by Mike Pyatt
Surprised at the endless fawning over the recent passing of notable celebrities? Notwithstanding their star status, should one be surprised that they die? Carrie Fisher at age 60 and George Michael at 53. British pop star Michael reportedly died of heart failure. His acknowledged drug abuse may have led to his ultimate demise. Fisher, aka, Princess Leia, of “Star Wars, “ fame had a history of cocaine use, which she claimed, “made her feel normal,” may have contributed to her massive heart attack on a plane. Fisher’s lineage of “Hollywood royalty,” offspring of 1950’s crooner Eddy Fisher, and starlet Debbie Reynolds, who passed a day later at 84, claiming she “wanted to be with Carrie.” That may not be a safe place.
George Michael’s mercuric rise to stardom, garnered high praise, and a massive fortune, from a litany of musicians and Hollywood elites worldwide, including Sirs Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Ellen DeGeneres. One starlet tweeted Fisher, “May the Force be with you!” Another said, “She was smarter and more talented than anyone should be.” Her lifestyle belied that accolade. Michael joined a cadre of homosexuals “coming out of the closet.” That closet must’ve been cavernous. One may recall that Prince, was removed from his private plane, gravely ill on a flight last year to Minneapolis. A diagnosis of “complications,” his demise was ultimately traced to an overdose from a “self administered” opioid fentanyl. The “old ticker” gets a lot of blame.
The iconic phrase “May the Force be with you,” became pop culture vernacular. It’s a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in “Star Wars fictional universe.” In the story, the Jedi utilizes the “light side” of the Force. Sith exploit’s the “dark side.” George Lucas, created “the force” concept to advance the plot of the 1977, cinema blockbuster, and to “awaken a certain kind of spirituality,” in young audiences, suggesting a belief in God, without endorsing any specific religion. It’s reported that he distilled it from the “essence of all religions,” on the premise of the existence of God, and distinct notion of good and evil. Lucas maintained, “The world works better if you’re on the good side.”
One shouldn’t think of “God” as the Eternal one from the Old and New Testament. In fact, Lucas described the Force in a “Empire Strikes Back” production meeting this way, “The act of living generates a force field, an energy. That energy surrounds us; when we die, that energy surrounds us with all the other energy. There is a giant mass of energy in the universe that has a good and bad side. We are part of the Force because we generate the power that makes the Force live. When we die, we become part of the Force, so we never really die; we continue as part of the Force.” Whether Lucas embraced this personally, is open to discussion. Some argue that “May the Force be with you,” is equivalent to “the Lord be with you,” or mantra, a metaphor of “deeper commitment to the godhead.” It’s mystical or magic. New Age, like a fairy tale or “sorcery dimension.” The “gospel according to Star Wars,” is ultimately a spiritual amalgamation of pantheism, Eastern mysticism, New Age, and wishful thinking, wrapped in a Hollywood bow. Heaven’s not in our DNA.
Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity professor emeritus, wrote a seminal book in 1977, “Turning East,” describing a generation who had rejected historic Christianity and Judaism, began looking to Eastern Mysticism, such as Hare Krishna, Hinduism and Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, New Age, and a toxic “eclipse from reason.” One needn’t turn East anymore. Just watch Oprah!
This was the era when John Lennon and Yoko Ono turned that direction, reminiscent of Lennon’s 1971,“Imagine,” scoffing at the notion of the realm of a heaven or hell, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky.” Ono was reared under a Buddhist mother and Christian father. Lennon rejected the teachings of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi. Ono later described herself as more eclectic, blending astrology, eastern philosophies, and mysticism into a “meta-religious” approach to spirituality. George Harrison initiated the band’s embracing Transcendental Meditation. His 1970, “My Sweet Lord” was his Hindu/Eastern mysticism contribution.
Albert Mohler Jr, Ph.D., analyzed Episode III, Revenge of Sith, admitting it’s a gripping cinematic film, and lauded the epic battle between good and evil, as the Jedi warriors return and defeat the evil empire. He explained Lucas’ view that’s more Zen Buddism, “The Force as a nothingness that can accomplish miracles.” Mohler reminds us that blaming Lucas misses the point. Sadly, when biblical Christianity ceases to be the dominant worldview of a culture, paganism is quick to fill the void. Some have argued that “Star Wars” presents a religious allegory that is compatible with Christianity-in part. Others maintain “the Force” is merely a vehicle to advance George Lucas’ story, not to be taken seriously. A mixture of agnosticism and mysticism about the nature and character of God is perfidious for those who take existential debates seriously.
A turning point in The Revenge of Sith, according to Mohler, comes when the sage-like Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to convince Anakin to resist the dark side of the Force. “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy,” Anakin replies. Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.” Troubling from a Biblical view is the dark lords embrace absolute truth. The enlightened Jedi knows better. We face the reality of a New Age vision-no absolutes. Confusion reigns in that Lucas presents the dark side as “absolutely evil.” The film’s about worldviews. We all have one.
Lucas captured millions’ imagination worldwide. The subtlety of spiritual seduction is akin to odorless poison gas, seeping into one’s realm undetected-and as deadly. We’re all a heart-beat from eternity. Only one Force can usher one into Heaven. All else is counterfeit. Spurious philosophies may “get you off the ground,” They’ll never “land safely.” What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org