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Author Topic: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy  (Read 3191 times)

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Offline Iaera

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Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« on: 07/29/14, 10:56:10 PM »
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So, as some of you are aware, a bit of a kerfluffle has arisen with regard to the direction Custodum is or isn't taking, and the perceptions thereof. While that is currently a larger debate occurring within Custodum itself, it has brought to mind some things I think we should all give some thought to.

For a long time, I've restrained a lot of my thoughts on how Jedi philosophy "should" be portrayed, for a number of reasons. For one, I'm a fairly hardcore Lore Nazi, and I don't expect everyone I RP with to be that neck-deep in Star Warsiness. Especially early in the server's RP scene, I didn't really feel the need to go 100% hardcore super-Jedi with a bunch of people who often knew very little about Jedi apart from Yoda quotes, so I moderated a lot of my views for the purposes of playing Iaera. Secondly, in helping to fill what used to be a very under-represented and unappreciated niche - the card-carrying Jedi Knight - I didn't want to immediately fall into stereotyping and alienation, which would have only isolated the nascent Jedi RP sub-community, rather than integrating it.

However, this server and its community has come a long way. This issue which has arisen in the Custodum isn't a bad thing at all; it's a growing pain - a sign the community has matured, and wants to tackle more complex and more intricate material in our RP. I'd like to talk a little bit about that here, and specifically, how we think about the Jedi in our RP. Not just your own Jedi character, if you have one, but how you interact and treat the Jedi characters you encounter. It extends to more than just Jedi, actually, and you could apply some of this to Sith, other Force users, and even 'mundane' characters in our Star Wars universe, but for obvious reasons I'm speaking mostly from a Jedi perspective here.

Awhile back, I posted some food for thought on the clash between Eastern and Western bias in how we approach Star Wars. As many of you know, Lucas based large swathes of Star Wars on Eastern art, film, and mysticism. Nowhere is this more evident than the iconic Jedi Knights. 'Knight' conjures up images of Western chivalry and gallantry, which is fine, but the Jedi have much more to do with Shaolin Monks than they do with mediaeval knights.

The point of contention which Custodum is discussing right now is marriage and relationships. It's arguably the most controversial aspect of Jedi doctrine and a frequent bugbear in Jedi RP. So the (rhetorical) question I pose to you, the community, is: Why is it controversial?

Because we live in 21st century Western society, that's why. We - particularly if you are part of my generation, 'the Millennials' as they call us - live in a time of social progress, freedom of sexual identity, and the collected sum-to-date gradual change of marriage from an institution of dynastic unification and property rights, into a more nebulous institution of love between two persons. While I will leave the politics of that out of this discussion, its impact on our societal ethics and mores is critical here. Marriage as we know it, and the relationships it implies (and throughout much of our history, has been restricted to), have evolved over the course of the past 2,500 years of cultural tradition, first in the Greco-Roman world, and then further moulded by European Christianity. In short, we are all brought up believing in marriage and relationships as they've been upheld through the lens of Western society.

We think it's wrong to marry for any reason other than love. We think it's wrong to love, and then not have that love recognised by marriage. We think it's an inalienable right, to pursue who and what we love, and to deny that desire in ourselves or others is unconscionable.

Why on earth would Jedi think that?

It's easy to contrive of a few reasons: Jedi are good guys. Jedi are compassionate. Jedi fight for positive ideals. But those are all rationalizations, attempts to project our own European ideals of love and marriage onto people who don't have a Catholic Church or a Europe. We are roleplayers: We are here with the explicit, stated purpose of portraying people who are not us; that's the whole point. If you play a Sith Lord, you are probably going to engage in some evil behaviour that you would never do in real life, because that's not who you are. So too, then, if you play a Jedi, you are probably going to behave in a way that you would never behave in real life, because the person you are playing has very different thoughts and beliefs than you do - the same as any other RPed character.

