they were doing was wrong, but that they ignored these doubts and chose to act in direct contrast to them. The offenders would lie to themselves afterward, saying that what they were doing was the right thing, or that it wasn't so bad after all. Each time they did this, the self-serving part of themselves was strengthened and it was easier to offend next time until eventually, they had eroded away any conscience, or completely believed the lies and fantasies that they told themselves. So to conclude, it appears this decision was a pivotal point for Anakin, which severely affected his decision-making abilities later on.

After Anakin's prophetic dream of Padme dying in childbirth, Yoda gave him some excellent advice, which he completely ignored... never ignore Yoda!
"Yoda: Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin! The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side."
Anakin: "I won't let my visions come true, Master Yoda."
Yoda: "Rejoice for those around us who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed, that is."
Anakin: "What must I do, Master Yoda?"
Yoda: "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."
His "love" for Padme grew to attachment, his fear of losing her seemed to be a catalyst for his descent into darkness, and he seemed to be willing to do anything so as not to lose her, even if that meant using the dark side. When he started to lose his way, rather than airing it out with the Jedi council, he kept his concerns to himself (didn't network with those who cared for him!) meaning he was susceptible to Palpatine's manipulations. Palpatine spotted this "chink in his armor" and played on it, tapping into Anakin's confusion, lack of trust and desire to save Padme.

The final scene before Anakin pledges allegiance to Palpatine shows how he is torn between doing the right thing (allowing Mace Windu to kill Palpatine) and his own selfish urges to save Palpatine so he could save Padme.
In the end, he chooses to satisfy his urges by saving Palpatine and killing Mace Windu. Although, even after that, he exclaimed "What have I done", so there was still a glimmer of conscience, he still could've done the right thing, but instead, he went on to declare full allegiance to Palpatine and killed any remaining part of himself that aligned with positive forces.

All in all, an interesting watch, and an entertaining movie.

There were some other clips that were interesting but not related to the character analysis of Anakin:

Scarily similar to what's going on today with the whole COVID saga!

And also Annakin's conversation with Palpatine:

Anakin Skywalker: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inward, only about themselves.

Supreme Chancellor: And the Jedi don't?

Anakin Skywalker: The Jedi are selfless... they only care about others.
I thought this was a very good description of STO/STS. The idea of giving to others by sharing, networking, wanting truth and working FOR others, as opposed to gaining power, wishful thinking and impulsive behaviour centred around selfish desires.
 

3DStudent

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A few of us had a re-screening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith recently and we were so impressed by its many psychological insights that we decided to do a show about it.

And on different topic, we've got a really interesting guest lined up for next week's show, so do keep an eye open for that.

MindMatters: The Hidden Psychological Depth of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
This was a great episode, thanks. I might even say, "Best episode ever!" At least it is a top 5 and one of the more impactful ones for me. There's something about a story and helps explain things in a relatable way.

It's kind of worrying, because I can see some elements of Anakin in myself. I recall that his suit is supposed to only keep him alive while still providing a significant amount of pain. This keeps him powerful in the Dark Side, or STS FRV. I have some pain issues I've not addressed, so it made me think about that. It can bring you down and color your thoughts just when you have a sore muscle. I recall JBP's rule to treat yourself well, too.

Also there was a strong push for communication and networking. Anakin hid things from Padme, and let his predator and criminal mind go to extremes. It eventually went from dark thoughts to him actually force choking the woman he was supposed to love.

Fear of loss leading to the Dark Side stood out to me too. I have FOMO, or fear of missing out. Or in general getting left out or behind. I think we all have this to an extent and there is so much to keep up with. I guess it can sort of become an obsession and there is the parable of the man who tries to avoid death and ends up walking right into it. Also reminds me a little of pendulums, where you put focus on a negative one and it swings with more force.

Anakin had too much confidence in himself that he could interpret his prophetic dream, without networking. I have had a similar thought recently, but more generally about my life and finding a better routine and initiating changes.

