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Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 12 -- "Of Men," Part 1



Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 10:04am


Views: 808
Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 12 -- "Of Men," Part 1

Your Life as a Member of the Edain – the Eternal "Why"?

Hello, Fellow Children of the Sun --

I (like many here) have gone through some really horrible times, have had to battle through incredible challenges (for whatever your own struggles have been, I hope that Nienna and Este aid you in healing). Although I think of myself as having been born with a lot of sensitivity and compassion, I definitely think that my travels through hardship have increased my compassion and my empathy. However, I do not think this is a fail-safe formula for growth. Many times, hardship can just make you hard.

Many people make sense of their suffering by ascribing it to a greater purpose (for what it’s worth, I do not). This philosophy is often encapsulated by phrases like, “everything happens for a reason” and “it just was meant to be / wasn’t meant to be.”

One of the things that runs through my mind in my own life is that I feel I’m finally starting to get good at being a human being, but it’s taken me many years to get to this point. Experience can elevate wisdom and enrich compassion, but it’s a shame that for many of us, a good chunk of our lives have been spent before we reach this point.

So how does this relate to the chapter?

Here’s how:

The Edain seem to have the greater part of suffering during their time in Arda. According to Tolkien, compared to the Elves, the Edain are less wise, are assailable by sickness, by decay of the body, by old age, are easily slain by illness and injury and less easily healed (as a bonus, the Edain also possess less beauty than the Elves – whatever that means).

1. So does this suffering have a purpose?

2. 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?

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.”)

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?

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.

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?



Children of the Sun, let me hear your voices.


Many sunny cheers –

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 11:40am


Views: 605
A pile of good things, a pile of bad

Suffering, what's the point? As you say, sometimes we feel that something good came out of a bad experience but its possible to imagine either that this is our minds making it all bearable, as much as some law of nature. Surprisingly, about the best thing I've ever seen on the issue comes from a Dr Who script:

Quote

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant. "
(you can see a performance of those lines in the show here (YouTube clip) )

Doctor Who, a character in TV series Doctor Who, episode titled Vincent and the Doctor (2010), written by Richard Curtis

That sounds right to me - the good and the bad aren't something you can meaningfully put in a double -accounting ledger and cancel out to see whether a life is overall in the red or in the black.

And what are the Valar up to - as you say, not much. Thanks for the Light, and goodbye. Enjoy Morgoth, guys. Possibilities:
  1. The Valar don't care
  2. 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'm part Neanderthal on my mother's side. Indeed, I there's evidence we all are. Studies of human mitochondiral DNA show that Neanderthal genes are widespread (and because you get all you mitochondria from the egg you started from, none from the sperm, this only tells you about your female ancestors). Why raise the Neanderthals? Because of their bearing on the attitude of the elves to the Men (and the dwarves). As far as I'm aware, its all speculation what happened to the Neanderthals in the end - did they interbreed peacefully with "modern" humans until the two became one? Or were there wars, slaughters of the Neanderthal men and , the driving off of our Neanderthal maternal ancestors as forced breeding stock (if the opposite atrocities happened, we would no longer know - no Neanderthal mitochondria to study)? The genetic results don't say. When we think of Neanderthals and modern humans our thoughts can be much influenced by an old Victorian idea which conflated evolution and progress (the superior modern humans, on their way to becoming WASP Englishmen, would naturally triumph over the antiquated Nanderthals - I once went to an excellent lecture by Dr Stephen J Gould, who spent some time demolishing this idea.) We don't know what it would be like to live in a world with several sub-spiecies of human, or humanoid. But the rude names and part-suspicion, part-mockery of other races that the elves go in for is all too familiar in the in-species intolerance which different groups of modern humans have all too often shown each other through history. The chapter refers to elves and Men becoming more estranged over time (and blames Morgoth for it), so divide and rule by Mr Sparklycrown may be part of what is going on.

Another thing Tolkien might be up to here. In Paul H Kocher's book "Master of Middle Earth (which I've just started, thanks to a recommendation by Squire), I see this:

Quote
Tolkien is sure that modern man's belief that he is the only intelligent species on Earth has not been good for him.

Paul Kocher 1972

[you can tell its not yet the '80s-'90s, when an author would probably have used gender-neutral language]

...we can read this chapter as showing the elves falling into this folly: struggling to appreciate the other intelligent life forms, to everyone's loss.

