I have now seen the new Star Wars movie twice, and I am not at all surprised that so many people have looked at it as a political allegory for today. I guess it can be said that if something resonates loudly with the zeitgeist, many people will speculate as to its true meaning. So it is with this space saga.
Children and geeks alike can easily see the real message, and it is bizarre to see how this film stands as a Rorschach test for troubled times. Once again, the movie can cause many people with guilty consciences to project feelings of doubt when it comes to wondering which side we are really on: the dark side, or the light side, of the Force?
A movie about duality reminds us that there are two sides to every story, and that we must face the fact that we could very well become the monsters that we claim to be destroying.
I believe that it is no coincidence that the movie was released right before the astrological calendar moved into the time of Gemini, the twins, the astrological sign of duality.
Timing is important if we are to receive the effect necessary to trigger the memes that our culture has implanted in each of us. As I have pointed out before, these so–called coincidences may not be coincidences at all.
Throughout "Revenge of the Sith" there is heavy–handed symbolism beyond that which has been termed "anti–Bush". The themes were taken not only from age–old Gnosticism, but from Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Star Wars has always contained the theme of duality in the most simplistic sense –– "good versus evil" –– but also throws in warnings about the self–destructive tools of fear, anger, and hate, of the consequences of giving free reign to violent passion and emotion. To steer us away from recognizing the implications of the loss of control, the psychiatric profession has attempted to quantify and sanitize these emotions and their associated behaviors with labels like "borderline", "antisocial", "paranoid delusion" (a classic discrediting tool used against the passion of those who speak out when they come to understand what is going on in our world), and the truly dualistic "bipolar".
Does it surprise anyone that a film that has been part of the popular culture for 28 years is taking on new psychological interpretation? These labels are now lightly tossed about among the masses, their definitions not fully understood, yet we know that there is some dark truth to them. There is something sick going on in our country.
Consider how the times we live in now are far more paranoid than they were in 1977. When Star Wars first debuted, we knew nothing about dirty bombs or suitcase nukes. There were no publicized threats of biological terror. We heard rumors that perhaps Soviet Russia was about to meet its demise. Star Wars was never talked about in the news as a political allegory or some attack against a president.
What we see in Star Wars reflects a decaying process, both of the perceived quality of the movies themselves, and of the implications of their content. Even critics wonder why the prequels never really quite measured up to the original films. It may be that the decaying process is uncomfortable to watch now because of the way we see ourselves.
I can’t help but think that Star Wars is a lot like Greek tragedy. Characters have lost their ability to control their destinies and they rely heavily on prophecies which may or may not jeopardize their fate.
You see, the Jedi Knights believed in their prophecy of the "chosen one", putting all of their faith in a messianic king that would bring balance to the force. This seemed to be their undoing. It demonstrates that misinterpreted prophecy and foolish projections can fool even the elect.
In times of crisis come possible comparisons between multitudes of concepts. Patterns seem to appear in art and literature. We have had these things brought to our attention by angry neo–cons who continually preach that there is a conspiracy to discredit the current administration.
I see many esoteric patterns that can go over the heads of many people. While I was viewing "The Revenge of the Sith" I noticed a very troubling image that mirrored a Nostradamus Quatrain that I had read:
In the film, Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
He is ordered by the Emperor to go to the volcanic planet Mustafar. He is ordered to commit many acts of murder in order to consummate his new position as Dark Lord of the Sith. As he stands on the gantry overlooking the magma boiling below him there is a very interesting image in the sky above him.
It is the image of an eclipsed sun.
It is the anciently feared symbolism of the light being extinguished by darkness. It is the "sol" or "soul" being eclipsed by the shadows.
The circle is now complete.
It may be necessary to ponder the occult significance of such an image. In popular escoterica, a circle, a cycle or a revolution always represents "spiritual matters".
A solar eclipse or a soul eclipse is highly significant in the spiritual realm. It also has ancient ties to the rise of the Dark Sun God. There are many Christians who are fearful that we live in times of the rise of the "Antichrist." There are countless prophecies that again say that in order for the circle to complete itself, there must be a time of darkness followed by a healing process that eventually brings back light and joy.
Nostradamus, in his "Epistle to Henry II", made reference to the symbology of a solar eclipse and the rise of a dark lord who becomes the "Antichrist", whose New Order becomes a feared empire.
Furthermore, Islamic traditions speak of a Solar Eclipse and how it will signify the rise of the Dark one called Dajjal.
The dark Lord Dajjal shall duel with Jesus or "Isa" in a great battle in which Jesus will plunge his sword into the Dark Lord, causing him to melt like molten lead. Notice how the story of Dajjal and Jesus mirror the final battle of Obi wan Kenobi and Darth Vader on the planet of Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith?
