Dark Side Of The Mind: Star Wars Psychology edited by Travis Langley (book review).

December 15, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘Dark Side Of The Mind: Star Wars Psychology’ is a collection of short essays that provide points-of-view on various aspects of the ‘Star Wars’ saga and how they relate to how we mentally live our lives. The collection of pieces is edited by Travis Langley, Professor of Psychology at Henderson State University. Langley has made a career out of applying psychology to pop culture having overseen similar books on ‘Batman’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and one on Marvel’s super-heroes is currently in the works.


The book covers a number of subjects: phantom limb syndrome, robots and emotions, the feminine perspective of the hero’s journey and the idea of ‘mindfulness’, all of which within the ‘Star Wars’ universe are fair game for discussion. Some of the discussions are quite interesting. Billy San Juan’s examination of Anakin, his masculinity and grief is a good character examination, matched against the traditional five stages of grief. Another engaging character piece is Craig Pohlman discussing how Yoda acts in his role of mentor.

I found some of the other essays to be slightly more problematic. Talking about Carl Jung for example and the collective unconscious, drawing parallels to the Force always feels to be slightly removed from more rational scientific research. Likewise, I’m not sure Phillip Zimbardo’s amazingly proficient work on the nature of evil should be used in a discussion of the Dark Side or Darth Vader.

The problem I think that I had with the book was that some of the essays did throw new light on the ‘Star Wars’ movies, but those essays that wanted to use analysis of the films as a means to live your life, were a little odd and, to be honest, I found myself actively disengaging from the book, checking my phone, looking out the window, etc every time it turned into a self-help guide.

This book may be of interest to the ardent ‘Star Wars’ fan and perhaps a little less to the casual. The book has a great introduction about how important it is to stand-up to bullying. While reading, I got it into my head that the book was actually created for charity and would be donating to the Anti-Bullying charity, however this wasn’t the case. Perhaps if purchasing it was making a contribution, I would have been happier. As it is, this is not recommended.

John Rivers

December 2015

(pub: Sterling, New York. 302 page paperback. Price: $14.95 (US), £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-45491-736-6)

check out website: www.sterlingpublishing.com

Category: Books, Star Wars

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