The Starfish and the…evil eight-legged thingy…

A few months ago, a book (The Starfish and the Spider (seriously…they could not go with an Octopus or a Squid?!)) was recommended by a couple people in the California Jedi Chat.  Since then, I have noticed a several people discussing the organization of the Jedi community, arguing that it is more of a Starfish (smaller groups all operating independently) vs. a Spider (each community operating under the direct control of one person/group).  This discussion spiked when a recent organizational document made its way around.

I cannot entirely agree with this though.  I think Starfish-type organizations function better if the group functions on a “whatever-works-best” basis.  In other words, there are no standards or requirements, people just do what works in order for their group to be successful.

The Jedi that we see in the prequels are at the end of their life, and are too much under the control of the republic, but I think the structure they had is most appropriate.   You have a central governing body with the council, they set the standards and uphold the order.  Each Jedi or teams of Jedi however, must function on their own when out on missions.  It is a hybrid organization (which are also addressed the book).

The Jedi in our reality currently are more of a Starfish organization, but because of that we have a wide variation of standards, and even groups completely lacking standards all together.  A central council would be ideal, though it has yet to be successfully achieved, mainly because there is a variety of ideas of what exactly we should be.

Extremes

In the light, there is a darkness and in the darkness, a light. It is the way with us all. Be a prisoner of neither Bogan nor Ashla. Strive to live in balance. As Tython itself teaches us, it is dangerous to do otherwise. And the danger is there—always.
~Ketu – Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1

The Je’daii Order was an ancient organization unified by its belief and observance of the Force on the planet Tython, in the galaxy’s Deep Core. Focusing on maintaining a balance in the Force, a state at which Tython was itself hospitable, the Je’daii saw the Force as three aspects of a whole; the Ashla (light), the Bogan (Dark), and the Bendu (balance). They saw this duality in the Force represented in the night sky of Tython in the form of two natural satellites; one bathed in light, the Ashla, another shrouded in darkness, the Bogan. In keeping with their view of balance, Je’daii who fell too far to either the light or dark were exiled to one of the moons to meditate until they returned to balance.
~Copied from Wookipedia

With the current plot of Rebels teamed with Luke’s ominous words in the trailer for The Last Jedi, many people are discussing the possibility of Grey Jedi becoming a thing as well as just the Force and Jedi in general.  Just this past Friday, I went in for a fitting for a Amazon series I am working on this week, and ended up in a debate with one of the crew guys, who was all excited that he thought Star Wars was going Grey Jedi.  I cannot say what Disney/LFL plans, when you look at the origins of the Jedi though (at least within legends), the balance between dark and light was the whole focus of the Jedi.

Extremes are usually bad, and the original Jedi order knew that.  Too much food will make you sick and overweight.  Too little food will make you malnourished.  Too little sun will cause Vitamin D deficiencies and possibly depression (those who have experienced Seasonal Affective Disorder can attest to this), too much sun can result in skin cancer.  To little water and you can become dehydrated, too much water can cause hyponatremia (the inside of cells flood due to abnormally low sodium and electrolyte levels in your blood stream) and can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.  ANYTHING in excess is bad, the key is to find moderation.

This is true too with the Force.  The appearance of the unrelenting lawman is a popular trope in fiction; the character that follows the law to the letter and makes no exceptions for any reason.  This person is often a villain, and ends up either learning the error in their ways, or ends up destroying themselves (think Inspector Javert from Les Miserables, who after realizing the man he spent his life chasing is not the evil villain he made him out to be, commits suicide because he is unable to reconcile his world to this reality).  This is ultimately what happen to the Jedi Order.Not only did they become too focused on following the “light side” of the Force, but they got lost in the political and war time extremes that came with serving the republic.  They lost the stance that Qui-Gon enforced when on Naboo; “I can only protect you, I cannot fight a war for you.”

The Jedi as they were had fallen too far twords the Ashla, as it were, and needed to find balance once again, as was we all on our own Jedi paths, as well as in all the paths we pursue in our lives.