Saga Why do Jedi often treat Droids as lesser beings?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Loupgarou, Dec 17, 2011.

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  1. Loupgarou Jedi Grand Master

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    In both the films and EU material, Jedi often seem to have a view of droids (even high-level ones, not talking GNKS here) as lower things. Not all Jedi, but there is a general attitude that they are expendable, moreso than with other good factions.
    Now, it'd just be something I'd ponder for a moment then assume that well, Jedi value life. But certain things are said in Star Wars, pertaining to that opinion that are contradictory. Sure, as Lucas has said Droids have no 'Soul' but in star wars, there's no confirmed souls beyond the oversoul that is the Force, and your connection to it. Each person only has soul inasmuch as the Force is one. And yoda himself says that the force is in all things, "The tree, the rock.". If the force resides within the rock, then there is at least a spark there, perhaps inert, but flowing. With this way of looking at the world, Jedi should have a shinto-like appreciation for even inanimate objects. And since droids have electrical circuits can that do the same things as an Organics chemical circuits, isn't their bit of force as sacred as an Organic bit of force? And therefore, from a spiritual standpoint, shouldn't the Jedi see them as equals, protect them thusly, mourn them thusly?

  2. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    To me it's not clear whether droids do have electrical circuits that do what organic brains do. Sometimes it seems like it (C-3PO or R2-D2 having personalities) and sometimes it doesn't (they seem more programmed to be functionaries than "people"). It's not clear whether they have experiences of mind as humans have them, or if they only appear to in order to lubricate their interactions with organics.
  3. T-R- Chosen One

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    Droids aren't living sentients, they are programmed electronics - machines.

    The Force isn't a soul, it is an energy field.

    Actually, Yoda says the Force is between the tree, the rock, the land, and the ship. It is between you and the droid, not in the droid. Life creates and makes the enegry field called the Force grow. Midi-chlorians allows you to access/manipulate the energy field. Droids don't create the Force or possess midi-chlorians in order to access it.

    To a Jedi (and most other sentients), there isn't much difference between the droid, a vehicle, or a computer - they are all machines.
  4. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I don't think it's quite that simple. Organic beings "have" minds/selves, which exist within the Force/have some interaction with the Force. What is it that causes this? Is it the very fact of their organic-ness, or is it the complexity of experience? Or some combination of both? The Force is said to involve all life, but what about Blade Runner-style replicants, Battlestar Galactica-type skinjobs, or Culture Minds? Would they count within the Force?

    I don't know - but the answer also has something to do with whether droids truly have minds/other elements we use to define "life," or if they are only programmed to appear as if they do, like Siri or other user interfaces. And there are probably transitional cases that emphasize the weirdness of the situation.
  5. T-R- Chosen One

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    Life/being alive causes the connection with the Force because life creates the Force and makes it grow.

    They don't exist in SW so who's to say. Droids in the SW sense are not alive and are not a form of life.
  6. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I know, but these are thought experiments. In real life, viruses are questionably alive, or not. Do they count within the Force? What life is depends on your definition.

    Human replica droids do exist within SW (the EU at least). And given the type of scientific worldview (go with me here) that could produce hyperspace travel, blasters, etc, it seems that simulating minds would be theoretically possible. Does having a mind affect presence in the Force? Or do ties to the Force rely only on organic composition? The possibility of beings on the "edge" of Force use/existence is interesting to me, because of the vagueness of the terms used, when studied in detail.
  7. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Luke didn't sense Guri through the Force, for whatever that's worth.
  8. aalagartassle SWC Senate Chief of State

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    Jax Pavan and Darth Vader sensed i-5 through the force.
    Though i-5 broke his programming.
    I think?/ that luke sensed C3p0 in a EU book as well, no quote on that one though.
  9. Alexrd Force Ghost

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  10. aalagartassle SWC Senate Chief of State

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    Iron knights. Species that survive through technology. They got booted out by the jedicouncil b4 the purge but came back to be respected. Maybe it is a time and a place thing in the saga.
    Or vuffi Raa's species too were sentinent. the jedi knew of them, but they were not a dominant life form
  11. Jedsithor Force Ghost

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    Droids have personalities but those personalities are pre-programmed. They have been shown to exhibit fear, joy, anger and a whole range of other emotions. It could be argued that Threepio has even been shown to have a fear of death, which is one of the parameters for life and sentience.

    Ultimately though, that's how droids are designed. My guess is that they are made to act alive because it's more comfortable for their owners to interact with something they feel will respond in a "human" way. It has been argued of course that Artoo for example has transcended his programming, possibly due to the lack of mind wipes and may actually be capable of conscious thoughts. But again, that can be down to programming. Being an Astromech, Artoo is programmed to be "brave" and programmed to put the lives of his masters before anything else. While he is shown running away from Luke in ANH, it's only because he was given a direct order by Leia to find Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    What's really interesting is the nature of clones in the GFFA. Like droids, Clone Troopers are programmed. They obey the orders of their masters, putting aside any friendships or doubts, as witnessed during Order 66. The Clone Wars series, especially recent episodes, have shown that the clones see themselves as more than biological droids, as living breathing people. But is this truly independent thought or are they, like droids, programmed to "think" that way? Order 66 suggests the latter but I believe there are some stories in EU that show clones disobeying the order which could mean true sentience in at least some clones. On the other hand, clones could all be sentient beings that have simply been brainwashed since "birth."

  12. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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    I-5 is a great character for that reason. The SW universe had never before taken a very sophisticated stance on questioning whether droids are truly sentient. Even the characters who are supposed to be the most morally upright seldom bat at eyelash at the suffering of droids (or animals, for that matter). I appreciated that one author had the chutzpah to broach the topic.

