The Jedi: A Bad Example to Us AllNovember 21, 2014
One of the nice things about sci-fi is that the good guys and the bad guys are fairly easy to distinguish. Obviously, there are some moral quandaries along the way, but essentially the good guys do good stuff and the bad ones were raised with such wrong boundaries as children that there is simply no hope for them. Looked at this way, sci-fi boils down to cautionary tales for children.
All is well and good – until you start to look at some of the stuff the good guys actually do. This has bothered me since I first saw Obi-Wan Kenobi telling stormtroopers that they didn’t need to see Luke’s identification on Tattoine. I mean, those guys were only ever going to get into trouble for letting the droids and their human-interest slip through the net.
A Clear Mind
I was young at the time: easily influenced and quite keen to be seen to be ‘good’. The moral force was strong in me in 1992. Obviously, as we all know, with age comes wisdom.
Thanks to Yarael Poof, I now understand that awareness of the chain of events you set in motion has to be factored into the use of your Jedi mind powers. Presumably Obi-Wan knew the guards weren’t going to get into too much trouble, so that was okay.
But this still troubles me today – as my beard starts to grey and I find the garage strangely fascinating in a way reminiscent of my father. I mean if I’m playing poker on a Saturday night and I knowingly bluff a simple humanoid out of a hand, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I should add that I have found to my cost that bluffing doesn’t tend to work so well if you try it online at somewhere like SuperCasino. Bluffing online just doesn’t work. I suspect that the force is not wifi compatible.
The Moral Authority
Now, bluffing may be part of the game, and that does give it a sanction of sorts. It may not constitute playing as nicely as my mom would have wanted me to, but it’s perfectly within acceptable limits. It’s like that part of the sci-fi convention that says doing bad things to bad guys is okay because they’re bad. But who says either convention is actually up to the moral mark?
I have kids of my own now. I have to teach them the difference between what’s wrong and what you can get away with. I started out thinking I could use sci-fi to steer them by. But the more I think about it the more troubled I become. I mean they can’t just decide someone in the playground is a bad guy and start jumping all over them.
A right to cheat is it?
Another thing; what was that trick with the dice that Quigong Jinn pulled in Episode 1? That was cheating. Just because someone’s in a contest with a Jedi that shouldn’t automatically mean they’re morally bankrupt – even if they are likely to be financially broke in the aftermath. At least I don’t have to contend with that sort of skewing of my mind-set when I’m playing cards with the boys.
Not that you’d want to play cards with Jabba the Hutt, but I kind of like to think that at the very least you’d know what sort of a game you were in if you did. But play poker with a Jedi? I’d much rather take my chances with an iPhone, decent wifi and the straightforward folks at SuperCasino.