The Jedi Order teaches its adherents to hold the lives of others above their own in all situations. It promises that the means to preserve the natural balance of the galaxy is to preserve life in all its form, and to work toward bettering the situation of that life when not protecting it.
It holds blind compassion above any other path. It chooses to see the struggles of lesser beings as conflicts in which it is divinely ordained to intervene, and in doing so, denies that being of a chance to grow.
This comforting lie was something I clung to during my final days within the Black Library. As the walls of my fortress came crashing down around me, I could only wonder as to why such a fate had befallen me despite all the good I had done for the galaxy.
I had saved dozens of lives, possibly hundreds, at the cost of my own safety. I'd given up any hope of individual satisfaction or happiness in the form of a family, so that I might serve at all times. Thousands of my own credits had gone to helping individuals that I felt had needed them more than myself.
In the end, I was not rewarded for my good deeds, but punished. Alone in that vault, I came to realize that my charity had not only destroyed me, but hindered the growth of those I had helped as well.
There were times when my charity induced a truly long lasting change, but often my actions lead to those I helped growing reliant upon me. They leached off of me, and gave me admiration and praise in exchange of everything I had. I fed upon that admiration, as most Jedi do, and allowed myself to feel affirmed as a good person in the eyes of the galaxy.
In doing so, I often limited my own chances to progress as a being. Time spent recovering from wounds was time I could not train or seek out new knowledge. Money spent on feeding the poor and needy was money I lacked and sorely needed when faced with the crime lords of Coruscant.
Those I helped grew lazy and dependent upon my assistance, and I was stuck in a mire of self-imposed mediocrity.
There are times when charity is a wise choice: times when those you help will return the favor in kind when they are able. One might view that as selfish, but such a view is limited in its scope. To have one's assistance returned is an assurement of one's honesty, and it leaves both parties with a feeling of satisfaction. It is a basis upon which trust can be built, and if not that, it at least allows for each individual to undergo new experiences that may lead to changes in their mindset.
When one is helped, it often brings about feelings of shame. Gratitude is the shadow of self-loathing; it often serves as the door that lead to doubt. It is far better for beings to grow under their own power, so that they might be confident in themselves, and be able to acknowledge their peers as respected equals.
Train your mind to respond faster than your heart, and teach yourself to adopt the long view of the galaxy. It may save you a great many headaches in the future.
- D