PDA

View Full Version : A fundamental flaw in the Jedi Order's philosophy?



JediTricks
06-28-2006, 03:07 PM
In the prequels, Yoda and the Jedi Council subscribe heavily to the philosophy that attachments to others is a weakness that can lead to the Dark Side of the Force. To combat this in their Jedi, they recruit so young that the children never form attachments with their own families; when Qui-Gon brings Anakin before the council, they initially deny the boy entry into Order based on his age, pointing out during his testing phase that he is too old because his preconceived notions and attachments to his mother are too strong to be broken and would stand in conflict with his commitment to the Order, no matter the fact that he may have been created by the midichlorians and be the one named in the prophecy - in fact, the prequels later make the argument that the Council was completely RIGHT when Anakin's attachment to his mother start him down the dark path and his attachment to Padme creates a fear of loss which ultimately leads him to become a Sith, just as Yoda told him it would when he sought the master's council earlier in the final prequel.

Yet, about 25 years afterwards, it is Vader's attachment to his son that ultimately defeats the Emperor and vanquishes the Sith, Vader watches his son get tortured by his master and can stand no more, and ROTJ argues that Vader's redemption and the fulfillment of the prophecy comes because of his love for his children, his wish to see them not die. Moreover, Yoda's philosophy of letting loved ones die as told to Luke in ESB would very possibly have cost the Rebellion their victor a movie later, as Leia and Chewie and Han would all certainly be lost if Luke had not ventured to Cloud City to follow his attachments and save them. And if Luke had not felt attachment to his father, he would not have tried to save him and thus the Emperor would not have been killed, yet Yoda himself tells Luke that he must face Vader again even though the boy knows the truth.

So it seems to me that this heavy-detachment philosophy of the Jedi Order is in stark contrast to how the Sith are ultimately defeated - the Jedi Order is demolished, and good only survives because of the familial bond between father and son overpowering the ultimate galactic evil.

seanmcfripp
06-28-2006, 04:43 PM
I'm glad someone else noticed this and feels the same way. Thanks JT.

Yoda had no idea what he was talking about. The Jedi and the Sith philosiphies both got it wrong, and that's why the Force eventually destroyed them all. No more Jedi, no more Sith, the Force is in balance, and everyone's happy. Luke turns out to be the only balanced Force guy from the whole lot of 'em, and I think his "goodness" isn't as clear cut as most people think.

JediTricks
06-28-2006, 05:08 PM
Lucas still says that the balance was achieved merely by destroying the Sith, so I guess Lucas doesn't mind that the Jedi Order's philosophy comes up stinky, that doesn't play into it.

There's a thread on the Balance of the Force issues already so I'll link to that as well: 31831


It's funny, Yoda's advice to Anakin about letting go of attachments is largely seen as sage, yet it still comes up lacking in both the prequels and the OT.

2-1B
06-29-2006, 01:39 AM
I think you're comparing 2 different scenarios. Vader killing the Emperor is in direct defense of Luke's life. Anakin taking revenge on his mother's killers (and then some :D ) as well as his pursuit of the Dark Side to save Padme are completely different scenarios than the way he goes about saving Luke.

stillakid
06-29-2006, 09:20 AM
The Jedi and the Sith philosiphies both got it wrong,

More directly, the Prequels got it wrong. In trying to explain that which had already been illustrated via the OT, the Prequels frequently back logic into a corner that it can't escape from. Either Lucas had worked out all the angles and just wasn't a competent enough writer to express them or he tossed these concepts into the story all willy-nilly to give the impression that the story had deeper meaning. Those are the only two options available and neither are very palpable. I wonder which he would own up to?

TheDarthVader
06-29-2006, 11:03 AM
I am not sure if you can correctly call the Luke/Vader relationship an "attachment" because they don't even know each other. For someone to get "attached" to someone, they have to know them for at least a little while (such as when people are dating). Luke never knew his father or his mother, and Vader never knew his children.

