“A human being is a part of the whole called by us “the universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein
Seeing the latest “Star Wars” movie stretches our imagination and understanding of just how vast and connected the universe must be. This understanding brings perspective about the delusion of separateness that individuals and groups and communities and countries sometimes use to identify themselves. If we are not sure who we are, we can be tempted to at least decide who we are not and how we are better than those “others.” This “optical delusion of consciousness” prevents peace in our little universes and in The Universe.
The struggle between good and evil in “Star Wars” is a picture of how we can become so polarized in our thinking that we no longer want to build bridges. We turn against others, failing to understand that all have suffered enough already and the only sensible thing to do is to help one another get through the experience of life, whatever the planet!
As Einstein advises, embracing all living creatures, including our planet, is the right mindset for survival. Love wins over hate, in the long run, when we expand the “us” and diminish the “them.” In the short run, it is up to us to keep our vision and defend without demonizing and find in the suffering of all others a reason to keep working for peace.