When Celestial Venus was created, I never thought it would be involved in Jedi apologetics. Although The Last Jedi may be the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy in terms of entertainment, the values embedded in the film and the images promoting the film are in conflict with George Lucas’ original universe. While the original Star Wars was a great manifestation of the counter-culture, The Last Jedi reflects the ideology of technocracy.
Besides the obvious opposition to the Vietnam War, in its essence the counter-culture of the 1960’s was a reaction to the unrestricted advance of technocracy. The rationality of technocracy marginalized the humanist values of the individual in favor of values of the state. Progress becomes fascist when it is pursued for its own sake. Lucas’ early films are definitely counter-cultural documents about the individual trying to break free from a consumerist, conformist order. His first film, THX1138 (1971) reflects a profound insight into the forms of alienation in a future society. THX1138 is a chilling depiction of a post-gender society living in a sterilized minimalist world. Life has become standardized to the point that everyone wears white suits and has a shaved head. Since sexual intimacy in no way reflects the needs of the state, sex has become illegal by the arbitrary law of the state.
A relevant issue which needs be understood, which Star Wars beautifully illustrates, the expression “tear it all down” was aimed at the Death Star, not tradition. The original counter-culture was not counter tradition but was acting to restore the Old Republic. In Star Wars, the Death Star symbolizes the threat of destruction possible by the unrestricted progress of technocracy. What is interesting, a vivid argument against the value of technocracy is actually made by Darth Vader in a confrontation with an Imperial Admiral. Even though Vader is “more machine than man, twisted and evil,” he still knows the Force is greater than anything man can create.
Admiral Motti: Any attack made by the Rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they’ve obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe! I suggest we use it.
Darth Vader: Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Admiral Motti: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, [Vader walks toward Motti, then slowly raises his hand] or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels’ hidden fort— [Motti grasps his throat as he is being choked]
Darth Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
When Luke meets Yoda in the Empire Strikes he tells him he is “looking for a great warrior”, Yoda rebukes his claim with, “Wars not make one great.” Thought out his teaching Yoda makes it clear that, “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” The promotional images for Empire Strikes Back always show him standing calmly with his rustic cane. When the second trilogy was promoted with images of CGI Yoda with an angry brow and his lightsaber drawn, I could not help but notice how the images conflicted with Yoda’s Jedi teaching. The creators of the new films really missed the point.
Lucas was influenced by Eastern religions to develop the idea of the Force, “A energy field created by all living things that binds the galaxy together.” Of the eastern teachings, the Force is apparently inspired by the Tao Te Ching.(the central Taoist text, ascribed to Lao-tzu). Taoism uses the concept polarity of the yin yang in the same way the Force is light and dark. The yin and yang are male and female which cannot exist without one another. The yin and yang balance each other and maintain harmony in the universe. The black part of the symbol represents the calmer and cooler female Yin. The idea that women are passive is not just a white male concept! The principal of the relationship of the yin yang is:
YANG protects YIN
YIN nurtures YANG
A recurring plotline which runs through The Last Jedi has Finn and Poe Dameron who act with the best intentions for the Resistance, only to find failure and scorn from women acting as technocratic authorities. For example, at the beginning of the film, the Resistance is evacuating their base while Poe Dameron in a single X-Wing holds off the First Order’s assault. He ignores General Leia’s orders to return to the Resistance fleet, instead he leads an attack of bombers to bring down an entire dreadnought ship. Poe is demoted by Leia because the bombers suffered heavy loses. Yet the bomber sequence seems unconvincing, I agree with the comment of Nick Gazin,”The Rebels have been at war for many decades and they haven’t learned to fly far enough apart so they wouldn’t blow each other up?”
Besides the bomber scene there are several other scenes in which Finn and Poe Dameron act by remaining true to themselves yet fail. This is actually the very opposite of a theme that’s common in Sci-fiction action films. Often maverick individuals in lower positions disobey orders by misdirected authorities for the best intentions of their comrades. They usually save the day. But in the The Last Jedi, the theme is reversed, it seems that whenever Poe sets out to solve unaddressed problems, his endeavors fail only for him to be disciplined by the female Vice Admiral Holdo. Since the advancement of women in positions of authority is considered a great achievement of our society any criticism will be regarded as retrograde. But is there something more to this?
The psychologist Alice Miller discovered the personality for fascism to prosper was found in a society which had been conditioned to the notion that authority is always correct. Miller wrestled the with question of how Germans could have carried out Hitler’s “final solution” of murdering millions of Jews,”the men and women who carried out “the final solution” did not let their feelings stand in their way for the simple reason that they had been raised from infancy not to have any feelings of their own but to experience their parents’ wishes as their own. These were people who, as children, had been proud of being tough and not crying, of carrying out all their duties “gladly,” that is, at bottom, of not having an inner life at all.”
I read a few reviews of The Last Jedi which claim the plotlines for Finn and Poe are redundant or poorly written. Honestly, how difficult would it have been to write them into some heroic action? Many authors and scholars have warned that the media can be used as a tool of manipulation, I’m certain that the plotlines of Poe and Finn were constructed to condition boys to believe authority is always correct and they should not trust their feelings, in other words, to have the orientation for fascism to prosper.
Star Wars was a franchise which has been obviously marketed to a young male audience. So it goes against common sense as far as marketing goes to have Rey in the lead role of the new films. It was bad enough for the second trilogy to be promoted with images of a ticked off CGI Yoda, now we have angry Rey with a lightsaber drawn. I’m certain that the violence which plagues our culture is a result of the technocratic conscience which rejects the yin, the value of the feminine. The yin and yang are forbidden by the postmodern culture to balance each other and the result has been complete chaos. Which goes without saying, I’m not impressed by the join the Death Star feminism reflected in The Last Jedi. Women are being conditioned to be as Miller said to be “proud of being tough and not crying, of carrying out all their duties “gladly,” that is, at bottom, of not having an inner life at all.” I’m sure that Yoda would find it absurd for women submit to technocratic progress. Since as he said, “wars not make one great.”