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Two There Always Are: But Who Is A Jedi & Who Is A Sith?
by Frederick Meekins
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Throughout the Star Wars saga, fans have been led to believe that the Jedi stood for justice and goodness throughout the galaxy. However, the actions of one of the characters renowned as the embodiment of the principles expounded by the sect compels such an assumption to undergo careful reevaluation.

Most no doubt think I am referring to Anakin Skywalker since the final installment of the series details his transformation into Darth Vader. However, I am actually referring to Yoda, the diminutive space troll so hideous he is actually kind of cute.

In a Pepsi commercial, the Jedi master is seen sitting at a lunch counter here on earth. But instead of politely waiting to order his lunch like a good little elf, he instead resorts to a level of trickery that would put Q from Star Trek to shame.

Yoda employs Jedi sorcery by casting a spell on the guy next to him to give Yoda his fries. The victim complies, but when the imp tries to exert his will to acquire a disputed Pepsi, the victim reasserts himself to retain ownership of the coveted soft drink.

While the commercial is somewhat humorous, it also gives us a bit of clairvoyance into the moral worldview of the Jedi. In the final analysis, the Jedi end up not being all that different than the Sith.

For starters, anybody thinking there is nothing unsettling about a psionic adept waving their hands and getting a weak-minded subject to fork over whatever the space swami desires is in for a rude awakening. Some might think it’s a joke, saying those under a Jedi’s sway get exactly what they deserve.

But if Jedi are allowed to roam the cosmos pilfering what they please, what’s to prevent one with more ambitious appetites from using his powers of beguilement to have his way with unsuspecting space damsels? Can’t very well cry rape when you approve of soft drinks being taken from those under psychic manipulation when someone with a bit more force flowing through them uses their powers in a slightly more provocative manner. Just because Yoda’s 800 and some years old doesn’t mean the rest of the Jedi have as much trouble extending their lightsabers.

Those with the power to take advantage of the common people in this kind of manner should be controlled by a strict code of behavior. Though the system proved inadequate, at least on Babylon 5 the earth government had an agency known as the PsiCorps to regulate telepaths from infringing upon the privacy of so-called “mundanes” or normal people.

At least J. Michael Stravinski had the foresight to realize power no matter how well controlled or intentioned is going to end up being abused. Apparently Lucas is naive as Jar Jar Binks in having no similar worries about one person crawling around in the mind of another and seeing it as something to encourage as positive by making it a practice his heroes engage in with shocking regularity.

The principles and aphorisms espoused by the Jedi sound noble upon an initial hearing but end up justifying larcenous behavior. For example, throughout the recent trilogy, Jedi elites such as Yoda remind that fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side.

I guess such is taught so --- as with the elites of our own little corner of the universe such as government revenuers and welfare bureaucrats --- the Jedi can take whatever they want and dare anyone to say anything about it. For shouldn’t it be a greater wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to you than to not want what is rightfully yours taken away?

One statement from “Revenge Of The Sith” that stands out to the philosophically sensitive is Obi-Wan’s declaration that only a Sith lord deals in absolutes (an absolute itself, by the way). But even if the proclamation is taken at face value, then how can one even say there is any difference between Jedi and Sith since distinctions cannot be made in a moral universe where absolutes are said not to exist?

The last installment of the Star Wars epic is marketed as depicting Anakin Skywalker’s betrayal of the Jedi. But perhaps instead of betraying this sect of mystic galactic warriors, Darth Vader represents that cults ultimate fulfillment.

Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins

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Member Comments
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Elaine Jane Dalton 17 Oct 2009
Good job!! I never thought of the movies in that way before despite the many times I've seen them. :)


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