1. Joined
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    08 Jun '05 02:51
    i'm still reeling after the newest installment of the star wars saga. i really liked revenge of the sith. the religion of the jedi, with the force and all, is quite intriguing and i am hoping that some of you can provide some insight into what factors influenced its conception.

    i've read somewhere that it is modeled after Taoism, but i don't know if that's true because i don't know much about Taoism.

    as i can tell, the main aspects of the religion seem to be as follows:

    --there is a complex energy field which binds all things living or nonliving and which can be harnessed for strength and wisdom and unusual abilities. the field seems to be living, or dynamic. this field can be harnessed for good or evil, but only with extensive training, and there are clear steps and levels of spiritual development.

    --in order for you to harness it, you need miticlorians which can be passed down genetically. (i don't really care for this part of the force, and wish rather to ignore its implications)

    --the star wars movies show afterlife, in which the dead can interact with the living.

    --as far as i can tell, the movies do not suggest the existence of a god or creator per se.

    --the movies make use of prophecy, suggesting that there may be some scripture or spiritual texts involved. for example, one prophecy was initially read that anakin was to be the chosen one who would restore 'balance', but as yoda suggested it was a "prophecy that misread could have been."

    --many of the jedi and siths speak of destiny, as though some things are predetermined. however, most concede on the other hand that the future is constantly changing and difficult to predict.

    --of course, the concepts of good and evil are prevalent throughout, but there are seeming contradictions. for example, the jedis claim many times that 'once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny' or some such thing; but anakin gets 'saved' at the end, and looks happy as a clam with his jedi friends while floating in the sky at the end of Return of the Jedi.

    are there big concepts i seem to be missing? does anyone have some light they can shed on this subject?
  2. Standard memberNyxie
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    08 Jun '05 02:58
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    i'm still reeling after the newest installment of the star wars saga. i really liked revenge of the sith. the religion of the jedi, with the force and all, is quite intriguing and i am hoping that some of you can provide some insight into what factors influenced its conception.

    i've read somewhere that it is modeled after Taoism, but i don't know ...[text shortened]... e big concepts i seem to be missing? does anyone have some light they can shed on this subject?
    Well before anakin you had many jedi and two sith. After anakin we have two jedi and two sith. I'd say he brought balance.
  3. Joined
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    08 Jun '05 03:14
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    Well before anakin you had many jedi and two sith. After anakin we have two jedi and two sith. I'd say he brought balance.
    true. although, the remaining siths were working together synergistically as an effective team of destruction, whereas the remaining jedi were driven pathetically into exile to the deserts of Tatooine and the swamps of the Dagobah.
  4. Joined
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    08 Jun '05 03:191 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    i'm still reeling after the newest installment of the star wars saga. i really liked revenge of the sith. the religion of the jedi, with the force and all, is quite intriguing and i am hoping that some of you can provide some insight ...[text shortened]... ssing? does anyone have some light they can shed on this subject?
    Lucas got many of his ideas from the mythologist Joseph Campbell, mostly Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". If you haven't seen the famous Campbell interviews with Bill Moyers, I strongly recommend them (readily available on video, probably at your library).

    Yes, the Jedi are closely modelled on the old wandering Taoist adepts of ancient China, and somewhat on the Shaolin Buddhist monks and Japanese Samurai. (Some of the names are blatantly Oriential, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Qui-Gon, Padme, etc).

    The "Force" is known in Chinese Taoism as "chi". ( In Japan as "ki" ). Developing a relationship with this "energy" or "force" is a big part of traditional martial arts training (contrast the flying martial artists of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", with a Jedi's powers -- it's basically the same idea). Although, in North America this part of martial arts training is rarely taught or even understood, from what I've seen.

    Indian metaphysics explores the nuances of this universal force even more, categorizing it in different ways ("kundalini", "prana", "shakti", etc). And that would be predictable because much of Japanese and Chinese spirituality originates in India, including martial arts.

    Chinese Taoists adepts were believed to have had the ability to extend life, although ironically nothing of this is taught in Lao Tzu's source book, the "Tao Te Ching". These were later on additions, much as how the entire teachings of Tantra and Zen were later on additions long after the Buddha had gone.

    As for Anakin/Darth ending up a good guy at the very end after he throws the Emperor down the shaft, I think that's symbolic of the idea of redemption; only in this case Anakin redeemed himself by saving his son's life (Luke). Perhaps a Christian parallel would be that of the thief on the cross who verbally defends Christ, and is then told by Christ that he will "soon be in paradise" with him.

