The Star Wars films have captured the imagination of multiple generations of fans over the years. The stark contrast of good vs. evil, man vs. machine, and natural vs. unnatural in the story has enabled the films to become timeless. The deeply rooted themes simply strike a chord with people.

George Lucas has acknowledged that Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949) was a major influence on the development of Star Wars. I read the book in college as part of a cultural anthropology class and I remember this quote in particular:

“The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form – all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.”

— Joseph Campbell

The following interview with George Lucas highlights the influence of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.

Why does this matter? Because there is a hero inside all of us. Are you willing to hear the call when it comes? If so, it will put you far beyond your comfort zone. This is living.

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