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Defying The Dark Side: Thoughts, Philosophy and Techniques

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by Moral Hazard, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    Here's a thread where discussions about walking the line between the use of Force and the Dark Side will always be on topic! Feel free to discuss the nature of the Force, various ideologies, their codes, values, adherents, and respective techniques.

    I want to touch on an issue that keeps surfacing around the Cantina:

    The Love & Attachment dilemma

    Anakin Padme.png

    Is love and attachment inseparable or mutually exclusive?
    Does their proscription or prohibition have a place in a neo-Jedi code?
    Can any inherent dangers be mitigated?
    Opinions on this are lucid and diverse with good points on all sides.
    Posters have also mentioned parallels between Buddhism and the Jedi attachment ideology, others have identified dangers that an alienating and isolationist approach may present.

    anakin turn.png

    There may, however, be techniques that could help a Force User to love without clinging to attachment or falling prey to selfishness, possessiveness, jealousy or manipulation. Some are given in another ancient philosophical tradition with many similarities to Buddhism – STOICISM.

    epictetus.png

    First some common Stoicism misconceptions I had to unlearn: It turns out the Stoics weren't “stoical” - grim and unfeeling – they were joyful. They weren't “anti-emotion”, just anti-negative emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety. (Sound familiar?)

    Zen Buddhism and Stoicism Similarities
    • Tranquility as a goal of life. The absence of negative emotions and presence of positive emotions.
    • Minimal attachments and learning not to cling to the world around.
    • Living in the present moment to the extent possible.
    Zen Buddhism and Stoicism Differences
    • Buddhism seems to advocate a practice of emptying the mind while Stoicism seems to fit and advocate a more analytical and inquiring state of mind.
    So what specific techniques might Stoicism offer a lover of others and the Light Side?

    Negative Visualization – contemplation on how your life could be worse or bad things that could happen to you such as your own death or that of loved ones. Note: this doesn't need to entail excessive or morbid dwelling on depressive notions.

    leia tucks in kylo2.png

    Epictetus (55-135) made a famous example suggesting that when kissing a child goodnight you could call to mind the possibility that this could be the last kiss - an event could always take the child's life the following day. This helps
    • anticipate misfortune and take measures to prevent it.
    • lessen the impact of misfortune when it strikes.
    • appreciate what we have while we have it.
    This seems to me a useful tool a Force Sensitive with loved ones could cultivate as a practical defense against the dangers inherent in attachments. Worried such meditation could also lead to ego and narcissism? How about balancing this with another Stoic technique:

    Projective Visualization – experiment trying to see things through other peoples eyes. This promotes empathy with others and helps us step outside our own ego.


    Han touches BRen.gif

    Could this be a useful practice to help cultivate an understanding and defence against arrogance and alienation in aspiring apprentices? Note: Is there a possibility this technique could hinder those wishing to retain their sense of individual identity within the Force as a Force ghost?
     
    #1 Moral Hazard, Sep 24, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
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  2. GingerByte

    GingerByte Jedi General

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    I seriously believe that people are interpreting the emotional forbiddance aspect of the Jedi code too strongly. The Jedi are still allowed to form friendships and form their own opinions on topics. They are still allowed a limited degree of individualism and are treated in such a way that gives them "purpose in life". In essence, they are allowed all that is required to happily exist, but nothing more.

    Remember, if a Jedi disagrees with the Order, they can leave at any time.

    The Jedi follow the light side of the force. To master the light side of the force one must put aside their strongest feelings and look at the world in a more neutral manner. A Jedi must be willing to sacrifice all that they have for the betterment of everyone else. Selflessness is the path of the light side: this is both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. It is only by being the most selfless that a light-side practitioner can become a force ghost (yes, I know there's training involved, but that's not the point): Anakin sacrificed everything to save his son, Obi-Wan and Yoda to give the galaxy hope, and Qui-Gon to ensure the prophecy of the Chosen One was fulfilled.

    Allowing relational attachment increases a light-side practitioner's chance of falling to the dark side. Now they concern themselves with something other than the political climate of the galaxy as well. This hinders their ability to think in a more neutral manner as diplomats are required to.
     
