-= The Introduction: Lecture Four =-
Welcome to Day Four. Before we get into the last and most important part of the introduction lesson (how the Academy actually works). I want to go over some terminology that you will encounter in the lessons as well as in the Jedi Community in general. This will range from training styles to different isms which sometimes persist in our community. We can begin this with a misconception lecture.
-:: Jedi Lecture #4 ::-
The Misconception of Segregation
Humans love their classifications. It helps us put things into nice little boxes so we can communicate quickly. Hand me the hammer please. Instead of hand me the tool that is shaped like a T and has the claw on one side please. The more labels we have the easier it is to separate and distinguish things from one another. This of course can get a bit overwhelming and a little petty at times. But it a part of the world we live in.
When the Jedi Community first was starting out, there was a heavy focus on adhering to the fiction. So there was a strong dichotomy of Light Side and Dark Side. But our world isn't much like the universe of Star Wars (or at least originally). Lucas made his universe a very black and white place and we live in a universe which has a whole plethora of colors to inhabit. Not just shades of grey, but vibrant colors all which have their own feeling and connotations.
As such it was no long before people began to separate themselves into neat little categories. Light Jedi, Dark Jedi, Shadow Jedi, Grey Jedi, Red Jedi, Forest Jedi, Zen Jedi, Christian Jedi, Silver Jedi. And then as that began to mellow Star Wars role-playing games introduced us to new classifications. Jedi Guardians, Jedi Healers, Jedi Sentinels, Weapon masters, Instructors, Historians, etc. The Jedi divided themselves in as many ways possible. Especially when Isms became a thing in 2001 - which we discuss more in a bit.
I call these glass walls. They divide, but they don't do much else. There is a singular word in all of that above that gets repeated - Jedi. That is the focus, that is the goal. Each Jedi is an individual. There is going to be differences in experience, culture, beliefs, and outlooks. Put three Jedi in a room and you'll get six options. And that is okay. That is great. Our diversity is a wonderful thing in the Jedi Path. Not something to be separated and regulated into its own little corner. We want to share our differences and celebrate our similarities. We are all Jedi. Our core ideals and practices stay the same no matter what. And if they don't - if someone says they are a "Jedi [Insert Cool Title Here]" but don't live by the Jedi Ideals then they are not a Jedi. They are just whatever that cool title is. And that is fine too. You don't have to be a Jedi to gain something from the community or path. All are welcome to enjoy our community, but that doesn't automatically make them a Jedi.
You can say you are a Grey Jedi. But really that is just the misconception of segregation. A misunderstanding of individuality within the Jedi Lifestyle. Because in the end, you either are a Jedi or you are not. And either one is just as okay as the other. Jedi Training and the Different Approaches
There have been three main approaches to Jedi Training since the mid-1990's. These days it is not surprising to find most Jedi sites utilizing a form of all three in their training programs.Solo Training
- Solo training was basically reading, exploring, experiencing, and trying things on your own. It basically worked like this. You'd find a Jedi Sites. You would read through their lessons and lectures. And then you seek to live by them. You wouldn't tell anyone. You wouldn't turn in assignments. You'd just read and apply. At many of the beginning sites there wasn't anyone to talk to or turn assignments into - so it was automatically Solo Style. Another example is the Jedi Archives here. If you wanted to explore various Jedi thought you'd go through those and work through them yourself.Traditional - Master/Apprentice - One-on-One
- Pretty self-explanatory. This is when you training directly under one Mentor. This was the next and most used training style in our Community's history. All lessons, teachings, and promotions were left to the Jedi Mentor's discretion. While that should have worked out - in the early days of the Jedi Community it merely created cronyism and really worn at the quality and standards of the Community. These days most places require you go through a basic academy system before you can go through one-on-one training as a way to help ensure quality and core Jedi ideas are taught.Academy Training
