Jun 22, 2011

Posted by in Ask A Jedi, Columns, News | 17 Comments

Ask A Jedi: Why Do People Think The Jedi Are Good? And That Gnost-Dural Guy

If you spend any time on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums, you are sure to have seen his passion and prose regarding all things Jedi. You know him as Professor Walsh. Each week (or thereabouts,) Professor Walsh will answer a few reader-submitted questions in order to enlighten us all with the ways of Star Wars lore and history, in this sometimes highly-opinionated piece. You can submit your own question at the end of the article!

Welcome to another edition of Ask A Jedi where we try answer your questions regarding lore and history within the Star Wars universe, of course with a focus on The Old Republic!

This week, reader Judas submitted the following question:

Dear Jedi,

How come people think that the Jedi are actually good? According to BioWare the Republic committed genocide against the Sith.

Thank you for the question Judas. This one is rather complicated, so it is going to take a little time to explain.

First of all, I think there is a little misunderstanding regarding the timelines presented by Gnost-Dural. BioWare has told us that Gnost-Dural works with knowledge that he was able to gather which may, or may not be, incorrect. This means that just because Gnost-Dural says it doesn’t mean that it is factual nor does it mean that it is the stance that BioWare has on the subject.

Gnost-Dural doesn’t use the word “genocide” but he does imply that a genocidal act took place. There are also supporting documents within Star Wars lore that corroborate the theory but it has not been ever clearly stated. The factual truth to this matter then is a bit ambiguous. It is also important to note that the Republic is not the Jedi Order.

This presents us with a few problems. The first of these is that according to how the Dark Side has always been treated if the Order were to participate in such an action, there would have been a mass number of people falling to the Dark Side, the numbers would have been unprecedented and as such there would be no way that such an incident would not be well documented. The second problem with this is that we know that there are still tombs and artifacts on Korriban and other locations.

I am going to take a moment to investigate the second of those statements. It is possible to explain away those other locations with a simple statement of, “The Jedi may not have known about them.” However the problem with Korriban is that the Jedi knew about Korriban. There are temples on Korriban.

If you are going to wipe out all traces of a culture the one thing that you are not going to do is leave their large monolithic tombs completely untouched. You are going to take turbolasers to them and turn them into glass and powder. The planet’s surface could have literally been melted into glass by the technology the Republic had access to. If the Republic or the Jedi wanted to commit genocide that is the first thing they would have done, yet they did not.

Another factor, thanks to the “Tales of the Jedi” comic series, we know for a fact that Naga Sadow was given a chance to surrender. There is no reason for us to believe that the same offer of surrender would not be made to the Sith, especially if there actually were Sith civilians. We also know from other Star Wars sources that following their defeat the Sith began launching suicide attacks against the Republic and there is no mention of a surrender attempt on their part.

There is just so much conflicting data regarding this that it is really hard to pin down. It is clear that there was no genocide. The mass falling to the Dark Side that would have happened did not and the temples on Korriban were not destroyed. Thus we can conclude that no true genocide attempt occurred on a grand scale.

I do, however, have a theory.

This is speculation mind you, however here is how I see the most likely scenario. There were likely some Republic (and possibly even Jedi) groups who took things too far. Maybe they targeted civilians, maybe they went for a scorched earth policy on a remote place that the Sith were.

It is possible that these events were passed around to the Sith and, like any rumor, grew and grew. It is possible that the Sith believe that the Jedi and Republic attempted to commit genocide against them when in fact no such event occurred. It is also possible that Master Gnost-Dural got his hands on some documentation that represents this and, lacking any real ability to check facts because the great library would have been destroyed when the Temple on Coruscant fell.

Basically we have Gnost-Dural unwittingly spreading false information. This makes him a poor historian, yes, but he’s made some contradictory statements before thus such a mistake is highly plausible. That would be my take on it anyway.

So, to recap.

People believe the Jedi are good because for the most part the Jedi are good. Like any organization they will have a black mark here or there but for the most part they are good and they try to do good. That is simply how things are.