Interesting connection with our world and the parallels of the conspiratorial War on Terror and all that has come thereafter. I was too young to really grasp the political side when it first came out, but it makes sense now. And who knew Star Wars Episode III would be somewhat a documentary?

Anyways, thanks again. It was helpful and insightful. I haven't found the time to watch it after listening to the podcast, but would like to.
 

Ennio

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I thought this was a very good description of STO/STS. The idea of giving to others by sharing, networking, wanting truth and working FOR others, as opposed to gaining power, wishful thinking and impulsive behaviour centred around selfish desires.
Thanks for the summation, Jenn. What you wrote seems to encapsulate a lot of it in a nutshell, and one of the reasons why so many seem to take to these movies as though they've achieved the status of a contemporary mythology. It really is a good description of STO/STS wrapped up in a Sci-fi entertainment, and chock full of lessons that seem hard to ignore.

It's kind of worrying, because I can see some elements of Anakin in myself.
Yes. It's almost impossible not to like or identify, at least in part, with the Jedi hero that was Anakin. And then to see his awful fall and recognize that all his worst traits were what led up to it - and then to see these traits in one's self if we're really reflecting on it - can be helpful and insightful in viceral ways that many books may not be.

Along similar lines, another MindMatters show that dealt with this theme in case anyone's missed it:

MindMatters: Ordinary Men: What Makes Normal People Do Monstrous Things
 

mkrnhr

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After Anakin's prophetic dream of Padme dying in childbirth, Yoda gave him some excellent advice, which he completely ignored... never ignore Yoda!
"Yoda: Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin! The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side."
Anakin: "I won't let my visions come true, Master Yoda."
Yoda: "Rejoice for those around us who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed, that is."
Anakin: "What must I do, Master Yoda?"
Yoda: "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."
In the actual corona mental illness we're witnessing, there is also a sense of fear of death. It is as if death didn't exist before 2020 and that before that people were eternal. When people were closer to nature, death was a part of life, and the spiritual outlook on life allowed them to live despite of sometimes dreadfull conditions. Many teachings, including stoicism for instance include the rememberence of death "momento mori", to life fully the life here and now and to be prepared to the life thereafter. Of that wisdom and attitude has disappeared.
 

Approaching Infinity

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In the actual corona mental illness we're witnessing, there is also a sense of fear of death. It is as if death didn't exist before 2020 and that before that people were eternal. When people were closer to nature, death was a part of life, and the spiritual outlook on life allowed them to live despite of sometimes dreadfull conditions. Many teachings, including stoicism for instance include the rememberence of death "momento mori", to life fully the life here and now and to be prepared to the life thereafter. Of that wisdom and attitude has disappeared.
Absolutely. Michael Prescott wrote a good piece focusing on just this recently:

 

Alejo

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I’ve watched several other analysis of Star Wars over the years and this one from Mind Matters was one of my favorites for sure.

And I don’t want to divert too far from the established story as I believe it already contains a lot of useful information, but I think it’s interesting nonetheless, so bear with me.

One that has stuck with me over time, dealt with the presence of Qi Gon in the life of Anakin. Qi Gon has had the reputation of being what’s known as a grey Jedi, and what this means is that he was one formed in the ways of the Jedi but didn’t hold strictly to the Jedi council ways, tended more towards balance between light and dark in terms of the force.

One of the theories that is out there sits upon the question, what would Anakin’s life would’ve been should Qi Gon have survived instead of Obi Wan? And the exploration goes in very interesting scenarios, speculating as to the difference between the training and upbringing that Anakin would’ve received and how it all could’ve transpired. It’s a very entertaining exercise for those to enjoy the lore.

But the reason I brought it up, is because I think it highlights the importance of knowledge and how it can protect. If Anakin would’ve had knowledge of the dark side of the force, ostensibly received from a grey Jedi and not one very oriented towards the light side of the force, and what tricks it gets up to and what it hooks itself into inside of you, he probably wouldn’t have fallen for Palpatine’s tricks and manipulation (although a case could be made for a criminal mind also, but I digress).

