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Concerning Mortis and the Symbology of the Force Part III — The Agenda of Higher Beings

Concerning Mortis and the Symbology of the Force Part III — The Agenda of Higher Beings

anakin_overlord

When looking at the Priestesses and the Overlords of Mortis as one general amalgamation of a higher plane of existence beyond the tangible world of our main heroes and villains, it was seen in Part II that the beings of a higher power, serving as guides and instructors for the instruments of destiny in the real world, often play the role of the trickster as part of the standard hero’s peregrination — shaping and molding the actions of corporeal chess pieces through contrivance, surrealistic visions, trials, and suggestion.

No one exhibits those characteristics more than the Priestesses: the beings who christen Yoda with the knowledge of post-mortem omniscience and omnipresence. Perhaps intimating that Yoda couldn’t handle the additional understanding of the Chosen One’s inevitable destiny, destroying both the corruption within the Jedi and the Republic, before eliminating the Sith at the height of their power (metaphorically exhibited as Anakin’s taming both the Daughter’s Griffin and the Son’s Gargoyle toward the end of “The Overlords”), upon successful completion of a conspiratorial Priestess/Sith final exam, ‘Serenity Priestess’ plants a seed that draws Yoda toward a different Skywalker other than Anakin. As they exist without time or space, she allows Yoda to hear a baby’s prospective clamor, and echoes the great Jedi master’s notable final words: “There is another Skywalker.” Given the additional criteria used to convince her sisters of Yoda’s prerequisite qualifications for greater power — that, “he will teach one who is to save the galaxy from the great imbalance…,” the die is cast for Yoda’s return to extant-Phantom Menace apprehension concerning Anakin’s promise as a Jedi, and upon his inevitable fall into darkness (really a fulfillment of the first half of his destiny as the Chosen One), the simultaneous birth of Luke and Leia will trigger the memory of that moment ‘Serenity Priestess’ shared with him, and Yoda (with the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi), will continue the pursuit of the prophesy with renewed vigor amidst the despair surrounding the destruction of their once proud Order. But the great Jedi master, with a principled Obi-Wan at his side, isn’t privy to the prescience afforded the exalted beings of the Force: Anakin will be that phoenix who rises from the ashes, but he must first reawaken from his dark sleep via the trigger he created out of an act of rebellion against the very dogmatic doctrine the Force created him to destroy.

It was previously documented that trickster characters, particularly within African spiritual motifs, engage in “signifying” — essentially verbal play that cannot always be trusted, as the signifier often has a greater agenda that plays into their personal interests. As John Wideman (1988) noted within his review of Henry Louis Gates’ The Signifying Monkey, “…even the most literal utterance allows room for interpretation…” The Priestesses, as well as the Overlords, understand that Anakin’s destiny, “…lies along a different path…” than the Jedi hierarchy are willing to acknowledge or understand. They can be used, however, to protect and nurture the key to Anakin’s resurrection, and subsequent destruction of the Sith, via Luke — even as their understanding of Luke’s destiny is still mired by the very axiology the Force has deemed apocryphal. Though both Anakin and Yoda are exposed to various elements of their futures, only Yoda is permitted to return with that knowledge — select impressions of the impending destruction of the Jedi at the hands of the clone army, the rise of Darth Sidious, and the revelation that there is another Skywalker on the way. Permitted to keep a map of his future deeds would derail the Chosen One’s path — which could be used by Palpatine to outmaneuver even the Force itself. That Yoda is able to retain these elements leads to the skepticism exhibited on the gunship in Revenge of the Sith, when he says, “…a prophesy that misread could have been…,” to which Mace Windu nods in agreement. And if Anakin’s outward affection for Padme already gave him pause, this new revelation perhaps furnished an understanding that their relationship is stronger than previously thought, with this other Skywalker on the way. Why doesn’t he expose Anakin’s “violations” to the rest of the Order? Because he knows, through his visions on Dagobah, the Jedi will take a hard fall, and this “other Skywalker” might be the path to the Order surviving. The Priestesses perceive — had Yoda and Obi-Wan continued to believe Anakin was the Chosen One, they might falter when he betrayed them in the name of the Empire. After all, if your Messiah turned out to be the Devil, that might make you question your beliefs, and even your life’s work, leading you to simply give up and end it right there, perhaps even in suicide. However, if you believe the prophesy is valid, but you only misidentified the Messiah, you can still have hope that this period of emerging darkness is just a season to be endured, until light is restored at a future moment. Yoda and Obi-Wan turn to Luke and Leia as their new investments in a possible bright future, not realizing that Anakin is still in play for the Light Side.

