The Lord of the Rings

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A Poster He or I
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » June 26th, 2012, 6:59 pm

In Chapter 8 of The Silmarillion Tolkien wrote:

So the great darkness fell upon Valinor.---------------------------------------------The Light failed: but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light, In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not a lack but a thing with being ofts own : for it was indeed made by malice out of Light-------

Tolkien is saying that evil is not a necessary part of creation but is a substance separate from creation. Although this point of view may inspire and encourage us to fight evil, it cannot be the case because evil is what is against life. Death is an evil, destructive natural events are evils. An evil man is evil because antisocial, he fails to harmonise with life which, practically speaking,involves man in societies.
It is exactly by your sort of reasoning, Belinda, that I must believe Tolkien is being metaphorical; in other words, a darkness so oppressive as if it is a thing with being of its own rather than just an absence of light. My interpretation of Melkor is that he cannot create; only corrupt. He can take Light and maliciously corrupt it into darkness, but he cannot bring a thing into being separate from creation.
Tolkien's use of 'malice' is interesting because it implies that Tolkien views malice as able to exist without an object of malice; except insofar as malice sets itself against the Light, i.e. the creation. Since the Valar and the rest of Eru's creation are good apart from Melkor the evil one, Melkor is against the creation and , to allow a point, the Creator . This scenario cannot come about without some narrative such as Genesis or The Silmarillion to explain it. But Genesis and The Silmarillion are fictions which explain the birth of evil. So Tolkien has made a circular argument for the independent existence of evil.
Although I balk at calling Melkor a creator, I ultimately agree with you that Tolkien sheds no new light on the problem of evil. He is trapped by either (1) giving Evil independent ontology from Good which makes it impossible to examine except metaphorically (hence your thoughts about a fictional narrative); or (2) Evil's ultimate genesis is from Good, which really muddies the philosophical waters, generating the problem of evil all over again.

Giving Evil independent ontology from Good has historical precedent in neo-orthodox 5th century A.D. Zoroastrianism which posited a pure dualism between Good and Evil as irreconcilable ontological primaries. Despite the marvelously clear distinction this makes between good and evil in human lives (which Zoroastrian doctrine takes full advantage of), we are left with no way to understand philosophicallly how good and evil can even be recognized in such a scheme, let alone interact. Yes Zoroastrian scripture assigns virtues and vices in accord with what we might expect, but offers no explanations for how such evaluation isn't arbitrary, except to assign omniscience and creativity to the Good God (Ahura Mazda), but ignorance and destructiveness to the Evil God (Aingra Manyu). Armed with omniscience, Ahura Mazda knows all of Aingra Mainyu's designs in advance and can build fortification against them and also turn destruction into a tool for subsequent creation. (Sounds like Eru proclaiming Melkor's corruption as being for the greater glory of Arda).

The Zoroastrian view is ultimately undermined when one realizes what you realized: the scripture cannot act as an independent verifier of good and evil without the whole viewpoint becoming circular.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 27th, 2012, 3:34 am

A Poster He Or I wrote:
the scripture cannot act as an independent verifier of good and evil without the whole viewpoint becoming circular.
Aren't all viewpoints circular whatever the perspective ? The perspective which I share with many others is that of deterministic science and common sense. My view of moral evil is that it is deterministically caused by ignorance and fear and is therefore eventually indistinguishable from natural evil. Therefore my god is reason and compassion which are human qualities. I am not postmodernist and claiming that other people's beliefs based upon Eru God are just as good as my Humanist beliefs. If Eru God existed as intentioned being he would be horrendous; nature is horrendous enough without adding human style intentions to it. Tolkien's reification of Eru is Platonic, anthropomorphic.

