What does being a member of the group "Jedi" mean to you?

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14 Oct 2016 16:06 #261243 by Kyrin Wyldstar
While studying here at the temple I have intently considered the Jedi Doctrine. What I have found over time is that I have either modified (sometimes radically) or abandoned much of the doctrine in favor of something that speaks more favorably to me. As I have gone through this process I have begun to wonder why my path has diverged like this and yet I still pursue Jediism? This seems to be a similar process for most I speak to at the temple. Our paths seem very diverse. I have begun to wonder what it means to be “Jedi” not as an individual, but as a group.

Individually each person defines what their spirituality means to them and that varies quite drastically from person to person. But when you attribute yourself to a group, the reason you do this is because there is some underlying unifying principle or purpose that all in that group agree upon. However, whenever any discussion breaks out on the boards that attempts to quantify or define what “A Jedi” or “The Force” is, for example, no consensus is ever reached. It seems that to call one’s self Jedi is to relegate yourself to argue any philosophical issue with other Jedi to the point of ad nauseam. And that’s just at this temple. Travel to another and their philosophies may be even more radically different. A Sith temple for example.

I contemplated this for a while and the only conclusion I could come to was our common base was the movies themselves. The movies are a single unifying thread that all Jedi can agree upon no matter what temple they are members of or personal philosophies they adopt. However this leads to another dilemma because the movies were never meant to start a religion. Similar to the “Cargo Cults” of the south pacific, Jediism evolved out of an imaginary religious/spiritual component of an equally fictional universe designed to tell a story using the concept of good vs evil and nothing more. At best this leaves the movies as a conduit to some common deeper hidden meaning but what is that?

Within the context of this group setting of “Jedi” I began to wonder what being a Jedi really means and what others feel it is that draws them to this particular calling. So my questions are, “Why is it that even though, as a group even the simplest of terms/philosophies are typically not agreed upon, you have still decided that your personal spirituality is similar enough to others in this group that you are comfortable in allowing yourself to be defined by the single unifying term of Jedi instead of any of the movies various underlying philosophies (Taoist for example)? What is it that you feel all Jedi find a universal commonality in when it comes to this chosen spirituality besides the "conduit" of the movies themselves?"

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14 Oct 2016 16:20 #261244 by Senan
For me, the unifying Force (pun intended) behind Jediism is the freedom to diverge as you have described while still being welcome and accepted here.

As a Catholic growing up, there was no diversion allowed. It was more than frowned upon; we were punished for it. For instance, if I was to say that Jesus is awesome and I love his message and he is my personal savior, but I don't believe in the virgin birth, people in my church would lose their s**t. If I asked about the possibility of reincarnation, the answer was "nope, those people go to Hell." You get the point.

The very fact that we can congregate in a Temple and argue about the fundamental foundations of Jediism is the reason I come here and call myself Jedi. I don't have to be Sunni or Lutheran or Mahayana or some other specific denomination. I can just be Jedi and know that despite differences in philosophy, I will still be respected here.

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14 Oct 2016 17:08 #261252 by steamboat28
My major problem is that, moreso perhaps than any other religion, we all point at the same source material and wildly, wildly diverge from it. It's true there were many kind of Jedi in both canon and the newly-defunct EU writings, but we don't even necessarily hold together that well. It's interesting that we all choose to use the same word to describe something that is so wildly, vastly different from one another, and I'm curious if it just comes down to interpretation of that original source material, or if the word itself has been forgotten as a part of this movement.
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14 Oct 2016 18:39 #261260 by Goken
What does it mean to me? Diversity and inclusion. What Steam and Kyrin have both identified, and many others have pointed out in the past, as being a problem is actually one of the things I love the most about it. And you know what? My version of Jediism allows us both to be right! ;)

When I first came here one of my favorite parts was how inclusive the group was. We don't care what your color/race/culture/age/history/height/weight/sexual orientation/whatever is. I also don't care what your definition of Jediism or the Force is. We obviously have enough in common to still be here together. Even if all we have in common is that we all like Star Wars that seems to be enough and that's awesome. What that tells me is we're not cookie cutter. We don't hand you something and say "memorize it, repeat it, believe it or leave." We say "here, read this, tell us what you thought. Be unique."

