Consider yourself and the cello. As you play the music moves out to the listener, and also enters the core of your own being, for somehow you are tuned to the cello. Well, I am persuaded that this is because you are a chord. I am a chord. Our DNA dictates our physicality–made up of billions of little notes–on a basic level. Add to that our geography, background, et cetera, and you have your original score. Life is the layering of chords, but the underlying one that we are will never change. This brings us to string theory and love. Our personal chord resonates with the personal ones of others, and sometimes we encounter another person who is completely harmonious with us. It is a dominant, overwhelming attraction on the DNA level. However, such a person can appear to be our opposite–and that’s where this ‘opposites attract’ notion comes from–because they have tuned their chord in a different way. In reality, we are attracted to the person we have chosen not to become, an alternative adjustment to a chord that is nearly the same as our own. The clashing portions of the chords sounding together advance the richness of it.
A physical attraction is often desired above many things but you’ll discover it to be short lived. Find yourself someone that gets under your skin, seduces the dusty corners of your heart, and provides you with a mental connection. That is when you’ll know true intimacy.
Lovers’ language, give me an exact and poetic comparison to say what those eyes of Capitu were like. No image comes to mind that doesn’t offend against the rules of good style, to say what they were and what they did to me. Undertow eyes? Why not? Undertow. That’s the notion that the new expression put in my head. They held some kind of mysterious, active fluid, a force that dragged one in, like the undertow of a wave retreating from the shore on stormy days. So as not to be dragged in, I held onto anything around them, her ears, her arms, her hair spread about her shoulders; but as soon as I returned to the pupils of her eyes again, the wave emerging from them grew towards me, deep and dark, threatening to envelop me, draw me in and swallow me up.
―Machado de Assis,Dom Casmurro
Besides, I’d seen a really nice pair of shoes yesterday in the mall and I wanted them for my own. I can’t describe the feeling of immediate familiarity that rushed between us. The moment I clapped eyes on them I felt like I already owned them. I could only suppose that we were together in a former life. That they were my shoes when I was a serving maid in medieval Britain or when I was a princess in ancient Egypt. Or perhaps they were the princess and I was the shoes. Who’s to know? Either way I knew that we were meant to be together.
Your morse code interferes with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taught.
I kept staring into the blackness of the woods, drawn into the darkness as I always had been. I suddenly realized how alone I was. (But this is how you travel, the wind whispered back, this is how you’ve always lived.)
Public Domain Image by Pacman on Wikimedia Commons
Secrets had an immense attraction to him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.
Darth Vader has been the personification of evil for several generations. Is the archetype he represents aging gracefully or not?
My first movie theater experience was The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. My mother and her best friend had to stuff their purses into the seat so it wouldn’t close up while I sat on it. I was blown away by all the explosions in space; fascinated by the snarky relationships between Luke, Leia, and Han; bemused by Yoda; and completely floored by this guy in a black suit and helmet with a deep voice. I loved Darth Vader so much that I had two action figures of him, purchasing the second after the first lost his cape and lightsaber in a particularly rough raid on a group of unsuspecting stuffed animals. I think he ended up in a mud pit after that one. Note that I never ever had a Han or Luke, although I had a Princess Leia, a C-3PO and two R2D2s. To be honest, I can’t imagine a world without Darth Vader because I’ve never had to live in one.
Darth Vader memorialized in a grotesque on the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., USA Public Domain Image via wikipedia
Lord Vader has endured, despite Hayden Christiansen’s ham-fisted portrayal of Anakin and the questionable scripts of the prequels. I never cared to see him humanized and I’m sure I’m not the only one that preferred him either evil, dying, or dead. I still get irritated when the ghost of Christiansen’s Anakin shows up in the reissued versions of the original movies. This isn’t really Christiansen’s fault, at least not entirely.
The most attractive and, at the same time, the most repulsive elements of Vader were his anonymity and his inhumanity, which turned out to be lies. These lies are what kept him alive even as they poisoned him and the entire galaxy around him. His helmet is perhaps the best symbol of all of this. It’s a mechanized, futuristic piece of work with just enough Mongol warrior and Samurai to root it in fearsome mythology and stir up archetypal references in the collective unconscious. Like the Nazi SS uniform, the Darth Vader suit and helmet have evil connotations. Maybe it is best that time erode and crack open that image even further than his heroic final act did. At any rate, nothing can stop that now.
Angsty teen Anakin may or may not have been a serious blow to the Vader image, but recent years have seen a far more interesting attack on the Vader helmet itself. Project Vader, put together by Dov Kelemer and Sarah Jo Marks of DKE Toys, reinterpreted the iconic image by sending helmet replicas to artists asking that them to create their own take on Darth Vader. In 2010, after being exhibited in the USA, Japan and England, one hundred helmets were auctioned off, each going for thousands of dollars. You will want to see all one hundred of them in this post from TotalFilm. Many are silly, some still verge on terrifying, but all represent cracks in the anonymity that initially made Vader scary.
Once a villain is deconstructed and recognized as human, he loses some of his iconic power, even as he gains our empathy. That doesn’t mean he, or she, is ultimately less frightening; it redirects fear from his image back into our own subconscious. We are afraid because we see ourselves reflected in him and we have to deal with the emotions that result. Project Vader does that beautifully.
Darth Vader was perhaps the first pop culture villain to allow himself to be dissected before our eyes, bravely paving the way for bad guys and girls like Gus Fring and Walter White or Francis and Claire Underwood, who are so much more than monsters. Thank you, Lord Vader.
The moth takes off again, and we both step back, because he’s circling at eye level now and seems to have lost rudder control, smacking into the wall on each round. He circles lower and lower, spinning around the candle in tighter revolutions, like a soap sud over an open drain. A few times he seems to touch the flame, but dances off unhurt.
Then he ignites like a ball of hair, curling into an oily puff of fumes with a hiss. The candle flame flickers and dims for a moment, then burns as bright as before.
Moth Smoke Lingers.
― Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke