How do you identify yourself? When you meet someone new, what facets of your life do you mention first as an introduction? For some, it is relationships, children, employment, favorite Star Wars movie, hat size. Whatever. One thing we are always shy to ask about is someone’s religious background and preference. I think this is a newer phenomenon, actually. Nevertheless, in the new millennium, crazy answers to all of these questions are offered. Quite often, we get stories about people listing Jedi as the religion of choice on some form or another.
I remember the promise of Episode One as it neared release. Not only would The Phantom Menace be the first new Star Wars movie in sixteen years, it would tell the story of a previous generation of heroes. Set in the days of the Republic, it would feature Jedi in their prime. Sure, Luke Skywalker was a cool Jedi Knight in Return of the Jedi, but he was barely trained. The thought that Jedi Masters would be gracing movie screens was exciting. The obvious expectation was that Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mentor to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, would feature in these films. And, he did. However, it was his mentor, Qui-Gon, that was the first full-fledged Jedi of the prequels. Beyond being the first, Qui-Gon Jinn was significant for many reasons.
Jedi Master, Daoist Sage
by Joshua Whitson
I previously outlined how the Force is influenced by Chinese philosophy here. For this post, I will continue to examine Daoism’s influence on Star Wars through the idea of the Sage.
Laozi describes the Sage as embracing “humility…. free from self-display… from self-assertion… from boasting.” This sense of humility is reflected in the way Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda live – simple robes, small huts for homes, and no display of wealth or fame. It is by embracing what is considered low that one gains strength. According to Laozi, “There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things … there is nothing better, for there is nothing so hard that water will not wear it down.” This theme of the humble and meek overcoming the powerful is repeated throughout the films; a small child is capable of defying the odds and winning a race, a farm boy is capable of destroying the Death Star.
In Part I, the symbology behind Mortis — the world and the trinity of Overlords — was explored, where it was posited that Lucas, Supervising Director Dave Filoni, and writer Christian Taylor, continue the tradition of drawing from human mythological history as source inspiration for their Star Wars tales.
Between the griffin Daughter and the gargoyle Son stands the Chosen One, bound by prophesy, in a world made from the nature of the Force itself, capable of taming each of these creatures, as with the Mesopotamian “master of the griffins.” Read more
There has been awakening. Have you felt it? There is a stirring in every fangirl and fanboy. Something is about to change. I completely expect that our minds will be blown in ten short months when the screens explode with the next chapter in the Star Wars saga. The change will be something impossible to guess at this moment. It will be a surprise that makes us examine our own presuppositions – if only for the movie, but maybe even for our personal lives. We will be challenged to grow from the experience, after this excruciatingly long wait.