Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View The Reality of Jedi:
2 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2012 - 3:06AM #1
Opiemacleod
Posts: 21

People often look at and even come to the Jedi thinking it is an end product. People judge the Jedi against the thousand plus year histories of other paths and find the Jedi lacking. And some how act like that is a surprise. Here is reality...

People think the Jedi started in 1977. Some say it started before that due to the areas George Lucas drew his inspiration from. But when do you say a fire starts? Do you say it starts with oxygen? With the heat source? With the fuel? Or does it start when these three elements come together and an actual fire is created? No different for the Jedi. It wasn't until 1997 and the combination of the internet, the re-release of the original films, and the inspired fans came together did the Jedi Path begin.

So at best we have 15 years of official growth and development. Teenagers in a field, in the company, of Paths that span centuries. Jedi are not and have never been breaking new ground. We aren't somehow breaking open the field of enlightenment. That was never the point or purpose. The point and purpose has been spiritual exploration and growth – yet how is that accomplished? Reading scriptures of a singular paths? Let us question what is feed to us.

Physical, Mental, Emotional well-being, improvement, betterment. Let us be in a place where we can look at the spiritual objectively, honestly, with no desires, with no demands, with no strings attached. Let us not look at the spiritual to pass blame, to remove fear, to magically solve our problems and worries. Let us look with wonder, with amazement, with the joy of acceptance, and openness. Yet how can that be done if we are expecting, demanding, wanting something in return?

The Jedi Path is about setting the self in order. Reminding us that we of more help to others when we are in a better place to be of help. It allows us a chance to focus on the self, to better the self, so that we may be in a better position to help others. And that we may be in a much better place to tackle the questions of the spiritual.

This is why I have always argued for and put forth a self-improvement focus. When we are physical, mentally, and emotionally stable, well, fit, this is when we are truly capable of tackling faith, belief, the spiritual.

As mention the Jedi Path isn't breaking new ground. We are simply bringing together aspects that are too much neglected, forgotten, or simply not included in other paths. Balance, Harmony is core to the Jedi Path. Thus there is a focus on physical fitness, on mental wellness, on emotional stability. We harp on concepts such as objectivity, patience, knowledge, all to highlight that the Jedi is an inclusive lifestyle. You do not get one without the other and anyone else who says differently is selling you short.

This huge focus, this broad view makes the Jedi Path, the Jedi lifestyle a tough one to follow. Very few last, as mentioned by Streen in another topic. Where you had a community of thousands, you now have a community of hundreds, and even less in individuals who actively live the Jedi Way. Part of this is due to the fact that it doesn't take long to gain insight from the Jedi Philosophy, apply it to your life, and many feel good and comfortable with that added knowledge and adjustment; thus they leave. Others find it too much (information overload basically), it is much simpler to focus on a singular view and follow that.

This is the reality of the Jedi Path – It is a very broad view. It expects a commitment to overall self-betterment. It will not provide you with spiritual answers, but rather prepare you to answer your own questions. It is a philosophy, it is a lifestyle, it is beneficial and worthwhile, but it will never claim to have the answers (to the big questions) for you. The Path demands a lot, our philosophy expects a lot from you, but it is nothing you (that anyone) cannot do. Being a Jedi is about thankless continual work, which cannot promise you answers, but it can promise you'll be in a much better position to answer those questions should you pursue the Path.

((note the difference in styles – Streen says a lot with saying little. And I just say a lot.)

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2012 - 11:18AM #2
Streen
Posts: 19

>(note the difference in styles – Streen says a lot with saying little. And I just say a lot.)


LOL  I was going to mention that myself, but I thought it might sound insulting.  Your way of explaining something and my way... niether is better than the other.  I happen to like the detail you get into on a subject.  Myself, I've always been short on words, not because I've felt I should be, but rather that it's just my nature.  When I attended the western New York Jedi Gathering, I barely said a word.  I talk online about a 100 times more than I do face to face.


