My grandson Edward taught me to love the StarWars films. More specifically I became fond of the dialogues between Yoda and Luke Skywalker. For example, The Empire Strikes Back[i] contains at least a few crucial scenes.
In one scene Luke sees, during a workout, that his X-Wing is about to disappear into the bog. Then following dialogue, in which Yoda describes Creative Interchange (‘ the Force ‘), unfolds.
The dialogue start at follows:
Luke: Oh, no! We’ll never get it out now!
Yoda: So certain, are you? Always with you, what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is… totally different!
Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
This is one of Yoda’s instructions to Luke: One has to unlearn what one has learned. We have indeed to unlearn things that do not matter any mor. We have to change the parts of our behavior, which are not helping. Changing one’s behavior means changing one’s mindset, which corresponds with ‘unlearning what one has learned’.
The dialogue continues:
Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No! Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
Within the scene this is a great nugget of undeniable wisdom that teaches Luke to have a more serious mind. Yoda had consistently tried to teach Luke to focus on the present, and essentially, to grow up. In this moment, with these words, he makes it clear. The first time I heard this line of Yoda (it must have been in the early eighties) I exclaimed: This is my father’s Richard’s line. Although my father is seldom quoted for this line he uttered in to me in the following dialogue from around Easter 1965:
Johan: Father, can you sponsor me for my studies at the University of Ghent
Richard: What kind of studies do you want to follow there?
Johan: I would like to become a civil engineer, father.
Richard: Your choice is not a bad one. Indeed, one doesn’t have to be handy to become a civil engineer. But can you tell me, will you succeed in those difficult studies? In other words: “Will your endeavor be successful?”
Johan: I’ll try, father.
Richard: No! Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
So father Richard made it crystal clear to me: I had to focus on the present while growing up! So we made a contract. Father would sponsor me and would continue to do so, if I passed the yearly exams. If not, I had to stop studying and start working for him. He was head of a team who sold insurances on behalf of a renowned Dutch company. He could fix me in his team at any time. This foresight (having a career selling insurances) was one the elements of my motivation to focus on the present and to grow up. After five year I was a Civil engineer …
Then, Luke tries to use the Force to levitate his X-Wing out of the bog, but fails in his attempt.
Luke: I can’t. It’s too big.
Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us.
So when Luke fails in his taks of raising his X-wing from the swamp, he complains that it’s too big, which frustrates Yoda — size matters not when it comes to the Force and to life. What’s amazing about this quote is that when Yoda says it, it’s not funny. It rings true, you believe him, and you see that he makes no excuses for himself — and does not want to hear any from his students.
And Yoda continues:
Yoda: Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship
Luke: You want the impossible.
The Star Wars saga is about the battle between the Sith and the Jedi. The Sith have a big fear of death because they try to hold onto life. I think that’s why they’re willing to basically mutilate themselves and live these cybernetic half-human lives. Yoda’s lesson with this quote reflects the exact opposite of this mentality, and it’s essential to the saga. It speaks to the underlying difference between Jedi and Sith: being completely selfless, and recognizing that the Force binds all life and creation together. That’s the base of my bold claim that The Force is in fact The Creative Interchange Process.
The story continues and Luke sees that Yoda uses the Force to levitate the X-Wing out of the bog and gets flustered when he succeeds.
Luke: I don’t… I don’t believe it!
Yoda: That is why you fail.
This is Yoda being brutally honest with Luke, who breathlessly says, “I don’t believe it,” after his Master raises an X-wing from the Dagobah swamp. It’s a definitive statement that comes from Yoda’s years and years of experience as a Jedi and a teacher, and it cuts through both to Luke and to us, the audience. In fact Yoda uses here The Force, since Authentic Interaction in one of the four characteristics of Creative Interchange.
The reason I wrote this ‘intermezzo’? Well, at the end of last month I saw an episode of the Flemisch television serie ‘Winteruur’ (Winterhour’). This is a late night serie with short episodes wherein so-called Well-known Flemish people present a favorite text of them. This time Wim Helsen – a briljant stand-up comedian amongst other things – guest was Sven De Ridder – a do-it-all and driving force behind the Real Antwerp Theatre (Echt Antwaarps Teater). Sven piece of text was the dialogue between Luke Skywalker and Yoda of that particular film. Unfortunately Sven’s presentation of that particular dialogue stopped in the middle of Yoda’s comment to Luke’s lament “I can’t. It’s too big”. Dutch speaking people can whatch this particular Winteruur episode here: https://www.vrt.be/vrtnu/a-z/winteruur/3/winteruur-s3a50/
[i] Lucas, G., Brackett, L. En Kasdan, L., Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Irvin Keshner, Lucasfilm, Ltd./20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 1980.