“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering” – Yoda
Fear, anger, hate, and suffering were the Four Horsemen of the Dark Side that lead Anakin to his fate. They followed him like a shadow growing in strength with the years. Yoda’s prophetic warning to the child Anakin in “The Phantom Menace” was one of the most iconic lines in the Star Wars saga. In a few words Yoda revealed not only the path to the Dark Side but also the way out of suffering.
Yoda saw much fear in the young Anakin and saw the potential for that fear to transmute itself in to anger and hate. The raw untapped Force that resided in Anakin was obvious to Yoda and it troubled him because the Force has a light side and a dark side. The one who wields the Force decides which of the two sides to wield. Yoda’s misgivings were justified and for that reason he entrusted the training and care of Anakin to Qui Gon-Jinn and then Obi-wan Kenobi.
Fear, resentment, and anger is poison for the alcoholic in recovery leading to confusion, frustration, and despair. All stem from grasping attachment. What are they?
- Resentment is when you don’t get your way yesterday.
- Anger is when you don’t get your way today.
- Fear is that you won’t get your way tomorrow.
Hate is an extreme expression of resentment, anger and fear stemming from a perceived injustice or threat. Alcoholics know hate. They start by hating the limits imposed on their drinking, that hate extends to all around them and finally they hate themselves and alcohol. The irony is that hate always does more harm on the vessel that contains it than on which it is poured. It can only lead to suffering.
The child Anakin had been born into slavery and raised in Fear. The adolescent took that fear and turned it in to anger over the death his mother. Death and injustice became the subject of his hate. Now a Jedi, Anakin practiced controlled anger in war but he learned to hate the Separatists. War showed him the failings of democracy and the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order and it made him angry and resentful. Anakin believed his destiny was to rule the galaxy with Padmé at his side, not for power but for the sake of he and his beloved. Given power over mortality Anakin could defeat death and bring “peace, justice, freedom and security” to all.
Anakin was a victim of the Four Horsemen. Any modern psychologist would say he was suffering from mild paranoid schizophrenia and borderline psychosis stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder, an understandable outcome of slavery and then decades of service as a “Janissary” in the Jedi Order. A lifetime of unresolved inner conflict and emotional baggage built up and climaxed into hate when he perceived that Padmé and Obiwan-Kenobi had betrayed his love and trust. Anakin succumbed to rage and fell to the suffering of the Dark Side. The Horseman carried him away like a bride to the grave.
It need not be for us like that. We who have suffered for years and decades under fear and allowed it to breed resentment, anger and even hate come to realize that these things are merely the ego trying to keep us in the illusion of separation from our true selves, which is the Force. The ego wants us to be subject to its control and if that means alcoholism and lifetime of suffering, even at the risk of ego death, it is better than self-realization. Once we realize that we are above the base emotions of fear, anger and hate we can rise above them and in doing so completely overcome the ego and exorcise the Four Horsemen from our lives, for good.