Speaking of which, this may be off topic but after I went to the gathering I had a whole new outlook on what the Jedi had become.  Half the people there were wearing costumes (not to put those people down, as I like cosplay as much as the next geek Wink ), and they spent most of the time pretending to be Star Wars Jedi.  By that I mean that we barely spoke a word on philosophy, and I watched in slight disappointment as we spent most of our time in "sword practice".


That's when I finally realized I was no longer one of them.  Practicality had apparently been eliminated when I wasn't looking.  As much as I didn't enjoy my time there, I'm glad I went.  Otherwise I wouldn't have come to the realization that I'm not really a Jedi.  Not like their definition anyway.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2012 - 3:05PM #3
Opiemacleod
Posts: 21

I think it is on topic - because it is the reality of the Jedi Community at large.


I have been to Five Jedi Gatherings. There were plastic lightsabers, Jedi Robes, and focus on "martial" and "Force" skill. I put these in quotations as the legitimacy of said practice is certainly in question. And it very much seemed taboo to speak on Jedi Philosophy, let alone application, growth, and development.


The last Jedi Gathering I went to I took along my Apprentice. That was the beginning of the end for her. Like yourself, thereafter she did not feel like she belonged. And fact was, she was a different breed. To see that, to be a part of it, to realize you don't have peers in your chosen Path, that can be hard.


If one is going to call themselves a Jedi they have to know what lot they are going to be thrown into. The company they will be associated with. Guilty by Association. We have Jediism and people like Daniel Jones who have given amble to laugh at. We have those that think they are so much better than them, yet they get together and play Jedi with costumes and toys. ((And like you, hey I enjoy my fandom, I have FX lightsabers, toys, and a couple Halloween Jedi costumes - but time and place for everything. You can have fun without it being your defining element))


This is the reality of the Jedi Community. It is why I put aside my membership at several Jedi Sites and stuck to my own projects. And that has served me well, especially in regards to my own personal growth. 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2012 - 9:03PM #4
Streen
Posts: 19

That's exactly how it was for me too, in reference to your apprentice.  It was disheartening, to realize that after all these years of talking philosophy and planning to eventually meet one another, it turns out they are nothing like you.  I'm not saying they are bad people, just misguided.  I commend them for being true to themselves, but I wish those people would stop calling themselves Jedi just because they earned a rank on some online academy.


There are no ranks in real life.  There is simply understanding.


None of us (NONE) will ever be commissioned by the government to handle a crisis situation, or a military mission, or even a diplomatic one, just because we say we're Jedi.  If we're ever going to succeed in being real-world Jedi, when it comes down to business, it's time to take off the robes, put down the lightsabers, and get our hands dirty.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2012 - 7:49AM #5
Redheron
Posts: 10

Jun 25, 2012 -- 3:05PM, Opiemacleod wrote:

I think it is on topic - because it is the reality of the Jedi Community at large.



I agree with you on this point: it's certainly on-topic.


Jun 25, 2012 -- 3:05PM, Opiemacleod wrote:

I have been to Five Jedi Gatherings. There were plastic lightsabers, Jedi Robes, and focus on "martial" and "Force" skill. I put these in quotations as the legitimacy of said practice is certainly in question. And it very much seemed taboo to speak on Jedi Philosophy, let alone application, growth, and development.



I've had this problem in the online community for over a decade. Whenever I talk about development, I have people who continually either copy it (usually badly, and nowhere near what I had in mind) or try to reject it (usually with justifications that ultimately boil down to their own comfort).



Jun 25, 2012 -- 3:05PM, Opiemacleod wrote:

The last Jedi Gathering I went to I took along my Apprentice. That was the beginning of the end for her. Like yourself, thereafter she did not feel like she belonged. And fact was, she was a different breed. To see that, to be a part of it, to realize you don't have peers in your chosen Path, that can be hard.



I have no peers. Yet.


I only have equals.


Pity the equals can't agree on more. It seems that the really important stuff (like personal growth) is almost rejected in Jediism, for the sake of preventing anything which might serve to bring the spiritual into it... you know, things like critical thinking and such, far beyond meditation.


