The confusion around the Jedi’s view of emotions and attachments is as old as Star Wars itself. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one to have zoned out during one of Anakin’s temper tantrums thinking about questions like, “Are Jedi allowed to love?” and, “How can all of that always lead to the Dark Side? That seems like a stretch!” It wasn’t until my own life experiences (no, I’m not a Sith Lord) and my mental health research that I stumbled on why exactly, “Attachment is forbidden.” – Anakin Skywalker (this guy, though, was a Sith Lord). In psychology, there is an important theory around Attachment vs Detachment that perfectly explains the Jedi’s controversial views.

In most of our eyes, the term “attachment” doesn’t mean much more than liking someone, and the word “detachment” sounds incredibly negative. In the psychology world, they look deeper into what those words mean and the associated behaviors. This theory can be a bit easier to understand when looking at it this way: Attachment vs Detachment = Control vs Care = Responsible for vs Responsible to.

Looking at Attachment in the psychological view, it is a form of dependence where someone attaches their own feelings and thoughts onto what another is feeling, thinking, or doing. It is often intermixed with needing Control of the other and feeling Responsible for them. Think about Attachment in that way when you look at Anakin and Padme’s relationship. For example, in The Clone Wars, he would get upset when she goes out on missions. His need for control was very thinly disguised as caring for her. It can also be seen in his jealous and irrational reaction to Rush Clovis (an old fling of Padme’s). And further witnessed in his statement of “your presence is soothing,” showing how he’d attached how he feels to what she is doing (soothing when he’s in control, out of control when he’s not).

Detachment sounds harsh but, truly, it just means allowing other people to be responsible for themselves. Where Attachment is selfish, Detachment is the opposite. Yoda says in Attack of the Clones, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” He doesn’t mean to stop caring, but to let go of the control of them. Indeera Stokes may say it best in Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm, “Because Jedi can love, Bell. We’re not droids, nor should we ever be. We are living creatures in the Force, with everything that brings. Joy, affection, and, yes, grief. Experiencing such emotions is part of life. It is light…. But while we experience such emotions, we should never let them rule us. A Jedi is the master of their emotions, never a slave. You miss what you might have shared with Loden if he were here. That is natural. I miss him, too. And so we acknowledge that hurt. We understand it, even embrace it, but eventually…[we let it go].”

When we hear Master Yoda’s statements of, “The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side,” and “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”, we can now see that fear isn’t the root of the problem – it is unhealthy attachment.

Stephanie Hattan
Co-host/Producer at One Hell of a Fanfic

Steph is a casually deep Star Wars nerd with a penchant for reading and making Reylo fanfiction head canon. Outside of that, she and Cantina Cast's own Lauren have a podcast called One Hell of a Fanfic, talks Star Wars on her Tik Tok account, hangs out with her kids, and starts way too many projects for her own good.

You can find Stephanie on the Cantina Cast Discord server as Steph! How original!

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