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Excerpt from Lecture Series: "These Rules Are Written In Blood: A History of the Jedi Code"

PROF. NIMDOK: This is the part where things start to veer into philosophic territory. I am not a professor of philosophy, but for the sake of our historical analysis, I want you to take a look at these two doctrines, Odan-Urr’s Jedi Code and the surviving version of the Je’daii Code, and compare and contrast them. Let’s start with the similarities. What do you see that is similar about them?

STUDENT A: The line “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge” is in both.

STUDENT B: “Immortal in the Force” and “There is no death; there is the Force” have similar meanings.

NIMDOK: I agree it’s just semantics, but I’m sure the real philosophers would beg to differ.

STUDENT C: Both juxtapose chaos and harmony.

STUDENT D: I forgot what I was going to say, sorry.

NIMDOK: I did too. Class dismissed. Right, now tell me the differences. What stands out the most to you?

STUDENT C: “There is no fear, there is power” would be considered incorrect by most Jedi sects today. Jedi are not supposed to crave power or revel in it, they’re supposed to surrender to the Force. At least, if you believe the Force has a will and is working toward benevolent goals.

STUDENT D: The Force is supposed to be created by life, so it probably wants to preserve life so people can keep making more babies.

NIMDOK: Why did the Je’daii consider power to be the opposite of fear?

STUDENT C: Fear was probably a constant thing in the lives of the ancient Je’daii, since they lived in an unstable society, so to survive they needed power. Power represents freedom from fear.

NIMDOK: But Jedi like Master Yoda say that fear leads to the Dark Side.

STUDENT C: The Jedi just replaced the quest for power with a quest for inner peace and spiritual harmony. But that was because society developed to the point where they weren’t having to fight just to survive.

NIMDOK: Odan-Urr didn’t live in a peaceful time.

STUDENT C: But he didn’t live in a time where everyone's ideology of the Force was confined to Tython and its moons.. The Jedi came into being only after the Je’daii ceased to be so primitive and limited.

NIMDOK: Ah, so the Jedi came into being because the Je’daii weren’t sophisticated enough? That’s an interesting interpretation. Most historians agree that the Jedi came into being at the end of the Force Wars, and that is when they started to expand beyond Tython's borders. Oh, I wanted to point out that the Jedi Code has two lines that are very similar: “There is no emotion, there is peace” and “There is no passion, there is serenity”. Is there a significant difference in meaning? Why are these ideas mentioned twice?

STUDENT A: Because it’s important. Odan-Urr was stressing the need to not lose control over your emotions and passions, as these things can distract you.

STUDENT C: Emotions can make a Jedi more chaotic and difficult to control, but Sith revel in their emotions and are always trying to gain more power. Jedi don’t seek power.

NIMDOK: Good. You see that the Je’daii Code also mentioned power. But I will be discussing the Sith Code at another date. Anything else?

STUDENT B: The Je’daii Code mentions darkness, but in a positive way, where it represents mystery. And then light represents discovery, I think? It’s not like the Light Side and the Dark Side.

NIMDOK: Yes. The metaphor used is different, I would say—or maybe the Je’daii are just using metaphors here, whereas the Jedi have turned it into an almost literal concept equating darkness with evil and light with good. Now, the ancient Je’daii didn’t really have the Light Side and the Dark Side yet, but they did divide the Force into binary halves. Ashla and Bogan were not just moons in Tython’s night sky, they were primordial forces. When they were not in balance, things went awry. So you’re right in that the Je’daii were all about balance, while the Jedi, at least the way they are presented in this version of the Jedi Code, were really not.

STUDENT B: I thought about it, it's not just semantics then. The Jedi Code begins every line with “there is no…”, cutting out not just ignorance, but emotion, passion, chaos, and death. The Jedi are cutting death out of the equation, but only the Je’daii promise immortality through the Force. There is a difference.