The Key Element to Decoding Anakin’s Messianic Destiny

When The Phantom Menace debuted, perhaps the most striking element of Anakin Skywalker’s past was the revelation of his virgin birth: a deifying rather than humanizing trait. Though the Western world is familiar with the story of Jesus of Nazareth, the rest of the world is replete with mythological and religious tales that begin with a similar transformative figure, where a higher power acts as its father. Thousands of years before Christianity was codified, the people of the Nile told of Heru (or, what the Greeks would call “Horus”), the being who would destroy Set (the visage of darkness), also born of a virgin birth. Author Joseph Campbell (2008), in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, documents that earthly mythologies are replete with paragons that forever shape the world, but whose origins often are derived from a single woman impregnated by the cosmos (see “The Virgin Birth,” p. 255-69). In essence, whatever possesses the power to shape the world only exists in spirit at first, and can interact with the world by transforming himself through birth via the mother. “And she is virgin,” he writes, “because her spouse is the Invisible Unknown (p. 255)” — or the Force, as it’s called in our favorite fantasy world.

Campbell also corroborates that the sanctified universal mother often retains a transformative nature in the cycle of the hero, who makes an appearance to the world in many “guises.” She has to simultaneously act as the mother of life and death, and she brings both feast and famine, or disease. The virgin mother of Star Wars, Shmi Skywalker, appears to Anakin in a vision on Mortis as a transformative figure as well. Though there is a cryptic confirmation from the Father that this is a trick emanating from his perfidious Son, away from the celestial plains, Shmi does retain the dichotomy of one who brings life and death. In life, she serves as the medium used by the Force as the universal mother, affording it a manifestation of flesh and blood, rendering it the power to change the physical world. In death, she serves as the principle key to send Anakin toward his inevitable first metamorphosis —which will destroy the corruption within the Jedi Order, and by extension the Republic, abiding both to begin anew.

Contact Adjua at adjua_adama@coffeewithkenobi.com and on Twitter @Adjua_Adama.

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8 Comments

  1. Melinda
    April 6, 2015 at 10:13 Reply

    Absolutely wonderful, Adjua! 🙂 I have enjoyed this series — thoroughly! 😀

    Now, I need to rewatch all TCW episodes you reference. It may seem odd that I did not watch them prior to reading each installment. Already familiar with them (admittedly, some of the specifics have faded away since it has been a while since watching them last 😉 ), I now can watch the installments again, taking what you have offered into consideration, and see if I concur. I imagine I will — at least in most cases. 🙂

    “…but you only misidentified the Messiah, you can still have hope that this period of emerging darkness is just a season to be endured, until light is restored at a future moment.”

    Reading this part of your essay, and what both preceded and followed it, made me think of a conversation a good friend of mine and I had years ago. I am not a particularly religious individual; I was brought up Catholic. My friend is Jewish. During the course of a conversation, I posed the simple query: “Why doesn’t Judaism recognize Jesus as the Messiah since those of Jewish persuasion have been waiting for God to send One — and so many people believe Jesus was the Messiah?” She responded, “Jesus is thought of as a prophet in Judaism, but not the Son of God. We’re still waiting.” There was a bit more to our conversation on the subject, but that was the crux of it. Whenever I mull over the question of WHO is The Chosen One — Anakin or Luke — this exchange between my friend and me always comes to mind. (She — of course — was NOT inferring that Jesus was anything but the good, kind person He was. 🙂 )

    As short as it was, that scene between Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan aboard the gunship in ROTS is one of my favorite in the PT. Just a snippet in time, that look on Yoda’s face tells SO MUCH!