There was no genocide. There is no conclusive evidence to support the genocide accusation and there is plenty of evidence that suggests that no such event happened. When you add the information up it seems pretty clear that, more or less, Gnost-Dural isn’t giving us the complete or completely true story, though it may be the truth as far as he knows it.

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s column. May the Force be with you, always.

Master Gnost-Dural

  1. Pytor Nox says:

    So your answer is to throw facts that have been shown by, Bioware’s Lucas Arts approved history out the window and go with pure speculation?

    I’m sorry but this just poor trolling. Jedi are not saints, they are not perfect beings heck the prequel movies show this.

    To continually act like they can not have committed the acts that lead to the current Sith Empire is simply stupid.

    • Well, the fact is it has been suggested that Gnost-Dural may not have all the story, or even the correct story for some things… so, anhything is possible

    • Hey, Pytor.

      How’s it going with you these days, man? You guys at TIG still finding great distaste in Walsh’s statements?

      I do agree with you, though. The evidence is clearly indicative of the genocide and saying that Gnost-Dural is supplying false information un/intentionally is quite ridiculous.

    • This is a response to Pytor Nox –

      I specifically asked BioWare about this at PAX East, and was specifically told that Gnost Dural does not have all of the information. I was told that specifically when I asked about the inconsistencies in that exact time line. I pointed out that a genocide would be a retcon as we have no hard evidence to support it and cited my resources. I was told by BioWare that they were not making any retcons at all.

      Thus I have to continue to go with my initial explanation.

  2. JonSolo says:

    The Jedi as a whole seem to care less about Good or Evil and more about Dispassionately protecting the status quo.

    How can you be good or evil, if you essentially remove yourself from your emotions?

    The “good” Jedi you see in the Movies (Qui-Gon) seem to almost be as much of an outcast as a Dark Jedi might be.

  3. I suggest that in regard to understanding the concept of the “jedi way” you go to the source of the inspiration Lucas had when he wrote the first star wars reguarding the force: Buddhism and to be more precise Zen buddhism.

    This video might help

    http://homepage.mac.com/eliw/starwars/

    As for the idea that a buddhist (jedi?) would not kill because they are pacifists it is completely false. Numerous Samurai embraced Zen buddhism as their religion and inspiration even for the mastering of their art.

    I hope this will help in lifting the fog on your understanding of the so called “jedi way”.

    • An excellent reminder. This is my take. The rumour I heard concerning Lucas’ preparation in writing the original storyline was that he read over 50 religious/spiritual texts/books and came up with the Jedi from htere.

      Although that line “Compassion, which I would refine as unconditional love”, used as a rationalization for romantic love, shows how little Anakin actually understood about the concept. And yet, I’m seeing that line used by many more posters to justify their position on the ‘romance gets you dark side points’ debates.

      On-topic: I think the column has a reasonable position. I do agree that a Jedi that embarked on genocide would indeed fall to the Dark Side. However, there are more gaps in this particular aspect of story than Swiss cheese.

  4. I disagree with the suggestion that the Gnost-Dural timeline entries could have factual inaccuracies simply because BioWare hasn’t explicitly stated one way or another. It’s implied and assumed. It makes no sense why they would misrepresent the story in regards to an attempted genocide. I could see there being intentional holes left and ambiguous hints and foreshadowing for the sake of surprises in the story, but outright inaccuracies make zero sense to me. I don’t believe the writers would mislead their customers for such a small thing.

    • Evix Vortana –

      BioWare has confirmed that there are factual inaccuracies in the timelines already. They explained that Gnost Dural does not have all of the relevant information and that all of the timelines are based on his incomplete factual knowledge of the events that he is covering.

  5. Jefferson says:

    If an enemy is willing to be completely wiped out rather than surrender, what choice does that leave you? Writers like moral grey areas because they create more potential for internal conflict and growth than a simple black and white morality. Which is all well and good, but committing a genocide as a literal act of self-defense (which certainly seems plausible given what we know about the Jedi order) does not make a person or organization evil. Further, this draws on the idea that an evil act can be inherently good (murdering Hitler, for an example that flirts with Godwin’s law).

