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Analyzing the Toxic Ideology of Jedi Culture

In the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are commonly seen as the protectors of the force and defenders against the Sith. However, when looking at the complex interactions and the actions of the Jedi Counsel in the prequel trilogy and the Clone Wars TV show, there are many problems that come to light.

The Jedi uphold beliefs and enforce customs that do more harm than good. They see themselves as superior. Even though they have done a lot to defend the innocent people across the galaxy, their toxic mentality has driven many to the dark side.

One of the core Jedi beliefs has to do with emotions. They wished to maintain a state of inner peace by balancing their emotions and getting rid of any chance that the dark side could influence them, meaning they avoided all negative emotions like anger and hatred. While this could be seen as admirable and wise, they also shun their positive emotions. The first line of the Jedi Code even reads “There is no emotion, there is peace.” Essentially, to them, one can never give into emotions if they never had them in the first place. It’s like saying you won’t lose a race if you never enter it. They believe in peace through stability, as long as the stability is zero.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Sith, who fully give into their emotions, especially anger and hatred. They believe in conquering and achieving power, by any means necessary. They fully succumb to their feelings and lust over power and control.

The Sith are the obvious bad guys, but the Jedi aren’t as clean as they think they are. Their practices have a tendency to drive people to the dark side. A prime example of this is Anakin Skywalker, who felt alienated from the Jedi and left the Order for the Sith instead. Anakin disagreed with the teachings of the Jedi and sought something else. He was told he could not feel anger or sadness or even love. He married Padmé in secret to be with her, despite it being against the ways of the Jedi. Anakin loved Padmé so much, and it’s the fact that he needed to suppress it and hide it that drove him mad. He was taught that being in love was wrong and that he should not feel anything, when love and emotions are 100% natural. Since the Jedi said he couldn’t love Padmé, but the Dark Side would let him, it seemed like an obvious choice. Anakin had so much anger, too. He was never taught to use it properly, which drove him to killing the colony of Sand People in Episode II after he found out they killed his mother. Imagine what he could have done if trained to be in tune with his emotions. Instead, they boiled and festered inside of him until he exploded, leaving a trail of death in his wake.

 If the Jedi allowed for emotions and trained in the moderation of all emotions, think about how much stronger they could be. If they learned to harness their feelings for good, they could do so much more. There is so much power in love and anger and sadness and hope, as long as they are channeled properly.

Since the Jedi are toxic and the Sith are evil, then what’s the solution? Allow me to introduce the Gray Jedi. Rather than being gaslighting purists like the Light Side or deranged power-hungry maniacs like the Dark Side, they Gray Jedi were Jedi who resided in between the mentalities of the Sith and the Jedi. They understood the power that came from both ends and were able to harness the powers of the Dark Side for good purposes. They also typically were outside of any real Force-based structure and worked mostly on their own to promote peace across the galaxy. They put themselves in the middle, which allowed them to harness all powers of the force. Since they were outside of any real organization, they were also able to work more independently to help causes that they believed in without needing to be wrapped up in the politics of the war against the Separatists and the fight against the Empire. Some notable Gray Jedi include Qui-Gon Gin (he was considered one by many members of the Jedi Order), Ahsoka Tano (post-Clone Wars) and quite possibly Rey, who may be the first of a new Order of Gray Jedi.

Overall, emotions are good and natural. We all feel things and shouldn’t ignore them. We can harness them for good and use them to do what we think is right. While the Sith are totally evil, the Jedi are still bad. Their toxic mentality and emphasis on shunning emotions alienates those who want more from life. The Jedi Counsel’s involvement with the politics of the war in the Prequel era allowed for corruption from Dark Side and lead to their downfall, which was enforced by one of their own. Zooming through life at 100mph is bad, but so is going at 0. The polarization found within the war against the Dark and Light sides of the force serves as an analogy for our world. Extremes are dangerous, whether in politics, beliefs and ideologies and just how we live life in general. We should find the median, where we can accept our emotions but not let them overtake us.

Secondary Education Major. Creative Writing Minor. Dog mom. Frog enthusiast. Player of video games.
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