There remains a place for myths like Genesis and LOTR which is that arts function generally to help us to express our feelings to ourselves and to others.Unfortunately the Abrahamic myths have historically been given the status of historical truths and are still enthroned by public ignorance about the psychological purpose for myths as expressive of general principles. I also like LOTR because of the intrinsically evil Ring of Power. The Ring of Power is a direct hit on the nature of evil which is certainty that one human perspective is right. Man is born to contend, it is what makes man good in places, and is what makes the Expulsion from Eden still relevant. I only object to Tolkien's ontology of evil.

By the way I apologise for my clumsily apparent assertion that Melkor is a Creator. I did not intend to say this.
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Groktruth
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Groktruth » June 28th, 2012, 1:51 pm

May I offer a reminder of state of the art biblical theology, which has, indeed, made substantial advances since Tolkien wrote LOTR. It is widely understood now that the virtue and goodness of free will can only exist if the choice of doing evil is present, for those receiving this great gift. Evil need not ever manifest, if all those choosing, choose life. But the possibility remains, and has indeed already been chosen by many who exercised their gift of free will to so choose. So, we all have evil to deal with in manifested form, as well as potential choice form.

Another theological advance is the understanding of communion with God. Tolkien certainly kept God, and Satan, present throughout LOTR, but way in the background. Gandolf constantly reminded of their pulling strings and interacting, to move things along. Now, we have learned, or remembered, what the Catholics of Tolkien's day had not known or had forgotten. God is handy for discussion. The biblical, "Seek spiritual gifts, especially that you might prophesy." was rediscovered by the Charismatic Movement in the 60's.

Then, there are the ecology advances, which have connected happiness and rightness to niche and adaptation. Homo sapiens, we now know, is poorly adapted to wielding much power over others, and is only seduced into seeking such by Satan, who works with our proclivity to deception of others, self-deception and small-scale manipulations of others, usually associated with the natural "battle of the sexes" for reproductive success. Tolkien and Lewis were all about restoring a vision of normal humanity, which, under the theological notion of original sin, involved purging our minds and lives of any interest in political power, all of which, ecology and theology agree, is fallen nature psychology. These corrupted mind-sets are all Satanic in origin, and come to us through doorways called "gates of Hell." These are things like Tolkien's rings. Modern theology recognizes that our world, as Tolkien wanted us to know, has a number of such items, which when we use them, even for good, empower evil forces. Hence, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. For example, we hope to free our children from the burdensome responsibilities of adulthood, so we call them kids, a minor ring of power. But then, evil forces subtly begin to work in such children, leading them quite far from their receiving being "trained up the way they should go." The quest of searching out and destroying such habitual, usually mindless, but quite powerful doorway words ("Death and life are in the power of the tongue" according to orthodox modern theology) becomes our challenge, should we choose to accept it. We wear the words the way we might wear a ring. We have to go back to the original place of definition to destroy conventional usage.

We are adapted for the power to grow potatoes, tend gardens and sheep, and know about herbal lore. And, for right definition of words, and small bands of brothers and sisters. Those who know this best will get the assignments to destroy rings, meeting elves, and dwarves and wizards on the way. Nowadays, they also know how to have two-way conversations with God Himself, who is giving out the assignments, and helping those who choose aright succeed.

As, of course, modern theology and science, the honest versions, would have it.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 29th, 2012, 4:28 am

Groktruth wrote:
Evil need not ever manifest, if all those choosing, choose life. But the possibility remains, and has indeed already been chosen by many who exercised their gift of free will to so choose. So, we all have evil to deal with in manifested form, as well as potential choice form.

Natural evil(e.g. earthquakes) does manifest despite all our best efforts. My point is that moral evil(choices that cause suffering) is subsumed under natural evil.

