So recently I saw a rather silly comment in response to a question which asked, what defines a Jedi without lightsabers and the Force? One of the many answers said, “Without the Force a Jedi is a good meaning person who picks too many fights too often for their own good.” Now given the source (a non-Jedi – for good reason we can see) it might be worth passing on addressing this. However I do see a couple of really good points we can explore because of such a remark and draw it back to the original question. And I am going to address this both within the Star Wars universe and for those of us who carry the Jedi label. So first within Star Wars.
Without the Force a Jedi is a good meaning person who picks too many fights too often for their own good. The Star Wars Take:
This is so broken it is tough on where to begin. First, Sith had the Force, this did not make them Jedi. There is a story within the Star Wars Universe of Ulic Qel-Droma. He went undercover to stop a Dark Side cult from the inside. Of course he turned to the Dark Side and became a rather deadly Sith. At the end of the war that arose from these events Ulic was held accountable for his actions. He ultimately turned away from the Dark Side, but long after many had died at his actions and hands. So the Jedi cut him off from the Force and he was sent into exile. The daughter of the Jedi who cut-off his connection to the Force eventually would seek him out for Jedi training. He refused stating he was no longer a Jedi and could not train her as he could not feel the Force anymore. She eventually helped him remember that being a Jedi is a way of life and that training did not require connection, but understanding. So he agreed. This is the point – without the Force a Jedi is still a Jedi. Can they be as awesome and do amazing feats? Not in the context of other Jedi, but a Jedi nonetheless. Another point is Tionne. A Jedi is very limited Force abilities – practically non-existent. She was a great Jedi Historian and Instructor – also a Jedi Knight. These two examples show that the Force was not the defining trait of the Jedi even within the Star Wars Universe.
Now in Star Wars is a Jedi a person who picks too many fights for their own good? I am leaving out the “too often” because once is too often. And that really addresses the whole point here. Jedi use the very ethically questionable Jedi Mind Trick to do ensure one particular thing – to avoid a fight. In fact the only instance that a “Jedi” has picked a fight I can think of is Luke Skywalker confronting Darth Vader. And that can be debated. Now the Prequels has some moments which some might feel fall under this? But Stopping the Sith is not picking a fight. Like Obi-Wan going after Anakin is not picking a fight, is seeking out a person who has murderer several people including children. Same with Yoda confronting Dooku and Palpatine. Mace and company aren’t picking a fight and in fact request surrender. I mean I get way people may throw these instances into the category, but like with Luke I think we can make a case they are less picking fights and more stopping a continuation of improper behavior (to put it mildly in some cases). And in every single one of them (again with maybe an exception to Luke) it was not “for their own good.” Like that logic just doesn’t click at all. It was with an eye towards the big picture and the lasting impact people like Vader would have on the galaxy.
In conclusion, when we look at the Jedi in Star Wars I don’t think we can find one solid example of this. In fact everything we know and have been shown of the Jedi highlights the opposite problem. The extremes they go to avoid fights. The Mind Trick as mentioned. Exile seems a very popular choice. Yoda, Obi-Wan, Luke, even Kanaan for awhile, all run off into some kind of self-imposed exile. They exile Jedi who fall off the Path to the Dark Side (the story of the original Sith). Peace, Knowledge, Serenity, Harmony, and the Force (the Jedi Code for those unaware) do not add up to – without that last one Jedi are selfish, aggressive individuals who have control issues.
Without the Force a Jedi is a good meaning person who picks too many fights too often for their own good. The Jedi Take:
If you call yourself a Jedi – you have failed as soon as you have picked a fight. Done. Bam. That is easy. Nowhere in Jedi Philosophy, practices, ideals, concepts, nowhere is it found acceptable for a Jedi to ever go a pick a fight. Not for themselves. Not for others. Jedi Rules of Behavior – Conquer Aggression. Jedi Rules of Behavior – Honor Life. Jedi Rules of Behavior – Overcome Recklessness. Jedi Code – Peace. Jedi Code – Serenity. Jedi Code – Harmony. Skywalker Code (or Jedi Creed) – Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy. Skywalker Code (or Jedi Creed) – Jedi use their powers to defend and protect, never to attack others. Skywalker Code (or Jedi Creed) – Jedi respect all life, in any form.
Nowhere in our philosophy is there room for someone labelled a Jedi to pick a fight, ever, for any reason. It is simply not there. Not in our Inspiration/Lore. Not in our core texts. Not in our application of the Path.
Look – within the Jedi Community there are varying beliefs and views on what the Force is. And that is cool and awesome and allows us to explore that wonderful concept with openness and honesty. Of course in that there are many ways for a Jedi to feel that they do have the Force as prescribed by others. Which – again is okay. Because whether you “have the Force” by some other Jedi’s definition is irrelevant to the Path. It does not affect what the Jedi Way is. The Jedi Lifestyle still requires a person to live within a certain box (a rather big box I like to say, but a box nonetheless) and that box does not allow for a person to call themselves a Jedi and run around picking fights. Just so we are clear.
Sure Opie – this all seems pretty clear. I mean, that comment doesn’t seem to warrant any attention at all. This all is pretty basic stuff – so why address it? Great point imaginary reader. Well it bothers me because the person who said it is often looked up to (even to this day) in the Jedi Community. They once held titles like Jedi Knight and Jedi Master. So people still look to this person as someone who has insight into the Jedi Path. Which clearly they do not; nor have they ever really (personal opinion there). So I wanted to at least put together some sort of counterpoint. IN the hopes that people might be a bit more discerning in their view of Jedi (in Star Wars and outside of it) as well as those they look to for answers on it. Don’t ever hold a person above information. Meaning if I say something absurd, don’t just accept it because I said so. Look at it, make sure it holds up to reason. Look at the material, not the person. Is the message sound? Is the material worthwhile? Let that speak for itself, not some resume which fails to acknowledge that people change and are fallible. Challenge absurdity.