Jun 25, 2012 -- 3:05PM, Opiemacleod wrote:

If one is going to call themselves a Jedi they have to know what lot they are going to be thrown into. The company they will be associated with. Guilty by Association. We have Jediism and people like Daniel Jones who have given amble to laugh at. We have those that think they are so much better than them, yet they get together and play Jedi with costumes and toys. ((And like you, hey I enjoy my fandom, I have FX lightsabers, toys, and a couple Halloween Jedi costumes - but time and place for everything. You can have fun without it being your defining element))



The sad fact of it is, more people have heard of Daniel Jones than they have of you. And you've frankly been around longer. Dan Jones did some good with getting publicity, but the problem is that nobody really was around to correct the media spin that was placed on it--to my knowledge, nobody even made the attempt with a press release or something.


If we could just get people like him (and Phelan) to be a little less self-oriented, perhaps it might actually do some good; but the reality of the Jedi Path (regardless of what we call it or which side of the religious debate we're on) is that we can't really choose what others will think about us unless we carefully plan it--and then we're propagandizing.


The only thing we can do at this point is to ride it out, and try to act in ways which are a bit more reasonable (and more thoughtful).


Jun 25, 2012 -- 3:05PM, Opiemacleod wrote:

This is the reality of the Jedi Community. It is why I put aside my membership at several Jedi Sites and stuck to my own projects. And that has served me well, especially in regards to my own personal growth. 



I have also had to do this for the sake of my own sanity. A lot of what I've seen is the issue of one trying to speak for the many--too many people trying to lead, not enough actual leadership and certainly not enough skill. To create a space to teach others means that we need to find some kind of a compromise within the community, but with people unwilling to actually set aside the differences for a moment and really address the important stuff (for example, how the Jedi will act to benefit the world), we will continually be caught up in the far less-important discussions (for example, what the prerequisites for rank should be).


As a community, I think we spend far too much time on the "how" and far too little on the "why". We are trying too hard to not look ahead or at the past, and so we wind up ignoring the moment in our panic to not appear as something we haven't actually got yet.


Mastery should be achieved before we have masters; but without someone to teach, how can we expect to learn?


Your personal growth is important, but it's not the end of the path, either.


Jun 25, 2012 -- 9:03PM, Streen wrote:

That's exactly how it was for me too, in reference to your apprentice.  It was disheartening, to realize that after all these years of talking philosophy and planning to eventually meet one another, it turns out they are nothing like you.  I'm not saying they are bad people, just misguided.  I commend them for being true to themselves, but I wish those people would stop calling themselves Jedi just because they earned a rank on some online academy.


There are no ranks in real life.  There is simply understanding.



Personally, I give out ranks to those who want them. I ask for a justification, and if it sounds good then why not?


I also use ranks to motivate people to personal growth. When someone is whining loudly and acting like a baby, I have been known to drop a Knight rank on them just to get them to grow up a little. And it does work.


To deny that there are ranks in real life is to deny that there is a social hierarchy. We do in fact have one!


The ranks in Jediism (in the organizations I belong to) are uniformly pointless in any context outside of motivation. If someone doesn't need them, I'm good with that. But we operate on concepts of authority and hierarchy, and so to reflect this in any organization is merely management.


It's not spiritual; it's merely practical.


And there are good reasons never to use rank (I know several), but ultimately it's a tool and one which has benefit when used properly.


Jun 25, 2012 -- 9:03PM, Streen wrote:

None of us (NONE) will ever be commissioned by the government to handle a crisis situation, or a military mission, or even a diplomatic one, just because we say we're Jedi.  If we're ever going to succeed in being real-world Jedi, when it comes down to business, it's time to take off the robes, put down the lightsabers, and get our hands dirty.



The United Jedi Council is going to be doing exactly that. We've quietly been doing charitable work for the past 8 months (since it filed its official paperwork for a charity license in January). No fuss. No fanfare. No credit. No "look what we're doing!" kinds of things. We're doing it because it needs doing, and we're in a position to be able to do it.


