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Post #1538258

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On Jedi and Attachment
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Date created
9-May-2023, 9:32 AM
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9-May-2023, 9:41 AM
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It’s really funny how this idea that the Prequel Jedi were intentionally depicted as flawed, has become a “mainstream” interpretation. I’ve heard this so many times. Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, along with Vader’s sacrifice in ROTJ, are often used as “proof” that the Prequels repudiate the Jedi and their anti-attachment dogma.

But like… all you need to do is just read literally any interview with Lucas about this subject, and you’ll find he just straight up says (paraphrasing) “Actually the Prequel Jedi were awesome and correct about everything, and Anakin fell to the Dark Side because he didn’t listen to them.”

Like for example, this TIME magazine interview where Lucas says:

“[Anakin] turns into Darth Vader because he gets attached to things,” says Lucas. “He can’t let go of his mother; he can’t let go of his girlfriend. He can’t let go of things. It makes you greedy. And when you’re greedy, you are on the path to the dark side, because you fear you’re going to lose things, that you’re not going to have the power you need.”

Or this interview where he says:

Anakin wants to be a Jedi, but he cannot let go of the people he loves in order to move forward in his life. The Jedi believe that you don’t hold on to things, that you let things pass through you, and that if you can control your greed, you can resolve conflict not only in yourself but in the world around you because you accept the natural course of things. Anakin’s inability to follow this basic guideline is at the core of his turn to the dark side.

Bizarrely, Lucas equates attachment/love to greed, or at least believes these things are heavily connected. I can understand Lucas’ logic behind this sentiment, but this is certainly a very esoteric interpretation of attachment and love.

It’s commonly observed that Lucas’ Prequel-Jedi philosophy is very similar to certain core Buddhist teachings. It’s true that Buddhism teaches that attachment is a major cause of suffering. But when it comes to attachment through romantic love specifically, this is usually interpreted more along the lines of the need to accept a romantic partner as they are and love them selflessly (as opposed to viewing relationships as a means to satisfy your own desires), and the need to avoid codependency (becoming too “needy” such that relationships serve mostly to pacify fears of abandonment).

While superficially similar, the Buddhist concept here is fundamentally different from the Prequel-Jedi philosophy which forbids romantic relationships entirely in order to avoid fear of loss. In particular, Yoda tells Anakin (regarding loved ones who have died), “Mourn them do not. Miss them do not”. Yet Buddhist tradition has pretty elaborate mourning and grievance rituals that last over a month in some cases. So the Prequel-Jedi philosophy about attachment and love is a lot more extreme than what’s found in mainstream forms of Buddhism.