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Sith and Jedi: The Teacher and Pupil

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Roleplaying
Sith and Jedi: The Teacher and Pupil

TheGreatNeechi's Avatar

03.27.2012 , 02:06 AM | #1
How would I characterize my relationship with my professors?

Cordial? Perhaps. Tense? Submissive? I remember them being mentors to me in my chosen discipline (Political Science), but was I a cherished pupil? Did they look at me and genuinely see their future? Or was I just another graduate student they'd likely never see again?

Perhaps all of the above, but imagine a school where you have one and only one teacher, whose authority over your learning is so pervasive they effectively become your adopted parent. How would you wish to be treated? Do you question them? Or do you become thrall to their authority?

We've all seen the films; we've seen the relationship at play between Anakin and Obi Wan, and eventually Obi Wan and Luke, only to see Luke become the pupil of Yoda. But, Luke misses something gravely important in the Jedi/Padawan relationship, beyond mentorship and teaching, beyond watching each others' backs. He misses a parent. Luke grows up raised by his aunt and uncle, a rebellious kid who loses them as a teenager, only to lose Obi Wan shortly after, and then with his limited time with Yoda... loses him too.

You can only imagine what this does to the man, considering he is forced to kill his own Father --a very Sith-like act-- though albeit for very different reasons. You can only imagine how this shapes the re-established Jedi Order, especially considering the altogether different relationship Anakin had with Obi Wan.

A Jedi takes a Padawan for any number of reasons. There is, of course, the obvious: Without new Padawans Jedi teaching dies, but Jedi are far-sighted individuals, something so obvious is hardly at play in their schemes. Some, I expect, take up the burden because it is expected of them as Masters. Perhaps the Order demands Jedi Masters to take pupils in order to steel their own discipline: Nothing quite keeps you on the straight and narrow like being an example to a lesser. You could always expect Jedi to be so pragmatic, but I refuse to believe them to be perfect.

Jedi are trained to be stoics, pragmatists, empty of emotion, disciplined in thought, action, and judgement. But, Jedi are after all only mortal (I would call them only human but to give Jedi fundamental humanity disparages the diversity of species and subsequent moral convictions).

I cannot subscribe to the perfect Jedi. Neither can George Lucas. In the Jedi/Padawan relationship I see the manifestation of the most basic of sentient needs: Love. Jedi are forbidden to love, love leads to attachment, attachment leads to loss... and so the path goes to the Dark Side. No Jedi Master would ever characterize their relationship with a pupil as love, but so it goes no Jedi Master lives without having loved.

The Jedi path is often characterized as a path of peace and serenity, but rarely do we ever see any peace and serenity in the life of a Jedi. To them, peace is a state of mind, serenity an emptiness of attachment; very Buddhist. But, it hurts when a Padawan falls in battle. It hurts when a Jedi turns to the Dark Side and betrays a former Master. Jedi feel pain, and that pain is evidence of a forbidden love for the only individual they could ever be permitted to care for: The Padawan.

Sith have it so much easier, but the story of the Sith is not a story of growth and rebirth, but a tragedy of wrongheadedness and willful ignorance. We like to play Sith as if it were some alternative path to the Jedi, but in truth Sith are to be pitied as much as maligned.

One does not submit to being a Sith's Apprentice. One is seduced, enslaved, brought to heel by a being who wants a meat shield, a pawn, a puppet. It is very difficult to decide who strikes first when the Apprentice rises against the Master. One could say it is a learned behavior, but I think the proper answer can be found in the Force.

The Force is --in my opinion-- not a force for good. All evidence points to the Force being inherently evil; Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). Jedi steel their minds against the power of the Force, seeking to master it instead of being mastered by it. This alludes to an understanding of the Force as a corrupting power against which the wielder must protect themselves. Whereas Sith aren't so fortunate.