    Backtracking to the episodes you referenced for your series, that scene in ROTS and discussing what they mean in the grand scheme of Star Wars, it must have been heart-wrenching for Yoda to let events play out the way he “saw” they were likely to. Of course, always in motion the future is. And always open to interpretation. 😉

    Sacrifice now for the greater good later. It is a difficult path the walk…

    All your talk about tricksters brought to mind the character Vergere in the Star Wars The New Jedi Order series. The series ran a bit too long (IMO). However, on the whole, I liked it. Vergere has some very interesting lessons about the Force to teach Anakin’s grandson, Jacen. She doesn’t call herself a “trickster”, but she most definitely is just that. She is upfront with Jacen — informing him that what she may be relating to him is a lie.Ultimately, he must figure out what is true, what is not. There are grave consequences if he concludes incorrectly. Jacen emerges with a new understanding of the Force … that, of course, affects the Jedi and the Star Wars galaxy. (Sorry to delve into the EU. 😉 I’m a big fan of it, and while not considered canon, there is fascinating information to garner about our beloved Saga. 🙂 )

    Yes, absolutely wonderful, Adjua! Thank you so much for sharing your in-depth analysis of a fascinating aspect of Star Wars. Star Wars is just plain fun to watch — and incredibly thought-provoking into which to delve. This was a great way to start my week. 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Adjua Adama
      April 6, 2015 at 17:01 Reply

      Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to delve in!

      Interesting point about the conversation with your friend. To me, ‘Star Wars’ mythology and storytelling is at its best when it causes you to consider questions about your own experiences on this planet, which is why I love when Lucas and other writers borrow from the ancient past, and even present-day dilemmas, as inspirations for their stories. ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ are what attracted me to studying history, religion, and culture as a young boy in the first place.

  2. Tony Ferris
    April 7, 2015 at 05:42 Reply

    I wonder if we’re taking perhaps too deterministic an approach to the prophecy.

    Here’s Lucas discussing a similar idea back in ’76…

    “I’m taking the existential view and putting a slight determinist slant on it. I believe in a certain amount of determinism, from an ecological point of view. It’s that things essentially reach their own equilibrium. If you don’t live a certain way, ecologically speaking, you will be forced into a position that will level it. What I would call an ‘unpoetic state’ will eventually become a ‘poetic state,’ because an unpoetic state will not last. It can’t. It’s like economics. It’s like life, it’s like animals, it’s like everything. You can set up an artificial reality, but eventually it will equalize itself, and become real.” – George Lucas

    He’s speaking more about the circumstances that contribute to Luke leaving Tatooine with Obi-Wan, but the principal applies to Anakin’s journey as well, along with the prophecy as a whole.

    It would seem clear that the purpose of the ‘Chosen One’ was to tear down both the Jedi Order and that of the Sith.

    Anakin determined the shape of the prophecy through his actions. He was always destined to cleanse the galaxy of the Jedi’s dogma, and the Sith’s greed, but I doubt that it was required that he debase himself to do so. His arrested development though, which gave rise to emotional greed, entitlement, and a lust for power and control, eventually makes his fall, an inevitability.

    The Jedi so, weren’t fated to die, nor Padme, nor anyone else necessarily, outside of the natural course of things. It’s arguable that the Priestesses prophesied only that inevitability, given the point on his timeline at which they encounter Yoda, but it need not have been the case.

