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Lit Wasted Potential

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Chewbacca89, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. thesevegetables

    thesevegetables Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 11, 2012
    Obi-Wan was unfit to be in the Order according to the standards that the Jedi have survived by for thousands of years. So what if Qui-Gon didn't have a change of heart and took him, and his potential was untapped. That's just a risk you have to take - the Padawan standards were not followed in Anakin's case, AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED THERE...
  2. Reveen

    Reveen Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 4, 2012
    This kinda highlights my biggest problem with the OJO. They kinda have the risk aversion of a bunch of suburban soccer moms when it comes to the dark side. So they decide to be overbearing as hell when it comes to dogma and regulating the lives of their Jedi. Like they care more about the jedi not being exposed to the dark side than actually helping them resist it's influence.

    People grow best when they have varied life experience and have their views and methods regularly challenged. If your Jedi order consists mostly of people who only have ever been jedi in their entire lives they're going to be pretty out of touch with the rest of the galaxy and are going to be thrown for a loop when poodoo hits the fan.

    And when it came to the fall of the republic, being creepy secluded monks didn't help them in the slightest.

    Of course the lifelong manipulation by a psychotic Sith Lord that the jedi had no idea existed despite being right under their noses had nothing to do with it...
    rumsmuggler likes this.
  3. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Okay...lots going on here.

    First of all, to reiterate being sent to the Agricultural Corps does not mean a life of manual labour!

    The Jedi Service Corps are complex organizations that provide advice and assistance to affiliated groups that are leaders in their respective fields. Being sent ot the agricultural corps means a life of Force-assisted agricultural research, crisis management, and support. The real-world equivalent is similar to a number of government posts with organizations like the Agricultural Research Service, the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the USDA Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance division, etc. Modern, industrial agriculture is some complex stuff people, a little bit of the Force could improve the lives of whole populations. Heck, it is entirely possible that your average Agriculural Corps member saves and benefits more lives of the course of a career than any Jedi Knight. The material regarding Kenoib may place the Service Corps in a particularly unflattering light (not surprising given the context), but that's only one picture, and that's also only what a new recruit who is still a minor is seeing, it is highly probably that greater autonomy and responsibility come with time.

    However, that aside, yes the Jedi Order is a highly exclusive enterprise. There are actually three paths for those who join the order from the start: Knighthood, Servicecorps assignment, or leaving the order entirely. The Jedi Path is very clear on this. Students are evaluated both during the Initiate trials and during the Knighthood Trials with all three options open both times. It is highly probable that a relatively small fraction of all students who initially join the order ultimately become knights. if all paths are equally possible in both cases, it would be as few as 1 in 9.

    Yes, this is both restrictive and elitist. There's a reason for that: Jedi Knights are the super-elite of the galaxy's Force-Users. They are a tiny minority, a mere ten thousand knights and masters at a time (and even if that represents a declining order, a 100,000 knight-order is still small). Quick calculational point: if Force-sensitivity is a one in a million chance trait, which is a viable possibility, then there are 1 million Force-sensitives on Coruscant alone. Becoming a Jedi Knight is like becoming a member of Seal Team 6, it is inherently designed so that most people, no matter how hard they try, just won't cut it.

    Now, whether or not this setup is morally justifiable is a diffrent question. The practice of recruiting infants and then dumping a considerable number of them out of the order entirely in the 8-20 age range is very discomforting (by human standards at least, it probably doesn't mean anything to a significant minority of the Star Wars populace). The general justification is risk-aversion, that these steps are needed to hold back the dark side. There is a historical justification for this: the history of Star Wars shows that large Jedi Orders lead to internal schisms, the spread of heresy, and the founding of new Sith movements and/or empower existing ones. The post-Ruusan Jedi were reacting to the horrific chaos of the New Sith Wars (and the constraints imposed by the Ruusan Reformation itself). Their system presumably seemed necessary to them. Unfortunately, Darth Bane was able to grasp the inherent weakness of that system - that it left the Jedi weakening and isolated without an active threat, and laid a plan to subvert it accordingly.

    Ultimately, infant training or not, the problem of failing to master the Force is a very real one for just about any Force-using tradition. Half-trained students who will never demonstrate the proper capabilities to reach whatever the desired state is, whether its Jedi Knight, Dathomiri Witch, or Zeison Sha Warrior, are almost inevitably going to consider a short cut to power via the dark side. Some sort of system to deal with this particular problem is necessary. The Service Corps - which boils down to monitored deployment in a mostly controlled environment - is certainly not the cruelest option possible or even shown.
    Grey1 and Ulicus like this.
  4. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Concerning the "kidnapping" charge, The Jedi Path takes the approach that "the Jedi Order have legal custody of all Force-Sensitives in the Republic".

