tv Stephen Kent How the Force Can Fix the World CSPAN October 1, 2022 12:45pm-1:01pm EDT
well, here on book tv, we want to introduce you to stephen kent. he has written a book called how the force can fix the world lessons on life, liberty and happiness from a galaxy far far away. mr. kent, that cover and some of the words you use in that title. sound familiar? what's this on? this is based on our star has dominated our cultural for almost four decades since it originally hit the theaters in 1977 and has given us sort of this piece of pop culture that is unique in that multiple generations fathers, sons, moms
daughters, grandparents even can have a conversation about a thing that is going in pop culture and hollywood and just generally kind of knows what we're talking about. you could ask most people, i think in the casino here at this hotel that we're at today, you know, who is the father of luke skywalker? and a lot of people will know. and i basically had this premise in the book that that's actually very special you know, that's a very special thing any culture to have a shared story of any kind. and that's what book is about. so how does that fix the. well, it fixes the world. one person at a time by reminding us of star wars core virtues of humility, empathy, redemption, free will and courage. and if we try to actually take these movies seriously as suggestions on how we should probably live, then we will actually be able to go out into the world and do great things. i was actually doing yoga this morning and the yoga instructor,
because we're at a political conference here, he told everybody, you need to all remember and get centered and comfortable with the idea that you can't go and change the and tell people about your and fix anything until you've started to work on yourself. and that's why we're here today. and i actually was like, that's what books about. that's what star wars has always been to me when yoda said, do or do not is no try and jedi master kogan, jen said, your focus determines your reality. that actually stuck with me and i actually went, okay, then i'm going to try to focus on things that because i want my reality to good. so this kind of how we we adjust this message and kind of look at star wars as a way to live i think you compare star wars to shakespeare a little bit work today. well, star wars is like shakespeare in the sense that the references are just baked
into our culture in so many ways that we are unconsciously aware of. i think one good example, just for star wars in particular because my whole idea for this book started by interviewing congressmen, senators who happened to be star wars fans and talked about what do you think about star wars as sort of like a guide for morality. and they were like, you know, we need to be wary. the dark side. the dark side, what that even mean? what does mean to be wary of the dark side? but most people are familiar. that little reference, that line the concept of a light and dark star wars is actually very to thank for that shakespeare is baked into almost every of culture tragedy story that we've ever seen on stage or on the tv screen. and so it's really like that star wars is just kind of in the water of our common culture. so there's good and bad, dark and light in the world, and we all get that.
yeah. what do we do with that? well, while we do that, we. marcus are different definition of. what the dark side is. yeah. in the stoic philosophy, there's the stoic philosopher known as epictetus and i believe this is his writing that he said that we all have two levers in which to fall in life, two choices. we can either do this, we can do that. and the choice that we make is going to determine what kind of life we're going to live, whether or not we're going to be happy, whether or not going to indulge our wants, our vices and our desires, or if we're going to choose to abstain certain things and star the empire strikes back episode five that came out in 1980. yoda says, luke skywalker, that once you go down the dark path forever will consume your destiny. really on this same general idea that the choices we make are going to cascade into other choices and confrontations with light and darkness, our lives.