    Had Anakin been able to mature fully, perhaps under the tutelage of the rebellious Qui-Gon Jinn, he might well have arrived at an understanding regarding his purpose that didn’t result in so much violence, murder, and pain. He might have come to know himself sooner, and discover an equilibrium within that he could have transferred to the galaxy at large, but that was not to be. He would only be able to know himself by facing his dark side, but he was not equal to the task. He was not mature enough to take control of it, to hold it in balance, and so it consumed him, and the galaxy for many years. Once he learned to balance his darkness though, through compassion and self-sacrifice, he was able to fulfill the prophecy, and restore equilibrium to the galaxy at large, bearing out Lucas’ notion that an ‘unpoetic state’ will eventually become a ‘poetic state’. It cannot fail to do otherwise.

    Anakin’s story though, remains a tragedy because he could have been so much better than that which he allowed himself to become. In the end, fulfilling the prophecy became about ending the horror that he’d caused. That need not have been the case, even if it became inevitable after a certain point. Thanks to Luke though, he finally saw the light again.

    “Children teach you compassion. They teach you to love unconditionally. Anakin can’t be redeemed for all the pain and suffering he’s caused. He doesn’t right the wrongs, but he stops the horror. The end of the saga is simply Anakin saying, ‘I care about this person, regardless of what it means to me. I will throw away everything that I have, everything that I’ve grown to love – primarily the Emperor – and throw away my life, to save this person. And I’m doing this because he has faith in me; he loves me despite all the horrible things I’ve done. I broke his mother’s heart, but he still cares about me, and I can’t let that die.’ Anakin was the chosen one, and he does bring balance to the force. He takes the ounce of good still left in him and destroys the Emperor out of compassion for his son.” – George Lucas

    1. Adjua Adama
      April 7, 2015 at 11:07 Reply

      Excellent response! But, in the end, when you talk about prophesy, or even destiny and the agenda of higher beings who possess omniscience and omnipresence, the “everyday life,” “how this occurs” details can perhaps become unimportant.

      We’re talking about the Will of the Force — analogous to, “…God’s will be done.” When you look at how events unfold, considering prophesy, there is a microcosmic view (which we’re used to, as we are the human beings who must live that detailed, day-to-day, existence). When you consider the understanding of deities that exist along a higher plane beyond our reality, where time and space have no meaning (i.e., the Priestesses), the macrocosmic lens reigns supreme, and the everyday minutia perhaps become negligible, as they would instantaneously be able to see the end as well as the beginning. And is there empathy for what occurs along the path to the end of that destiny? That’s a question that all religious leaders entertain.

      Though I haven’t subscribed to Christianity since high school, I grew up in the Baptist Church, but I had a mother who converted to Judaism when I was seven, I attended a Catholic high school for one year, I’ve also studied Islam briefly, and through other experiences had the opportunity to look at various religions around the world. And, in the end, when you believe in a supreme, omniscient, omnipresent being, you are often taught that everything occurring in life is through the Will of that all-powerful Creator. Where there is evil (for those that believe in Satan, or some other form of “devil,”), it is only allowed to grow more powerful by this supreme being because there is a greater plan in motion — one the average human being is not capable of seeing. That’s often the sermon ministers give after great tragedies (Germanwings, the Holocaust, 9/11, when loved-ones die young and/or tragically), particularly the type that often lead believers to question the existence of a benevolent God, who would allow these things to happen in the first place.

      I think we can understand a bit of that possibility when we study and teach history. When looking at the past through the lens of a textbook, in a matter of minutes, we can travel back 2,000 years, and then immediately look at the development of the hydrogen bomb. We see the beginning, middle, and end, without ever having to consider the billions of lives who actually lived through all of these events — the joys and tragedies they felt, the romance, the pain, and the deaths. Without looking at those details, and really knowing those people on an intimate level, we can become less empathic to what actually occurred in detail; unless we take the time to learn more about who these people were, what they actually went through, perhaps even hear from them directly. Teaching U.S. History to 9th grade, for them, they can study the Battle of Pearl Harbor, perhaps draw parallels between it and 9/11, and in their minds, the very next day, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. They don’t perceive intuitively the 3 1/2 years of hard struggle, bloody campaigns, lives lost in both the European and the Pacific Theater, and the 416,800 U.S. military personnel (who had names, families, personalities) who died leading up to that cataclysmic final event — let alone those who were violently burned and ripped from this Earth in Japan. Unless we spend the time to deal with these personal stories, students become indifferent — only evaluating the outcome, and whether or not it was a good decision to use such a weapon to end the war; a debate that occurs with the bias of 70 years of post-war history already on the books.