The Cloud City example is more difficult. Luke says that he saw a city in the clouds, and his friends were in pain. Yoda can not foresee if they are going to die. And I think it is debateable whether or not Luke saved anyone at Cloud City. Even in ROTJ he admits that he was wrong.

Yoda: "...you rushed to face him. That incomplete was your training..."
Luke: "I'm sorry."

stillakid
06-29-2006, 11:51 AM
I am not sure if you can correctly call the Luke/Vader relationship an "attachment" because they don't even know each other.

The reference to "attachments" by the Jedi isn't to be taken that literally. The point of the concept is that if one lets go of all literal attachment (be it ownership of anything or of relationships) then one is free to live up to the ideals of truth, Justice, and the American Way.

THAT was Luke's failure which Yoda was trying to express. Luke WAS attached to his friends and Yoda feared that that "love" for individuals would compromise the greater good. The same could hold true if, say, Luke owned property on some planet and left his training early because he hears that the local government is going to build a freeway through his front yard.

Vader and Luke didn't have much literal time together, but Vader ultimately felt the love for his son by watching Luke attempt to martyr himself. Luke's attachment to his father, as tenuous as it was, was enough. He chose death of himself and possibly the Rebellion instead of joining the bad guys. What he didn't see coming (but hoped for) was Vader making the same choice, thus saving Luke's life and essentially killing off the Empire.

So where the Jedi theoretically got it wrong was that while attachment CAN be the cause of things like greed, envy, jealousy, etc., it can ALSO serve to provide many good things as well, like sacrifice and unhampered giving.

Perhaps this is where the concept of "balance" enters the picture. While the Jedi think that giving up everything is the only way to purity and the Sith exhibit selfishness as their primary trait, we can suggest that neither can exist alone and that it takes a certain "balance" of compassion and selfishness for the human condition to achieve its full potential.


Or not.

JediTricks
06-29-2006, 05:40 PM
Something said here gives me another of line of thought to mention, the Jedi say that interpersonal emotional attachments are bad, mmkay? But what do the Sith say about them? The Sith seem very isolated and lonely, their order is intentionally cloistered and inside is just 2 people - a master and an apprentice, and the apprentice is apparently often scheming against the master. The Sith seem to have even less use for these personal attachments except to use them for manipulative purposes, so the Jedi philosophy seems to have something rather negative in common with the evil Sith.



I think you're comparing 2 different scenarios. Vader killing the Emperor is in direct defense of Luke's life. Anakin taking revenge on his mother's killers (and then some :D ) as well as his pursuit of the Dark Side to save Padme are completely different scenarios than the way he goes about saving Luke.I'm not talking about the actual actions he took or their results, I'm talking about the underlying connections he has to those people. How does Luke going to save his friends on Cloud City fit into your argument? He goes to save his friends against advice the same way Anakin goes to save his loved ones.


More directly, the Prequels got it wrong. In trying to explain that which had already been illustrated via the OT, the Prequels frequently back logic into a corner that it can't escape from.Ah, but what of Yoda's similar claims against familial connections in ESB? Granted, there he wasn't as extreme with the claims as the prequels later do, but he's still wrong.


I am not sure if you can correctly call the Luke/Vader relationship an "attachment" because they don't even know each other. For someone to get "attached" to someone, they have to know them for at least a little while (such as when people are dating). Luke never knew his father or his mother, and Vader never knew his children.I disagree, Luke idealized his father growing up and had attachment to his memory, in ROTJ Luke risks everything to save his father, arguing in the face of his mentors that he cannot kill his father and that he can feel the good within him. And Vader in turn has an attachment to Luke, he can sense Luke's presence on Endor when the Emperor cannot (the Emp even makes comment of this about Vader's feelings), and Vader sacrifices his own life to save his son when the Emperor is about to kill him - if it had been anybody else getting zapped, do you really think Vader would have stepped in?