As the two fight under an eclipsed sun in a place that resembles hell or Armageddon, the wise Obi–Wan uses his saber to cut down the Dark Lord and leave him on the shores of hell to burn, his flesh melting away to reveal the dark ugly monster he has become. We later realize that, in Return of the Jedi, Anakin/Darth Vader does bring the balance back when he realizes that inside of him there is good.
The main tenet of the Star Wars universe is completion of the circle or finding the balance between good and evil. It is a metaphor for knowing whether you are on the wrong side and whether you are becoming destructive.
Ironically enough, the idea of completing the circle with ritual and of finding balance in awareness was known in ancient Egypt as raising the Djed.
The purpose of the ritual was to preserve order and repel chaos. In order to do this there first had to be an effort to raise this "awareness’" or "Djed." Those that did this were known as "Djedi."
Archetypal symbols such as the circle, the spiral, trees, and a pillar or pole were magically and ritually employed to preserve essential order. These symbols all have a connection to the sun and worship of the Sun.
Historically, the Djed was raised at crucial transitional times between cycles, evoking light and stability to dispel darkness and disorder. Such periods were the Winter solstices, the failing years of a reigning monarch or the coronation of a new one.
A tower or an obelisk that is symbolic of the connection and balance of all things in heaven and in earth now represents the Djed. We see this symbol all over the world as secret societies have used it as a backdrop for their empires.
If you think you are seeing coincidences in Star Wars movies with what is happening now you may want to understand that the themes go far deeper in meaning than just political sour grapes.
Star Wars movies seem to paint a picture of balance through a system of meritocracy, which in this instance is the "good" force. This form of government gives a person a chance to rise to the top on the basis of individual merits. It is a great fantasy, to be sure, because we eventually see that the decay of a republic begins when ultimate power is sought by its leaders who disregard the individual and ignores his merits.
The republic presented in the Star Wars films is portrayed as an initially suitable form of democracy, yet a fragile one which demonstrates an almost inherent tendency to fall into a state of decay, a process which eventually leads to a dictatorship. We see a pattern that has repeated throughout history. Any republic will crumble under the weight of ultimate power, and perpetual war will is stimulated by public fear of that which we cannot see, but that we are told exists and is out to destroy us.
As I had noted earlier with a quote from James Madison, perpetual war is an excuse for those in power to extend their executive powers. It takes away balance. The wave of dread cannot sustain itself without reaching a breaking point.
After learning the story of Emperor Palpatine’s rise to power, I can see how the comparison can be made to the Bush administration. However, I do know that Star Wars is mostly a metaphor for the rise of fascism in general.
If the public consciousness is projecting that image upon the current administration, then perhaps this is a reminder attempting to surface and warn us of what might be happening not only here, but all over the world at this moment.
Let us take a look at how Palpatine, the Senator from Naboo, became the powerful Emperor and evil Darth Sidious.
Palpatine’s term as Chancellor ended during the rise of the Separatists, but that crisis allowed him to extend his stay in office. Once the Clone Wars erupted, the Senate’s inability to efficiently wage war on scattered fronts forced him to enact executive decree after executive decree. He added amendments to the constitution funneling more power to him, effectively circumventing the bureaucracy of the Senate.
The public and the Senate willingly gave up their rights and freedoms in the name of security. Under Palpatine’s guidance, the war would be won, and the Republic would be safe.
The monstrous specter of General Grievous leading an assault ensured that few questioned Palpatine’s growing authority.
The Jedi Council was among the wary. As an instrument of the Senate and the people, the Jedi order resisted Palpatine’s direct control. This tension grew as the war escalated. Some in the Senate also quietly whispered their misgiving. Palpatine knew of a delegation of concerned senators, and he would deal with them in time.
Palpatine instituted a military build–up unprecedented in galactic history. He created the New Order, a Galactic Empire that ruled by tyranny. The Jedi Knights, his biggest threat, were extinguished by his greatest dark side pupil: Anakin Skywalker, who had become Darth Vader.
During the Galactic Civil War, Palpatine ruled with an iron fist. He disbanded the Imperial Senate, and passed control down to the regional governors and the military.
In order to keep the various systems in line, the Empire created The Death Star, a powerful space station that was equipped with weaponry that was capable of annihilating an entire planet.
These metaphors can also be applied to past regimes that have used perpetual war as a means to cause republics to fall.
A line from "Revenge of the Sith" that seemed to resonate very politically was when Senator Amidala made the comment about how the Emperor had control of the people.
His control was easily achieved through the use of wars that he created, and separatists or terrorists that he employed and later betrayed.
