Category Archives: Star Wars

What are you without the Force?

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.

The Force Awakens Rebuttal:

Spoilers so step on if you haven’t seen it. I shall be addressing the “that is not how the Force works” issues with a main character.

So some people have presented a problem with Rey using the Force and being seemingly proficient in it without training. And there is a feeling that the Force is being ruined or guided in a direction that some do not agree with. It is a recurring problem I have seen expressed and I think a lot of people might be overlooking a few of points (maybe not, but figured I’d add my two pennies anyhow).

First, the reason Jedi seek to find and train Force sensitives is because of unchecked ability. Anakin Skywalker is able to use foresight without training, for example. The Force augments a person without training. Having an untrained force user in the galaxy was a concern. And those with it often used their abilities to further themselves in the galaxy. They were able to use the Force without training. They were limited by two things – complete ignorance, not knowing it was the Force aiding them. And ignorance of abilities, not knowing what the Force could be used for. Thus rarely do they go beyond the simple insights and proddings they feel.

Second, training makes it reliable, yes. It makes it an at will thing. Obi-Wan does the Jedi Mind Trick without effort because of training. But once you know something? Once you have an idea that you have this power and it can affect people’s minds? You have already jumped pass the two biggest hurdles we just mentioned. Training is not required to access and use the Force. Training is about Ethics, it is about Tangible Repeatable Results. It is about learning to use it under duress. It is learning to use it without resorting to emotional prodding and the Dark Side. This is what Jedi Training is about. It is about Mastery. Understanding. And overcoming Ignorance – what you can and cannot do with the Force. What you should and should not do with the Force. And using it in stressful situations reliably.

Third, we have an understanding the Jedi sometimes excel in certain areas of the Force. Different Jedi had different strengths. Who is to say Mind Affect is not an innate trait of Rey’s? Perhaps subtly being done over her years as a scavenger? She seemed to convince the greedy little scavenger who trapped BB-8 well enough.

Now – I view Rey’s use of the Mind Trick was great and within the confines of everything we know of the Force, Canon or Legends. She failed. And Again. She knew it was possible, but failed. How is this different than Luke on Hoth? Nowhere within the movies do we see him get telekinesis training. But he knows of the Force and its abilities. So why not try? Both had to stop – calm the mind – and than force their will (no pun intended). It was a great moment. I’d personally love to see her fail again in the next movie – because of lack of training. Not reliable yet. The Force aiding, guiding to a specific outcome.
Side Note: I’d recommend Scourge (A Legends novel) which touches on the subject of the Mind Trick throughout the book. I think it helps understanding how such a thing can be done.

Lightsaber Duel – “The Force doesn’t make you a skilled duelist.” Correct, but it does help telegraph moves – as said it guides. Rey already knows how to fight. So with premonition and nudges to strike here, block there, strike here? Which whether you go Jedi Apprentice series or A New Hope, you know the Force does work in that manner. So yeah, going to kick butt. “But Ren has more training!” True BUT, he was still emotionally torn from killing his father, that just happened, so unstable (no doubt affecting his own connection to the Force). He was shot with a bowcaster that was blowing stormtroopers out of their boots (connection issue even with Dark Side logic of pain fuels me – body and mind can only take so much). He had just fought Finn and suffered a wound from that battle (so hindered in that). He was holding back because he had NO Intention of Killing Rey. He just wanted to her to willingly join his side. So he wasn’t fighting to win, he was fighting to simply defend and diffuse. Any real fighter will tell you that makes a huge difference. So not going 100%. And Rey, connected to the Force, calm mind in battle, already established as a skilled fighter, and fighting 100%? Why wouldn’t she kick the crap out of him?

Overall I felt nothing shown went against any notion of the Force that we have been shown or know of, again canon or legends. Rey is awesome. But she isn’t overpowered, she struggles. And just the knowledge that you can tap into this great power which you had heard stories and legends of your whole life? Seriously, think for a minute. If you knew you had the Force as seen in Star Wars – how many abilities would you try? How would you try them? Maybe based off the stories you know so well? Stop – Calm the Mind – Focus – Act? Nope. Sorry I stand behind Rey’s actions within the movie and feel they are directly in line with canon – not changing direction or altering the Force in any way.