"He's only mostly retired. See, there's a difference between being mostly retired and all retired."
Question #89491 posted on 04/26/2017 4:35 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is it time for the Jedi to end?

-No, no, (*inhales*), no.

A:

Dear no,

You'd better believe it. As an institution, the Jedi have completely failed.

Just look at the Jedi of the Prequel Trilogy. They may have originated as a mystical sect, but they functioned as a state-sanctioned paramilitary organization. They were tasked with handling diplomatic negotiations on behalf of the state. Once war broke out, they acted as front-line generals and special forces operatives. They literally kidnapped children for indoctrination. In the real world, we call that a war crime and we call the people who do that terrorists.

Even though they paid lip service to the Force, their real guidance was a massive body of dogma. My preferred analogy is with the Pharisees of the New Testament - they were so focused on the law that they had completely lost sight of the entity that created their philosophy in the first place. They prohibited contact with family members or the formation of relationships outside of their organization. In the real world, we call that a cult.

That's not to say that the individual Jedi were bad or evil. They were raised and trapped in a self-perpetuating structure that blinded them to its own flaws, and the Prequel Trilogy is (or at least should be) the story of how that structure finally collapsed under its own weight. The story of Anakin Skywalker is (or at least should be) a case study in how the Jedi structure could destroy a life and fail those it was supposed to protect.

The Jedi and the Sith could not bring balance to the Force because the Jedi and the Sith were the imbalance in the Force.

By the time of the Original Trilogy, of course, the Jedi Order was all but erased from both existence and memory. Luke Skywalker received a few hours' training from Obi-Wan in A New Hope. Yoda gave him at best a week or two's training in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Perhaps there was more that we didn't see in the films, but it seems clear that the newly established Jedi were heirs to a fragmented and largely forgotten philosophy. And from the story of The Force Awakens, it seems equally clear that however the new Jedi were organized, their order collapsed almost immediately.

I'm sure The Last Jedi will fill in a lot of these gaps, but based purely on what we already know, it seems clear to me that the Jedi have failed. If balance is to be restored to the Force, it will have to be done through the creation of something new and different.

-yayfulness

A:

Dear No

My 4yo is very concerned about which Jedi is going to end. He's asked me a good two dozen times since I showed him the trailer.

-Humble Master

A:

Dear no,

I'm just going to point out that we are 8 movies into this thing, so probably. But I imagine earth's many Jedi will forge on nonetheless. 

~Professor Kirke

A:

Dear No No,

Umm yes? Absolutely? 

Here's the thing, the Light Side and the Dark Side both have to exist. You have to have opposing forces for there to be balance. The Sith continually destroy themselves because they have never learned the temperance, peace, or patience of the Light Side. The Jedi always end up destroyed by removing themselves from emotions, connections, and passion, instead building to a point of overwhelming pride and arrogance.

True balance in the Force has to come from both sides. You have to find the happy medium, or else it will inevitably fail. 

-Watts

A:

Dear Nooo,

The Jedi are the worst.

The prequel trilogy is all about revealing the good guys as the bad guys all along, on every level. The Republic turns into the Empire, the Clones become Stormtroopers, Palpatine is unmasked as Sidious, Anakin becomes Vader, Jar Jar becomes a tool of Palpatine, etc.

The Jedi Order are villains on equal footing with Palpatine.

Qui-Gon Jinn is willing to cross any ethical boundary to manipulate, lie, cheat, and steal, to recruit a powerful new child soldier. He puts a child in a pod race — a deadly blood sport — to get free engine repairs. He relies on quantitative midichlorian lab results rather than ethical values or the will of the Force to justify his selection of Anakin. Jinn essentially condones slavery, not just making Anakin a slave of the Jedi Order, but also abandoning Shmi and eagerly accepting Jar Jar's "life debt."

Remember how Palpatine tells Anakin that the Jedi Council were plotting to overthrow the republic? He's 100% telling the truth.

