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Star Wars

PostPosted: 06 Jun 2008, 22:57
by splashen
If CS Lewis lived long enough, what do you think his views of the Star Wars trilogies would be?

Do you think he'd like them?

Why? or why not?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 02:42
by rusmeister
I think he'd recognize George Lucas's mixed-up philosophy combining Zen Buddhism and gnostic dualism.

Yes, you can find themes that resound in Christianity, like repentance and forgiveness, but they are mostly drowned out by the non-Christian themes. The 'good' and 'dark' sides of the Force (why not 'light' vs 'dark', or 'good' vs 'evil'?), the Force as impersonal (and in the prequel manipulatable by science), being able to save yourself via special knowledge, etc etc. As a universe it is totally pessimistic and impoverished compared to Middle-Earth or Narnia. "A New Hope" seems to be valid only for the living or the gnostically 'saved' Jedi (the ones you see in shining robes at the end of ROTJ); iow, hope is centered around this life (think of spirit-Ben saying "That boy is our last hope") etc.

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 02:48
by splashen
rusmeister wrote:I think he'd recognize George Lucas's mixed-up philosophy combining Zen Buddhism and gnostic dualism.

Yes, you can find themes that resound in Christianity, like repentance and forgiveness, but they are mostly drowned out by the non-Christian themes. The 'good' and 'dark' sides of the Force (why not 'light' vs 'dark', or 'good' vs 'evil'?), the Force as impersonal (and in the prequel manipulatable by science), being able to save yourself via special knowledge, etc etc. As a universe it is totally pessimistic and impoverished compared to Middle-Earth or Narnia. "A New Hope" seems to be valid only for the living or the gnostically 'saved' Jedi (the ones you see in shining robes at the end of ROTJ); iow, hope is centered around this life (think of spirit-Ben saying "That boy is our last hope") etc.


Yes, Star Wars was definitely inspired by Buddhism whereas Narnia was inspired by Christianity..

Re: Star Wars

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 04:20
by Pete
splashen wrote:If CS Lewis lived long enough, what do you think his views of the Star Wars trilogies would be?

Do you think he'd like them?

Why? or why not?


Splashen, the Space Trilogy that this forum refers to is the C.S Lewis cosmic/space trilogy. :wink: I might be wrong, but this thread might be more suited to the general CS Lewis forum as opposed to the Space Trilogy one? :??:

About your question though... I think it's a bit of botth, there's a lot of Christian themes in there, but at the same time there's clearly influences of Buddhism, New Age religion and other stuff in there as well. Really I suppose it comes down to what you're looking for. What would Lewis have thought of it? In my opinion I think he would have enjoyed them (as films). :idea:

Re: Star Wars

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 15:34
by splashen
Pete wrote:
splashen wrote:If CS Lewis lived long enough, what do you think his views of the Star Wars trilogies would be?

Do you think he'd like them?

Why? or why not?


Splashen, the Space Trilogy that this forum refers to is the C.S Lewis cosmic/space trilogy. :wink: I might be wrong, but this thread might be more suited to the general CS Lewis forum as opposed to the Space Trilogy one? :??:

About your question though... I think it's a bit of botth, there's a lot of Christian themes in there, but at the same time there's clearly influences of Buddhism, New Age religion and other stuff in there as well. Really I suppose it comes down to what you're looking for. What would Lewis have thought of it? In my opinion I think he would have enjoyed them (as films). :idea:


Yes, I think so too. With the possible exception of "The Phantom Menace."

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 16:12
by Coyote Goodfellow
Pete wrote
About your question though... I think it's a bit of botth, there's a lot of Christian themes in there, but at the same time there's clearly influences of Buddhism, New Age religion and other stuff in there as well. Really I suppose it comes down to what you're looking for. What would Lewis have thought of it? In my opinion I think he would have enjoyed them (as films). idea


Well, we know he enjoyed Animal Farm which was a fable based on Marxism, so presumably he could have enjoyed Star Wars as a fable based on Zen Buddhism. And he probably could have used them as inspiration for a more Christian fable of his own.

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 16:28
by repectabiggle
I think he'd write an article titled "The Mythopoeic Gift of George Lucas."

That is if he liked films. Which he mostly didn't.

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 18:30
by splashen
repectabiggle wrote:I think he'd write an article titled "The Mythopoeic Gift of George Lucas."

That is if he liked films. Which he mostly didn't.


CS Lewis wasn't around when Star Wars came out.