So, I present this as an open challenge to this community, because I think it has reached a point where it can handle it: What Would a Jedi Do? Think about it: They are taken at a very young age, and train with obsessive discipline in the Zen arts of meditation. They are monks, warrior-monks at that, who wield deadly but archaic weapons, and are entrusted with huge levels of responsibility in a galaxy-spanning civilisation. They're not you or me, they're not Joe Average, and they don't necessarily subscribe to Western notions of love and marriage. They believe in purity of spirit - the Force - and its ever-present influence on the events of the galaxy, and each and every one of them has dedicated their lives to deeper and deeper meditation upon its meaning. They are Shaolin monks, sequestered in their monastery on Tython to contemplate the deeper abstracts of the meaning of life.

So next time you encounter a Jedi, or play a Jedi, or discuss a Jedi, I would humbly ask you take a moment to pause and think: Who am I dealing with here? A person off the street with a laser sword, or a monk who has spent decades studying a philosophy wholly alien to our Western way of running society?
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
also many alts i never play ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Offline Iaera

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #1 on: 07/29/14, 11:33:01 PM »
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As a minor addendum, we have also brushed with this topic once or twice in the past on the subject of the ever-infamous baby-stealing! I recall making an (IC) argument then that asked why we find it so objectionable - many people in the galaxy quite likely think the inverse, and might consider it an honour to have their child chosen to be a Jedi! Again, we have all been brought up with 21st century ideals of child-rearing and family units. The ideals of the ancient monastic order which has protected the galaxy since time immemorial probably differ!
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
also many alts i never play ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Offline Thrax

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #2 on: 07/30/14, 12:28:30 AM »
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I think what you've posted here is extremely insightful and I'd say very necessary to consider for anyone who's really serious about making a Jedi character. I think this should also be noted for people who may not necessarily be Jedi that have their characters act to kind of demonstrate the perceived inadequacies of Jedi thinking. It's an all too common phenomenon that individuals will have their characters, if they are aware of Jedi philosophies and doctrines for some reason, act as soundboards to parrot the aforementioned perceived inadequacies in an attempt to make the character in question seem more intelligent.

That said, to answer the stated question: what would a Jedi do? A Jedi would act with respect to the tenants of the Order, and while that seems like a bland, blanket statement, the truth of the matter is that the real meat of Jedi RP (that is not about thwarting the dark side, of course) typically comes from the conflicts that do arise from those tenants, such as the one experienced. Struggling inside the parameters of what a Jedi -should- be can make for fascinating character roleplay.

However, I would add that my above statement is by no means a challenge for individuals to make characters that skirt Jedi boundaries in an attempt at subversion of the established order via the introduction of themes that we would considered more socially contemporary. Not only has it been done to death, undeath, Night of the Living Death, Dawn of the Death, Day of the Death, Land of the Death, Diary of the Death and finally Survival of the Death (growing incrementally worse with each incarnation), it does not always offer an insightful commentary on the Jedi and their ways.

I would say simply that to working within the parameters of Jedi philosophy to exploit, press, and establish those boundaries within the lore can make for some great storytelling IF proper respect is shown to what is established. Ultimately, the lore's not ours to change. It's there, and if we're not doing the majority of our writing with respect to what those boundaries indicate, then we may as well be playing any old game and then slap our personal OOC insights all over our characters with abandon, because why not at that point?

Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #3 on: 07/30/14, 12:52:10 AM »
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(...razzin frazzin cough fun...)

The issue with the Baby-Stealing is that, while you can argue eastern influences of a monastic order with regard to how Jedi act, you can't really do that with how the rest of the galaxy acts.

Are there some people who believe that a child being chosen to become a Jedi is a huge honor? Sure. I imagine it can depend heavily on species, location and the culture around us... but the issue is that its been too often couched as something mandatory for everyone in the Republic.

I mean, just take the USA and the subject of, for example, vaccinating kids against dangerous viruses. There are people who refuse to allow the government to mandate that their kids get vaccinated, based only on fearmongering, junk science and/or strong beliefs in personal freedoms. An actual country-wide consensus on the topic in the next twenty years seems pretty damn unlikely.

