A Psycho-Analytical Essay on the Supernatural, its Application, and its Relation to the Theory of Attachment
The force; its application and its use in power, can be perceived, discussed, and argued from many points of views. In addition, the sacred side of the force, is often considered to be the respected force to be pursued, yet often seems next to impossible to grasp, forbidden to comprehend, and to attach oneself to. Furthermore, from another retrospective, “as a biologically based, evolutionary developmental system, attachment is also a psychological mechanism, in a larger system of adaptive behaviors, designed to bolster survival and reproductive fitness. The survival value of attachment, lies in its ability to enhance safety through proximity to the caregiver, until the child is old enough to care for himself” (Hewitt, 2014., pg. 27).
In George Lucas’ epic movie trilogy; Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Lucas, George, 2005. Twentieth Century Fox), the use of supernatural force, is demonstrated thoroughly as sacred and profane, while showcasing that its application, can create peace and harmony, or chaos and destruction, depending on its use in power. “The attachment system continually monitors internal states and external circumstances” (Kirkpatrick, pg. 812).
In addition, one may “appreciate Sigmund Freud’s (18-19) argument that religious longing is the extended and distorted expression of an infantile desire for culture’s designated protector, the father, to provide safety for the utterly dependent infant” (Hewitt 2014: 27), which is actively demonstrated throughout the entire Star Wars trilogy, yet heightened in this third epic episode, translated on film.
When discussing the force, and its relation to theories on attachment, how does one differentiate from the starting point of the force, and its formation into a positive or negative application? Could the force be driven by emotions, which, depending upon its development, may have the power to heal or destroy, while maintaining cosmic order, and ultimately deciding the fate of galaxies? Or perhaps, could it be poor thought patterns, consumed with fear in addition to despair, which grows into the formation or discomfort and dis-ease, while feeding off of the trickeries of emotions, which were developed in moments of passion?
The movie begins, with an intense battle of the forces, between the good and righteously sound order of the Jedi’s, against the evil and combative Destroyers. Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi, and Jedi Knight; master in the making, Anakin Skywalker, are on a heated pursuit, for the dark and evil Count Dooku. Count Dooku, ultimately meets his demise, by the supernormal force, which resides in the Light Saber swung by a fearless and determined Anakin, whose emotions are fueled with anger, as thoughts of revenge consume his judgment. In addition, Anakin is persuaded to kill his nemesis Dooku, through the coercion of Palpatine; the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, whose life was also in jeopardy by the Count. This opening event, led to the development of a bond between the Chancellor and the young Jedi Knight, as Anakin possessed an “emotional state of felt security, which is the goal of the attachment system, not distant regulation. Since the feeling of safety and security is paramount, they are not necessarily restricted to a particular caregiver; nor does the attachment figure need necessarily be physically close” (Hewitt 2014: 27). However, Anakin had a need for felt security, “which can be achieved through personal relationships figures conjured by the mind, such as Gods” (Hewitt 2014: 27), or, as in this case, a dark Sith Lord, leading to the fruition, of unfortunate chain of events.
Conflicted with thoughts of the Jedi Order, which is to serve and protect, with selfless intentions of good for all, while clinging to the supernormal light-force; the sacred realm of power, Anakin Skywalker is faced with making heart wrenching decisions. “Although Freud could not have had a theory of attachment as we know it now, his analysis of the psychodynamics of religious belief clearly illustrates the power of early attachment relationships in shaping thought and action across the individual’s lifespan. Attachment theory focuses on human concerns about comfort and protection, and God is psychologically represented as a kind of parent figure” (Hewitt 2014: 28), as demonstrated in the relationship between the young Jedi knight and the Chancellor. “An important feature of attachment theory, is its virtually seamless integration of a dynamic normative model, featuring a control system dynamic on the one hand, and a model of individual differences in the functioning of that system, on the other” (Kirkpatrick, 808).
Brave, yet sensitive to the sensations of the supernormal force, Anakin’s relationship to the mysterious, yet clever Chancellor Palpatine, is enhanced as his need for immediate assistance overwhelms his judgment, due to prophesying the death of his beloved wife Padame Amidala. “Contemporary evolutionary psychology lends powerful support to Freud in its view that the human brain is wired to seek protectors everywhere. It is a short step in the mind from the larger than life father protector of childhood experience to the fantasized, superhuman father-god of religion who also protects against the terrors of life” (Hewitt 2014: 28). Just as God may be considered by some, to be “an exalted attachment figure, who mitigates or resolves unbearable feelings such as anxiety, isolation and depression” (Hewitt 2014: 28), such can be a comparison made with Anakin’s attachment to Chancellor Palpatine, as there is a desperate need for immediate supernormal assistance; for the purpose of changing destiny. In addition, that need is heightened by the remembrance of his mother, whom Anakin had lost as a child. “Loss of a principle attachment figure, is a particularly powerful stressor. Not only is it a stressful event in itself, but it eliminates the availability of the person, to whom one would otherwise be likely to turn to for support in a stressful situation” (Kirkpatrick, pg. 813).
The loss of a principle attachment figure, combined with a mix of haunted visions of tragedy, developed a burning passion in Anakin, to save his wife, relative to the reflection of wishes that he could saved his mother, by any means necessary. Such a determination, may call for the arousal of the profane; the dark side of the supernormal force, which may produce what the heart desires, while cleverly hiding the devastating side effects and costs, which may be compared to the similarities in the analysis of Christoph Haizmann (Freud, 1923), who was motivated through attachment, to form a pact with the Devil, in exchange for emotional and material security.
As Freud treats this story as a “psychoanalytical study of painful desperation and depression that the painter experienced upon the death of his father” (Hewitt 2014: 28), the same can be viewed as the motivation for Anakin Skywalker’s pact with Chancellor Palpatine; the evil Sith Lord in disguise, Darth Sideous. In addition, Freud states in his hypothesis of the painter, that “the devil was a direct substitute for his father” (Freud, 1923: 85), just as the same may be stated for Anakin’s relationship with the profane Sith Lord, considering that Anakin is unaware of who his biological father is, while suffering gravely with the loss of his mother, and the thought of losing his wife. “The threat of separation, causes anxiety in the attached person, and loss of the attachment figure causes grief” (Kirkpatrick, pg. 808). Suffering, depression, the loss of a parent, and a need for final correction, may lead to the captivation of fear, which may prevent one from entering the supernormal realm of power, and using its application, with caution.
Furthermore, Anakin is attached securely, the moment he is informed of his own truths. Chancellor Palpatine (or Sith Lord Darth Sideous), confesses to Anakin that he knows what weighs heavy on his heart, and knows many secrets involving the area of supernatural (or supernormal), its application and use in power, including the secret to prevent one from dying. This ultimately led to a pact being established, and Anakin submitting himself wholly to the teachings of the dark side of the supernatural force.
In conclusion, Anakin ultimately meets his demise, as he increases in unholy power and commits acts in a profane state of mind, including killing young ones, while using the supernatural force, from the contrasting end of the sacred codes of peace and harmony, lived selflessly by the Jedi Order. “The most obvious of approximation to separation from or loss of God, is de-conversion or apostasy- that is, abandoning one’s religious beliefs. It is not clear weather losing a relationship with God in this way, is expected to engender grief, however, as it is the believer rather than God, who is deliberately choosing to abandon the relationship” (Kirkpatrick, pg. 808). What was once worth fighting for, in the name of peaceful revolution and sound restoration, is now replaced with impure intentions and empirical motivations, which Anakin now believes is worth dying for.