Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Am Your Father

Its World Cup time (!) and I recently watched one of the new Adidas commericals featuring David Beckham and Snoop Dogg in the Mos Eisley cantina (Star Wars). Naturally, that got me thinking...what if I type World Cup into PubMed? Well, do that and you end up with a lot of papers about disease transmission during the World Cup in South Africa. Mweh. But what if you type Star Wars into PubMed? Now we're talkin'...

A new paper has been published in the journal Psychiatry Research titled "Is Anakin Skywalker suffering from borderline personality disorder?" is the first to come up.

This short letter provides a detailed look at the only recurrent main character to appear in all six Star Wars episodes: Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight and supervillan Darth Vader (kuuuhh, kuuuhh) <-- that was supposed to be Darth Vadery like breathing, in case you couldn't tell. But why does this series, and this character in particular, hold such universal appeal and success? The themes within the storyline? Pshah, too easy. More likely its this main character's personality.

The authors take "a psychodynamically oriented exploration of his life history" and show how elements within it are associated with borderline personality disorder:
1. The absence of his father and his early separation from his mother
2. The use of defense mechanisms such as splitting, projection, and infantile illusions of omnipotence
3. During his youth Anakin had problems with emotional and impulse regulation, particularly anger management
4. His dysfunctional experiences with himself and others and his quest to find himself and his identity
5. His constant fear of losing his wife and the frantic efforts to avoid it
6. His dissociative episodes: killing the Tuskan raiders who killed his mother and wiping out the Jedi younglings after turning to the dark side of the force

Well, that's something to think about. Or perhaps overthink.

Here's the reference:
Buia, Eric , Rachel Rodgersb, Henri Chabrolb, Philippe Birmesa and Laurent Schmitta. (2010) Is Anakin Skywalker suffering from borderline personality disorder? Psychiatry Research: published online. (DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2009.03.031)

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