Does the arrival of Men make the story more real - I'm not sure yet. Men (with a capital M, which we're stuck with in this text for "men and women") are going to play several key roles in the stories to come. But here we're getting the elvish picture that they are weirdly substandard creatures (with perhaps a side-dish of envy and suspicion that Men have been invited to some secret ultimate project whereas the elves, and maybe even the Valar, aren't.)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 12:09pm


Views: 577
love your bringing up the neanderthals

 
...and +love+ your bringing up stephen j. gould -- so jealous you got to hear him speak!!! : )

i have a long-time interest in paleontology.... i've read nearly all of his collected essays in volumes like "hen's teeth and horses' toes," and i think some of his separate works ("the mismeasure of man") are powerful. also, if you're a baseball fan (which i am not), there's extra spice, because he works bball in often, making it play with seemingly odd teammates like crinoids, convergent evolution, etc.

in our real history, i firmly suspect that most of us who have neanderthal dna (of which i probably have some) got it by foul means -- probably rape (certainly allowing for, in addition, the peaceable exchange of extra-species dna). one of the wonderful things that has arisen as a scientific finding of late is that a good portion of those with european heritage have a snippet of neanderthal dna in their genes, while it doesn't exist in african strains (i'm +really+ simplifying here), which is the place from which we all arose, in our genetic infancy. would have +loved+ to know what hitler and his ilk would have thought of +that+. hah! the (supposedly) caveman dna being present in the european strain, but not the aftrican (pure) strain. perhaps he and his team would have undertaken some rampant revising of neanderthal reputation -- making the neanderthals some sort of nordic super-race, so that it turned into an asset.

re suffering ---> wisdom... while i don't think that's an inevitable evolution, i do think that suffering and hardship offer us choices. what do we do with what has landed in our laps? some times we can make the choice to expand ourselves, sometimes it works through us on a more subconscious level, sometimes we deflect that choice, and sometimes our coping skills are so overcome that choice is more tenuous, and we react more than choose, often with unintended and undesirable results.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 2:59pm


Views: 588
First thoughts on Men


In Reply To

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!) Angelic


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on May 5 2013, 3:02pm)


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 4:03pm


Views: 571
Yay, some humans in Middle Earth!


In Reply To

The Edain seem to have the greater part of suffering during their time in Arda. According to Tolkien, compared to the Elves, the Edain are less wise, are assailable by sickness, by decay of the body, by old age, are easily slain by illness and injury and less easily healed (as a bonus, the Edain also possess less beauty than the Elves – whatever that means).
1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
I think as humans, we often feel we have to believe that our sufferings have meaning. It's a way of dealing with them and avoiding despair. However, I, personally believe that suffering both in RL and ME does have some purpose. In RL this is a huge question involving philsophy, theology, psychology. In the context of Arda, I assume that the reward is in the mysterious next life
2. 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?
Yes, I think so, both individually and collectively, wisdom and empathy increase through their sufferings. The Edain, thus, bring something unique to the Second Music, which neither the immortal Elves nor the divine Ainur can bring or probably even imagine. It does all feel like a bit of an experiment on Eru's part to me- "well, if I make that group like that, they can tell me what that is like and if I might the other group differently, then they can tell me what that, in turn, is like" The Edain can also tell the Ainur and possibly even Eru, their experiences of being tempted or corrupted by evil
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.”)
Good question! Because that empathy and wisdom is not just for that individual, but to be shared with others to increase the overall wisdom of a given people? Since mortals go on experiencing suffering, even if they gain something from it, to have to experience this over a very long life would be hard?
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?
Oh, definitely the insecurity of the Eldar! They did the same with the dwarves, didn't they. I have to admit that I always found Tolkien's Elves somewhat hypocritical about a lot of things. Name calling and scorn for the weak are not the signs of a wise, benevolent "super race" IMO! The Eldar find it very difficult to cope with the idea that they are not the only "intelligent" , non-Ainur people. I think it comes as a shock to them and they do not like the thought that these "inferior" beings could be as well-loved by Iluvatar as themselves. They probably feel that they have enough to deal with in fending off Morgoth and dealing with the sons of Feanor, without the possibility of being superseded by people they feel are less worthy than themselves. I guess the Eldar feel assailed on all sides
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.
You would think that the Edain would need extra help, wouldn't you? The Valar do not show themselves as being all wise at this stage of ME history and before. Now, I think they adopt a "hands off" approach, possibly in part because, as you say, they realise that compelling the Eldar to go to Aman has not worked out that well and left and open field for Morgoth.
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?
Hee hee! teacher's pets! Yes, it does feel a bit like that at times, doesn't it? Yes, the coming of the Edain does help, partly because the time spans for the Elves are just impossible to relate to. I've just been reading Chapter 13- there seem to be about 800 years of relative peace while the Noldor settle down and Morgoth quakes in his dungeons because of the sun. Makes the "We've had peace for 400 years" speech in AUJ look a little foolish! Having more manageable life spans etc does help. Also, as you may have gathered, the Eldar are not my favourite race in ME!


