“The Rise of Skywalker” is the 9th and final episode in George Lucas’ Star Wars saga that began in 1977. Directed by J. J. Abrams, the film was released for Christmas 2019. However, Good Friday/Easter is a better time to reflect on its philosophy of the Cross and Resurrection.
In the previous episode (8th), “The Last Jedi”, Luke Skywalker chooses to sacrifice himself. His “death” saves the remnant of the “Resistance.” The tiny band becomes the spark that ignites the fire which burns down the Darkside of the Force. Luke predicts that he will not be the last Jedi.
In episode 9, Skywalker rises again. This time as a female Jedi — Rey (?).
I liked the female Savior. She is different from other Hollywood Superwomen (e.g. as in the last “Terminator”). Rey’s super powers do not obliterate her femininity. Her power is awesome because the Force is with her. Yet, she loves as a woman who brings a healing touch. She never loses the gift of crying. Her tears flow out of compassion not helplessness, just as the original Messiah’s.
Rey was an orphaned scavenger who did not even know her surname. Her parents had been snatched before her eyes. Yet, Rey did not seek power to take revenge. She sought her identity, her destiny, her place in the universe. Her world was too heartless, ruthless and mean to care for orphans. She had to learn to look after herself. She also cared for the oppressed. Although she was self-sufficient and did not need parents to take care of her, she wanted her family so that she might know who she was.
During the final confrontation between Light and Darkness, Palpatine, the Dark Emperor (Satan) revealed to her that she was his granddaughter. His throne was her’s. She could become what she was born to be. All she needed was to hate him enough to kill him. She had the weapon — the lightsaber. She needed to let her anger and hatred make the decision. By killing him, she would receive the spirits of all the dead Siths (powerful demonic spirits) that now lived in the Emperor. Satan himself would live in her and Rey would become the Galaxy’s Ruler — the Empress.
Rey manages to retain her “Balance.” Anger, hatred and ambition were not able to rule her. She had leaned to meditate and keep the “Balance.”
Getting mad at opponents was the Emperor’s nature. He got mad at Rey for not even trying to kill him. Enraged, he directed his dark mystical energies at her. No previous Jedi, neither Luke nor Yoda, had withstood the power of the Darkside of the Force. How would Rey protect herself?
In self-defence Rey crosses two lightsabers. The “Cross” reflects Satan’s murderous energy back to him. His own evil energy ends his life (at least for now). For Rey the Cross meant confronting, not escaping, evil. She sought no rapture for her mission was to be an overcomer.
The Emperor had told her that he had been killed “several times” before. What does that mean? Watch James Cameron’s “Terminator” saga. Evil keeps resurrecting, for Yin/Yang, Light/Dark, Good/Evil, male/female are two sides of the same Force. They co-exist as ONE.
So, who is Rey?
The film ends with Rey choosing her own identity. That is exactly what anti-philosophers such as Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger would have advised her to do. When a Postmodern man chooses to be a woman, he defines who he is or wants to be. No one has a given identity. For, there is no God who made you male or female. You have no permanent individual self or soul. Individuality is an illusion. A baby is not a person until she is given a name, an identity, dignity and rights by her family.
The Postmodern/Buddhist belief is that your ‘self’ is a non-existent (Anatman) as a metaphysical entity. It is an artificial or illusory construct. For all of us are one with the Force. Meditation is the path of becoming one with everything. The Force is everything.
Rey knows that genetically she is a Palpatine. But there is no fundamental metaphysical distinction between you and I, Palpatine and Skywalker, between the Light and the Dark sides of the Force.
The film closes with her declaration: I am “Rey Skywalker.” She sees the spirits of Luke, the Jedi Warrior, and his twin sister, Princess Leia, the Commander of the Resistance. Rey chooses to receive their spirits or the Lightside of the Force. She becomes their heir. Skywalker rises again.
Luke and Leia were Skywalker siblings born to the Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker. But they were raised by the Jedi. The Emperor offered to teach Anakin the secret of immortality that only the Sith teach. The desire to find immortality for his wife pregnant with Luke and Leila seduced Anakin to join the Darkside as its Commander.
