ATTN: COUNCIL; Updated Doctrine Proposal
In the black community (which I can speak for to some extent) there is a beautiful multitude of shades and color in the physical sense just as there are plenty of views and ideas. It is not hardly a monolith and yet is still represented by one single word. "Black". And even this word has certain controversies attached, but the power comes from having a shared experience which produces a common culture.
Religion, we need to keep in mind, for all this "we wanna be a religion/church" is, in reality, dangerous.
Most religions do have different sects. Christianity has thousands. The problem with sects is that they don't always tend to mix very well. They sometimes have their own words or their own definitions and meanings. This may be somewhat unavoidable. Beliefs tend to clash. The more "out there" a belief is the more it will clash with folks who are more into logic and reason.
What I want to see is more of a common culture and shared experience being the connective tissue that links us all together. Because if you want me to believe "Reiki" is Jedi.... I'm going to respectfully disagree every time. And we can debate that point but I'm probably not going to be convinced. Just being real with you. I don't want to make the same mistakes religions from antiquity have made where they change the story to match their beliefs. There should be a difference between what "WE BELIEVE" and what "I (personally) believe". This is important because if I had seen "Jedi believe ....Reiki.... " in the doctrine I probably would have moved on. The doctrines are a place for the people who are not Jedi to understand what a Jedi is and what we believe. The whole "its a mystery" thing is not the right place for doctrines. Doctrines are what you believe, not what you think might possibly potentially maybe I dunno idk err could be. Rastafarians have a lot of diversity of thought too. And that is also classified as a religion. But guess what? There are Rastas that don't believe in the bible, Rastas that are into more Kemetic practices, etc.
Because Doctrines are mostly for people on the outside looking in (also internal organizing helps when you start off with something more simple) it needs to be clear and simple and free of grammatical and spelling issues. If I'm with my family and I'm telling them what I believe and I obviously want them to take me seriously, I don't want them googling something in the back ground with spelling errors and contradictions. The idea that contradictions are somehow helpful, no... I disagree and am more than happy to debate that with you.
I want being Jedi to be like being black. It doesn't mean we have to all agree but that there is a common core of experience and understanding that we can all support and maintain. And if there are Jedi who personally believe in fairies and trolls, then that okay. That's them. It doesn't need to be an entire sect. And arguably sects already exist between light, dark, and grey. The point of updating the doctrines is not to fundamentally change all of this but rather to make it all sound better. Using fewer words is part of that process, and this is coming from a guy who uses MANY MANY words. Fewer words is like shorter urls. It's better if you can do it because its easier to convey, easier to memorize, easier to tweet, etc. It's easier to digest. Now if you want something more wordy then link the simple doctrine to a more lengthy article that provides in-depth explanation/analysis. That's why hyperlinks were invented. You can have your cake and eat it too.
I don't recall intending to do this when I gave my recommendations and again, everyone was invited to help in the effort.
I think my original suggestion was:
Jediism is a religious path and school of thought based on the understanding and personal attunement to the Force, an omnipresent and etheric divine energy that a Jedi (a follower of Jediism) believes to be the fundamental nature of the universe. A Jedi further believes that the Force is manifest through all life, and thusly seek to unlock the mystery of how to balance and eventually become one with the Force through enlightenment rooted in philosophies similar to those present in the epic space opera called “Star Wars”.
I do support other versions but I want to go over some notes about this one that can help inform or consolidate other attempts. Please keep in mind these are just my suggestions/opinions/experience based on being in and around several religions over the course of 40 years.
I think its important to note that things should be balanced as much as possible which means providing limits. Do you want to be so vague that you sound like every other religion? Because if you sound like every other religion then what's the point or purpose of saying "Jedi"? There has to be a point to using that word; otherwise you make to no effect.
2. "omnipresent, etheric, divine"
these words were not chosen at random. Oxygen is pretty "ubiquitous" but there's no religion based around the presence of oxygen. the word omnipresent captures the same meaning and intention but it has a religious connotation which gives the Force a more distinct flavor. But when YOU use the words, YOU get to define them beyond the common usage. So if you don't want to use this word or that because you think it belongs to someone else, rethink that. Because if you keep thinking like that every religious word will become off limits to you. If Jediism is a religion to you or a "religious path" as it is to me, then you have to take ownership of religious terminology and use it in the way that YOU mean. There were many words in the bible that were honorifics used for the king. In Christianity these same words are only used for God because they became disconnected with the original meaning. The Force IS "godlike or like a God". Do it is, by definition, "divine" and I'm not scared to say so. If it is NOT divine then why have a religion at all? Might as well be a book club. Again, if you ask Rastafarians about Selassie, they will definitely tell you he is divine and that mutual respect and adoration is a common thread.