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 18:57
by repectabiggle
Er. . .yeah. . .I know. Your question was "If CS Lewis lived long enough, what do you think his views of the Star Wars trilogies would be?" Hence my (sort of) joke, based on Lewis's essay "The Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard." ;)

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 19:52
by splashen
repectabiggle wrote:Er. . .yeah. . .I know. Your question was "If CS Lewis lived long enough, what do you think his views of the Star Wars trilogies would be?" Hence my (sort of) joke, based on Lewis's essay "The Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard." ;)


Was it good, this essay?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 21:38
by repectabiggle
It was interesting, I suppose. It's kind of fun to see Lewis, who knew and loved so much of what some might call Literature with a Capital L defend what might be (and was, and is) disregarded as pulp by some.

I really do think Lewis would have liked Lucas's world-making, and I think there is some similarity in the manner, if not the matter, of Haggard's stories and Lucas's. If you can get a hold of the essay (I think it's in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature and I know it's in the Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces), it's interesting, even if you haven't read any Haggard (King Solomon's Mines, She, and some other adventure stories).

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 22:00
by splashen
repectabiggle wrote:It was interesting, I suppose. It's kind of fun to see Lewis, who knew and loved so much of what some might call Literature with a Capital L defend what might be (and was, and is) disregarded as pulp by some.

I really do think Lewis would have liked Lucas's world-making, and I think there is some similarity in the manner, if not the matter, of Haggard's stories and Lucas's. If you can get a hold of the essay (I think it's in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature and I know it's in the Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces), it's interesting, even if you haven't read any Haggard (King Solomon's Mines, She, and some other adventure stories).


I wonder what CS Lewis would have thought of the Phantom Menace?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2008, 23:31
by repectabiggle
haha well, I was mostly thinking of the old Lucas. Extending the Haggard comparison, Lewis, in one of his letters to Arthur Greeves, wrote about Haggard's sequel to She that it wasn't anything so good as the first one and it consisted mostly of the same stuff in the first book put not as good. Maybe he'd say the same about the prequel trilogy? I certainly would.

PostPosted: 08 Jun 2008, 15:35
by splashen
repectabiggle wrote:haha well, I was mostly thinking of the old Lucas. Extending the Haggard comparison, Lewis, in one of his letters to Arthur Greeves, wrote about Haggard's sequel to She that it wasn't anything so good as the first one and it consisted mostly of the same stuff in the first book put not as good. Maybe he'd say the same about the prequel trilogy? I certainly would.


Which is pretty much what I would say also.

PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 15:46
by Stanley Anderson
I'm repeating something I've already mentioned in another thread, but it fits here so nicely, I can't resist.

As corny as parts of it are, I think the first trilogy (IV, V, and VI of course) has one of the most profound, Lewis or Scripture-like revelations about "power" ever filmed. The only problem is that virtually no one (and I'm not even sure Lucas did either) recognizes it.

What I am referring to is connected with the line in the first movie where Darth Vader and Obi are fighting and Obi says "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine".

Before the meaning of this occurred to me, I used to think it was a "fault" in the movie -- a line that Lucas just sort of tossed in because it sounded good, but then didn't really follow up on it convincingly. After all, how powerful did he become? When one tries to think what the resolution was, the typical answers that many people suggest are that he became "powerful" in the form of Luke becoming a powerful Jedi to overcome the Empire. But that never quite seemed right to me. Luke isn't really all that powerful or noble or whatever, and he essentially fails physically at the end, even "giving in" to his anger when he was not supposed to, and we see this weakness enacted when the Emperor is in the act of killing him.

And even the form of the statement "more powerful than you can possibly imagine" seems to be a bit over the top. More powerful than Vader can possibly imagine? I bet he could imagine pretty powerful things -- death stars, thousands of battle ships, legions of soldiers, etc. Could Obi summon powers of galactic size, perhaps? Even if he could, this was still "imaginable" to Darth Vader, however unlikely it might be.

And yet it turns out that the line was perfectly true. Obi "became" literally more powerful than Vader could possilby imagine (at the time), not because he could summon powers greater than Vader could imagine, but because Vader was on the "other side" and could not conceive of the idea that it would be he, Vader himself, that would be the one to overturn the emperor and toss him into the inferno.

What no numerical amount of external "powers" could overcome in trying to conquer Vader "from the outside", Obi's training of Vader's son, Luke, eventually worked "from the inside" like a tiny frail wilting seed of love to fianlly turn Vader into the very force that would overcome the Empire. When he sees his son being killed by the Emperor he suddenly becomes something he could not possibly have imagined when he stuck down Obi in the first movie.

To me, the working out of that line in the first movie is truly a wonderful example of the Scriptural illustration of God's power being manifested in the weak things of the world. There were of course many silly and corny aspects of the movies, but this one key line and its resolution outweigh them all and is, to me, not unlike the "power" that Lewis shows us in the "internal" resolution of, say, Orual's hatred and unbelief in Till We Have Faces, or the idea of the inside of the lowly stable in Last Battle being bigger than the whole world outside the stable. I think Lewis would have very much liked that aspect of the movies.

--Stanley