Post number 25 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Suspicion is our capacity to judge the motivation for other’s actions, primarily their negative intent, from what they do, say, or their general tone or demeanour. Suspicion is important because it allows us to detect that others are not always benevolent, or that even if they are, they are not always as capable or sincere or committed enough to ensure no harm will come to us, or to others. Suspicion is a double edged sword, however – like many things, it is a useful tool when applied in situations where it is appropriate, but if applied too widely or too rigorously, it can become a tool for creating pain or negativity in its own right.

Suspicion is something I’m fairly familiar with, but I haven’t always been. As a child, I guess I could be described as gullible. My brother often used this trait to make a fool of me, mock me and otherwise pull the wool over my eyes. As I grew I came to suspect him more and whilst that allowed me to avoid situations where he was trying to amuse himself at my expense, it also made me realise how unkind he had been to me for a long time. We don’t really speak now, and I don’t really feel bad about that. Interpret that how you will – you may see that as a failing, personally I see no reason to close doors behind which we have confirmed, time and again, only pain lies.

As a teen I was quite cynical. I was suspicious of school, of the fellow students there. Of the government, religions, the conception of history we commonly share. I was overly suspicious and it was no better than being overly credulous. It closed me off to some of the possibilities which were genuine, and to some friendships with people who were sincere. Suspicion was new to me, and like any new toy I was over-using it. I realised this when I arrived in sixth form, where I became a more sociable and outgoing person again. I started a band, met and got with a girlfriend (who eventually became my wife), I started going out with friends in the evening and learned that what was out there, wasn’t as bad as my overly suspicious and cynical mind had suggested it would be.

Balance. Need I say more, at this stage?

So. Where is the place of suspicion in the Jedi mindset? We need to have a healthy attitude to threat detection if we can hope to support and defend those around us, and to defend our Temple and ourselves. We must accept that the world is not a purely “fluffy” place – wars are fought, aggressors exist, and every day we survive innumerable dangers just navigating our streets and homes. Suspicion clearly has a position in our tool belt, and we’d be foolish to discard it entirely.

How can that be? We are supposed to be the brothers and sisters of all creation. Why would we treat anything with suspicion? This is akin to the argument that we do not make choices if we believe in a deterministic, wholly-causal universe. It’s false – we do still make the choices, and our process of making those choices is essential to their being made at all. It’s just the outcome of those choices is, in a fundamental and utterly impractical way, predictable. It is predetermined that we will make certain choices. And it is fundamental that some elements of the Force will be worthy of our suspicion.

We must be circumspect when dealing with that which could cause harm, because to do any less would be irresponsible, and at a deep level inauthentic. The hippy who goes to hug the wild tiger might mean well – but he’ll get eaten and do no further good to the cause of spreading peace and love. Also, the tiger will likely be shot. So, what good was achieved by the “loving hug”? Surely it is more loving to be suspicious that a game warden with a gun will likely kill the tiger that mauls us, that it is in the tiger’s nature to maul?

As Jedi we find the beauty in all things, feel the unity with all things. That does not mean we must be victims to all things that would harm us. We can understand that the tiger’s fiery temper is a mirror of that we find within ourselves. We can accept the good intention of the warden, that man-eating tigers should not be free to roam. We can appreciate the tiger from a distance and avoid this whole ugly affair. If we want to do the tiger some good, we can work on tiger conservation. To hug the tiger is to never have loved it at all, to never have truly understood it. To never have found its unique, powerful beauty. And that is a lesson suspicion can teach us.

The truth can be ugly, but because it is true it is beautiful. The Force is in all things, even our illusions, our misapprehensions. These too are beautiful, in their way. But they are like beautiful gauzes over the masterpiece – ephemeral, transient, obstructive of something much greater. As Jedi we work to apply suspicion and other concepts with balance, to promote harmony, exerting our understanding and wisdom to produce our best possible outcome.

And what’s that? Nothing more than the entire universe, and everything, everywhere, everywhen it contains.

All as one.