If you look back at history, you can directly compare the fall of the republic in Star Wars to the fall of the German Weimar Republic, a fragile democracy which was destroyed by the cancer of Nazism.
Many compare the Weimar republic to our own republic now, noting how Nazi ideologies have crept back into our national psyche. There have been comparisons of George W. Bush and Hitler by many political critics, and there are many comparisons of Emperor Palpatine to Hitler as well:
Both men begin their careers as outspoken political activists who gain control of their respective governments after the Chancellors of each are removed from office.
The first measure each enacts in office is one limiting the freedoms of the people, claiming the measures are necessary in order to find and eliminate threats they claim exist in their governments:
Palpatine enacted a measure that gives him emergency powers to create a standing army to fight the "Separatist" movement. However, the Separatists are not necessarily real, because Palpatine himself is the creator and leader of the Separatists.
He begins the Separatist movement so that, during his rule as Chancellor, he will have an excuse to limit the freedoms of the Republic citizens (in this case, by openly being able to oppress them).
Hitler enacted measures which he claimed allowed the government to root out and eliminate the threat of Communists in Germany. The measures gave the government the ability to tap phones and read the mail of the German citizens.
To paraphrase Hitler, "If you are not a Communist, you will have nothing to hide and nothing to fear from these measures. We will only use them to find Communists."
Both Palpatine and Hitler used fear as their primary tools for control. Both used the disenfranchised and down–trodden to perform their dirty work:
In the prequel series of Star Wars Palpatine incites various galactic businesses to rebel against the Republic for measures it recently passed which limit the power the businesses can have. He promises that once they have helped him overthrow the Republic, they will return to their former wealth and power.
Hitler would instill in his people a sense of indignation over the way their country was treated after World War I. The country was in ruins, inflation was some of the worst in history, and the other nations refused to provide much assistance. Hitler promised that, with the citizens’ help, he would restore Germany to a prosperous world power again.
The governments of both Hitler and Palpatine were openly racist and xenophobic. Many people do not know that in the tie–in books, which chronicle the expanded universe of Star Wars, it is revealed that under the rule of Palpatine the Galactic Empire refused to allow non–humans into its ranks. However there were exceptions to the rule. The non–humans had to prove themselves worthy of acceptance into the ranks.
There are no non–human Imperial Officers seen on film.
The Nazis exterminated all they deemed to be "inferior." They initially sterilized and then openly massacred Jews, homosexuals, the handicapped, Gypsies and any other groups they felt were not physically fit or socially acceptable. They also used these eugenics programs to create breeding stock for "superior soldiers", much like the cloning programs used to create armies that eventually served the Emperor in Star Wars.
With this Clone Army, Palpatine issues Order 66, causing Jedi Knights and their young child trainees to be killed. Hitler created the "Final Solution", in which more than 11 million people are killed. Six million of them are Jews.
In the Star Wars movies a weapon of mass destruction is created, called the Death Star. As a blow to the rebellion, the Empire uses this weapon to destroy an entire planet called Alderaan. Alderaan, a world with no weapons and no defense systems in place to defend itself from such a battle station, was destroyed upon the orders of Palpatine’s Commander Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
Tarkin believed that fear alone would keep all systems in line and used whatever means necessary to destroy anyone who rebelled against the Empire.
While those who have watched all of the Star Wars movies know that there is hope at the end of the saga, you may not know that even though the Empire perishes with the destruction of the Death Star, the emperor and Vader, there are still many characters who wish to see the empire resurrected from its ashes.
In the scripts and the expanded stories, we see that the Phantom Menace returns. The war is no longer a war of flash and explosions, but of turmoil and paranoia, as many speculate that a dark order still exists and is plotting to over throw the republic again.
This cycle continues, mirroring exactly what happened after World War II. The Star Wars universe has its "cold war" and we are told that we will never see it on the screen.
This is not a problem because we have seen it all before in the science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s. There is honesty in a B–Movie. If you go back and watch the classics, you will see how aliens and humans battled it out for your attention, triggering those fears in the meme pool.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Hollywood saturated movie theaters with imaginary enemies and alien aggressors that mirrored our perceived enemies of the Cold War.
In the same spirit as the Star Wars films of today, these movies sometimes exploited the dark side of our psyches. They seemed to encourage the innate fears of the times.
It was a world in which nuclear war was an ever–present possibility. The space race gave us reason to worry that these weapons would be placed on platforms orbiting the planet and targeting the movements of innocent citizens on a daily basis.
Extreme paranoia was manufactured and programmed through the medium of science fiction medium. Though the alien threat was only on the screen, it helped the Communist threat capture our attention, giving way to the buildup of nuclear weapons, subterfuge, and spying on Americans in search of what were then called un–American activities.
