Han Solo

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Star Wars was huge. Not huge in the way that the Iran hostage crisis was huge, but huge in the sense of always being in the background of every conversation.

Looking back on it, it’s clear why: Star Wars was not only great sci-fi, but it explained where we’d come from. The destruction of Alderan, or Hiroshima if you prefer. The jack-booted stormtroopers and individualistic rebels fighting them. The mystical connection between science and a Buddhist/Christian hybrid religion.

At the time, it wasn’t uncommon for people to talk about this film. It was reasonably common for women to discuss it. When they did, many of them would swoon over Han Solo. Who? He was a character who was down on his luck, always late on his payments, and making it hand-to-mouth as a smuggler.

Middle-class American women went nuts for the guy, and it wasn’t just Harrison Ford. The mystique intrigued them. Instead of a boring day-to-day existence of keeping the family together, or of going to work and then doing that, here was this romantic and devil-may-care lifestyle.

They just about melted over this guy. This was the antithesis of the work-husband, who went out there and slugged it out in the cube-farms and offices of America, bringing home the bacon. In comparison to this lovable rogue, the work-husband was drab, boring, even an obligation and source of misery.

Nevermind that not a single one of these women would have accepted a marriage proposal from Han Solo. You’d have to be insane to do so. Intergalactic smugglers don’t have health insurance, car insurance, life insurance or regular money. You’d be living like a slave Leia, locked away in his ship as he dodged bullets.

Like so many popular things, “romantic” is great in theory but horrible in reality. This is because the same thing that makes romantic appealing, which is that it’s irresponsible, also makes it dysfunctional. It’s an illusion through-and-through that any of these women would want to live that way, which is why they love the illusion.

After all, the best illusions are the ones we would never consider as real-life decisions. That way they hover above us, delicious alternatives to our hum-drum (speak for yourself) lives, impossible and thus forever immortal, abstract, clean and smooth, untouched by the daily chaos and obligation.

It’s worth noting that if these women had 18-year-old daughters, and Han Solo showed up in his Millennium Dodge Falcon to haul them off to the Alderan bowling alley for a night of cheap beer and heavy petting, these “romantic” women would very un-romantically be calling security in their gated communities.

They may have been drugged with the dream of a temporary illusion, but these women were not fools. When the water heater breaks, you don’t want Han and Chewie to put it back together with duct tape. You want reliable work-husband to research 400 plumbers and find the right one, or spend half the weekend doing it himself, to his standards.

Wherever we go in life, the distraction divide exists. We know what is practical to do, and yet we dream of the other side. The other way. Some alternative, a different life. And by the nature of needing to dream, we project into it impossibility and an untouchability that guarantees it’s inapplicable to any life we would want to lead.

Political choices are the same way. When people are asked to solve problems, they are conservative. When we start talking about outer-space concepts like morally correct and socially successful, we end up with a consensual reality of things people want to believe are true. What they wish their lives were, not what they must be.

This is the nature of the self, liberated from constant labor by technology and the organization of first world societies (hygiene, laws, police, etc.). Looking for a way to be more powerful, it thinks of what might flatter it and make it feel truly important, which is invariably the dream of the other side and not reality.

When misled by others, it then chooses that option as if it were real. Self-pity is its blank check here. The wealthy white woman from the suburbs must look over her comfortable life and declare it “boring.” The first-world college students must look to the third world as a form of greater truth or excitement in living.

This is part of the consensual reality in which most modern people live, fed by the chatter of their friends, a constant overload of media, and well-intentioned government education. It’s a dream and an illusion, but it feels good, so they walk toward it like sleepwalkers, feeling good about themselves proportionately to their denial of reality.

Whichever society finds a way to survive into the next millennium will do so by smashing the tendency of rampant individualism that provides this orgy of egomania. It will center people on a reverent attitude toward life itself, and evade any mention of dreams that do not involve that world.

Unfortunately for our modern dreaming, this society will not be romantic but Romantic. It will endorse the lawless and chaotic, the heroic and the eternal. What it will not endorse is the raging supremacy of the individual ego that in its zeal for power, creates a utilitarian society of mundane boredom and calls it progress.

32 Comments

  1. Avery says:

    This is what peace really is. Being able to enjoy that romance in a lighthearted way. But as Nietzsche said, we must have chaos within us to give birth to a dancing star.