Even Jesus had to contend with Satan, and the possibility of evil is in each and every one of us, and it is well to remember this; we are natural creatures. Smeagol Gollum was once a good enough man, who fell into evil ways. Frodo himself was not immune to evil and suffered lifelong trauma because he fought against evil. Groktruth:
Another theological advance is the understanding of communion with God. Tolkien certainly kept God, and Satan, present throughout LOTR, but way in the background. Gandolf constantly reminded of their pulling strings and interacting, to move things along. Now, we have learned, or remembered, what the Catholics of Tolkien's day had not known or had forgotten. God is handy for discussion. The biblical, "Seek spiritual gifts, especially that you might prophesy." was rediscovered by the Charismatic Movement in the 60's.
I was under the impression that Illuvatar or his friends and Sauron or his representatives were very much present at least in the minds of the characters throughout every episode of LOTR. Tolkien does a service for Eru Illuvatar by reminding us that there are good people such as the Elves who are on the side of good, but Tolkien never hints that Hobbits, Elves or even Gandalf can directly access Eru Illuvatar.


Groktruth:
Homo sapiens, we now know, is poorly adapted to wielding much power over others, and is only seduced into seeking such by Satan, who works with our proclivity to deception of others, self-deception and small-scale manipulations of others,
Poorly adapted is relative. We could be better power wielders, but the fact is that in every known society there are always classes of persons in power at any given time and place. It is not power per se that is the problem , the urgent problem is that some powerful people are deluded that they know the absolute Truth which sometimes is, according to some of them, that greed is good. And act accordingly which makes them a danger to the peaceful and comparatively powerless majority.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Groktruth » June 30th, 2012, 1:08 pm

Hi, Belinda,

I agree with your point about that direct contact with the "Gods" was not part of Tolkien's theology, which is a major way LOTR differs from Lewis's Narnia, where Aslan intervenes with conversation.

As to the widespread presence of political structures where humans wield power over others, yes, all cultures have this problem. But, theologically, the devil is everywhere, so this could still be a perversion of basic human nature. Tolkien thought so, as we witness in the contrast between the Hobbits and their token political activities, and all the others, where leaders were a very big deal. Tookishness was an inherited disposition, but Galadriel was a leader.

Theologically, God was quite grieved when the Israelites wanted to move from government by judges to government by kings. He still longs to see each of us under his own fig tree. We are kings, to be sure, but kings of fig trees, not other people.

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Newme
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Newme » February 23rd, 2013, 2:16 pm

Kingkool wrote:I love both the books and the movies. This is my attempt to start any type of conversation behind the philosophy in it.
I really appreciated the story too - a bit long, but worth it. Normally, I can't stand movies with a lot of battles and detailed violence, but the way this story unfolded, it repeatedly reminded me that it was all symbolic, which made it much more interesting and relative. It's said that "the greatest battles are not fought on the battlefield, but are between principles" - like some principles we discuss on this forum. Some will read it when they search online, & will be influenced in one way or another, in their decisions. There are major battles going on right now! Many people are being deceived. Many are unable or unwilling to carry the burdens asked of them (because they'd rather numb themselves with meds, or other distractions), and then the power of opposing forces becomes stronger. People's hearts fail them too often.

Some think that it is hopeless, that there is too much poverty, too much war, too much BS to even have any hope in making a positive difference. Yet, belief is powerful! What one believes affects more than most realize (ie placebo effect & other studies regarding intention). Some have enough belief - not based on blindness, but based on truth and intuition, so that, as Gandalph was able to do repeatedly, they are able to help in significantly powerful ways.
Would mankind ever let his greed blind him to the obvious treachery being handed to him?
Yes! The vast majority of men do this on a regular daily basis! Not all allow such greed to become such obsessive addictions - as was the case with Gollum. Still, it is an overwhelming tendency for people to prioritize symbols (ie the ring, or other addictions) instead of that which the symbol superficially & usually temporarily represents - true meaning/fulfillment that one seeks.

Gollum/Smeagol was, IMO, probably the most interesting character because he portrayed so clearly the inner conflict that we struggle with as human beings. He didn't have enough strength to overcome his "dark side" but for a while seemed to be able to overcome it with Frodo's help of believing in him, until Frodo wavered a little...

