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Education Star Wars Prequels

Profile of a Real-Life Jedi Academy 128

Posted by timothy
from the mind-tricks-for-manhattan-landlords dept.
dkleinsc writes "The NYTimes ran a profile of the New York Jedi Club, an organization dedicated to teaching the ways of the Force. Jedi Grandmaster Flynn Michael, a sound engineer and (by his own proclamation) an 'over-the-top geek,' connected the ideas of the Jedi with dance, martial arts, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism to form the curriculum."
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Profile of a Real-Life Jedi Academy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:15AM (#39317161)

    What is the expected market demand for Jedi Knights? Can I take out a federal loan to pay my tuition fees?

    • by maroberts (15852)

      What is the expected market demand for Jedi Knights? Can I take out a federal loan to pay my tuition fees?

      I would suspect that demand will be high, assuming that at by 'graduation' you genuinely had all the powers of a Jedi knight (light or dark). Maybe the army would pay tuition fees to promising graduates in return for a term of service....

      There are plenty of opportunites for special ops mercenaries which the Jedi could easily fulfil. Why call Delta Force or the SAS/SBS when you could hire a Jedi Graduate?

      • genuinely had all the powers

        Except, y'know, the 2 things that people would actually *want* from it, namely The Force and a working lightsaber.

        And please don't say you're talking hypothetically because you used "will" earlier in the sentence.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I would suspect that demand will be high, assuming that at by 'graduation' you genuinely had all the powers of a Jedi knight (light or dark).

        I hate to break it to you, but the Force is just a made up idea to help cover plot holes in a science fiction film. It's not real.

        So the likelihood of graduating with the powers of a Jedi Knight is exactly zero.

        But I do like the idea of sending in deluded geeks in place of Delta Force or the SAS to sort out trouble. It would be cruel but hilarious.

        • by toriver (11308)

          Ignoring the source for a moment, it has all the hallmarks of a pantheistic religion. After all, how many of the religions we "accept" otherwise are just as made up, except so many years have passed that we no longer know who the authors were?

          America has already been the "origin" of three religions: Mormonism (John Smith), Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard) and MBAism (the belief that there is a "leadership" force that lets you act as a manager in any industry), why not add the Force to that list?

    • . . . when they all end up unemployed, we will be treated with the best and wackiest "Occupy" ever!

      Police Batons vs. Jedi Lightsabers
      Gas Masks vs. Darth Vader Masks
      . . . and then the little kid Darth Vader stops the Volkswagen Police Van

      . . . More Profit for George Lucas!

      • Thank you for this visual. Truly. I shall periodically sit back and run it today. Then I shall smile.

        My mind sees it as a cross between the videos of the Chicago Riots and those geek fight clubs where they basically approach each other backwards waving their weapon wildly.

        Guess who wins.
    • by Mannfred (2543170) <mannfred@gmail.com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:58AM (#39317273)

      The expected market demand for Jedi Knights is probably marginally less than the expected market demand for philosophers in general - yet this doesn't stop people from studying philosophy for misc reasons.

      However, in this case it seems like the primary goal is simply to provide exercise/dance classes with a bit of a Sci-Fi/philo twist (Sci-Phi?), and there's definitively a market demand for fitness courses/instructors. If this niche inspires a few couch potatoes to exercise more than they otherwise would, why not?

      • by metlin (258108) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @08:37PM (#39321875) Journal

        Do not mock philosophy. It provides a framework for understanding how the human mind works and establishes the roots behind our social, political, and economic norms.

        Simple things such as what constitutes human rights or morality are much more complex than you'd imagine (e.g. consider Michael J. Perry's view: Are human rights ineliminably religious, or is there a secular version of human rights that uphold our existence with the same amount of dignity and sanctity?). The answers to such questions play a role in a lot of things (e.g. the UN Charter of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention, creation and interpretation of laws etc).

        And speaking of laws, what about justice? If it fairness, or is it deterrence, or both? Where does one draw the line? Where do ethics come in? Can you legislate ethics? Why, or why not? For instance, try reading John Rawl's Theory of Justice one of these days, and you will not look at law the same way ever again.