The first thing I like to tell newbies is to be honest in the IP. If you don't like Watts, great! Tell us why. If you LOVE Campbell, fantastic. What about his work do you love? You think that believing in the inherent value in all life means you want to ban abortions? That's your choice (see what I did there? ;) ), tell me why. You believe that valuing life means using the death penalty to reduce the risk of escaping inmates killing more people? Let's talk about it.

I view subjects like philosophy and religion to be like English classes rather than science and math.

In math and science there is a yes or no, a right and wrong. 1+1=2. I'm sorry, we can get as technical as you want but that's going to be the answer. Mix chemical A with chemical B the right way and it will explode, exactly the same, every time. That's the point of science, repeatable results.

In English class, however, you can take any stance you like so long as you can back it up. You believe that Horatio was the best character in Hamlet? Back it up and I can't tell you that you are objectively wrong. Did that one character's hair being described as "steel gray" symbolize her being emotionally shackled to something? Tell me why you say that. Once again, I can't tell you you're wrong, objectively.

People who come here and don't like that tend to leave. That's what happens. Good for them, I hope that they find a place they like better, and may the Force be with them. I love that though, so I'll stay. Let's discuss the Doctrine until the day we die.

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14 Oct 2016 19:47 - 14 Oct 2016 19:54 #261268 by Proteus
I don't think everyone here is a fan of star wars actually. There is a portion of us who don't really like it or attribute the path to that (at least not so literally, and yet some a bit more do).

That being said, I do believe the commonality here is an agreement to something that Joseph Campbell points out: That we are all a "hero" of some sort on a journey (being our lives). In our particular case, we have all chosen the symbolic avatar of the Jedi as our handle for that truth in language (because we have found that it is the most accurate as a symbol to what we believe), and have selectively taken on certain aspects of that avatar to fill out that image to those beliefs and feelings about ourselves in society (the code, for example). In that process, we took the "stock image" of the Jedi, and actually tailored it to fit into the conditions of the real world and our own individual diversity in perception (aka our own individual beliefs in the Force).

From that point, the tree branches out into many directions.

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
Last edit: 14 Oct 2016 19:54 by Proteus.
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14 Oct 2016 19:49 #261269 by Cayce
Everyone has their own 'spin' on religious details.

Disagreement is healthy, the IP is the first step into larger world.

Differences help enrich and bring us all together.

These are all just some of the wonderful facets of Jediism, and I think we should continue to embrace them.

Perhaps instead of worrying about EU material, or the specifics of Star Wars Lore, or even how Jediism flexes and evolves for individuals, we should reflect on the 'basics' of Jediism, which I truly feel everyone here agrees with and still upholds.

Ask a friend, or family member, in all seriousness, what their perception of a 'Real Jedi' would be, who magically appeared before them. Right out of Star Wars.

After the jokes are put aside, they most likely would say something along the lines of the following comments. I've also asked this question before, and these are real responses.

- They're a protector.
- They'll keep me safe.
- They're fair, just, and balanced.
- They're kind.
- They're a mediator.
- They're very educated, and know a lot about different cultures and people.

The list goes on and on. This is all implied by the base 7 movies... that's it. Sure, there's a lot of more fun lore out there (love it myself) that we can take or learn from. But there, above, is the heartbeat of Jediism, to me.

We're all trying our very best to improve ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually. We wish to become mediators who protect and serve others. Education is sought after with happy vigor. We work to accept and understand our fellow humans.

Our tenets, code and creed all reflect this. So, if those, along with the imagery above, forms an ideal you'd like to strive / work towards, then you are a Jedi within the Jediism community.

Apologies if this doesn't make as much sense as it does in my head, but I hope that I was able to help bring a different viewpoint to the discussion.
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14 Oct 2016 20:54 #261271 by Alethea Thompson
Thank you Proteus. I'm one of the people that has a strong dislike for the franchise. 7 is the only movie I like.