If a country of 300 million people aren't going to agree on something as simple as "Lets make sure our children can't get Polio or HPV", can you see a planet of 1 trillion like Coruscant come to a consensus on if its okay to take children away from their parents, regardless of the parents' opinions on the matter, because some mystics say they've got special powers? And that's just one world, and not taking species into the mix.

...and it doesn't help that the lines quoted from the Jedi Path book were kinda... evil with the justification, that the presence of the Force in a toddler means the child consents to being taken into a monastic life, regardless of the parents' opinion on the matter. There's a reason my headcanon for this is that the Jedi CAN take kids from parents without the parents' consent if they really want to, but choose not to do so if the vast majority of cases: It's the only possibility that I can see matching the lore and not leading to a massive, Republic-wide revolt against the Jedi Order.

One of my big beliefs, not just regarding Star Wars RP but just in general, is that people....... can be really different from each other. That a species is not defined by a few surface traits, like so often happens in Science Fiction (all the Twi'leks are slaves, all the Zabraks are brutal warriors, all the Klingons love warfare, all Vulcans are devoted to logic and discovery...), that between genetics, upbringing, socialization, predispositions, chemical imbalances, random happenstance and such, people can turn out incredibly different.

And, yeah, I consider this true even for the Jedi. People have different interests and aptitudes, and that changes what they read and do. They get different masters, who take them different places, introduce them to different cultures. One takes a liking to study, history and mechanisms and finds himself there. Another finds a home in the martial and practical aspects, gets dragged around the seedier parts of the galaxy, and their attitude reflects that. Another gets in way over his head, does something stupid and things change forever for him.

I'm not much of a philosopher. Eastern, Western, Spacestern, it's all greek to me, honestly. I don't entirely understand what it is like to live as a Jedi, not just because of the Force and how I don't have it, but also because it's a fairly alien culture for me, and the only touchstones I have to it are, well, shallow tropes and generalizations, which are not sturdy foundations for a solid character.

This got a bit rambly 'cos of lateness and disorientation from nappingness, but hopefully it made sense...
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Iaera

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #4 on: 07/30/14, 01:38:54 AM »
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But why is taking the baby a bad thing?

Not in an objective, ethical sense of course. The answer is more obvious there. But objective ethics as we know them are derived directly from the European Enlightenment and its philosophers (who in turn derive their works from early Christian philosophers, who derive their works from Greek philosophers).

I'm asking why Hypothetical Star Wars Joe would think taking a baby is a bad thing. He hasn't read Socrates, Aquinas, and Descartes. No one in his community has. No one in his government has. In fact, most of the people in his government have Jedi advisors.

This is my point: We look at these things which Jedi do and immediately react based on our own enlightened 21st-century Western body of thought. We are so biased toward this outlook that we can't even see that it is a bias, because it's the only thing our society has known for 2,500 years.

Sure, I'm sure there are Hypothetical Joes who are none too keen on their babies being taken away by the Jedi. That's fine. But that doesn't mean it's the rule, or even common. As of SWTOR's current date, yes, the Jedi Order has lost some influence in the affairs of the galaxy and the Republic, but by and the large, for the bulk of its existence, the Jedi Order is almost synonymous with the Republic itself. They're the state-sanctioned organised religion of the Republic, and its members are the monks who show up and speak with absolute authority on matters concerning the very spirit of the universe.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and demand that every character show nothing but deference to a Jedi. That's not what this is about. It's about pausing to think for a moment next time you interact with one, and asking yourself just what it means to talk to this person.

Next time Iaera and a Jedi delegation come a-knockin', asking to get your baby tested for sensitivity to the Force, try not to picture the Iaera you see for a moment. As goofy as it is, take a moment and pretend you see this:



They say to you, "Your child shows great potential, and has an honoured place amongst our ranks."

Does that mean you want to give up your child? No, not necessarily. But this isn't Child Protective Services showing up at your door with a judge's order to take your kid away. It's a bit more... well, Zen than that. That's all I'm asking people to consider.
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Fiat justitia ruat clum

Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
also many alts i never play ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #5 on: 07/30/14, 08:33:11 AM »
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Because a parent giving up their child to strangers, never to see them again, is about as natural, biologically speaking, as dunking the kid in ketchup and chowing down?