    I'd say that the reason Lucas's stories work so well is not just special effects and jazzy characters, but because everything in his stories are echoes of ancient universal themes and archetypes found in our oldest wisdom traditions.
  5. Standard memberNyxie
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    08 Jun '05 03:25
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    Lucas got many of his ideas from the mythologist Joseph Campbell, mostly Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". If you haven't seen the famous Campbell interviews with Bill Moyers, I strongly recommend them (readily available on video, probably at your library).

    Yes, the Jedi are closely modelled on the old wandering Taoist adepts of ancient ...[text shortened]... s are echoes of ancient universal themes and archetypes found in our oldest wisdom traditions.
    Shaak ti is the name of a female jedi master. Thank you for telling me where the name comes from.
  6. Joined
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    08 Jun '05 03:33
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    Shaak ti is the name of a female jedi master. Thank you for telling me where the name comes from.
    Interesting, I didn't know that.

    "Shakti" in Sanskrit means literally "energy" or "power". It's considered to be the Force that creates and animates the whole universe. They call it the feminine face of the divine. "Shiva" is the masculine face, and represents pure stillness and silence, the "wisdom" aspect. Shakti is the "love" aspect.

    So in Indian Tantric teachings, a female comes to her fruition by learning to express her power and love. A male comes to his fruition by learning to be stable, non-reactive, and responsible.

    One thing I have noticed about Star Wars is the male-gender dominance. Apart from Princess Leia there weren't too many prominent, strong female characters.
  7. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    08 Jun '05 03:37
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    Well before anakin you had many jedi and two sith. After anakin we have two jedi and two sith. I'd say he brought balance.
    I believe the 'balance' prophecy is not completely fulfilled until he slays the Emporer in Episode 6.
  8. Standard memberNyxie
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    08 Jun '05 03:46
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    Interesting, I didn't know that.

    "Shakti" in Sanskrit means literally "energy" or "power". It's considered to be the Force that creates and animates the whole universe. They call it the feminine face of the divine. "Shiva" is the masculine face, and represents pure stillness and silence, the "wisdom" aspect. Shakti is the "love" aspec ...[text shortened]... ominance. Apart from Princess Leia there weren't too many prominent, strong female characters.
    I was severely dissappointed in padme's presence in this last film. You could have down that part with a prop dummy.

    Leia's part was much better. "into the chute flyboy"
  9. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    08 Jun '05 03:47
    Originally posted by LemonJello

    --of course, the concepts of good and evil are prevalent throughout, but there are seeming contradictions. for example, the jedis claim many times that 'once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny' or some such thing; but anakin gets 'saved' at the end, and looks happy as a clam with his jedi friends while floating in the sky at the end of Return of the Jedi.
    (Sigh, gonna reveal the true nature of my Star Wars geekdom; ok, here goes...)
    Although there are some plot holes, this isn't one of them. Luke is the only one who is able to sense that there is still good in Anakin. Yoda and Obi-Wan are too clouded by bitter memories to see it. Also, there's no experience in turning someone good once they've gone bad. Before Palpatine's rise to power, the Jedi claimed "the Sith have been extinct for a millenia".
  10. Standard memberNyxie
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    08 Jun '05 03:50
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    (Sigh, gonna reveal the true nature of my Star Wars geekdom; ok, here goes...)
    Although there are some plot holes, this isn't one of them. Luke is the only one who is able to sense that there is still good in Anakin. Yoda and Obi-Wan are too clouded by bitter memories to see it. Also, there's no experience in turning someone good once they've gone ...[text shortened]... fore Palpatine's rise to power, the Jedi claimed "the Sith have been extinct for a millenia".
    It shows how one who believes themselves divine can be blinded to the evil around and in themselves. The Jedi represent an order that is to complacent in thier standing in the universe. Without their arrogance, evil may not have stepped in so quickly.

    I think it shows some parrelels to modern religion in this respect.
  11. Joined
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    08 Jun '05 03:55
    Originally posted by Metamorphosis
    Lucas got many of his ideas from the mythologist Joseph Campbell, mostly Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". If you haven't seen the famous Campbell interviews with Bill Moyers, I strongly recommend them (readily available on video, probably at your library).

    Yes, the Jedi are closely modelled on the old wandering Taoist adepts of ancient ...[text shortened]... s are echoes of ancient universal themes and archetypes found in our oldest wisdom traditions.
    cool, thanks...this is good stuff.
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