Posts Tagged ‘Introversion’

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Holocron Heist

October 11, 2009

In Holocron Heist, the debut episode of season 2 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, things are really heating up. Season 1 introduced new characters and laid the groundwork for the story about to come; if season 1 was the first act, season 2 is the start of the second act — the meat of the story.

Bounty hunter Cad Bane (introduced in the season 1 finale, Hostage Crisis) has been tasked by Darth Sidious to steal a Jedi Holocron from the Temple for reasons as-yet unknown. Meanwhile, Ahsoka Tano has been put on guard duty after disobeying orders in a battle on Felucia, and coincidentally, she happens to be guarding the Holocrons in question. It therefore falls on the shoulders of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka herself to thwart this daring heist.

Ahsoka Tano battles Separatists on Felucia

Ahsoka Tano battles Separatists on Felucia

One of the pleasures of watching The Clone Wars is in seeing various genres pop-up that were rarely seen in the films themselves. Here we have a classic heist episode, complete with schematic analysis, elaborate disguises and a good, old-fashioned laser-based alarm system. George Lucas has always loved a good homage, and here is no exception — it’s very nicely done, in fact. It doesn’t feel at all out-of-place in the Star Wars universe, either.

The other interesting thing to note is the effect Anakin’s mixed signals are having on his Padawan. Throughout season 1, he advised Ahsoka to be guided by her own agenda yet still respect authority (or at least feign respect). She blatantly disobeys orders on the battlefield in the first act, pursuing the enemy at all cost — clearly an artefact of Anakin’s rather warped point-of-view.

Cad Bane and Clawdite changeling Cato Parasitti plan the heist

Cad Bane and Clawdite changeling Cato Parasitti plan the heist

In Jungian terms, this relates back to Anakin’s unbalanced Introverted attitude, where external demands (such as a duty to respect the chain of command) fade into the distance, with a kind of ego-driven impulsiveness taking precedence. One need only recall Anakin’s headstrong attempt to best Count Dooku at the climax of Attack of the Clones to see the root of Ahsoka’s disobedience. (Luckily, she hasn’t lost a limb… yet.)

“A lesson learned is a lesson earned” is the fortune cookie for this episode. If Ahsoka really has learnt her lesson, there may be hope for her yet. Sadly, Anakin still has over 20 years of suffering to endure before his lessons are learnt — for that, he needs to be reminded of the power of human compassion.

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The Quick and Easy Path

June 17, 2009

The ideas of “Introversion” and “Extraversion” are commonplace today, often being shorthand for “shy” and “gregarious” personalities respectively. The Extravert is generally regarded as being talkative and engaging, while the Introvert is seen as being quiet and often lost in thought.

Carl Jung, however, saw things somewhat differently. To him, Introversion and Extraversion were about more than just how talkative someone is — these are attitudes that determine where the focus lies for certain psychological functions (i.e. Thinking, Feeling, Sensation and Intuition). When one such function consciously dominates the psyche of an individual, its attitude — either Introversion or Extraversion — appears predominant in that person. The Introvert is thus someone whose dominant psychological function is Introverted, while the Extravert is someone whose dominant psychological function is Extraverted.

But what are these attitudes?

The Extraverted attitude places the greatest emphasis upon external conditions. Taking care not to offend others, for example, is Extraversion at work: here you are adjusting your words and actions so as not to negatively affect the feelings of those around you — you are considering external conditions and acting accordingly.

The Introverted attitude, in contrast, emphasises internal factors. Holding to higher ideals is an example of Introversion: what’s important, in this case, is standing firm on principles that are important to you, even if that means offending others in the process.

There is, however, a darker side to all of this. Without balance, neither Introversion nor Extraversion is healthy: Extraversion without Introversion is shallow; Introversion without Extraversion is selfish.

When lacking the tempering influence of Extraversion, the internal factors become the only frame of reference for the Introvert. “What do I want out of this? How does this benefit me?”

This is the crux of the difference between Anakin and Luke. Whereas Luke is able to successfully integrate Extraversion into his largely Introverted attitude over the course of episodes 4-6, Anakin slips further and further into Introversion in episodes 1-3 until his psyche falls totally out of balance at the conclusion of the prequel trilogy.

Anakin makes things "awkward" on Naboo

Anakin makes things "awkward" on Naboo

A large part of this is Anakin’s obsession with his own feelings. He doesn’t so much care about others as he cares about how his feelings for them might affect him. Consider the fireside chat in Attack of the Clones: where is the concern for Padme in all of this? His concerns are for his feelings, not hers. Not surprisingly, when he sees evidence of Padme’s supposed disloyalty in Revenge of the Sith, he turns on her, choking her in a fit of rage. Anakin’s love is conditional, predicated solely on what benefit he can get from the relationship. This is twisted, immature, unbalanced Introversion at its worst.

Luke, admittedly, has a similar temperament at first. He, too, is short-tempered when things don’t move quick enough or in the direction he wants. The difference is that he learns to draw upon his Extraverted side, connecting with the other with an attitude of respect, not contempt. Eventually the saga comes full circle and he uses Extraversion to reach-out to his father, thereby freeing the fallen Anakin from the grip of the Dark Side of the Force.

The point of Star Wars is not that Extraversion is superior to Introversion (or vice versa) but that we each need balance in our own lives. Yoda warned of the “quick and easy path” — that is a life without growth, without balance. That was Anakin’s choice, but it needn’t be yours.