The Empire Strikes Back?

I was talking to my therapist last week about the sort of person I want to be. “Assertive rather than aggressive, with compassion toward other people.” And he noted that the big difference between being assertive and aggressive is emotion. That caring less about outcomes on a personal level will help me stay more in control of my behavior. To remember that concepts like fairness and justice are not the natural order of things; they’re human constructs, very delicate and fallible. As the Buddhists say, suffering is caused by attachment. And as I heard on a podcast this week, the Universe is a shithole. (If you were dropped anywhere in the Universe, even most places on this planet, you would die immediately. Very inhospitable.)

The thing Jedi training gets right (by swiping it from Buddhism, mostly) is that fighting out of anger (even righteous anger) is a recipe for losing. Killing out of hatred (even well-deserved hatred) poisons the one attempting to bring justice. Calmness and compassion are mandatory weapons to win any battle.

Why do I so easily jump to the conclusion that I’m being attacked? Partly, surely, because I was bullied a lot as a child. It’s late in the game, but I’m trying to retrain my brain not to immediately take that leap. So, yes, it’s a stupid kids’ franchise. But it’s also important for me to see Luke and Rey in that same struggle, training and working to control their emotions and open their minds to compassion while continuing to fight to make the world better.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *