By Katherine Mock
There are many virtues required of all Jedi: objectivity, love of learning, emotional control, discipline, the desire to help others… the list is long. But there are a few that are specifically important for Jedi Knights.
The main virtues of the Bushido code and the western code of chivalry are interestingly similar. Both require honesty, integrity, and courage. But neither of them fully fit the position of Jedi Knight: our sociocultural place and goals are significantly different from the knights of old, and our modern understanding of how to help people ethically has expanded. So taking these codes into account, the five virtues I believe are most necessary to a Jedi Knight are:
Integrity is not only having a well-constructed and consistent moral code, but one that is flexible enough to take circumstances into account. Being able to be compassionate and merciful, but strong enough to be just even when the situation is messy and confused. This particularly includes a commitment to justice and the truth, and keeping one’s word. Fundamentally integrity is about consistently applying the morals you choose to live by.
Courage is the ability to do the right thing for each situation, no matter the personal cost. Courage also required enough confidence in those decisions and actions to only be swayed by the facts, and to keep facing down the sadness, terror, apathy, exhaustion, and rage both within and in the world around us with conviction and determination.
The Skywalker code says “Respect all life”; it’s that simple. It is vital to have respect and love for yourself and for all beings, human or not human, different and similar. You must fight and keep fighting for the rights of all, whether it’s your sister or your enemy.
Generosity is giving to others without a thought for admiration or reward other than the joy it brings to you and to the recipient. Whether it’s monetarily, emotionally, physically, or intellectually, Jedi happily give of themselves. However, real and sustainable generosity also includes being generous with yourself to not undermine your own abilities.
Balanced with all of this confidence needs to be the awareness that knights are not better than others, they just have more responsibility. Knights must always keep themselves open to others, to never assume they are right because of mere age, experience, or rank, and to view all opinions as having the same potential for brilliance and usefulness (that doesn’t mean they are, but that it can come from anywhere). Furthermore, that we are tiny humans on a tiny planet in a tiny galaxy in one huge universe out of who knows how many. You can only take yourself and problems so seriously. Don’t let knighthood cloud your mind or judgment.