Hi, I'm Locksley! Ask me Anything.
I've recently read, in a pastoral care book, that our personal ministry (from a Western viewpoint anyways), and the values and lessons that we teach others, are derivative of our interpretation of 'living the good life." What is your definition of the good life and are there any specific virtues that you can think of that would promote the moral integrity of that good life? (i.e honesty aligns integrity, generosity promotes service)
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in some way to the happiness and freedom for all.
Locksley wrote: Hi, Carlos! Thanks for asking this.
I'll lead by saying that "modern-day Jedi," is, in itself, such an interesting phrase. Clearly, Jedi and Jediism has only been around for a very limited time -- making it, by definition, modern. There are, certainly, people and groups in history which embody pieces of what I see Jediism doing. It is possible to pick out these figures and say that they appear to be "Jedi" in one way or another. However, I think that what I like most is that Jediism is a specific product of its time; Jediism is a pastiche of older traditions and various concurrent thoughtforms but through this syncretism it manages to be its own thing... or, at least, it manages to have the potential of being its own thing -- it tends, in my mind, toward a certain Selfhood of belief and action which is original (insofar as anything can be original). It is a product of its era and it seems to fill a hole in the world which nothing else quite fits. Without delving too-deep down the rabbit hole of postmodernism, I would say that I love the way Jediism combines so many of the ancient mythic archetypes into a singular pattern for action and thought.
Even more personally, pulling back from the more esoteric philosophizing... the best part of being a Jedi is that it reminds me to (A) believe (I'll explain in a second), (B ) have a good time, and (C) honor my desire to help uplift the world (and myself along with it).
The "Believe" part is what I'll elucidate. I'll do it through a quote:
Shepherd Book: Only one thing's gonna walk you through this, Mal. Belief.
Malcolm Reynolds: You know I always look to you for counsel. But sermons make me sleepy, Shepherd. I ain't looking for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train don't come.
Shepherd Book: When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?
In a certain sense, it's just being more present with who I am in my life -- and who I am is someone who is deeply, passionately moved by works of fiction. So there it is.
You know - I’ve often thought the same way. My practice is honestly a way of getting in touch of what I personally think we as humans have lost. Me personally, I think my Jedi ism is a way to gain and express that which I missed ether by justbflat our notnkkowing or by location , avalibility or even culture. Not blaming any one but any means but simply put - I feel my jedi ism is a way to get all the things I missed growing up. Thank you for taking time to answer my question and I , like so many here am so glad ( and proud) to see you progress in our Order. Maybtou cpmtinie to seek and grow.
Maybtje Force we share seek and serve - continue to find you my young Jedi Knight!
I'm tempted to offer Arete as my term for "the good life," but that of course requires further breaking down. The truth of the matter is that no answer I offer to this question is perfectly accurate or all-encompassing. This is one of those questions that's been passed down through the millennia from philosopher to philosopher and there’s never been – as far as I’m aware – any definitive response.
But, quibbling aside, I’ll return to arete. I don’t feel correct in saying that it’s the clearest possible response and there are valid logical criticisms of my beliefs in this area, yet still…
For me, a good life is one lived fully within the circumstances available – though this may also include the stretching of current circumstances (i.e. one must not simply “fill in” a comfortable area; arete can often require struggle and sacrifice).
I’d like to also offer up the following quote: “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” Spoken by Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard, this line has always guided me. Part of arete, for any social creature, must be the support of arete in its fellows and its overall community. As a Jedi, I think this translates over to how, exactly, we comport ourselves when in the world; how we are viewed and the ways we lead by example are incredibly important in helping others reach their own potential.
But, at the same time, I am leery of any maxim of morality which attempts to establish the exact nature of individual “betterment.” While I believe that any definition of personal betterment must include the above understanding of humans as social creatures – and be limited by such – there are problems when we begin to extend our own concepts of morality beyond that point.
I believe, too, that wide learning and wide experience both serve to increase an individual’s ability to better understand the world. As part of what it means to be “Jedi” I absolutely think that the desire to learn needs to be fostered. This would be my primary virtue, follow by the virtue of “trying to learn.” Next would be a “virtue of questioning – especially of one’s own values.”
The more I explore various topics and expand my knowledge of them, the better I am at understanding and dealing with myriad situations; the more I explore the world the better I become at understanding and having compassion for those who need it the most.
This is not a complete answer, a thorough answer, or even that good of an answer – it’s what I have at the tip of my fingers at the moment but there is so much more to be said. For now though, I have to leave work so I’ll just end this there! I'd love to chat with you more on this, and other such topics, in the future. Feel free to message me anytime.
Do you have questions for me?
It's interesting to be a part of a place like this -- I think it can feel strange for some to be affiliated with "Jedi." I know that plenty of people dip their toes in the water and then vanish for good, others become burned out. Personally, my motto has always been that I'll remain connected to this place for as long as I feel drawn to it, that's seven years now!
“What is Zen? Zen means doing anything perfectly, making mistakes perfectly, being defeated perfectly, hesitating perfectly, doing anything perfectly or imperfectly, perfectly. What is the meaning of this perfectly? How does it differ from perfectly? Perfectly is in the will; perfectly is in the activity. Perfectly means that at each moment of the activity there is no egoism in it… our pain is not only our own pain; it is the pain of the universe. The joy of the universe is also our joy. Our failure and misjudgment is that of nature, which never hopes or despairs, but keeps on trying.” --R. H. Blyth
It's an interesting mix of things. At times it's been an almost instinctive feeling, too--something very-nearly intangible. Generally, I think it's because there's a type of learning that can take place here which I don't see active pretty much anywhere else in the world. I have fond memories and feelings toward that side of the Temple. Discovering this place gave me a platform on which to stand; through the IP and my various Apprenticeships, I was able to expand my ability to learn. I was able to do this, too, through an aesthetic which holds a lot of emotional weight for me.
Clearly, most people who stay have, I think, at least some attachment to the aesthetic and the fiction, the same is certainly true for me.
It was a huge defining moment to be Knighted earlier this year and realize the culmination of a certain internal progress I'd started when I first came here. The Temple helped me track my own changes in personality, character, and ability, in a very gentle-yet-powerful way. It still may, to some degree.
Now, as I move into more demanding periods of my life with work and activities quite distinct from the Temple, I'm not sure what role it will play in my life -- I've never been sure, however. At times, I've not logged in for the better part of a year -- but all the while learning and growing on my own. Other times, I've become hotly invested here for short periods of time. Now, I think I'm mellowing into an easy mix of the two.
My hope is that I can pass along some of what I've learned in life to others, sometime down the road. I haven't exactly been active in seeking Apprentices but I do think that such a step will be the continuation of my growth here at the Temple -- it's just a matter of finding the right person/people to work with.
So, to sum up: it's a very loose definition of the Temple that actually means the most to me. It's what it represents, on a very personal level, rather than what it might intend itself to represent. At times it hasn't even been the website or the community -- merely my own internal idea of what I'm trying to fulfill (anchored, in a sense, by the idea of being a "Jedi." Sometimes it's been the community, too: there are a few people from the Temple who I am happy I encountered and communicated with as much as I did. If I were going to say something specific, it might be that I recognize the Temple's ability to "open doors" for me where I might not know to look.