Post number 30 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Jedi in the Star Wars universe are accustomed to confrontation. The first time we hear of them, we hear of their trademark weapon – one more suitable for severing heads than changing minds. The majority of Jedi life seems to be spent either in battle, or training for one; the calm moments are just there so that our heroes can catch their breath, hone their killing powers and resume their attack. This is a form of confrontation: that is, meeting aggression with aggression.

OK, perhaps slightly overplaying it! But the Star Wars Jedi are certainly more accustomed to confrontation than most real-world Jedi. In real life, we seek to be peace-makers, mediators, those who bring harmony to chaotic or hostile situations, rather than the opposite. But that is not to say Jedi never engage in conflict; indeed, our doctrine and codes specifically provide for it. Jedi must confront that which must be confronted, because we are engaged in an authentic life, experiencing with the wide systems of the Force, applying a balanced approach to our strategies and techniques. Conflict is a colour on our palette.

Confrontation is, to an extent, unavoidable. In life, we may not choose to confront things, but may still be confronted by or about them. Confrontation has a way of finding us, however far we attempt to remove ourselves from it. But our response to confrontation is ours alone, and we do not need to let it rile us. Indeed, confrontation can be mellowed into discussion or debate, or even left as a disagreement. There’s no need to meet fire with fire, and as Jedi we understand that a healthy dose of ice can quench the flames of another’s anger. Balance, as ever, is key.

Sometimes, however, confrontation is necessary. There are situations which Jedi cannot be bystanders in, and where a purely docile, gentle response is unlikely to have a positive effect. If I felt someone was harassing another person, I might choose to confront them. This is certainly not the only option in this scenario, of course, but sometimes a quick, abrupt reminder of the iniquity of a person’s actions can be the most effective way of communicating the impropriety of their behaviour. However, the further I go in my path the less I feel a need to use confrontation as a tool; it speaks of a certain tempestuous quality of our own passions and our own emotions, to feel the need to bite back. And biting back is the key element that turns a disagreement into a confrontation.

In confrontation, it is very easy to lose one’s composure. Our passions are riled and our instinctive “fight or flight” response has often been triggered before we enter into the “fight” of a confrontation. But it is possible to retain our cool even in these challenging situations. We can temper our emotions and only allow ourselves to confront things as far as we choose to go – that is, we can attack the behaviour, without attacking the person exhibiting it. We can confront things with a smile on our face, a jovial and friendly attitude in our hearts. We can show others that whilst we expect better of them, that is because we think highly of them.

In my life I have confronted many things, and this has not always been a positive thing. I have been argumentative, passionate and heated. I have also been cold, distant and dismissive. I have a distance still to travel when it comes to confrontations. I don’t like conflict; I grew up in a family situation with frequent, aggressive confrontation on a daily (perhaps hourly would be fairer) basis. I’ve spoken about my discomfort around conflict in therapy and I’m still very much on this side of the fence: if I could live without confrontation, I would. But I’ve confronted myself, and that’s important too. I’ve spoken with myself about my drink issues, with my anger issues even. I’ve addressed a failing marriage and I’ve applied a little pressure on myself to become a better parent. At the end of all this, my drinking and the worst of my anger are firmly in check. I am happy with a new partner, and my relationship with my children has never been better. This “internal confrontation” is therefore an extremely useful tactic, if not as harmonious as we Jedi might prefer.

Jedi should not shy away from the truth. We should confront that which needs to be confronted, but we should not overestimate quite what that is. In life, we have many approaches to choose from, many of which will yield better, more harmonious results than confrontation. Confrontation reminds me of the rushing flood meeting the rock, and smashing into a thousand pieces – the result for one side is likely to be devastating.

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