The Jedi Masters had perceived that Anakin was the “chosen one.” His destiny was to rid the galaxy of Sith. He joined the Dark-side because he lost his balance. His son Luke saved him by refusing to kill his father, the dark lord. Eventually, Darth Vader did fulfil the prophecy about him. Although mortally wounded, he “killed” the Emperor to save his son Luke.
[In the transcendent realm of mystery, the unknown non-normal power of immortality raised the Emperor back to life. He went into hiding and assembled the team which built the ultimate weapon-system of the Kingdom of Death. The system had the power to destroy entire planets (the allusion — we are destroying the planet today by causing Climate Change!). That is why the Resistance was out to destroy the Emperor and the ultimate weapon-system of The Final Order.]
Postmodern intelligentsia knows that philosophy has failed. The Enlightenment’s ‘Age of Reason’ is dead. It cannot tell you who you are. Neither human logic nor scientific observation (Empirical experience) can know the Truth. Therefore, our new (pagan) age presupposes that humanity has NO way of knowing Truth except through Myths and Mysticism.
Mysticism restores to our secular age a sense of awe — worship of mystery.
Myths help individuals give themselves identity, meaning and personal significance in a cosmos which has no meaning.
Sociologically, new myths will give morals for our corporate lives so that we may live harmoniously as one planetary community of humans, animals, forests, rivers, and rocks.
Why is Postmodern mythology so obsessed with death and resurrection?
French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre was one of the earliest novelists to realize that the existential fact of ‘Death’ makes human life “Absurd” — meaningless. Rey is not the only hero in the Saga who seeks her identity. Another important hero is Finn. He was a black Stormtrooper who rebelled against the Darkside and became Ray’s friend. Together, and unintentionally, they joined the Resistance.
Our contemporary ‘Age of Nonsense’ presupposes that all religions are myths. The Christ did not bring God’s kingdom. He too established a religion. The ‘Story’ is humanity’s only hope of finding Truth. Old myths (story-based religions) served their limited ‘nationalistic’ purposes. They are outdated and harmful because our world has become a global village. We can live together in harmony (“balance”) only if we discard old stories and their ideas that divide one humanity into warring nations. The Bible is the primary source of evil for it teaches that God confused one language to divide one humanity into distinct nations.
Humanity’s future depends upon our ability to forge a new “planetary myth” taught Joseph Campbell, the wise Master who educated George Lucas, James Cameron (“Avatar” and the “Terminator” franchise), brothers Lana and Lilly Wachowski (“The Matrix”) and many other Hollywood mythmakers.
Luke Skywalker (incidentally) is George Lucas. Luke was his nick name in High School. Skywalker is his ranch in California. That’s where Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers filmed the classic PBS documentary “The Power of Myth.” Lucas had read Campbell’s classic in college. He re-read it after he had written the first drafts of the two scripts of the Star Wars. “The Power of Myth” became the worldview basis for the myths that Hollywood is creating.
The Star Wars myth is likely to keep growing as did Homer’s Iliad and Odysseus and the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Star Wars is a highly entertaining multi-billion dollar industry. It has gone beyond Hollywood into Disney lands and worlds, into video-games, television, publishing and social media. Its commercial success is a huge attraction for some of the world’s most creative talent.
What is its FORCE?
Campbell defined Force as a transcendental energy that created the Universe when it collided with time. That was the Big Bang. Time split one energy into two: yin and yang — the Darkside (D) and the Lightside (L) of the Force. The two can relate to each other in three ways. “D” can dominate “L” or “L” dominates “D” or the two sides live together in balance like Yin-Yang. The universe is a dynamic imbalance within the one Force. The Jedi are saviors because they meditate and find the balance of the one Force within themselves.
The Jedi don’t own the Force. The transcendental Force is everywhere, in every thing. Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950) taught that Hindus call this myth of universal energy “Prana.” One of his disciples, Heinrich Zimmer (1890 – 1943), revealed that mystical worldview to Joseph Campbell.
