Master Yoda: warrior, philosopher, swamp-dwelling goblin. Perhaps the wisest, most respected and most powerful Jedi Knight who ever lived, countless young Jedi have sought his advice over Yoda’s 900 years, despite his inability to grasp basic sentence structure and syntax.
In honour of Star Wars Day, we take a look at some of the wisest things Yoda ever said (that were actually horrendously bad advice):
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.”
The tragic and unexpected loss of a loved one is probably the second worst thing that any of us will have to deal with in our entire lives. The only thing worse than that? Some self-righteous bastard telling you to get the hell over it. And then adding insult to injury by telling you it’s “greedy” to miss them after their gone.
“Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.”
Imagine for a moment that you have these amazing, mindblowingly cool superpowers. You can run really fast, jump huge distances, move things with the power of your mind, block lasers with your FRIGGING SWEET shiny laser sword AND you get to do it all in the comfort of a bathrobe. THEN imagine somebody telling you that you can’t get excited about those powers or use them to have epic adventures. Absolutely NOBODY EVER IS ACTUALLY GOING TO LISTEN TO OR AGREE WITH THIS ADVICE. IT IS LITERALLY THE MOST UNREASONABLE THING ANYBODY HAS EVER SAID.
“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Over the course of an average lifetime, you learn some pretty useful stuff: how to not go to the bathroom in your pants, how to tie your shoelaces, how to insert food into your mouth rather than your eyeballs, how to talk to girls (admittedly not all of us master this one), etc. And Yoda wants you to unlearn all of it? BE MORE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR ADVICE, HOBGOBLIN!
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
What does this mean? No seriously, what the Force does this ACTUALLY mean? Firstly, train myself? Isn’t that kind of your job? Is there a book for dummies, or a YouTube tutorial on it, or… ? Secondly, if I let go of EVERYTHING I feared to lose, then I wouldn’t fear losing anything, which would mean I wouldn’t CARE ABOUT ANYTHING. This wouldn’t make me a great Jedi Knight, but a total and utter bastard.
“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression; the Dark Side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”
One important thing to note here is Obi-Wan’s apprentice wasn’t “consumed” by the Dark Side, he was “consumed” by the FRIGGING LAVA HIS BEST FRIEND (THE GOOD GUY) LEFT HIM IN AFTER CHOPPING OFF ALL OF HIS LIMBS. Yoda is basically saying, “Fear is bad but ignorance is better. Just ignore the things you don’t understand or that might cause you trouble until they go away.” Why does anybody ever listen to this guy, again?
Let’s further review this sentence. According to Yoda, the Dark Side is: a) easy; b) quick to join you; c) helpful in a fight; d) dominates; and, e) offers you an exciting career path with a destiny. HOORAY! WHERE DO WE SIGN UP?!
“Size matters not.”
Come on, Yodude. This is so obviously an attempt at self-delusion by a teeny tiny kobold that it isn’t even funny.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”
This one is important to contextualise. Yoda said this to a nine-year-old kid standing in a room full of judgemental, silent, staring incredibly weird looking wizard monks just hours after being taken from his mother by two guys he barely even knew. And the kid isn’t supposed to feel any fear? Why don’t you cut him some slack, you crotchety old bastard?! This is the intergalactic equivalent of shouting, “Get off my lawn, you damn kids!”
And listen, just because Jake Lloyd had the looks and acting skills of a robot DOESN’T MEAN HE IS AN ACTUAL ROBOT. That we know of. Yet.
“Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now – if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did – you will become an agent of evil.”
Is that like how you were a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as your ally when you stopped Darth Vader and killed the Emperor yourself, Yod– OH WAIT.
Just think for a moment how spectacularly, truly awful this advice is. If Luke had stayed on Dagobah to complete his Jedi training like he was told, he wouldn’t have confronted Vader on Bespin, and thus would never have discovered he was Vader’s father, which would mean he never set Darth on the path to redemption that ultimately led to the defeat of the Emperor. This one piece of “wisdom” almost singlehandedly ensured the Empire lived on forever in all of its totalitarian, Death Star-building glory.
“No. Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Think about it for a moment. Is this not, without any exaggeration whatsoever, the 100% WORST thing a teacher could ever say to a student? How would anybody possibly learn anything if they weren’t allowed to try it? It is the most unhelpful, paralysing thing you could ever be told as a student.
“Now Luke, find all powers of 2 such that, after deleting the first digit, another power of 2 remains. (For example, 25 = 32. On deleting the initial 3, we are left with 2 = 21.) Numbers are written in standard decimal notation, with no leading zeroes. Just remember that there is NO TRY. If you get this wrong I will be VERY ANGRY AND DISAPPOINTED IN YOU AND REFUSE TO TRAIN YOU FURTHER OR LIFT YOUR X-WING OUT OF THE MUD, EVEN THOUGH THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE GALAXY IS AT STAKE.”
Oh, and just for those keeping score at home, here’s a List of all the things Yoda tried (and spectacularly failed) to do himself.
May the 4th Be With You!