The Jedi send Anakin to spy on Palpatine and then literally walk into his office to carry out a coup. Mace Windu never intended to make an arrest; he's there as an assassin. Windu claims he's there with the authority of the Senate; Palpatine says "I am the Senate." And Windu knows knows Palpatine is right, admitting to Anakin that Palpatine "has control of the courts and the Senate" so he is "too dangerous to be left alive." Palpatine fights back in self defense, and Anakin offers to help Windu actually make an arrest. Windu refuses and tries to murder Palpatine, who lies defenseless on the floor.

Anakin, of course, disarms Windu to defend Palpatine. This was absolutely the right thing to do — legally, ethically, morally. And then Palpatine throws Windu out the window, which seems a bit out of line but, honestly, are we supposed to believe that will kill a Jedi? (George Lucas and Samuel L. Jackson both think he survived.)

With the Jedi Order revealed as traitors — which they demonstrably are by any standard — Order 66 is set into motion to eliminate the Jedi Order to prevent greater casualties. If Palpatine was too dangerous to leave alive because he had the support of the courts and the Senate, then the Jedi were doubly so, as they were willing to disregard the courts and Senate entirely. They attempted to assassinate the chancellor of the Republic with neither a warrant nor a trial.

What about the younglings? If Darth Vader actually killed them (which can be disputed) remember that these were actually trained and armed superhuman child soldiers, brainwashed by the Jedi. Leaving them alive would be incredibly dangerous; one young padawan alone killed six clone troopers singlehandedly. The Jedi dragged these children into the war in the first place; they were as responsible as Vader for the death of the younglings.

Sure, Palpatine pulled a few strings and crossed some lines to get into office, and he's an evil Sith, yadda yadda. But he transforms the republic through the legislative process and the consent of the governed systems ("I will make it legal"). And the most obviously illegal parts of the plan to start the civil war were carried out by former Jedi — Sifo Dyas orders a clone army, Count Dooku (who left the Jedi Order and Republic because of their corruption) leads the secessionist movement. Some of the worst dudes in the galaxy are Jedi alumni, just trying to do best they can with the woefully inadequate system of values given to them by the Jedi Order. If Anakin had enrolled in a high school ethics course instead of battling robots every day with Obi-Wan Kenobi, do you think he still would have ended up as Darth Vader?

As Palpatine says, "All who gain power are afraid to lose it. Even the Jedi." The Jedi erect a facade of stoicism and selflessness, but they serve neither law nor democracy. Their only goal is to consolidate the power of the Jedi Order, and they will trample over anything that stands in their way.

Luke has apparently spent some time studying the history of the Jedi Order. He did not like what he discovered.

Love,

Sauron (and Waldorf)

A:

Dear People,

YEEESH. One trailer and suddenly everybody's turned into Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker, to which I respond: "WELL THEN YOU ARE LOST!"

Also, I have the high ground, so don't try it. And you know what I mean by "it." Don't try it.

Here's a theory that literally just jumped into my head: suppose that actually the good Jedi/evil Sith paradigm we've grown accustomed to over seven movies actually isn't flawed. No, I don't think that this is necessarily good (I mean, Jedi cut themselves off from all emotion, and that's not very healthy), but let's suppose that the series remains consistent in this way. Why would Luke say that it's time for the Jedi to be done-so, then?

Well, consider Yoda's timeless maxim that fear is the path to the Dark Side by way of anger, hate, and suffering. When Ben done went and burned down the Jedi temple, I'd reckon that Luke may have jumped straight into the "anger" part of that process, and things may have just gone downhill from there. Perhaps when Rey arrives he agrees to train her out of some nagging sense of responsibility but is increasingly bitter about the hand he's been dealt by the Force. Perhaps something happens to push him past the tipping point and fully into the Dark Side of the Force and the rest of the sequel trilogy is about Rey and Kylo Ren teaming up to stop him (because, even though we don't know Snoke's power level, evil Luke would be a force to be reckoned with).

"But Luke would never turn evil!" you protest, to which I say "Hmmm? HMMMMMMM?"

I rest my case.

-Frère Rubik actually isn't super convinced that his theory is correct but does think that it's kind of neat-o