This past May the Fourth my family and I decided to watch Rogue One. It’s actually one of my favorite Star Wars movies, because for once it focuses on non-Jedi characters. Yet, amongst the Force-blind, there are guardians. Guardians of the Whills, to be specific.
Their name is only mentioned in passing, but there is a mystique there that struck me once more as I re-watched the movie. Seeing Chirrut Imwe, the blind Asian character who makes short work of surrounding stormtroopers, inspired me in a way that I couldn’t put my finger on until 10 days later. Having read part of the book Guardians of the Whills, it is made clear that Imwe is no Jedi. Yet, like the Jedi of real life, he cannot touch the Force, cannot use it as a Jedi would. He cannot even see. Yet he strives to feel it, however fleetingly, to be at one with his surroundings and the beings he finds himself amongst.
There is a lesson here that I feel the Jedi Realists and Jediists can learn from. To be blunt, we are not Jedi. Not in the truest sense of the word. We have no Force powers, can barely draw on it for strength and focus. However, we hold sacred a knowledge of its existence. We are guardians of this knowledge, passing it on to the next generation whenever possible.
If we are to be honest with ourselves and others, it may be time to admit that, though we strive to feel the Force just as Imwe does, our job as followers of the Force is to maintain its deep history, to preserve its legacy, not necessarily to be keepers of the peace and of justice. We don’t have lightsabers. We can’t use telekinesis. We can’t see the future. What we can do, however, is be guardians of the Force. This makes us no less important to the world—in fact it may make us more important—yet if we continue to delude ourselves into thinking we can ever live up to the legends of the Jedi, we will be sorely disappointed. Perhaps we may even be taken more seriously if we drop the Jedi title.
I can tell you what I believe I am now. I am no longer a Jedi. I’ve known this for some time, but never had a word to replace it. I am a Guardian. Should people be inspired by this idea, then I believe we can enter a new age, in which the Jedi can end their futile endeavor to be superheroes, and instead be humble servants of the Force, guarding the knowledge provided us by previous generations of guardians.
I believe that we Jedi have simply been mistaken in the view of our role in this world. Or perhaps it’s simply a misunderstanding of labels. All I really know is who I am. And when you start to become who you are, the first thing you realize is that there is nothing to fear.
The Force is with me, and I am One with the Force.
—Streen (Guardian of the Whills)