At the weekend my kids went to stay overnight with their grandparents. It was one of the few times when they have spent the night away from me and their mum. So far, so unremarkable. Something that I noticed – apart from the relative silence that accompanied their departure – was my acute sense of the kids being absent from the house. A strange phenomenon, maybe an imagined sensation, maybe not. That night as we went to sleep we could almost tangibly sense that they weren’t present, even though they would normally have been fast asleep at that time. When they bounced back into the house the next day my wife and I were so pleased to see them, and relished the energy and life that they brought with them.
I think that Star Wars, and its depictions of Force connections, taps into this awareness of others through a sixth sense. Whether it’s the sensation described above, or simply that feeling you can get that someone is looking at you from across a café, or where you are thinking of someone and at that instant they happen to phone you. Star Wars takes those sensations that all of us have at some time and encompasses them within the broader concept of a Force connection.
There are two scenes that demonstrate this to good effect; both from The Empire Strikes Back. One is in Bespin when Leia senses that Luke is still there and she instructs Lando to turn the Falcon around to rescue him. The other comes shortly after when, following Vader’s revelation at the end of the film, Luke makes a connection with him through the Force while on the Falcon. It’s at this point (rather than Kenobi’s confirmation in Return of the Jedi) that Luke knows in his heart that Vader’s revelation was true.
I like the fact that Star Wars can help us acknowledge experiences that we have as regards others that may not be scientific or logical, but which nonetheless most of us experience at one time or another. What Bruce Springsteen called the “ties that bind” with family, friends and those who share our journey. It’s part of the joy of the saga that it helps us process some of the mysteries in life.
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