Sigh. The Jedi. I love the Jedi…the Jedi are part of the reason I became obsessed with Star Wars. The Prequels hit me at the right age where I was beginning to understand larger life issues, where I was going through a time of bullying in middle school, and when I lost all my “friends” (who were not people I should have been friends with to begin with. But don’t tell my 11 year old self that) and had to start over.
Watching The Phantom Menace helped me grow stronger as a person. I really admired Queen Amidala and how she was able to be strong despite so much adversity surrounding her in that movie. I also loved the Jedi and found their way of living fascinating. In an almost Buddhist concept, they trained themselves to not become attached to too much, to let go of love and strong feelings. It helped me move on from losing my friends and be more Zen with getting bullied for something I love. The Jedi didn’t let petty things like that affect them, and therefore, neither would I.
But one thing I didn’t like too much was the Jedi Council. Even at an early age, it seemed to me to be opposite of what they proclaimed. Their purpose was to be the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, but instead the Council reminded me of the rest of the politics in TPM – people stuffed up in a room with little interaction to the outside world.
Now, we know this to not be entirely true, but from only seeing TPM, this is what I believed. I thought Yoda, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi and the rest of them sat in the room and made larger decisions, including who would become a Padawan, Apprentice, or Master. Part of me believed Qui-Gon wasn’t on the Council because he wanted to actually get out in the galaxy and get his hands dirty helping others.
To that purpose, I thought, “Why would anyone want to be on the Jedi Council? It’s so boring!”
As the Saga continued, I learned that was not necessarily the case, but what I did learn is that the Jedi fell into the same trap as the Senate and other politics within Coruscant. They were bogged down too much with themselves. Though I wouldn’t go too far as labeling them corrupt, I also don’t think they had a clear sense of what they were doing. They might blame it on the dark side, but I do believe that they may have been too afraid of losing their power, as Palpatine predicted. They may have covered that excuse with the belief that if they lost their power, who would protect the galaxy? As we saw in TCW, as soon as it the seed of distrust was sown, it was a lot easier for the Jedi to collapse.
I argued in an earlier post that perhaps a way to keep the Jedi as an organization was to instead set up bases (for lack of a better word) on planets around the galaxy. That would help them be more present and active protectors of the peace and be within each planet’s culture – instead of making decisions from afar and sending Jedi to the planet for brief while. The Jedi got so caught up in their rules and way of living, that in some ways, they forgot how to connect with people in the long term.
I’m not much of a political person, so I may be missing large pieces of why this wouldn’t work, but there’s something about the Jedi Council that doesn’t sit right with me – mostly that it reminds me too much of a government, which is not what the Jedi are supposed to be. But at the same time, I understand with that many members, there needs to be some sort of organization, rules, and a way to keep everyone in sync.
Give me your thoughts on the Council!