Long Post About the Jedi Order and Fandom Debate (I’m on mobile and can’t put it under a cut I’m so sorry)
I’ve seen a lot of things recently discussing the whole “did the Jedi Order need to change?” question, especially with a focus on the whole no attachments rule. On the “yes” side I’ve seen a lot of good arguments, and a lot of bad ones. But the same can be said for the “no” side. Some of the reason for this (only some, it’s literature/cinema which means you can make valid arguments for anything you can support with evidence until kingdom come and that niether side will ever actually be decisively wrong) I think comes from the fact that there’s things the fandom as a whole tends to overlook.
What I have yet to see anyone discuss is the fact that Anakin Skywalker is an unreliable narrator, especially when it comes to Jedi policy, and the movies are largely from his and Obi-Wan’s (who is also an imperfect narrator but not as much so as Anakin) perspectives. Anakin was being manipulated, gaslighted, and straight out lied to by an adult Sith Lord who’s sole intent was to get him to Fall since he was 9 years old. Anakin, whether or not this is anyone’s specific fault other than Palpatine, was extraordinarily biased and had an admittedly unique and very outlier perspective on the Jedi. If people only source their arguments, for either side, on things that come from Anakin’s perspective, they’re gonna end up with a very biased mess.
Using Anakin’s perspectives, you can argue that Jedi teachings are unhealthy and unhelpful and have a very good bit of evidence to support that. You can argue that the Jedi are too detached and detrimental in that way, and have a lot of evidence for that too. But Anakin’s an unreliable and inconsistent narrator (this is not a dig at his character, I love Anakin, but his perspective as the person telling the story is... more unreliable than most), so you can also amass evidence for the Jedi’s flexibility with the Code, compassion, understanding of the complex nature of emotions, and general therapeutic teachings. With plenty of evidence. If you cherry pick stuff that Anakin sees and talks about, you can tie yourself in knots because it actually does contradict sometimes. So my point with this is, Anakin’s perspective is important, but his narration is unreliable and should be looked at critically before using his personal experiences and views in arguments about the state of the Jedi Order.
My SECOND point of things I haven’t seen people talking about, is the fact that the Order, did, in fact, have major and irrefutable issues... in Revenge of the Sith and during the Clone Wars. The biggest of which and the one I’m going to examine, is the use, endorsement, and further perpetuation* of an army of slaves. The Clones and the structure of the GAR during the war is morally bankrupt and frankly can’t be argued. Slavery is wrong, indoctrination of a population from birth to believe that their only purpose is to fight and die for someone else is wrong. But I digress, the point is, the Order did decide to do bad things, and certain flaws are revealed by the fact that they didn’t fight it**.
It’s what these flaws are which is very important, as well as their origin. The Jedi were, like pretty much everyone else with power in the galaxy, manipulated by good ol’ Skeevy Sheev Palpatine. The clones were orchestrated by Darth Tyranus AKA Count Dooku AKA Palpatine’s Separatist Figurehead, so were the droids, and the general circumstances which lead to outbreak of war and sudden need for an army. That’s all Sheev. What wasn’t Sheev was the decision to follow through and become general’s of the slave army so conveniently at their feet.
But let’s look at that decision, shall we? Because it was not, actually, just up to the Jedi. The Senate, which was definitely and entirely canonically corrupt and riddled with problems, voted on it. The military creation act***, and the fact that, by Senate approval this meant that the Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine, was the commander and chief of the GAR. The Jedi did consent to this, but what were they going to do in that moment? Say no to the army that would allow them to fight a Sith and potentially save a few dozen of their most important members on Geonosis while the Senate is looking to them to help wage a war, against, I say again, the Sith? Saying ‘no’ would have lead to, at the very least, a lot of problems no one felt they had time for. No one knew jack shit about the Clones either, just that they were an army, supposedly commissioned by a Jedi. Perhaps.
This doesn’t mean that the Jedi are somehow not responsible for the fact that they agreed to lead a few million slaves into battle, but it provides context. Much, MUCH, of the Jedi’s flawed actions in the Clone Wars, are underlined by Senate decisions and, well
So yeah, they were being manipulated, a LOT. People don’t seem to like mentioning this when the majority of their arguments center around actions taken by the Jedi High Council**** in AOTC and ROTS. Are they responsible for their actions and moral bankruptcy? Yes. Are these actions indicative of the normal function and decisions of a 1,000***** year old order and solid evidence for the argument of straight up abolishing several of their beliefs? No, not really.
To say that again, the Jedi’s actions in AOTC and moreso ROTS, and the time between the two, should not been used as evidence against the Order as a whole due to the fact that it was not actually indicative of the Order’s usual modem operandi (without acknowledging this very important context at least).
My final thing to nag on (yes I know this has gotten very long), is the fact that people love to pull in bits of the EU as they so please to support arguments, especially the Jedi Apprentice books. Using the EU is fine...when you’re talking about the EU. I’ve seen people make points based solely on the movies and then be shot down by someone else who has a “but WAIT!” that’s entirely from content outside of the prequels and originals (the sequels are another arguing point altogether, but should be treated the same way the EU ought to be). And that’s just...not chill my dudes. Like yeah, it’s a good point (probably? I dunno what specific point you’re making, I’ll assume it’s a good one) but if the original person has no knowledge of the EU beyond bits of TCW and Rebels or what they’ve seen online, and are not using the EU in their argument, they shouldn’t be ‘gotcha!’ed without first recognizing that the point you’re making might not be a relevant one.
Okay that’s it.
TL;DR Anakin is an unreliable narrator, the Jedi Order had many flaws that are only apparent or present because of ol’ Sheevers manipulations and made up war, and arguments and evidence from the EU should be used with the knowledge that someone else might not be talking about it and instead just the OG and prequel series or Disney Canon.
* TCW, and perhaps other parts of the EU I have no idea, has the Jedi actively involved with the production and training of more clones on Kamino. Check out Shaak Ti’s Wookieepedia and appearances in TCW to know more.
** The Jedi may have protested for Clone’s rights or appealed against the use of the army, before or after the creation of the GAR, but the point stands that they went along with it in the long run
***The ‘military creation act’ itself I honestly don’t remember if it was from AOTC or TCW but I do know that in AOTC the senate did indeed approve and ratify the creation of the GAR and the instatment of Jedi Generals
****It is very important to note that the Jedi are governed by the High Council and that the VAST majority of decisions discussed both here and at large are those of the small, ruling group of the Jedi and not those of individuals or even mass vote/agreement of the other Jedi, and that like many groups, the governing body is not always representative of the whole population, and nor should that population always been condemned for the decisions the ruling body makes.
*****The Jedi Order has been around for roughly 6,000 years, but the Ruusan Reformation ~1,000 BBY drastically changed the Order itself and their tenets including, I do believe, interpretations of the Code.
10 notes · View notes