Some nerdy Star Wars thoughts on morality

I’m reading one of those tremendously cheesy Star Wars novels. It takes place 40 years after A New Hope. Luke Skywalker, who leads a new Jedi Order, is being tried. And it’s for quite an interesting reason.
The leader of the galaxy is claiming that the Jedi should be outlawed. Here’s what she says “(The Jedi) protect the common citizen but don’t answer to him. They do not pay for their mistakes. They obey government orders for those orders conform to their moral code and not when they don’t. And that’s wrong. Any other group exhibiting that degree of arrogance, that unconcern for the rule of law, would be classified as a criminal organization.”
I don’t think I agree but I’m fascinated by the notion: usually we say it’s morally wrong to ignore our moral compass. Usually we say we ought to ignore the state if it conflicts with what we believe. This reversal is interesting. It leads to a question though:
If we all did what we wanted  would there be enough cohesion to actually be a country? If Kant is right, if we can’t all do it, then none of us should do it. Which means that the leader of the Star Wars Universe should be putting Luke on trial and that the Jedi are morally wrong.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Some nerdy Star Wars thoughts on morality”

  1. I just spent an hour typing, deleting, and typing more. At its largest my response was about five paragraphs, but that got deleted too. I had a massive analogy likening the Jedi Code with the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the fog of war, and accountability in Iraq, and deleted it because I wasn’t happy at the end. I’m going to cheat and do a couple bullet points and call it a night.

    -It’s not a matter of individual discohesion. I don’t think all the Jedi do what they want. The Jedi Code (whatever it is) becomes the point of cohesion for individuals.

    -The question becomes discohesion between one group and another, such as the Jedi and this or that population. However, even discohesive groups form links, bonds, and agreements because it’s in their best interests to (generally). I think the idea of overall cohesion is too simplistic for a single world, no less an entire galaxy, unless it’s a totalitarian system.

    -Fundamentalism only hurts a cause; a balance must be struck between honoring the principles of the Jedi code and knowing when to let the lesser principles slide in order to serve the greater underlying cause. Example: Jedi Rule 8001-96 Subsection A (yes, I’m making this up) says a Jedi must always carry his lightsaber. The ruler of Sepultura will not accept armed visitors. Is it more important to adhere to the rule as written, or conduct a diplomatic mission that may avert a war?

    Man I spent another half hour just doing bullet points. I’d say that you and I should do a book on the ethical and philosophical implications of star wars novels, Jeff, but looking at my track record above I’d never be able to finish my part.

    Thanks for asking tough questions, as nerdy as they might be.


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