Sep 052010
Darth Vader by Andres Rueda

Many people know Darth Vader; a cultural icon and poster boy for villainy. His is a tragic story of a hero turned evil in an attempt to save the life of his beloved wife. Before he became Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker trained as a Jedi Knight in the use of the Force. All Jedi Knights had to conquer themselves and learn self-control. But Anakin’s inability to master himself led him down the path to the dark side. What is striking about this cautionary tale is how easily anyone can make the mistakes that Anakin did. Read on to find about the dangers of lacking in self-control.

The Tragedy of Darth Vader

Anakin Skywalker was a member of the Jedi Order who trained in the ways of the Force. But, contrary to the teachings of his order, he had great difficulty with self-control. He could not conquer his thoughts and feelings or keep his attachments in check. His journey to the dark side began with his mother’s death. He foresaw her death in a vision, but arrived too late to save her. Livid with rage, he murdered his mother’s captors; the men, their women and children in cold blood to avenge her death. He had lost complete control of himself once and he would do so again.

Years later he had another vision where he foresaw the death of his wife, Padme Amidala, during childbirth. Having failed to save his mother, he vowed to save his wife at all costs. Complicating matters, Anakin had wed Padme in secret since the Jedi Order forbade marriage and their relationship. Thus Anakin could not turn to his Jedi Masters for help or guidance. But the Jedi were not the only ones skilled in the use of the Force. The evil Sith Lord Palpatine aka Darth Sidious wanted Anakin as his apprentice due to his immense potential. Bit by bit, Palpatine slowly worked to win Anakin’s trust and turned him against the Jedi. He also promised to help him save Padme in return for his loyalty. Thus to save his beloved wife, Anakin turned to the dark side of the Force to learn the necessary skills. In return, he took many innocent lives for his new master. His fear of losing Padme had turned him into a monster.

In due time, Padme and his mentor Obi-Wan found out what he had done. Stung by his wife’s rejection, Anakin lost control and choked her for betraying him. He then fought and lost to Obi-Wan at the Battle of Mustafar. Although Anakin had great power, his lack of self-control made him overconfident. This gave Obi-Wan the chance he needed to defeat Anakin. Anakin survived the battle, but had to spend the rest of his life in his familiar cyborg form to stay alive.

To destroy the last shred of Anakin’s humanity, Palpatine told him that Padme died when he choked her. Filled with despair and self-hate, Anakin went on to serve his master faithfully. But despite all the evil he did, there remained a spark of good in him. It was this spark that led him to save his son Luke from certain death at the hands of Palpatine years later. Due to this self-sacrifice, Anakin managed to redeem himself just moments before he died.

Darth Vader Unmasked by Myrrh Ahn

Impaired Judgement and Objectivity

Anakin loved Padme deeply. Ironically, it was this deep love and attachment that proved to be his undoing. His fear of losing her impaired his judgement and objectivity. He was willing to do anything to save his wife. Whether it was turning to the dark side or murdering innocent people, nothing mattered to him except Padme.

If you can’t conquer your thoughts and feelings, they will rule you and cloud your judgement. Without objectivity you cannot act wisely or make the best choices for a given situation. You may find yourself making hasty and reckless decisions because you have lost sight of the big picture. Worst still, you may find yourself unable to listen to good advice. This only leads to mistakes and needless problems for yourself and those around you.

Causing Harm to Loved Ones

Anakin journey to the dark side led to even less self-control. He began to imagine that everyone was against him. When Padme rejected the person he had become, Anakin flew into a rage. In his anger, he used his powers to choke and hurt the very woman he loved. He did not stop there. He also tried to kill his mentor and best friend Obi-Wan for trying to turn him from the dark side.

Lack of self-control can cause you to hurt those you love with the things you say or do. It will also alienate you from them. This can cause you great turmoil which leads to further actions you cannot control. The vicious cycle can continue until you destroy all the important relationships in your life. This path will only cause you needless problems and regret.

Causing Harm to Self

Anakin hated himself. Originally a good and compassionate man, he was a fallen hero who had become a monster. He also believed wrongly that he had killed his beloved wife with his own hands. His thoughts and feelings tormented him for the rest of his days and gave him no rest. All he could do was to use his purpose as his master’s servant to fill the deep void and suffering he felt inside him.

