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Star Wars: The Force and Taoism

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One of the most maligned decisions ever made in the Star Wars franchise was the Prequels’ introduction of midi-chlorians, microscopic organisms that basically determine, through genetics, an individual’s ability to use the Force. Everyone hated this, understandably. Part of the appeal of the Force was always its mysticism. Midi-chlorians turned something spiritual into something scientific, and in doing so drained the drama right out of a drama-based plot element.

The Star Wars sequel trilogy, particularly The Last Jedi, dramatically backpedals on this decision. In Rey’s training, Luke explicitly and overtly re-explains the Force in the same terms that Obi-Wan did way back in A New Hope. The Force is… well, it’s a force, a sort of spiritual intrinsic field that connects all life, always in balance. Fittingly, one of the most distinct pieces of imagery in The Last Jedi is the enormous mosaic of the Prime Jedi symbol, which bears a distinct resemblance to the yin-yang symbol.

About a year after seeing The Last Jedi, I returned to China to visit family, who took me to the Hangu Pass (函谷关), which is supposedly where Laozi (老子),........

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