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Becoming a Jedi: A Choice or an Obligation?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by mj, Sep 8, 2001.

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  1. mj

    mj Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 12, 1998
    Okay... This is something that I've argued with myself quite a bit about. Part of the reason that I sympathize with Jacen in the NJO *ducks from Jacen bashers* is that he doesn't really seem to want to be a Jedi. I think he feels that he's obligated to do it because of his heritage, but if he could get out of it, he probably would. I can't fault him for that, really. There's a lot of responsibility involved with being a Jedi. Not everyone is able to handle that. It doesn't make him a coward, IMO, because he has been pressured into it by people that never even bothered to ask him if this is what he wanted to do with his life. He has a lot to live up to. My father would love for me to run our family business, but that's not what I want to do with my life.

    Then there's the argument that the Force chose him, so he has an obligation to use its powers to do good. (Or as my favorite Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man would say, "with great powers come great responsibilities.") I don't know... I still have trouble with this. I suppose my logic stems from my belief in free will. Our lives are our own, whatever we make of them with what we're given. I understand that the Force chose him, and that's all good, but I don't think that Luke or Jacen's parents or siblings had/have any right to essentially bully him into it. Maybe that's what he's doing now... He's finding his own reasons for wanting to be a Jedi. To be a Jedi on his terms, not those of his sister or brother, or uncle.

    Anyways, I have a feeling that this could go into the prequels (I'm spoiler-free so please no Ep. II stuff in here) and definitely the OT films. In ANH, Luke explicitly asked Ben to teach him in the ways of the Force. In that sense, Luke is very fortunate, because becoming a Jedi was his conscious decision. My impression from TPM was that children were never given a choice during the Old Republic over whether they would become Jedi or not. Perhaps this had something to do with their demise... People who are told to do something don't internalize their tasks as well as those who consciously decide to accomplish their goals, IMO. Furthermore, in a free society, how can you obligate anyone to do anything, including giving up their freedom to choose how they live their lives?

    What implications does this have for Luke's Jedi Order?

    Please don't flame me. :) Thanks.
  2. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    Definitely a choice. If you go only because you're obligated and you begrudge your time there and are filled with negative thoughts, you'll likely turn to the darkside.
  3. LoveisSuicideSP

    LoveisSuicideSP Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 23, 2001
    Very interesting post. I personally think it would suck to have the choice to be a jedi made for me.
  4. RNolan

    RNolan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 5, 2000
    I agree. I actively rooted for Jace throughout Balance Point BECAUSE he was undecided.

    I don't think I like the idea of being *forced* into Jedi-hood.

  5. Gandalf the Grey

    Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight star 6

    May 14, 2000
    I think the prequel era Jedi were sort of forced into it. The Jedi went to their parents when the kids were still in diapers, and made them hand their kids over.

    If I was one such parent, I'd be pissed.

    In the NJO, things are different. If someone didn't want to be a Jedi, I think Luke think that that's an individual choice. As long as the person wasn't in the half-trained stage, he'd let them go. Of course, with the Vong purge going on, not very people would really want to be Jedi, and I don't think Luke would force someone to walk around under the shadow of death like that.
  6. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    What the force?

    Jacen was born force sensetive and leaped whole heartidly into the role.

    The problems emerged when Luke and he started to disagree what was the "right way" to be a Jedi.

    It wasn't all fun and games like his destroying Black Sun and the Shadow Academy who handled him and his sister like gods.

    He had to deal with loathsome politicians and bend his knee before other people out of service instead of reverence.

    In balance Point he was pulling a Ganhdi in hopes people would be moved by his not using the force into more careful actions....

    The problem is by Balance Point's end...

    nobody cared.

    Don't read too much into Jacen's plight, he's trying to reconcile murder/death/humiliation/horror into his black and white worldview.

    I'd personally imagine he'd be horrofied by the crucifixtion.....

    He's discovering that the Good don't live happily after.

  7. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    To answer your question.

    There's no such thing as choices.

    Wedge Antilles could choose not to put his skill as a pilot to use for the Alliance....

    but he'd cease to be the idealistic pilot that he is.

    Jacen could choose not to be a jedi and drown his abilities in drink.

    but he wouldn't be Jacen anymore.

