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Joseph Campbell & Star Wars

Link: Star Wars: A Myth for Our Time

I've come across an excellent on-line article summarizing Campbell's Hero Journey as presented by George Lucas in his Star Wars movie. The article by Andrew Gordon compares the phases of the journey to the actions in the movie, and often to the universal also. As you read his words you notice the psychology. Here is some of his words:

At the center of the journey is "The Meeting with the Goddess" and "The Atonement with the Father," both symbolic stages in working out the Oedipal crisis. The rescue of the Princess represents the former stage, and the death of Ben represents the latter. Luke's guardian, having fulfilled his function, seems to will his own destruction and is cut down by Vader; nevertheless, he does not die so much as he disappears in order to be subsumed into the Force. He persists as a voice which guides Luke at critical moments, like the superego, which Freud posited as nothing more than the internalized voice of the parents. Once they are safely aboard Solo's ship, Luke mourns Ben, and is comforted by the Princess, who maternally puts a blanket over his shoulders and tells him he is not to blame; there is nothing he could have done about it. Ben had similarly exculpated him after Luke found his aunt and uncle dead.

Campbell tells us we all can be heroes/heroines in our own lives. Not the hero of the ego but of the spiritual Self. Living the spiritual life {as exampled by Jesus, the Buddha, Ghandi}.The helping hands of fate, the Force, are to be found within our own human nature, which is equivelent to nature itself {the natural world}. To refuse of the call, staying within the safe confines of sociual duty, is probably the meanest dragon any of us will have to slay.

More from Andrew Gordon in the article:

Such fantasies give voice to our deepest longings, and speak to our hopes about the future of our society and of ourselves. For example, in opposition to the dehumanizing uses of technology, Star Wars shows the triumph of good technology over evil machinery31--an updated version of the triumph of white magic over black magic in The Wizard of Oz. Viewers recognize that Star Wars has no direct relation to external reality, but it does relate to our dreams of how we would like reality to be. As the reviewer Jack Kroll says about the film, "It's the last chance for kids to have fun before they grow up to be Oedipus. And we hollow-eyed Oedipuses can, if we try, go back and enjoy the fun of our pre-guilt stage."32

"Kids' stuff," after all, is the stuff that dreams are made of.

The Link again: Star Wars: A Myth for Our Time


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