Jedi try to protect others if possible, Jedi are peaceful warriors. Jedi are also aware that being prepared and trained gives them the advantage if they do have to protect themselves and others. Most Jedi know at least one form of martial arts or self-defense.
(33 Jedi Traits)
Defend the Oppressed
The Jedi were a humanitarian movement. During the centuries of conflict in which the Jedi participated they were often rushing to defend one oppressed group or another. Theses efforts were limited only by the reach of the Jedi. Anakin and his mother were sold as slaves to the Hutt Clan by a slaving Empire run by the Zygerrians. Anakin carried the stigma of slavery with him, it burned like an old wound. The wound cut deep and Anakin vowed to stamp slavery out.
“For thousands of years, Zygerria supplied slave labor to the galaxy. We prospered. Our customers prospered. Then the Jedi came.” – Darts D’Nar
The Jedi of the old Republic outlawed the slave trade and dismantled the practice pushing it in to the outer rim criminal underworld. During the Clone Wars Zygerria allied with Count Dooku hoping to resurrect the galactic slave trade. The planet of Kiros was taken and despite the Jedi’s intervention the peaceful Togruta inhabitants were enslaved.
Later Anakin and Obi-wan did all they could to find and rescue the hostages from slavery and destroy the new slave trade.
The Sheep Dog
One of the five goals of Jedi Philosophy is “Defend the Weak” (Trout, 2014). Some real world Jedi work as police officers or serve in the military. Others are in emergency and medical professions. Aid and humanitarian workers and volunteers are also represented. Defenders of the environment are also among us. There are Jedi who work at the vanguard of environmental activism and others who try to advocate for sustainability and conservation through science, management and education.
“I am a sheepdog, I live to protect the flock and confront the world” – LTC Dave Grossman (ret)
I have a friend who at time of writing this is on the outskirts of the Syrian City of Raqqa fighting the so called Islamic State. This man is there as an unpaid volunteer serving with the Kurdish Forces. A former soldier who has acted against the advice of his government and on his own volition. Why? Because he considers himself Jedi and is trying to defend the helpless and free people from slavery and oppression. It is a small gesture which means a lot to people who were without hope. My friend is the proverbial “Sheep Dog”.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” – Psalm 82:3
Lend a Hand, an Ear
Not all of us can find ways to “Defend the Weak” through our jobs or past times. Those of us who volunteer our time do what we can. We in the 12 step program support the fellow alcoholic who comes to us for help. A kind word, an offer of a cup of coffee and giving our attention can also make a big difference.
When we see someone being treated unfairly we speak up. Often the weak and the vulnerable are easy targets for ill treatment. By looking the other way we would condone such abuse so we say something. We intervene mindfully and use our judgement. There is rarely cause to resort to violence. We show where our principles reside.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill
Courage is a virtue. Sometimes it takes real courage to stick to our principles and act them out. By defending others we are also showing selflessness and empathy. In accordance with these principles we act to avoid exploiting or abusing others. We do not play the oppressor whatever the reason. This means being fair and diligent in all of our affairs and with all people. For example we would not short change a customer or be silent if we were over changed. We would not push in ahead of others or use our size to intimidate people. We would not grow impatient and hurl abuse at a waitress doing her job on minimum wage. On a crowded bus we willingly give up our seat to someone who needs it more than us. We would not bear silent witness to a person being victimized or bullied in the workplace or in public.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain
Recovery teaches us that we are not the center of the Universe. There are other people in this world who are deserving of respect and dignity as we are. We also recognize that we depend on our environment to live. Clean living shows us the value of unpolluted air and water and the beauty of nature.
We were victims once but we have cast off that label and reclaimed our lives. Step 12 reminds us that to “carry the message” also means to act out our principles and demonstrate virtues such as courage. No one is watching us all the time but we know what is in our heart. We can choose to look the other way and walk or we can act.
Trout, KS (2014). Exploring the Jedi Lifestyle. Amazon