A Sith pretends to have embraced the power of the Force, they call it the Dark Side, but the reality is the Sith has been deluded. The Sith is a victim of a conspiracy most foul, a bait and switch: Unlimited power, only when yoked by fear. What use is "unlimited power" if it comes with fear of the same? This is the relationship between Sith and Apprentice: I want your power, but I am scared to death of you. This applies to both Master and Apprentice.

As you might expect, Sith live on the extreme. Their lives are either brutally short, or unnaturally long; the former being the more fortunate. The long-lived Sith lives to see their power grow and flourish, but they also live to see their world crumble around them. Do Sith genuinely desire all this destruction? Perhaps, but something tells me that's not the complete story.

Sith thrive on negativity. Fear, anger, rage, sadness, lust, loss, betrayal, are all emotions Sith feel. To say a Sith is perpetually happy about watching the world burn is incredibly short sighted. No, they hate it. They live in loathsome solitude, stewing over their own failures like lonely outcasts on the playground; no one wants to play with them. They learn to take joy in death, because after killing so many Apprentices I imagine the long-lived Sith has trouble finding new ones.

After all, Sith do become outcasts to their own, and no Sith lives to see an Apprentice thrive.

Azhal of the A'qell Legacy
Kath Hound role-player
The Proxima Initiative

Joradan's Avatar

04.06.2012 , 02:46 PM | #2
Hmm, a very ineteresting take on the Force. I would beg to differ however, that the Force itself is not a corrupting entity; merely how it is reflected through the user. As most Sith follow a path of self fullfilment at the expense of everything around them, their selfishness and inherent greed for absolute power, through use of the Force, is reflected as the corrpution of the Dark Side.

ProfessorWalsh's Avatar

04.07.2012 , 11:41 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by TheGreatNeechi View Post
The Force is --in my opinion-- not a force for good. All evidence points to the Force being inherently evil; Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). Jedi steel their minds against the power of the Force, seeking to master it instead of being mastered by it. This alludes to an understanding of the Force as a corrupting power against which the wielder must protect themselves. Whereas Sith aren't so fortunate.
I don't agree with the concept that all evidence points to the Force being inherently evil.

That concept only works if we accept the canonically incorrect theory that there is no Dark Side. Canonically, by the word of George Lucas, there is a Light Side (though only ever referenced as "The Force") and there is a Dark Side (which, consequently is referenced as the Dark Side). The major contention comes from the source of the Dark Side.

There are a number of schools of thought on that particular topic. The Light Side is, what commonly would be referred to as, the "Good" side of the Force. The Dark Side is, what commonly would be referred to as, the "Bad" side of the Force.

Some insinuate that the Force is actually neutral and the Light Side and Dark Side are actually generated by people. The theory is that it is the actions of the person who uses the Force that create the Dark Side, those who support that theory place the blame for those who have "fallen" squarely on them and usually further claim that there is no "corrupting influence" from the "Dark Side" which they usually believe allows a person to use the Dark Side without ever being under any outside influence.

Others state that the Force is actually neutral and that the two sides of the Force simply react to the emotions, thoughts, and actions of those who can sense and interact with it. The theory is that the Dark Side and "Light Side" of the Force are external but have different behaviors. The Light Side doesn't change the behaviors of the people it interacts with, while the Dark Side actively does. The difference is that the Dark Side can only influence people who "allow it in" by their behavior. Those who subscribe to this believe that actions by the person who is not truly aware, or is in denial, of how the Dark Side operates allow them to be influenced without their knowledge by the Dark Side which can impair their judgment and makes them, on some levels, not completely responsible for their actions (though they are responsible for the actions that allowed them to become consumed by the Dark Side in the first place).

The behavior of the Force in Star Wars is actually one that mostly appears, to me, to be completely reactive. The Force responds to the person using it in certain ways depending on the desires of the person using it. This seems to be consistent with all portrayals of the Force in canon.

An example of this is simple:

A Force User, like a Jedi, who seeks to serve the Force, without a personal agenda is treated the same way in return. The Force serves that person, seemingly without a personal agenda.

