"It's a very American thing."
George Lucas is known for creating two of the most popular film franchises of all time, “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” Both sagas are great fantasy and adventure films that were elevated by powerful ideas taken from anthropology, religion and mythology.
Lucas has spent a lifetime thinking deeply about the human condition and weaving those themes into his art. So when he was asked to give a speech at the Academy of Achievement in 2013 about his road to success, his views on happiness were incredibly thoughtful.
They also sound a lot like the ideas that he’s shared in his films.
“Happiness is pleasure and happiness is joy,” he begins. “It can be either one, you add them up and it can be the uber category of happiness. Pleasure is short-lived. It lasts an hour, it lasts a minute, it lasts a month. And it peaks and it goes down. It peaks very high. But the next time you want to get that same peak you have to do it twice as much.”
In the video below he explains why the pursuit of pleasure leads us to only crave more while focusing on joy provides an inexhaustible well of happiness.
Lucas shared a similar observation with the writing staff of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and he related the same principle to the Force.
“Only way to overcome the dark side is through discipline,” he said. “The dark side is pleasure, biological and temporary and easy to achieve. The light side is joy, everlasting, and difficult to achieve. A great challenge. Must overcome laziness, give up quick pleasures, and overcome fear which leads to hate.”