    Like exceptionally high intelligence or musical gifts you can ignore the Force but your turning your back on it.

    No one forced Jacen to be a Jedi, he went into it full throttle.

    He has to live with his choice.
  8. Tovoron

    Tovoron Jedi Youngling

    Aug 31, 2001
    I think that until the fall of the Old Republic the developement of a being into a Jedi knight was not a consensual choice. When a baby was identified as having a high midiclorian count within the first 6 months of age (I believe this was mentioned in TPM novel; and I know that it has recently been stated as such on the official site), the child was taken from his or her parents and brought to begin its new life in the Jedi temple, with the Jedi order as its new family. They have no further contact with their birth family, and from childhood to age twelve they are taught that they are to be Jedi and serve a special role in the scheme of the galaxy, as chosen by the will of the Force and yada yada yada. Child Jedi students are not give the choice to continue with their Jedi training; they are taught that it is their destiny to be Jedi and they must fulfill that role.

    Just as any person of any race, nationality, or heritage can chose to become a politician or a doctor or a writer or a gas station attendant when they reach adulthood, most people are taught to honor, cherish, and be proud of their roots and bloodline, so as not to desire to be anything else but what they were born as. Myself, I am Jewish, and I was raised pretty losely as far as religion and ritual are concerned. I am proud of my heritage and would not choose to be anything other than Jewish, but on the other hand I have not chosen to follow Orthodox Judiasm or Hasidic Judiasm. But regardless of what more religious Jews might think of my religious choices, I am happy to be where I am because I was taught to accept being Jewish with all the joys (and problems too j/k) that go with. For me, choosing and following Orthodox Judaism would be just that, a choice; but being Jewish is the role I was born into. Likewise, the Jedi are taught that they are born to be Jedi, and while they must aspire to be greater Jedi and master the Force, no other choice was given to them. I was born a Jew, and although I may or may not aspire to be a better or more religious Jew, I am still and always a Jew. Just the same, the Jedi is taught that he is Jedi and cannot be anything less, or chose any other path. Unfortunately for the Jedi, however, when one does wish to be something less than what was determined for him or her, or try to choose another path to gain what the Jedi are denied, that is where the seduction of the dark side steps in.

  9. -Vergere-

    -Vergere- Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 31, 2001
    I don't believe Jacen never wanted to be a jedi either. Jacen has accepted being a jedi - its all about the correct way to employ (or not employ) the Force with him.

    Also, Jacen foresakes using the Force in BP because he believed he hadn't discovered the "correct" way to wield it as of yet. He almost felt he was unworthy to use until he finds a true answer for himself within the Force. Jacen's search for the "right" and "correct" way to wield the Force, though noble and pioneering, is a bit utopic and idealistic. Therein really lies his biggest weakness.

    Returning to the topic at hand, I don't believe Jacen is ever disgruntled about being a Jedi as much as he is with this idealistic notion of how the jedi should act.
  10. KansasNavy

    KansasNavy Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 10, 2001
    You can stop being a Jedi whenever you want. Like Kyle Katarn and Leia. True, there'd still be the pressures of being force sensitive, but it's still an option.
  11. -Vergere-

    -Vergere- Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 31, 2001
    I don't believe you can ever "stop" being a Jedi. I think "being" a jedi goes deeper than working at a company for example. You cannot simply say I'm going to stop "being" someone's son or daughter, because we will always be someone's son or daughter. I believe the analogy extends to "being" a jedi. Especially for a family so involved and prominent as the Skywalkers and Solos, you cannot simply cease to "be" a jedi.

    You have a responsibility as a family member and as a Force-sensitive person within that family. Still, I believe Jacen understands all this, especially after BP. His only qualms are with morality and the correct way to wield the Force. Although Kyp represents something very different, Jacen may very well personify the collective conscious of the jedi.
  12. Darth Ludicrous

    Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 25, 2000
    the only way to stop being a Jedi is to die or go to the dark side. I don't recall kyle or leia doing either of those things.
  13. Jarik

    Jarik Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2000
    It should be a choice of course. No one can force you to be something that you don't want to be.
  14. Darth Ludicrous

    Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 25, 2000
    can you feel obligated though?
  15. -Vergere-

    -Vergere- Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 31, 2001
    DL: "can you feel obligated though?"

