Oaths, Offices & Obligations
(Its not « just » the Internet !)
I profess before all my fellow Jedi that I, ........... born on ........, without reservation, choose the Jedi path, until I am ready for Jedi Knighthood or I otherwise decide, with all its duties and responsibilities. I shall do that which is right and profess my allegiance to the Force. During that time I promise to do my utmost to uphold the Jedi teachings, and to live a life as is worthy of a Jedi.
I profess before all my fellow Jedi that I, ........... born on ........, without reservation, choose the Jedi path, with all its duties and responsibilities. I shall do that which is right and profess my allegiance to the Force. I vow to uphold the Jedi teachings, and to henceforth devote myself to the life of a Jedi.
Most of us have seen at least one of these. The first (I'm sure it can be recognised rather easily) is the Simple Oath. Anyone who is a Temple Member has sworn it, for it is by this pledge that one joins our Temple, our community, our congregation. The second is of course the binding Oath that is sworn upon accepting the mantel of Knighthood.
We have all come to the Temple of the Jedi Order by having searched for it ; we had heard of the Jedi-ism and wanted to find out about it, or we were looking for a spiritual support beyond our current faith. Perhaps we just feel the need to belong to a supportive community. It could even be that we were inspired by the fictional Jedi and thus aspire to be Jedi Knights ourselves. Regardless of the road one took to get here, we have all chosen it ; no one was captured in nets or dragged in kicking and screaming. Thus, any route taken to come here is a good one – we're here.
We can spend as much time here as a Guest of the Order as one likes, participate in many of the forums, chat &c. without becoming a member of the community. That is one's liberty. But, aside from it being one of the requirements for “gaining access” to more of the website (and please remember that the website is only the communications support for the Temple – it is not the Temple itself), why one would make a pledge ? What is an oath ? Why would we swear to it ? What does it say and what does that mean ? How often do we think about it, the fact that those of us who have, have sworn a duly binding oath – if not a couple of them ?
The words of both oaths are relatively clear : we choose the Jedi path (and this may be personal to each Jedi) “without reservation”. Now this does not mean that we did not have to call ahead of time to have our place held for us. 'Reservation' refers to that which is held back or saved aside, not made available. 'Without reservation' therefore indicates that we hold nothing of ourselves back then from the Jedi path, its duties and its responsibilities. This does not imply either that one must offer up live sacrifices or put other aspects of Life on the back burner to involve oneself in the Temple – certainly not ! On the other hand, our Oaths are not simply formalities either, just to gain access to an amazingly cool website …
One finds also that the oath binds one not to the Temple, to its officers nor even to its members, but to the Teachings of the Jedi. The doctrine of our faith is left open to a wide spectrum of interpretations, but nearly everyone can agree about the altruistic leaning of it. One has the liberty to take one's own responsibilities, to execute one's own duty, without the need of any appeal to an authority – spiritual or otherwise. It becomes our duty and our responsibility to discovers in good faith our duties and responsibilities.
We must be very careful of avoiding responsibilities and duties. We may be tempted to feel that “doing that which is right” and “professing allegiance to the Force” is something one would do in one's spare time, when one has nothing better to do or when one feels like it. “Doing that which is right” and “professing allegiance to the Force” are not simply behaviours to exhibit on the internet in our forums, but in all of Life's avenues …
It could be said that our Oaths engage the Jedi to be faithful to oneself. The path of the Jedi is a personal one – liberating, yet unifying. No doctrine, no text, no assembly nor master can teach one one's proper path – just like no one can “teach” meditation. That must be discovered on one's own. And in order to best make this discovery, one accept what one has taken upon oneself to honour. It is is in honouring and upholding the “duties and responsibilities” of the Jedi, “without reservation”, that our individual path becomes clear. There is nothing dishonest about discovering that the Jedi path is not what one desires or needs … There is something however a bit dishonest about not fulfilling one's obligations, especially one's that are accepted freely and sworn to.
Naturally, this addresses the concerns of every member of the TotJO, but most certainly Knights who have sworn the Solemn Oath and other officers bound equally by an “Oath of Office”. We have said before that the website is only our communications support – our Temple, our community and our faith are not simply on-line hobbies. As a community, as a spiritual congregation, we would do well to support, help and motivate one another first and foremost by honouring our commitments we have made. Before & after all, it's not « just » the internet ! These are the duties and responsibilities to which our oaths bind us, not as corvée labour to be grudgingly resented, but as a privileged channel of our connexion to the Force that we all share …
Que la Force soit avec nous tous …
May the force be with us all …