1. So does this suffering have a purpose?. Are the Edain supposed to grow in wisdom and empathy, and bring this increased understanding to their part of the making of the Second Music? Will their spirits which have grown in such a way become Ainur, or Ainur-like? Are the themes that are to be sung by the Edain in the Second Music to teach the present Ainur in any way?
I group these two questions together because they are united under a common unknown - Eru's haven for Men after death. Only Mandos and Manwe seem to know what their fate is in the 'mansions of the dead', and they aren't talking (un-cryptically anyway).. Indeed both Men and Dwarves are said to have a place already reserved for them in the Second music, so perhaps there is a wisdom to be imparted in the next world as Eru envisions it. Did he foresee the failure of faith of the Valar as a possibility? Of course. So maybe we can theorize that input from men, about day-to-day struggles, will be useful for the next batch of Creation. 3. If suffering can be a pathway to empathy and wisdom, why is the lifespan of the Edain so short? (Hearken back to “just getting good at being a human being.”)
Again I wonder if it has to do with their afterlife - is it so rewarding that perhaps it compensates? I think Elves probably have the same cardinal amount of suffering maybe, just spread out over many more eons. Or is it part of what Eru has in mind for the Second world? I also find interesting that Men aren't given 'proof' of the Gods like the Firstborn are. So in a way, especially since their fate is outside the Song, it is a great test of faith, and dancing on a wire without a net: they must choose their courses on their own, without the guidance that the Firstborn get. Is that the point of the suffering? To expand the test of faith? To teach the next world to have (as JRRT puts it) "hope without guarantee'? 4. The Eldar have a lot of unflattering names for the Edain (the sickly, the night-fearers, the self-cursed, the heavy-handed). Are these sobriquets they’ve given the Edain out of the Wisdom of the Eldar, or out of the Insecurity of the Eldar? They know (because the Valar told them) that the Edain come from Eru, so why all the name-calling?
Yes quite a set of street names isn't it? I think the Valar ignoring them maybe makes them inferior from the start in the eyes of the Firstborn. and there is that underlying sense of Men's awakening being the Doom of the Firstborn, as Arda will pass from them to these usurpers. We know Morgoth has been talking smack, and trying to breach a gap right away between the races, so they don't unite against him. 5. No Vala comes to help the Edain. Why? It’s said that it’s just naturally more difficult for the Edain to hear the messages of the Valar through things like rivers and the land (as the Eldar do)… so wouldn’t they need extra help? Did the Valar learn from their mistakes from their treatment of the Eldar (do they even realize they made mistakes in bringing the Eldar to Aman?), or is this just another instance of their isolationism and neglect? It seems quite the paradox that the Edain might most need guidance from the Valar, but are cut off from it.
I love what NoWiz said here:"They care desperately, but feel they messed up with their handling of the Eldar, are being very cautious now not to mess up again, and have yet to think of sending out wizards."
I think they have indeed overcompensated into isolationism. Plus because their messages aren't understood as well, maybe they feel like its a waste of time to try to communicate with these creatures. Here in the Silmarilion is where we Edain finally gain a foothold. Up until now, it’s been the god-like Ainu and
their teachers’ pets the super-race of the Eldar. But all of us on this thread are Children of the Sun (unless some of you are hiding something), and the text may turn more real, more vivid, and more urgent at this point, despite the briefness of the chapter
. 6. Does the introduction of the Edain make the Silmarilion more real for you? More personal?
Maybe in a way - it does sort of parallel our evolution, starting out kind of behind the curve as it were as you discussed with NoWiz earlier... (Interested in the Neanderthal chat. The DNA sequenced in us represents less than 3%, but it is questionable if its origin comes from h. neanderthalis themselves OR represents archaic DNA from an older population common to h. sapiens and h. neanderthalensis who survived past their expected spans in isolation - a model being studied currently is a pocket of h. heidelbergensis in Africa. I know there is a parallel model for Europe but the archaic population I don't think has been identified. So although the DNA is there it doesn't necessarily support the interbreeding model.) ...anyway - back on topic - it does give you a bit of an awkward sense, as that's how we would 'compare' to the Firstborn especially at first. I feel bad for them that they fear the Valar - the Firstborn did too, but then were given all sorts of support. Men don't get that. And Morgoth is just sort of stirring the pot the whole time too, and whether the Valar wanted some 'peace' for Men to awaken in or whether they are just burnt out on caretaking I'm not entirely sure...they SAY its the first, but one has to question their state of feeling at this point in time. It seems like except for Ulmo they are sort of MIA for a while.
Children of the Sun, let me hear your voices.(At work, so that's my first offering! Thanks for a great set of Ideas Mac!)