.


"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 4:45pm


Views: 559
"First thoughts on men"? Oh sorry, is this an oestrogen island thread?//

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Erúmer
The Shire


May 5 2013, 4:51pm


Views: 553
Spoiler?

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.”)

If anybody hasn't gotten to the Akallabeth, feel free to skip thisWink

I think that it's short because the results would be disastrous otherwise. The Numenoreans were men with loooong lifespans...and it only made them greedy for longer life, which led to their envy of the Eldar and their eventual ruin. Men are made of different character than Elves, and I think this is why their lives have to be shorter--or maybe it's the other way round,


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 4:53pm


Views: 553
Nah..


In Reply To

If it was an EI thread, Brethil would have entitled it "First Thoughts on Hot Dwarves", not mere Men! (Runs for cover- sorry Brethil- you're not even online at present to defend yourself from these scurrilous accusations!)WinkCrazy

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:03pm


Views: 546
Haha! and I'm laughing *quite a bit* here because you read my mind Elaen...


In Reply To

In Reply To

If it was an EI thread, Brethil would have entitled it "First Thoughts on Hot Dwarves", not mere Men! (Runs for cover- sorry Brethil- you're not even online at present to defend yourself from these scurrilous accusations!)WinkCrazy




...I was actually going to title my post "First Thought on men INSTEAD of Delicious Dwarf Kings..." but I am trying to behave with some pretense of decorum here in the RR. Hasn't been entirely successful. And feel free, accuse away, no cover needed - I am quite beyond defending it myself!!!!SmileEvil

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on May 5 2013, 5:13pm)


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 5:12pm


Views: 545
Sorry

NWM and I have lowered the tone a little here. I usually endeavour to be more sensible in RR too, but that reply was too much to resist. Anyway, who says others are always "decorous" in their RR behaviour- the kilts and pants thread went a little "off topic" shall we say?LaughEvil

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:16pm


Views: 543
No apologies!!!

Our variations in - shall we say tone? - keep it so much more interesting...!!!! Cool

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:23pm


Views: 543
hey...

 

Quote
[brethil] I was actually going to title my post "First Thought on men INSTEAD of Delicious Dwarf Kings..." [/brethil]


.... i thought you were on a diet...


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 5 2013, 5:24pm)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:24pm


Views: 540
and +this+

 
... is what keeps us out of valinor.


cheers : )

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:26pm


Views: 540
**I would NEVER cut that out**


In Reply To

Quote
[brethil] I was actually going to title my post "First Thought on men INSTEAD of Delicious Dwarf Kings..." [/brethil]


.... i thought you were on a diet...
.




And anyway proper enjoyment would equal calories BURNED after all. Evil

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 5:29pm


Views: 534
Watch out, watch out, there are Modar about!!!

EvilWink

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:30pm


Views: 531
interesting thought


In Reply To
[erumer] 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.”)

If anybody hasn't gotten to the Akallabeth, feel free to skip thisWink

I think that it's short because the results would be disastrous otherwise. The Numenoreans were men with loooong lifespans...and it only made them greedy for longer life, which led to their envy of the Eldar and their eventual ruin. Men are made of different character than Elves, and I think this is why their lives have to be shorter--or maybe it's the other way round, [/erumer]


interesting thought... to which i'll add... wouldn't shortened lifespans make us +more+ envious? honestly, i don't see increasing the lifespan of the edain as making them more or less envious...

supposedly, the lifespan of the edain was supposed to be much longer originally (according to andreth, whose words you can find in "morgoth's ring")... some say that the edain lost their longer lifespans from hearkening to morgoth... which sounds like elvish superiority. surely, not so many of the edain were so enthralled with morgoth's lies that it took a sweeping toll on the entire race. but, if the original lifespan +was+ longer, why did it diminish?

perhaps living in harmony with middle earth and eru's plans contributes to health.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:31pm


Views: 527
i am +sure+

 
quite a lot of modar are adherents to a diet of delicious dwarves.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:33pm


Views: 525
pfffffffftttttttt!!!!!!!!

