Reliability is a word that is used in many different contexts. In engineering it can refer to the ability of a process, system or component to perform its required functions with little to no variability over a period of time. In research reliability can mean the quality and precision of data presented, the degree of certainty and variability derived from method used in an experiment.  Psychologists also use the word reliability to describe the validity of data measured from a population and the ability to replicate it in multiple tests.

Human reliability is the study of the capacity for human beings to perform without error in a particular role under different conditions. Pilots for example are screened for their ability to operate with reliability and without error. Reliability is also a word that we come to associate as a desirable trait in a person. Someone who is reliable is trustworthy, dependable and competent among other things.


A Reliable Mentor

If just one word can be used to describe a Jedi it would have to be reliable. Consider Obi-wan Kenobi or Yoda. Both Jedi Masters were loyal, dependable, trust worthy and committed to the Order and to their own values. Obi-wan was a reliable mentor to Anakin for years and then watched over Luke from his hideout on Tatooine. Obi-wan Kenobi’s reliability as a mentor extended beyond life as he continued to guide Luke after his transcendence to the Force.

Jedi could be agile and adaptable as the situation dictated but they were firm in their convictions and application of principle. They talked the talk and they walked the walk. The Jedi Code rejected killing for the sake of killing. A Jedi could not take another life unless it was in absolute necessity and in self defense. Being reliable also meant that the Jedi were predictable in their response. To the Sith this was a weakness and one which Darth Maul, Darth Sidious and Darth Vader all exploited in their individual battles with the Jedi.


No Reliance

Those that view reliability as a flaw are unlikely to follow through with commitments or be true to their word. Promises are broken, contracts are breached, debts are dishonored and decisions are changed on a whim without consideration of others. Lies are covered with lies and more lies to keep the ship afloat. I can describe the hallmarks of unreliability with some authority because they are those that denote an alcoholic personality. People in active alcoholic abuse are not only unreliable but they take advantage or exploit people that are reliable. The people who are the most trusted by the alcoholic are the people that are most harmed by his selfishness.

Over the years our actions reveal our twisted nature. People learn that they cannot rely on us any longer. We lose our jobs, friends start to abandon us and our partners leave with broken hearts.  Banks foreclose and debt collectors call in our debts. In the end we cannot not even rely on ourselves to manage our own lives any longer.

Through reliance in a Higher Power we begin to find our sanity. At some point we wake up and start to get honest with ourselves and regain our self respect. Gaining the confidence of others with time and effort we begin to appreciate the virtue of reliability in ourselves and in others. Our actions start to align with our values. We no longer view people’s trust as a weakness to be exploited or used but as a treasured gift.


 A Rare Virtue

Despite what the Sith thought, reliability is a virtue, not a weakness. Ralph Waldo Emerson lamented that to find a reliable friend was the hardest thing. Reliability seems to be the rarest of virtues. Perhaps that is why Obi-wan Kenobi is the archetype of the reliable mentor and guardian in the Star Wars saga. The lifelong commitment he puts in to protecting and teaching the “chosen one” marked him as the most reliable Jedi . In this universe and in this life how can we aspire to the same level of reliability as a person? What are the traits of a reliable person and what are the benefits?

  1. Commitment: Reliable people do what they say they will do.
  2. Honesty: Reliable people tell the truth, even when they would rather not. If we can’t deliver on a promise or commitment we should be upfront about it.
  3. Realistic: Reliable people don’t try to bend reality but tell it as it is. If a situation is bad, they call it bad but do not play the pessimist either.
  4. Humility: Reliable people don’t “big note” themselves nor do they put themselves down. Reliable people know where they stand in the world and do not need to be at the center of attention or above anyone.
  5. Team: Reliable people work as part of a team for a team rather than solely for their own personal advantage. They are ready to help.

What are the advantages of being reliable?

  1. Deeper relationships that are built on mutual trust and appreciation.
  2. Greater opportunities for work and business. Reliable people get known and are sought out by recruiters, employers and customers.
  3. More autonomy and independence in life as reliable people do not need to be constantly monitored and scrutinized by supervisors, partners and peers.
  4. More sleep. Being reliable means that we don’t have to lie awake at night in guilt or in worry about the things we did or said. Reliable people are more confident and happy as they know they have nothing to hide or excuse themselves for.
  5. Tolerance and simplicity because reliable people know that the world is a place of diverse views, opinions and people and they can live with that. Life becomes simpler and beset with less drama. Reliable people can achieve peace and equanimity that others only dream about.

Think of all the people you know who you would consider reliable and compare those to people you have known who were unreliable. The differences are pretty stark. To be Jedi is by nature to be reliable. By our very nature and through our conduct people will automatically see whether we are reliable or not. We may fool them once or twice, but I guarantee, you will not fool them for long.

Jedi believe in working together

Jedi work for mutual advantage or Symbiosis

Jedi try to live in harmony with those around them, and believe in mutual trust and respect.

(33 Jedi Traits)

Symbiosis is defined as a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. Symbiosis is the glue which holds systems together. The order behind the web. Symbiosis appears in nature; bees pollinate flowers, ants grow and harvest fungi, bacteria in our stomachs help process food and the African oxpecker removes ticks from the backs of large African animals. The cell mitochondria is the power house of the cell and is in fact the descendant of bacteria that took up residence in a larger bacteria. The outcome of this symbiotic event was the evolution of multi-cellular organisms and the explosion of complex life on the planet. We are the products of symbiosis.