      So, do those who dwell on a higher plane of existence care about the collateral damage incurred in order to bring about a greater divine prophesy? And if there is such a thing as an after life, or multiple planes of existence, does one life matter to those who see and know everything? Perhaps, and many ministers will attest, this physical life is just a test to prepare you for the greater existence that awaits you on the other side. If that is true, then maybe the lives that Anakin took (whose souls would forever be protected) were unfortunate but necessary losses in order to carry out a greater plan in the new era (Episodes VII and beyond), as the Prequel-Era Jedi Order was so heavily entrenched in Republic and galactic affairs, if it lost its “mandate of heaven,” as Kung fu-tze once taught, it needed to be irrevocably uprooted like a weed that poisons a garden. This is a vengeful, Old Testament version of fulfilling prophesy, akin to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:25 “Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.”) or even the floods of Noah’s time, where the innocent were taken out right along with ‘the wicked’ by the tidal wave of divine Will. And if one studies the majority of ancient human religious mythology throughout the world, that a Supreme Being (or Beings) will destroy the old world to create a new one is a common theme — from India to China to Middle America. And if George decided to make Anakin more than just a human being, via his virgin birth, it seems to me that the Force is using him as an instrument to bring about a new world, but it seems to have created him as an avenging angel, a deliverer of “fire and brimstone,” a destroyer like Shiva, or even the deities within the ancient Mesoamerican cosmology. Kay Almere Read and Jason J. Gonzalez (2015), in “Sky Deities in Mesoamerican Mythology,” write that, “Creation [for the Maya] often involves the restructuring of space and its inhabitants after their sacrificial destruction.”

      The Father tells Anakin, that, “…because both our destinies are clouded…” he has to rely completely on the Force in order to know what to do. The Father then tells Obi-Wan, “[Anakin] came to me for guidance. But at the crossroad, only he can choose. The Force will be his guide now…I am merely letting the Will of the Force take shape.” And what happens when Anakin confronts the Son in the Well of the Dark Side? Exactly what happens in the “real world” — he’s confronted with the mask and his dark deeds. That he chooses the same path, red eyes and all, even within the partitions of the cosmic netherworld, suggests to me that he was always meant to assume this role. What the Son, as well as the Emperor and Yoda, don’t understand (until the end) is that assuming this role of Vader meant the destruction of the Sith at the same time. Yoda was wrong when he said, “at once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny,” consuming you. He never conceived of the possibility of Anakin turning back to the good side, and thought Luke was foolish in believing it could happen. But, as the Son manipulates Anakin by showing him his future, it only leads to the Son’s destruction in the end; just as Palpatine’s manipulation of Anakin leads to his own destruction by the only one who is close enough to him to actually carry out the task. Luke plays a necessary role in that action, just as the Father does in ‘Ghosts of Mortis’, but if Anakin doesn’t fulfill the final phase of the prophesy on his own, Luke dies at the hand of the Emperor.

      To conclude, you mentioned that if Qui-Gon had lived, perhaps Anakin would’ve had the correct father figure to properly challenge his “demons,” as Qui-Gon’s ghost says on Mortis, that’s a definite possibility. But, that didn’t happen. And it was later revealed that Qui-Gon had a different mission entirely to fulfill — the guidance of Yoda and Obi-Wan through their turbulent voyage. And while the Father felt that destinies could change, “…as quickly as the love in one’s heart can fade…,” I believe that was more an axiom directed at the audience consuming the episode, who are mortal beings, rather than at Anakin. None of us are deities, as it were, nor born of virgin births, nor bear the special marks of prophesy. I’m not sure we can say the same thing about Anakin Skywalker.