    Which is not exactly reassuring phrasing.

    At least one Force Sensitive tradition- the Zeison Sha- have had their grudge against the Jedi reinforced by this.

    From the Jedi Academy Training Manual:

    As travel to and from the planet increases, several members of the Zeison Sha venture forth to explore the galaxy and find the Jedi all too eager to wrest their Force-sensitive children from them and train them as Jedi. Outraged, the Zeison Sha return home only to reinforce their anti-Jedi beliefs.

    From Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, pages 180-181

    It was one of the things they never quite mentioned in the Temple- how many people, even in the Republic, viewed the Jedi with distrust or even outright hostility. The sentiment had grown during the Clone Wars, to the point that Jai hated going on the missions to identify new Jedi; as much as he knew the children were going to live better, richer, and more useful lives than they otherwise would have had, the whispers of "baby-napper!" bothered him, as did the heartbroken eyes of the parents who watched their children being led away. Less painful but still ugly was the relief in the eyes of a different kind of parent, the ones glad to be rid of the burden of an extra mouth to feed.

    One couldn't see that without wondering which kind of baby one had been oneself.
  5. thesevegetables

    thesevegetables Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 11, 2012
    Also, nobody is forced to go into the Service Corps. 13 years is a young age. You still have your whole life ahead of you and can get another career.
  6. Esg

    Esg Jedi Knight star 4

    Sep 2, 2012
    Honestly after all the stuff that went down during the Republic Dark Ages. Indirectly Ruin led for the Republic to collapse Sith Domination for centuries and the Universe to almost die in a giant Mash pit courtesy of Odion and the Ruusan Campaign which was a massive battle of attrition

    I won't say it's without flaw but in universe it's somewhat logical they don't want a repeat of the above desperately
  7. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Given that some of the Jedi's greatest heroes of that era came to the Order well past infancy- Serra Holt springs to mind- it does seem odd that they would fixate on Padawan age specifically.
  8. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
    One if the reasons for recruiting during infancy, ISTR from Outbound Flight, is that very young children have no preconception of what it means to be a Jedi.
  9. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    In the context of the Ruusan Reformation, the infants only requirement was also designed as a political tool. Outside of the Core, many of the Sith-free areas of that period were ruled by heriditary Jedi Houses. This sort of thing has all sorts of problems, not the least of which is rendering galactic rule by a Force-using warrior elite fudal class. The Ruusan Reformations deliberately dismantled this system, but training the heirs of the various lords from infancy to be loyal to the Order, rather than their parents, was no doubt a very effective method to insure the permanent destruction of this system.

    It is quite possible that infant recruitment, which was developed by Jedi Grand Master Fae Coven, was influenced by her Jenet psycology. The Jenet species has young in litters, most females had a litter annualy, and the young matured very rapidly, and the species developed a system whereby children where exchanged between family groups in order to prevent inbreeding issues. She may have found the system perfectly natural and completely failed to understand why other humans would object. By the time she stepped down, most of the remaining Jedi would have been raised under the system and thereby accept it inherently.
    Ulicus and cthugha like this.
  10. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
    Very interesting and informative post - the details were completely new to me! Thank you.
  11. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    Very well, we should release children out into the wild.

    They're taken by the Jedi Order with perhaps one or two exceptions in the history of the world who were done so involuntarily and adopted. They're given good homes, education, shelter, and until Order 66 extreme safety along with a tremendously detailed education.

    Yes, they are taught to be Jedi but children can choose to be otherwise once they're adults. Because then they'll be adults. It's like asking a person should be restricted from being a noble in the Star Wars Universe because they're raised to be nobles.

    As for the Agricultural Corps, I point out that the Jedi Knights are expected to become police officers and diplomats. This is not exactly a GOOD thing for many people who may be, for example, naturally shy or have difficulty speaking in public or don't have it in them to kill people even in self-defense. Hey, for people who'd rather actually avoid dying in battle potentially.

    Given famine seems unusually high as a possibility in the Galaxy, I think it's a valid lifestyle choice and if they didn't need someone in the Archives, I would have chosen it as my path.
  12. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    A lot has been covered here and sorry if this is a bit disjointed.

