Star Wars and Philosophy: Stoicism

I am currently reading Star Wars and Philosophy, I will post a full review later but I wanted to share some thoughts on the essay entitled, Stoicism in the Stars: Yoda, the Emperor, and the Force.

In this essay, William O. Stephens discusses the ancient Greek philosophy that started on the "Stoa" or porch of Zeno of Citium and portrays Yoda as a good personification of the Stoic sage. Stoicism actually makes up a significant portion of the Applied Philosophy of the Jedi Path. According to Stephens,

Stoicism counsels acting virtuously and without emotional disturbance while living in harmony with fate.



This may bring to mind the first tenet of the Jedi Code: "There is no Emotion, there is peace." or the form I prefer, "Emotion, yet peace."

As Jedi we have emotions, but they inform us, they do not rule us. The Stoic attitude allows a Jedi to act without being clouded by strong emotion. The Stoic, like the followers of the Jedi Path value reason. To the Stoics, the perfection of reason was the very definition of virtue. In the Stoic worldview it is reason that orders the universe and reason, to the Stoic is the embodiment of the Force. 

According to the Stoics, Virtue is the one and only thing needed for a happy life, whereas vice leads to Misery. We can see Virtue and Vice as the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. The Stoics believe in 6 virtues: wisdom, justice, courage, self-control, piety, and generosity which are seen as perfected reason applied to various spheres of conduct. 

Another quote from the book that I believe fits in with the Jedi Code is:

In addition, the Stoic seeks to free himself from all passion, excitation, and frivolity in order to be able to apply his reason reliably. The Stoics understood “passion” (pathos in Greek) to be a disturbing, unhealthy movement of the soul. That is why a sickness (of the soul) is called a pathology. The Stoic who has succeeded in freeing himself from all disturbances to his reason has become good.



This will bring to mind "There is no passion, there is serenity"

There is much from Stoicism that is applicable to the Jedi Path. I will end with one more quote.

...virtues the Jedi shares with the Stoic sage are patience, timeliness, deep commitment, seriousness (as opposed to frivolity), calmness (as opposed to anger or euphoria), peacefulness (as opposed to aggression), caution (as opposed to recklessness), benevolence (as opposed to hatred), joy (as opposed to sullenness), passivity (as opposed to agitation), and wisdom.



Yoda, seen as a Stoic sage makes for a great model for those walking the Jedi Path to emulate.