    1. Ryan says:

      “peace” is a illusiory enlightenment conception, there is no peace, you mean stability. peace is the slave morality christian talking, peace denys the will to power. han solo did not have peace, or Stability, he was the individualist “frontier” type analogue like john wayne or “the man with no name”. these characters fit perfectly into the american ethos, they romanticize the ideals (which genocided an entire race of people) of the selfish, but also the aggressive will to survive. han solo is more like ben bernanke than jesse james though (in my opinion, because he stood more for selfish greed than ideals, like Luke, and it took a pwetty wommen to get him all heroic).

      1. Esotericist says:

        The two falsest goals are peace and happiness.

        However we may need these as states of mind, they make us able to see our real goals.

        None of the people watching star wars have peace. They are nervous rodents in fear of a hawk.

        1. crow says:

          You guys have been misled.
          The ‘peace and happiness’ you are referring to in such dismissive terms, are the Hollywood kind.
          Like everything else Hollywood portrays, such portrayals are non-existent. But for Hollywood to portray them in the first place, would suggest they have some substance.
          And indeed they do.
          Peace and happiness exist, somewhere nearby, much of the time.
          Both can be experienced, without a lot of trouble.
          But they come and go, and can never be captured or owned.

          1. Esotericist says:

            Yes they can be experienced, but they are not goals. If all you have in life is peace and happiness you may be bored, you also need a struggle and something to give your life meaning.

            1. crow says:

              Peace and happiness are the results of having discovered meaning. Of course, this depends entirely upon your definitions of those terms.
              Finding that meaning is the goal.
              Fulfilling it, the purpose.
              P&H are the result.

              1. Esotericist says:

                That’s what I mean. You can experience these feelings, but they’re just feelings. The root of them is having fulfilled a goal. That is what you want to aim for, not P&H because that’s a tangent.

            2. Ryan says:

              there is no end in life, merely peaks and valleys, your drunk and sober, in love and lonely,etc. really that is where Luke wins, he is “boring” because he is a man, women i think can empathize with Han, because he is very “shallow” (i don’t mean to talk negatively about women) but han is driven by emotion (greed then love) where as luke, the Hyperborean, is out for the whole cake, not just his piece. Luke is much more romantic than han, just on a different level, not the byronic scoundrel, he is the crusader.

              1. Ryan says:

                this goddamn website keeps sucking me back in, christ, i was trying to shut off the existential thinking for a while, but it is impossible. but i get sick of being so damn cynical, its real lonesome ultimately.

                1. Ryan says:

                  oh yeah i never finished my thought, Luke became “Over”, the peaks and valleys, the “simple passions”, he is the heroic type. that is hard for most people to get, because they are not capible of seeing it.

                2. crow says:

                  You’re right :)

                  Cynicism is for those who don’t know any better, or how not to be it.
                  P&H awaits (:>

                3. Eric says:

                  I think the same thing sometimes. There is so much I feel and seem to see in things, but sometimes I feel like I just need to let it go a bit as there is no resolution in many ways to what I see, and staying fixated on it just gets me down. Its like I cannot deny what I seem to be observing, yet to give it too much focus just crushes me. Part of this could come out of my own life circumstances, but I think it is bigger than that and me. If I could find a way where I notice but do not get attached, that would nice. Sometimes in my head I reference the whole concept of the “middle way”, but don’t know for sure if that applies (but maybe in some cases.) Anyway, it is hard not to notice things, but getting emotionally angry or frustrated at them can just drain the essences out of you. Something I need to work on. Notice but do not become attached. So flipping hard, but would be nice, because it is hard not to notice once you do. Align yourself with good people and good behaviors and actions (no, I am not perfect in those regards, but I would like to be better.) So much seems futile when one observes the mass mentality, but I think part of ones work in life is to find meaning within the mess. Something like that.

                  1. crow says:

                    Living as I do, I run into a lot of dead birds, and animals. As I write, there is a huge vulture feasting on a deer that chose its spot, and lay down there, to die, barely out of sight of a path I use every day.
                    Such things once made me very sad.
                    Now I barely feel anything other than a slight sadness, that is closer to reverence than sorrow. And then it’s gone.
                    Here today, gone tomorrow; you, me, it.
                    A hermit thrush escaped death by a cat’s whisker, yesterday, its life in the balance as it recovered inside a hamster cage, overnight.
                    This morning at five thirty, it woke me up and I released it.
                    Now I hear it singing.
                    All it lost was a few feathers.
                    We should be so lucky, on our decaying orbit around reality.
                    Maybe we are.