Etheric- (Ether) 5. Physics An all-pervading, infinitely elastic, massless medium formerly postulated as the medium of propagation of electromagnetic waves.
I chose words that were both religious and scientific because I think we can all agree that the Force (in some form) exists, that it is everywhere, and that we are connected to it and we all respect it. If any of these things is NOT true I would say "that's interesting" and probably wonder why you're here. This isn't to say I want to exclude people or "weed out" anyone, but rather offer a clear sense of what it is and why we're here.
3. Star Wars.
I don't care who doesn't like it. If Star Wars was somehow erased from the pages of history, we would not be here on this site. I just wouldn't exist. Jediism or whatever version of whatever you want to call it, would simply not exist. And so I think its important to mention the source of inspiration because you're not going to be able to hide from it and you should be scared of being connected to it. Why? What are you trying to hide? That you like Star Wars? Just accept it. You think people don't know because you add some extra letters at the end? Who are you fooling? Embrace it. People are going to come to this site and see pics of people posing with toy light sabers. You can't get around it so stop trying to. Embrace it. It's far more honest and people will respect you for that honesty. We use the same exact Jedi Code you can find on wookipedia. As long as that is true then we are Jedi. Period. It's up to us to define what that means and not try to dodge every word that could possibly rub someone the wrong way. Use hyperlinks and make them understand it.
If we can't write a wikepedia article similar to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_theology
...because we're too afraid of making someone feel left out then don't tell me its a religion because at that point its just a club for people of DIFFERENT RELIGIONS who have a SHARED INTEREST in Star Wars mythology.
Now if we just want to be a club that's fine. But if we cannot build on a core value system with beliefs and practices that reinforce our doctrines, because we're too afraid of people calling themselves Jedi but not being able to fit in, then we're basically just a club, trying to define itself by anyone who shows up for the party. Someone shows up to the party with a birthday cake we'll say its a birthday party. Someone comes in a mouse costume we'll call it a costume party. Someone brings a rifle we'll call it a hunting party. As some point YOU have to define what kind of party it is so that people who show up know what its about and everyone isn't defining and redefining us based on whatever they personally choose to bring. But you have to decide. Club or religion. This, imo, is where we need to agree and build upon a common foundation.
Do Jedi seek to only understand the world, or do they seek to submit it to their will?
Before all the "oh, subjugating things is a dark/sith/bad guy/whatever I don't care trait" - the doctrine says things like "Guard", and many members here have, in one way or another, suggested a Jedi is bound to act as a sort of everything-police, (even if that is in a "good way" like protecting someone who is being kicked when down etc etc)
To be a Jedi, does that mean at some point you have to decide that your will is correct, and use your resources to change the reality around you to be aligned with your will.
It's a little thing, perhaps, but it sets the tone for whether the Jedi "mission" for lack of a better word is an internal one, or an external one.
I think one of the things that sets the Jedi apart from the other religious groups is what would also set it apart in the real world: That it IS about building a stronger world, not about understanding it. There's an active component that is necessary for the Jedi Path. To quote a fictional resource (Power of the Jedi Sourcebook):
"Although the Jedi existed to serve the Force, they were funded by the senate because they served the public interest. If Jedi were unable to use the Force, they would continue to serve, because that was their duty. The fact that the Force was real, and that the Jedi were its most prolific and devoted practitioners, only strengthened their resolve to use it for good."
Before someone gets into how Christianity also has a charitable aspect- Most Christian groups do it just because they want to, not because it is commanded. They, on average, do not believe in works being necessary to get into heaven.
Ultimately, there is another question to be had here: Are you really imposing your will, or are you imposing what you believe is the Will of the Force? In either case, it doesn't seem to me that the Jedi Path is about enlightenment. It's about how we seek to improve the world, which does require you to understand it...but understanding is merely a component necessary to impose the will of the Jedi Path- which may or may not be something you attribute to yourself but rather the Force.
XD Hope I didn't lose you in all that.