Be that as it may, this Hindu/Buddhist/New Age/Star Wars worldview says that our world is chaotic not because we are sinners but because we have lost the balance. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918 – 2008) taught this science of transcendental meditation as the path of salvation. Lucas adopted it for the Jedi. The Jedi found the Force in crystals and used it to make Lightsabers.
Lightsabers are the laser swords used by both sides of the Force. Jedi make blue color lightsabers. The Jedi who advance also make green color sabers. The Sith use the Force present in crystals to make red colored sabers.
The New Age movement of the 1970s and 80s taught that the unique molecular structure of crystals radiates special powers. That’s why New Agers wore crystals as ornaments. They kept them under their pillows to ward off evil — including bad dreams, depressions and demons.
The Jedi found Kyber crystal in the icy caves of planet Ilum. TM (transcendental meditation or The Maharashi’s Creative Intelligence) taught them how to make lightsabers out of these special stones. Since Good and Evil are one, the same Force also taught the Sith the deadly art of using crystals to make red lightsabers.
The Religion of the Jedi: JEDISM
During the 2001 Census in America, millions of voters declared Jediism as their religion. It was seen as a joke because people failed to understand the point. The Jedi voters were asserting that all religions are stories. Old religions such as Christianity are harmful stories which oppressed women, exploited nature, divided humanity, stifled sexuality. Therefore, the followers of the Jedi Order were looking for a new story which will give meaning to individual lives and a morality that could save (harmonise) the planet.
In 2005, the state of Texas registered the first Temple of the Jedi Order. In 2015 the IRS (Internal Revenue Services) granted Tax-Exempt status to the Jedi Temple.
SO, HAVE THE JEDI WON THE WORLDVIEW WAR?
Yes. . . . If on this Easter Sunday, your pastor tells you the “Easter Story” you should know that Christianity has lost America.
If Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a story . . . if it is not an eye-witness testimony, then, indeed, Star Wars has far more interesting “resurrection story” than anything in the Bible. George Lucas is a much better story teller than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Why doesn’t average American pastor know that Christ’s Resurrection is an eye-witness testimony and not a story? In rejecting universities in favour of Bible Institutes American Christianity adopted anti-intellectualism as an important aspect of its worldview. Therefore, now an average seminary professor does not even know the difference between story and history, between myth and eye-witness. Most theologians have no theology of language. They don’t know that the Sower of the Gospels is the Rider on the White Horse in Revelation. The Rider’s name is the Word of God. The Sword that comes out of his mouth is the seed of God’s kingdom, not a religion. The religion of the Sith rests on laser swords. God’s kingdom comes as a seed — a word, an idea that is true.
Words express a worldview. To lose the language is to lose the culture war. Murder became acceptable, legalized abortion when a baby is called a foetus, a non-person without a name, identity, dignity or rights.
TRUTH, NEITHER FAIRYTALES NOR PENTAGON, LIBERATES
The Star Wars saga began at the peak of the Cold War. US Vs Soviet conflict was seen as a conflict between Democracy and Empire. That conflict is the central theme of Star Wars mythology. Back then American intellectuals thought that democracy was the other name for freedom. That illusion began to crumble only after mighty Pentagon and White House spent trillions of taxpayers dollars only to benefit their arms and oil lobbies but completely failing to establish democracy in Muslim nations.
Pagan (Greek, Roman, Hindu and Buddhist) myths never created or sustained freedom anywhere in the world. For freedom is a fruit of Truth — not story. Heroes can demand that the state should exist for citizens only if individuality is real and precious — permanent, more enduring than nations, empires, planets and galaxies.
Resurrection that actually happened on first Easter implies that the human soul is immortal. On the third day after his crucifixion, the Messiah rose again. His grave was empty. This was not a story. It was the testimony of skeptical eye-witnesses who saw him killed and buried. They saw the risen Jesus. They talked with him ate ate with him. They worshipped him when he invited doubting Thomas to put his finger into the nail pierced holes in his hands.
Good Friday, 2020