Thursday, July 10, 2014

Is the Force with Pilkington?


Light-hearted interlude and part ii of my ongoing series Pilkington and the End of History (part i).


“Central to the unfolding plot of Star Wars is a question and a mystery: what is the Force? ...
“Thanks to the background story,
[i.e. Darth] Vader's death-bed conversion to the acknowledgement of love is no artificial happy ending, but the outcome of what Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, at the conclusion of his Phenomenology of Spirit, calls 'the Calvary of Absolute Spirit'. All life goes through transformations in which what at first appears to be evil turns out to be good, while the good must be crucified, as Jesus was on Mount Calvary, in order that a higher good be achieved. This transformation of light into dark and dark into light is the pathway of Spirit --Hegel's philosophically probing conception of what George Lucas calls 'the Force'”. (Emphasis mine)

Taken from James M. Lawler's essay "The Force is with Us: Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit Strikes Back at the Empire" (pp 144-145), included in the 2005 volume "Star Wars and Philosophy", edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl (USA: Open Court Publishing Company). Lawler is an Associate Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Buffalo/The State University of New York (link).

In that essay Lawler uses the Star Wars mythology to illustrate Hegel's philosophy. In spite of the unusual setting, it's quite instructive.

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I hate to be the one to break it to you, Philip, but Hegel's philosophy somehow doesn't seem like a sensible counter to Marx's. Baron Keynes did not bring balance to the Force and neither will you.

But that's just me; after all, you are the philosopher, right?

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Like millions of teenagers all over the world, I, too, watched Star Wars during the late 1970s/early 1980s. And, call me silly if you like, but I enjoyed it and its two sequels. I was a kid then. To the tell the truth, unlike many other Star Wars fans, I actually liked the much derided 3 prequels (and I no longer was a kid!).

Occasionally, I watch the movies and I still like them. So, age brought little improvement on my silliness.

My fanboy silliness, however, doesn't stop me from admitting something: Star Wars may be good fun and escapism, but it's not reality.

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