 

Quote
[nowimë] "First thoughts on men"? Oh sorry, is this an oestrogen island thread? [/nowimë]



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 5:35pm


Views: 522
Twas not that which was concerning me

... it was how Brethil intended to utlise said calories- or maybe I misinterpreted!Wink I'll shut up now, change t'subject.......

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:39pm


Views: 520
Lifestyle and life-span relationship


In Reply To

In Reply To


interesting thought... to which i'll add... wouldn't shortened lifespans make us +more+ envious? honestly, i don't see increasing the lifespan of the edain as making them more or less envious...

supposedly, the lifespan of the edain was supposed to be much longer originally (according to andreth, whose words you can find in "morgoth's ring")... some say that the edain lost their longer lifespans from hearkening to morgoth... which sounds like elvish superiority. surely, not so many of the edain were so enthralled with morgoth's lies that it took a sweeping toll on the entire race. but, if the original lifespan +was+ longer, why did it diminish?

perhaps living in harmony with middle earth and eru's plans contributes to health.




I don't have books with me right now ... but didn't Aragorn's longer life span both represent an increase over previous years of the Dunedain's chiefs and reflect back on the prior glory? So perhaps as you say Mac living in synch with one's destiny / full potential contributes to the renewed vigor?

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Erúmer
The Shire


May 5 2013, 5:39pm


Views: 516
Envy

I sort of had the concept in my head when I read Akallabeth that as the Numenoreans experienced longer life, it gave them a tatse of the Eldar's 'curse' and they wanted more.

As for Morgoth's Ring, I'm biding my time until I can find (and afford) the full HoME set, so I beg, excuse any illiteracy Laugh the point you put forward there is interesting. And yes, I actually thought it was dramaticized in the Sil how 'inferior' men were because they crept to Morgoth (I think, as the Sil is sort of written as a book of Elvish lore, that that is the Elven spin on things).

Perhaps :) it does make sense, though Eru's plans were to let Men leave Arda anyhow. Maybe Men's lifespans on Arda are so short because what waits for them after death is better? As far as I know the place beyond Man's death is firmly unexplained (again, pardon any illiteracy)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:42pm


Views: 518
re suffering

 


Quote
[elaen32] 1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
I think as humans, we often feel we have to believe that our sufferings have meaning. It's a way of dealing with them and avoiding despair. However, I, personally believe that suffering both in RL and ME does have some purpose. In RL this is a huge question involving philsophy, theology, psychology. In the context of Arda, I assume that the reward is in the mysterious next life [/elaen32]


i think the "faith in contrast with the unknown" is what tolkien gives the edain... and... extrapolating even further into my opinion... i am thinking that this suffering in middle earth of the edain has a purpose, for the enrichment of all. i'd like to think that eru has thought for the edain, since the valar often don't seem to have any.

(look -- i'm applying meaning to suffering in middle earth, even though in real life i don't hold this position!)

in real life, i think suffering just +is+ (bombadillian, if you like). it doesn't have any overall purpose, but we can take action (or not) from it. +you+ can give meaning to your suffering, in a philosophical way ("it was meant to be"/"everything has a reason"), which (for some) makes the suffering more bearable -- or -- you can say, "this is what i've been dealt -- it has no logic, it sucks... let me look at the causalities... what is my part in this, what is others', and what can i do to learn from this and be a better person?" (this is my personal take).

i certainly do like the idea in middle earth that there are angelic spirits to which we can appeal... pain and anguish are very isolating, and being able to reach out for help to a person-like spirit is very natural for humans.


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:42pm


Views: 510
Yep, stop now or you may be forced to hand back your kilt. (Or does that make it worse?) //

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 5:45pm


Views: 508
**Bwaaahaahaa!!

Yes, my dearest NoWiz I think dekilting might be counterproductive.........(rolling....!!!!)

