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Old 01-24-2013, 06:38 PM
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horatio horatio is offline
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I was raised Methodist. Now let's say I'm spiritual. It's Marin County. We're all Buddhists up here.

The influence of Campbell upon Lucas is also well-known and fairly clearly visible in the first Star Wars movie. His believes are probably more complex and interesting than I acknowledge but I nonetheless think that there is clear a contrast between his Western Buddhist / spiritual / New Age / neopagan type of thinking and the monotheistic one.

The pagan logic is that imbalances have to be eradicated. A simple pagan sacrificed a fruit, a goat or a virgin a few thousands years ago to soothe the fertility goddess and in Buddhism (at least in the way Buddhism is interpreted in the West) you have this idea of a soul that is uninfluenced by the chaos around it, i.e. the notion that there can be an inner space of balance and tranquility. The commonality is clear, balance is the goal. Intuitively this view is very appealing.

Compare this to Job or Jesus. Job doesn't believe that the horrors he had to endure are a divine punishment (and neither did his successors, Jews who lost family members in the Shoa). The monotheistic god isn't one you can bribe to ease your life like a pagan fertility goddess. Jesus sacrifices his life for his cause and despairs at the end ("why have you forsaken me?"). Again no Jedi-esque force ghost stuff or whatever, death is horrible. Same in the other way around, there cannot be too much love or too much attachment like in the case of Anakin. It was precisely Christ's love for us that led to his death.
That balance is not the goal is perhaps as counterintuitive as "turn the other cheek" or "you gotta lose your life (on the cross) to gain it" but these very non-commonsensical ideas are, at least to me, the most precious ones in these texts.

Why do I care so much about all this theological stuff? Because I think that this is one of the greatest traditions in the Judeo-Christian legacy. When Pat Robertson thinks that 9/11 was a punishment for the sinful life of America, when progressives view 9/11 as punishment for Western imperialism or when environmentalists view global warming as a punishment for our raping of Mother Earth they fall into the pagan trap, they try to give catastrophes a meaning when there is none (there can of course be explanations but they are rarely as simple), perhaps in order to gain a feeling of being in control
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