Lit Jedi diet -- How you get so big eating food of this kind?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Dawud786, Jan 22, 2014.

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  1. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Dec 28, 2006
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    Bear with me here folks. I know what the EU has said on this, and I am actually wondering if the boat has been missed more than once.

    Being as the Jedi have more than a little influence from Shaolin warrior monks and Taoist swordsmen, I cant help but wonder if GL's intent was that they be vegetarian. The only beings we actually see eating animals in the films are non-human and not Jedi. On the flip side, we have three instances of Jedi eating and each instance the food is plants or fruit.

    TPM: dinner with Anakin and Shmi. All we see is a bowl of fruit (mostly plums) on the table in front of Qui-Gon and Jar-Jar.

    AOTC: romantic dinner with Anakin and Padmé. Again, fruit. A pear is particuularly central to this one.

    TESB: dinner with Yoda. Rootleaf stew. I always felt Dark Rendezvous really missed the boat on Yoda, making a spectacle of Yoda allegedly eating snakes and lizards against film evidence, and indeed the SW.com databank entry for "Yoda's hut" at the time that said Yoda sustained himself from what the planet provided... which is generally a euphemism for what grows from the planet... and made not of rootleaf stew.

    Are there examples or counter-examples in TCW? I know in the micro-series we have Anakin slurping up worms and crunching on cockroaches, and Obi-Wan seeming very disgusted not just with the cuisine but with Anakin distorting his teaching about sustaining himself with the Living Force.

    Perhaps it's my own veganism causing me to project. Then again, perhaps it is the non-vegetarianism of EU authors that has caused them to overlook thos detail in the films. Thoughts?

    Thread locked at OP's request. It's run its course. The main course, anyway.
    Last edited by Ulicus, Feb 5, 2014
  2. EECHUUTA Force Ghost

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    Mar 19, 2007
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    The only thing I can say against the 'vegetarianism is a Jedi tenet' thing is, what about the species that have to have meat to survive? It's said that Ahsoka's species (can't remember what they are called right now) are carnivorous, so I don't think they can do well on a vegetarian diet. Plus Yoda's teeth look particularly sharp and pointed, you don't normally see those kind of teeth on plant-eaters.

    I think while it is possible for some sort of meat substitute to be made up, I don't think it would be a part of the Jedi philosophy since they do seem to acknowledge that a part of life includes death (including animal death.) I think the main thing they would only really object to in eating meat that I could see is if the animal is made to suffer needlessly while it is being hunted or slaughtered for meat.
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  3. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Dec 28, 2006
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    Obviously, carnivorous species would be an exception. Anatomy would have to be taken into account. I'm vegan, but I don't try to make my cats vegan. You know?

    That said, more aggressive species like Wookiees or Barabels would likely have some different training methodologies to manage their emotions any way. Given the modelling of Jedi philosophy on Eastern disciplines... I can't help but see diet being part of their overall strategy for control.

    One wonders, of course, why this even need to be an issue given the technologies available. Why would such a massive, technologically advanced society still need animals on the range, factory farms, slaughterhouses etc when it could just as easily grow cultured meat? Even to feed a Jedi Temple with thousands of beings in residence, the production for a meat laden Jedi diet would be insane and would almost require a ton of unnecessary suffering. And wouldn't such massive amounts of suffering and death reverberate through the Force causing the Jedi some discomfort? If not on the same level as Alderaan or even that Tusken massacre in Kenobi, something quite disconcerting surely. And yet, we are still treated to cattle ranching and a sort of romanticized version of meat production in the GFFA that couldn't possibly exist and feed thousands of planets full of billions of beings.

    Neither Buddhist nor Taoist vegetarianism is about a denial of death. It's about not causing undue suffering and related to the passions and qi cultivation. In a Jedi Order so concerned with controlling the passions and drawing so heavily from both those philosophies... it makes sense to me. Plus we have the on-screen absence of Jedi actually eating meat. Especially Yoda. He made rootleaf stew for Luke and wasn't chowing down on snakes, despite them slithering all over his house.