        Most people who've studied philosophy (that I know of) are doing quite well, having gone on to work in law, anthropology, sociology, or even economics (e.g. Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel memorial prize in economics for bringing a moral and ethical worldview to an otherwise transactional dominion). Having taken graduate classes in philosophy, I can guarantee you that philosophy requires good reading and writing comprehension, logical and analytical skills, and an ability for independent thought. In contrast, I am not exactly sure what skills being a "Jedi" knight from a fictional movie grant you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know this looks like a joke, but dance & martial arts disguised as a game would do everyone good.
    I've been a couch potato for most of my life, and now that I'm regularly training I've both healthier and happier.
    The difficulty is finding a venue where it's not meat heads posing in front of mirrors and hitting on girls.
    Personally I find Kettlebell training to be a non-posing good environment.

    • "I know this looks like a joke, but dance & martial arts disguised as a game would do everyone good."

      You mean like Ti Bo?
  • Zen (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I always thought of Jedis being more of a Japanese Zen type of thing - not that it makes much of a difference in Buddhism. The differences in Buddhist traditions are just cultural; such as how the Buddha looks and the decorations of the temples and meditation halls and whether they chant more, and meditation posture - little things that really don't matter. The practice and the teachings are identical and orthopraxy over orthodoxy. I know a few Buddhists who based on their schedule will go to different medi

    • Re:Zen (Score:4, Informative)

      by Spy Handler (822350) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:57AM (#39317271) Homepage Journal

      if you read too much Michael Shermer, why do you keep going to a temple? You should become James Randi's pupil or something.

      BTW there are more than just superficial cultural differences between Buddhism sects. For instance you have the ones that still believe it's possible to achieve enlightenment -- including recall and mastery over your past lives -- through your own study and efforts. Then you have the other kind that that gave up -- they're basically praying for Buddha's second coming so that he will take you to the pure land (since you can't find your own way).

      The former is not really a religion, more like a philosophy and a set of instructions (which is what Buddhism originally was). The latter is closer to modern religions such as Christianity and Islam.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        if you read too much Michael Shermer, why do you keep going to a temple? You should become James Randi's pupil or something.

        Because when you take the supernatural stuff as metaphor, there are some valuable lessons in it.

        And it has really helped my concentration, emotional well being and they have the best Chinese vegetarian food ever!

        Then you have the other kind that that gave up -- they're basically praying for Buddha's second coming so that he will take you to the pure land (since you can't find your own way).

        I have heard folks say similar things - then the Abbess corrects them. At least where I go, they are very careful to correct non-Buddhist beliefs; including hammering in that we're not worshiping the Buddha.

    • Re:Zen (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:01AM (#39317281)
      I'm not sure about this. Zen has a long tradition of challenging established ideas and substituting direct experience. As a Quaker I feel a strong affinity to Zen. The Quaker experience of testimony in meetings is very similar to the Zen requirement not to say anything till you have something of Zen to say. The Tea Ceremony is as pared down as a Quaker Meeting. On the other hand, the affinity between, say, the Roman Catholic Church and Tibetan Buddhism must immediately strike anyone who has ever studied any sociology of religion.

      Zen is an anti-religion which tells us first to train, and then to trust, our instincts. (Excellent programmers and engineers, I feel, often follow Zen practice in this. Mahayana Buddhism appeals to orthodoxy in its custom and practice. The superficial similarities cover a very, very different outlook.

      Typical of Zen: the teacher who delivered a lecture on the Arhats which began "The Arhats are like a dirty lavatory (meaning that the truth had been obscured by layers of rubbish applied over the years) and the other one who delivered a lecture which consisted of, in effect "The truth is all around you, open your eyes and look at it."

      So: "Jedis", which are a synthetic construct (but then so are the beliefs of the Catholic Church, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses) possibly do borrow more in outlook from Zen. But so, actually, does particle physics. Javascript: The Good Parts is a pretty Zen book. So, while I'm in this vein, is Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding, surely one of the best project management manuals for very small teams ever written.

      As for reincarnation, you can view the Buddha's teaching as telling people that the existing religions and their insistence on reincarnation were nonsense. Realising that this is the only life we have and that following the Eightfold Path is the way to make the best of it - is part of enlightenment.

