A Compassion Lesson From Empire Strikes Back

In Star Wars Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is training on Dagobah and meditating when he catches a glimpse of the future. A future where his friends; Lei & Han are being tortured. He quickly sees the need to go out and help them in the city of clouds (Bespin). He rushes off onto his X-Wing, abandoning the completion of his Jedi training and against the the advice of Yoda & Obi-wan Kenobi. Despite all wisdom, Luke still takes off and goes to save his friends from a future he has envisioned.

The rest is history, he learns of his father and loses a hand. But what we learned is the result of blind compassion. Luke had the compassion to save his friends and those in need, but he didn’t plan through his action, understand the trap and even had no escape plan.

This is often true in being too emotional in being compassionate. We tend to have a hero complex and try to solve things under our own strength. It is times like this where working with friends, family, partners and having a plan to see through would be beneficial and help give clarity in the thinking process.

In another lesson on compassion, we see how Han Solo’s compassion for the rebellion keeps him involved an frozen in carbonate at this point of the story. When Han Solo meets Lando Calrission, he is actually meeting a former self. One that is of self interest, egotistical and prideful. We soon see the transformation of Lando Calrission when his deal with Darth Vader is constantly being altered and he begins to see the pain and ultimate demise of all that he has built being lost to the empire. Han Solo up till this stage has been showing a compassionate action whereby he sees the struggle of the rebellion and is using his talents to support them. In fact, a sense of compassion flow from the actions of Han Solo into Lando Calrission – when at the end of the film, Lando is transformed to aid the rebellion and grows his compassion (until he becomes a General in the Rebel Alliance Force).

Compassion is certainly a powerful force in our universe and yet there are both the light and dark side of it. How might we let compassion be our guiding light rather than the light at the end of the tunnel?

Based on the Audio Commentary of Star Wars Collectors Edition.

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