The problem is that the recruitment has never been justified or explored, at least as far as I'm aware, but it generally couched as something mandatory. The common portrayal IS Jedi Protective Services coming to your door and taking your kid away, whether you like it or not.

I'm sure the Jedi act all zen when they go on recruitment, sure. But they're still dealing with people, huge, vast swaths of people that are going to be different from each other. American society may be based on christianity and the noted western philosophies, but I haven't read them myself, and despite how the most important religion in Amercia's history is christianity, if a priest came up to me and expected Agnostic Orell to do what he said because he said it in a religious tone, Mr. Priest would be sadly disappointed.

300 million people in the US have more religions than I can count. Many based on Christianity, many of them nothing remotely close, and it seems like every year brings a new denomination, a new minor split, a new change to how people's faith takes shape.

Are we to expect a population of 3,000 times the size of the US to have unified beliefs, or even a vast majority of them to agree on a concept in violation of basic biological instincts? Especially when that population is not only different in terms of the generic, humdrum, everyday manners of humanity, but also in terms of species as well?

Because the only way I see that happening is for the Jedi to act... completely un-Jedi-like, using propaganda and possibly mind-tricks to indoctrinate the population, influencing politicians to keep their way of life secured. We get into discussions about what's the best way to get someone to stop trying to kill you, and how the Jedi way is not one of offense and attack. I just can't picture Jedi going to the lengths they would need to in order to override millennia of genetic predisposition and the anarchy of society.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Seraphie

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #6 on: 07/30/14, 08:46:13 AM »
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I'm asking why Hypothetical Star Wars Joe would think taking a baby is a bad thing. He hasn't read Socrates, Aquinas, and Descartes. No one in his community has. No one in his government has. In fact, most of the people in his government have Jedi advisors.

This is my point: We look at these things which Jedi do and immediately react based on our own enlightened 21st-century Western body of thought. We are so biased toward this outlook that we can't even see that it is a bias, because it's the only thing our society has known for 2,500 years.
Speaking as a mom: because he's a parent. This isn't Western philosophy and enlightenment. This is instinctive, protective momma bear. You want to take my child from me? No. Over my dead body. Or even better, over yours.

Quote
They say to you, "Your child shows great potential, and has an honoured place amongst our ranks."

Does that mean you want to give up your child? No, not necessarily. But this isn't Child Protective Services showing up at your door with a judge's order to take your kid away. It's a bit more... well, Zen than that. That's all I'm asking people to consider.
And I get that, really I do, and I'm sure there are many who would swallow the pain of the separation and very cooperatively hand over their child, as happens in exactly the context you illustrated in our real world. However, they would have to be parents who really and truly buy in on that philosophy. I move to Tibet and am told that my child meets such criteria? The answer is still no, you can't have my child, and if necessary, I will leave the coutry. The Republic is so vast, the population so huge and varied, that I would expect there to be a large number who don't buy in to the philosophical ideas of the Jedi and the Force sufficiently to be willing, as a parent, to give up their child.

Quote
As of SWTOR's current date, yes, the Jedi Order has lost some influence in the affairs of the galaxy and the Republic, but by and the large, for the bulk of its existence, the Jedi Order is almost synonymous with the Republic itself. They're the state-sanctioned organised religion of the Republic, and its members are the monks who show up and speak with absolute authority on matters concerning the very spirit of the universe.
This is by no means universal, least of all on Coruscant. There were many who blamed the Jedi for the sacking. In a recent roleplay on my Jedi Zurshufis and his padawan, on Coruscant, I had them met with distrust by the underworld, but when it came to interaction with official Coruscant Security Forces, I had most of the squad show the expected respectful defference, but the lead officer was downright hostile. I got the impression from at least one of the SWTOR novels I read (sorry, don't remember which one) that some even in official Republic positions believe that not only was the Sacking the fault of the Jedi, but that wherever a Jedi goes, trouble follows. Which of course is usually because the Jedi is following and dealing with the trouble. But we all know that public perception of superheros isn't always glorious.