    I used to take a really harsh view of the Old Republic Jedi but not so much anymore.

    I find the OJO somewhat dogmatic, but I'm assuming, without having read the material that goes over the Ruusan Reformation changes (including the infant adoption requirement) is that the rules were put into place with very good intentions and weren't re-examined as they worked up until the time that Palpatine exploited them for his own gain. And many real-world religions are far more dogmatic than the Jedi, and few would suggest that parents should not be allowed to raise children under a fundamentalist dogmatic religion on Earth.

    I really dislike the rule forbidding the Jedi to have contact with his or her parents--I'll own the fact that it's an emotional reaction on my part but I still have trouble getting past it.

    The entry on anti-Jedi sentiment on Wook is pretty interesting, but as I see it, there wasn't a whole lot of truth in People's Inquest accusations. If the Jedi really did "kidnap" Force-sensitive children, why did Qui-Gon give Shmi and Anakin a choice in TPM? If the Jedi had automatic custody of all Force-sensitive children, it seems that Qui-Gon would have just told Shmi that Anakin was his once his slave chip was deactivated. Qui-Gon also would not have had to trick Watto into freeing Anakin, he would have just ordered him free as soon as he got Anakin's midichlorian count.

    As far as the Jedi being forced to stay, not any more than any adult is forced to maintain the religious traditions of childhood. Many do, but many do not. (*raises hand*) Yes, many beliefs become ingrained, but it is possible for an intelligent adult to re-examine any belief from childhood that seems less and less realistic as one ages.

    As I recall from what the Plagueis novel said about Dooku, he was on the Council and the other Council members knew that he was disgusted with what he saw as blind service to a Republic government that grew more and more corrupt. The Jedi weren't going to change their ways simply because Dooku protested, their purpose was to serve the Senate, for better or for worse--but they weren't twisting Dooku's arm to make him stay either. And the issue after he left was not his leaving, it was his joining the Sith and killing Sifo-Dyas as his initiation.

    I never took Jude Watson very seriously as far as Obi-Wan getting sent to be a farmer, any more than I take seriously much of anything else she says, and obviously Obi-Wan did not get banished anywhere and become a leading member of the Jedi Council instead. But as people have already mentioned, different paths for a potential Jedi can be a very, very good thing--not everyone has the personality to be a "guardian of peace and justice" as one's primary job. And I'd want whatever position they had open in the Archives.
  13. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Harsh though this rule is, it is part and parcel of the whole setup. Raising children to be Jedi first, last, and only, with no loyalty or family but the Order itself, is rather an all or nothing proposition. The entire point was to break bonds as a protective measure, to prevent the Jedi from having their attachments used against them (and not just via the dark side, ordinary blackmail and extortion would be all too possible).

    Personally I think the move was foolish, regardless of its immorality, since it was astonishingly isolating. It created an order of liscensed-to-kill special operatives who had no true understanding of the lifestyles of the ordinary galactic citizen. Despite this there is a logical reasoning behind it, though it is a cold logic.

    The reality is there real is no 'perfect' method to train Jedi, or any other type of Force-user. It is a very difficult road, a constantly shifting too little freedom can invite the dark side, but so can too much. Personally I think the overall move preented by the New Jedi Order makes a great deal of sense, but that Luke was far too relaxed and informal, to the point of being downright accepting the a certain number of students would fall, especially at the begining. The Old Republic Jedi may have taken their convictions to unnecesary extremes, but a single motivated Sith can do more damage in a year than a thousand Jedi can heal in a lifetime.

    In all probability the Jedi Order did posess custody over Force-sensitive children within Republic space (not the entirety of the galaxy by any means), but it was probably very seldom exercised. That legal right was no doubt written into law as a safety measure, so that, in the case of a Force-sensitive prodigy who started utilizing Force powers spontaneously - Coruscant Nights contains such a character - the Jedi Order could step in and take custody of the children to prevent him/her from acting as a dangerous to him/herself and others. Considering the inability of mundane authorities to properly control an unstable Force-user this makes a great deal of sense. The Old Republic surely should have worded the legalase more restrictively, but the Ruusan Reformation governments apparently allowed the Jedi Order a great deal of latitude.