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  3. SuperBenKenobi1992

    SuperBenKenobi1992 Rebelscum

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    One could argue that attachment is a form of obsession. I think that there is a difference between attachment and love. An attachment is an unhealthy level of codependency, or can at least be interpreted as much. Also here is a question who said that Jedi were the only light side force users. Just because the Jedi have philosophy doesn't mean its the only nor does it mean the right one. Now I am more of a subscriber to 1 truth. So I would say among all of the ideals there can only be 1 that is right about a single subject. But each ideal is probably partially right and wholly wrong. what I mean by this is that there are a lot of things in an ideal that are probably right and true, but if not all of it is right than it cannot be wholly true, only partially true. With that said lets talk about this attachment issue. The Jedi believe that be so consumed by something or someone (obsession) is unhealthy and is an imbalance of the force. attachments come on all forms. They're not only loved ones. I could have an attachment to smoking cigarettes or a book. It can get to the point where i can't live without it. Like with Anakin. He couldn't live without Padme. He was so much more focused on losing what had rather than protecting his wife that he hid the fact that he was married from the counsel and trusted the wrong person. granted the counsel didn't help in this situation. But Anakin was borderline obsessed with Padme and gaining power so that he wouldn't lose. And I will say come from a slavery background that is understandable. Luke on the other hand was obsessed with Han and Leia nor did he fell he would die without them. he loved them and his attachment to them went as far as that he would do anything for them save breaking his moral compass. He not so much attached as he was in a state of caring for there well being. Luke was willing to lay his life down for his sister and father. I think that the reason why so many Jedi fall to the dark side is because the Jedi Order is too legalistic and some people can't handle it. Not because of attachments. but the attachments can play apart.
     
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  4. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    True - if they couldn't then my distaste for the Jedi would be pretty intense! We should also remember many Jedi were indoctrinated into the Order from childhood which adds another dimension to these warrior monk diplomats. Anybody who was raised in a cult knows how difficult it can be for independent thought to manifest and to extract themselves from the main ideology and support network they've likely known.
    Fair point. On the other hand you might say experiencing different forms of human relationships is essential to successful understanding and dealings with other beings. People need some emotional faculties in order to empathise with others and calibrate their reasoning.
    Nice analogy - attachment as a form of slavery. That's what I was most uncomfortable about as a smoker. The health effects and cost played their part but I hated most feeling like a slave to a chemical dependence. Part of the tragedy of Anakin was that he escaped one form of slavery and fell into another. [edit: implying his desires for power and control]
    I like this comparison. The take-home point of my rant above was basically that a person like a Force User who's power could pose a potential threat to others can have their loves and their passions. They need only come to terms with the possibility of losing what they love and – as you suggest - mitigate the dangers of obsession.
     
    #4 Moral Hazard, Sep 24, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
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  5. master_shaitan

    master_shaitan Jedi General

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    I believe the important part of this discussion that needs to be agreed upon from the off is what an attachment is.
    My view of an attachment is in line with how Lucas used it in the saga:
    It is not compassion or unconditional love for something or someone but an emotive, selfish reliance upon something that prevents one from being totally selfless.
    Of course, for us human beings an attachment is a natural thing and can lead onto other wonderful elements in a relationship.
    The difficulty in being a Jedi is that they must avoid such things whilst finding a way of loving everything and everyone unconditionally.
    It will be a hard life, as Qui Gon once said.

    The way I see it is that a Jedi must be at one with everything. This cannot be achieved if:
    a) A Jedi does not let go of their ego
    b) Has an exclusive relationship with another person

    A Jedi must be utterly devoted to serving the will of the Force. They must utterly eschew the Dark Side (anger, fear, aggression, selfishness, greed).
    Putting aside the fact the in a relationship one must devote a lot of time to their partner and/or children, it is simply too much to expect anyone to be utterly selfless and not worry about these attachments at any point.

    So, the argument goes, a Jedi should learn how to not be attached but still be allowed to marry and have kids.
    Now, I won't deal in absolutes here. I cannot say that this isn't possible. But I believe it would be sensible to say that in the vast majority of cases, for a Jedi who can feel the pull of the Dark Side (which in the universe we're discussing is a stronger pull to evil than one might experience in the real world), it is just too dangerous.
    Not only would their duty be regularly shirked (anyone that has a partner and children must know this!) but they simply would massively struggle in moving away from the Dark Side emotions that they must avoid.

    But before one gets too hot under the collar about these rigid rules, it must be remembered that a Jedi could, if they chose to, leave the order and start a family.
    They weren't imprisoned. They weren't slaves. They chose to remain Jedi and I would expect did so because of the huge fulfilment they had in serving the galaxy selflessly. It seemed for the tens of thousands of Jedi, the sacrifice was worth it. It just wasn't right for a few, including Anakin...

