Post number 11 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

This is something I feel should be a big topic for Jedi, but it rarely seems to come up. Perhaps it’s my grounding in existentialism and metaphysics in general, but the notion of an overarching “one” of which we are merely part speaks to a great many questions around identity. What can it mean to identify as myself, if I am actually a single part of a much wider, more permanent whole? What can it mean to identify as that whole, if I habitually and consistently experience life as the part? And what can it mean to identify as Jedi, when all a Jedi is, is a human part of the Force who’s noticed a bit more than those still wrapped in the delusion of ego?

Identity relates to our capacity to consistently maintain a “selfness”, an individual character which we ascribe ourselves. I think of identity as a continuum from birth, although of course there is much philosophical debate around continuity of identity in cases of brain injury etc. From birth in this life, we are a certain flavour of energy, of action, of activity. We persist in certain geographical areas, and in certain familiar or social circles (although this is of course very fluid). We maintain a similar appearance. Identity can be thought of in another way as… if I took a picture of someone one day, and again the next day, failing some sort of catastrophe it should be fairly easy to relate the one to the other.

Identity is flawed, certainly. We can mistake people for others, we can remember things described to us as our own actions. Identity is maintained by memory, both of ourselves and of those who meet and know us. My identity is who I am, what I am, what that means. My identity holds my destiny, my future as delineated by the choice factors granted by my past. So what can that mean, when as a Jedi I identify with the whole universe? If there is “one”, then what am I?

Ego is a factor in identity, giving us the capacity to think “for ourselves”, in the selfish sense of the phrase. We take things for ourselves because we feel we need to persist more than that around us. Many of us take animal life because we feel we have a right to survive over the animal. All of us take plant life in a similar way. It is inherently egotistical to survive, when the rest of the world could be improved – or at least, harmed less – by our absence) or better still our presence as a very rich fertiliser).

The task of Jedi is to unpick the decades-deep experience of the primacy of ego. To establish a blurrier delineation between ourselves, and the Other. We achieve this when we meditate; clearing our minds of egoistic thought, we slip into a state more global, more universal, more attuned to that which surrounds us. We lose our selves, and find we are still there: so our selves are more than just the ego.

Of course, we still have to play some of the ego games; we eat food, drink water, sleep, clothe ourselves, work jobs etc etc etc. We have to provide for ourselves because we live in a world which is structured so that we are required to. But beneath all this, there is only the shifting manifold of energy, changing form, raising up in birth and sinking down in death, always in motion and always the same universal whole. To be Jedi is to accept this truth of identity: the only identity we truly have looks nothing like a person, nothing like a still image on a mantelpiece. It looks like the universe looks, from its inception until its end, and nothing less could depict it truly.

So, to be Jedi is to make concessions to that truth. To live more “universally”, aiding others when we can, helping when we can, sharing knowledge and wisdom when we can. I think of the work I do for the homeless, that does not directly benefit me. But it does benefit “others”, and I know that in truth, the other is me. I know that through all things moves the one energy, the one Force. I know that in serving others I serve myself, which is to serve my parents and my children, onwards in all directions. The truth of identity is that it knows no boundaries; that the conventional way of naming, of labelling and compartmentalising bears little relation to what we find in the world. We don’t find a tree, a house, a person. We find WORLD. Just that, all the time, forever and ever.

Nothing is stable, nothing fixed. Just the ceaseless progression of the one story, the endless change of the unifying Force. No you, no I. No other.

Just one.