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BOOK REVIEW: Dark Side Of The Mind – Star Wars Psychology

I have waited a long time for this book …

Dark Side Of The Mind

Photo Source: Sterling Publishing, New York

Photo Source: Sterling Publishing, New York

STAR WARS PSYCHOLOGY

Edited by Travis Langley

Foreword by Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied

Back in the summer of 1999, (June 14, 1999 to be exact) my life started down a dark and dangerous path. And looking back, it was all over something foolish; a girl. My high school sweet heart had just dumped my sorry ass. Looking back, I cannot blame her either. I was obsessive like Anakin Skywalker was with Padme. Like Anakin, I just couldn’t handle my emotions. Knowingly, giving into the dark side was not the way of things, I went looking for answers on how to cope. So began a long journey, which is still taking place today. So there I was, lost, confused and no idea where to start, when out of no where Star Wars popped into my head ( I had already seen The Phantom Menace a few times before this) — as if the force gave me the answer I was seeking.

Growing up, I always found comfort in the holy saga and I thought, maybe it’ll help, maybe there is more to Star Wars than light sabers and blasters. At best, at least I could get lost in the moment,  watching The Phantom Menace and forget my problems. I walked into that theater and my perspective had changed on the holy saga. It had ignited my passion for Star Wars again, as well as, my desire to seek answers to life. I quickly dove into reading books on philosophy, theology, mythology, art, science and so forth. It seemed all these subject were bleeding into each other. I was getting confused to say the least. Fast forward to 2005, life is still getting hard and difficult. Luckily, I was able to see Revenge of the Sith and I felt a deeper connection to Anakin, falling to the dark side. It also made me look for more answer’s to my struggles and how to improve them, or fix them, as I wanted to do. I took a step back and realized, I needed to simplify how to go about this. I figured, I couldn’t be the only one who sought comfort in Star Wars or saw the deeper meaning to the holy saga.

I quickly did a search on Amazon.com and found a few books that got my attention. I was surprised to learn how many books there were involving Star Wars and the deeper meaning of the saga. I honestly thought, I’d find one, I was happy to be wrong. I was able to read Star Wars books that covered Mythology, Theology, Philosophy, History, Race, Rebellion, Culture, Technology, The Heroes journey (Luke’s to be exact, but I figured you got that) and for my personal amusement, Star Wars On Trial.

Most of these books and subjects, were great and helped me a great deal. Still, there was something missing. I couldn’t figure out what it was right away, but one night, I was watching a show on serial killers (don’t worry, this won’t get scary) and it clicked in. Psychology.  Which was a subject I always loved. In fact, I wanted to be a profiler for the FBI growing up (that should explain me watching the serial killer show, I hope, at least). Sadly, when I did another search on Amazon, I could only come up with super heroes —  which isn’t bad, but it’s not Star Wars. Sadly,  I had to settle on super heroes and others, to try to find answers to my dark mind.

Once again, though the force was with me, I happened upon an interesting book. It was called,  Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight by Dr. Travis Langley. I am a big fan of Batman and I thought, this was as good as it was going to get, for me. It seemed surprisingly to me, that no one ever thought of doing a psychology book about Star Wars and its rich characters. Anakin alone, could have a series of psychology books made solely about him. So after I read this great book, I decided to follow Dr. Langley on twitter. I ended up tweeting him ,asking him if he ever thought of doing a book about Star Wars, to which he replied, he has. Unfortunately, my Twitter account does not go that far back, so I cannot provide you with a picture of said tweet, you’ll just have to trust me.

Star-Wars-Psychology-Cover

Star Wars Psychology, Edited by Dr. Travis Langley, published by Sterling, Published October 27, 2015

As I’ve mentioned at the start of this article, I am still in the process of Destroying The Sith Within (Destroying The Sith Within, is the title of my book idea FYI). So early this spring, I was doing another search on Amazon when I came across two books that peaked my interest. The first one was, The Walking Dead and Psychology : Psych of the Living Dead ( I have a lobe hate relationship with the TV show) and Star Wars and Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind. I immediately dispatched my PR girl, Rebecca Benjamin to get in touch with Sterling Publishing. Thankfully for me, they agreed to send us an advanced copy. As soon as we got the ‘yes,’ I started counting the days, till we would receive this book.

When we received this book, I was just starting to read Star Wars: Battlefront Twilight Company. Which was starting out okay, but I had to abandon it for the sake of reading this book. As I jumped into Star Wars and Psychology, I was a little let down. After all, the Foreword by Carrie Goldman was awesome, as well as the foreword by Dr. Travis Langley.  However, the book just started out flat for me. It wasn’t the subject or the writing, I just thought it would be more character based and not so broad. I personally think, it’s what most of the prequel haters feel about the prequels, it just wasn’t living up to the imagined hype I had created in my mind ( by the way, there’s a great chapter regarding this type of subject).

Thankfully, this feeling did not last so long with me. As I got further and further, into the book, it got a lot better. I was pleasantly surprised while reading the chapter that explains how amputations can effect a person psychology,  it’s something we did not even consider, in our Anakin Skywalker dissection series. Looking back, now, I wish we had thought about this.

Reading the chapter by Mara Wood that explains and challenges, Joseph Campbell’s view, that women do not need to make the journey, was refreshing and a pleasant surprise as well. This chapter also gave me more knowledge to pass on to my daughter. I can’t understand how a smart man like, Joseph Campbell didn’t see Leia’s journey. Those are just a few great chapters you’ll encounter as you read this book. Looking back, I wish we had had this book when we did the past dissection episodes. I know going forward, this will be a useful tool in The Cantina Cast dissection series. In fact, it’s even inspired me to do a segment on Lando Calrissian, in the future.

That’s the beauty of this book and Star Wars, it makes you think. I highly recommend this to any Star Wars fan that wants to dig a little deeper into why the characters, we’ve come to know and love, act as they do. The only draw back from reading this book, is I want more. I hope in the future we’ll see another book tackling our new heroes and villains from the new sequels.  I imagine, like Anakin Skywalker, Kylo Ren will be an interesting character to dissect. Time will tell, but in the mean time, I have to go add this book to my bookshelf.

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In case you were wondering what books I have read in the past. I highly recommend all of them.

Follow Mike on Twitter @thecantinacast and @The_Jedi_Hermit

 

 

 

 

 


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