    Now the problem with Anakin was that he had an attachment to his mother and then to Padme. An attachment that likely wouldn't have been there had he been taken on as a child by the Jedi. And I think this is where the biggest problem lies for people.
    Firstly, I don't think the Jedi handled the Anakin situation properly. If they were willing to take him on as a Jedi despite the risks, they should've been willing to be more flexible with him and his unique position. Taking him away from his mother was just too much for him. And this of course leads on to the problem of Jedi taking babies on as younglings, away from their families (who were willing but it still leaves a bad taste in ones mouth).

    My view however is that the Jedi should perhaps amend this rule. I think that it would be possible for a Jedi to remain in contact with their birth family without it jeopardising their futures. I say this because it is natural for all children to eventually detach themselves from their parents and live their own lives. So I think this is the most possible type of relationship a Jedi could maintain, not be attached to and at the same time benefit from. It would need to be closely watched though and may be different on an individual basis. One size fits all is never a good idea and I think this ethos is probably one of the things that didn't help the Jedi in their training of Anakin.

    It must also be noted how at the climax of RotJ it is undoubtable that the message is that: your children bring out the best in you.
    Anakin sacrificed his life and was redeemed because of the love he had for his son.
    But I must stress that this was unconditional love and compassion. In sacrificing his own life, Anakin had let go of his attachments (power, hatred). As had Luke prior when he gave up the chance to save Leia and his friends by turning evil. Luke did what was right for the galaxy, not himself.
    So you might say that this proves that a Jedi can have a family (parents/children/siblings) and still be capable of not being attached.
    I'd say that is partly true. But this was a unique situation. We must remember the pathway Anakin took to get to this point. And also how exceptional a case Luke is.
    Luke rejected evil in the end in a spectacular act of self sacrifice. But how many Jedi would've done the same? And what number of Jedi falling to the Dark Side would ever be acceptable? One bad Jedi can, after all, quite easily cause chaos across the galaxy. I'd also say that Vader, before he turned had essentially had it and it was a very unique situation of watching his child being tortured in front of him that jolted him back to the good side. And for Luke, he cared a great deal for Leia but what if his own children were being tortured? His wife? Luke was close to turning, would that kind of relationship have tipped him over the edge?

    In conclusion, I think a Jedi should love unconditionally and show compassion for everyone. They must be utterly selfless.
    In order to achieve this, one cannot become attached and so relationships that lead to this are best avoided.
    At the same time, it might be more beneficial in creating rounded individuals to allow some Jedi, that require it, a relationship with their birth parents. This might enable these Jedi to learn ways in which to deal with the Dark Side and then later, when ready detach themselves. This would be for younglings and padawans (like Anakin) who would need to achieve this detachment before becoming true Jedi and then receiving a greater knowledge of the Force.
    But generally, the Jedi Order exists to serve the Force and if one isn't willing to see themselves as part as the whole but is attached to their own ego and selfish desires then they just shouldn't be in the order. They should leave and start a family. They're free to do that after all...
     
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  6. SuperBenKenobi1992

    SuperBenKenobi1992 Rebelscum

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    Another way of putting it is surrendering your possessions to the force. I am a christian so its a little bit of my faith is talking here. i am a steward, and everything I have belongs to God, I merely take care of it for him. The idea here is that everything one owns would belong to the force, and that you are merely the steward of that "Possession" (Possession is not really the right word though). In the case of Anakin, He was a slave and therefore desired to hold on to what he got because it meant more to him than it would someone else. In someways Padme meant more to Anakin than Anakin meant to Padme. Having a relationship with someone like Padme, first queen then senator, put Anakin in a whole other economic class. It's the complete opposite of slavery. He wanted to free of that history. He didn't want to be a slave. And when he could save his mom from Tatooine, which in its self represents slavery, it was too much for him. in some ways even though with out a doubt of Anakins love for her, there was definitely a lot attractive about her, to Anakin. When he thought he might lose that Yoda tried to tell him to let go of the fear of loss, and to just take care of what/who he loved. But Anakin couldn't let it go. Cue song:


    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 25, 2016, Original Post Date: Sep 25, 2016 ---
    Just have to leave this here

     
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  7. SuperBenKenobi1992

    SuperBenKenobi1992 Rebelscum

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    So here is my question:

    Do you think that ....

    A - Your Side of the force determines if you are good or evil?

    Or

    B - Your actions beliefs and goals determine if you are good or evil

    Basically do you think that the dark side of the force is evil or the force user?

    Is it possible that the dark side is a "man made" title given to certain aspects of the force?

    And lastly, is it possible for a dark side user to be good?
     
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  8. BloodyShadow

    BloodyShadow Force Sensitive

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    This one according to me.

    it could be. After all, the Dark Side is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural...
    Unnatural for some but not necessarily maleficent. We have always seen dark side users who followed this path to be more and more powerful but, unless I am mistaken, it could be possible to learn this power (not from a Jedi BTW ;)) and use it to do good things like, I dunno, force choke or electrocute those who kill innocents for pleasure or money.