                  2. Ryan says:

                    eric, i feel like a goddamn camera, i take things in, but cannot experience them, because i ame “above” them. and i have begun to realize that im just going to die in gutter if i keep thinking like that, cause everyone get sick of the cynic after a while. they get sick of the angry bastard, of the quiet observer who shuns affection. i still though can’t get enough of this reasoning, whatever

                    1. Ryan says:

                      i have this problem of attracting women with my rather “byronic” cynicism (and scoff, scoff my physical appearence) and i hate it so much, because i ruins the fun of cynicism. because you become the poisoner, when you just want to be the camera, or be like Luke and overcome the trifes of everyday. and of course they suck you down, make you feel all bad and mean.

                  3. Ryan says:

                    but yeah eric, you have to think of it in a fatherly perspective, you have to save/guide, since you know how fucked up modernity is. you cna’t just watch and comment, and thats what sucks

                4. Sun says:

                  Allow things to be.

                  If you have a thought.

                  Have it.

                  If you feel an emotion.

                  Feel it.

                  When you are cynical, be cynical. When you are not, don’t.

                  Let everything fall on to itself.

                  Go with the flow.

              2. Esotericist says:

                If I remember, he’s also a really whiny kid at the beginning.

  2. Han's Bro says:

    The character Han Solo represented the concept of freedom. He did not work on the plantation or a office cubicle. He was welcomed into the homes of slaves and the table of kings. As a matter of principle I live the Han Solo lifestyle. I’ve noticed a reoccurring statement by those I meet: “I wish I could live like you but I could not handle the insecurities”. My fellow Americans, dealing and embracing insecurity is the true price of freedom.

    1. crow says:

      He may represent freedom, to you.
      What he actually represents is self-serving cockiness and immaturity. Notice his age, at the time. You wouldn’t see a middle-aged Han Solo, now, would you?
      There are reasons for that.
      I know all of them.

      1. Han's Bro says:

        Harrison Ford was 35 when he played Han Solo…35 is as middle aged as it gets. Harrison Ford by still acting at 35 mirrors the Han Solo lifestyle. A actor usually is down on his luck, always late on his payments, and making it hand-to-mouth. But the actor’s life has it’s benefits.

        I am 52 and ditched the corporate life 11 years ago…it has not always been easy but I love my life and have no regrets about my decisions. I think my rereading Nietzsche’s works, in particular the first essay of “On the Genealogy of Morality” and the concepts of Master and Slave morality had a major influence in my choice of lifestyle. It all boils down to how one thinks and sees the world.

        1. crow says:

          I had to laugh at: “35 is as middle-aged as it gets” :)
          That’s an odd scale of relativity you have there, at 52.
          But yes: it all boils down to how you see it.

          1. Han's Bro says:

            35 might be the new 25, but 70 is still 70.

            1. Han's Bro says:

              But I have to agree with your statement : “When the water heater breaks, you don’t want Han and Chewie to put it back together with duct tape.”

        2. Esotericist says:

          Smart move. Getting out of corporate life, it’s a waste of time.

  3. EvilBuzzard says:

    There’s a whole other side to this topic. All the guys who try to be Han Solo and end up as cheese-dogs in some neighborhood bar until their livers give out and the fantasy ends. Guys who delude themselves thinking that they *should* become Han Solo typically wind up sinking to the bottom of the harbor pretty fast…

    1. Brian Jefferson says:

      I think you’re right. It seems (from what I know) that the truly great men in history were not so self-conscious as to be asking themselves what type of person they wanted to be. They just acted. I find it hard to imagine Napoleon sitting around and saying, “how can I become great?” But I think there are plenty of failed dictators who have sat around and said, “how can I become Napoleon?” Those are two very different ways of living/thinking.

    2. Esotericist says:

      Doesn’t this apply to most criminals as well?

    1. Ryan says:

      I’ll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,
      Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
      Those who wade out into battle?
      Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
      They bear bloody shields.
      Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
      They form a closed group.
      The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men

      Who hack through enemy shields.[4]

  4. Duane says:

    The Mosquito Coast – inventing, creating, parasite killing family man, and he did it all from scratch in the inhospitable wilderness.

    That character was the whole package I’d say.

  5. [...] Perhaps here and there a strong person can go into the woods and live how he wants, but this is not exactly the way Nietzsche envisioned the coming of the future philosophers. Nietzsche wanted to create Homers and Alexanders and Napoleons — not hermits inconsequential to society. Ultimately, Nietzsche’s ideal has the same romanticism about it as does Han Solo. [...]

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