The Cloud City example is more difficult. Luke says that he saw a city in the clouds, and his friends were in pain. Yoda can not foresee if they are going to die. And I think it is debateable whether or not Luke saved anyone at Cloud City. Even in ROTJ he admits that he was wrong.Like I just told Caesar in the first paragraph of this post, we're not talking about results, we're talking about motivations. Whether Luke saved his friends is immaterial, that he went to try to save his friends even though he was advised not to at great peril is the issue, Yoda said he should let go of his friends, let them die so he can continue his training, but Yoda was wrong about that. Besides, if he had not come to Cloud City, Vader may have had more time to take it slow giving Lando no chance to enable a rescue - and if Luke hadn't come to Bespin, he couldn't have brought R2 who ultimately kept the Falcon and our remaining heroes out of the Empire's hands.



So where the Jedi theoretically got it wrong was that while attachment CAN be the cause of things like greed, envy, jealousy, etc., it can ALSO serve to provide many good things as well, like sacrifice and unhampered giving.Exactly! That's a great job of really explaining the issue, that's the bottom line, the Jedi are so sure that outside attachments are a threat that their order refuses to let anybody have a any deep emotional human (or whatever ;)) contact.


Perhaps this is where the concept of "balance" enters the picture. While the Jedi think that giving up everything is the only way to purity and the Sith exhibit selfishness as their primary trait, we can suggest that neither can exist alone and that it takes a certain "balance" of compassion and selfishness for the human condition to achieve its full potential.

Or not.As much as I like the idea of that balance, it seems like something Jedi scholars might have figured out while researching the prophecy, even if they didn't all agree with it they probably would have had that in mind enough to look into changing their ways on it. It'd seem like such an easy thing to fix, no need for a vergance in the Force, just get Dr Phil. Plus, Lucas said the Balance was in destroying the Sith, so there's no connection to it there. :ermm:

Dominic Guglieme
06-29-2006, 07:53 PM
In the prequels, Yoda and the Jedi Council subscribe heavily to the philosophy that attachments to others is a weakness that can lead to the Dark Side of the Force. To combat this in their Jedi, they recruit so young that the children never form attachments with their own families; when Qui-Gon brings Anakin before the council, they initially deny the boy entry into Order based on his age, pointing out during his testing phase that he is too old because his preconceived notions and attachments to his mother are too strong to be broken and would stand in conflict with his commitment to the Order, no matter the fact that he may have been created by the midichlorians and be the one named in the prophecy - in fact, the prequels later make the argument that the Council was completely RIGHT when Anakin's attachment to his mother start him down the dark path and his attachment to Padme creates a fear of loss which ultimately leads him to become a Sith, just as Yoda told him it would when he sought the master's council earlier in the final prequel.

Yet, about 25 years afterwards, it is Vader's attachment to his son that ultimately defeats the Emperor and vanquishes the Sith, Vader watches his son get tortured by his master and can stand no more, and ROTJ argues that Vader's redemption and the fulfillment of the prophecy comes because of his love for his children, his wish to see them not die. Moreover, Yoda's philosophy of letting loved ones die as told to Luke in ESB would very possibly have cost the Rebellion their victor a movie later, as Leia and Chewie and Han would all certainly be lost if Luke had not ventured to Cloud City to follow his attachments and save them. And if Luke had not felt attachment to his father, he would not have tried to save him and thus the Emperor would not have been killed, yet Yoda himself tells Luke that he must face Vader again even though the boy knows the truth.

So it seems to me that this heavy-detachment philosophy of the Jedi Order is in stark contrast to how the Sith are ultimately defeated - the Jedi Order is demolished, and good only survives because of the familial bond between father and son overpowering the ultimate galactic evil.
Ack! I argued this with you for months. Why did you steal my angle?!?!?!?!?
:lipsrsealed:


I do pretty much agree though. The Jedi simple "are" in the prequels. Much They know the rules, but they to not understand why the rules are what they are. For example, avoiding gratuitous attachments helps one avoid greed and other distractions. But, having some connections gives one something to fight for.