“Jedi Believe” comes across as mostly a low key statement of political positions. Im not saying theres anything wrong with that but is it really how want to start off on the topic? And when people ask “what do Jedi believe?” is this how we really answer? And are those the most important things that all Jedi here actually believe? And isnt the whole page a treatise on what Jedi believe? Why are these beliefs sectioned separately from the others?
I rather like the three tenets; knowledge, focus, wisdom. These definitely come across as jedi-like, but are they tenets?
Tenet: a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true.
Are we saying that knowledge, focus, and wisdom are principles or doctrines that we hold to be true? Arent we kind of misusing the word and failing to adequately articulate what we’re trying to say? Speaking of which, the clarifying statement given for knowledge (“knowledge can be acquired by focusing on the task at hand”) is.... not wrong, but misses the point. Knowledge can be acquired via study and experience. Yea we have to pay attention and i agree with emphasizing mindfulness in the pursuit of knowledge but look, “the task at hand” could be watching “kids-fail” videos on youtube.
And why are there three of them? Is three a magical number in Jediism or are these truly the 3 definitive “tenets” of what we’re doing here? What about courage or compassion? Or the pursuit of excellence? How about reverence? What about service? Conscientiousness?
It feels to me like someone just thought it sounded cool and enlightened to have three tenets and 16 teachings and 21 maxims but, does it? Why is that the format?
The Code.... do we want to use the fictional Jedi teachings as the model for our belief structure? I personally see it as a fantastical mishmash of woo and NEATO! and really dislike treating it as if it is philosophically valid. That being said, i consider the “yet” version of the Code as one of the rare exceptions. It has a very taoist feel to me and its fair enough as a sort of mantra or meditation piece. And i just dont see people agreeing to throwing out the code/s. Fair enough. Disney hasnt come for us yet, so; sure, lets roll with it if we want. Is that what we want?
The Creed: while i do genuinely love the content in the Prayer of St Francis, ITS THE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS. We’re plagiarizing a scratch of Christian literature and passing it off as a foundational piece of Jediism, altering the source material AND failing to acknowledge it as if we expect no one to notice; does this come across as hokey to anyone else? For my part, this is the only piece of Doctrine im ready to say i definitely think should be done away with. Its too contrived. Its not ours.
I think theres some good stuff in the 16 teachings and the 21 Maxims. In fact, id say these are the best part of the Doctrine (though the wording could definitely be improved) because (even though i see influence from the fiction) theyre pretty reasonable and seem organic to the community. They both feel like they could be (at least in part) a distillation of the real lessons and experiences of a developing religion. Are they, though? Are they accurate distillations of today’s Jediism?
And again, why 16 and 21? Are these the 16 and 21 most important principles of Jediism? And whose teachings and maxims are they, anyways? Whats the process for deciding what makes it into Doctrine and what doesnt?
I know, we can barely get a consensus on altering the font that the Doctrine is written in, lol, theres no way everyone is going to agree on any serious textual changes. But isnt the Temple supposed to be in a growing phase, right now? All this stuff made sense at the time it was written, i get it. I dont “blame” the Doctrine for being under-developed and i definitely do not mean any disrespect to the people who put it together: this whole thing was new at the time and everyone was working from scratch. They did a great job for where they were but the community has matured a lot since then, maybe now is a good time for the Doctrine to mature along with it?
“As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else.”
-Don Juan Matus
Where ever you go, there you are. Make the best of it.
Fyxe wrote: So I'm confused?? I've only been here a short while but I have been told over and over that the movies are not supposed to be used as reference, that we are actually supposed to get away from that thinking. But this talk which seems an important talk brings that to front and center?? So do jedi follow the teachings of the movies or not?
You'll never stop being confused if you just keep moaning about this instead of looking at the wide variety of information about Jedi and star wars outside of the films (which very much contains the answers to your questions, in no uncertain terms). You skillfully dodge the answers you've been repeatedly given, and ignore the information simply because you don't like the increasingly frustrated tone.
It's not even relevant to your learning here, outside the fact that, even within the fiction, what it meant to be Jedi was re-defined many times- why is that, in the process of real world application, than, so strange to you?
I think you're much too fixated on your expectations when compared to the real world, here. Read through wookieepedia and scour youtube essays and what not if it matters that much, but maybe you're energy would be better spent on your studies here, and what being Jedi means to you, without being so concerned about what other people think?
Kelrax "Stormcaller" Lorcken, Jedi Navigator
May The Force Guide You