"ATTACHMENT AND THE DREAD EFFECTS OF LOSS"
"Fear of loss is a path to the dark side," said Yoda to young Anakin Skywalker.
"REJOICE for those around you who transform into the force" (in terms more down to earth, THOSE WHO DIE) the ancient Jedi master counseled.
"Mourn them, do not. MISS them, DO NOT.
Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.
TRAIN YOURSELF TO LET GO OF EVERYTHING YOU FEAR TO LOSE."
The mentoring moment is from George Lucas' "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith."
Skywalker, who will be transformed into the thoroughly evil Darth Vader by film's end, had already spurned centuries of Jedi convention by falling in love with, and secretly marrying Padme Amadilla, former Queen of Naboo.
In the earliest days of their flowering romance, she coyly questioned her young beau, who was obviously hopelessly smitten with her:
"Are you allowed to love? I thought that was forbidden for the Jedi."
"Attachment is forbidden," he answered. "Possession is forbidden."
("Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones").
Now, WHY would love, marriage, and indeed ALL natural human attachments, be strictly off limits for a Jedi knight?
Wise old Yoda is crystal clear; his logic simple and straightforward:
Attachment brings fear of loss.
And fear of loss is "a path to the dark side."
Anakin, himself, becomes the living fulfillment of this when he flies into a murderous rage, forsaking every tenet of the Jedi code, in a desperate effort to save Padme from death as she fights valiantly to give birth to his twins. She dies, nonetheless, and his volcanic tide of grief and bitterness carries him the final notch over into "the dark side."
If FEAR of loss is to be carefully avoided for its dread consequences, what of the catastrophic effects when the loss we fear does, in fact, strike hearth and home?
What the little green guru does not say (but no Jedi would dare dispute) is that FEAR of loss is so potentially dangerous to Jedi singlemindedness only because LOSS, itself, can wreak such untold devastation on mortal beings. It can rip a hole in your heart so huge that no possibility of recovery may remain. Like the severing of a limb, the cold, cruel shock of loss leaves effects that are purely visceral and involuntary that no amount of intelligence or force of will can remedy.
Yoda doesn't voice this; perhaps because he takes it as A GIVEN. Intuition tells us that nothing can so push an otherwise rational creature to the very brink of insanity and beyond as the traumatic loss of someone they dearly love. Even these, the most esteemed warriors in intergalactic realms must be wary; the most venerable Jedi master is vulnerable; the most feared Sith Lord susceptible.
The FEAR of loss is such a powerful force ONLY because our very instincts persuade us LOSS has the potential to destroy all our hopes for joy IN THIS LIFE.
This is the underlying premise of Yoda's admonition. In fact, the dramatic core of the entire Star Wars saga is immovably anchored to this foundation. Without it, Lucas's epic story crumbles into so much dessicated Bantha fodder.
Nor were the Jedi the first military order of priests to bow to this phenomenon. Kindly read on . .
"But JESUIT discipline forbids all attachment to things, places and persons. If he feels the beginning of any closer tie, he must DESTROY the delicate fabric, for he is to be animated by SACRED INDIFFERENCE (sancta indifferentia). The Jesuit must know neither sex nor fatherland; he must be a creature without emotion or feeling" ("Fourteen Years A Jesuit: A Record of Personal Experience and a Criticism," by Count Paul von Hoensbroech; 1911; Volume 1; page 134).
"There is another feature of asceticism of the Exercises ("The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola;" the most basic 'handbook' of the Jesuit order) to which reference must be made. It is the doctrine of "Indifferentism." It implies COMPLETE DETACHMENT, not only from what is evil, but also from what is in itself harmless or indifferent. ONE MUST GROW COLD TO ALL THINGS; love of friends, country, parents; particular interests; kinds of learning . . .
In fine the ideal put forward is that of a soldier held by no tie of affection, burthened by no choice or fancy, utterly detached from all natural desire . . ."
As succinctly stated by the Jesuit founder, himself, "Wherefore we ought to be indifferent to all created things."
("The Jesuit Enigma," by E. Boyd Barrett; 1927; page 79-80)
Is this the answer, then? If we mean to get serious about serving, we must strictly avoid all attachments; learn "Sacred Indifference," and "GROW COLD TO ALL THINGS?"
Now, just hold on.
HAS OL' ERN LOST IT COMPLETELY???
Here we are, hearing all about Jedi and Jesuit, with nary a Bible reference in sight!
I assure you, I am NOT studying to join the ranks of the sons of Loyola.
Neither am I traipsing over into "the dark side" (or "the bright white light side," for that matter)! I'm not even telling you to go out and watch Star Wars. While the movies can be intensely absorbing, I sincerely believe your time and money could be better spent elsewhere.
I am merely using some pertinent bits of historic and contemporary culture to make a point, which I hope will be plain to see in due time. Trust me, we ARE headed somewhere!
Rest assured the Word of God is still, as far as I'm concerned, the sole, final arbiter of Truth (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; II Timothy 3:15-17; II Peter 1:16-21).
The two nearly identical views I've just described may bear a striking RESEMBLANCE to certain Bible passages (such as Matthew 19:12; Luke 14:26; I Corinthians 7:7-9, 29-35; II Timothy 2:3-4), but they are, in fact, tragically flawed; even heretical (I Timothy 4:1-4).
And we will most definitely explore what scripture has to say on this subject in the very next post.
More later, LORD WILLING.