On the subject of Vader and Luke rushing off to save relatives, the key is why they did it. Anaking killed in anger. It was *his* mother who died. He was upset about losing *his* mother. (As he was about losing *his* wife.) Luke is saving his friends because he loves them as a good unto themselves, beyond his interest in them. Anakin's connections are selfish based. Luke's are based on love for others. Luke has more in common with Padme' (from Episode 2) on this front. And, yes, Shmi also plays a role. She lets her son *go* because she loves him, wants the best for him, and knows he can do better elsewhere.

Now, contrast Shmi's letting go for the benefit of another, with Yoda's callous statement in Episode 3 about rejoicing when friends die, or his "screw 'em" attitude in Episode 5 when Luke is worrying about his friends.

JediTricks
06-30-2006, 05:42 PM
Ack! I argued this with you for months. Why did you steal my angle?!?!?!?!?
:lipsrsealed:Maybe you just changed my mind. ;) Here's the thing, when we discussed this you attributed an "evil" connotation to the Jedi Order there which I think is too heavy-handed. Also, you drew a big line between Anakin's motivations for his loved ones which you described as "selfish" and Luke's motivations for his loved ones which you described as "selfless", and I never really saw the proof that they were so different... so we discussed it for half a year and judging by the middle of your post, I'd say we didn't get anywhere. :D



On the subject of Vader and Luke rushing off to save relatives, the key is why they did it. Anaking killed in anger. It was *his* mother who died. He was upset about losing *his* mother. (As he was about losing *his* wife.) Luke is saving his friends because he loves them as a good unto themselves, beyond his interest in them. Anakin's connections are selfish based. Luke's are based on love for others. Luke has more in common with Padme' (from Episode 2) on this front. And, yes, Shmi also plays a role. She lets her son *go* because she loves him, wants the best for him, and knows he can do better elsewhere.I still don't see how you can find enough evidence in Ep 2 or 3 to make that distinction between Anakin and Luke's motivations. For this discussion it doesn't matter that Anakin killed in anger because that is entirely after the fact, it only matters why he went to save his mother - you say it was selfish, but I can't figure out how anybody else can get to that same conclusion. And foreseeing Padme's death is the same thing, when he tells her about her possible death does he say "I won't let you die because you're mine!"? No, he says she dies in childbirth and he won't let that dream become real, never says anything about his motivation for why. Same with the Yoda discussion later, he only asks about pain and suffering and death.



Now, contrast Shmi's letting go for the benefit of another, with Yoda's callous statement in Episode 3 about rejoicing when friends die, or his "screw 'em" attitude in Episode 5 when Luke is worrying about his friends.NOW who's borrowing whose ideas? ;)

scruffziller
06-30-2006, 06:00 PM
The reference to "attachments" by the Jedi isn't to be taken that literally. The point of the concept is that if one lets go of all literal attachment (be it ownership of anything or of relationships) then one is free to live up to the ideals of truth, Justice, and the American Way.


I was also wondering that as well to the fact of Qui-Gonn's passing. The Padawan's attatchment for their masters must count for something of an interference. I suppose the underlying factor is that attatchment can't be eliminated but it can be reduced.

JediTricks
07-01-2006, 01:51 AM
That is an excellent point about the padawan's attachments to their masters Scruff! Obi-Wan's attachment to QGJ ultimately leads to Anakin destroying the Sith, what QGJ flew in the face of what the order believed of the boy and logically it was wrong of Obi-Wan to take Anakin on as QGJ asked (especially considering how much destruction Anakin ultimately dishes out on the Jedi).