    And, after all, the limit between good and evil is only a question of perspective...
     
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  9. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    I tend to find what people do more important than what they believe as history is full of horrible atrocities done by people with benevolent intentions.

    I personally like the idea that the Force is neutral and the Light and Dark sides manifest in relation to the Force users intention and actions. The only fight...against the Dark Side referring to our's and other's. Who knows where the nu-canon will take things.

    I also like the Force as a metaphor for use of force. There are times use of force can be easily justified such as self defense or pulling a child out of harms way. Generally it is not so easy to justify the use of force over others without their consent.

    I like thinking of the Force in SW along these lines as it fits with the “power corrupts” maxim and highlights the personal difficulty a Force user faces in resisting the temptations that having more power than others presents. It also points to the importance of a personal quest to try and find a moral or philosophical code that can help mitigate these dangers - a quest that should always be ongoing.

    I'm still digesting your last question - I've never read Nietzsche!
     
    #9 Moral Hazard, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  10. Bosc

    Bosc Force Sensitive
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    Threads merged.
     
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  11. SuperBenKenobi1992

    SuperBenKenobi1992 Rebelscum

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    I'd say that is true to a certain point. i think that there is a standard set of things that are true for everyone. Like killing is bad. No way way you look at that, taking another life is wrong. that being said there can be extenuating circumstances. Like if you accidentally killed someone who was trying to mug you. You obviously didn't mean to kill the person you were just defending yourself. When you get in to the idea of good and evil being a perspective then you are traversing the plane of relative truth. That in its self is a semi chaotic philosophy. Now I do think there are some things that are up for debate about if its good or bad. But i think to that you have to be careful of your phraseology. there is Good and Bad, and then there is Good and Evil. It's like the difference between action and perspective. Someone who is Evil might do some good things, but his/her perspective and moral compass is broken, or pointed south instead of north (or you could even say has a different definition of north). Good and evil exist, but sometimes we as humans don't know which is which.
     
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  12. GingerByte

    GingerByte Jedi General

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    Sounds like the being would be harming others as well, and over time would most likely develop a love/ passion for it. Eventually this would bring about a lust for even more power. The being revels in the pleasure of inflicting harm on others, as they take pleasure in it.

    Pleasure is part of the path to the dark side according to Lucas. A Jedi seeks not pleasure because it is temporary, but joy because it is everlasting.



    Also, according to George Lucas attachment is allowed by the Jedi code, but not possession. Anakin's refusal to let go of Padme was a form of possession, as he refused to accept every potential future.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    I do see the risk you're worried about - this could expose a Jedi to jeopardising their present. I guess the Jedi would give credit to Anakin for not neglecting his duties and rushing off to check on his mother immediately after sensing trouble. It took Padme to suggest that course of action!
    vlcsnap-2016-09-27-00h29m12s642.png
    Traversing maybe but the plane itself is spurious - there really is no such thing as moral relativism. That would involve suspension of any judgement which is something I doubt any human actually does. We all have a criteria that we use to make judgements on concepts like "good" and "evil". They tend to vary depending on our age, time period, cultural norms, what we respect, the texts and ideologies we hold sacred, and our childhood upbringing.

    I was just listening to an author (Neil Gaiman) who said he left journalism because he wanted to speak truth to people. He found he could do that better in the fiction genre than with facts and journalistic attempts at objectivity!

    I know you said there's exceptions and that humans sometimes don't know which is which. I personally think the very idea that there is some objective black and white out there can be a dangerous one - some people will think they've found it, take it as authority or think that all others are wrong. :confused: Or they might stop exercising their critical faculties! :eek:

    edited for grammar
     
    #13 Moral Hazard, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
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  14. SuperBenKenobi1992

    SuperBenKenobi1992 Rebelscum

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    My point was that there are blacks and white but often we as humans dont necessarily know what they are. And frequently having differing opinions. But i would say that just because i have a different opinion then someone else doesnt mean im wrong or right. Unless my opinion linea up with what is or isnt true
     
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  15. BloodyShadow

    BloodyShadow Force Sensitive

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    Yeah I agree. When I wrote what I wrote, I was more thinking of the fact that bad guys think that they're right too. For example, when destroying the New Republic, Hux thinks that it is the right thing to do... But yes, IMO whatever the reason, there shouldn't be any pleasure due to taking a life.
     
