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Chapter 36, Part 2

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Anakin


Anakin gazed on his brother's torment, and felt loathing in his stomach for himself and the pitiless Rodian bounty hunter. To calm himself, and hopefully bridle his unruly and useless thoughts, he reflected on the middle section of the Jedi code: Passion, yet Serenity. His mind was led to a discussion he had heard about this part of the code years back.

* * *

He was sitting in the Jedi academy's auditorium, next to friend and fellow student Holis Veladrian, but most seats were empty. It was one of many depressing testaments that student enrollment in the academy had shrunk.

He and Holis were listening to one of the many scheduled debates between Jedi masters. Designed to not only stimulate student discussion, the debates gave masters a forum to voice and receive feedback on their viewpoints. The debates were broadcast to all Order members, who could ask questions during Q&A sessions that followed.

Typically, Anakin found the debates boring, partly due to their delivery, and partly due to the content. He would daydream through them or tease Holis until Master Yoda scolded them. He could never imagine himself participating in these dialogues if he ever became fully initiated in the Jedi ranks.

But today's debate was different. H'lale K'nok and Darius Trajan were energetic and bold in their views, adept rhetoricians captivating their audience. Most importantly to Anakin, the masters grappled with the sensitive topic of what role passion played in the use of the force. This he could listen to.

"How can you think a Jedi should embrace his passion, and not deny it for the corrupting, confounding filth that it is?" K'nok chided. "We know all beings are haunted by emotions, Trajan, due to the crude matter our luminous beings inhabit. Evidently, sentient beings are divided in themselves, between their desires and emotions on the one hand, and their reason on the other. For when an addict feels compelled to take a death stick, he is often repulsed by it as well. This is because his desires drive him towards it, but his reason knows better, resisting the course of action. He is torn by a division within his soul. Warring within himself, he must defeat his urges, or they will control him. To deny them is the only path to serenity. The same is the case with passion, or anger-control it, or be controlled by it." Several audience members applauded K'nok for his points.

Trajan waited for them to quiet down. "That is one picture of things. Even persuasive at face value, Master K'nok. From the sounds of it, many of our audience members have felt the 'inner conflict' you've described. But I want us to consider another viewpoint."

"By all means enlighten us, Master Trajan," K'nok scoffed. "If you can."

"Our emotions paint the world in a certain light, providing lenses by which a person sees his or her situation. Far from irrational, our emotions build a framework in which rational decision making transpires.

With an emotion like anger in place, we reason according to anger, in the service of anger. Thus, when betrayed-by a business partner, lover, ally, or friend-we feel angry, and we chart out paths for retribution, justice, even revenge to satisfy the demands of the anger. We seek to protect ourselves now and in the future from further betrayal."

"And it is those demands," said K'nok, "and giving into them, which spell out ruin."

"Hardly, Master K'nok. 'Something is wrong with the way things are,' says our anger. 'Something must change. Soon.' The emotion calls attention to and highlights the unacceptable. And this it does truly and honorably. Or can you fault anger for that?"

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