Obi-Wan Kenobi Fights the Phantom Depression

Obi-Wan Kenobi Fights the Phantom Melancholy


Travis Langley

Supply: Travis Langley

The Disney+ tv collection Obi-Wan Kenobi opens with the legendary Jedi hero residing remoted, withdrawn, and depressed. As soon as the brilliant, shining hero actively concerned in Jedi efforts to assist others, information new learners, and pursue democratic beliefs, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor within the position first portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness) has retreated to the desert planet of Tatooine, the place he carries on a colorless, monotonous existence.

Ostensibly there to control younger Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) from afar, he plods by in the future after one other by working as a spam miner and speaking to almost nobody. His routine existence varies little routine till an emergency message attracts the now-reluctant hero again into the adventuring life with a purpose to rescue one other baby.

Arguments is perhaps made that he suffers from dysthymic dysfunction (delicate however persistent and intrusive melancholy) as a result of he doesn’t brazenly display his struggling on the story’s starting or posttraumatic stress dysfunction as a result of these issues observe the traumatic occasions of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Nevertheless, a extra becoming prognosis would appear to be main depressive dysfunction (American Psychiatric Affiliation, 2022) due to how far his hopelessness and self-recrimination have taken him from the full of life man he was once. Subsequent episodes reveal extra about how far he has fallen into his sad state.

Obi-Wan grieves not just for the individuals who have been slain by Imperials and Sith but in addition for the collective lack of Jedi historical past and beliefs. He feels as if he has even misplaced himself. His self-concept, enmeshed in Jedi standing and establishment, has shattered. He has hassle drawing energy from the Pressure much less from the dearth of follow than as a result of he has misplaced confidence in himself. Crucial values that drove Kenobi in his youthful days now elude the middle-aged Jedi Knight’s considering.

Guilt wracks him. Survivor guilt, blaming oneself for having survived when others didn’t (Bergman et al., 2017; McClatchy et al., 2009; Monaghan et al., 1979; Saldinger et al., 2003; Trozzi & Dixon, 2006), fails to embody the vary of issues for which he feels responsible. He blames himself for not having seen the hazards that allowed the Empire to rise, for having educated Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who turns traitor and turns into the villainous Darth Vader (voiced as soon as extra by James Earl Jones), and for having defeated his apprentice in fight and left him for useless on Mustafar. Kenobi blames himself for every part having gone so flawed for his comrades, allies, buddies, and everybody they’d ever tried to assist.

Calling himself “Ben” doesn’t merely contain assuming an alias to assist him cover from the Empire. Had been that the case, nobody would know his surname both. No, Ben Kenobi feels undeserving of his Jedi title, unworthy of “Grasp Obi-Wan.” Haunted by failure, brooding Ben plods by existence. Melancholy is the phantom that menaces him and retains him from seeing the extra “Pressure ghost” of his most optimistic mentor Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson).

The mission to rescue ten-year-old Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair, taking on from the late Carrie Fisher) from Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram) after which to assist rebels evade Darth Vader helps to reawaken Kenobi’s internal hero. First, he learns that Anakin Skywalker lives on because the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and later, he feels one weight of guilt eased when Vader takes full duty for his descent into the darkish aspect: “You did not kill Anakin Skywalker. I did.”

Towards the tip of the present’s ultimate episode, after Vader buries his former Jedi Grasp in rubble, Kenobi should let go of emotional weights in order that he could actually raise boulders to unburden himself and break away. Merely recalling the explanations to combat Vader is inadequate. Ideas of younger Leia and Luke, two embodiments of hope for the longer term, assist him reconnect along with his core values, the deeper causes for doing the appropriate factor. Opposing evil is just not sufficient with out additionally selling what’s good. Vader misconstrues Kenobi’s biggest energy, that of compassion, and errors it for lingering weak spot.

Melancholy Important Reads

The hero should forgive himself earlier than he can forgive others (see Çolak & Güngör, 2021; Miyagawa & Taniguchi, 2020; Woodyatt & Wenzel, 2020). Leaving Vader behind, Kenobi returns to the planet Tatooine, the place he finds another person now collapsing underneath the burden of guilt. Reva, who has been the collection’ driving antagonist arguably greater than Darth Vader, now remembers a few of her earliest values and can’t convey herself to harm the boy Luke.

Simply as one ten-year-old’s abduction drew Obi-Wan Kenobi out of isolation, one other ten-year-old’s innocence snaps Reva into her epiphany. She worries that she has turn into an excessive amount of like Darth Vader, that she had descended into the sort of evil that when murdered her friends and left her for useless when she was a toddler. Kenobi gives phrases of solace and lets Reva go. A brand new and lengthy journey begins for Reva as she begins the wrestle together with her guilt.

Melancholy alters not solely temper but in addition cognitions. Ideas clouded by depressive ruminations (Maslej et al., 2020) could have problem understanding or recognizing the very issues which may make us really feel higher. Forgiveness, together with self-forgiveness, can ameliorate some such ruminations (Çolak & Güngör, 2021; Miyagawa & Taniguchi, 2020; Toussaint et al., 2022; Wu et al., 2019). Self-compassion heals. As soon as he’s not overwhelmed by his phantom guilt, Ben Kenobi, ultimately, heads off to embark on new adventures, with some steering from a extra hopeful ghost that he’s now able to understand.


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