Monday, June 18, 2007

Jediism, impact of books, kind of wondering post

Jediism

A few days ago Jana and I had a Star Wars marathon (over a three day period we watched each episode in order 1-6), that was rather fun. One thing I have always wondered about the Star Wars universe is how the Jedis' got their start. What was their beginning? After the marathon I decided to search the internet for the answer. I haven't found the answer to that question, though if someone knows where I can find the answer let me know in the comments, but I did find something a little closer to home that is just as interesting.

As everyone knows, the internet is home to many things, it is a giant meeting place for people with similar interests. On my searches, I found a movement of people who wish to be Jedi.

If you are not familiar with Jedi, then I suggest you stop reading this right now, go rent Star Wars, and do some research into the subject - don't worry, we'll still be here when you get done. Okay, everyone familiar with the Jedi religion, as told by the Star Wars films? Good. Now imagine people on good ol' Earth who wanted to be a part of that (hey, they are cool). You will end up with a community of people who are trying to live up to standards of the film (and book) Jedi.

I'm not here to say if that is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. Though I will go out on a limb and say that from what I have seen, it is rather harmless (they don't have light sabers, nor can they throw you across a room with their mind), it seems to be more about living up to the values that the Jedi embody (which happens to mirror certain eastern religions).

Okay, there is the background, on to the next part.

Books, Movies, Games, etc.

I'm sitting here looking at the Jedi phenomenon, wondering something. Is it possible for a book, movie, or game to be realistic enough that people will start to believe in it, even try to duplicate it?

Let us take Dracula for example, did anyone truly believe that a person could turn into a lizard, suck blood, and was supper strong as night, *before* the book came out? How many after the book came out? How about Harry Potter, how many people looked into witchcraft as a result of reading the books, or seeing the films? I don't have the exact answer to those questions, but I'm willing to bet that we would all be surprised by the answers.

No matter how you look at it, stories, either told to us, shown to us (books), or acted out for us (movies) have a big influence on how we see the world. Sometimes they expand our world view (the people who decided to learn about the Wiccan religion due to Harry Potter), sometimes they make our world seem more frightening than it really is (Dracula).

What does any of my above rambling have to do with atheism? Well let me ask you a question - what kind of impact did the best selling book of all time* have on people (and society) - did it expand our view of the world, or did it make life seem more frightening that it really is? Did it result in people trying to duplicate parts of it?

If the Jediism movement catches on, what kind of impact will it have on the future? Will it be the next big religion?**

I think I lost my train of thought somewhere in there...

* The Holy Bible is the best selling book of all time. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

** Please note that I'm not picking on people of the Jediism movement, but rather using it as a way to help people understand my thinking.