Being a Jedi is about:

Being Tolerant of all ideas, even when they are against yours- until they begin to bring physical harm to someone.
Being Objective when considering everything, but not being afraid to solidify your beliefs/opinions based on your experience- even when others don't agree with you.
Working towards a goal which benefits a community you value (LGBT, your hometown, overcoming Human Trafficking, becoming a cop, becoming a lobbyist, become a counselor, etc, etc).

I could go on, but the whole of being a Jedi boils down to this: Nothing is about you, it's about others. But you have to become a person that can benefit others. That takes training, that takes radical introspection of yourself and those around you. Taking inventory of what is necessary to alter yourself so that the world will accept your assistance.
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14 Oct 2016 20:59 - 14 Oct 2016 21:03 #261273 by Kyrin Wyldstar

Senan wrote: For me, the unifying Force (pun intended) behind Jediism is the freedom to diverge as you have described while still being welcome and accepted here

Goken wrote: What does it mean to me? Diversity and inclusion.


These are interesting thoughts. LOL sort of reminds me of the island of misfit toys. Not to say that anyone is broken but its just the idea that we are all different enough as individuals to have very diverse philosophies, but at the same time similar enough in some way to cling to one another and form a group.

It seems that just our diversity would not be enough to hold us together. So what is it about us that is similar enough that we find comfort in as a group? Do you think it nothing more than the paradox of the island of misfit toys? Meaning each of us as individuals have searched but have found no meaning in other groups/spiritualitys. So we have come together in an ironic group called Jedi because we have that one thing in common, that we find it impossible to conform to any one preset doctrine. We each have radically diverse and individual spiritual paths that we carve out for ourselves vs following a crowd. We are nietzsche's uber-mensch and in that we find a commonality?

Cayce wrote: - They're a protector.
- They'll keep me safe.
- They're fair, just, and balanced.
- They're kind.
- They're a mediator.
- They're very educated, and know a lot about different cultures and people.
The list goes on and on.


I think some of the things you mentioned are great. But the problem is that not all Jedi pursue these things or pursue them to different degrees or pursue other things outside these things. For example I consider one that calls himself “Sith” as a part of the “group spirituality” we call Jedi – they are just a subset. I think you can find an almost never ending array of other subsets as well. Maybe not quite as defined but nonetheless there. So I’m looking for more than action or doctrine, I’m looking for an underlying, unifying philosophy.


Cayce wrote: We're all trying our very best to improve ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually.


I think you have begun to touch on something here! This is more of a philosophy with out the details or actions to stifle the execution of that philosophy. How one goes about these things is irrelevant to the fact that every Jedi pursues these things in their own way as best they see fit.


I think these things go hand in hand with what Proteus says about Jedi considering themselves on that heros Journey. Jedi philosophy is one that never fears to carve their own path and to "take up the adventure" so to speak, no matter what that adventure is.

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Last edit: 14 Oct 2016 21:03 by Kyrin Wyldstar.
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14 Oct 2016 21:10 #261274 by TheDude
To me, being a Jedi means aspiring to the archetypes represented by the fictional Jedi. The Jedi Code is a perfectly good representation of what the qualities of those archetypes are, so a more practical answer might be living in accordance with the qualities presented in the Code as it may apply to any given situation, idea, metaphysical system, etc.
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14 Oct 2016 21:24 #261276 by Goken

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: These are interesting thoughts. LOL sort of reminds me of the island of misfit toys. Not to say that anyone is broken but its just the idea that we are all different enough as individuals to have very diverse philosophies, but at the same time similar enough in some way to cling to one another and form a group.

It seems that just our diversity would not be enough to hold us together. So what is it about us that is similar enough that we find comfort in as a group? Do you think it nothing more than the paradox of the island of misfit toys? Meaning each of us as individuals have searched but have found no meaning in other groups/spiritualitys. So we have come together in an ironic group called Jedi because we have that one thing in common, that we find it impossible to conform to any one preset doctrine. We each have radically diverse and individual spiritual paths that we carve out for ourselves vs following a crowd. We are nietzsche's uber-mensch and in that we find a commonality?


I feel like that's a pretty good analogy. :laugh: I do believe, however, that at least a small majority here agree on the doctrine in general, just not on the interpretations or applications of it.

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