    I think so. It depends on the person I suppose, but if one is attuned to the Force, one feels the responsibility of accepting who you are. It's an obligation as much as it is a choice. Going one step beyond, I believe that choice to accept the Force stems from an obligation. For example, look at Anakin Solo's character. I believe Anakin fully accepts "jedi-hood" from: an obligation to deny his namesake and a responsibility to his family who are so strong with the Force. Anakin's actions are rooted from a responsibility and an obligation to do something about his Force powers.

    If you really analyze the motives behind becoming a jedi, there is an obligation first, a choice second.
  16. AthyraFire

    AthyraFire Jedi Youngling star 2

    Aug 28, 2001
    mj--very good topic. :) i completely understand your argument. i can apply it to my own life. i'm a religous person, and i've often wondered whether my faith came from a choice i made or some outside will that controls me. i've pretty much come to the conclusion that events or circumstances in my life may be controlled to influence my decision, but the choice is still mine.

    i think its pretty much the same with being a Jedi. you may be born with Force talents, and your family heritage influences you to use those talents and become a Jedi. but the choice is ultimately yours. you can rebel against that influence and say, "No, i'm not going to be a Jedi."

    but for those who were thrust into it at an early age, it's not so easy. sure they could always say I quit, but there will be that pressure to return, to slip back into your old ways. the familiar is always more comfortable, and if you grew up using the Force and being a Jedi, that is what's familiar to you. to step outside of that is like stepping into the cold. you feel vulnerable, and you may want to rush back inside to your comfort zone.

    i think the Old Republic was wrong to take children from their parents and decide their fate for them. it reminds me of the Soviet Union, how they used to take children who showed talent in gymnastics or figure skating or whatever and send them to schools for that away from their family and friends. they had no choice, and they were too young to know any better. people who have gone through that don't seem happy to me. the Jedi of the Old Republic didn't seem happy to me either. Luke's idea is best--if someone has Force talents and wants to use them, then they can be trained. even Luke, the last of the Jedi, had the choice whether to be a Jedi or not. Ben didn't coerce him into it. it was Luke's decision.

    come to think of it, Anakin Skywalker wasn't forced into it, either. he wanted to do it as well, despite being warned against the dangers and hardships.

    so i think it is a choice, no matter what. but, as in anything, you can feel pressured to make one choice over another.
  17. Jarik

    Jarik Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2000
    "can you feel obligated though?"

    You may feel obligated and you may still not become one anyway. Not all people will feel obligated, though.
  18. darth-skycrawler

    darth-skycrawler Jedi Master star 2

    Aug 7, 2001
    Being a jedi should not be a choice. Look at how poor Luke's rate of jedi staying away from the darkside and compare it to the phantom menace era. There is a bih difference every other jedi that Luke trains goes to the darkside where as it was a shock it the past.
    Nobody is ever to old to learn how to use the force they are too old to be brainwashed to the jedi way of thinking. Both Anakin and Luke turned to the darkside since they had emotions. Emotions are bad for a jedi. There is no emotion.
  19. ShadowChaser

    ShadowChaser Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 30, 2001
    That sux as a philosophy. That's the only thing that bugs me about the Jedi. This no emotion crap. What's up with that, anyway?

    I personally think, though it IS a choice, there is a right or a wrong choice to be made in this situation. I, as a Christian, believe that those that are blessed with special talents have an obligation to the world to use them. I mean, the world sure would have missed out on a lot of Mozart had decided he didn't want to be a muscision, even though it was obviously his calling. Well, it's the same with the Jedi. They were born to be protectors of the galaxy. It is their calling in life.
    I don't think it's right, however, for anyone to force them into it. I think the only way they can truly find their whole potential is if they make the choice themselves to develop it.
    I don't know if this theory has ever been proven, but I just have a feeling, judging from all I know about SW and the Jedi, that any Jedi that chose to run from their destiny would regret it always.
    i woudl elaborate futher, but other duties call me away for the moment.
  20. JediJSolo

    JediJSolo Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 11, 2001
    ?This no emotion crap. What's up with that, anyway??

