Did I miss something? There’s a Gray Jedi?
“The surest was to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
It’s no secret that I love Star Wars. I’ve referenced the space opera in many of my posts and will continue to do so for the rest of my existence. From the thrilling battles, banter, and characters, to the way in which it continues to impact the world, Star Wars is ingrained deeper in popular culture than most imaginable things.
One of the things that make it so interesting is the way its black or white ideologies parallel that of my own ideologies.
I can’t pinpoint where this way of thinking began but like the Force, it’s very strong. My guess is that it happened the moment that I was able to comprehend body language, spoken language, and tonal representation.
- “Don’t do that.”
- “You have to do your homework.”
- “Stop that and pay attention.”
- That look you receive when you’ve displeased someone.
- The grunts of non-approval
If I was a Padawan, my life was filled with masters whose purpose was to teach me all they knew. These teachings laid the foundation for me to understand the world and everything in it.
Both the Jedi and Sith live their lives by codes.
Understanding this, you can see that the boundaries of right or wrong are placed upon the individual and their beliefs and not the beliefs of those around them. The individual believes what they want to believe because that is their choice. The Jedi choose to be Jedi and the Sith choose to be Sith. My life…your life is no different. You are taught and from those teachings your opinions and the way you see the world are formed.
As mentioned above, up until recently I thought that life was like Star Wars, very black and white.
I never had a reason to question otherwise. Arguments were quickly resolved, solutions found, and as a consequence, life was easy. Little did I know, something was changing. Somewhere in the last number of years, things became muddled. Nothing was as simple as black or white and I aimed to understand why.
Naturally, I looked to Star Wars for the answer but this time I didn’t look at the Jedi or Sith.
Not operating on any one side of the Force, the Gray Jedi utilizes both sides for the betterment of the galaxy. They draw upon the Dark Side without ever becoming corrupt by it and distance themselves from the Jedi High Council so that they may operate outside of its constraints.
“What?” I asked. “Living a life that draws upon both beliefs for the betterment of mankind? That’s a fool’s dream. Life is as life is. Black and white. Right or wrong.”
In approximately 30 days (at the time of this writing), my wife and I are set to embark on a trip into one of the most impoverished countries in the world, Ethiopia. While it seems impossible to predict what will happen and how we will feel when we arrive, I can comfortably predict that the two of us will be forever changed.
Recently, I read an article describing a Landslide that occurred in Ethiopia that claimed the lives of many people. My immediate reaction was to send help, money, and whatever else the country needed. If I was a Jedi, then this was what I would do. This was my “right”.
It wouldn’t take long before a Sith appeared.
“We’ve done enough.”
“They won’t even help themselves.”
“Why should we solve their problems when we have our own?”
“We trade our good favor for bombs and bullets.”
Taken back I responded in a typical argumentative fashion.
“We can never do enough.”
“They need to be put in a position to help themselves.”
“Our home problems pale in comparison to the problems of others.”
“Favors for bombs and bullets? Really?”
As we fired back and forth, it became obvious that neither wanted to concede our points. Who was was right? Was it me with my want to help abroad or was it them with their desire to help on the home front?
If the Gray Jedi is the point of reason, the answer is neither of us.
My wedding day was filled with “good” advice from just about everybody I knew. Cliché things like “she’s always right”, “don’t go to bed angry” and “pick your battles” filled the hallways faster than the arriving guests. Through all the advice, one piece stood out from the rest.
“Neither side of an argument is any more right than the other. The truth lies somewhere in the middle and it is incumbent on both parties to not only seek it but expose it.“
By this logic, the truth is somewhere between this Sith and I. The truth lies in the Gray Jedi. We both wanted to help others but couldn’t see it. To find the truth, I did what I always do and looked to the best minds of the past and present.
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
New York Times
An article published by the New York Times claims that arguing fulfills our “hard-wired compulsion to triumph in the debating arena.” To paraphrase a portion of the article, if a strong argument is created, then this argument must be created around the truth.
Or does it? I ask two things:
- Why do we need to triumph?
- No matter the strength of the argument, does it really house the truth?
The answer to the first is we don’t. At no point does personal triumph lead to worldwide gain. History has shown us this. The second leaves you with more questions than it asks. It is invariably based on what version of the story is the truth. Who decides the truth? How is it decided upon? What is it measured against?
From what I can surmise, the only course of action that will allow an argument to move forward is to become the Gray Jedi and use the strengths of both arguments to form the ideal outcome. It is here that all parties involved can come to a resolve. Nobody wins in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” argument and the sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be.
Cheers to your success,