Essay: Don't Cry for Corran Horn
The events in Dark Tide: Ruin have left many readers wondering about Corran's fate, and the oh-so-holy justice the New Republic trumpeted even in the darkest days of it's fight against the Emperor Palpatine and his minions. In this case, it didn't seem to exist for the Jedi, and even Master Skywalker agrees that Corran needed to be exiled from the Jedi for the good of all. Luke, the man so desperate for Jedi that he spared Kyp Durron, becomes the man who casts Corran out!
"For the good of all" is defined as "so that the political powers that be are mollified." Although it's been stated in many sources that though the Jedi were revered and respected during galactic history, this was probably not always so and not completely true. Respect is easily translated into fear. The Jedi are an order based on an elusive, unearned, unacquirable merit. They take babies from their mothers for the better good of the Republic. Even during the events of The Phantom Menace, when they were supposedly in their heyday, the Jedi were so rare that most beings in the GFFA could never hope to even meet one.
If they are so rare, why is the New Republic so frightened of the Jedi? It could be because the Force has been used for evil for several generations. Or because they have something no one else could possible understand. Or their powers are disproportionate to their numbers. Or because the true Jedi don't actually need or want approval.
Since the Jedi are not real, who is to say what is right or wrong about what they do and how they do it? However, there is a good model for the order right here and now on earth: I've observed that George Lucas borrows and bends many elements of Buddhism - specifically Japanese Buddhism - to describe his Jedi. In that earthly, human religion, monks meditate and train toward "enlightenment." Japanese Buddhist monks are "ordained" at that point, i.e. - become Jedi Knights. There is no formal way in which this happens, unlike Western-style seminaries. But the Master and the Student "know" when enlightenment has been reached. The Buddhist community concurs, and the student is ordained. Sound familiar? ("Our own counsel will we keep on who is ready.")
But the process of seeking and furthering the journey into enlightenment never stops. Jedi Knights and Buddhist monks do not just sit and think, though some, like Yoda, go voluntarily into hermit-isolation - he went several times in his life - to further their relationship to the Force. Others, like Obiwan Kenobi or Yaddle, were made to live solitary existences by circumstances quite out of their control. Being a Buddhist or a Jedi is like this - you accept that you cannot be in control, but you pray to attain it.
Japanese Buddhism also accepts that men are not gods, even though they might someday ascend to enlightenment and thereby achieve "godness." Monks are allowed to lead secular lives, even after becoming "Jedi Knights." They are allowed to marry. There is a tradition of "going over the wall" where younger monks are ordered by older compadres to leave the monastery for fun and revelry. They consume alcohol. They come from all walks of life, when the calling to be a monk summons them. Prince Siddhartha had been married and conceived children before he felt moved to found Buddhism. They make and admit mistakes, for they are men and women. (In contrast, during the Old Republic, Jedi had no choice but to serve, since they were sought and taken into the life as babies. Japanese Buddhism is a better fit with New Republic Jedi.)
So, when Corran apparently "fails" at his mission and cannot force the Yuuzhan Vong out of Ithor, on a human level, its very tempting and even accurate to say that Corran chose a mission with no possible success. He could even be called guilty of putting the New Republic off guard regarding Ithor. The Vong are not honorable warriors.
Other Jedi would say Corran was acting on vengence. His best friend, a man who saved him and was directly responsible for the rescue of his wife, Mirax Terrik Horn, had been murdered when the Vong felt he was no longer useful to them. Elegos knew this was to be his fate. But he would have counseled Corran to let his bones be ... for they are just bones. To put amulet-like significance to them was to reduce Corran to the Vong's level.
Corran is CorSec and a Rogue to the core, even while being a Jedi. So his heart and his guilt lead him to that fateful battle. His human-ness, hubris, loyalty to the memory of a great friend, these things cause him to stumble. In a truly just universe, this shouldn't be. But the Force transcends justice and understanding.
