A Random Thought About the Jedi’s Weakness

So I’ve been reading, reviewing and talking a lot about Star Wars lately. It’s my drug of choice and I’m back chasing the Force Dragon.

As happens with that, sometimes I a random musing dislodges that I add to my own internal interpretation of the story (“head canon” as a good friend taught me to call it). Just such a thing happened today while I was mowing the lawn.

Move we will not. Best satellite reception in the galaxy, this spot has.
Move we will not. Best satellite reception in the galaxy, this spot has.

The Jedi in the prequels get suckered into leading a war that makes them betray every principle for which they supposedly stand. That’s a given. As The Clone Wars TV series revealed, and the new book Dark Disciple clearly lays out, the Jedi were acting more and more against their “founding principles” every day.

We also know from Attack of the Clones that their ability to use the Force had diminished. Clearly, they were still able to perform stunning feats of action and bravery; that’s clearly in the text of the films. Their ability to discern meaning beyond the surface, though, had become clouded.

Undoubtedly Sidious had something to do with that, as did Anakin’s march toward Darkness. The Force itself was arguably shifting as well, preparing to balance itself with a vengeance.

Today, surrounded by grass, weeds and insects (cut, kill, avoid!), I thought about Yoda hiding on Dagobah. Much has been made about that planet in the Expanded Universe and even the Clone Wars show, emphasizing how Yoda found himself surrounded there by unfiltered life. It masked him from those who would seek him and allowed him to commune deeply with the Force over the years. It was awash in what Qui-Gon called The Living Force.

It’s possible then that the Jedi’s placement on Coruscant made a difference in their ability to detect Palpatine’s true nature. Here were a group of people who were supposed to be communing with the basic energy of life itself, and they were sitting in a literal ivory tower on a planet that had been turned into one giant city.

Of course, their participation in the mechanics of government placed them there. It’s always worked as symbolism of their failure to remain true to themselves.

It's a moon, called Endor.
It’s a moon, called Endor.

But consider that if they had been located on another planet, or even a moon like Endor, they could have sensed him more clearly. If their vision was clouded, why didn’t they try something like a Council Retreat where they could be in better communion with the Force and try to see things more clearly? Why not try anything to hit the “reset” button?

The obvious answer is that they were too busy conducting a war by that point. The idea never seems to occur to them, though.

I wonder if that would be worth pursuing for my own fanfic…featuring the first Jedi with male pattern baldness.

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12 thoughts on “A Random Thought About the Jedi’s Weakness

  1. I think there is so much to this. The Jedi Temple, built on the decaying planet city cuts them off from the people they are suppose to serve as they sit in there ivory tower surrounded by the corruption of the very government they are allied with. They really are cut off from everything that is truly alive, the living Force most of all. Great thoughts Jedi Master Qui-Gon.

  2. It is curious they never seem to attempt to solve their vision problem. And until you started talking about it, I always thought their behavior in the first trilogy seemed very anti-Jedi-like from the impression we are given in the second/original trilogy. I’m glad to have that misgiving confirmed.

  3. Hubris.

    They were so sure if their abilities and their faith in the Force that they never once cobsidered that their connection to it may have been affected by anything other than direct action against them/their connection.

    “We’re the best at what we do and have always done. If that is diminished, easier to think that someone has diminished it, rather than we’ve lost touch. We wont move from this spot until the provlem is solved.” “What if this spot is the problem?” “Who let Mundi back in here?”

    This tiny bit of laziness in the clollective self-awareness of the Jedi was enough to allow a Sith to come to great power because their minor disconnection from the Force created a small blind spot within it.

    Young Jedi are cautioned that the easy way leads to the Dark Side.

    The Jedi Order proves that. By not taking the time for introspection, because that can be difficult, they sought an outside cause to their minor blindness, never realizing that it was the minor blindness that led to a Sith right under their noses.

    1. Well, yes. But I’m saying that in addition to that hubris, being “out of the flow” of the Living Force weakened their vision as well. Not *the* cause, but a contributing factor.

  4. So then, would that lead to Luke being more powerful than the Jedi at the time of Palpatine’s rising? He was not in a swamp like Dagobah, but he was a farmer, living his life according to the rhythm of the land he was tending, however reluctantly. Certainly, he was far from the artificial and noise of the city. While not very mature, would his upbringing given him advantages when he started training? Also, looking ahead to Episode VII, how powerful could he be all these years down the road?

