The Jedi Path is a philosophical way of life. As any philosophical path, the Jedi have scruples, ethics, rules to which they adhere. You can look at any philosophy and point to a guiding source. From Taoism to Stoicism you have guiding principles to help one follow the Path. For the Jedi that guiding principle is the Jedi Code. While the Jedi Code was created for role-playing purposes (fictional) many have found value in its use. My paper here will be looking at the Jedi Code, but in a way that many have not considered. First for reference I shall list the Jedi Code:
There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no chaos; there is harmony.
There is no death; there is the Force.
The Jedi Code was created by West End Games in 1987 and revised to this current five line version in 1996. Many seek to understand the Jedi Code by looking at each line separately. Explaining each line and its hidden meaning. Yet instead of explaining each individual topic I would like to simplify the Jedi Code by explaining why it is phrased the way it is and offer a way to read it that will make the Jedi Code self-evident.
First we shall look at the first part of the Jedi Code. There is no blank, this line itself is where many do not seem able to move pass. By saying there is no emotion, no ignorance, no passion, no chaos, no death, you have removed almost every aspect of human existence. Love, fear, desire, spontaneity, impermanence, almost as vital as oxygen some would argue. And yet the Jedi Code begins by removing these elements. But what happens when you remove these elements?
I think back to a recent argument I had, pride, ego, emotions all were very evident within this conversation. And I am sure each of us can think of a time we were in a argument and it became very heated, or simply out of control. Yet if you go back to that same argument and remove emotion, even from just one side, what happens? What would be left if emotion was removed from tempers flaring? I believe we can come to a similar conclusion as the Jedi Code, peace.
And it is listed through out the entire Jedi Code. If we remove our ignorance from a subject, we not only gain knowledge, but lose fear as well. An example of this can be seen in everyday life. Personally, I would take my car into the fast 10 minute oil change. Someone suggested I should just change the oil myself, but I was scared to do so. Why? Because I was completely ignorant on just how to do so. So I took the Jedi Code advice and gained some knowledge. I read up on it online, got information specific to my car, how to maintain a safe and clean environment, and took a few trips under the hood of my car. After learning everything about it, I easily changed the oil. Ignorance leads to fear of the unknown. By acknowledging our ignorance and seeking to combat it with knowledge we gain in wisdom.
Now an example can be laid out for every single line of the Jedi Code. How to deal with emotional situations, how to combat ignorance, how to obtain serenity, strive for harmony, and understand the Force in relation to life. And perhaps that shall be added into this writing, but I wish to state a much easier way to look at the Jedi Code in relation to living philosophically like a Jedi.
The Jedi Code, stated, removes the human element and shows what is left. Yet it does not say that is how one should act. It does not say Act with No Emotion. Instead it shows us the error in heedlessly following our human nature. Emotion clouds peace, ignorance overshadows knowledge, passion distorts serenity, chaos destroys harmony, death hides the Force. Now lets bring this all together and look at each line of the Jedi Code and how it exactly guides a Jedi in daily life.
There is no emotion; there is peace. A Jedi acts and reacts in a calm manner, not allowing the emotions they are feeling to cloud their judgment, reasoning, and objective.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge. A Jedi faces each new challenge with the opportunity to gain more knowledge. They do not fear the unknown, but take the chance to learn about the unknown.
There is no passion; there is serenity. A Jedi does not allow their passions in life to affect their judgment, reason, or objectives. A Jedi acts and reacts keeping a serene mind, unaffected by their personal desire.
There is no chaos; there is harmony. A Jedi seeks moderation and balance with all things. Even though life can be very chaotic a Jedi finds harmony with that chaos. Balance in the world around them, balance within themselves, the middle-ground in each situation, and even on a larger scale harmony between technology and nature.
And lastly there is no death; there is the Force. A Jedi understands that the Force is created and associated with life. Yet death is also a natural part of life. For a Jedi there is no fear of death. For death is merely one more unknown, another chance for the Jedi to gain knowledge about the Force itself.
((Author Note: I feel that the Jedi Code actually has stages. And this outlines the basic level most Jedi strive for. Beyond this I feel that someone say with the title Jedi Master should actually strive to feel no emotion outside of peace when in any argument or hostile situation. They should have knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, with first hand experience, and seek to remove ignorance; personal or otherwise. They do not have passion, they have things they enjoy, but passion would not be the correct word. They approach all projects with a serenity and objectivity. They have overcome chaos, and when met with it are able to find harmony in all things, all aspects of life. Overall I feel they have a more more literal approach to the Jedi Code, which I feel is shown in the Star Wars mythos.))