Mythology versus Technology in the Star Wars SagaSeptember 22, 2014
In George Lucas’ classic installment to the science fiction genre, Star Wars, he has opened the door to the exploration of a new theme. Specifically, the mythology of the Jedi (which is embodied spiritually and metaphysically in the Force) versus technology and the implications of good and evil that each suggest. Darth Vader is the symbol of the evils of technology and the dark side of the Force while young Luke Skywalker represents the liberation from technology in favor of reliance on one’s inner-self and the good side of the Force.
Darth Vader is also a victim of technology: his man mangled, mutilated head must be permanently encased in his black armored mask while his body is connected to various life support systems. He is inhuman; half man and half machine, relying on technology for his survival. Not only is Vader’s body a creation of technology, but he is also dependent on technology as is seen in Star Wars when he must rely on his scanner and targeting computer in the climatic battle scene while Luke is instructed to “let go” and “trust the Force.”
However, Vader is not as fully dependent on technology as the Death Star Imperialists who are enslaved by their own slave technology. They live in their space station and have no other homes and no planetary allegiances or roots; they are adrift in a world of their own manufacture and when it is destroyed, so are they. Vader makes his alliance to the dark side of the Force in the scene in Star Wars when he explains to the Death Star commander in regards to the station as the ultimate power, “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The power to destroy a planet is nothing compared with the power of the Force.” Although Darth Vader is still evil, it is the evil inherent in anyone who falls victim to the seductive dark side of the Force. Vader is a more sympathetic character than the evil Imperialists who have foresworn life itself for the machines of technology.
It is with the introduction and development of the character of Yoda, the 800 year-old troll-like Jedi master in The Empire Strikes Back, that the viewer gains a full understanding of the nature and powers of the good and dark sides of the Force. Yoda instructs Luke on the powers of the Force by explaining, “A Jedi’s strength flows from the force… but beware the dark side. It is easier, more seductive.” It was Vader’s inner anger that seduced him into aligning himself with the dark side. “Don’t give into hate,” Yoda warns, “It leads to the dark side.”
Anger as well as fear must be controlled in order to succeed as a Jedi, to control the Force, and to be able to stay away from the clutches of its dark side. If one concentrates and feels the Force, one will be able to see great things; transcending both time and space. The Force offers those aligned to its good side both spiritual uplifting and transcendental powers.
In conclusion, the Star Wars saga is a warrior series with Luke Skywalker as the hero. But “wars do not make one great,” as Yoda points out. Rather, it is the ability to accept the light side of the Force and to achieve one’s goals by unlearning what one has learned. Further, it must be understood that technology neither corrupts or saves one. It is the user of technology for evil purposes or the follower of the dark side of the Force that is corrupt.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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