There is no emotion, there is peace;
There is no ignorance there is knowledge;
There is no passion, there is serenity;
There is no chaos, there is harmony;
There is no death, there is the Force.
Does that sound reasonable to a stoic? I think it does. It sounds almost Confucian in it’s nature. Of course, a classic Confucian would replace the words “The Force” with “The Rites“. Similarly, a Christian may use the term “God“, a Muslim may use the term “Allah“, a spiritualist may use the term “Universe” and so on and so on.
It’s a code of contradictions at face value as we know both peace and emotion to exist similarly to passion and serenity. While in my view there is only harmony and chaos is an illusion, a debate could be made of that too. In my view, the Code of the Jedi is quite possibly the best reflection of a aspirational philosophy in pop culture.
The Youtuber, Papito Quinn makes the point that perhaps the Code would make more sense if each line started with the prefix: when. Becoming:
When there is no emotion there is peace.
Aside from removing the comma, the meaning creates an aspirational code rather than a fixed one. On a personal level, the Code for me is something I could see myself living by. I think to an extent as a stoic (still feels fraudulent saying that) it’s like putting on a comfortable jumper. It fits well, it’s warm and fuzzy, and has a picture of Baby Yoda on the front. Of course, being a space wizard comes with other quirks but at its core, the fundamental philosophy of the Jedi code is sound and with a few lexical tweaks is a very viable avenue for a big fucking nerd stoic such as myself.
Specifically, where the Code could draw criticism is in the 3rd line. How can you live without passion? Are you, Z3N0, not passionate about philosophy? Passion is not the same as love or compassion. In my view, passion as a concept is the first step on the way to obsession. Passion is the fire in desire, it’s the uncontrolled drive behind ambition. I’m not an ambitions person but I do have direction of career and personal standards. It’s like love: there are different kinds. A hedonist would scoff at me and call me a incel (perhaps just not hedonists – HA!) but sexuality and intimacy is not the same as unhealthy passion. It’s good to see passion, sure, but you could never accuse Gordon Ramsay of a stoic disposition in the kitchen or Nicki Minaj of being serene in art.
In any case, the 2nd line is what I seem to live by, and this blog is perhaps a tribute to:
(When) There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
P.S. Check out Papito Quinn’s channel here for more Star Wars philosophy: