Thursday, May 3, 2012

May The 4th Be With You - What I Learned From: Star Wars

I saw it coming: my 200th post here.

Around 190 I started to feel the pressure. I started thinking, what grand statement can I make with the post. Should it be a personal story, a wrap up of the first 2 centuries, a kick off to some new project? Was I trying to hard?

I should have known it would come naturally.


I just started my 'What I Learned From...' series this week and had covered two favorites in Repo Man and John Hughes movies. I had a few ideas for the next ones, but then I was reminded what was coming up... May 4 - Star Wars Day - as in 'May the Fourth Be With You'. Though individually they do not rank in my top 5, as a whole I have to admit they are right up there, especially in influence. Always more of a fantasy than sci-fi fan, the fantastical elements in the movies grabbed my attention. George Lucas's take on the Hero's Journey, the monomyth or universal myths common to all belief systems, and the omnipresent but not omnisicent or anthropomorphic metaphysical power of the Force.


The Jedi teachings are easily seen as another example of the Great Man's Code - my idea that we should be good just because we should, not because someone or something else tells us to.

Anyway, the universe created by Lucas is ripe with quotes that support the Well-Met Code. The teachings of mentors like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda as representatives of the helper in the monomyth, and many other wise and not so wise people including robots, are great words to live by and we could do far worse with youth than to let them learn from the movies, books, and cartoons. So here are the quotes from Star Wars as related to the Well-Met Code.

Compassion

means have good intentions, to feel empathy and sympathy for the feelings of others. Be cognizant of their needs and try to help those in need.
  • You must repair him! Sir, if any of my circuits or gears will help, I'll gladly donate them. - C3P0, A New Hope
  • Don't give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side. - Obi-Wan, Return Of The Jedi
  • But how am I to know the good side from the bad? - Luke | You will know... when you are calm, at peace, passive - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny - Yoda, Empire Strikes Back
  • I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try. - Luke, Empire Strikes Back

Decision

means to make judgments, be accountable, and be determined and persuasive. Know what you want to and should do, then do it.
  • Who's the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him? - Obi-Wan, A New Hope
  • He certainly has courage... - Princess Leia | Yeah, but what good will it do us if he gets himself killed? - Luke, A New Hope
  • Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless. - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • I don't, I don't believe it. - Luke | That is why you fail. - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view - Obi-Wan, Empire Strikes Back

Enterprise

means to undertake projects, be bold and ready, be adventurous, but be organized. Make plans and follow them.
  • In my experience, there's no such thing as luck.  - Obi-Wan, A New Hope
  • If you end your training now - if you choose the quick and easy path - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • Control, control, you must learn control!  - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
and of course...
  • Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

Sincerity

means to be free from deceit, be earnest, and truthful. Simply, be honest – to others but most of all to yourself. It could also be called Integrity.
  • Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. - Vader, A New Hope
  • The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. - Obi-Wan, A New Hope
  • Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them. - Obi-Wan, A New Hope
  • It's against my programming to impersonate a deity. - C3P0, Empire Strikes Back
  • Your overconfidence is your weakness. - Luke, Empire Strikes Back
these two seemingly contradict each other, but the context of what was learned is the important part
  • Mind what you have learned. Save you it can. - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi
  • You must unlearn what you have learned. - Yoda, Return Of The Jedi

Tomorrow is May the 4th, a good day to watch and learn from a master of storytelling and a decent guy in George Lucas (in 2011 he was listed as fourth on a list of the 30 celebrities who made the largest donations to charity having given $4,250,000 to the Lucas Film Foundation, which was then granted to the George Lucas Educational Foundation with a mission to inspire and empower young people to become responsible citizens and compassionate leaders.)

* One caveat, when I talk about Star Wars I only acknowledge the first three made, IV to VI. To me the 'prequels' do not exist, I have wiped them from my mind. Really, other than Darth Maul, the tragedy of Jar Jar Binks, and seeing Yoda kick some ass I barely remember any of them.