- This is your basic mass teaching approach. The same general lessons given to multiple students at the same time. This was created to help address two issues. The first being the lack of standards and quality the Traditional method was having issues with. The second was the student-to-teacher ratio. There was simply a lot more students than there was teachers. So a general academy course was set-up to help address that problem. These days you'll find most Jedi Sites have materials you can use for Self-Study, along with a mandatory Training Academy, which then allows for an Master/Apprentice style training system to end things off with. Helping to ensure the Jedi gets the most out of their time and is given a variety of quality materials.Isms of the Community
In 2001 "isms" began to split the Jedi Community into different sections. There was Jediism meaning those that followed Jedi as a Religion. And Jedi Realism to denote those that followed it like a Philosophy (and leaving religion as a personal choice). You had some who would claim that if you didn't follow Jedi as your religion then you weren't a real Jedi. Silly and certainly not true. Of course you had others which calimed that Jediism were fake Jedi. This was because in 2001 and 2002 sites and people who embraced the Jediism label basically were starting where Jedi Realism grew from and ignored all the lessons, experiences, and growth the Jedi Community had made in the years leading up to 2001. Due to these labels being thrown around (some with pride, some as insults) other "isms" popped up to help classify other Jedi sites which didn't fit into these two categories. Like Jedi RPG-ism and Jedi Pragmatism. And while most places have done away with these glass walls and silly dividers - the terms do pop-up and it is good to know what they mean/meant. Though really - it is all just Jedi these days (as there is a recognition that we all share the same core principles).RPG-ism
- This is the term many of the first Jedi Websites/Groups fell into. They used Role-Playing, Fictional Stories, and Creative Writing to help explore and teaching the Jedi Ideals. At some of these places you would even assume the role of a Jedi in the Star Wars universe to work through some of the philosophical and ethical concepts associated with Jedi Thought and Practice.
The downside is many just came for the role-playing. They were playing a Jedi online and didn't take the lessons or moral of the stories offline into their life. So you had a lot of armchair Jedi masters. People who could talk a good game, but never had any experience actually living as a Jedi.
The top side of it was Fun. It kept you connected to the inspiration. And was a fun and detached way to explore some of the tougher ethical issues which you may face as a Jedi. Learning how to juggle priorities of Jedi Ideals and Personal Relationships. These days I still like to use this - though mostly I do so in games like SWTOR which provide a nice environment to explore ethical and philosophical situations as a Jedi. Though most Jedi Groups these days very much stay away from and even discourage RPG-ism (unfortunately most do it out of fear of not being taken seriously).Jedi Realism
- What grew from RPG-ism (and the subsequent disapproval of such - due to armchair Jedi) was later coined as Jedi Realism. Basically seeking to live as a Jedi for real. No role-playing, no religious notions, just being inspired by the philosophical and ideological concepts presented within the Star Wars Jedi. A lot of Jedi Realism draws upon pre-established philosophy, practices, and religions. You'll see a lot of Zen studies (Alan Watts tends to be a Jedi favorite), Taoism, New Age practices (aura sensing, astral projection, energy-balls, etc.), Code of Chivalry, Samurai culture, etc.
The downside is it can feel like you aren't really studying or training to be a Jedi as much as a New Age Samurai Knight. You can lose touch with the inspiration (and/or dream) that brought you to the path. And that often lead people to the the question - Why call ourselves Jedi? It is a big question that still pops up in Jedi Realist circles to this day.
The upside is you get to study a bunch of different concepts and ideas that you may have never even heard of before. Definitely can be fun to explore new ideas and cultures. Especially when you get into Force discussions and begin looking at the similarities and differences between Prana, Mana, Qi, Ki, Life-Force, Holy Spirit, etc.Jediism
- Originally meant to mean the Jedi Religion. It was a term used by the media at whim, which meant most these days use Jediism as a blanket term. In the Jedi Community however it very much referred to those who viewed Jedi as a Religion (organizationally speaking - like the Catholic Church). Then it began to include Jedi who simply viewed Jedi as their religion (not a religious organization per se). And as noted, due to the general use by media (newspapers, radio and tv reporters, etc.) many use it now as a general term simply to denote the Jedi Way. This term didn't really get any use in the Jedi Community until 2001 (due to the emdia coverage of the Jedi Census Phenomena).