      • As for reincarnation, you can view the Buddha's teaching as telling people that the existing religions and their insistence on reincarnation were nonsense. Realising that this is the only life we have and that following the Eightfold Path is the way to make the best of it - is part of enlightenment.

        Listen friend, you can pick and choose parts of Buddhism that you like and incorporate them into your own philosophy, and reject things like reincarnation that you find incredible (not believable) as a Westerner. That's fine. But you cannot deny that reincarnation is fundamental to Buddhism -- which it is -- any more than you can deny the resurrection of Jesus and still be a Christian.

        • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:51AM (#39317395)

          Listen friend

          Interestingly to me, Quakers (who call one another "Friend") do sometimes use the term as a kind of passive aggression as you do here.

          The short answer is that I can and do deny that reincarnation is fundamental to Buddhism. Fundamental to Buddhism is that by right thinking and right practices we can be freed from our illusions about the world, and when we become free we see that there is no afterlife and no reincarnation, and can therefore be free of suffering. I think you are confusing certain versions of Buddhism with the teachings of the Buddha. The exact same with Christianity: You can be a fundamentalist as, sadly, so many Americans seem to be, and absorb the whole mythos and optionally the post-Roman accretions or the Protestant obsessions with complicated sin and justification. Or you can believe that Jesus was a great prophet and that his teachings can be the basis of an ethical belief system that helps people to live well - which fits the world picture of a lot of Episcopalians, Unitarians and Quakers.

          As (as I note above) a Quaker and a Zen Buddhist, I think your thinking is in exactly the silo that led to that observation "The Arhats are like a dirty lavatory". You think that the accidental is fundamental.

          • by CRCulver (715279)

            Fundamental to Buddhism is that by right thinking and right practices we can be freed from our illusions about the world, and when we become free we see that there is no afterlife and no reincarnation, and can therefore be free of suffering. I think you are confusing certain versions of Buddhism with the teachings of the Buddha.

            The very earliest attestations of Buddhism, well before the accretion of most of the mythos around the Buddha, is clear that suffering and samsara (the cycle of rebirths) are one an

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            There is no religion of any significant size in the world that doesn't have variations in it. Ignore all of the trash that other people try to impose on you. Study spirituality and philosophy on your own and follow what you feel is right to follow.

          • I didn't want to get caught up in writing a long essay on Buddhist ideas, especially as I am no kind of expert, but I am glad that someone has provided this explanation (though of course I can't up-mod it.) I have been called out for putting my own interpretation on the Buddhist teachings (which is what we all do...but never mind) but I would like to add that this idea that consciousness, mind, soul or whatever you want to call it is in fact an emergent property of the universe with its own persistence is t
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:50AM (#39317253) Homepage

    that, while on the one hand, many geeks find religion to be illogical, superstitious, and ill-founded

    on the other hand,

    many geeks are enamored of the religion of a bunch of characters in the mind of George Lucas in a galaxy far, far away?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First of all I think this article and your post falls into the trap of conflating 'geeks' and 'nerds'. If you made a real working lightsaber you would be a geek. Being into Star Wars so much you call yourself a jedi just makes you a nerd.

      That said, the fact that nerds and geeks run the gamut from strictly rational to absurdly spiritual is not at all suprising. They're people, just like everyone else.

    • No. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because the Jedi "religion" offers a way of life and a fantasy of super powers that is made of other geeks that if you were to ask them seriously, wouldn't hesitate to say that their "religion" is in all fun. Deep down they're rational. It's a way of belonging because traditional religions just don't cut it anymore: they're primitive.

      Other religions, especially Christian Fundamentalism, are more concerned with believing the "right way". Put 10 Christians in a room and you'll get 11 different versions of Chr

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:10AM (#39317305)
      That's because they know the religion isn't serious. It's a game. There may be one or two crazy people who believe the force is real, but really real-world Jedi is just a combination of LARPing and themed costume events.

      If one of those one or two crazy people came out as actually believing the force is real and they could achieve telekinetic powers with enough training, you can be sure their fellow Jedi would swiftly try to talk them out of it. Then mock them. Then kick them out the club as a dangerous embarassment.
    • No, not really. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EnsilZah (575600) <.moc.liamG. .ta. .haZlisnE.> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:31AM (#39317355)

      The difference here is that the vast majority of those people are aware that the characters and workings of that world are fictional.
      I don't really see a problem with someone being inspired by fiction, be it Naruto or Charles Dickens or Jesus for that matter, just as long as they don't try to impose it on others and seek privileged status.