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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #7 on: 07/30/14, 08:55:09 AM »
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Because a parent giving up their child to strangers, never to see them again, is about as natural, biologically speaking, as dunking the kid in ketchup and chowing down?
Speaking as a mom: because he's a parent. This isn't Western philosophy and enlightenment. This is instinctive, protective momma bear. You want to take my child from me? No. Over my dead body. Or even better, over yours.

'Natural' depends on your upbringing. You're dealing with a galaxy that has evolved completely differently from ours. Consider feudal Japan or China, where it was an honor for a child to be chosen to train as Samurai, monk, priest, or any number of life-positions where you may never see your child again. This did not stop some for fleeing or defending against it... but the vast majority welcomed it. This is what was 'natural' to them. 'Speaking as a parent' is not enough for that - it is 'speaking as a parent of our day and age'.

The common portrayal IS Jedi Protective Services coming to your door and taking your kid away, whether you like it or not.

Please provide official examples where it has been the case, as I have not seen any and would greatly enjoy exploring that depiction. The only three times in official works where I've seen it done have been as Iaera has said. An honor.

Are we to expect a population of 3,000 times the size of the US to have unified beliefs, or even a vast majority of them to agree on a concept in violation of basic biological instincts? Especially when that population is not only different in terms of the generic, humdrum, everyday manners of humanity, but also in terms of species as well?

Short answer: Yes.
Because the Galaxy of Star Wars is not America, is not based on America, and shares very few developmental similarities with America. So comparing the two is apples and oranges. Sociology shows that once you have a population reach a size of vast expansion, you are MORE likely to see traditional ties and culturally significant practices upheld - which, given the age of the Order, the induction of Force Sensitives would fall well in line with. Consider the above mention of previous cultures okay with this practice - but also include the aspect of the tribal culture. Most tribal cultures in early development practiced a Rite of Passage, or test of manhood, or something of the sort. While many tribes had different rites or traditions for this moment, in areas where there were many tribes they often acknowledged and honored other tribes paths. This induction of Force Sensitives could also be seen very similarly... Honoring the Jedi's traditions.

Offline Iaera

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #8 on: 07/30/14, 09:23:52 AM »
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I'm not going to argue the point further, because ultimately this isn't about what any individual person thinks of specific pieces of Jedi policy. It's about stopping to think when a Jedi says "Hello," because a Jedi (or other Star Wars character) may adhere to cultural standards that may seem incomprehensible or objectionable. I've broached this now, because I want to raise consciousness about a trend which exists in RP (here in SWTOR and anywhere else); namely, substituting our own moral objections in place of thoughtful role-play.

The original point has nothing to do with taking babies away, and everything to do with your character not being you. Please forgive the bluntness, but I brought this up because I think we can handle it: Don't insult your character by substituting his or her beliefs with your own. Our little fictional avatars take on a life of their own and develop their own personalities, and there's no need to inject our own 21st century moral high-horsery into the world they live in. Sith blow up planets in this world - these people have bigger things to worry about than what their player thinks of Jedi policy.

I hope I'm not being too harsh. This comes from an honest desire to see our RP continue to evolve and improve as a collective community. Those of us on the Jedi end of the spectrum are going through some growing pains right now, and I think that's the healthiest time to explore and consider this kind of stuff, so we can grow rather than wither away.
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Fiat justitia ruat clum

Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
also many alts i never play ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #9 on: 07/30/14, 09:49:23 AM »
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Except that the culture of Star Wars, outside of the Force Users, seems (at least in broad strokes) based on western philosophy and ideals, and certainly isn't in line with feudalistic thinking. The attitudes and themes of the Trooper story, just as an example, are not dissimilar to, among other things, Michael Bay's "The Rock".

Seriously, the Prologue and Backstory is practically a straight lift, just a difference of if the good soldier survives.

And there's other touchstones throughout. Play through Coruscant and the problems there feel like what you'd see in a society so heavily urbanized that law enforcement is losing touch of its people. Go through Ord Mantell and try not to see parallels with the US ordeal in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...not to mention the most obvious fact: The Republic is a Republic. A representative democracy made up of elected politicians. Feudal China and Japan, and Feudal Europe for that matter, did not have this form of government, and (afaik) is largely a product of the classic western philosophers.