Banthaholic
07-06-2006, 11:52 PM
I was wondering if Anakin is the 'Chosen One' because he would eventually destroy Palpatine and then 'bring balance to the force'. But if Anakin would have listened to Mace Windu in E3 and waited at the Jedi Temple Mace would have destroyed Palpatine and many Jedi wouldn't have been slaughtered by Order 66. So in effect Anakin prevented Palpatines demise.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-07-2006, 12:19 PM
The Jedi teach "attachment" to the Force. Therefore, everything that they're "supposed" to do should come from their feelings in the Force. Here are some "failures" in the PT and OT:

- Anakin "fails" when he acts to save/keep Padme instead of stopping Palpatine
- Anakin "fails" when he acts out of anger and rushes to battle Dooku in AOTC instead of using Obi-Wan's attack plan
- Luke "fails" when he acts to save his friends at Cloud City instead of improving his training to more properly meet Vader
- The Jedi Council "fails" when they allow Anakin to train because they go with the sentiment after Qui-Gon's death instead of their initial doubts from what the Force seems to tell them was the better decision

Anain/Vader killing the Emperor wasn't a "failure" because it was the will of the Force to re-balance itself (I don't mean to personify the Force as a thinking entity, just using it this way for convenience). The examples above all have an "instead of" disclaimer that was most likely the "correct" choice that the Jedi's views of the Force would support.

JediTricks
07-07-2006, 04:15 PM
- Anakin "fails" when he acts to save/keep Padme instead of stopping PalpatineAnakin's initial action is stopping Palpatine, he only wanted to take him alive for selfish reasons, he didn't mind if Palpatine was arrested.


- Anakin "fails" when he acts out of anger and rushes to battle Dooku in AOTC instead of using Obi-Wan's attack planTrue, but this is a failure in Anakin, not a failure of Jedi philosophy.


- Luke "fails" when he acts to save his friends at Cloud City instead of improving his training to more properly meet VaderI disagree here. While he hampered his training and lost his hand, the actions were necessary, if Luke hadn't gone to save his friends they would have been lost to the Empire (R2 wouldn't have been there to fix the Falcon hyperdrive, Luke wouldn't have known where Han was) and the Empire would have defeated the Rebellion over Endor.


- The Jedi Council "fails" when they allow Anakin to train because they go with the sentiment after Qui-Gon's death instead of their initial doubts from what the Force seems to tell them was the better decisionThis is an interesting point, especially since you later argue that the "will of the Force" is a piece in play, and if so then while the Jedi Council failed in following their philosophy, they did not fail in the grand scheme of things.

Dominic Guglieme
07-07-2006, 06:15 PM
The idea of the Council failing gets at something I have been arguing.

The force is trending (willing) towards balance. But, how it balances is open. If the Jedi were a bit smarter, they could have survived the balancing.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-07-2006, 11:52 PM
I disagree here. While he hampered his training and lost his hand, the actions were necessary, if Luke hadn't gone to save his friends they would have been lost to the Empire (R2 wouldn't have been there to fix the Falcon hyperdrive, Luke wouldn't have known where Han was) and the Empire would have defeated the Rebellion over Endor.

This is an interesting point, especially since you later argue that the "will of the Force" is a piece in play, and if so then while the Jedi Council failed in following their philosophy, they did not fail in the grand scheme of things.For point #1, that's a slippery slope you have going there. I'd guess that Yoda could care less about the Rebellion (and therefore Han and Leia, et al) and more about having a properly-trained Jedi go up against Vader. And Vader would lose a valuable temptation for Luke ("save your friends/sister" wouldn't distract the new Jedi anymore).

For point #2, remember that "a certain point of view" is oft quoted, so long term vs. short term failures are relative failures, I suppose.

