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Technological Terror

October 12, 2009

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force,” intones the menacing Darth Vader as he stands in the Death Star conference room. And so it is — even a Dark Lord of the Sith can recognise this fact.

The Force is “an energy field created by all living things” — it is the vitality of life itself: that ground of being that is accessed through mythological motifs, prayer and meditation. The Death Star, on the other hand, is the antithesis of the experience of living, snuffing-out any bright flame of hope in the galaxy.

Admiral Motti and Darth Vader debate the effectiveness of the Death Star

Admiral Motti and Darth Vader debate the effectiveness of the Death Star

This is the line drawn between the feminine and masculine principles. The feminine is passive, introspective and compassionate, exemplified by none other than Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. The masculine, meanwhile, is active and aggressive, operating from the head instead of the heart.

Woman represents life: she is that from which all life enters the world. She is creative and organic, symbolised by Mother Nature herself; she is the Force.

Man wields the symbols of death: the spear, the sword, the gun. He is the warrior: the ultimate destructive force. What he creates is artificial, towering over nature as a monument to the ability to harness and dominate.

In our Western culture, it is no coincidence that we worship at the altar of a masculine God. Unlike nature-based Goddess religions, our spiritual heritage is one where nature is a corrupting influence, where man is separate from nature and both are separate from a jealous God. Indeed, man has dominion over the natural world itself.

And what is the price for this warped view of our place in the world? Global warming, mutually assured destruction and a disposable consumer culture where two all-beef patties serve as the foundation for a nutritious meal.

The Death Star is that masculine principle writ large without any balancing feminine influence. Instead, the feminine is subjugated within it, held captive and tortured while men in monochromatic costumes debate the sheer effectiveness of this instrument of fear.

What is the first target to test the Death Star’s destructive capabilities? It is Princess Leia Organa’s homeworld of Alderaan. Firstly, Alderaan represents Leia, the feminine, the Anima; secondly, it is a modern yet natural, organic planet (as seen in Revenge of the Sith), symbolising the ability to embrace life on its own terms; and thirdly, it is a key component in the Rebellion’s plan-of-attack, thus acting as a proxy for the Force itself. All three are in conflict with the callous ideals that the Death Star embodies.

The Death Star approaches Alderaan

The Death Star approaches Alderaan

Initially, high-tech might wins out over the creative life-force, and Alderaan is destroyed. But, as Vader points out, the Force is stronger than even the greatest intellectual construct.

It is not technology, nor conscious skills, that win the day for the Rebels and help them to destroy the Death Star. It is the Force itself, with one young man letting go his “conscious self” and surrendering to the impulse of life, using the Force and taking a leap of faith.

Life — the Force — resists the urge to be bent, twisted, moulded to suit the purposes of the intellect. You may succeed briefly, but in the end, your “moment of triumph” is mere illusion.

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