It feels like a general Western philosophy (Republic) coexisting with a strong Eastern philosophy (Jedi Order). There's going to be clangs.

And, Ili: Every time "Jedi Children" comes up, it's done with the implication that they are recruited from families at a young age, and generally indicated that the parent's consent was not considered an issue.

I will grant that the only time I recall that actually being significantly expounded upon was in the Republic Commando series, which was several thousand years after the TOR era, as well as, um, being written by Traviss, so might not be the best example.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Colton

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #10 on: 07/30/14, 10:16:13 AM »
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Iaera, this is what you get for posting that addendum can of worms. :P

At the end of the day, let the movies (crappy as the prequels are) be your guide. Remember Episode One, and how a Jedi came to this slave on a backwater planet and said "Your child is strong in the Force. I'm going to take him with me back to the Jedi, where he can receive the proper training." Remember that heartfelt scene, where the mother accepted that this is the way things are, that those who have a strong connection with the Force go away to learn how to become protectors of the galaxy, and assured her son that this is the way things are and you cannot stop it. Remember how the one who had the most problem with letting go was the son, and that was because he was old enough to have already formed that attachment to family.

Remember what our own canon states as the reality of children leaving their family to become Jedi, because if you can't accept that, then you are actively denying a fundamental truth of the setting. Lightspeed works, the Force can be used for good or ill, and it's not evil to give your child up to become a Jedi.
Saura Colton - Former Republic slicer/spy
Jace Colton - Captain of the Second Star (retired)
Drexa Nahir - Akar Enclave Master (deceased)

Offline TheKing1nYellow

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #11 on: 07/30/14, 10:32:43 AM »
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Vastar- +1 to your previous post.

I encounter this kind of thing many times during tabletop RPG's as well. It is very hard for most people to separate their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences from those of their fictional character in a made up environment. Where society is vastly different than anything they as a player have ever experienced.

Iaera- I agree with you and now that you directly point it out in this manner I am able to see what has been bothering me about most of the Jedi RP in general.

This subject parallels a problem my fellow tabletop RPGers found in our various incarnations of games. We termed it the special snowflake syndrome (I believe on of the guys read an article somewhere and stole the term). Everyone wanted to play something 'interesting' by bucking the setting 'norms' which progressively worse to the point that our standard party makeup was a circus sideshow quartet. All for what? So that we could have 'fun' that wasn't fun due to the inability to immerse ourselves in the setting. We had to establish a rule to combat this which only allowed one player to be the 'special snowflake' in a particular game.

While this image is more tuned to DnD it nicely illustrates our issue...


Now our tabletop groups solution in no way can work here, but maybe if just a few people take it into account while crafting their character's it may help in the long run...

There are setting Norms in Star Wars. Regardless of your (The player's) feelings about them, they are true.

**And of course during the typing of my reply Colton goes and says basically my summary...**
« Last Edit: 07/30/14, 10:57:36 AM by TheKing1nYellow »

Offline Auryn

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #12 on: 07/30/14, 10:41:20 AM »
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Yes, I should really be in bed. x.x

Anyway, I wanted to site some reference material - yes, it is EU and thus not 'canon' now, but it is about as close to canon as the topic can get.

Jedi Apprentice #9: The Fight For Truth

Blurb:
Quote
Most people on the planet Kegan don't want anything to do with the rest of the galaxy. But when a young potential Jedi is discovered there, Qui-Gon Jin, Adi Gallia, and their apprentices are compelled to visit this strangely isolated world.
They are not welcomes with open arms. Instead, Qui-Gon and Adi find themselves caught in a web of deception while Obi-Wan and Siri are imprisoned in a school where thought is dictated, dissent is forbidden, and detention is permanent.
On this planet, even the Jedi must fight for truth... even though nobody wants to face it.