    The idea that a Jedi should have no emotion is an extremist type of concept that is taught to the young apprentices to help them avoid the more powerful and controlling types of emotions. These emotions would be fear, hate, rage, sorrow, and extreme lust. Ecstasy might also be considered one of the more controlling emotions also but that could be debatable. The more simple emotions, like joy, are okay for a Jedi to experience. If love never turns into one of the controlling emotions that I mentioned earlier than it is perfectly expectable for a Jedi, IMO.

    A Jedi can not stop being a Jedi just because he wants to. It is like being a doctor; once you have the knowledge and the skill you have the title for the rest of your life. Only in extreme circumstances can you lose your title. However, I don?t fully understand why a Jedi would want to stop being a Jedi. A Jedi is not obligated to live a certain life. If the Jedi wants to be a politician than he can be a politician. If the Jedi wants to be a farmer than the Jedi can be a farmer. The only true obligation that a Jedi has is to always do what he feels is right. If the Jedi feels that the right thing for him to do is to go out and become a farmer than, by all means, that Jedi should fallow his dreams of becoming a farmer.
  21. Jarik

    Jarik Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2000
    "Emotions are bad for a jedi. There is no emotion."

    They can have emotions if they arent ruled by them. Of course Jedi hate people. Luke hats people. He's only human. However, he controls his hate, his hate does not control him. He does not allow his hate to make him do things. He keeps it under control and thinks logically. This is what a Jedi must do. Emotions are ok to have: like anybody could stop you from having emotions anyway. And one evil selfish thing done in anger, while bad, will not necessarily mean that that Jeedi will turn to the metaphoric "darkside" and be evil for the rest of his/her life.
  22. mj

    mj Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 12, 1998
    Interesting discussion and some really good posts, all...

    Please don't let my example of Jacen get in the way. I really wanted to discuss the basic idea of whether people born with a midiclorian count that makes them Jedi material are obligated (legally or morally) to become Jedi or whether it should be a choice for them.

    Move along, move along... :)
  23. stevetrooper

    stevetrooper Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 18, 2001
    My first Post!

    One does not choose the force, the force chooses you. Not all have the force - Bottom Line.

    "The force is all around us. - Use the force."

    does one really think Han could understand and maybe with training, "use the force?" no way. Han is way to old to start training.

    that said,
    Luke chose to be a jedi because fate chose him. Luke had a relationship, and an understanding of the force becuase he always had the predispostion...look @ his lineage...he was sort of "ordained" to have that ability.

    Anakin chose to be a jedi becuase fate chose him just as others.

    those who have the cells of the force in their DNA, who dont fufill the prophecy of being a jedi are like Luke in EPIV... stir-crazy, etc...

    Now I will go back and read the rest of the posts...those were initial thoughts on the matter.

  24. darth-skycrawler

    darth-skycrawler Jedi Master star 2

    Aug 7, 2001
    It seems to me that using the force has nothing to do with age. A 100 year old man can learn to use the force and so can a 10 year old boy. The problem is that the older they are the more they are inclined to have hate and fear.

    Also emotions do lead to fear. If you love someone you fear for there safety. Anakin has no fear about himself because he does not appear to be scared of death. He is scared for people he loves and that is what lead him to the darkside.

    How many people could say they would not loose control of their emotions if their father was brutally stabbed in front of them. This why jedi have no emotion because emotions are too strong.
  25. Booster-1986

    Booster-1986 Jedi Youngling star 2

    May 9, 2001
    Previous posts have contained words that essentially convey the following:

    Jedi have no emotions because emotions are too strong.

    If I may use an analogy from another literary dimension (Star Trek), this sounds suspiciously like the mis-interpretation of the Vulcan creed. It was always stated that Mr. Spock and other Vulcans had no emotions. That was not correct. Except for those that had chosen to eschew all emotion --- as Spock was attempting to do at the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Vulcans kept their emotions under control.

    That did not mean they had none --- merely that they were under control. And so it was with the Jedi. Another poster wrote that the idea that a Jedi should have no emotion is an extremist type of concept that is taught to the young apprentices to help them avoid the more powerful and controlling types of emotions.

    This is closer to what it seems to be. As Yoda recites in TPM, fear leads to hate, etc etc. It is the control of the emotions that is critical for a Jedi.
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