When you lack proper self-control, your thoughts and feelings can destroy you. Without inner peace or harmony that comes from conquering your thoughts and feelings, you could live a life of endless torment. Your doubts, fears, guilt, worries, anger and hate can cause you to engage in self-destructive behaviour. Without self-control, you may find yourself leading a life that you did not intend to lead. The worst part is that you would be too self-absorbed to realize it.

Taking Action

Anakin Skywalker was not born a monster. The tragedy was that he became a monster to save the people he loved. His greatest flaw was his inability to conquer the deep attachments that he had for his loved ones. While this made him human, it also led him to commit great evil in the name of love.

If you do not master your thoughts and feelings, they will control you. You may then hurt yourself and those you love because of your lack of control over your actions. You will be a slave to your thoughts and feelings the way Darth Vader was. Only when you attain a measure of self-control will you be able to benefit yourself and your loved ones.

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  10 Responses to “Darth Vader and the Need for Self-Control”

  1. Nice story and i like the film alot “star wars”.Nice touch to explainations too.Self control is really needed in our todays world and it should be noted.Keep writing to the top.

  2. The midi-cholorians made him do it. You are right, Anakin could have been so much better with just a little bit of self control. In this case at least, what is true in movies is true in life. Self- control can keep you from making bad decisions.

    A little self control can really go a long way and work to improve just about anyone position in life.

    • Hi Steve,

      The tragedy of Anakin is a great cautionary tale for those of us who lack self-control. Self-control doesn’t always come easy, but we should never stop working at it. As you have rightly pointed out, self-control can keep you from making bad decisions and work to improve your position in life in a manner that is lasting.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  3. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and this was a pretty accurate post. The thing about the Jedi Masters was that they kept warning Anakin his emotions, even love, would lead him to misfortune and a loss of self-control if he let them rule him. Of course, the young and impetuous would discard the wisdom of his elders. We all do at that age to some degree.

    (Geek Alert)
    The key, I think, is moderation. Anakin became Darth Vader because of his willingness, dark OR light side, to go to extremes. Nothing good ever comes of living at either end of an extreme.

    This was later proven in the New Jedi Order, when Jacen Solo learns new depth of the newly (re)discovered Unifying Force. There is balance, in all things, and to act according to one’s conscience.

    Awesome post!

    • Hi Delena,

      You are indeed lucky that I have an interest in Star Wars that goes beyond the movies. Hence I can understand your reference about Jacen Solo haha! You are right about moderation. It is not prudent to live at either end of an extreme for prolonged periods of time. It is unnatural and we will pay the price sooner or later.

      That said, Cade Skywalker seems to be doing pretty well walking the fine line between dark and light. I love flawed heroes. :D

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  4. I enjoyed the reminder about how the plot went. It is certainly true that the ego when left to its own devices can cause much wreckage and harm. Having some self-awareness will indeed be helpful. We are better able to step aside and avoid being overly absorbed. It will be nice to be able to watch the Star Wars movies again, now that I have greater understanding about what it means to master ourselves. I believe that I will probably derive more key lessons as compared to the first time I watched the movies. It’s great that you have highlighted how much we can learn from the Star Wars Movies.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Practice The Hugging Meditation To Express LoveMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      There is so much we can learn from the world around us if we only know how to look.

      I always watch movies to see if there are any important lessons I can pick up from them. And it is true, the greater our understanding, the more we will notice things that we didn’t notice before. I have watched Star Wars many times and how I view its themes today is certainly different from how I viewed it years ago.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. Amazing! I’ve just come here accidentally while looking for some inspirational thoughts, and I’ve got a cool surprise:) as a huge star wars fan, I totally like your special interpretation and explanation this interesting analogy with this great story. It has been really entertaining to read your text, and it has been a very special experience, thanks for that, you’ve made my sunday morning:)
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  6. Nice to see this post, very informative. This provides exactly the features I’ve been looking for. Hoping to see more of your good post next time.
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