WHY SHOULD WE AVOID MAGICAL THINKING?The mythic description of good and evil for our time is found in Star Wars. George Lukas captured the attention of an era not simply by the cinematography and special effects but because his story is a “re-mythologization” of the most ancient of conflicts, good versus evil. It is the central story of every time, and our time, like others past, sees it played out in daily life with cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys, republicans and democrats, within our midst. Look carefully at the myth however. More it has to tell you than which side of the “force” is stronger or better. In fact, if an unprejudiced eye from some galaxy “far, far away” should look at these two sides, good and evil, as we see them in the Jedi and the Sith, little difference might he see. Both sides seek to control their agendas by mastering control of a mystical, psychic force in the universe. Point of view is the main difference between them. We might say that evil has a very wrinkled skin, very bad teeth—evil Mr. Tooth Decay is—and talks in a low crackly voice, while good is small and green with funny ears. Their operations seem to be the same. “Kill the Sith we must,” says Yoda. But who could dislike a cute, cuddly Muppet like Master Yoda. Watching this cute little Muppet jump incredible heights using the “force” while battling the evil Sith Lord with a light saber, who could avoid cheering for the sweet little guy. Even if we side with the point of view of good, we notice that good is never strong enough to overcome evil. A “strong, masterful” good can only hope to perpetuate the battle. Some difference in syntax might there be. If at the end of our sentences our verbs we put, more like good will we be. Could this a “real” difference be? Our unprejudiced observer might also notice that there are no “holy wars.” Each side believes it is “right.” The Sith feel empowered by the hypocrisy of the Jedi while the noble Jedi are convinced they are the guardians of the universe. But like the Knights Templar before them, they too take up their swords ignorant of the knowledge that he who lives by the sword—light saber or otherwise—dies by the sword. There are no Quakers among the Jedi. They are the psychic policemen of their galaxy, the kung fu masters of a force greater than Chi.
The Sith are convinced in the individual’s “right” to experience his own passions. The “life coaches” of their galaxy were they; the “pop psychologists” of their time. Watch them on Opra we could.The Jedi are convinced that their good is ultimately altruistic and will prevail in the end. But there is no Absolute reference. There is no God for either the Jedi or the Sith.
Does this story sound modern? Modern it is, and ancient too. Both the Jedi and the Sith use power to control. Neither has read The Lord of the Rings nor seen Gotterdammerung!
We get so caught up in cheering for one side (and who will be honest and say he hasn’t thought of cheering for the Sith) that we do not see that this is a false dualism. Think for a moment, if remember ALL of Star Wars you can. What is the only truly powerful force in this mythic saga? It is love. Love is all that is powerful. It is Luke’s love for his father that makes him reach out to Darth Vader. It is Vader’s memory of his love for his son that brings about his redemption. All those who are touched by love get redeemed.
Evil IS temporary. It cannot abide love’s presence. Good is not stronger than evil, but love is. Never a doubt there is that love will win.
With all the selling of light sabers and memorabilia might easily we forget the lesson here to be learned. The lesson is not that we should learn more martial arts, master our psychic powers better, or go on holy wars, but that we should become aware of love’s presence. Only a moment of love’s presence will be changing. If that seems too cosmic for you, then start with love’s presence wherever you can become aware of it, in the love of a dog, the smile of a child, or the presence of a friend. That little “start” is like awakening.