I wonder if all of the characters of this story could be an expression of the potential within us all... I particularly thought this when Gandalf was riding his horse with Pippin and said, "We've just entered into the realm of Gondor." Realm is another word for "kingdom" - which spiritually is meant as experience... "The kingdom of God is within you."
Are all wanderers not lost?
Not necessarily. Lost is to be unable to find one's way. Sometimes we wander - explore, but in the back of our minds, we are able to navigate. I think it was Robert Downey Jr., in an interview explained how when he acts, he maintains what he knows - what he's learned to keep him rooted, as if a plant, so that he can explore various aspects above, without getting lost mentally/emotionally.
Does all that is gold not glitter?
Considering the meaning behind that phrase, no, things are often NOT what they appear. What we see & how we interpret it are often deceiving.

Speaking of looks being deceiving, it was interesting that no man could defeat WitchKing - but a woman could! There is a part in the (lds) temple, where God tells Lucifer (which incidentally means, "Light Bearer"), "I will place enmity between thee and the seed of the woman. Thou mayest have power to bruise his heal, but he shall have power to crush thy head." IMO, women have a particular power that men don't have - besides being the means by which all of humanity is nurtured, grown and born.
What would be the modern day equivelant of the one master ring?
Good question. Maybe it would be applied wisdom that enables one to be master over oneself, in all aspects. It is paradoxical. Tom wasn't influenced by the ring, and maybe because of that he wasn't trusted with it. We need a certain amount of spirit/passion/"greed" to be motivated to live well. But too much and it becomes our master.
Would a person like a hobbit really be the best one to entrust such a task to?
"Great things are brought to pass by simple means."
We do not have one huge day of good or evil, that makes us who we are. Rather, we are a result of a cumulation of minutes, even seconds.

One of my favorite quotes by J.R.R. Tolkien is: "The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater."

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » February 24th, 2013, 4:41 am

Newme wrote:
Good question. Maybe it would be applied wisdom that enables one to be master over oneself, in all aspects. It is paradoxical. Tom wasn't influenced by the ring, and maybe because of that he wasn't trusted with it. We need a certain amount of spirit/passion/"greed" to be motivated to live well. But too much and it becomes our master.
That is an interesting observation about Tom Bombadil. Frodo was good because he engaged in the struggle and largely won. Tom did not have to struggle so had not been tried. The passions are necessary for life to continue but reason can and should govern the passions. Do you think that Tom represented reason without passion? This explanation would interpret Tom as an otherworldly character, in the way that the Greek gods were otherwoldly.

I agree about Gollum. I guess this is the reason most people feel some affection for Gollum, because of his recognisable human weaknesses. He is very animal in his desires.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Wayne92587 » June 11th, 2015, 11:44 am

I have not read any of the books and only seen bits of a couple of the movies, However I being the keeper of the Ring have more Knowledge of the Ring than anyone else, even the author.

Henry Sinclair, a Templar? deputed, was referred to as being the Lord of the Ring.

Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslyn, the grand father of William Sinclair the builder of Roslyn Chapel.

A single ring does have power over everyone, Zero-0 being a singularity.

An Entity that wears the Ring must disappear, results in the wearer being without relative value, having no numerical value, having a numerical value of Zero-0, not being readily apparent, not being measurable as to location and momentum at the same time, the existence or none existence of an such an Entity being Uncertain.


I of course have no Idea how Tolkien came up with the idea for his book, but it is right on, the Philosophy of the Story is True.

The Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenate, Noah's Ark, the Pyramid, the Philosopher's Stone, a Monolith, megalith, being symbolic of the Spirit, the Passion of God, the Seed of all Living Things, being the Single Source of Knowledge having a dual quality, the Knowledge of Good and Evil.


Hermes Trismegistus Lord of the Right Keeper of the Holy Grail---->0.

Ye! Amen RA! Make it so!

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