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02 August 2009 @ 04:33 pm
More thoughts on Star Wars and Green Sky  
And I picked up:

1. You can't amputate the Dark Side out of yourself or your society without amputating something vital.

In Green-Sky, there was no war, no crime, and no poverty. No anger, or unchecked sorrow. Human needs were attended to with rituals for just about anything, and raw ambition (outside of the Ol-Zhaan) was looked on as crass. (A fitting hell of the likes of Ayn Rand!)  However, it was very much a passive, stagnated, dying society.  Most Kindar were too humble to even think about questioning their place in society or innovate. Raamo remembers a childhood incident where he tries to make ink, and argues with a teacher, saying that books shouldn't be rare items of silk, reserved for Academies and Gardens. The teacher argues that if he paid more attention to rote memorization of his lessons, he would have no need for books. Hiro D'anhk is driven by academic fervor to discover the true nature of the Pash-San. Not even a demotion to an elementary school in the boonies could put a lid on it. His quest for knowledge earns him what would have been life imprisonment.

Post-Ruusan Jedi pulled out every stop to make sure that the Dark Side was unthinkable to their conscripts - taking them from infancy, raising them in a tightly-regimented environment hermetically sealed away from any "outside" influence until they hit age 13, and discouraging or outright banning any "attachments" outside the Order. The Jedi Order is Mother, the Jedi Order is Father, the Jedi Order are your Friends, Trust the Jedi Order... They did such a bang-up job of it that they were losing their ability to perceive the Force, which is why they put all their money on Anakin and how Palpy played them like a bootleg copy of Rock Band.  Another good example is The Classic Trek ep "The Enemy Within." Evil!Kirk was little more than a raging, lustful animal. Good!Kirk was kind, decent, intelligent...but was listless, passive, and couldn't make a decision to save his life or that of his stranded crew.

2. The Road to Hell may be paved with good intentions, but setting oneself "above and apart" from regular folk is boarding the bullet train headed there.

So, you have all this power, you're constantly reminded that you are above Other People, and discouraged from even coming down to their level to see how they see. This is the ugliest thing Jedi, Sith, Ol-Zhaan, the CSM's organization, Joined Trills - even the wealthy, powerful politicians and CEOs from our own social order - have in common. Because they are apart and above, they start believing they can and should make decisions for wide swaths of the "lesser" folk without their input. You and your fellow elite matter; everyone else becomes merely cattle, numbers, statistics. All of which can be thrown under the bus pretty easy.

3. Any self-selecting elite are going to serve their own prestige first, their dogma second, and the people they purport to aid a VERY distant third - if they should even remember to bother.

The Ol-Zhaan was set up so that a select, trusted few could know about violence, anger, and all the less-harmonious aspects of humanity so they could protect their fellow citizens from it. The Jedi protect a democratic society and act as symbols of its virtues, a form of glue that its diverse cultures can agree to support. The Psi Corps was even designed to protect telepaths and telekenetics from persecution and misuse of their abilities.

But put the institution on Hell's express shuttle with "apart and above,"  

Fitting with what was above, the Jedi no longer gave a shit about Anakin's mom once the grand and glorious Order had what it wanted. She wasn't important, and the only reason Anakin had those visions was because he was old enough to form those dreadful "attachments." The other Jedi, never knowing their parents or anything outside their Order, were clueless to the point of cruelty. Further proof was when Anakin asks Yoda for help regarding his vision of someone he cares for dying, and Yoda can only respond with:

"Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is."

Likewise, because they had themselves been raised for their duties from the cradle, and because of "apart and above" they didn't so much as blink when handed the keys to an army of slaves. Apologists can whitewash it how they like, doesn't change the fact they were bred for cannon fodder without any say in the matter or ability to leave.

4. The less outside scrutiny an institution gets, the better corruption is able to flourish. Double it if the institution puts a lot of weight on being seen as "apart and above."

The Jedi Order had the Covenant, which was so dedicated to stopping the return of the Sith, they murdered their own Padawans and framed the lone survivor on the basis of a Force vision. The "mainstream" Jedi Order of that time still taked a good game about being the Republic's defenders, but it turned out to be nothing but talk when the Mandalorians invade. Again, they were so afraid of the Sith that they threw the people they were supposed to serve under the proverbial bus. When Revan and Malak discover that the Jedi Council covered up the genocide of an entire species, they have enough and rally some of the Jedi to war, causing a big rift in the Order. Since Revan and Malak had no guidance...Well, let's just call the Sith issue a self-fufilling prophesy. Later, we get Atris, who considers herself tha last "true" Jedi, and surrounds herself with Force-Resistant guards. They would be the ones who, on Atris's orders, subdued or destroyed any Jedi trainee showing signs of slipping to the Dark Side. Good idea, aside from no one's watching Atris. So, she falls, and since the guards are loyal to her? Well, it doesn't end pleasantly.

Green-Sky? Well, the Ol-Zhaan are put in place to guard against violence and make sure it doesn't return. The Geets-Kel turn out to be the militant secret society willing to pull the same tricks as the Covenant, using violence to prevent Bad Things from coming back. Being Green-Sky, it's a lot milder than the GFFA, methods-wise. It's still violence. D'ol Falla remarks on that when she takes Raamo into the Forgotten Chamber, likening the drugging and imprisoning of people to using a gun (I think that's what the "tool" Ms. Snyder describes) on them. She also pulls said gun on Raamo. Yes, it's a test. She still has him at gunpoint. D'ol Regle ups the ante and isn't testing anyone  when he decides to pull a gun on the Rejoyners, including two young children, tie them up, and threaten them with imprisonment. Neric, ever the diplomat, instead tells Regle that he may as well use the gun. Regle seems to be seriously considering taking Neric up on the offer. They're saved by the bell when the girls pool their powers and kiniport the gun away, much to the amazement of the others. This sets up another set of issues, as seen in the final book.

It only gets to this point in both universes because of the other three points above. Being apart and above with no scrutiny from the outside, no one to answer to, and attempting to destroy something that frankly can't be destroyed. The Kindar were very lucky in that their exiles, the Erdlings, were a fairly forgiving and still a mostly-pacifistic lot. Aside from the Nekom, they didn't want revenge, they just wanted to live as part of the greater society.

The same cannot be said for the Jedi's exiles, who just became all the worse for their banishment. The the GFFA, both sides fossized. The "Light Side" leadership became as rigid as any Geetz-Kel, the "Dark Side" turned into kill-crazy nutcases, and the universe is pretty much doomed to and endless war where the Jedi and Sith manage to almost, but not quite entirely, exterminate the other, only to have that other side rear its head and strike back, swinging the pendulum the other direction while the graywalkers get crushed by either side. If you're not swinging a saber in the GFFA, no matter how awesome you are (at least until the Rebellion Era), you're pretty much cattle - sheep to be tended for a Jedi, sheep to be slaughtered to a Sith.
Present Spirit: reflective
The Nonesuch Explorers: springflowers08ksol1460 on May 25th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Those books came out in '75, '76 and '77 -- the same time that Lucas was creating and putting out the Star Wars film, the one people now think of as Episode IV or "A New Hope".

Unknown if there's any sort of connection between the Green-sky books and the later Star Wars films where the things happen that you talk about, or if they were just writing about similar themes so some of the story details came out the same.
Allronix1allronix1 on May 25th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
I have no doubt it was highly unintentional, and just a case of two authors handling the same themes.

Green-Sky is just one of the main reasons that Star Wars bothered me so profoundly.
Allronix1: logoallronix1 on July 17th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Nope, but it's bookmarked now. Thanks for the heads up