It may come as a surprise, but I have many friends that identify as Sith. They believe in the Way of the Sith as sincerely as I believe in the Jedi Path as a workable philosophy to better our lives. Now the mythical Sith and Jedi were dire enemies that both worked to wipe the other out, and in the films nearly did on each side. But in the real world, I count Sith among my friends, and they see me as a friend as well.

These friendships are made possible by letting go of the attachment of wanting others to think as you do, to believe as you do, and to act as you do. The ideal Jedi Path is absent of any dogmatic mechanisms of control, and the only control we practice is self-control. Once you let go of the attachment of having others share your opinions, you can begin to understand that things that are contrary to what you see as correct, may be just as correct to others holding contrary views.

When it comes to opinions and perceptions, much that we hold to be true depends greatly on our very subjective point of view. The way we view and interact with the world is shaped by our own experiences and the environment in which we had them. This makes the way we see things initially as individual as our fingerprints. While there may be similarity and agreement with other people, the viewpoint cannot be anything but individual. When we understand the individual nature of perception, we can begin to understand that those see things different from us may be just as correct in our perceptions as we are.

This is not to say that objectivity is something that cannot be obtained. There are many facts that can be objectively true or false. It is not beneficial, and it is often harmful to believe falsehoods. There are times when we are wrong by every measure of the word. When we have the knowledge that we are mistaken, a Jedi of quality will correct this at the earliest opportunity. We must train ourselves to recognize the distinction between subjective opinion and objective fact.

The Jedi in the mythic narrative when being true to their vocation were ambassadors and negotiators. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi can be our inspiration for the vocation of conflict resolution. To be successful in resolving conflict, one must be both empathetic and perceptive. Part of this empathy and perception is to be able to understand where others are coming from and how they may view things. We cannot become so attached to the way we perceive any situation, that we become blind to what others may see. A non-attached perspective is called for, and when we cannot find consensus, we must be able to negotiate compromise. Either of these goals will be impossible when we insist on others seeing a situation the way we do. It is not enough to acknowledge differing points of view, but we must also understand them.

Rigidity of thought, and in turn rigidity of belief will hinder our forward progress on the Jedi path. We must embrace plurality and diversity not only in our membership, but in our points of view. It is in the infinite combinations that become possible with diversity that our true strength is revealed. The mythical Jedi Order drew from all worlds and all cultures of the Republic. They came together in common cause, yet retained their individual natures, and with a variety of differing strengths worked together for the betterment of the Galaxy. While in the real world, we have but a single planet, but we have great diversity. It is possible for our differences to support one another. One Jedi can fill the gaps of another Jedi, and the strength of one can compliment the weakness of another. This would not be possible with all of us walking in lockstep, but rather we walk each at our own pace, helping those on our path as we are helped by them.

When we lose the attachment to having others think as you do, to believe as you do, and to act as you do, we find ourselves in a place where we can learn from others, become better Jedi, and make the world a better place.  

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