Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Spirituality

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The Empire Strikes Back is ground zero for our most enduring images of the Force, from Luke levitating rocks while performing one-handed handstands (a.k.a. Jedi Cross-fit) to Vader choking out his subordinates over Skype.

Push those comic book powers aside, however, and you'll find that Jedi spirituality is the real deal, taking influence from real-world religions like Zen Buddhism and Christianity. You may never be able to wield a lightsaber, but that doesn't mean you can't learn a thing or two from the Jedi Masters.

Questions About Spirituality

  1. What is the difference between the light and dark sides of the Force? Is there a clear distinction?
  2. What connections can you draw between Jedi spirituality and real world religions?
  3. How are Jedi spiritual ideas depicted visually in the movie?
  4. Why does Yoda see Luke's emotionality as a bad spiritual trait?

Chew on This

The key component of Jedi spirituality—non-attachment to people and things—is directly influenced by similar concepts in Buddhism.

Instead of being the stark distinction between good and evil that it is typically portrayed to be, the difference between the light and dark sides of the force is that the light side preaches passivity, while the dark side preaches emotionality.

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