Jedi Wannabes
Reverend Antonio Hernández IBA
"The end for you, this is."

There is an odd-looking figure approaching. Its form is hidden by a long, flowing gown, and its head seems enormous. As it draws closer, you see that the head is actually cowled, and the gown is a sleeved cloak. Now the figure is upon you–for some reason you have been unable to flee.
Rooted to the spot, held against your will by some hideous unseen force, you discern a young man beneath the cowled hood. He is wearing Buddhist robes beneath the cloak, and the light glints off the brace and other hardware on his wide leather belt. He waves a butterfly-sleeved arm before your face, and you are once again able to move. As you are freed, you note another piece of hardware hanging from his belt. It looks like an old aluminum flashlight.

Either you are a benevolent creature (in which case the mysterious figure will say, "May the Force be with you", or you are pure evil, in which case he will menacingly growl, "The end for you, this is." If you are an unfortunate evildoer, you will see the mysterious cowled man reach for his aluminum flashlight with blinding speed. He clicks it… but there is no light beam! There is a solid laser "blade"! It hums creepily, like a giant hummingbird, and worse yet-- it’s LAVENDER!

Well, congratulations! You have encountered a Jedi Knight. (Note that he may be a Jedi Master, but only if he’s managed to convince someone else to don a ridiculous brown cowled gown like his.)

Many people, young and old, desire to be such a creature. They want to be Jedi. In Australia and New Zealand the folks are especially feverish, having planned to foul up the year 2000 census by listing their religion as "Jedi Knight". This in turn lead many Americans to dare to dream: why not become real Jedi?

Disappointingly, there is no such thing as a Jedi Knight or Master in our humble world, save for the mad images in the mind of a loony bird named George Lucas. There have been some groups very much like Jedi, which are now extinct. Even more like the Jedi are those exotic folk we call Buddhists; but that’s too real. At least the others don’t exist anymore except in history books. And who reads these days?

A well-balanced person might ask, "Why would anyone really want to become a fictional character?"but this is somehow unfair, because we all "dress up", we all put on masks, before we leave home everyday. When my generation was young, we wanted to be Batman or Superman. We wanted to save the world and be home in time for supper. The Jedi Wannabes (often called Wan-Obis today) feel that very same urge. Is it all that bad?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if an uneducated, ill-mannered brute could dress up and pretend to be gracious, he might very well end up a genuine gentleman. It is possible that the Jedi fan club has the same thing in mind. It’s doubtful that they could learn to fly (they could always write to Michelle Kwan for a few lessons, I suppose). It certainly would be a hoot if someone actually could freeze a powerful laser beam into a sword blade. They could travel to any number of monasteries in Nepal and learn lung-gom, "space-walking", which is the yogic art of effortlessly walking at speeds of 70 m.p.h.

But would they learn tolerance, compassion, lovingkindness? Would they learn that it really is better to give than to receive? Would they stop thinking only about themselves for more than a second at a time? Somehow all that seems to be too much for which to hope.

George Lucas is an alleged film buff who idolizes legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. But Kurosawa is considered to be the greatest director who ever lived because he felt responsible for the messages his movies conveyed. Lucas feels responsible for making as much money as possible with as little story line as possible and he doesn’t mind stealing from Kurosawa to accomplish this.

Can such a man present us with a truly noble example of conduct, albeit in fiction? Will a brown hood and a laser sword really improve a person? Well… if we look long and hard, we see a pattern emerge. There it is, right on the silver screen. "Star Wars" does indeed teach about justice, kindness and mercy. It manages to do so using the Jedi as an example, though the finest character is the boy who spent two out of three movies merely hoping to learn Jedi ways. In the third movie, the boy is finally a Jedi, but we tend to look away because by then he has disobeyed his teacher, cut off his studies, then managed to fall into a pit with a man-eating monster, and he loses his Jedi cloak and light saber in the process. There’s a couple thousand Wupi-upi down the toilet.
This character, Luke Skywalker, is just like his real-life father George Lucas. He bumbles, he confuses, he gropes, and he loses a lot in the process. Still, we end up loving him, and by extension we love the Jedi because they’re not all that bad for fictional characters, really. Jefferson was right after all! Somehow, though, musing on all this puts me in the mood to watch "Seven Samurai".

© Rev Antonio Hernandez May 2002

Jedi Knight-Class
Rev Antonio Hernandez unravels the mythology of Star Wars
To be a good person is to think, speak, act, work, study and live in the right way.

Revenge of the Sith

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