by Derek Wilson, Guest Blogger
When last asked whether or not I liked Star Trek or Star Wars better, I was left dumbfounded. Questions arose like weeds in a particularly stoney garden. Do television-based series allow for better characterization and world building? Do movie-based series allow for better pageantry with more focused, concise story arcs? Are iconic, powerful, potentially reality-breaking, characters better than engaging in time honored philosophical questions? Does any of this really matter when you like something?
After giving it some thought; thinking about the multiple television shows that are part of Star Trek canon; thinking about the resurgence of the Star Wars as a Disney property; taking into account the action figures; the fondness I had with each series; the many delicious debates I’ve had with my friends about details of substance, and points of pure minutiae, I came to the anti-climatic conclusion of: “I don’t know”.
“I don’t know”.
Hmm….That phrase is usually very unsatisfying.
What I thought it meant, in this case, was that given two different world views I couldn’t see which was “better” and which was “worse”. Either I had no sound methodology to value the worth of one over the other, or I (personally) was not up tot the task of being a proper judge.
But later on I recognized that something amazing actually happened when I admitted that I didn’t know. I allowed my humility to not denigrate either viewpoint. Effectively, I clumsily stumbled my way into rejecting that either needed to be better.
How poignant then is it that yoga is a ritual used in both Hinduism and Buddhism to evoke the divine and sacred. A system of practices, in both religions, that connect the inner self with outer truth–encapsulated in that one word is a bridge of two ways of thinking, believing and feeling. With neither origin being better or worse than the other.
While there are some similarities, Hindu yoga is characterized as a way to bind a “soul” to the reality of Braham, or the highest universal principle (think of it as a supernatural, eternal and perfect form of Maslow’s self-actualization).
In Vajrayana Buddhism, yoga basically refers to any spiritual practice which leads to a deeper understanding of reality.
But, like with Star Wars and Star Trek there’s room enough for both in our mindscape. I would argue that sci-fi, like yoga—in whatever form it presents itself—has the ability to build community and be a force to bring order (whether personal or external) to whatever chaos prevents you from peace. To find satisfyingly helpful connections and meaning when, at times, life can seem like a conglomeration of disparate and distinct events with no overall purpose.
The bottom-line is that you should continue to trek to new frontiers and channel your inner Jedi while contorting your Asana into a crane, firefly or side plank pose.
And, most importantly, may whatever force you believe in be with us all.