these are the things that i'm asking people to think about in star wars, looking beyond the lightsaber battles in the course space, but actually saying like these movies are offering timeless. and if we apply that to our political situations to our political conflicts, to our relationships there's actually advice in here that can make us happier people. did you ever hear from george lucas about this book? absolutely not. but i really hope he it. star wars is really interesting piece of intellectual property in that they have always been very with letting fans write about and talk about how it impacts their lives, the world. now, fan fiction, you can write a star wars piece of fiction, publish it anywhere on the internet. nobody's going to stop you. you can also make star wars fan films using star wars music and go out and make movies and put them on youtube and they don't mind. because part of the fandom experience with star wars is engaging with the material. so having heard from george lucas, but i would love to hear
the reference you have in there is han solo as christ. what do you mean. well, han solo in the force awakens. this is episode seven that came out in 2015. he represents it's kind of another character in the star wars lore, who is a sacrificial figure who is willing to lay themself down their body on the for their son. christ dies for the sins of he does. so even while saying forgive them, father, they know not what they do. han solo unfortunately faces a very also and tragic death, one that he accepted and did so with lot of grace and willingness, because his son known as kylo ren in these new movies had fallen to the dark side, done horrible, horrible things, and han solo came to the conclusion that the only to shock his son out of this evil track that he was on, to shock his moral was
to say you need to kill someone to kill me. and he sacrificed in that movie as so spoiler alert to who hasn't seen it and he died. it's those kind of sacrifice faces selfless love that really require people to question what kind of person they want to be. and it does work that way in that movie. well. do you think george lucas, his intent was to have these life lessons in his movies? they pure entertainment? absolutely. george lucas originally set to do the original star wars trilogy and. he talks about this a lot as a critique of the nixon administration and america in, the post-watergate world. when the prequels 1999 to 2005 were coming out. he was banging the drum really hard about the war on terror and obviously the war on terror starts after the first prequel movie begins 1999. episode one the phantom menace. but it just lined up perfectly. he was warning us about a society where we give in to fear
and a state a government that promises to keep us safe at all costs, no matter what. and then we're attacked on 911 and we embark on this war on terror. and george lucas was looking at his movies and talking to people and going, this is what i was trying to warn you about. the movies are also a combination. the jedi religion of taking the best of eastern and western philosophies, particularly the stoic face, the stoic, the stoic philosophy, the christian and then also the dow from the east and looking to eastern philosophers for guides on how to live and the jedi are a synthesis of all of those different philosophies. stephen, why are you at freedom fest? the libertarian convention? because i'm deeply concerned about our society that has gotten to be hyper focused safety and freedom from fear and comfort above. ideas such as being free chart your own destiny. i think it's really important,
particularly conferences like this, to go out out here and remind people that there is always going to be another fad. the challenge is our sensibility is another crisis that challenges us and makes us government to go and fix things and, keep us safe. but it always comes at a cost. star wars is a story about that cost and a skywalker originally out to try to save people who he loves from dying and he makes deal with the devil. that deal leads him to become darth vader. suffering for the rest of his life inside metallic suit and also punishing the people of the galaxy for the choices that he made. this is something we should also think about how far we willing to go to make things. good for everybody. there always be a cost. darth vader. star wars is my reminder of that. what do you remember about. first experience or your first movie or first star wars and a prequel kid? so my star wars memories are mostly tied to tape cassettes in
the nineties, so star wars came back out with. special editions in 1996, so i wore those things out with my brother. and then when the prequels out in 1999 and 2002, those are the movies i was going to see with my friends. i have no memories of seeing the original star wars films in theaters. not one iota. so most of my star wars fandom has been sort of built in 2000 onwards, and that's got to ask about the shirt that you have on. what is that? yeah. so this was piece of art that i made for the book. i actually how the air force can fix the world filled with a ton of original artwork by this guy who does sort of catholic iconography. so he does a lot of religious paintings and art that you might see on stained glass in a cathedral. and he came me and then we did some star wars adaptations of catholic iconography and he put this for me as a concept of the one person in the crowd who was
willing to dissent and just no. there's this famous photograph from the days nazi germany where there's a bunch of germans at a naval yard, all see the island to adolf hitler as he's coming through town. and there's one guy in the crowd and his arms are crossed and he will not salute. his name is escaping me this moment, but he did end up marrying jewish woman and dying in a camp himself. he stands today as an example of the guy who was not willing to go along with the crowd. star wars very much is us to do these same things, to not go along with our programing, not march in line with others, but be willing to break apart from the group and do what's right so be the one stormtrooper willing to take off your helmet and reclaim your personal identity. published by hachette how the force can fix the world is the name of the book lessons on, life, liberty and happiness from
senator patrick leahy, you're doing something that is hard for a lot of senators to do. and that is to retire voluntarily. what made you decide to do that? well, i never thought i was going to be here this long. you know, i'm the only democrat elected vermont history, the youngest one time. and everybody said i'd be a one term senator. i thought that was quite possible, but then it got a little bit easier getting reelected. i did not expect to be here this long. and my wife, marcelle and i talked about it right a