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midichlorians is the worst part of the prequels. Destroys all that was cool about the jedi and the force.


I meant that as George Lucas isn't the teacher/observer. George Lucas told a story that lots of people of my generation connected with in a big way(which is no small feat, of course). Its Eliezer that is acting as the teacher/observer, saying remember the situation this character was in, what if he did this instead?

If Eliezer told a similar story about a friend of his, his point would have been the same, but he would have had to work a lot harder to set the stage.

retired urologist,

the material doesn't have the authority to impart insights. Eliezer had to go off on a riff about Luke's behavior in that situation. But it is a situation that we are all pretty familar with, and one that lots of us connected with. The technique is no different that Greek philosophers and lecturers using Greek mythology references to make their point. Remember when the gods did this, remember how Hercules was doing that, what can we learn from that? Or referencing bible stories to make a point in a church sermon. George Lucas wasn't trying to teach anything more important than that Luke was a whiny brat, who was reckless, implusive, and lazy.

It was important to establish that because originally Luke was going to be seduced by the dark side, kill his father, and join the Emperor. At which point Leia would undertake Jedi training and turn Luke back to the good side, and together defeat the Emperor once and for all. That's why, when Luke flies off to Cloud City, Yoda and Obi-Wan are talking, and Yoda points out that Luke isn't the only hope, that "there is another." (Which obi-wan should have known seeing as how the prequels put obi-wan at the birth of Luke and Leia.)

Episodes IV, V, and VI, were the just the middle, Lucas had in mind I, II, and III and VII, VIII, and IX. I'd like to believe that what he had in mind in the 70's was not at all what we saw on hte screen in the late 90's, early 00's. Those were just commercials for the special effects of Industrial Light and Magic.

Anyway, the point is not about Sci-Fi, its about a common cultural reference upon which to draw your general argument.

Chris Hibbert hits on a good point.

Many of the top physicists on the Manhattan Project drove the military crazy because they spent their downtime cracking safes and picking locks and going into places "they weren't supposed to go", which is exactly the sort of behavior you need to exhibit, when trying to explore unknown territory.

Prof. Hanson says (or at least he used to say)economics tells us "stories without fools." Economics has the stories about mostly rational actors. But that seems to be why so many people aren't interested in economics, people love those fools. The fools are just so dang compelling and romantic.

Robin's answer hinges on "all else being equal." That condition can tie up a lot of loose ends, it smooths over plenty of rough patches. But those ends unravel pretty quickly once you start to consider all the ways in which everything else is inherently unequal. I happen to think the dust speck is a 0 on the disutility meter, myself, and 3^^^3*0 disutilities = 0 disutility.

judging by where the commments took this discussion on Megan's blog, she may have been doing you a favor by not linking to