In the Star Wars Universe the Midichlorians reside within the cells of sentient beings and act as physical medium which manifests and amplifies the Force. Without the host’s body the Midichlorians would not be able to survive and harness the Force. The Host is “rewarded” by being Force sensitive and is able, with guidance and training, able to wield incredible power. Symbiosis created the Jedi.

Life would be unable to persist without symbiosis. Our own Cosmos is an intricate system based on the complex symbiotic relationships of physical and metaphysical laws. The Universe is a story of symbiosis and harmony.


My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together” – Desmond Tutu


Living Together

The Stoics believed that it was in the nature of people to work closely together and support each other. Civilization is based on the concept of mutual advantage. Society survives on a symbiotic system. Without it there would be no governance, no transport system, electrical and water distribution would not occur, communication networks would fail. Without symbiosis civilization could not exist, society would be unable to survive.


We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” – Marcus Aurelius

No human can truly live in isolation. Each person is somehow dependent on others. We are all dependent on the continuation of a food supply, the provision of water and access to medical care. Some people find that they can minimize their interaction with society and even live “off grid” but that does not remove their part dependency on society. Survivalists stock food, equipment, fuel, clothing all produced by other people. If society did fall apart survivors would soon need to band together in groups for protection and survival. To be completely self-dependent would be almost impossible in such a world.


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

Hunter-gatherer groups that continue to exist despite the advance of modern technology and environmental destruction show the importance of symbiosis in the survival of the group. To be isolated from the group or cast in to the wilderness alone is a death sentence. People need people to survive. Mutual trust and respect is a natural outcome of that. Groups that lived intimately close to nature were harmonious. Nature provided for them and in return they looked after the provider. They relied on each other to survive and lived as large extended families rather than small discreet units.


Jedi Symbiosis

Some Jedi craved isolation but none truly sought to isolate. The Jedi understood the importance of mutual trust and respect. Working together toward a common purpose was the Jedi way. Because of their sensitivity, the Jedi could feel “disturbances” in the Force. They knew when a major calamity such as a massive loss or life had occurred. If the system was out of balance, its harmony disturbed the Jedi could feel it. The Force works off symbiosis, penetrating all things and flowing through them, connecting all that is. Life was precious to the Jedi as life contains the Force.


I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. – Obi-wan Kenobi

The Sith sought to control that natural relationship and direct it to their own purpose. Anakin wanted to change destiny by controlling the Force.  Doing so was contrary to the natural order of things. That desire led him to the Dark Side. Instead of becoming a ruler, Anakin became a servant.


Don’t you see? We don’t have to run away anymore! I am more powerful than the Chancellor, I… I can overthrow him! And together, you and I can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!” – Anakin Skywalker

In our own reality we see the effects of working against the system that supports us. Pollution, famine, drought, flooding, landslides, disease and war are some of the consequences. Humanity is in conflict with nature and with itself. As the system buckles under the strain we feel the consequences around us. Society also suffers and the principles of mutual trust and respect begin to erode. Hate, anger and conflict replaces cohesion and harmony.


Together we can rule the Galaxy” – Darth Vader

Jedi Community

Being a Real World Jedi is by nature being part of a community. That community may be largely online but it still relies on symbiosis to exist. Mutual respect and trust between its members is not only crucial for harmony but it is also essential for the survival of the community.

By nature the online world can be very hostile. Egos get inflated and people use the medium to spread disconnect and incite hatred. This only drives people away and erodes the community that supports us. By working together the movement and philosophy will spread. Disunity and disharmony will undermine the good work of many and ultimately destroy the Jedi community.


Sober Symbiosis

Being sober is also being part of a community. Recovery is a shared experience. As humans we search out support and understanding when we are in a bad way. Some of us isolate in our suffering but find solace in the group. A recovering alcoholic is perfectly placed to help another alcoholic through knowledge and personal experience. The relationship is symbiotic because both benefit from the interaction. The newcomer is helped on to the path of recovery and the person helping fortifies their own recovery by being of service.

In some ways being a recovering alcoholic feels like being part of an exclusive group. We are tied by the common bond of experience and circumstance. Some of us have been through the wringer so bad that we have the mark of a war veteran. We feel close because we can understand each other’s pain. People may disagree and get upset with each other at times, that’s normal.

All of us are cautious in our dealings particularly in the online world but at the same time there is a default mutual respect and trust for all. We treat others with the same level of courtesy, dignity and empathy we would expect for ourselves. The way I see it, anyone I meet has my respect and trust, whether they keep it or not depends entirely on them.


You can do what I cannot do. I can not do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things” – Mother Teresa


Work Together

We are all on a life raft, a chunk of rock hurtling through space on the edge of the Galaxy. We reside on an obscure blue planet in a back water of the neighborhood basking in the glow of a star approaching midlife. Our lives are protected from cold and indifferent space by a thin atmosphere. We are supported by a complex and fragile natural system which has existed with some variation and brief interruptions for hundreds of millions of years.

Thousands of millions of other people just like us share this chunk of rock. They have the same aspirations, the same dreams and hopes that we all do. We also share similar problems and the same fate. Each of us want to live, we want to grow and share. Despite the apparent differences there really is none but those we create in our own minds. Isn’t it time we began to embrace that reality and live in harmony and peace for the sake of all? Isn’t it time we began to work together to make a better world?


Together we can face any challenges as deep as the oceans and as high as the sky” – Sonia Gandhi