The downside is ... well Religion. Religion tends to be unyielding and creates more disputes than solves. That has applied to Jediism. The other downside was Jediism ignored all progress the Jedi Community had made in the years it formed online. And so they began (and sometimes still) repeat the mistakes of the past that Jedi Realists at the time had already learned through experience. This meant for many years Jediism was behind Jedi Realism in terms of teaching, standards, and quality.
The upside is that they have mostly caught up. People have begun to act like Jedi and have ignored the silly isms and instead of sought to learn from one another. This has bridged the gap of experience and standards. Also, Jediism gave people a terminology and path to explore and enhance their Spiritual Well-being. For many Jedi is indeed their personal religious view. And having that has helped them immensely. Jediism has also grown to accept Spiritual Wellness as the goal and does allow for Jedi to approach religion as an individual rather than taking the stance of either you follow Jedi as a Religion or you are not a Jedi.Jedi Pragmatism
- This is a term that was born out of the schism that came about because of the Two Isms above. Not a lot of websites feel (or fall) into the category. In fact even in retrospect there are only four Jedi Groups which reflect this school of thought. Mostly you can thank this site - Jedi Living (also known as Jedi Academy Online and the Jedi Foundation, over the years) for the term existing. Jedi Pragmatism stood apart as a way of looking specifically at the Jedi of Star Wars and asking how can I become that, but for real? No lightsaber, no robes, no oobi-doobie mystical powers, but to live as a Jedi in my everyday life? Practical and Applicable training. A lot of Pragmatism focuses on real world certification (CPR cert, martial art training, urban survival cert. etc. etc.) and the practical experience of those who have lived as Jedi (rather than relying on subjects outside the Jedi Path such as Reiki).
The downside was the training was a lot longer, harder, and had very high standards. To the point where not one student is known to have fully passed the programs that most Jedi Pragmatists put together. Often you were looking at five year long courses which required college level reading and monetary investment of Certification courses in your surrounding area (CPR Cert from Red Cross can cost over 100 Dollars). Also some viewed the dismissal of Force Powers as a downside. View the Force as you like. Pursue it as you like. But No Jedi Pragmatism group ever tried to teach you energy balls, telekinesis, or anything along those lines. But you wouldn't get any astral projection or energy shield training at a Jedi Pragmatist Academy.
The upside was the the practical applicable living as a Jedi. Jedi specific lessons - the whole - created by Jedi for Jedi ideal - tangible skills a Jedi could put into use everyday. These were the upside. You got tangible, repeatable results, without any fluff or having to believing in powers which your rational mind may have an issue with. It was very grounded. As such it helped influence more grounded approaches in the community. The study of local laws and such. It also encouraged the rising of standards and the value of more hands-on training.Overall
- The isms have mostly died down a bit. Segregation and dividing Jedi into silly little categories pops up from time to time in our Community - but the overall lesson has been learned. Either one is a Jedi or they are not. The core of the Jedi Way is unchanging and is shared across all "isms" within our Community. What matters is more the approach, atmosphere, and style of the individual Jedi Groups. Whether they prefer the term Jediism over Jedi or Jedi Realism over RPG-ism, doesn't really matter. It is a silly label left over from a time that has past. If they the ideals and training speak to you - than that is what matters.
:: The Introduction Assignment Four ::
With this in mind - lets explore potential Jedi Training Websites that might fit you.Take this Quiz: http://www.qzzr.co/quiz/which-jedi-training-site-is-for-you
In your Journal - what website was recommend for you?
Which Training Style do you think fits you the best?
What are your general thoughts on the Isms? If you had joined when these were very segregated labels. Which Ism do you think you would have joined?