There is no Death, there is the Force

“There is no death, there is the Force.”

 

Thoughts of the afterlife, goes back to the beginning of our history as a species, and it is likely that such thoughts reach back into prehistory, and may even predate our species. How do we, who walk the Jedi Path without mysticism, reconcile the last line of the Jedi Code, with a rejection of a literal afterlife?

 

First, we must address the common belief of what the afterlife is. While there are many variations, and a very popular holy book claims that it is not even possible to imagine what awaits us. A common, but not universal thread is the surviving of the self. That somehow our identity will live on, long after the functioning brain in which it resided has ceased to exist.

 

In the mythic narrative from which our philosophy is informed, it was believed that loss of identity at death, was part of the natural cycle of life, and what had once been this being joins with the “Cosmic Force”. When the character of Qui-Gon Jinn was able to reach out from the “Living Force”, his identity intact, this was an unprecedented event.

 

We should be careful to distinguish fiction from reality, myth from history, and wishful thinking from evidence. Force Ghosts belong to fiction, and myth, but is there something from the mythic narrative about surviving death that we can apply? Yes, there is, and it is not Jedi Philosophy, but Mandalorian.

 

They don't fear death, though. They don't embrace it, but they say that you live for as long as someone remembers your name.” – From Boba Fett: A Practical Man, by Karen Traviss.

 

This is a nice sentiment, that allows on to obtain a sort of immortality, with one's contributions while living having effects well after one has passed. Something we have seen demonstrated in our history and our personal experiences, and requires no mystical component at all.

 

But all of this is a bit of a misdirection. The final line of the Jedi Code is not about surviving death, or the afterlife, or even being remembered at all. It is easy to read it this way, if you think each stanza of the Jedi Code stands on it's own instead of how they all relate together.

 

It would be foolish to deny that emotion, ignorance, passion, and chaos do not actually exist. Likewise, how foolish would it be deny that death is an illusion, and not the permanent end that it is. There is no cheat-code available to Jedi, or the faithful of religions that allows one to escape this inevitability.

 

The lesson of the Jedi code, in broad strokes, is not to deny the existence of emotion, ignorance, passion, chaos, and death, but more a lesson on what one should meet each with when encountered, both externally and internally.

 

The last line of the Jedi Code, is not about escaping death, but how to meet it.