    Lucas's quote about "souls" in the GFFA makes no sense because Jedi beliefs are clearly based on eastern religion, not Christianity. Further evidence that he doesn't even understand why his films are great. [face_frustrated]
  13. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Clones are sentient.
  14. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    But one could just as easily say that humans are "designed" to react in certain ways to certain stimuli (if the mind is what the brain does). As you say, it's hard to tell whether droids are more like "user interfaces" ("Are you sure you want to delete file X?") or more like human minds... but once the set of mind-parts that are operating becomes complex/large enough, is there even a meaningful difference? I guess the real answer here is that no one on the creative side of SW has really gotten into the confusing details regarding this type of issue as it relates to the SW galaxy...

    (As an aside, the notion that robots who "become" conscious, or "become" people, have transcended their programming, has always bothered me - what exactly would that even mean? It makes more sense to me to posit that minds come from systems - in our case, built from tons of simpler, more focused "machines" - that can react to various environments. More like Artoo or Threepio than the bartender in the Fifth Element (who/which could only say "You want some more?" in the face of any stimulus).

    )

    I'm not sure which quote you mean... do you have a link or anything?
  15. T-R- Chosen One

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    I see what you're getting at, however, HRD's in SW are substantially different from the skin-job cylons of BSG. Guri has synthetic blood, organs, muscles, a processor, and sensors, and is programmed. Human-cylons are completely organic (as far as I remember) with the ability to download their consciousness to a cloned body. If they existed in SW they would probably be part of the Force/have midis.

    Clones are fully organic and are part of the Force.
  16. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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  17. janstett Force Ghost

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    I always thought the point was that the more compassionate characters treated droids well -- maybe at least on the level of pets. I don't think it's a PT or OT thing.

    The rebels seemed to treat them as appliances in the OT. In both trilogies only the main characters whom we are supposed to empathize with treat the droids respectfully. Even then Luke seems to treat fried R2 after the death star battle as if to say "whatever".
  18. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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    Luke's reaction during the trench run makes sense, though. It's one of the few instances of good guys not seeming to care about droids that doesn't bother me. Luke has already seen friends die and knows it's a consequence of war. He also realizes that he has to keep his calm and try to complete the mission so their sacrifices won't be in vain. Notice that Luke doesn't take a lot of time out to mourn Biggs, either.

    In other words, "We have no time for sorrows."
  19. shanerjedi Jedi Master

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    Mar 17, 2010
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    The SW films really expect the viewers to just accept certain things, like droid servants, etc.

    These films have more of the trappings of science fiction(droids, spacecraft,lasers, etc) rather than the questions raised by it.

    The SW films are great at introducing ideas, but if you want answers or deeper thoughts look elsewhere. SW is a great beginning but not an end.

    That's why I think the SW films are such a great thing for kids. It introduces them to droids and clones and all that stuff but doesn't turn it into an ethical discussion. It's accessible in ways that hard and pure SF is not.
  20. jacktherack Force Ghost

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    although it begs the point brought in fallout 3. if a android is programmed to think they are human and they do think they are, do they have rights as well. you would probably think no, (thinking if we were in the science fiction world) you might say it dousn't matter what we do to androids kill them or keep them as slaves. although the thing is you could be an android. with ai so sophisticated that the only thing different from a android and a human is that human's are born and androids are created. (theres a quest to find a missing android in fallout 3 you finally find it is a guard living in rivit city who is givin a false memory and thinks he is human, he thinks he is human just as much as you think you are human. his skin is made up of flesh he has sentient thoughts and can think for himself just as much any other being. what is so different from them to us?
  21. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I think you're right that this is the case right now, but it's also sad. SW doesn't have to be dumbed down. And if you're trying to teach people to think a little harder about things, ignoring implications is the last thing that makes sense. Jedi's "certain point of view" and the ability of Vader to be redeemed called oversimplified notions in storytelling and thought into question, in their own ways. SW may not be the deepest fiction that exists, but it does point out ambiguity in some places. Shame that other bits can be completely glossed over.
  22. shanerjedi Jedi Master

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    But see, to me at least, Star Wars has always just paraded things in front of us without really having characters question those things. Droids are given restraining bolts, for example. They are pretty much servants at that point. But you don't have a Free Droids movement or something like you would likely get from hard SF.
    That's another reason why I don't really consider SW to be SF at all. It's Space Opera with a dash of western. SF is just the the toys(spaceships, lightsabers, blasters, hyperspace, etc) but not the content.

    So droids being treated as lesser beings in SW is nothing really new.
  23. Hogsquattle Force Ghost

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    Feb 7, 2009
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    It just the Jedi - everybody treats droids that way - not necessarily out of cruelty or ignorance but robots are tools and appliances.

    They are no more than than fridge or a vacuum cleaner.

    Threepio and Artoo are somewhat unique in that they have never been memory wiped (fully that is - Bane wipes the specific memory of their abduction at his hands) and have as such developed more personality than a droid usually would.

    Luke and Anakin are unique too in that they recognised this and have developed an emotional attachment to them.

    The other robot sidekicks in the Star Wars EU always felt just plain wrong - I don't think the writers understood just how truely special Threepio and Artoo really are. I like that Bane shows the way other Star Wars characters feel about machines - a tool that can easily sacrificed to get get the gig done.
  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Threepio was memory-wiped.
  25. Hogsquattle Force Ghost

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    Do you mean the comment by Bail Organa to Captain Antilles at the end of ROTS?

    We don't know what kind of a memory wipe though, as we see in Evil Plans it can be specific.

    A complete wipe would erase their personalities.
    This is why Anakin never wiped Artoo (leading to the problem in season one of TCW) and why Luke refuse to allow it to be done to his droids (never specifically said in the movies, but mentioned a few times in the EU comics and books).
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