The Daily Jedi: Friend and Foe

"Things are changing and sometimes the line between friend and foe is blurred" – Obi-wan Kenobi

This was a pivotal moment in “The Clone Wars” as Obi-wan Kenobi uncovers a sinister plot to force the neutral Mandalorians to enter the war. Obi-wan realizes that the war has become confused and that the lines drawn between the Republic and the Separatists as well as friend and foe are anything but clear cut.

Obi wan-Kenobi was beginning to understand that a “Third Force”, a mysterious and shadowy power was working in the background to undermine the war effort. Manipulating events and key players as he had witnessed on Mandalore with the rise of the “Death Watch”. For myself “The Clone Wars” begins to get really interesting at this point as the intrigue and mystery starts to mounts. The series begins to realize a darker theme challenging many of the ideas we had already formed about the main characters. We all know where the inner conflict that assailed Anakin would eventually take him and how things would turn out for the Republic.

Besides being a metaphor for many world events that have occurred in the last few years the Mandalore story provides two clear lessons;

Firstly, while you know yourself better than anyone else you don’t know yourself completely. You don’t know what you are capable of when pushed to the extremes or forced to make a choice and you don’t know the full extent of your better side let alone your dark side. You may trust yourself to a degree, but not explicitly.

Secondly do not assume to know everything about other people including your closest friends and family members, you don’t know all and you never will. That is not to say that they will turn on you, betray you or disappoint you in some grave way, however we cannot over build expectations on others and raise them to a pedestal only to become disillusioned when you see them unable or unwilling to meet those standards. They, like you are only human and like you they have faults, make mistakes and believe it or not they also have weaknesses. All humans do.

The Sponsor

In AA the concept of the “Sponsor” is used to assist the recovering alcoholic. The Sponsor is a person that helps mentor a fellow Alcoholic in his or her recovery. The reason is simple, it helps the Sponsee (the person being sponsored) navigate the 12 Steps. It also helps the Sponsor as service to others is seen as integral in removing selfishness. The mental and emotional load is shared and Sponsor and Sponsee help each other keep on track and avoid relapse.

The main issue with the Sponsor-Sponsee relationship is that if a Sponsor falters and relapses back in to their addiction it can often cause the Sponsee to become disillusioned and also relapse. The problem most often arises when the Sponsor has built up an image of being a “Big Shot” in the recovery program and bullet proof from relapse rather than humble and grateful. The Sponsee raises the Sponsor on a pedestal and draws inspiration from that person the same way a follower looks up to a Guru.

When the Sponsor fails the disappointment and disillusionment is often enough to push the Sponsee to relapse. They say in the program that there are no Gurus, just alcoholics who still suffer but find strength in each other, in themselves and through their chosen concept of a Higher Power.

A good example of the dangers of strong attachment to a personality is presented in the story of Anakin's Padawan Ahsako Tano. Ahsako Tano was devastated when she learned that her Master and Mentor Anakin had fallen to the Dark Side. It is a wonder that she did not completely abandon the cause or also fall to the Dark Side.

Be on Guard

I don’t have a Sponsor but there are people that I look up to as a role model. It works to be realistic in my expectations of what people can achieve and what they may deliver. I never elevate anyone up to the rank of a Guru and at the same time I never get so self-confident that I start getting cocky. Getting in my own way and trying to run the show usually ends badly for me. Times like those are a reminder for me to re-calibrate and find humility again.

"Don't get cocky" - Han Solo

The short end is that I still don’t really know myself but I am learning more and more every day. I still have to be on guard especially against my "Dark Side". Like the situation Obi-wan Kenobi found himself in when he saw a Mandalorian friend betrayed time and time again by trusted friends and allies. I must ask what is real and what might be less than real and accept that lines in the sand can shift or vanish. It is better not to become attached too greatly to an illusion of one’s perceived self or to another that we hold in high esteem.

May the Force be With You