Star Wars is perhaps my favorite fictional universe of all time, and the storyline of the Knights of the Old Republic video games in particular ranks in my top 5 storylines of all time in any series.
I watched this incredible video today breaking down the philosophy of Kreia, a character in Knights of the Old Republic 2, who rejects both the Jedi and Sith teachings. According to Kreia, the Jedi are unnatural altruists and the Sith are counterfeit individualists, both of which lead to death, destruction and suffering.
Normally I don’t find video game philosophy particularly deep or interesting, but KOTOR 2 was an exception and this video, which is over an hour, is well worth watching. It also works in events from the main trilogy and the prequels, explaining why Anakin’s fall was an inevitable result of the flawed Jedi philosophy that tells you to love everyone but nobody in particular and elevates self-abnegation to an unhealthy level.
The narrator of the video is clearly influenced by Ayn Rand, but I think he makes a very compelling case about the guiding principles of Kreia’s philosophy and her rejection of the Jedi and Sith. Here are a few quotes I found interesting:
By teaching their students never to value their life, never seeking any selfish desires, and to accept their death as a natural part of life, the Jedi code destroys human nature.
I do not want to train you to be a Jedi Knight. I want to teach you to be human.
The Sith respect order and control, but few of them ever seem to be able to hold that power for long.
Perhaps you were expecting some surprise, for me to reveal a secret that had eluded you, something that would change your perspective of events, shatter you to your core. There is no great revelation, no great secret. There is only you.
If you seek to aid everyone that suffers in the galaxy, you will only weaken yourself… and weaken them. It is the internal struggles, when fought and won on their own, that yield the strongest rewards. You stole that struggle from them, cheapened it. If you care for others, then dispense with pity and sacrifice and recognize the value in letting them fight their own battles. And when they triumph, they will be even stronger for the victory.
His path is already set. Giving him what he has not earned is like pouring sand into his hands. What if by surviving one more day he brings a greater darkness upon another?
These acts of cruelty may have more severe repercussions than you know… or can see. Indeed? Listen – feel the echo. Cruelty leads to suffering. And when one suffers, it is the way of life to spread suffering. The suffering within builds, until its sound is all one hears. And when a kindness is offered, it is punished. And a greater darkness is served.