How are Feng Shui, Star Wars, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung interrelated?
When Star Wars ‘A new hope’ was released in 1977, it was one of the first films, with its cosmic scale and theme of a transcendental “force” that suggested powers for those who can align with it. The plot revolved around the concept that there is a universal super-consciousness that transcends time and space, and in which all human life is connected. It was written by George Lucas “To consciously set about to recreate myths in order to deal with the issues that exist today”. However this notion that we are connected on a galactic scale not so new, in fact it has been around for more almost 6,000 years. It is Feng Shui.
George Lucas was openly influenced by the mythologist Joseph Campbell, an Irish American writer and lecturer, who’s work is vast and covers many aspects of the human experience. In particular Lucas references ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’ as being his “greatest gift”. Campbell suggested that we should look to the stars and wonder. Light from infinite directions and distances meets our gaze. And within our “mythic imagination,” as he described it, we begin to tell stories. His ideas about the human psyche are dependent in part on the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud, but in particular on the work of Carl Jung. Campbell’s conception of myth is closely related to the Jungian method of dream interpretation, which is heavily reliant on symbolic interpretation. Jung and the invention of binary code is another area for discussion later in January, as he believed that the ancient Chinese text – the I Ching – the Book of Changes can assist us in our exploration of the moment, the situation of the now. After the release of the Star Wars trilogy, Campbell and Lucas became friends. Campbell credited Lucas with reinvigorating the mythic force in the modern world.
As explained in previous Feng Shui #101’s the Yin-Yang symbol has far more meaning than you might realise – Yin is the dark side and Yang the light side of the Taiji symbol. Each side has a dot of the opposite colour. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese sciences and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as Baguazhang, Taijiquan (t’ai chi), and Qigong (Chi Kung), as well as in the pages of the I Ching.
And so as the now familiar blueprint goe’s, Darth Vader has the seed of goodness [yang] and Luke Skywalker, has the potential to follow his father to the dark side [yin]. Like Luke and his Father yin and yang are not total opposites, they both are relative to each other. Campbell’s mantra was the paradigm for Skywalker’s own realisation of the force, the sense of peace, purpose and power gained once he allowed himself to accept and unify with it. If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a path that has already been destined, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you then find yourself living. Just like the Jedi training of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, Qi training involves becoming aware of and in contact with the power that infuses all forms of existence and learning to work with that power. This is what Campbell calls the “inner reaches of outer space.”As his mastery of the force neared its peak, Skywalker comes dangerously close to following the path of his father Vader. With this, Star Wars established the successful formula in Hollywood of heroes having to overcome an inner darkness while battling an external enemy, and finding an enlightenment in the process.
Asking good questions about the mystery of life is what makes philosophy interesting. Movies, too. The original trilogy was brought about at a time where there was a growing interest in Religion and Eastern Philosophy. The ideas presented cut across cultures, tying together common threads, illustrating that we must live together for mutual advantage. It will be interesting to see how some of these theories transcend decades into the new JJ Abrams’ Star Wars movie.
May the force be with us all!