We know that the Jedi impose a rule of no emotional attachments on themselves - as Yoda puts it:

Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed, that is.

Which then in turn could lead to Sith rule, evil galactic empires and the likes. But what could the Order do about it besides telling the apprentice (or knight or master) over and over again? Some options come to mind but all of them have some minor drawbacks...

  • Exile the "attachment" to a far corner of the galaxy. Now that's neither very humanitarian nor helping the Jedi in question too much as the drive to get back together will still burn.
  • Expel the Jedi from the Order. Now that sounds outright stupid. It's like handing a loaded gun to the Sith or have some rogue powerful Ex-Jedi with his own agenda walking free.
  • Hand-wave that desire away. Well, I guess it's more than canon that such thing cannot be done.

So the question being: is there a canon answer or example as to how (and not so much why, a question that has been asked before) the Order would enforce this rule on their members and if it ever worked?

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    Supposedly, though I have to wonder about how many secrets there are in a giant organization of people who have low level telepathy.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 15:23
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    @phantom42 Are you thinking of Ki-Adi-Mundi?
    – Null
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 15:53
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    @Null, ok, SW.wikia.com reports: "Mundi was granted a rare exception to the Jedi Order's ban on marriage due to his species' low birth rate and had a polygamous family of five wives and seven children, although he tried to avoid developing emotional attachments to them." So if this is canon it is still no significant violation of the rule. The question stands as it is.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 20:46
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    @Ghanima Ha, polygamy and a mere promise to "try" to avoid developing emotional attachments is not a "significant" violation of the rule? That sounds like a typical Jedi response.
    – Null
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 23:42
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    @Richard, I don't get it? The question asked is well within the scope of canon material. Other issues have been brought up by comments only. This Mundi-character shows up in the movies and is therefore canon, while his marriage is not. But that's in my favour as it nullifies a case example against the rule ;)
    – Ghanima
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 0:42

3 Answers 3


This is specifically address (by Lucas himself) in The Making of Star Wars : Revenge of the Sith. In short, Jedi trainees are taken very early and indoctrinated into a belief that having personal attachments is a bad thing.

"No human can let go," Lucas would say of this scene [the death of the younglings] "It's very hard, ultimately, we do let go because it's inevitable; you do die and you do lose your loved ones. But while you're alive, you can't be obsessed with holding on. As Yoda says in this one. 'You must learn to let go of everything you're aid to let go of." Because holding on is in the same category and the precursor to greed. And that's what a Sith is. A Sith is somebody that is absolutely obsessed with gaining more and more power-but for what? Nothing, except that it becomes an obsession to get more.

"The Jedi are trained to let go. They're trained from birth," he continues. "They're not supposed to form attachments. They can love people - in fact, they should love everybody. They should love their enemies; they should love the Sith. But they can't form attachments. So what all these movies are about is: greed. Greed is a source of pain and suffering for everybody. And the ultimate state of greed is the desire to cheat death."

Padmé lays out the potential penalty for us in Attack of the Clones:

PADME : Annie, it doesn't make any difference. Jedi aren't allowed to marry. You swore an oath, remember? You'd be expelled from the Order. I will not let you give up your responsibilities... your future, for me.


This really isn't that mysterious: it happens in real life all the time, in the Roman Catholic church. And unlike the Jedi with their brainwashing-from-a-young-age, the church doesn't even really do anything to actively prevent non-celibacy, beyond simply telling priests "no sex allowed".

There's no mind control involved: enforcement works the same way as for any other law -- if you're caught, you get punished. If you manage not to get caught, you don't get punished.

As far what that punishment would be, a priest would (probably) get defrocked. I assume a Jedi would similarly leave the order, voluntarily or otherwise.

The "handing the Sith a loaded gun" scenario doesn't really have a parallel in real life, because priests (defrocked or not) don't have any special powers. We could try to figure out how many defrocked priests become Protestant ministers, as a sort of estimate of the danger, but Protestant ministers don't have a Rule of Two... and therein lies our answer: the Sith do have a Rule of Two. That means that Joe Random Former Jedi will have absolutely no clue where to go looking for a Sith to act as his master, and really, why would he even want to? "The Jedi kicked me out, I'm gonna turn evil now as revenge"? People don't work that way. Well, people who aren't psychopaths, anyway, and psychopaths are unlikely to violate a "no attachment" rule.

The movies have one example of a former Jedi: Count Dooku. It's clear that while people may disagree with his politics, they still think of him as a good man at heart. When Padmé says he might be behind the assassination attempt that killed Cordé, Mace Windu defends him:

You know, M'Lady, Count Dooku was once a Jedi. He wouldn't assassinate anyone, it is not in his character.

The fact that Dooku turns out to be an actual "loaded gun handed to the Sith" is beside the point: the reactions of the Jedi indicate that leaving the order is not unheard-of, and former Jedi are allowed to live their life as they see fit, powers and all.

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    But then we can go back to the original question where we are basically handing the Sith a loaded gun. While not necessarily as bad as expelling the Jedi, if he/she feels that their emotions are right, and are being punished for it, that could build resentment. It seems like an impossible balance. Punishment is too light, the Jedi will probably continue in pursuit of his/her feelings. Punishment too harsh, they'll resent the Jedi Order for the punishment and stopping them from following their feelings.
    – Demarini
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 20:23
  • Yes. That's why they're taught from an early age not to become emotionally attached to anything or anyone. Anakin was a disaster largely because he was not raised following the teachings from an early enough age.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 20:48
  • "Joe Random Former Jedi will have absolutely no clue where to go looking for a Sith to act" I'd argue that a powerful Ex-Jedi actually will have a clue (he can always use the force, nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Even if he does not join the Sith (and who knows whether the "rule of two" is a rule there or also more like guideline) he could still be a powerful rogue Jedi. It's propably not canon anymore but Zahn's Thrawn-Trilogy offers an example: Master C'baoth. As for Dooku himself, I would not disregard this example as it perfectly states the issue of not acting properly upon the exit of members
    – Ghanima
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 9:02
  • @Ghanima: I'm not disregarding Dooku, I'm saying he's an example that proves your fears are not shared by the Jedi Order. And if all it takes to find the Sith is a single rogue Jedi, don't you think the Council would have found Sidious years ago? Pretend to expel a powerful Jedi, let him sniff around a bit, and ta-daa, you have Sidious.
    – Martha
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 14:40

The biggest way of avoiding attachment was when the Jedi was taken from their family in infancy. As young minds were (and still are) more easily molded than adults, the Initiates were taught about avoiding attachment and emotion in the early stages.

  • 1
    Hello and welcome. While it might be true that this would be the most efficient way to form the mind it can by no means provide 100% guarantee. Also it is a form a prevention not actual enforcement if and after the problem arises.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 17:26

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