The scare of Communism was literally a "red" herring to keep us preoccupied and looking the other way as the alien–thinking Nazis prepared to rise again like the Phoenix from the red ashes. It was well known that the Nazis had been dabbling in the occult and calling upon alien forces in order to secretly mount their attack from within, patiently waiting for the moment to establish their empire on the earth again.
As early as 1943, some of Hitler’s associates began to see that World War II could not be won. The alien ideology that was embraced by the Nazis had to survive somehow.
The answer was with a survival mechanism called ODESSA.
ODESSA was a three–tentacled plan B which included provisions for safe refuge to hardcore Nazis in South and Central America, Mexico and the Middle East, and for transporting Nazi gold, mostly looted treasure from the Reichsbank. The third tentacle was a far–reaching one and created some of the most paranoid times in our history.
Hitler’s spy master Reinhard Gehlen developed the "Org" which consisted of hardcore Nazi spooks surrendering to the allies and then giving them information that would be the seeds of paranoia needed to create the Cold War.
The United States saw the advantage of having these horrible men working with the CIA in order to keep the momentum going of the anticommunist crusades.
Gehlen’s Nazi–infested CIA cooperative effort functioned as America’s secret eyes and ears in Central Europe. You need to remember Gehlen was a Nazi working in the United States and was able to influence U. S. policy toward the Soviet Union.
The Org played a major role within NATO, too, supplying two–thirds of the raw intelligence on Warsaw Pact countries. The CIA swallowed it up and believed in the Soviet bogeyman stories.
The CIA’s dependence on Gehlen’s information and his constant fear mongering was actually due to its being everything they wanted to hear. It compounded what they were already thinking by providing supposed evidence where there had been none. This made Washington a huge collective sponge for mountains of disinformation.
Gehlen was actually exaggerating the Soviet threat. He began a campaign of fostering paranoia in the West about a worldwide communist conspiracy. Gehlen’s strategy was based on the Hegelian dialectic. The more paranoia, crisis and fear of an invisible enemy, the more political space for Hitler’s heirs to move in and secretly reshape American democracy to become a fascist order in which government relinquishes civil rights and rules with an iron fist.
As we can see from the comparative histories of both World War II and the Star Wars universe, the world really hasn’t changed; human behavior continues to move through those vicious cycles. Every good republic begins to decay when faced with perpetual war and when fear is constantly being programmed into the minds of its people.
Our President’s "war against terrorism" is no less orchestrated than Palpatine’s war with the Separatists and the Nazis’ war against Communists. They all are taken from the same blueprint and lead to the same result.
A society is in decay because of its worries about security concerns.
Like Palpatine’s Empire, the Bush administration has used an imaginary crisis to bring civil liberties to a state of decay. Palpatine manipulated the senate by acting on its emotions. He declared that in order for the Republic to remain safe, it had to relinquish its most cherished freedoms and give all executive power to him. This would allow him to use mass police force of stormtroopers and clone armies to enforce a transparent "peace" against an equally transparent threat.
The more you compare, the more lines blur, and soon you begin to see that the dark side of the force is clouding our minds and pushing us closer to that abyss.
Has fascism truly died? It appears that a space fantasy like Star Wars has triggered something in all of us. I call it the "Sith Sense". It is the feeling that something rings familiar and that perhaps this feeling is that of betrayal.
Many are wondering if George Lucas was using Star Wars to sell us on the idea that we are on the fast track to becoming an evil empire.
He denies that he was digging at our current leadership, and as I have demonstrated, you can see that this space fable can apply to any time period in which a fascist state can kill a democracy with calculated blows.
We are at a time where the social milieu is confused and divided on issues of security. Society now has become contentious over what needs to be done and our leaders are encouraging laws that continue to take away our rights to privacy.
The overall feeling is that nothing can be trusted and faith in human reason and decency is on the brink of being dissolved if it hasn’t been already. This leads to a time where those with ultimate power find a society’s weak point and exploits it.
Scapegoats are created and enemies are defined. Absolutes are created and chaos ensues. We are told that we have moral superiority over a group that is singled out as an enemy. With this charge, we develop an excuse to blow them to kingdom come. Out of the smoke comes the generation that does not trust anything. They fall even further into paranoia and obsession. They will begin to blame someone for their unhappiness. There will be another leader that will rise up and use all of their emotions as tools to manipulation them to follow blindly.
The vicious circle will complete again.
If we see Star Wars as an allegory for our time, then perhaps we should learn from it instead of criticizing it. The balance of the Djedi or Jedi has returned. It is a historic moment of our awakening.
The archetype of the hero can awaken inside all of us and it can be our quest to change those things, which are currently in entropy.
May the Force be with you.