    Secondary edit: Yoda's teeth are no indication of his diet. Fruit bats have sharp teeth. Sharp-teeth =/= carnivore necessarily.
    Last edited by Dawud786, Jan 22, 2014
  4. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    You do know that many of the western monks were/are vegetarians?
  5. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Sure. I focus, however, on Shaolin and Taoist monks and hermits because... well, there's a very heavy, overt, influence there in the combination of monasticism, mysticism, martial arts and philosophy. I could just as easily point out many Sufis that were or are vegetarian or advocated for plant-based diets supplemented occasionally with meat. I just think the Shaolin and Taoist connections are much more readily apparent.
  6. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    Good. It sounded a bit like you did not know that, but that is probobly just me. Also at least some of the western monks also have a combination of monasticism, mysticism, martial arts and philosophy and science. It is not just an easten thing.
    Last edited by Gamiel, Jan 22, 2014
  7. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    That's not currently culturally apparent though. It's so pop culturally prevalent with Chinese Buddhist monks many think all Chinese Buddhist monks do kung fu.
  8. stung4ever Force Ghost

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    May 17, 2002
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    I seem to recall one of the reporters in FOTJ bringing up the ethical issue of Jedi eating meat.

    But given that the Force emanates from all living things, eating a plant is no more ethical than eating an animal.
    Last edited by stung4ever, Jan 22, 2014
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  9. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    True, I think I will stop taking up your threads with besserwissery[face_blush]
    Last edited by Gamiel, Jan 22, 2014
  10. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    That's a bogus moral argument. Sentience clearly has a greater impact on the Force than non-sentience.

    Seriously though, looking at the films one wonders if our authors just didn't think this far about the connection of the Jedi with other warrior monk philosophies that influenced their depiction and because of their cultural assumptions just didn't include it. Nevertheless, I can think of only the 3 examples of Jedi being depicted actually eating food in the movies and every instance is fruit and veggies, no meat. With Yoda's habits being of particular interest considering what sw.com used to say on the matter. I don't have any idea what they have as comparable with the old Databank on there these days. Once upon a time, though, that Databank had a distinct implication that Yoda lived vegetarian on Dagobah at the very least.
    Last edited by Dawud786, Jan 22, 2014
  11. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    And then there's Neti, one of my favorite EU species.
  12. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Dec 28, 2006
    star 4
    Last edited by Dawud786, Jan 22, 2014
  13. madmanslitany Force Ghost

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    Aug 17, 2006
    For what it's worth, the recipe for rootleaf stew commissioned by Lucasfilm as a tie-in for Empire Strikes Back does indeed contain meat.
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  14. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    When it comes to the meal at the Skywalker home in E1, I would not be surprised if Shim could afford meat
  15. kecen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2005
    star 4
    Anakin and Obi-wan eat bugs in the Clone Wars microseries, but they probably had no other source of food.
    Yoda would hunt for meat while he was in Dagobah, I think. "Living off the land" would be a thing for exiled Jedi.
  16. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Mace Windu does not eat filthy animals.
  17. Nobody145 Force Ghost

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    Feb 9, 2007
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    Does using the shell of an egg count as vegetarian or not? Sorry, not that familiar with what exactly counts, since in one (very good) comic, Yoda had Luke go get an egg or something like that from a dragonsnake.

    Forget what the NJO did. I vaguely remember Luke and Ben chatting a lot over food in Omen, but otherwise was quite a forgettable book. Though that was probably still better than the later teenage soap opera.
  18. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    We see some of the food served at Luke's temple in Heir to the Force and in the visual guide (E1) they mention that jedi are given food piles as part of their standard mission equipment and are expected to live of the land
  19. madmanslitany Force Ghost

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    Aug 17, 2006
    I think the thing that would make the most sense would for some sects of Jedi to be vegetarian and for others not to be. It's not as if the real-life Buddhist and Taoist martial arts were one unified, monolithic front with a standard set of beliefs anyway. I've always suspected that most of the martially skilled monks were just retired military men using religion as a tax evasion front anyway, but that's probably a different topic.
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  20. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Dec 28, 2006
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    The quote I posted from the Databank(and linked archive) says plants though.