    The thing is, to a Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, the Force is always there. It is a constant reminder of why the Jedi chose to be a Jedi and why life as a Jedi matters. The commitment is a very intense one, and with the self-reinforcing nature of the Force someone who is not prepared to live as a Jedi Knight simply will never become a Jedi Knight (yes this is circular logic, that is entirely the point). So while a great many students do leave the Order, or chose to live a rather more mundane lifestyle within the structure of the Service Corps, once someone becomes a Jedi Knight it takes a very significant change in personal ideology to break from that path. Seeing as the kind of personal doubt or emotional breakdown sufficent to allow the dark side to take hold is actually far easier to pass through than a careful and fully realized re-direction of one's whole identity, Jedi would have left the order while maintaining true to the light very rarely indeed. Far more simply fell first.
    Ulicus likes this.
  14. CaptainPeabody

    CaptainPeabody Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 15, 2008
    I disagree rather strongly with the idea of "no attachments" applied from birth. It's neither workable nor moral. Likewise, I find it hard to justify separating parents and children, and voluntary relinquishment does not strike me as enough to do so.

    That being said, simply raising people within the Jedi Order is not inherently immoral provided they're given a choice as to what they wish to be later in life. It's no different from Amish raising children as Amish, or atheists raising children as atheists, and is no more brainwashing than those things (brainwashing has an actual meaning, people, and really exists--for the love of Pete stop abusing it to mean "teaching people to believe things I don't like").

    Still, on the balance, I would tend to think that training later in life would be preferable. Given the preponderance of Jedi-turned-Dark-Siders, though, I can see why the move would make sense to Jedi at that time.
  15. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Jul 8, 1999
    I think a big part of the problem people have with this topic is that they're under the impression the OJO are protagonists. Really, the PT has no protagonists--just a bunch of people in a totally kriffed-up situation.
  16. Qual

    Qual Jedi Youngling

    Dec 2, 2009
    I've always liked the idea of the Service Corps to be honest. Makes sense if you're coming from the OJO philosophy that a little knowledge can be a lot of trouble if left unchecked. And they're for the most part having "cooler" lives than many other denizens of the galaxy, incorporating travel, rewarding charity work, and slight magic powers. Not to mention job security! It's more a 'job' than being a Knight, but the vast majority of the population has to get a job. And the Jedi Path seems to state they can quit, so they aren't slaves.

    I think if a few stories featured one of the Corps branches other than the AgriCorps, the whole system may be better recieved. As an engineer I appreciate that improving farming and food production is important, but it sounds slightly more dull than a travelling NGO doctor/teacher/explorer group.

    I might be alone, but I'd love to read about the adventures of a Force-Sensitive young fellow (think a cerebral Nick Rostu) exploring the galaxy searching for new civilisations and running into trouble.
  17. cthugha

    cthugha Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 24, 2010
  18. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The PT has a protagonist, and his name is Sio Bibble.
  19. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 8, 2004
    No, the PT's protagonist's name is Palpatine.

    It's not his fault he was misunderstood and defamed by the rest of the galaxy.
    Chewbacca89 likes this.
  20. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    "In the Republic"- but Tatooine isn't in the Republic, it's in Hutt Space.
  21. cthugha

    cthugha Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 24, 2010
    Another Good Thing About the Disney Deal:
    Katie Lucas won't be providing any more names.

    I hope.
  22. Moorplant

    Moorplant Jedi Youngling

    Feb 26, 2004
    The Jedi don't kidnap anyone, their parents can refuse and raise the children themselves. They're strongly encouraged that it's better for the galaxy and for the children themselves to learn about, control and utilize their powers for good, but parents do get that choice in the Jedi Aprentice series.

    As for being "brainwashed" and not being able to make a personal choice, it happens in the real world every day: My ass was parked in Mass for the first 18 years of my life, every week very few exceptions and I spent a good portion of the holidays and weekends involved in church stuff, not given a choice. I also went to a Catholic girls boarding school for a while. It took me a few weeks of college to realise the sky wasn't literally going to fall down if I skipped Mass a few times but I eventually did. There are parents who send their boys to be apprentice monks in Buddhist Temples from a very young age, all very Jedi style etc etc.

