CORE ETHICS LESSON 10

“Against the will of the person they are seeking to assist” -Jedi Compass, 2022 Revision

This is perhaps the hardest lesson for some of us to learn. When I was in college, I took a class on Crisis Management. At the time, I was heavily considering going into the field of counseling or Crisis Management. There was this one little sentence that bothered me, and although I cannot recall the exact verbiage, I do remember message:  

Although well intentioned, telling someone to stop smoking is enabling them to smoke more.

It was perhaps the most difficult pill to swallow. Everything else made sense, but this one took some real meditation to understand. It came down to: People smoke because they feel they are under pressure. It’s a defense mechanism to cope with the world around them.

This opened up a whole doorway to understanding addictions, the reason people stay in abusive relationships, and all kinds of other comforts we believe people can overcome if they just put their minds to it. Helping someone doesn’t look like advice giving. It’s a team effort, and if one member of the team isn’t fully engaged- then no amount of help the other team member gives them will do any good.

During Domestic Violence Intervention Training (DVIT is the acronym used in the Army), Military Police are taught that going into a situation where the spouse has called for assistance can turn into a fight for the officer’s life. And I’m not being funny, it’s a legitimate concern. 

Oftentimes, the person calling the MPs are the Dependents (that is, the spouse of whom is not a military member). Suddenly, when the MPs arrive, the caller realizes just what they could lose- Healthcare, Financial Stability, Housing, and all other manner of benefits afforded to a military family for their sacrifices. They realize they don’t know how to formulate a future without their military spouse, and physically attack the MPs to prevent the arrest of their spouse. Part of the fear is that because they lashed out in the first place, the military member will throw them away (which is unfortunately not an invalid concern, especially if they are truly abusive towards their spouse), or that the military will kick the person out of the service for their transgressions (again, not an unwarranted concern). So the dependent will prioritize what they know, instead of running into the unknown for their own good.

This is also a concern outside the military. Abused women are typically the ones to call the police in, and this is mostly because abused men don’t have the same support and they are told that if they cannot be strong for themselves they are failures as men. Let’s face it, no one wants to feel like a failure (male, female, non-binary, etc). And so you have people who struggle with their situations and feel they cannot accept help with their problems- this could be in regards to abuse, to addiction, or even to simply accept additional training as a Jedi.

Yeah, that last one is something we all should be aware of; There are people in the community that feel they have everything they need, and they are not ready to accept additional help to overcome barriers they may be facing.

As Jedi, we have to look at a variety of different factors before we decide things like: How to help an individual, whether or not to become a Training Master to someone seeking to become a Jedi, or even if we should help someone through their trial.

Helping people when we are not wanted and ill-equipped to do so is called being a “White Knight”. And it’s not a good thing. For the sake of this discussion, we’re not referring just to a Masculine Character, but a woman or non-binary individual can easily find themselves in this role. It is pride that gives us the illusion that we are doing something of value. It is in cultivating self-awareness, both in the interior sense, and the exterior sense, that can give way to understanding what our actions are truly manifesting in the lives of others.

The truth is, we have all white knighted someone at least once in our lifetimes. For many of you, this assignment may be a significant challenge because it requires you to be honest about what the flaws you have demonstrated in the actions you have taken with others:

Think of a time you tried to help someone, and it didn’t work out. Maybe they yelled at you for trying to assist them, maybe they simply refused to accept your advice. Whatever it was, accept that you White Knighted them, and ask these questions (not to be written about in the comments area, but in a personal journal- I’ll let you know what to write in your assignment for credit):

  1. What was it, really, that made me think I should offer my assistance? This questions isn’t intended to make you feel bad about your decision- it’s only here to give you insight into who you are.
  2. Was there something in my past that made me feel like maybe I should step in? Your past isn’t a mistake, that’s not the purpose of asking this question. Instead it’s about coming to know why you do things the way you do- becoming aware of that can go a great deal in helping one heal from the wounds of the past, and even help better inform you of how to deal with situations in the future.
  3. What are the potential reasons this person have rejected my aide? Potential being the key word, unless they outright told you, and even if they did say what they thought at the time, we cannot truly know the mind of another person in full, only our observation of the situation.
  4. Did my actions hurt the other party (or even the person[s] I was trying to save them from) in the long run? If it was more recent, this may not be something that you will know. And sometimes you’ll never know, but asking the question can help reinforce an understanding of how your actions affected others.

Understand, you should try to forgive yourself of things you have done in the past. But only if you are willing to grow from those experiences and accept the wisdom gained from reflecting upon them.

 

 ASSIGNMENT

After you have meditated upon these things, write what you learned about yourself in the assignment. Questions you could possibly answer: Did you find that you are receptive to the idea of analyzing the past? Or was it hard to look upon who you were and acknowledge you have room to grow? Did you learn that trauma informs when and how to assist someone? Or is it even that because social media is the way it is you felt you had a stronger voice than what you really do in the lives of others? Questions along these lines are all we’re asking for, not your direct White Knight experience. That is for you and you alone, we simply want to see what value you took from the reflection. 

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