I had occasion to think recently of Star Trek V. My love for it is controversial and deepens with each time I watch it. It’s not a rational love. But it is a love of sorts.
As I thought about it, I came to think of Darth Vader and how pain was a motivating factor for him. He lived in constant pain. Part of his pain was physical, to be sure. Another significant part of his pain, however, was emotional.
Given that we’ve seen the complexity of the Star Wars galaxy to include a great many things not suspected in the past, I wondered why there wasn’t some sort of self-help series Vader could have used to alleviate his pain.
Thinking of self-help, I wondered if there was some sort of Dr. Phil-style guru who shat out platitudes about things to make it seem like every decision was OK so long as the person came to terms with it. I mean, it’s a big galaxy.
Given that, I thought of Sybok. He’s a straight-up commentary on self-help gurus. I figure then that he, or his equivalent, would exist in Star Wars. American culture (and possibly others) are resplendent with people who espouse the philosophy that no decision is truly wrong. Given that, it would follow that the Emperor could have sent a self-help guru to Vader and give him a pep talk.
Imagine a Sith truly at peace with his awful ways. The Emperor could have employed such a person, even for himself. An Oprah-like being who insisted that it was all OK so long as you personally were at peace with your choices.
Kirk & Vader
While Star Trek V rejected this philosophy, later Star Trek works fully embraced it. The entire series of Star Trek: Voyager seems to have been dedicated to spreading the notion that all choices are good choices so long as the individual is happy with them.
This means that Vader and Kirk may well be philosophical soul-mates. It means as well that Star Wars is a more philosophically grounded and fulfilling series of works than Star Trek.
Perhaps I really should be class president.