(Yes, it's a teen novel)

Anyway, what I wanted to bring up was this bunch of lines:

Quote
Qui-Gon looked at the parents kindly. "There is nothing to be nervous about. We will simply tell you if your child is Force-sensitive. If so, we will explain what that means and what can be done, should you wish it."

So the parents do actually really want their child to go with the Jedi, not just to get away from their crazy facist planet, but also because they know it's a great life and honor and rarara. Point being, 'Should you wish it'. And it is started in the book several times that in the end the training is the parents' decision. Now, there is no war at this time, and the Sith are considered extinct, but still... conflicting EU much. This is why I never took the baby-stealing thing seriously, because this was my source for knowing 'well, it is still the parent's choice'.

Also... the Jedi don't have Professor X's Cerebro, they can't just put on a helmet and detect where the Force sensitive kids are. At least some of the time they clearly get summoned to these families, by the parents themselves some of the time. Someone must be drawing attention to these Force-sensitive kids, right? It's likely the parents. I don't think anyone is saying the emotional blow of a child being taken from you, whether it is by your will or not, should be any more or less relevant, but like so many have said before me - we have to consider this completely foreign world from ours.

Lastly... Someone mentioned Samurai earlier. How this is treated differently for different countries. Same thing happened in European countries for things as simple as schooling. "You want your kids to have an education, Mr Farmer? Give him to us, we'll take him to a boarding school in the city. You'll probably never be able to see him again because you're too poor to travel. But you know. He'll learn to write, so that means letters, yay!"

/goes to bed :sleep:
My drawing was not of a hat.
It was of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.



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Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #13 on: 07/30/14, 11:00:50 AM »
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Okay, Iaera, I think I get what you're going at with this now. Sorry for the above confusion. I'm going to drop the Jedi Children stuff, because that's a can of worms that is not expanded upon enough in the canon to come to a definitive answer on, and offtopic of this thread as well. Might be worth another thread, but regardless.

Checking one's culture, especially when playing someone with a significantly different background from your own is certainly challenging, and probably the hardest (yet most interesting) part of RP.

I think part of the issue stems from how we see the character and the things that differ from our own personal moralities. For myself, it's a lot easier to deal with Quarasha's version of what I suppose could be termed morality, because while I try to keep her as not a completely evil monster and inject shades of gray into her whenever possible, she's still a villain.

Heroic characters, or at least the ones that aren't going around murdering people, are harder for me to separate my morality from, because I intrinsically want to agree with them. It's actually a problem in fiction for a lot of people: When an otherwise heroic character does something we find personally objectionable (see DS9's "In the Pale Moonlight"), it can come off as MORE horrific than the hugely evil things that the villains get up to.

...but...

Morality is a tricky thing. If you can't connect with it on some level, it can be almost impossible to act out according to it. We often have to use analogies, metaphors, specific cases in order to get a handle on the morality, on the way of thinking, and that can help, but it can corrupt the moral as well with what gets carried over from the metaphor.

Without question, it is important to check your preconceptions, to keep an open mind about a character's background and culture and biology and how that interacts with others. But I don't blame anyone that struggles with it, because boy howdy, that is not a simple thing to do in any sense.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Karmic

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Re: Jedi philosophy vis-a-vis 21st century philosophy
« Reply #14 on: 07/30/14, 11:09:05 AM »
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A person off the street with a laser sword, or a monk who has spent decades studying a philosophy wholly alien to our Western way of running society?

ANd I want to speak from the other side of this consideration -

Because no, we are not Force-users living in a galaxy far, far away in a time not our own in a parallel universe...

Because no, none of us knows anything about what its like to grow up in such a timeline, with such powers, and such teachings.

There's a reason why there are such things as "collective themes" throughout history, throughout cultures, storytelling, morals, that are the same  no matter how that person grew up or what they know their worldview to be.

Because we are human, and everything we conceptualize and consider - it is impossible for us to NOT also have and take into account even as we are thinking and reasoning how it would be otherwise - the effects of being human, of humanity, and of the 21st century, our culture (whatever it is...)