Political machination aside, all is not as it seems. For the Jedi, public approval is a secondary perq. What is reeling is Corran's pride, from his days as policeman and as a pilot. Police and pilots need pride and a good dose of ego to do their jobs. And public approval is a must.
How humiliating is it for Corran to admit he is wrong? To be at the mercy of his father-in-law for sustenance, reduced to hanging out in the kitchen volunteering KP duties on the Errant Venture?
However, according to Japanese Buddhist dogma, failure is not failure. It is exactly what it is not. The great shame and failure of Corran's life could be redemption, understanding and enlightenment. Was it really failure? What happened to the person wielding the failure? It all depends on how Corran chooses to go next.
Remembering that life is "wheels within wheels," Corran needs to meditate, to peel back the layers of the obvious to get closer to an infinite core of truth. He is a man with great pride at never having touched the Dark Side of the Force. He bragged that he put his nose where the line blurred to gray, but he'd never crossed it. In this tale, Corran had to admit to himself that he did, indeed, cross the line, and he acted on a desire for revenge.
No one likes a prissy do-gooder who had never been guilty of a wrong act in his life. A man who sees life in black and white is a hard one to love. Corran is a smug man, secure in his goodness. He could not see past the outer layer of himself, thus he could not see into others.
It is never as it seems, for to assume so closes all doors toward growth and redemption. As light can only be perceived relative to darkness, Corran needs to sink as far as the Force needs him to go, in order to rise up again and see the light.
His experience will enrich him, yet it will be so awful that he wished it hadn't. After all, the Force will have sacrificed Elegos, all of Ithor, and any goodwill the Jedi had previously enjoyed, toward Corran's education. Is that too terrible a price? No one can really say. Learning is often like this ... you lose your innocence, you lost your old ideas, and this can be painful. Learning is not always happy, but it is rarely bad overall.
But if you are Jedi, you are among a rare breed of creature that can feel something others cannot. That makes you, by default, a caretaker, or at least a responsible user. Without rules of behavior, it's easy to see how the Sith felt seduced by the power of the Force. They would have seen the Jedi as weak, and afraid of the power, maybe, unwilling to unleash it's full potential.
The times you are strongest are when everything is taken from you. Think about it - when you are alone, naked, friendless, that's when you have no one to rely on but yourself. You have to be strong, or you do what many cowards do: kill yourself. When you have friends, possessions, the love of the populace, and armies to protect you - where's the strength in that? Even weak-willed crybabies can feel strong in such company.
Corran will have to dig into his soul and meet himself, both Dark and Light sides. He is known for hiding parts of himself he doesn't find palatable, but there is nowhere for him to hide. His children will stay with Skywalker's academy, his wife - always supportive, but she can't help this time - will have her father and her business. Perhaps for the first time in his life, he will be alone - people will not befriend him. They will avoid him, further ensuring his solitude.
Such is the best time to meditate, to "find God" so to speak. When all he has is himself and his special relationship with the Force, whom will he talk to?
Kelly Grosskreutz had the right idea when she wrote the "Dear Elegos" letters, written from Corran's point of view. Of course, Corran was writing to himself, since Elegos was safely dead at that point. But the road Corran will travel on will be even more introspective, and he will find unspeakable darkness. But he has the opportunity to pass into indescribable lightness.
This is the opportunity given to him by the Force, and it is a journey and revelation that those who are Force-blind can never hope to experience. It is the gift and the curse of the Jedi. His exile, his pariah-hood, all take him down this path for reflection and introspection. For what else is he to do? For him not to go on this journey into the desert - something even Prince Siddhartha, Mohammed, and Jesus Christ needed to do - would be to do a disservice to himself and to the Jedi, and would perhaps do a great deal of harm to the universe.
It appears that Corran is being sacrificed for the greater good, but in fact, much is being sacrified for his good. He must be that important.
So don't feel bad for Corran. He'll be all right. But don't talk to him, either - he's busy.
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