Jedi Education Be Like...
On December 13th behold the mighty return of Star Wars saga on the big screen. And this 8th episode, for sure!
We already know how crucial will be the role of Luke Skywalker, who’s back in the saga, in teaching Rey the ways of the Force… Without make her fall into the darkness like his nephew, Kylo Ren, did.
You maybe have noticed it but education is at the core of Star Wars saga. Since the first episodes we contemplate Jedi duos, masters and apprentices and their quest to knowledge, wisdom, self accomplishment and understanding of the Force. We get to know how much it is important to be educated, well educated.
All right, the same composition is found in Sith teams, BUT! The fact is that when master and apprentice are equals in terms of strength one of them must die… Not so blooming nor constructive isn’t it?
So let’s stay on Jedi education. How does it work? On what is it inspired?
Sober outfits thought elegant, master of words and sword, amazing dancers in combat, Jedi look like wise knights, cool-headed and guardians of noble values.
Looks like a déjà-vu right? Absolutely! This image comes straight from the feudal samurai world that inspired George Lucas in the making of the saga.
Education, in fact, is also quite modeled on this culture. Just like them, Jedi have to get through three phases of learning before becoming knights of the Order.
Learning from the youngest age
Potential Jedi are recruited from their sixth year of age as for young samurai apprentices. Until their tenth birthday their days are divided in two. The first is dedicated to learning the precepts of the Order, its values and principles (think about Master Yoda’s course to youngsters in the Attack of the Clones). It is also about learning the role that Jedi play in the keeping of balance and justice across the galaxy. The idea of balance in society is key and can also be found in the shintoist (Japan) and confucianism (China) cultures.
The other half is composed of practical exercises, educative games and sport (think about the blind exercise where youngsters must feel the Force to block drones’ shots)... Finnish education is maybe not so avant-garde is it?
“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is” Master Yoda
From 10 to 14, Introduction to the Art of War
Padawan teenagers learn deeper the mastery of the Force, the saberlaser and are trained in martial arts. They enter the path of Jedi. Just like japanese apprentices become slowly samurai follow the bushido code and master the art of the sword.
Bushido is a moral and warrior code that define the acts and behavior of samurais then. But its impact has been so important that today's Japan cultural codes are absolutely full of bushido precepts.
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”
From 15 to 25, the confirmation
During the last decade of its learning, a padawan is less followed by its superiors, only by its master who'll make sure he'll be able to reach the rank of Knight or even Master and teach to younger pupils (that was the case of Anakin our fallen hero :( ).
After all these years, guardians of the galactic peace like the samurais are considered accomplished and give their oaths. The firsts to the Jedi Order, the latters to their lord, or daimyo, their shogun (kind of a Prime minister and Supreme General) and their emperor, the Ô so divine ruler of Japan.
Nevertheless, learning does not stop there in the fiction and in the real characters. Both enter a continuous improvement cycle where they consider life as a whole book from which we learn everyday. We must say it, this is beautiful.
As our gool old Yoda says "Much to learn you still have", don't you young apprentice?
Civic education, a major point of the Jedi Order
We often think of Jedi as the main force, police, army of the Republic (may it rest in peace). But just like samurais for the shogunate, they're more like enforcers, judges and guardians of the balance and stability of the Republic in the Galaxy.
Civic and political engagement are at the core of the education of padawans. Though the Order is neutral, these must learn how the Republic works, who are its actors and how it keeps galactic harmony under way.
Okay, we could think about a pro-Republic propaganda here, just like samurais could not imagine a stable world without the existence of the shogun and the emperor. Still, both are shaped to become perfect citizens.
More precisely, learning civic duties and republican morals are taught through philosophical courses and discussions between masters and students but also trhough the study of history managed by the Jedi Temple Archivists and those from academies throughout the Galaxy.
In Star Wars we talk about the Republic and the Empire, not the shogunate though. Indeed, the Republic is inspired byand many other sources. Come on, George Lucas has the right to get his sources anywhere he wants no?
Anyway, we wish the best of luck to Rey who has a real easy mission:
Save the galaxy... Once again.
May the Force be with you!