    • I don't. People are different.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      It's more of a philosophy than a religion.

      Plus geeks always secretly found asian religions interesting.

    • by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @12:24PM (#39318501)

      Because in that fictinoal universe, the religion is not illogical, superstitious, or ill-founded. It actually works.

      If Christians could turn water into wine for real, I'd be a Christian.

      And drunk!

    • Hello,

      Indeed but what I find hugely amusing is how much clone war episod are inspired by meditation / buddhist precepts (e.g. Padme = passion) It's almost a rip off. So all this Jedi stuff might lead some people to study serious stuff for greater good.

      For those who are interested, the notion of "Force" is probably a rip off of Irina Rockwell and Chögyam Trungpa about Shambala:

      http://nalandabodhi.webpossystem.com/ViewProduct.asp?ModelNumber=199 [webpossystem.com]

    • I also find it amusing that the people poking fun at these folks are often people who spend lots of time on fantasy football.

  • Sage advice (Score:5, Informative)

    by multimediavt (965608) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:11AM (#39317307)

    “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

    - Han Solo

    • Re:Sage advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spy Handler (822350) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:40AM (#39317371) Homepage Journal
      yeah, and look what happened to him. Got his blaster whipped out of his hands, tortured and cryogenically frozen.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        He still got the girl...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ** SPOILER ALERT **
        If you plan to read the books about what happen after episode 6, skip this message.

        Han was cryogenified, good. But then he kills Darth Sidious (definitively, this time) with his blaster, some years after episode 6.
        Darth Sidious is one of the few powerful force users to die stupidly (three times), unlike most others who die honorably in a lightsaber fight.

        ** END OF ALERT **

        Blaster may be basic, primitive, etc, they did the job lightsabers couldn't do many times.

        (PS : sorry for my english,

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @08:17AM (#39317467)

    His website is truly the handywork of an especially evil sith.
    I wouldn't trust this Jedi whom apparently enjoys inflicting pain simply by publishing stuff online.
    Watch out for the dark side, would be my advice ... traitor!

  • where the actual 'fighting' is 'happening' in 'the real world'.

  • I find this retarded.
    • So do I, and I don't understand why the parent got modded down. There is no "real life Jedi academy". Come on, we've all seen the movies. They're from a universe where there IS this thing called "the force" that some people can learn to control and do freakishly amazing things with. It doesn't exist here. You can't learn to use it here. They also master this sword-like weapon that paradoxically cuts through anything but itself. That also doesn't exist here. You can't learn how to use it.

      I'll be hone

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I find this retarded.

      That's because it is retarded.

  • Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @09:58AM (#39317859) Homepage Journal

    The title should read: "Profile of a Real-Life Make-Believe Jedi Academy".

    Compare this to the make-believe real-life Jedi Academy portrayed in the prequel movies. Getting the order of the adjectives right makes a big difference.

  • This is so stupid. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Jedi religion is based on the teachings of Taoist Neigong.

    There are real schools that really do teach how to work with the force. Learning how to dance and pursue vispasina or any number of other newage BS practices aren't among them.

    See this video:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoOgZsQGQpA

    from a bbc documentary on a real Taoist neigong master who never charged any student a dime, nor any person he healed, nor accepted donations. After this video aired he retired and is training as a recluse.

    • After this video aired he retired and is training as a recluse.

      You need training to become a recluse now?!?

  • i'm surprised lucasfilm hasn't sent out the lawyer gestapo and shut this down.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      i'm surprised lucasfilm hasn't sent out the lawyer gestapo and shut this down.

      I expect the guy in charge has used his Jedi superpowers to cast confusion over George Lucas's mind.

  • by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:45PM (#39322693) Journal

    The plural of "Jedi" is "Jedi," not "Jedis."

    Thank you.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The plural of "Jedi" is "Jedi," not "Jedis."

      Thank you.

      Yeah, and the plural of "made up word" is "made up words".

  • too crap, couldn't read

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