NIMDOK: Hm, I would say that they both more or less mean the same thing, but you’re right that the Jedi definitely put an emphasis on removing these things, on sacrificing them—remember ‘a Jedi’s life is sacrifice’?—while the Je’daii aren’t as concerned about removing things as they are with balance. Except where ignorance is concerned, but hey, I can agree with that.
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Nimdok
Me love fiction. Me want to be writer. No get published yet - but will someday.

Comments

I am sure I got some of the lore wrong, but I don't have time to read all the Wookieepedia pages in extreme detail like you nerds. Not even for the sake of writing a convincing portrayal of an in-universe history professor.
 
Kal Kal

On a more serious note: I am obligated as a teacher not to teach my opinion to students. I hope my views on the topic didn't come through here. That said, the irony of your statement is that I don't agree with you.

We are tens of thousands of years past the age of the Je'daii, which as I understand it was an ethnographic religion based on the geographic and ethnographic characteristics of the planet Tython and its moons. Because of this limitation, they lack the universal appeal of the Jedi. While it is definitely true that the things about Je'daii philosophy which were good may have been corrupted over time by the Jedi, the solution then is not to go back to being Je'daii, it's to reform the Jedi.

All belief systems evolve. I recognize that Asha Hex , Cotan Sar'andor Cotan Sar'andor , and the rest of the new Je'daii have been trying to update them, but my (admittedly limited) studies of their work sounded an awful lot like the early stages of Luke Skywalker's New Jedi Order, what with allowing students to learn both Light and Dark Side powers. I don't recall them mentioning the Ashla/Bogan stuff or going into a chasm on Tython that would show you visions that could drive you insane - everything that was unique and set the Je'daii apart from the Jedi seems to be missing, which kind of makes the differences between the two meaningless.

But I get it - a lot of the people here on Chaos are most familiar with the flawed Jedi of TCW and the movies, not the old EU. Even then, SW canon/Legends is a mess when it comes to all these conflicting philosophical ideas. At the end of the day, I just find it easier to type Jedi rather than Je'daii.
 
We're looking for solutions here?

Also, the focus with the Je'daii was going to be less "use both sides! look cool! be unique!" and more "let's practice some actual balance rather than just using whatever powers, y'know?" It's also my understanding of the source material that the characters that were more about using powers generally tended to fail, have more issues, and fall short of the mark...rather than those who pursue balance and understanding. Pretty similar to the general "power is not the end goal" message Star Wars likes to throw out in a lot of stuff.

Kinda splitting hairs with the difference there, though, considering how such things often go in writing Star Wars stuff, but y'know. It is how it is.

Also, given that before real life happened to make it so that neither of us could manage to really flesh much stuff out and go into the detail Asha Hex had gotten up in the previous Je'daii subfaction before the forum update, I'm both not surprised to find that it didn't look like much, and also find it a (very slight) bit improper to throw us out under the bus like that. =P

(Also, the real best code is the Jedi Code before revision. OG Jedi Code > Je'daii Code > Odan-urr's code.)
 
Just so I can pretend I remembered what I was actually going to say: Tython led directly to the formulation of Je'daii philosophy, but I don't think one need necessarily be based on Tython or use the exact Ashla/Bogan terminology they did for the unique viewpoint to get across. There's just too much of a similarity within the early New Jedi Order/Kyle Katarn (how ironic, considering what I use for Cotan's face here) view of "it's not the powers, it's how you use them" letting people use both sides idea rather than understanding both and trying to remain balanced between them, regardless of what you actively do/use.

A lot of other stuff behind why Cotan specifically is drawn to the philosophy system can be found in all those discussions about "how does your character view the Force?" and stuff like that that we had a while ago.
 
Cotan Sar'andor Cotan Sar'andor

I don't mean to throw you guys under the bus, I'm sorry if it came across that way. I was mainly responding to Kal from the perspective of canon Je'daii not being a particularly good alternative to canon Jedi, but I probably should've known better.

You pretty much said everything I would've said. I picked Odan-Urr because it was the most well known version of the Code.
 

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