    What really raises my hackles is when someone tries to expound a bit of moral shading into moral equivalence. In SW, the Jedi (and the Republic) are the good guys and the Sith are the bad guys. The Jedi use the light side of the force, the Sith use the dark side; those words (light and dark) have unambiguous meaning.

    • CalmingPresence says:

      “The Light Side” and “The Dark Side” are not proper terms for the force. There is one force, and there are not seperate faces to it. The major difference is that the Sith -Use- the Force for their whim, and the Jedi -Are Used By- the Force, to accomplish the Force’s end goals. To the Jedi, the force is a guide, and the Sith, it’s a tool. They’re both calling on the same pool of strength, but the actions they take with the strength don’t define the strength itself. You can’t change the name of the Force because one uses for Self serving acts, and one uses for Balance. That’s giving discredit to what the Force is.

      • This is incorrect.

        The concept of there not being a Light Side or a Dark Side is not canonically accurate. There IS a Light Side and a Dark Side canonically according to both George Lucas and Leland Chee. There are people in canon who have claimed otherwise, and these people are simply incorrect.

        This has been clarified 100% that they are separate sides to the Force.

  6. MrFester says:

    Anyone remember the Jedi Covenant and what they did to prevent the Sith from returning? They all claimed to be Jedi, but would do anything or kill anyone on the spot who posed a risk to carry out their orders.

    • BearThing says:

      The “Jedi” Covenant was a small cabal that had separated themselves from the Jedi Order to pursue their own agenda. Fearing the return of the Sith, and angry that the Jedi had failed to prevent the rise of Exar Kun, the Covenant was ostensibly founded by Krynda Draay to prevent the re-constitution of the despised Sith – by any means necessary.

      Setting aside for the moment what Yoda told us about where fear, anger, and hate lead, it should also be noted that at the very heart of the Covenant, Krynda Draay’s trusted adviser, Haazen, was in fact a hidden Sith Acolyte working to manipulate the Covenant for his own purposes.

      During it’s brief existence, here are the achievements of the “Jedi” Covenant:

      * The murder of an entire class of guiltless Padawans, with repercussions leading to the political destabilization of the planet Taris.

      * The corruption and eventual deaths of several of the Jedi Order’s most powerful Seers.

      * Subversion of Coruscant’s planetary defenses and an attempt to destroy the Jedi Temple by orbital bombardment—with the goal of eliminating the Jedi Council and replacing it with (manipulable) Covenant members.

      This is your example of how the Jedi are inherently evil?

  7. Plus he only knows the general facts from the public. He won’t know the specific stuff like Exile was the person who set off generator that took out a Planet with Mandalorians and Sith. But since Revan who was well known ordered it, he got the total blame/ recognition for that incident.

  8. It’s unacceptable what Republic propaganda is able to keep secret and alter. But it does matter no more. We are back and we will have our revange and restore a perfect order in the Galaxy. Corrupt and evil Republic with loyal servants from Jedi order shall fall soon.

  9. CalmingPresence says:

    The Jedi have been hailed as being good, and being “Heroes” for as long as anyone can remember, but they’ve never laid claim to it themselves. Their self stated goal is that of equality. Not of people, but of the Force. Balance is their goal. If the balance is lost, and tipping to the side of Evil, they must be good to regain balance. The same could be assumed if the roles were reverse. I can’t see a benevelont overlord ever tipping the scales of existance-wide balance too far to the side of “Good” but if it were to happen, I’d assume the Jedi would be the first to respond. It just happens that “Evil” is what most changes people’s lives, much for the worse, so the Jedi will respond to restore what they view as balance. Does this make them good? Contextually, yeah. But does it make them inherently good? I’d argue not. They’ve committed terrible acts in the name of balance, and often times “Justice” and “Honor” and “Fairness” are used by their opposition to convince them it’s not a search for balance any longer. It’s how Anakin stopped Mace Windu from killing the emperor when he clearly had the power. When “Justice” is used to tip the scales of balance, it becomes the enemy of the Jedi, even if the council is blind to see the difference. That’s the problem. They are men and women, and with each new thought, the Jedi change. What they are, or were, or will be cannot be defined as it is always in change.

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