    Pretty much everyone starts out parroting their parents'/guardians POV or the opinions of whichever news channel they like to watch without thinking about it further. Some research other opinions to confirm or change their beliefs, others don't. It's a huge, diverse galaxy the Jedi are sent out into it at a young age, they experience 100 different POVs and see other ways to live. Obi-Wan himself leaves the Jedi briefly in the series, not over the AgriCorps near miss but because he believes in a specific planet's cause. He then makes the informed descision to return and eventually he and Qui-Gon both choose to renuite. He and Siri later choose not to pursue their feelings for each other, both having experienced life beyond the Jedi and decide they want to remain committed to the order. Anakin meanwhile thinks Obi-Wan can't have been in love with her since he didn't go nuts and murder everyone to avenge her death. :rolleyes:

    Granted I think its tough for a 13 year old who was desperate to be a padawan to come to terms with the ServiceCorps but they still get to experience life beyond the temple, and it's probably less restricted that Knights/Masters lives would be in some ways. And I think you'd either come to accept and enjoy your work or you'd think it wasn't worth it and leave the Jedi altogether with some pretty useful skills. And I guess it's possible that if you start out in one area and then develop talent/interest in another one then you can switch, Will of the Force and all.

    There are a lot of things wrong with the OJO, but given how many of Luke's Jedi have turned to the Dark Side, I'm not sure his recruitment policies are any better. Hell even Jacen/Jaina and Anakin were sent away to an isolated planet without their parents as young kids so they didn't have to experience negative emotions of everyone around them.
    Ulicus and Arawn_Fenn like this.
  23. MercenaryAce

    MercenaryAce Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 10, 2005
    Frankly, I don't the jedi are nearly as isolated or aloof as people make them out to be. Sure, they don't know their birth parents - neither do a lot of people who are orphans, given up for adoption, or taken to foster homes because their birth parents are utterly unfit. And on that note, I think we tend to place too much emphasis on blood ties - far too often have children been taken from loving and healthy foster homes to be returned to birth parents who are abusive or irresponsible.
    And sure, they don't get married....but a rising number of people are not getting married anyway.

    What the jedi do have are a network of friends and allies. When Obi-wan needs something identified, he turns to Jaxter, and it is clear from their interactions that they are very good friends. (Speaking of which, are there any stories about their adventures yet?). Similarly, I remember Obi-Wan make extensive use of friendships and favors to bring down a slaver ring in one of the comics. And he is hardly alone in that: Yoda uses the contacts he has built over his life and career extensively, and the friendship between clones and jedi is at the center of many stories, even if it wasn't strong enough to save them in the end.

    If anything, I think one of the greatest assets of the jedi is their ability to connect to people. The ability to feel the emotions of others is one of the jedi's abilities after all, and they are trained to be diplomats....and I think force users tend to have magnetic personalities that just naturally build friendships and loyalty. Even the most insane of Sith seem to attract a small group of fanatically loyal followers.

    What's more, the jedi have a unique advantage - their careers mean that they get to meet people of countless different backgrounds. From rich and powerful senators to humble farmers to lovable rogues, of many different species and philosophies. Not only does this give the jedi a variety of contacts to call upon for different occasions, but it gives the jedi unparallelled amounts of perspective to help them grow.

    Speaking of which, I think it is important to recognize another reason people rarely stop being jedi: it is tough, but very rewarding. You get to see interesting places, meet all kinds of interesting people, feel good about how you have helped people, and from what I understand being at peace with the force is supposed to feel very nice as well.
  24. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    The closest real world equivalent we have to being taken to the Jedi Temple as an infant is being sent to a Buddhist Temple as a monk at a very young age. While my admittedly limited understanding is that family contact is not necessarily forbidden in those cases (probably varies by sect anyway), geographic barriers would mean that, even today, there are parts of the world where such children would have essentially zero contact with home after leaving.

    The thing is, unlike monks, the Jedi are not raised to pursue a life of holy contemplation/isolation for the rest of their lives, but are eventually expected to pursue tasks of profound social sensitivity. Further they are raised in a social system that, being derived from East Asian cultures doesn't match the Euro-American culture of everyone else in the Star Wars galaxy.

    This isolation wouldn't matter for a Fallanasi-style Force tradition that sits around all day trying not to do anything, and it probably doesn't matter much for the Jedi archivists who never really leave the temple, but to fullfill the agent-without-portfolio role that the Jedi Knights take up under the Republic, it is a profound problem. Sure it's one that some Jedi overcome, like Obi-Wan, but certainly not all of them. It's worth noting here that citing Obi-Wan in defense of really anything about the post-Ruusan Jedi Order really isn't appropriate, since his character is basically an embodiment of the Jedi ideal and he is in many ways the exception that proves the rule (and it's so tragic that he blames himself for failing to teach Anakin, when it was Yoda's whole dogmatic 'let go' speech in ROTS that really was the last straw, he would have handled that so much better).
  25. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Seems a reasonable interpretation.