So when you look at your own characters and try to conceptualize them in an entirely alien universe and way - realize that no, you aren't doing it perfect either.  Realize your stuff bleeds into it too, and there is no "right" and "wrong" way to really view that because its entirely the purvey of that individual.

And when you look at others, and decide/judge that they are doing too much/too little "realization" of "how alien" (or not) they are suppose to be playing - realize that its extremely difficult for anyone to do successfully.  I would say not a single player does it here successfully, honestly, as "much" as they could/should be.

Because of the difference between writing static characters in a novel and RP continually evolving stories with others - in a world that in its very nature has diversified, NOT AGREED UPON philosophies... (within its own story how every little thing should or could be interpreted, vs. the common, vs the special) - are not only vastly different tasks involving vastly different types of considerations.  But portraying alien when you're surrounding yourself in an entire novel of alien (so you're writing the world, the culture, all logic comes from you originally...the human...) is hard enough.  So hard that very few writers do it successfully, period.  Even Lucas and Star Wars doesn't really separate itself *that much* from what we understand to be Human and Humanity and our Cultural (hence why its a heavily Eastern viewpoint... clearly...its not alien...).

Writing a single character in a setting where every other character probably has a slightly different opinion and viewpoint than you on "how" or "what" is important/playout/etc - that's going to be a much bigger hurdle to do successfully - and even if every person was doing it successfully - we'd STILL not all be in agreement and would still have disagreements and clashes over what XYZ means, or where ABC priority should be, or how DEF should be understood to mean...

Because the original allows for some form of self-interpretation, too.

And because we can't escape the fact that we are humans, and we've known something else.

None of us can really imagine accurately (you can theorize, and you can guess, and THINK you're getting it right...) how you'd consider that person who is operating "totally alien to our entire western society" when you are trying to interact or be with them, either way.  Because it is... totally alien.

I hope that makes sense.  This is a frustrating point for me.  Because this all only holds up to a point. Past a certain point people need to accept that yes their IRL bleeds through, yes their morality does too, as does who they like, don't like and what they want the philosophy to mean or how they interpreted what Yoda said in the movie - and you need to RP and work around it and not just tell everyone to try harder to imagine themselves more alien.

Every person here I see posting, I've Rped with. And I can say that yup, we all do it!

Most of us do a really crappy job of it already and I would argue the source material is too simple because its so CLOSE to what its referencing its hard not to have it already bleed in...  in addition to the alternate books/timelines/where are we in bioware space etc.

So yes, be more aware yourself. Be more aware of others.  But cut people some slack and realize that past a certain point its physiologically and psychologically almost impossible.  If they really did RP that way, so alien to what we understand, we'd all look at that Rper and be unable to Rp with them...  and the original material wouldn't even be a classic because it wouldn't have wordly, human, themes running through it - which is what MAKES it a classic and still so applicable.  Universal Truth themes, and not just "stuff of today, right now, these people in this place and culture and time.."

Commonality only works when its common.  The "references" and "sources" pulled from mean there's only so far, so much, you can do to get away from it.

~~

Deep down why I think its such a big deal?  To me nothing to do with marriage.  Has to do with the basic "argument" of just how "realistic" is that "ideal jedi attachment/non-attachment" with the reality of Emotions.  And honestly the way you answer that is entirely ddepending on your IRL BELIEFS of how important, controllable, and changeable you really feel Emotions themselves are. 

Fully dependent on your own personal human experience.  People have vastly different opinions on how successfully, or not, someone can even achieve what the Jedi are trying for - and what types of problems would result from someone doing so (or failing, or trying, or whatever..).  Depending on whether you think that's even possible determins not only how you'd play your Jedi, but how you see the code, how logical you see any of it being 'realistic" or not - etc. 

To me that's the real base of that conundrum.  "Can a human avoid personal love/attachment realistically? If so how and what does that change in them? Good or bad? And if not, how or what does that change/struggles/etc."

And its in playing out those lines between the two extremes.  The "Human" that keeps every character from becoming the Ideal - that the interesting RP lies.  That the whole point of the story, for almost any story, lies.  Else we wouldn't understand.  We'd all agree. 

And RP would be quite boring. As would life.

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