A Force User, like a Sith, who seeks to control the Force, in essence enslave the Force, is treated the same way in return. The Force seeks to control that person, and in essence enslave them.

A Jedi must be mindful, at all times, of his or her desires however because of the corrupting influence of the Dark Side. Once the Dark Side becomes involved it, at first subtly, twists the perceptions of the person who called on it. The people become suspicious and paranoid, this is mirrored in canon in pretty much every example.

Once that suspicion and paranoia set in, unless the person retains a sense of self and realizes what is going on, the situation becomes compounded. It is possible, for a time, to handle these delusions and remain in control, however eventually it will spiral out of control unless the person stops using the Dark Side. This is similar to, in real life, many sufferers of Schizophrenia who experience delusions... Very often they begin aware that they are delusional, however if left unchecked they begin acting on these delusions anyway despite knowing that they are sick.

Think of how subtle this kind of corruption can be. The small changes that can shift the context of a situation.

Here is a situation without context:

The Force User's wife arrives on the planet that he is on. He knows his wife loves him but he has recently betrayed his friends and done actions that he knows that she would not approve of. She requests that he leave the planet and suggests that the two go off alone with one another. One of the Force User's former friends descends the ramp after the wife and begins to confront the Force User.

A rational mind, in this situation, would look at the facts. The wife obviously is concerned for the well being of the Force User and clearly does not want him dead. While the former friend may indeed plan on killing the Force User that does not prove that the wife betrayed her husband. Factually, all that is known, is that he came on the ship with her and factually this friend has the skills needed to sneak aboard without her knowledge.

An irrational and paranoid mind would discount several facts in this situation and jump to the illogical conclusion that the wife betrayed him in order to kill him. This flies in the face of a number of facts however. The wife didn't need to come if that was her plan, she could have simply given the location to the Jedi. The wife clearly doesn't want him dead as she already demonstrated her desire to stay with him. The Dark Side however is disrupting the Force User's ability to think rationally and calmly.
"There is no room for compromise. We walk the path of the light side, or we fall into darkness. There is no gray area, Ben."
~ Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker (P. 187 FotJ, Book II: Omen)
Host of the Jedi Council stream also author of From the Journal of Val Starwind

Darth_Slaine's Avatar

04.07.2012 , 09:22 PM | #4
This is a remarkable post! I think there are some very keen insights here.

I disagree with some of the ideas -- mostly those on the nature of Sith Master/Apprentice relationship-- but not because I think you have incorrectly interpreted canon... I think canon has not done the subject justice.

I have never been a fan of one to embody power and one to crave it. If I were a Master, I would think why bother? What can I get out of an apprentice that I cannot get out of some other tool?

I think there is a need amongst the Sith to take apprentices, and it comes from -- dare I suggest it -- loneliness or perhaps the realization that all glory is fleeting.

I wrote a story called Master and Apprentice once (I re-posted it somewhere around here after the forum wipe) and though I think it lame when someone references their own crappy fan-fic, I feel I can't really explain the issue as concretely as I tried to through that medium.

Sith will never truly attain immortality except through our apprentices.

I am glad you brought this up. I'd really like to see where the conversation goes!

Edit: added the link to the story.

quixx's Avatar

04.13.2012 , 04:15 PM | #5
Great post. I have no opinion to share, just want to give it a bump so others can catch a glimpse.
Vrook Lamar
The Vigil - Guild Forum

TheGreatNeechi's Avatar

04.15.2012 , 08:33 PM | #6
Wow! I'm quite flattered at the responses. Keen opinions from authoritative individuals does me great honor.

I'm glad you replied, Walsh, and I was thoroughly pleased to read you. I'm still stuck in a hospital and replying on my Android so replying is a real chore. I'd love to have more of your opinions on The Force, because mine aren't really based on any canon at all.

And Slaine I'm going to enjoy reading that story.

I hope this finds you all well.
Azhal of the A'qell Legacy
Kath Hound role-player
The Proxima Initiative