      1. Tony Ferris
        April 8, 2015 at 08:14 Reply

        “… when you talk about prophesy, or even destiny and the agenda of higher beings who possess omniscience and omnipresence, the “everyday life,” “how this occurs” details can perhaps become unimportant.”

        I certainly won’t disagree there.

        I do however think that, given the quote from Lucas regarding determinism, it is the author’s intention that we read this as a tragedy that might have been avoided. Thus, I tend to the view the prophecy as something more fluid, and subject to the will of those microcosmic entities swimming in its wake.

        Furthermore, suggesting that the will of the Force is equivalent to ‘God’s will’ in the Judeo/Christian sense, only really goes so far. God we’re told, is a sentient being. The Force however, is an energy field, generated by all life. It’s ‘will’ therefore, is the will of the collective, effectively the requirements of the system. It’s worth remembering that Lucas’ earliest drafts called it the Force of others. While the Priestesses seem to exist outside of time, and so have a more macro, holistic view of the system, internally the system is essentially driving towards Lucas’ ‘poetic state’, it’s immaterial as to how that might be achieved, though I think we can certainly accept that the Priestesses care little about the collateral damage done to bring about this greater divine prophecy?

        But, I suppose what I’m suggesting is that the shape of that prophecy is somewhat vaguer than your point of view ascribes.

        As Yoda said, ‘Always in motion the future is.’

        So while the prophecy must be fulfilled, it is up to the individuals involved to determine how it should be fulfilled. I imagine a multitude of possibilities, constantly collapsing as each choice is made, and the final shape rendered more and more inevitable.

        Perhaps you’re correct, and Anakin was formed by the Force to become an ‘avenging angel’ such that the system be renewed, but I tend to believe that Lucas’ intention was to show how choice determines reality, that Anakin need not have walked so dark a path to his ultimate enlightenment.

        “… what happens when Anakin confronts the Son in the Well of the Dark Side? Exactly what happens in the “real world” — he’s confronted with the mask and his dark deeds. That he chooses the same path, red eyes and all, even within the partitions of the cosmic netherworld, suggests to me that he was always meant to assume this role.”

        And yet, what it suggests to me is that Anakin was too far gone by that point. Perhaps that fate might still have been averted, but Anakin’s all too human failings were already integrated with who he was. His failure to mature essentially, and the unlikelihood of his achieving some epiphany given his current circumstances, determined his most likely future. Which is what he saw, and what he became.

        You say that Qui-Gon had a different destiny, but I argue that had he lived to guide Anakin, then the role would have become Anakin’s, and the Jedi’s awakening (Yoda’s and Obi-Wan’s enlightenment) might have occurred under Anakin’s tutelage, and the balance achieved through other means.

        1. Adjua Adama
          April 9, 2015 at 10:55 Reply

          “…but when ‘Star Wars’ first came out, I didn’t know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you’ve planned the whole thing out in advance. Throw in some father issues and references to other stories — let’s call them homages — and you’ve got a series.”

          George Lucas did say that as well. And, beyond the subtle facetious tone of the message to the producers of ‘Lost’, there is ample evidence to suggest that Lucas’ vision has evolved over the many decades since his initial early drafts were written.

