UA Trauma Surgeon John Porter Translates Taoism in Just-Published Book
Ingredients of a trauma surgeon: one part samurai, one part Jedi and one part philosopher. At least those are the ingredients that make up John Porter, MD, chief of Trauma and Critical Care in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, and author of the just-released book The Tao of Star Wars.
Dr. Porter, who, in addition to medicine, also practices Taoism and the martial art of Aikido, says a philosophical and spiritual thread that runs through the Star Wars series also can be found in the ancient Chinese philosophy called Taoism.
Taoism is a philosophy founded more than 2,500 years ago in China. It is translated as the "way" or the path and is the beginning and end of all things. "The Tao is the force that pervades the universe, just like 'The Force' in Star Wars," Dr. Porter explains.
An avid Star Wars fan, he decided to write a book using Star Wars themes to explain the Tao's basic life concepts. The book provides sensible definitions and practical applications to following the Tao.
"Most books on Tao are written by academics," Dr. Porter says. "I wanted to use a popular, well-known concept to explain the philosophy to make it understandable. The book is about improving yourself and your relationships at home and at work in terms and situations that people can relate to. The basic tenets of Taoism are acceptance, simplicity, patience and effortless action. I wanted to use popular situations from a popular movie to get these points across."
For example, in a fight scene in Episode I involving Qui-Gon and Darth Maul, a barrier arises that prevents Qui-Gon from pursuing the evil Darth Maul. However, instead of pacing up and down and being frustrated, he sits down and meditates, patiently waiting for the barrier to be removed, and thus, allowing the fight to continue. This is an example of accepting the moment or being in the moment, a key principle in Taoism, Dr. Porter says.
Applying this to his job as a trauma surgeon, Dr. Porter says, "If I do my best but cannot save the patient, I can feel bad -- but I also need to accept what is, knowing that I have done my best. However, by living in the moment I can completely focus on saving the next patient."
BOOK SIGNINGS SCHEDULED: The following book signing and discussion events have been scheduled for Friday, March 21, 7 p.m., Borders Books & Music, Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.; and Saturday, March 22, 2 p.m., Borders Books & Music, 4235 N. Oracle Road. The book also can be purchased online at www.humanicspub.com and will soon be available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.