[Ads-l] awareness meme: zen > Jedi

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 11 15:09:11 EDT 2018

In 2010, Garson O’Toole (http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2010-July/101324.html <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2010-July/101324.html>) talks about the “Jedi mind trick,” which comes from when Obi-Wan Kenobi uses his Jedi powers to alter the thoughts of checkpoint guards so that they let R2-D2, C3PO and the rest through in the first Star Wars (Star Wars IV) movie.

In a Business Insider article (https://www.businessinsider.com/trick-navy-seals-use-to-overcome-fear-2018-8 <https://www.businessinsider.com/trick-navy-seals-use-to-overcome-fear-2018-8>) posted today, Brandon Webb has a usage directly linked to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s act: "Yes, it really is some kind of Jedi mind s---. Which is what I did that day in the water off the coast of California, staring eye to eye with that big blue. You do not want this to go down, my look said. Neither do you, said his. He moved on. So did I.” This sort of example of the ability to convince people of something is common on the internet.

In the dictionaries: the English OLD (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jedi <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jedi>) has: A member of the mystical knightly order in the Star Wars films, trained to guard peace and justice in the Universe. Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Jedi <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Jedi>) is more descriptive: One of a fictional order of beings from the Star Wars universe who are gifted with heightened awareness of the Force.

There are many people who train to be Jedis. WikiHow (https://www.wikihow.com/Act-Like-a-Jedi <https://www.wikihow.com/Act-Like-a-Jedi>) has an eight-step instruction set on how to act like a Jedi. You can also find Jedi training camps (e.g., http://huuc.net/sunday-july-31-the-jedi-academy-jedi-skills-games/ <http://huuc.net/sunday-july-31-the-jedi-academy-jedi-skills-games/>). 

Aside from convincing people and situations where people are seriously or playfully emulating the Star Wars Jedis, it seems a concept of Jediness has emerged that incorporates elements of heightened awareness (being in the moment) and physical/mental control derived from meditation, not unlike how the English concept of “zen" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zen <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zen>: An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals).

A 2004 Urban Dictionary (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jedi <https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jedi>) entry by Midwinter sums this up: The Jedi were most likely based on one of the real world's eastern religious traditions. Much of their symbolism has parallels in certain branches of Buddhism.

“Five Steps to Jedi Calm” (http://www.jediliving.com/365jedi/five-steps-to-jedi-calm/ <http://www.jediliving.com/365jedi/five-steps-to-jedi-calm/>) has: acceptance is peace; measure the risk, embrace the now; acknowledge the warning, forget the worry; focus on your reality; just live.

https://nypost.com/2018/07/28/giants-kickers-biggest-challenge-is-all-between-the-ears/ <https://nypost.com/2018/07/28/giants-kickers-biggest-challenge-is-all-between-the-ears/>: In the past, he spent time with John Carney, a veteran of 23 years of kicking in the NFL and, in Rosas’ words, “like a Jedi because his mentality is just so solid.”

http://www.australianphotography.com/photo-tips/photo-tip-of-the-week-5-tips-for-epic-australian-wildlife-photography <http://www.australianphotography.com/photo-tips/photo-tip-of-the-week-5-tips-for-epic-australian-wildlife-photography>: I am often asked how I come across my shots and I often reply I have a Jedi sense and can see events before they unfold. The truth is more tedious.

https://www.shape.com/celebrities/interviews/kerri-walsh-jennings-beach-volleyball-mindfulness-movement <https://www.shape.com/celebrities/interviews/kerri-walsh-jennings-beach-volleyball-mindfulness-movement>: You and your family can be inspired by watching the pro com­petitions but also take part in the training, breath work, yoga, and meditation that turn me into a Jedi. 

“Friends: The One with Unagi" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbRVoTL5djs <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbRVoTL5djs>) also has this concept. In the episode, Ross claims to have superior awareness, an ability he mistakenly calls “unagi”.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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