Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Return of the Jedi and/or the Rise of the Galaxy

I'd think that in a leg of western history that looks heavily shaped by and for the internationalist, disaffected and atheist 'nerd' with a moderately idealistic view of nature - I'm generalising and conflating a bit - the Ewoks would be more popular.

After all, they're an ungainly, galactic everyman, underdogs who come good, mastering a tyrannical aggressor with their own tech, even taking the first steps in a new paradigm.

And if not absolutely popular, at least relatively, compared with, say, the Jedi, presented as physiologically favoured, aristocratic alpha warriors not so much seeking progress by intelligence as led by an abstraction to restore a presumably established religious order.

Why this dissonance? Is it just the Jedi having more readily identifiable individuals, or traditional hero figures? Or is it the personally empowering mysticism of the Force, or the Jedi access to not just spiritual but worldly power? Or is it something more subtle..?

I suppose if there wasn't so much that could be read into the films, or so much that was unclear, contradictory, or even poorly conceived or realised, so much seeming to reflect life, or so easily used to gloss certain aspects of it from this or that perspective, even if only in vague terms or by blunt analogy, they likely wouldn't have been such a success. 

For example, this set of clips is almost a kōan and may even suggest an existential arc.







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2 comments:

John Till said...

It seems like much of the New Atheism is philosophical idealism, so perhaps well aligned with a renewed interest in the aristocratic, mystical Jedi.

Porky said...

There is a hint of the doctrinal to it, inarguable basis in fundamental laws, as if proven, even beyond falsifiability. Richard Dawkins just this week suggested he's "approaching moral philosophic questions in a logical way", as if the application of logic is devoid of the subjective or normative, even before we get to the nature of it. The solution to a given problem by this kind of reasoning may or may not be the most appropriate, but the reasoning might not be as well-grounded as apparently believed - there was an interesting discussion even here on the law of identity. We had an end of history a few years back, and the happy ending to the 'middle trilogy' in the Star Wars franchise may also have produced unhappy outcomes, like Endor being bombarded with debris, and led to many more stories regardless. Life's complex, and we can reasonably expect many more new layers to be revealed.

Maybe the discomfort caused by complex change generates interest in simple certainties?