You Must Learn Control

Icarus left a comment on my blog post the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Actually, it wasn’t his comment per se, but was said by George Lucas regarding Anakin’s fall to the dark side from a CNN article in 2002 (AOTC era, pre ROTS):

In this film, you begin to see that he has a fear of losing things, a fear of losing his mother, and as a result, he wants to begin to control things, he wants to become powerful, and these are not Jedi traits.  And part of these are because he was starting to be trained so late in life, that he’d already formed these attachments. And for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.

“He wants to begin to control things.”  This sat with me – mainly because of my terrible need to control things as well.  We all, at some point or another, want to control our life and our future, no matter who you are.  You can be the most chill person in the world, but there is probably some degree or need to control minuscule portions of your life.  Then there are others, like myself, who prefer to control every minuscule detail if possible and though I think I’ve gradually gotten better, I still fall apart when Plan A, B, and C aren’t quite working like I was hoping.

anakin angry


At one point on Dagobah, when Luke is training with Yoda, Yoda admonishes him,

Control, control, you must learn control!

So why does Yoda want Luke to learn control, yet probably wanted Anakin to let go of his control?  Isn’t that contradictory?

What is the difference between Anakin and Luke?  The way I read and think about the situation is that Anakin used his fear as a propeller to learn more and conquer more through his knowledge.  He wanted power to change the situations through his control of the Force.  We see this to be very true later on in ROTS when he wants the ultimate power – to stop Padmé from dying – and apply it to his life.  He believes he’s helping people but he is, instead, digging his own grave.  Would Padmé have died if Anakin hadn’t turned to the dark side?  Ah, the million dollar question.

With Luke, though, it seems a little different.  He wants to go to Cloud City to try and rescue his friends (which, again, would have fared better without his help) but his motivation does not seem to be as rooted in the need for power.  While it seems to be more altruistic in nature, it does also stem fromluke skywalker handstand dagobah this need to control the events around him.  As Yoda says, “If you leave now, help them you could.  But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

Obviously I’m going completely off canon by suggesting Yoda would have wanted Anakin to lessen his need to control, but I don’t think it’s that out there.  What I believe is that both had the fear of loss ingrained within them (who doesn’t?) but where Luke needed to control more from a situation of distance and understanding, Anakin needed to lessen his control so that it could also bring him to a place of understanding and distance.

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t think the Jedi had it right when they tried to rid their pupils from attachment.  In fact, most of the time I think it was just wrong.  As we saw, Luke used his attachment to his father to save Anakin from the dark side and also help the galaxy.  However, there is also a point where life needs to be played out for what it is without our involvement because sometimes when we mess around with it too much, we look back and realize that maybe we shouldn’t have tried to control it like we did.  Luke had to learn to take a step back and realize he couldn’t run to help Han and Leia with everything in their lives because it could just make it worse.  He had to control his need to always help and rein it in.  Anakin needed to learn that he couldn’t be all-powerful and that controlling everything too much could backfire.  The main difference I’ve found is that Luke’s control was rooted in love whereas Anakin’s control was rooted in fear.

The reason that quote has been bothering me so much is that I believe I lean more towards Anakin than Luke.  It’s when I get the most scared, the most fearful, the most anxious, that I begin to try to control events and people around me.  I use all the power that I have to influence what happens around me to make sure it happens the way I want it to go.  Unlike Luke, whose need for more control stems from a caring, kind, thoughtful place; instead, I feel like I completely understand Anakin.  I don’t want life to “just happen”.  I want life to happen according to my rules.


What about you?  Do you need more control because you always want to jump and help someone instead of letting them work it out on their own?  Or are you more like me and you need to lessen your control because you always want to make things go your way?


10 thoughts on “You Must Learn Control

  1. Thanks for the mention. I held onto that quote for years because I wanted to write a post about how Lex Luther (Smallville version at any rate), Anakin Skywalker, and Elphaba Thropp have one thing in common. They started out as good people.

  2. As for the scene with Yoda, I’d have to re-watch but I assumed he meant control of Luke’s emotions and impatience.

    You asked about us. I need more control of my emotions, especially my temper. And looking back through the Lenses of Time, I see some conflicts that arose from me trying to control others instead of letting them be.

    1. I actually think Yoda meant it completely differently but I always like to take things to the next level and overanalyze too much when it comes to Star Wars. I actually think Yoda meant to control the Force and his visions and concentrate at the same time. I feel like Luke had 3 things going on right there (physically demanding handstand, visions of the Force, and levitating objects) and Yoda was trying to make sure he was able to handle it all.

      That quote you posted however, made me immediately think about his line regarding control and I took it to a different place.

      Oh and I try to control every little thing when I’m stressed, including people. It’s horrible. But when things are so unpredictable, I can’t roll with it. So I decide to control the situation as much as possible and that includes plans and people.

  3. I am a control freak at work, and it’s totally tied to my anxiety. I have to actively work to let others do things.
    Yet at the same time, I’m messy and pretty laid back socially. My husband is way more “just let things happen” which is frustrating to me sometimes, but I think he’s a good influence 🙂

  4. I think another big difference is what was being controlled. Anakin was trying to control things and people he simply couldn’t. For example, he wanted to control life, people, and governments. Luke on the other hand was learning control of himself for the most part; things only he can control. I think that is why Yoda encouraged Luke to learn control but might not have been as excited about Anakin’s control.

  5. As things become more chaotic, there is a comfort in being able to control and command things. I think, following Data Glitch’s comment, that Yoda was referring to inner-control, a command of emotions. Learning how to let go of what we can’t control and find a good flow is essential. I’ve been working on finding a balance of this – still working.
    I think attachment is an essential part of the human experience and defines who we are. Relationships define us and good relationships strengthen us.
    (By the way, I lost the debate, but it was a really fun journey).

    1. Oh no… So curious as to what had the other team or person win. What are their clinching points? Write me an email please? Even if it’s super short, I’m curious as to why they won.

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