This is gonna be more of a follow-up to my previous Kreia’s Conundrums piece entitled: “Help”. There was something that occurred to me afterwards and another thing that I couldn’t quite make fit in the previous piece.
Part 1 - Perfect Imperfection
The first thing I want to mention actually connects with two of my Kreia’s conundrums articles. Help and Machines. In Machines I mentioned that Kreia adapts, and isn’t beyond rethinking her stances under the right circumstances. After sparring with Visas, speaking to Kreia reveals that she used the sparring session to test both the Exile and Visas. If you choose the right responses, she will say that quote I used:
But afterwards, the exile can respond with this: “So you are saying that if the force uses us all, our lives deserve to be used and discarded?” The exile has uncovered a flaw in Kreia’s philosophy.
No philosophy, ideology, religion, political movement, or anything developed by imperfect beings such as humans, can be without any flaw. Why fight against the force at all, if we deserve to be used by it? The force isn’t like those exchange thugs on Nar Shaddaa. That guy dug himself into that hole. With the force however, there is zero choice. Once you’re born, the force flows through you and you have no say in the matter. We deserve to be slaves to the force simply by existing? Kreia starts to understand this.
She says: “In this instance.” Which is also very important. In almost all things, context matters. People make rules, but there can always be exceptions. Being 100% rigid and unable to take situations into regard is a limitation. So Kreia somewhat admits that the Exile is right. Kreia is also correct in a way. Even though it would make them just as bad as the force, using the Miraluka in order to achieve their goals would still be worthwhile.
You take things as they come. Sometimes fighting fire with fire can be part of an effective strategy. Sometimes things really are black and white. I know that it’s easier to place things, people, situations, or what have you, into boxes. It is easier to live your life according to a flow-chart. But even though we have similarities, since we were the ones who built them, we are not machines. And like I said in “Charity”, as human beings, we have the ability to think on a case by case basis. So we should try our best to do that.
Speaking of context, and later on of slavery; I remember hearing a story come out of the United States about a teacher who assigned homework that tasked his students with listing the positives and negatives of slavery. People were, understandably, outraged. But I saw that and thought: “Hm, inappropriate, sure. But clever if used a certain way and with the right intentions.” Because one kid, that I know of, wrote “Not Applicable” on the positives side. That is the correct answer. It’s the kid that comes in with a long list of positives that you have to sit down and have a talk with. But I don’t know what this teacher intended. Even so, he should have known that people might not take kindly to the assignment, no matter his intentions.
Part 2 - Elective Slavery
Now let’s talk about wookiees. The tradition of a life debt is not exclusive to the wookiee species but they take it very seriously. Perhaps more so than any other race. It’s a tradition that has gone on for so long that it’s now psychologically hardwired into the entire species. Does a life debt essentially turn a wookiee into a slave?
Kreia is very much against people turning themselves into slaves. Wookiees established this social institution willingly. All you have to do is save one’s life and they belong to you. What if you were the one who placed their life in danger in the first place? If the wookiee never finds out, and you swoop in and save them, then you orchestrated the acquisition of a near-perfect slave. Kreia knew this, so Hanharr never stood a chance.
A life debt is supposed to be noble. Someone placed their own lives on the line to save yours. It is a debt that some might say cannot be repaid. But just like everything else with noble origins, it can be perverted, and abused. It isn’t unheard of for a life debt to be pledged and the recipient goes on to mistreat or abuse the person sworn to them. Leaving no distinction between it and slavery.
Hanharr doesn’t disagree with slavery, but he doesn’t want to be a slave himself. Much like Kreia, he refuses to give up his will. But much like the force, the life debt that’s built into him makes it so he has no choice. Kreia wants to kill the force. Hanharr wants to kill the life debt. But again like the force, it is intangible. The best he can do is kill the person he has his life debt to instead. Cutting off the life debt.
I think it’s curious what Hanharr tells Mira on Malachor. He tells her that Kreia shows her no mercy and that it’s a good thing, that’s the way it should be. It’s like he’s questioning what is wrong with Mira. “I’m trying to kill you over here and you continue to let me live. If I give in and pledge a traditional life debt to you, that would be me foolishly turning myself into a slave, so treat me as such.”
I want to end on a little story around the example I used about helping people when they’re in danger. I said that if someone fell into a pool and they couldn’t swim, but you could, you’d jump in to help them, right?
I remember when I was learning how to swim, there was this teacher I had. Mister Steve. Not the nicest gentlemen in the world, but I guess that was his style of teaching. So one day I see him with a little girl. She was standing on a diving platform at the deep end, and he was telling her to jump in. The girl wouldn’t jump. So he did this thing, where he would count down. But not from 3, but from 4. By the time he gets to zero, you had better jump in or else. Or else what? Well, that day I found out.
He reached zero. The girl still wouldn’t jump in. He didn’t notice me. But I saw mister Steve look around to see if anybody was watching him. I imagine someone higher up must have told him something about how he needs to stop doing this. But he scanned the area and in she went. Turns out, all she needed was a little push.