          His early drafts, or the original novelization, never suggest, for example, that the Jedi Order was inherently corrupt, contributing to the rise of Palpatine and the fall of the Republic. We, in the 1970s, were led to believe that the Jedi Order was an idyllic symbol of peace and justice — nonpartisan to the quagmire that became a corrupted Senate — who were ultimately targeted and swept away by a system that betrayed them unabashedly. The original prologue (1976), as quoted from ‘The First Saga Journal of the Whills’, read: “Like the greatest of trees, able to withstand any external attack, the Republic rotted from within though the danger was not visible from outside…Once secure in office he declared himself Emperor, shutting himself away from the populace. Soon he was controlled by the very assistants and boot-lickers he had appointed to high office, and the cries of the people for justice did not reach his ears.” Though this is, as Lucas has attested on a number of occasion, largely inspired by the events of the Roman Empire, his final draft (the Prequel films and ‘The Clone Wars’) tell a modified story that involves far greater Jedi complicity in that Republic ferment than what was previously believed. Lucas, through his direct input into ‘Clone Wars’ stories, paints a much stronger effigy of an Order ‘rotting from within’, culminating in the damning testimony of one Barriss Offee, and the volitive exodus of now-agnostic Ahsoka Tano. Indeed, many of those episodes, along with ROTS, suggest that Palpatine didn’t ignore the “…cries of the people,” but instead manipulated a scenario in which the people were praising his approval, and agreeing with his scapegoating of the Jedi — a point the ‘Clone Wars’ series further enhances, as average citizens can’t tell the difference between a Jedi or Sith saber wielder, while the notion that justice is preserved is obfuscated with the tendency to seize “children of the Force” from their parents, rather than create new devotees through normal biological parenting.

          “Furthermore, suggesting that the will of the Force is equivalent to ‘God’s will’ in the Judeo/Christian sense, only really goes so far. God we’re told, is a sentient being. The Force however, is an energy field, generated by all life. It’s ‘will’ therefore, is the will of the collective, effectively the requirements of the system.”

          You’ll have to read what I said again, as I never declared that the Abrahamic religions hold a monopoly on a Supreme Being manifesting a divine will that seeks to shape events in the world. Indeed, just about all human religions tell of a greater power possessing a will for creation, and for destruction and rebirth. In fact, much of what George drew upon are Eastern philosophies and religions when drafting the Force as a concept, including Hinduism and Zen Buddhism (Henderson, Mary, 1997, ‘Star Wars: The Magic of Myth.’). But he didn’t rely solely on those concepts, and in fact Star Wars is a menagerie of Earth’s many cultures.While certain aspects of the Force borrow from Zen — achieving enlightenment through “intuitive insights” and remaining forever present of your current state of existence, rather than stuck in the past, or wrapped up in a possible future (Henderson, 1997, p. 68) — other elements focus exclusively on an entity of one that reigns supreme from afar. Joseph Campbell, Lucas’ teacher, wrote, regarding the ultimate struggle of good and evil, as symbolized by Heru and Set, that, “Mythologically, representing the inevitable dialectic of temporality, where all things appear in pairs, [Heru] and Set are forever in conflict; whereas in the sphere of eternity, beyond the veil of time and space, where there is no duality, they are at one…” (Campbell, 1976, ‘The Mask of God: Oriental Mythology’, p. 81). There are many spiritual traditions that believe a Supreme Being is not necessarily a single person, but still a Being, including Brahma of the Hindus, and Neb-er-tcher among the Kemetic people of the Nile Valley. The Force is not a democratic collection of wills, where everyone has an active voice — it is one entity. Qui-Gon Jinn says that the midi-chlorians, “continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force.” He doesn’t say “the many Forces.” Ki Adi Mundi, when doubting that Qui-Gon’s spirit is still present, says that, ‘The dead are part of the cosmic Force, and lose their individuality…,” all ideas that square with this notion of their being one supreme entity beyond this life — as symbolized by the deeper principles inherent within the ankh of the Nile Valley. That is not to be confused with what Qui-Gon’s ghost talks about, concerning the duality of the Living Force v. the Cosmic Force. What you speak of is the Living Force, emanating from all living beings, that which Qui-Gon says, “…powers the wellspring that is the Cosmic Force.” So, Ki-Adi Mundi wasn’t wrong, per se, he just didn’t realize that it was possible for those among the living, instead of adding their essence to the Cosmic Force in death, could actually retain their consciousness, inhabiting a realm in between the Living Force and the Cosmic Force.

