Anakin stood before the Jedi Council when Yoda asked “how feel you?” The Collective felt he had fear within him well before he had known for himself. So they pressed the issue. Anakin admitted he was experiencing fear, but asked defensively, “what’s that got to do with anything?” Yoda answered the immediate question with “EVERYTHING!” Then he continued the explanation “fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; and hate leads to destruction.”
Yoda is, of course, correct about a well-known emotional axiom. But in the movie, he does not explain how this recursive progression operates. He does not explain what destruction means. And he does not cover esoteric Jedi beliefs on the origin of fear.
Explanations for the machinations of emotional truth are profoundly short and sweet. The practice of rising above them – of changing one’s weltanschauung – is inscrutably, disproportionately arduous. (Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.) Frank Herbert writes the solution in one sentence from Dune (my underscore).
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
He is speaking of the “Shattering Gaze.” The clinical elbow grease working in the trenches. The fourth step of twelve. Exposure. Helplessness. And release...if one can live through it.
Let’s not forget about the short and the sweet. Destruction is Death. Fear is disconnection. Transcendence is bliss.