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Long Geeky Dissertation on Star Wars Philosophy
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You've been warned.

I spent a pretty good chunk of the New Years holiday playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (I also finally got some writing done, and also worked on my AI project...if ever there was a doubt I'm a full-bore geek).

Anyway, as you play the game, the decisions you make affiliate you with either the Jedi (the light side) or the Sith (the dark ones). The writing for some of the characters is unusually good, and I actually liked some of the Sith rationalization for embracing the Dark side in the first place.

One character notes that while the Jedi forgo passion and emotion, the Sith embrace it. He also talks about how the Jedi avoid conflict, though conflict is very often the engine of intellectual, societal, and technological progress.

This representation is consistent with the portrayal of the two sects in the movies. Yoda tells Luke to control (or ignore) his feelings for his friends when they're being tortured round the clock. Anakin is taken away from his mother and told to get over it.

This striving for ascetic detachment reminds me of Buddhism--the ultimate goal being to strip yourself of all emotion (and thereby much of what makes you human in the first place).

There was all sorts of talk of the prophecy of "The One" in Episodes I and II, and about how Anakin might be the one "to finally bring balance to the Force".

What exactly would that mean? Well...I don't know if this is where Lucas is going with it, but balance might be found in someone who doesn't completely reject all emotional attachment, someone who can still feel anger and love without letting it overrule their intellect.

So running around in a brown robe, saying pithy things, all the while suppressing your emotions and denying yourself any physical or emotional pleasure probably isn't very healthy. Then again, neither is torturing people for hours on end with robot probes.

Anyway, it's pretty obvious that Anakin's not "The One" in the mythology of Star Wars. He turns completely to the dark side (though he swings back to the other extreme at the end). No, I'd guess Lucas meant Luke to be "The One" all along. He doesn't turn his back on his friends at the crucial moment. He feels anger, and even uses it somewhat, but doesn't let it completely turn him.

I don't know if Lucas will reveal this in the next film, set to release in 2005, or if this was meant to be a revelation for Episodes 7-9 (which aren't going to be made, are they?).

Anyway, it's really a shame that the last movie sucked as hard as it did. It's still an interesting universe, and there's still good writing about it...just not from the creator himself.

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