May the Fourth

Wed, 4 May 2011

The new, permanent subtitle of the site is Vis Vobiscum, which is Latin for "May the Force be with you."

The annual Star Wars Day celebrations prompted me to thinking about the whole international movement to create an officially recognised religion around the principles of the Jedi, and the more I read about it the more I think that it's actually a very laudable idea.

Think about the philosophy behind it (Taoism, Buddism etc). It's based on peace and the promotion of peace. Beyond that there's loads of fuzzy stuff about the Force and midichlorians, but they're not important (more on my opinions of the Force later). The basic thing is that Jedi are warrior monks devoted to peace and harmony and the pursuit of such.

So why is there so much resistance towards a religion that promotes peace? Some countries apparently looked into prosecuting people who put down "Jedi" as their religion in 2006 census papers. Madness.

Maybe Jedi is more of a philosophy than a religion. Religion is, I suppose, defined by having to worship some kind of god figure. "Worshipping" the Force isn't really believing in an all-powerful entity. Maybe that's why it's offensive - all that faith is being directed at nothing. Is directionless faith dangerous? Does God promote lean working and energy efficiency? Will the ozone layer deplete if too much faith is released into the atmosphere?

If Scientology managed to be accepted (another "religion" based on science fiction work) then why can't Jedi-ism?

I'd happily subscribe to a philosophy based on the principles that Jedi follow. I've always said that most religions texts seem to subscribe to the same ideals - faith, protection, peace etc. Christianity (especially when looking at New Testament scripture) especially promotes love and tolerance alongside the quest for peace. Oddly though, the actual God as portrayed in most religions is the most belligerent of the characters portrayed, sending down fire and brimstone at the drop of a hat. Absolute power corrupts absolutely... Maybe that's why Jesus was sent to Earth as a human - to understand the human condition from a human rather than a godly point of view. As Obi-wan once said, "You'll find that a great many things depend on your point of view".

The Force is a close parallel to a godhead though. Although I'm an atheist, I am prepared to believe that there are many different forms of energy in the world (or universe), many of which we can't measure or detect yet. The human body generates energy in many forms that we know of - heat, light, pressure, electricity etc. It's possible that the concept of a "soul" is just another form of coherent energy, or a container for the many energies that make us what we are. My thinking gets a bit mystical here, and it's not something I'm really sure of myself. The Force could be one way of thinking about it though. A force that "penetrates us and binds the galaxy together". A bit like the concept of a gestalt. Maybe that's what heaven is - a plane of shared consciousness where everyone retains there sense of self and their intellect and experiences somehow. The Force binds and guides that energy and acts as the conduit for that experience to be shared. I dunno. It sounds like it could work.

Anyway, with all this shaking around in my head, I think I might start putting together a bit of stuff on this for the site. I'm not really fussed about it being a religion, just a philosophy - Jedology, maybe. Path of the Jeddai?

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