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  16. SithSorcererofdeath

    SithSorcererofdeath Rebel Official

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    The Dark Side is NOT evil itself it is how you use it is what make the user evil. Being emotional and passionate is not evil it is what that is directed towards. The Light Side is not inherently good either it is again, how you use it. Being passive and anti emotional can be evil at times (Jedi Order cough cough) I believe that Palpatine was evil because of his manipulation and his arrogance not his Dark Side use. I also believe Luke was a good person because he wanted to help people, not really because he was a Light Jedi. Overall the Force from my view is something much different the way people define it in The clone wars and Galactic Era (in character), that is much more mysterious than we can imagine.
     
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  17. GingerByte

    GingerByte Jedi General

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    I know that. I was just pretending that was your POV for the sake of discussion :).
     
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  18. BloodyShadow

    BloodyShadow Force Sensitive

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    OK. No problem if it's for the sake of it. ;)
     
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  19. master_shaitan

    master_shaitan Jedi General

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    Ha! Yes, it was all Padme's fault :eek:

    "Evil" is a complicated term. I would say however that the Dark Side is essentially routed in evil but that we must be careful in how we use the phrase.
    What I mean by that is what is evil if it is not selfishness, greed and hatred - the central tenets of the Dark Side?
    For me Star Wars is a morality tale, about the fight between good and evil, light and dark - both in terms of throughout the galaxy and within the individual.
    What we must remember is that the emotions of the Dark Side are perfectly natural and so using the term evil can be a touch heavy for some.
    Nevertheless, the selfishness and greed within us all is our dark side and we must always temper it with the light - our love and compassion for others.
    And we largely do in fact do this. People on the whole are good: if they weren't I don't think civilisation could have got as far as it has.

    However, when it comes to being a Jedi, there is a difference. It is not to say the Jedi must be perfect to be a Jedi but he or she must always be striving to:
    a) Listen to and fulfil the will of the Force
    b) Act out of love and compassion for everything and everyone
    c) Eschew the Dark Side and all that goes with it

    Fighting the Dark Side within is a constant struggle.

    I guess this is where my view of what balance of the Force is and how that comes into play here.
    For me the balance is about harmony and positivity. It's the use of the term balance such as when we refer to having a balanced diet or when your bank account is in the black, not the red.
    The further away from that positivity the balance ebbs, the more despair and evil there is across the galaxy.
    Healthy diet = lots of good food and very little (if any) unhealthy food. When we eat bad foods we get ill, fat and don't feel good!
    This is why, for example, when the Sith began the rise, the balance began to be eroded. And when the Sith/Empire took over, it was utterly destroyed.
    The galaxy was left in darkness.
    This is because of course, the Force is created by all living things. Thus if the Sith are enacting their evil desires across the galaxy then that life which creates the Force is adversely affected. Evil is everywhere.
    And so it is up to the Jedi to destroy the threat (be it the Sith or another Dark Side faction) that have the power to spread this evil (more so than any other being due to their Force connection).

    That is the role of the Jedi. And it is vital. Now, if the Jedi were allowed to form and keep attachments, if they were able to dabble with the Dark Side (as people suggest with this odd term grey Jedi) then for me you are playing with fire. You will likely be breaking the three rules I stipulated above than makes one a Jedi:
    - You would not be devoted to the will of the Force.
    - You wouldn't act purely out of love and compassion but it would be corrupted by greed and passion.
    - You would be tainted by the Dark Side and it would then lead you down a dark path.

    The best way for a Jedi to avoid this is to not become attached to people, possessions or power.
    It is a hard life. It involves great sacrifice. But the reward it appears is worth it.

    Of course, the underlying message at the end of ROTJ is that your kids bring out the best in you.
    Lucas appears to present the notion that having kids is what life is all about.
    But for me, this is the message we learn from the journey that our heroes go on - and it should be separated from how the Jedi Order functions.
    Sure, Luke and Anakin showed in the end that one can have a family and still do the right thing. Not give in to their evil.
    However, we must remember the path that got them there and take note of the attachments that Luke didn't have.
    They were incredible acts of sacrifice, but let's imagine an order of many tens of thousands, all of which have attachments:
    How many would fall to the Dark Side? And then remember the damage that merely one powerful Force wielder can cause...
     
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  20. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Force Sensitive

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    Sounds pretty wise to me. I hope I didn't seem like I was trying to preach or prove you wrong with my rambling post, I don't really have any solid convictions on this deep stuff - most of it is kinda over my head at this stage anyways. If my posts read a little pretentious and arrogant it's often because I tend to throw stuff out there I'm learning and I often just pick the quotes from peoples posts I disagree with to comment on and ignore the rest!! :rolleyes:
     
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