Eighteen years now I have followed the Jedi Path, most people by this point would have been “knighted” at least once (I am not sure there are any who have not), yet I have never asked for it. There have been a couple times were people pressed, many, many years ago, I was once given a test, the JEE, on a whim. It was supposed to be a somewhat standardized test for knighthood, I threw several of the questions so that I would not pass. Even now, a few times it has come up and I have expressed my disinterest and people always respond with some version of “you never know.” Some people probably even attribute my refusal of title as some sort of false humility. I think in a way, that is probably the exact opposite of the truth.
Here is what my decision boils down to. I have never encountered a single site, where I have looked at their standards for knighthood and though “wow, I need to really up my game to pass these standards” or even “wow, I am glad I have trained as hard as I have in order to pass these standards.” I am not even sure I have met a single person that I would fully agree with calling a knight. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who are great at the philosophy…but then they lack any physical prowess. Or there are those out there that are proficient martial artists but end up being aggressive and arrogant with a short fuse. This is not to say that I am better than any of them, I have my own issues to work out, and I am constantly doing so. The thing is, if I am going to accept the title of knight from someone or someplace, it has to be someone or someplace that makes me truly believe that I have accomplished something great by earning their respect, by earning that title.
The only group that I have even come close to thinking about accepting a title from, even their standards just fall short for me. They are good beginnings, but their “standards” are just areas to progress in, there is no baseline. For example, I can be a horrible person, improve, and still be really rotten, but I improved. There needs to be a baseline, even if that baseline is assigned on an individual level. Even in the fiction, some Jedi were more skilled fighters than others, some more skilled at meditation than others…but they all had to learn it all, they all had a baseline of skills they had to meet.
So, how about this. My own baseline requirements for me to accept/pursue knighthood from a group:
- A site would have to have the same perspective on the path that I do. In other words, as I do not view the Jedi path as a religion, I would not accept a title at a site that holds strong to it being a religious path.
- There needs to be actual set standards, and they need to be something that is not easily attainable. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and not everyone is or should be a Jedi. The standards need to be something that takes time to develop and work towards, they should not something that can be done in a matter of months, or even only a few years. Adapt for the path, do not adapt the path to suit you. I know, a lot of people stress the personalized journey, but there still needs to be a basic standard. A common denominator that all Jedi must meet.
- The standards need to be upheld, and be evident in those that have been knighted. You can say you have this list of standards, but if you have members in your ranks of knights that fall short, then you do NOT have that list of standards.
As one of the people who have been on this path the longest, I doubt I will ever find anyone that truly meets these requirements for me. Thing is: THAT. IS. OKAY. The title does not define me, my actions do.
Maybe one day people will just start calling me a knight without my acceptance, not much I can do about that. Maybe a group will emerge that I feel meets my requirements and I will submit for knighthood. Hell, maybe one day I will finally get around to writing out the lessons to fill out the curriculum syllabus I have designed and I will be the one to create that group (it is a really big project for one person…so much to do…so many topics to cover…). Or maybe I will continue to be title-less until the day I die.
Either way, no matter what, title or no, I am still a Jedi. And that is the only title I need.