As for the other "failures" of Anakin, yes it's his own failings and shortcomings, but if the "attachments are bad, m'kay" view is Jedi philosophy, then he did in fact fail to live up to it.

dr_evazan22
07-16-2006, 12:00 PM
On the subject of Vader and Luke rushing off to save relatives, the key is why they did it. Anaking killed in anger. It was *his* mother who died. He was upset about losing *his* mother. (As he was about losing *his* wife.) Luke is saving his friends because he loves them as a good unto themselves, beyond his interest in them. Anakin's connections are selfish based. Luke's are based on love for others. Luke has more in common with Padme' (from Episode 2) on this front. And, yes, Shmi also plays a role. She lets her son *go* because she loves him, wants the best for him, and knows he can do better elsewhere.


I don't think it was wrong to go save *his* mother. What I think was wrong was Obi's failure to recognize Ani's dreams as Force visions. He'd been having the visions for a month, and Obi kept saying the dreams would pass, ignore them. THAT, IMO, is what created the anger and resentment that led to the Tusken slaughter, and also the reason why Ani so forcefully attempts to prevent the visions about Padme from coming true.

dr_evazan22
07-16-2006, 12:28 PM
For point #1, that's a slippery slope you have going there. I'd guess that Yoda could care less about the Rebellion (and therefore Han and Leia, et al) and more about having a properly-trained Jedi go up against Vader. And Vader would lose a valuable temptation for Luke ("save your friends/sister" wouldn't distract the new Jedi anymore).

For point #2, remember that "a certain point of view" is oft quoted, so long term vs. short term failures are relative failures, I suppose.

As for the other "failures" of Anakin, yes it's his own failings and shortcomings, but if the "attachments are bad, m'kay" view is Jedi philosophy, then he did in fact fail to live up to it.

I think the Jedi of the PT were a cancer that needed to be eradicated.

I think that Yoda, Mace, et al, didn't care so much about the Republic, democracy and such. The Council was considering, and willing to perform, everything that Palpatine told Ani that they would. Kill Palp's (granted, he did need to be killed), take over the senate...

The Jedi's position was that the Sith had to die, no matter what. Mace held this view in ROTS, and Ben and Yoda both held the view in ESB and ROTJ.

I hate to bring up the EU, preferring to keep this within the movies, BUT: The nature of the Force is discussed to a certain extent in the NJO book series, and one conclusion, or statement that was made was that the Force is not Light or Dark, it just is. It's how it is used that gives it shading. The analogy that comes to mind is: Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

JediTricks
07-16-2006, 03:21 PM
Nowhere do the Jedi say they're going to kill the Senators the way Palpatine says they're planning. And I think Lucas directs the prequels to suggest the Jedi are tragic heroes, so from that perspective I don't think there's a way the storytelling can suggest they're a "cancer" (though I know Dom believes as you do on that matter).

Qui-Long Gone
07-16-2006, 06:08 PM
The Jedi's position was that the Sith had to die, no matter what. Mace held this view in ROTS, and Ben and Yoda both held the view in ESB and ROTJ.


Everyone has cancer cells, it's necessary for all of us to live (like Midichlorians)....the Sith were terminal colon cancer that had to die, no matter what...they cause a lot of bad SH##....

dr_evazan22
07-16-2006, 06:24 PM
I didn't say the Jedi were going to kill the Senators, just 'take it over' and "protect" it, at least until a new govt could be put in place (did I say put? Of course I meant elected.).

Qui-Long Gone
07-16-2006, 06:53 PM
I didn't say the Jedi were going to kill the Senators, just 'take it over' and "protect" it, at least until a new govt could be put in place (did I say put? Of course I meant elected.).

Hail Caesar Windu and Maximus Kenobi....;)

Et tu Anakin?

JediTricks
07-17-2006, 02:46 PM
I didn't say the Jedi were going to kill the Senators, just 'take it over' and "protect" it, at least until a new govt could be put in place (did I say put? Of course I meant elected.).I know you didn't say that, but what you said was "The [Jedi] Council was considering, and willing to perform, everything that Palpatine told Ani that they would" and one of the things Palpatine tells Anakin the Jedi will do is kill the senators, which is a complete lie that he pulls out of his wrinkled Sith bum.