Thursday, February 6, 2014

Qui-Gon Jin (Star Wars Character Thoughts)

More Thoughts: Intro, C3PO, R2D2, Qui-Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, Padme, Han, Chewy, The Emperor, Yoda, Vader, Luke

Qui-Gon Jin’s approach to life—his teaching and training that he passes on to his disciples—is partially wise at first glance. In the end it is only folly. It is ultimately a “go with your gut” approach. He urges patience, calm, and a trust that everything is going to happen as it should. He encourages his charges to follow their feelings as circumstances present themselves. One will supposedly know the correct response to every occurrence by “feeling” the right way forward. In the course of the first prequel—the only one that Qui-Gon appears in—we see that he carries this life principle so far as to reject the opinion and even the decision of his peers and superiors and all the wise-council in his life.

The reason this seems like wisdom is that wise people seem to proceed through life in just this way. That is merely appearance. The truth is that wisdom of this sort only comes with time because experience, learning, and growth through repeated successes and failures provide one with the capacity to “feel” one’s way forward with a certain degree of success. The wisest of individuals rely on past experience and learning—but even more so on the collective wisdom of those who have lived and learned before, not mere “gut” instinct.

In Qui-Gon’s case, the results of this “wisdom” are evident in the story. He regularly misses warnings of danger, he chooses to take along dependents that end up being a danger to his cause (and an annoyance to the audience that nearly killed the film franchise going forward.) He pretty much single-handedly ensures the fall of the Jedi order and the (temporary) success of the Sith. Ultimately he is killed.

The wisdom and insight of the entire Jedi philosophy are in question. (Just look at the hows and the whys of the fall of the Order in those prequels.) However, Qui-Gon Jin’s approach to life is no wisdom we should seek to emulate. We would do better to look to his apprentice for a more successful strategy of life…

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