    I think you guys are missing the point here. I'm wondering if the EU just fogged over this because it's not explicitly said in the films when every instance of a Jedi actually eating a meal in the films involves vegetables and fruit on-screen and not meat.

    As to "it's not as if Buddhist and Taoist martial artists were a monolithic front," it's pretty much accepted that ordained Temple-based Buddhist and Taoist monks were indeed required to be vegetarian as part of their vows. We are talking about monastics here.

    Also, Anakin eats the bugs. Obi-Wan does not, and is flat out disgusted by it.

    I don't doubt in times if desperation a Jedi would do what was necessary to survive, but I would think in principle they would do their best to avoid needlessly killing sentient beings when they had plenty of other options. And considering their obvious acceptance of synthesized food pills as standard issue in Jedi utility belts... it just doesn't follow logically to me, for them to have slaughterhouses in the basement of the Jedi Temple.

    I want a G-canon source that indicates otherwise though. TCW specifically, because that's pretty much the only G-canon option here. I'm thinking the EU missed out on this for various reasons including A) not taking into account Shaolin and Taoist dietary traditions despite being willing to draw upon their philosophy B) not even thinking about it, because how many of these writers are vegetarian themselves? Steve Perry, maybe, since Shadows of the Empire was constantly mentioning SoyPro patties and C) not paying particular attention to the instances of Jedi having meals and what those meals consisted of.

    Many monks were ex-generals, but usually it was fleeing the life and turning to a monk's way to sort of atone for their past, and often times they were also fleeing trouble. Not tax evasion usually, but literally like a new Dynasty came to power and a bunch of guys from the old dynasty fled to the temples to abandon their former identities and escape the chopping block. Rebellions were hatched from Shaolin Temple more than once, hence it also being sacked and burnt to the ground more than once.
    Last edited by Dawud786, Jan 22, 2014
  21. Tim Battershell Force Ghost

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    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    Soybeans were grown on Agamar, probably on other agriworlds too. However, the population seemed to mainly live on Mugruebe (a native animal) Stew!
  22. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    the reconstituted order under Luke allowed for variety and allowed the students to eat what they were used to. Corran horn in I.Jedi has Kitchen duty at one pont and makes a meal that include options for everyone he made a salad and also I believe made a meat dish. Dorsk 81 though had to survive on a special type of ration due to his species genetic background.
  23. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Slightly off-topic, but @Dawud786 do you see Samurai influence in the Jedi as well?
  24. Jedifirefly5 Jedi Master

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    Sep 5, 2012
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    I thought Anakin eating bugs was terrible and insulting. The man is married a for former monarch for pity's sake. He is no stranger to luxury, a Jedi and smart to boot. Does anyone seriously believe Padme DIDN'T slip her boo a little allowance?
  25. madmanslitany Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2006

    Yeah, I agree that happened, but I also remember my studies mentioning that Temples were frequently given special status for tax purposes and the Confucian officials being rather irritated with this for the aforementioned reasons. I suppose it just depends on your level of cynicism as to whether or not you believe they truly sought atonement or were exploiting this fact. Which, come to think of it, is quite topical when one thinks of the GFFA's trust issues with the Jedi Order and its role in the Republic.

    For full disclosure, I think my biases are coming out in a weird way here--I practice Northern Chinese martial arts, including some typically associated with Taoism. The overly mystical interpretation of kung fu in the West is incredibly frustrating to me at times in real life, and I personally think it's not all that accurate. However, to avoid getting too far off-topic, I agree that thematically, it would have made sense for the Jedi to be vegetarian, or at least have some sort of dietary restriction in the Old Jedi Order. It fits with the way they're portrayed in the PT and I agree that the Dark Rendezvous description of meat in Yoda's meal was a bit jarring to me. That's not what I expected and it certainly didn't fit his sagely "Old Master" vibe in ESB.

    I can't see the New Jedi Order holding true to this though--at least when I was still actively reading the EU, it was far less reliant on doctrine, and I can't see Luke imposing this sort of restriction on his students.
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