He probably could’ve developed self awareness and awareness of the outside world, and could’ve shown better resistance perhaps.

Which I think connects to something said right above about seeing aspects of Anakin within ourselves, and I think this is true, the self righteousness and tendencies towards self pity and thinking errors, they all are there. But it’s through self awareness and becoming painfully (sometimes) aware of these aspects in ourselves that we can create a destiny different from that one of Darth Vader.
 

Jenn

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But the reason I brought it up, is because I think it highlights the importance of knowledge and how it can protect. If Anakin would’ve had knowledge of the dark side of the force, ostensibly received from a grey Jedi and not one very oriented towards the light side of the force, and what tricks it gets up to and what it hooks itself into inside of you, he probably wouldn’t have fallen for Palpatine’s tricks and manipulation (although a case could be made for a criminal mind also, but I digress).

He probably could’ve developed self awareness and awareness of the outside world, and could’ve shown better resistance perhaps.

Which I think connects to something said right above about seeing aspects of Anakin within ourselves, and I think this is true, the self righteousness and tendencies towards self pity and thinking errors, they all are there. But it’s through self awareness and becoming painfully (sometimes) aware of these aspects in ourselves that we can create a destiny different from that one of Darth Vader.
Great point, thank you for bringing it up. A good reminder as to why the forum recommends reading the criminal mind books and psychopathy material, Lobaczewski's whole book is a study of evil to offer protection from it!

We all have certain aspects of ourselves that are not pleasant, but if we willfully ignore them they grow and fester, or, we may be totally blind to them! A small example for me is that when I first joined the forum I thought my "caregiving" persona was totally benevolent, then reading the narcissism books, I started to get a fuller, truer picture of myself and saw that some behaviors that I thought were positive, were actually hurting those around me. If I hadn't learned about the "dark side" so to speak, then I would be none the wiser. It seems that by knowing both sides, we have more free-will to choose where we want to go/ who we want to be.
 

3DStudent

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It seems that by knowing both sides, we have more free-will to choose where we want to go/ who we want to be.
Yeah, wasn't that the point of The Fall? To learn about STS to accelerate our learning and choices. Playing in the mud in order to understand it and have a more whole view of everything. And then there is something about us school of hard knocks pupils guiding pure long wave cycle lofty spirits who haven't fallen down into matter?
 

Woodsman

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I don't know if SOTT was responsible for the spark of new attention, or was hitching their awareness to some external spark, but I've noticed "Revenge of the Sith" popping up in various pop culture feeds here and there miles distant from fringe sites like this one.

It's a bit unusual for a DVD most recently re-released in 2015.

I re-watched it myself after seeing the MindMatters show. What a fantastic film! It was much better than I remembered. -Possibly as a result of having seen just how far the bar has fallen with the more recent SW films.
 

Mikkael

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Two weeks ago, right after I become quarantined at home, I felt impulse to watch Star Wars from the old series, which I have on disc, hoping to dispel my gloomy evening mood from this whole situation with C19. It turned out, I watched again whole trilogy in those following days. Funny thing is curious synchronicity, because right after seeing movies, there was released Mindmatters podcast and I am glad it pointed me to watch those episodes with Anakin story, I've never seen it.

I must say it was chilling to watch Anakin in the moment of his irreversible choice and transformation into Darth Vader. How shocking! That despite of him struggling to be on the good side of Jedis, it was in the final analysis, what decided, was what he manifested in his impulsive 'act' driven by obsession, what sealed his destiny. He jumped to abyss!

It made me think of J. Peterson's words, about how there is a line between good and evil, which goes through each of our hearts. How really dangerous the path of knowledge is and how important is to keep it always in mind. Self control, serenity, ... they are only words until they are tested in action, and I don't know what trials are ahead on my own path. But I trust I will never jump into the abyss like Anakin did. Still, what a great story are Star Wars, so inspiring. May the Force be with you all.
 
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