Tell it to SunStar: May the Force be with you

Tell it to SunStar
Tell it to SunStarSunStar file photo

By Herman M. Lagon

The appeal of science and technology is not just a job route for many of us who grew up in the period of brilliant science fiction and saw the birth of the digital age; it is a calling that mirrors the adventures and discoveries we dreamed of as kids. This feeling of awe, frequently sparked by the fantastical settings of films like George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise, has not only delighted us but also gently informed and uplifted us. Last Saturday, “May the 4th,” the playful echo of “May the Force be with you” resonates especially, illustrating the enduring impact of Star Wars not only on popular culture but also in inspiring future generations to pursue careers in science, engineering and math.

For many of us, including the hard-core geeks, the Star Wars world was more than simply a means of escape, thanks to its diverse cast of people, tales and galaxies. The finer points of its science fiction created a playground for the mind, pushing the bounds of what was conceivable. This was not science fiction; instead, it was a glimpse into a future in which technology and science would be the means of discovering other worlds. This visionary quality, which links entertainment and education and the present and future, makes it worthwhile for the current generation to revisit.

With its hovering landspeeders and powerful Death Star, Star Wars exposed viewers to previously unimaginable ideas. However, we can still witness remnants of these inventions in the modern world. Consider the holographic messages that R2-D2 projected. This once-fanciful communication style is remarkably similar to contemporary holographic display technology, which is starting to appear in telecommunication and marketing applications. It is an obvious indication that what was formerly the purview of science fiction is becoming increasingly plausible.

The idea of droids similar to C-3PO and R2-D2 is another noteworthy prediction that mirrors current developments in robotics and AI. These companions were more than just instruments; they were sentient beings with personalities, a precursor to how AI has developed to become more conversational and empathetic in its reactions. This fusion of purpose and personality is reflected in the development of autonomous robots for various jobs, from companionship to industrial manufacturing, demonstrating the foresight of Lucas’ universe.

The bacta tank, a medical technology for quick healing, was also introduced to us in the story. Regenerative medicine is moving toward comparable results by creating tissues and organs for transplantation utilizing technologies like bioprinting. This science fiction idea is about to become a scientific reality, proving that motion pictures have the power to spur advancements in medicine.

Beyond the technology projections, Star Wars featured numerous philosophical discussions that have endured over time. Jedi Master Yoda declares in “The Phantom Menace:” “Fear is the path to the dark side.” This upfront stare at human nature sheds light on the need to regulate, if not control, one’s emotions and the “butterfly effect” that can go from fear to anger to hatred and probably intergalactic annihilation.

Those embarking on dangerous missions were initially wished good luck and farewell with the now-iconic phrase “May the force be with you” in 1977. Since then, the word has become a beloved catchphrase from the Star Wars series, representing optimism, direction and the strength of the Force. “Rey, the Force will be with you,” was repeated by none other than Luke to Rey 42 years and numerous episodes later. Always, during a crucial moment in the 2019 “Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker,” citing the timeless and enduring nature of the Force and the guidance it provides to those who wield it. We shall dedicate one column to “The Force” alone soon.

When Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in “The New Hope” advises, “Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them,” he stresses here the importance of healthy skepticism, a skill where you question initial perceptions and challenging our reality by asking for more concrete evidences and not just accept things hook, line and sinker. This wise mix of philosophical insight and engaging storytelling in Star Wars uniquely facilitates the exploration of complex ideas relatable to an audience of any generation. In the same note, Yoda’s “Do or do not, there is no try” quip to Luke in “The Empire Strikes Back” highlights the importance of calculated yet decisive action. These elements have enriched our cultural lexicon, offering timeless wisdom that continues to spark discussions on ethics, morality, and the human condition.

Star Wars characters are examples of courage, morality, and leadership; they range from the sage and formidable Yoda to the fearless and resilient Leia Organa, not to mention the inspiring Luke Skywalker, the great mentor Obe-Wan Kenobi, the young but promising Rey, the wise Ahsoka Tano and the relatable Han Solo. Their growth- and challenge-filled paths reflect our own goals and frustrations. These characters are still relevant today because of their unique personalities and moral quandaries that provide a guide for overcoming life’s obstacles.

When contrasting Star Wars with more recent television shows and films, it becomes evident that although storytelling methods and technology have advanced, the fundamental appeal of venturing into the unknown and seeing the future has remained the same. The saga is a lasting work of pop culture because it successfully combines science and fantasy, epic adventure, and human development. It serves as a reminder that the narratives we tell can influence how we perceive the world and how we fit within it.

Instead of getting arrested in cinematic nostalgia, the current generation is encouraged to dream, question, explore and discover through Star Wars. As we recall “May the 4th,” a comical riff on “May the Force be with you,” we are all reminded of the enduring impact of Lucas’ saga. In light of this somewhat simple yet special day, we should celebrate our reflections and see the exponential ubiquitousness and need for technology in almost all aspects of our way of life, not as a collection of tools but as an extension of human creativity and capability. The saga presents an amusing and educational picture of the future in a world where the distinction between science fiction and science fact becomes increasingly hazy.

Many of us chose science and technology degrees for reasons closely tied to our early interests, which were stoked by the books, magazines, journals, comics, audiobooks, e-books, cartoons, or vlogs we adored. Star Wars is a unique source of inspiration because it combines sound science with profound philosophical ideas, offering characters that exemplify the qualities of curiosity, resiliency and moral leadership. This awe-inspiring narrative invites today’s youth to turn to the sky for inspiration and direction as they navigate the ever-expanding realm of science and technology, in addition to providing solid amusement.

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