    1. Great question. Luke, I think, did have an advantage of growing up closer to nature. Was he more powerful than Obi-Wan at that point? It’s possible – but the Force would have flowed through him like water through a broken hydrant. Strong and unweildy. He certainly trains quicker than his father did!

      For Episode VII, my pet theory that I came up with on the show is that after ROTJ, the Force goes “dormant” for Luke somewhere along the way and he goes into hermitage. Like a “well, I guess my work is over” moment and he retires. Then, someone does something dark and the galaxy cries out again for balance….

      Or something.

      1. But that’s just it… For whatever reason he goes into hiding, he’s just soaking in it. He ought to be very attuned to what’s going on in the universe if he’s plugged in so deeply.

        1. Ah, but what I’m saying is that the Force might actually “turn off” for him. As in, it’s just a dead link until something awakens (ahem) to spark his connection again. in other words, he’s retired because the Force “doesn’t need him” until that special moment. That’s just my theory.

      2. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Why would Luke Skywalker go into hiding? And bring a Droid with him?

        I think your supposition that the force has gone dormant for him is ridiculous, but maybe you know something I don’t. I think there are many other good reasons.

        Things start of great after Endor. But as things settle down, he slowly gets the sense that to many in the alliance, and many more beyond, he is feared rather than respected. He sees this as an untenable way of living and a potential obstacle to the restoration of the Republic. Perhaps maybe because the politicians sorting things out start using him as a bully and he refuses to be drawn in.

        Maybe that takes time to set in and in the mean time he finds and trains others. As the renewed order grows, they find themselves plugged in like the order of old and Luke loses his influence over younger more eager Jedi who are well intentioned but lack clarity of vision.

        Maybe also there is great personal tragedy that causes his own vision to be unsure and confused. Not that he lacks power in the force, but that his detachment from the world is greatly challenged by deep emotional trauma.

        Maybe any or all of these. Maybe simply he hears the call of the force to withdraw and wait. Maybe he’s established something that is thriving and he sees that he must leave in order for it to grow lest he become some sort of demagogue. Yet he stays watchful certain that his time had not yet passed entirely. Maybe he even sees ah unfathomable challenge on the horizon and knows he needs to prepare.

        That begs the question about what “Awakening” refers too, then. I read something interesting in relation to Anakin being awakened by dark forces. Not sure I buy it, but it would be pretty interesting.

        1. Well, I’m not big into the spoilers game at this point (since I want to judge everything fairly in-context for the first Star Wars movie ever not to have Lucas directly involved, whom I could read fairly well), so I don’t have any inside knowledge of anything.

          But why is it so ridiculous to think the Force goes “dormant” for Luke? He accomplished his task, he isn’t needed. I’m not saying, nor do I think I implied, that it happened right after the end credits of Return of the Jedi. Over time, or because something happens, the “voices in his head” essentially quiet and though he can tap into certain skills, it’s not like before because balance has been achieved. Then, when things are thrown out of balance again, bang, he’s back in action and everything’s like it was. I could be wrong, I could be right. But that’s what the title said to me.

          It’s all speculation, so in a sense it’s all “ridiculous,” especially since we’re talking about a series of movies about magic people flying space ships to blow stuff up.

  5. I came to a similar conclusion a while ago when Revenge of the Sith had come out. Coruscant is an example of world too decadent and technological for its own good. Now that the canon has been somewhat reset, I hope the Coruscant of over a thousand years ago, when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi defeated the Sith, was not a planet wide cityscape just yet but was still more urbanized than our own world in reality. It would be symbolic of how out of control the Republic had become that over a thousand years later, Coruscant became this nearly hollowed out city world with a luxurious, brightly lit surface but a sprawling, grimy city sprawl underneath the towers of the government and the elite.

    That being said I think the clouding of the Jedi’s vision and their decline was also a symptom of tying their destiny to that of a single, galaxy spanning government, Jedi of old allied with the burgeoning Galactic Republic and maybe were even instrumental in founding it because it would bring stability and peace to the countless world that discovered interstellar space travel. Yet by becoming a order loyal to one government they went from being mystics that could defend themselves and others to essentially being a super powered police force; transitioning from the esoteric and enlightened to becoming slaves of the profane world. I suppose that is one of the reasons why some Jedi masters and others decided to leave the order including Dooku in the prequels.

    1. Yes, I agree. In fact, I called out the Jedi in an older blog where I called them the Thugs of the Old Republic; in Episode I the Neimoidians even say, “They’re here to force a settlement!” As in, people knew when the Jedi showed up, the negotiations were essentially over.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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