Welcome to Part 2 of my two part special on what your characters can learn from Star Wars! Part 1 was here, and it dealt with what your villains can learn from the Dark Side.
So first, what are the Jedi? The Jedi are the peaceful group of Force users in Star Wars who assist those in need. The recruit young and teach the ways of the Light Side of the Force. They are not controlled by any government but have a quasi-government themselves, with the most senior members forming a council that advises the rest of the Jedi Order on how to operate.
How are they similar and different from their evil counterparts, the Sith?
1) They surround themselves with people.
The Sith like to operate with only two members at a time, a Master and an Apprentice. This way they can stay hidden in a galaxy because it is like finding a needle in a haystack. The Jedi try to increase their numbers. Their headquarters in the prequel trilogy was on the busy planet Corusant, which is a singular giant city teeming with people and aliens. They are not necessarily outgoing people and are very reserved, but they do seem at home around others.
2) They resist negativity and the seduction of power.
As we learned last time the Dark Side is a pathway to achieve power faster through using anger and other passionate emotions, but it is not necessarily faster. True Jedi know this and resist the urge to fall to the Dark Side. This is why in Episode III we see Darth Sidious, who it is assumed that he has been trained in the Dark Side for a few decades, whose fight with Jedi Master Yoda, who is nearly 1,000, end in a stalemate. The Jedi prefer slow and steady to quicker and a corrupted body and mind.
3) The Jedi are spiritual.
As has been noted time after time, there are some very strong Buddhist overtures in Star Wars, or the very least the Jedi Order. In fact, this list points out 10 references in Episode I alone, and it’s easy to see that Yoda’s appearance was based on Master Buddhist Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche.
The Sith are more political; they want to enslave the galaxy and then put into place a military unit to keep them in power. The Jedi want to teach and protect. They do not use the Force as a weapon and they want to bring peace to the galaxy. They typically dress in simple beige or white robes, like a monk, and spend a great deal of time meditating and becoming one with the Force, which connects all life in the galaxy.
4) The Jedi are dogmatic in their belief.
The Jedi have a strict set of rules, and they do not tolerate deviation from them. They do not allow marriage or feelings of love or affection towards others. They do not allow anger or hate. They hold fast that they are the “good guys” even though much of the time they are seen as meddlers. They do not see that they can be viewed as a cult-like military that is not held accountable by any government entity. Basically, it would be like if the Church of Scientology had its own military force. Chances are they don’t want to start any trouble, but at the same time it would make a lot of folks nervous.
5) The Jedi are hypocritical.
The Jedi do a lot of great work for the galaxy. But they have a lot of rules that are frankly contradictory. Firstly, the statement that only a Sith deals in absolutes. This feels like a very firm line in the sand that could lead to paranoia in the group. Also, that statement feels very absolute. Not to mention that the Jedi have a lot of black and white rules that they love to pull.
The Jedi want balance, but wouldn’t balance include the Dark Side? Wouldn’t living in harmony with those who use the Dark Side be balance enough? No. They consider all Dark Side users evil, whether or not they truly are, and meet them to either convert them or kill them. Again, fairly absolute and not very peaceful.
Thirdly, they pick and choose when to become involved in the affairs of the galaxy, and it’s usually to their benefit. In Episode I we see Qui-Gon Jinn cheat his way to freeing Anakin from slavery, but does nothing to save his mother from the same fate all because Anakin would make a potentially good Jedi.
The Jedi are a group of protagonists who want the best for the galaxy but do have their flaws. And this makes them human. Take some of these notes and apply them where you can to your good guys, and thank the Maker later!
Happy writing and may the Force be with you!