[Transcript of a lecture given to new Padawans at the Jedi temple on Coruscant. The speaker is Jedi Master Atko Shune.]
Hello, good morning everyone. Is this everyone? I know these 9am morning lectures aren’t my most popular timeslot. Yes, come in, have a seat over there.
Ok. I’m here to speak to you about ethics today. Specifically, the ethics of using The Force. The ability to use The Force to manipulate the world around us is one of the defining characteristics of a Jedi, and a serious responsibility. Have you guys had your first practical class yet?
[Unintelligible response from the audience]
Ah good, pushing blocks around with Master Yoda? Does he still do that thing with the glass of blue milk?
[Laughter from the audience]
Yeah, every year.
So, you’ve started to learn the principles of using The Force, which makes it all the more vital you learn the ethical principles followed by the Jedi.
First, a quick question for you. Is production of lightning a good thing or a bad thing? Is it a Jedi or a Sith technique?
[General response from the audience suggests that it is an evil Sith technique.]
So, what if I did this?
[Master Shune produces lightning from his fingers, shocking the classroom droid. The droid beeps at him indignantly.]
Sorry Z7. He doesn’t really mind, I do that every year too. So am I a Sith lord infiltrating the Jedi?
No, of course not. Producing sparks or “lightning” if you’re feeling dramatic is a simple matter of manipulating electrical fields with The Force. It’s no different in basic principle from shoving blocks around in fact.
The point I’m making here is that no Force technique is fundamentally “good” or “bad”, there is no “Sith” Force power. However, Force powers can be used in ethical and unethical ways. Of course, untrained people have certain images received from popular culture. I’m sure you’ve all seen holoflicks where the evil Sith uses lightning to torture the hero. Nonsense of course, using electrical sparks is a very inefficient way to hurt someone in fact, and is mainly for show. It has a bad reputation due to its use by petty conjurers to impress the weak minded.
So, how can we use The Force ethically? First up, everyone’s favourite topic: health and safety.
Never use The Force unless you’re sure it’s safe to do so. For example, never push an object if you don’t know what’s on the other side of it. To illustrate this, we have the case of the Jedi Knight Tane Ako. Z7, would you mind?
[The classroom droid projects an image of a newspaper article. “Careless Jedi Concusses Consultant”, Republic Times]
Knight Ako wished to make a dramatic entrance into the senate to deliver news of a battle victory in the Second Sith War. He pushed open the door to the waiting room, slamming it open. Unfortunately an assistant was just getting up to leave and use the toilet. He suffered a broken nose, concussion, and a nasty black eye. This kind of incident reflects extremely badly on the Jedi, and it’s important we avoid them whenever possible.
Of course, as your other Masters instruct you in the various practical lessons, they’ll drill into you the proper health and safety rules to follow. You’re not likely to forget those more than once, believe me.
Outside of simple physical effects, The Force also allows Jedi to tap into the emotions and thoughts of those around them. This is of course an ethical minefield.
Firstly, never attempt to read someone’s emotions or thoughts without explicit written consent, or a warrant from a high republic court. Getting caught violating this rule will absolutely get you stripped of your title, cast out of the Order, and sent to prison for a significant sentence. The Republic Data Protection Regulations also place heavy restrictions on how any information gained this way can be stored and accessed. If in doubt, consult with one of the Temple’s Psychic Data Protection Officers, they’re our RDPR experts.
There is an exception for involuntary reading. Has anyone walked into a room and felt the mood? Like walking into a pub when the home team has just lost? Feeling that via The Force would be illegal, but the involuntary reading exception covers you. You’re not legally allowed to act on any feelings you get that way, and they’re not admissible evidence.
Secondly, never EVER attempt to influence or “suggest” to someone using The Force. This is a high crime with no exceptions. Manipulating someone’s thoughts is the most unethical thing you can do, and the Jedi Order never condones it. This is the closest you can get to a “Dark” Force power. Again, we’ve all seen the holoflicks where the hero talks his way into the bar, “you want to let me in for a drink”. [Master Shune waves his hand at the audience.] Total rubbish. Never do this, please.
Finally, precognition. As soon as you joined the Jedi Order, you were banned from gambling. No playing the Galactimillions, no predicting that “Old Rodian” is going to fly home at the 3 o’clock race. Giving anyone outside the order tips is also banned, so don’t go getting ideas. Also, precognitive visions are not admissible evidence. You cannot arrest someone because you saw they were about to kick off or pick that fellow’s pocket. They have to actually commit the crime first.
Looks like we’re coming up on time for today. Remember, if in doubt, just don’t use The Force. Next week we’ll be covering lightsaber carry and safety rules.