          In the end, to solve this debate, there has to be an exploration of the Force’s manipulation of Anakin’s birth. Prior to the Disney sale, we had the ‘Darth Plagueis’ novel, which gave us a rather compelling and rich possibility: As the Sith were coming close to creating life, the Force responded immediately with creating Anakin to take them out. That has since fallen to the ‘Legends’ category, and since Lucas is out of the game now, I doubt we’ll return to that question — at least for the foreseeable future.

          Now, I’m sure that Lucas’ message to the audience watching Anakin’s story is akin to what you are saying, I’m just not convinced that Anakin’s journey was ever meant to manifest in his making alternate decisions that would lead in fulfillment of prophesy where Darth Vader never came about. And if the Force meant for Anakin to choose a less destructive path, why not have him “birthed” in a more stable environment? We know, from psychological testing, that while not all babies and people born into poverty and hardship turn out irrevocably scarred, the chances are greater when that happens. The babies are more susceptible to teratogens (any environmental poisons that can harm a fetus’ growth), there is an increase in malnourishment and stress, which affects the brain’s ability to develop to maturity. And, we know from the MRI’s of pathological violent criminals, those that are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder have been found to possess deficiencies in the gray matter of their prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that governs judgment. Though Anakin’s birth into slavery and poverty certainly isn’t a guarantee that he’ll wind up in a black mask, the chances are much greater correlated with that background. If the Force didn’t mean for him to take that path, why not birth him into a healthier environment more conducive to making healthier choices? Why didn’t Lucas write Shmi as a dignitary or wealthy patron from a core world, for example? Though Luke doesn’t grow up with a posh lifestyle, his family experiences are far more healthy than what Anakin had to contend with, thus rendering his constructive decisions in adulthood far more probable.

          I think the initial poster advertising Episode I, with a young Anakin casting a shadow of Vader on the side of a Mos Espa dwelling, is telling: We already knew that Anakin would eventually fall. We already knew he would make a series of bad choices along his journey. I just posit that Lucas’ present-day intentions and revisions possibly suggest that the Force actually meant for Anakin to take the path he does throughout the series.

          1. Adjua Adama
            April 9, 2015 at 12:06

            And just to piggyback on the end of my latest reply, we also know that antisocial personality disorder tends to be found more in men than women. Why didn’t the Force will itself into being as a baby girl — thereby further ensuring that the possibility of a Vader-escque antisocial path was not inherited, if the Chosen One was not meant to take such a destructive path to balance?

  3. drush76
    April 11, 2015 at 10:35 Reply

    Perhaps you’re correct, and Anakin was formed by the Force to become an ‘avenging angel’ such that the system be renewed, but I tend to believe that Lucas’ intention was to show how choice determines reality, that Anakin need not have walked so dark a path to his ultimate enlightenment.

    Maybe. Maybe not. I think all of us want to believe that Anakin could have achieved his “destiny” without embracing evil. It’s a kind of wishful thinking that strikes me as a little. . . well, immature. Perhaps Anakin could have found another way to discover the evil within himself. I do wonder how Anakin could have affected the Jedi Order without giving in to evil. I ask you. . . would they have changed their ways if Anakin had simply destroyed Palpatine?

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I am a high school history teacher with a Master's in Technology Use in Education, and I have also spent time teaching CompTIA A+ and Network+ courses to high school students. Recently, for five years, I coordinated my school's AVID chapter, training students for the rigors of college. I am also a commercial-rated and instrument-rated pilot, for single and multi-engine aircraft, and I have been flying since 2008. Presently, I am working on flight instructor ratings in my spare time. Finally, I am a fitness enthusiast and a former teenage division bodybuilder. I've been conditioning since age 7, and I also hold a dan ranking in Yoseikan Aikido and Kobudo.

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