Today, I share a sharp observation by my friend, Sonia Harris.
Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of pop culture history that interests me that doesn’t quite fit into the other features.
Recently, I was pointing out on social media a scene in 1977’s Star Wars that always sort of struck me as odd. I think it is one of those deals where the script was so overflowing with plot that there simply wasn’t any room to sit with a scene near the end of the film, after Luke has successfully destroyed the Death Star and saved the day.
During the attack on the Death Star, R2-D2, serving as Luke’s Astromech, is blasted, and is severely damaged.
When Luke returns to the Rebel base, he is naturally thrilled that he just saved the whole galaxy by destroying the Death Star. Sure, his old best friend, Biggs, died in the battle, but it is understandable that you’d try to forget all the other pilots who died in that moment. That’s human behavior 101 (or, in this case, humanoid behavior, I suppose). However, Luke is reminded of the injury that Artoo suffered in the battle when R2-D2 is pulled from Luke’s X-Wing.
Luke is dismayed at first. He has obviously bonded with R2-D2 over the course of the film. But then a funny thing happens, while Artoo’s best buddy, C-3PO, is freaking the heck out over his friend’s damage, explaining that he will gladly donate any circuits that could be helpful to save Artoo, Luke quickly just sort of moves on, telling Threepio, “I’m sure he’ll be fine,” and then runs off to celebrate some more with Han and Leia. Here’s the scene…
My good friend, Sonia Harris, replied to my post on nuTwitter about it, noting, “Pretty accurate depiction of how healthy people react to someone else’s pain, in my experience” (she added a shrug emoji, a rolling eyes emoji, and a single tear emoji).
It’s such a sharp observation, right? That totally IS how people treat another when someone is dealing with pain. There’s that momentary, “Oh no!” but soon enough, people just want to have fun, and will quickly put your pain out of their head, perhaps throwing in a “I’m sure you’ll be better,” and then move on to enjoying their lives, leaving your charred droid body in the dust, out of sight, out of mind.
It’s similar to the way that people tend to not to take other people with disabilities into their frame of mind about anything, either. You might momentarily give them a passing thought, but then it’s on to the next thing. Our society is really great at pushing uncomfortable thoughts out of our minds to keep ourselves from thinking of other people’s pain. So, perhaps, just as a thought exercise, try TO think about someone in your life who is dealing with some bad stuff at the moment, maybe check in on them, and let them know they actually ARE in your thoughts.
Sonia has a great Etsy store called Swearing Patterns. While she was dealing with the pain of her cancer treatment, she began to use swearing as a sort of pain meditation, and she has moved that meditation into these brilliant swearing patterns that I’ve bought a number of over the years. They’re really amazing.
If anyone has any pop culture bit that you’d like me to discuss, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org