Your phone is across the room. You want it to come to you and you put out your hand. Nothing happens. You scrunch your face and flex the muscles in your outstretched fingers, but, still, nothing happens.
Someday the iPhone C (for 100) or iPhone M (1,000) may fly through the air when you reach for it (avoiding people’s heads along the way). And, someday, we may figure out how to use the energy field described in such detail in the Star Wars franchise.
Yes, just as the new iPhone X (a mere 10) arrives at Apple stores, Star Wars is revving its intergalactic engines, bringing an aging Luke Skywalker and his rebel friends back, yet again, to battle with evil.
At the heart of the franchise is the Force, which would be a convenient skill to have when we can’t find the remote control or our phones.
So, what is this Force and do we only acknowledge it in the movies?
Thousands of years ago, long before Darth Vader, when primitive people struggled through a drought and needed rain, they prayed, they did rain dances or they carved images of rain in the walls so that future archeologists and artists could analyze and appreciate them years later.
I’m not minimizing or trivializing religion or a belief in any deity. I am suggesting, however, that the Force and the battle between good and evil and the free-flowing energy that is a part of this mythology come into play in our daily lives.
As we prepare to walk out the door, our shoelace snaps. We don’t have time to take the lace out of the shoe and put another one in. We’re also not completely sure if we have other laces handy.
We demand to know “Why now?” from the lace. We might even get annoyed and say, “No, no, no, come on! I can’t be late.”
To whom are we talking? Are we personifying the shoelaces so we can complain? By expressing our frustration to the shoelace, perhaps we are externalizing our anger.
But, maybe the dark side is challenging us in a moment of weakness, encouraging us to get angry, to take off our shoes, open the door and throw them deep into woods?
We get into our car and turn the key. It doesn’t start. We hold our breath. “Please, please, please, you can do it,” we beg and try again.
From whom are we asking for help? Are we seeking assistance from a deity who might be nearby or everywhere? Are we speaking to the inanimate engine, hoping that Bessie, like Herbie the Love Bug, will come to life, rev her engine and shift back and forth from one tire to the other in a happy car dance? Maybe we promise Bessie a refreshing oil change if we can just get to work today.
Or are we talking to a Force that makes things go our way, the way we hope a Force encourages our loved ones to answer the phone while we’re waiting for them or our favorite team to succeed in the moment?
We may hope many of the objects we talk to, apart from our electronic friends Siri and Alexa, will respond to our needs, the way earlier people hoped that their efforts affected the weather.
Movies may come and go from the big screen, but we live through our own nonintergalactic battles, escaping from the shadows of our fathers, perhaps, or finding our own destinies. As we do, we may turn to some version of the Force, or something like it, for help in a pinch.