We only use robes and lightsabers on Halloween and at game/comic book/fan conventions, and as such that's a personal matter.


Success in this case means gathering the skill sets needed to accomplish tasks.


But you're right: the government will never ask any organization it considered essentially religious for anything... it would simply ask that it be done and see that whoever did it was thanked, so that they wouldn't set a precendence for funding. The reality is, I have a history as a contract negotiator, as a C-level executive, and as clergy.


The reality is, the skill sets exist, but we need more people on the ground than online.


And the reality is, the more we do quietly without trying to attract attention, the less attention that people will pay. We've learned this the hard way. But it's now our policy, so we're continuing to do it.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2012 - 3:38PM #6
Opiemacleod
Posts: 21

When I read this I wanted to reply with "Indeed." It is all I could really think of because I feel the reply highlights the points  well and offers something else - agreement on the state of a internet sub-culture. But I do not really like replying if I have nothing viable to contribute. Fortunately in the introduction thread I was given something which I feel was said here without being truly touched on.


We don't honestly hate each other, I promise. But we disagree wholeheartedly on so many things--and yet we are both Jedi.



This I feel is core. And is actually something I immensely enjoy about the core Jedi Community. Obviously this post points out some of the shadier sides of the community.  The problems, the issues, but I think this is necessary, especially in places like this. 


It is no surprise that the Jedi Path is questionable. Its source simply has that effect. By by key members of the Community acknowledging these issues upfront there can be an understanding that we are in a growing process. We acknowledge there are problems, and we are working on them. Yet even with this "bad" side, if you will, that does not take away from the validity of the path itself.


As stated one can view it as a religion, a supplemental path, a lifestyle choice, whatever label someone chooses, the core concepts are the same. And those core concepts have extreme value in life. Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being are key in our goals and efforts of helping outside ourselves (the world) as well.


There isn't always agreement. There are debates and different approaches. There are issues on titles, ranks, and labels. There is unnecessary use of "isms" which cause division and segregation. But the core of the Jedi Path is always there for those that follow it - regardless of label. Peace, Knowledge, Serenity, Harmony, the Force - core elements which help us overcome our differences and see objectively where our fellow Jedi are coming from.


Where you find lack of respect, where you find dislike, is those that have abused their positions. Who have used the medium of the internet as a playground, effectively degrading and insulting what it means to be a Jedi. 


There is recognition in seeking to make a better future. While I may not agree with calling the Jedi a religion, I certainly acknowledge that the core is the same. The journey is the same. What we disagree agree on is theological and semantic. It can be fun to debate, but ultimately has no baring on who we are, the value we place on living as Jedi everyday. 


So while we point out the flaws within the reality, it is also good to remember the beauty and upside as well. The many people Jedi or not that the path has helped and encouraged to live better lives. 


That is all for my rambling. haha

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Aug 15, 2012 - 5:45AM #7
Redheron
Posts: 10

Indeed! (LOL)


Seriously, though, it's good that you recognize a lot of the same things I do. I am honored to share a belief, even if we do not share the same perspectives on a great many things.

Quick Reply
Cancel
1 year ago  ::  Nov 08, 2012 - 10:11AM #8
SecondSonOfDavid
Posts: 3,344

I agree with those who remind us that the path can be broad.  That is both a strength and weakness.  Also, we are built bottom-up, meaning we do not accept central control, but instead observe and advance Jedi as they prove their ability and works.  Since we resist attachment to material measures, it requires a subtle and focused mind even to know who among us is authentic.


In some ways, the Jedi Way is like any new religion.  Many do not understand, and either mock Jedi for following what to them seems foolishness, or pursue the superficial trappings and miss the essence.   And there are manipulators and deceivers, hoping to make personal gain by drawing people to pay them money and support.  


For this reason, some of us train and study in solitude, teaching when asked and helping where we are able, but always sub rosa, as a necessary measure, not only for our own protection but to stay focused on the path, not to be drawn off by fear, desire, fatigue or ego.







D'jnieh.



That which does not kill me, will try again and get nastier.
Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook