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Saga THEME EXPLORATION: The weak link in Force insights is the biggest weakness of the mind receiving it.

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Ender_and_Bean, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 4

    May 19, 2002
    One of the strengths of shows like the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror is how both examine complications related to unique setups and how people react to those complications. When most people think of Star Wars I don't think they think of it on those same terms. Other themes that I won't break down here rise to the top more frequently for good reasons because Star Wars has many of them. However, a singular underrated high concept "what if?" examination within Star Wars that honestly isn't that out of place conceptually with singular "What if?" ideas that Sci-Fi writers like Philip K. Dick have based entire books around, or Rod Serling, or Charlie Booker, entire episodes around that has been revisited throughout every trilogy is that the weak link in Force insight time and time again is the weakness of the individual gaining them. It's a play on the adage of with great power comes great responsibility but it takes it to an even more psychological level. The Force can bestow tremendous insights into the mindset of enemies, the future, internal fears, and loved ones but all of this power to an unwise or arrogant mind can lead to devastating consequences when reacted to.

    Mind probes, visions of the future, Force visions, seem like incredible gifts that should allow their users to thrive but time and time again the reverse is true. The Force insight exposes a central weakness in the participant and that weakness leads that participant to trying to make use of that Force insight for personal gain in some way. All 3 trilogies have explored complications, risks, and downsides relating to the power to read minds, experience a future vision, or experiencing a Force vision. It really seems like the most underrated central Sci-Fi concept that underpins all of the Star Wars films. How could you handle these insights into your enemy, the future, or yourself? Most can not resist intervening and I find it fascinating that the Force Ghosts themselves, who've obtained higher enlightenment, realize that they can't intervene. In some ways I believe that this is one of the steps toward their enlightenment and what brings them to become one with the Force itself. This realization and this faith that only moderate guidance, and minor intervention among the living, just as the Force itself provides, can contribute to eventual balance. Anything more has the reverse effect.

    In the PT it's the vision of Shmi dying that painfully toys with Anakin's inability to stop it. When the second such vision of Padme's death comes it's catastrophic and becomes a Philip K. Dick self-fulfilling prophecy similar to Minority Report, leading him right toward the easier solution offered by Sidious and the Dark Side.

    In the OT it's the vision of Luke Skywalker's rise that seems to lead the Emperor to many of his biggest mistakes. On the one hand he'd love a younger replacement for Vader in time. On the other there's risk of Vader being exposed to his son and them talking. His arrogance in believing that he will be able to react appropriately to the fluidity and either turn Luke Skywalker successfully, or play Darth Vader successfully to kill Luke Skywalker, and therefore one of Darth Vader's only remaining weaknesses as a villain, is what ultimately helps lead to his very own defeat. The very thing that allowed him to turn Anakin in the first place becomes his own undoing when Anakin realizes he will not allow his son to become the 3rd person he cares about to die in front of him. The more one tries to manipulate the insights gained from the Force the more it seems to backfire.

    Also in the OT it's also the complications of Luke's visions and fears and manifesting in his visions and his vision of the future that lead him to experiencing his biggest setback and one that lead him to literally jumping off of a ledge in a manner that easily could have killed him had he not simply been lucky.

    In the ST it's Luke's sensing of the darkness in Ben Solo, and Ben Solo's ability to mask intent (Something he later does to his new master Snoke) that leads Luke to realizing he will only find the truth out at night when Ben Solo doesn't realize his darkness is being sensed. It's the temptation to intervene unnaturally rather than simply trying to coach to the best of his abilities that leads him to his most notable Dark Side moment since ROTJ. Luke slowly activates his green saber as he once had the original Darth Vader in reaction to a future Darth Vader who'd undo all of the progress he'd made, but then looks down at his black glove as he did in ROTJ and realizes this isn't him... It's the Dark Side presenting him with an easier solution still hoping to turn another Skywalker... and he decides not to intervene and turns it off. It's too late. It's more Philip K. Dick Minority Report influencing of the present that helps lead to the future.

    It's also the bond that occurs from Rey and Ben solo from probing each other's minds, leading both to feel like they know each other about as well as people can, and then Snoke being keenly aware of the power of these visions and experiences on young people who then sets out to make use of it for the final training lesson for his apprentice, Kylo Ren. He knows Kylo Ren is still too weak to hide his true feelings to the girl he desires and he also knows Rey is too optimistic and naive to not want to see the best in him. He wants Kylo Ren to kill Rey in front of him as his final stage of training, eliminating his final and most significant weakness; his affections for this girl from Jakku. However, this very attempt to manipulate the future from Snoke leads to his own downfall in a similar but different mirroring of the Emperor's mistake trying to bring Anakin and Luke together for his own ends. The younger duo come to believe through a future vision of their own that they will be able to defeat Snoke if they do come together like in the vision and each is driven by the belief that the other will turn to be with them. Rey begins to believe the message Maz told her about one coming back that she assumed had to be Luke may in fact be Ben Solo instead. This becomes Rey's setback and rattles her optimism, which had previously been a huge Light side strength of hers. Rather than Ben Solo, a guy she's clearly starting to like, and who she may be attracted to, and who she sympathized with, coming back to the Light and bringing peace like she'd hoped, he instead becomes even stronger with the Dark Side and in a position of even greater power to hurt others she also cares about.

    We talk about many themes that cross all of Star Wars for good reasons; there are many amazing ones to explore but one of the most underrated ones for me is this notion that the Force transcends time and space entirely and that the insights gained from it that are essentially unnatural, which are then acted on, more often than not expose many of the biggest weaknesses of the individuals hoping to gain advantage from them and rarely lead to the results the participants had hoped for most. It's a fascinating notion strong enough to be explored in any number of ways and I love that it's now been explored in all 3 trilogies. Agree? Disagree? What do you all think?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  2. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 6, 2016
    Good stuff. Don't agree necessarily with all of it but it's a fine OP.
  3. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 8, 2015
    Uncertainty and fear lead to Anakin's demise

    Overconfidence and hubris lead to the Emperor's demise

    But what is the lesson we learn from Luke in TLJ?
  4. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 4

    May 19, 2002
    That blocking out his family's past failures, rather than learning from them and teaching them, lead to them repeating again.

    In Bloodline we learn that none of them ever told Ben Solo who his grandfather was. It's Leia's biggest regret and the news that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker and therefore their father spreads like wildfire in the public and leads to dramatic consequences for Leia. It's entirely possible Ben Solo learned of his powerful Grandfather from Snoke or when the public learned of it. His closest family members were more fearful of their family's past failures than they were using them as learning lessons.

    In Luke's case he also feared revisiting his Dark Side moment at the end of ROTJ enough in life to truly learn from it so when the Force provides him with tremendous insight into the future of Ben Solo -- and that father and son dynamic is removed -- he repeats the same cycle. The Dark Side takes his fear over losing a life's work of undoing his father's mistakes, turns it into anger that someone from his own family could somehow idolize the worst of his father, instead of the best, and presents an easy Dark Side solution for Luke. Similar to the moment below he briefly listens. He's that angry for a moment. The Dark Side has a hold of him briefly but he realizes this isn't him, stops, and turns off the weapon. Only this time he's left with the consequence he didn't have to face the last time this happened. Last time it worked out well enough that it was easy to block this moment out from memory.


    Johnson even filmed it again with the same low angle, the same black glove on, and that dazed look from Luke and had Luke look back down in a similar manner. It's purposeful.

    But rather than come to terms with the past failures of his own family as individual choices, including his own, and learning from it... or even teaching it... he instead comes to project the Skywalker issues and past failures onto the Jedi Order as a whole. He fears accepting that it's been the Skywalker's own misinformed choices that have lead to these tragedies, not the Jedi as an Order.

    He places the blame there for a time because it's easier and creates his own purgatory where he wants to end the Order because he has placed his family's blame on it and not the individuals within his family for the unwise choices they made and the easier solutions the Dark Side put forth that they've each listened to (in some cases even briefly) but also a purgatory in which he refuses to follow-through.

    This is why Yoda's main message to him is to get past the notion that ending the Order will fix his problems. Yoda knows the Ancient Texts are with Rey and helps Luke realize his mistake. The end of the Order won't improve things and the Order aren't his family's biggest issues, or even the Galaxy's biggest issues. Each person made choices on their own and the real tragedy is that the family didn't seek to embrace the painful past to teach the future generations from past failures.

    The problems are not the Order and only by accepting his failure and weakness and coming to terms with it, rather than avoiding it, or seeking to burn something down to remove the pain of it, will he heal. Once he's done that, and realized the importance of not blocking out the painful past simply because it's easier to do so, and that failure can and should be learned from and taught, he's the Luke Skywalker of our dreams again.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Ricardo Funes likes this.