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:46pm


Views: 506
yes, unexplained

 

Quote
[erumer] Perhaps :) it does make sense, though Eru's plans were to let Men leave Arda anyhow. Maybe Men's lifespans on Arda are so short because what waits for them after death is better? As far as I know the place beyond Man's death is firmly unexplained (again, pardon any illiteracy) [/erumer]



yes, unexplained.... 'tho what i think lies ahead in the unknown, after death, for the edain... is not paradiase, more labor... but a joyous labor.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:47pm


Views: 238
please...

 
.... have some dwarfcorum.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 5:50pm


Views: 232
I think so too..


In Reply To
I sort of had the concept in my head when I read Akallabeth that as the Numenoreans experienced longer life, it gave them a tatse of the Eldar's 'curse' and they wanted more.

The Numenoreans were a bunch of "high achievers" in many ways- their seamanship, their physical strength, their intelligence and wisdom etc were well above those of "normal" Men. In some areas they may even have rivalled the Elves, especially those in Middle Earth, who, except for Celebrimbor's people in Eregion, were not doing much that was new. However, the Numenoreans still were mortal, even though they could live as long as 500 years (tho I think only Elros was quite that long lived). They probably felt that they were just as good as the Elves, so why shouldn't they have immortality too? They wanted more time to achieve yet greater feats. What was a background resentment of an accepted unchanging fact, was changed into outright rebellion under Saurons' influence

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Erúmer
The Shire


May 5 2013, 5:50pm


Views: 239
Joyous labor

Interesting that you should say that, as (once again going back to Akallabeth) the complaint was that Men should have to leave all that they had built, and only enjoy their labours for a little while, before death; whereas the Eldar had centuries to enjoy their labours, longer if they were lucky. By joyous labor, do you mayhaps mean that what Edain build after death they get to keep?


Erúmer
The Shire


May 5 2013, 5:54pm


Views: 235
Goes straight back to enjoyment after death

I didn't see your post until after I'd just written in response to Maciliel about joyous labor after Death. Maybe Eru's gift was that they would have time to continue their craftsmanship, and in some place beyond death or time, never see it diminished. Good point:)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:55pm


Views: 232
yes, and...

 

Quote
[brethil] I don't have books with me right now ... but didn't Aragorn's longer life span both represent an increase over previous years of the Dunedain's chiefs and reflect back on the prior glory? So perhaps as you say Mac living in synch with one's destiny / full potential contributes to the renewed vigor? [/brethil]


... in tolkien's world, while i proffer the "living in harmony" = granting a longer, healthier life as my own interpretation/wishful thinking... i do think i observe in tolkien the theme that you also have to work for it, not just be deserving, and that even if you are deserving and work for it, you might not get it.

there are lots of examples of savior-like characters who renew entire races... aragorn, the edain. arwen, the edain. luthien, the edain, melain, the eldar. elros, the edain.

and, yes... aragorn's longer life span reflected both an increase over the previous dwindling of the lifespans of the numenor-descended dunedain, and the glory of numenor, 'tho it did not match the very long lifespans of numenor's earliest rulers (and general denizens), which could be upwards of 300-400 years (elros had the longest, if i'm recalling correctly).

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:57pm


Views: 228
no illiteracy here...

 
many here have read home, many have not. it's fine to reference it here and there, but it's not needed to participate in our discussions... all you need is the sil, and an opinion. (and many thanks for your contributions on this thread. : ) )


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Erúmer
The Shire


May 5 2013, 5:59pm


Views: 225
Thank you

And I'm glad to have been able to participate :)


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 5:59pm


Views: 224
no, more like...

 

Quote
[erumer] By joyous labor, do you mayhaps mean that what Edain build after death they get to keep? [/erumer]



no... more like there's lots of work to be done in the second music, and the edain might not even be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but the building will be -- has the potential to be -- joyous.

i'm infusing a +lot+ of my own ideas here. i'm in no way saying that tolkien thinks this way. i'm making sense of his world according to my values.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


elaen32
Gondor

May 5 2013, 6:00pm


Views: 224
Suffering..

Yes, the finding meaning in suffering is a very personal thing and can be contentious. I did not meant to imply that all or even most people could find meaning, just that it was a natural thing to want to do. It really does depend so much on culture in RL- reams have been written (as I understand it and am informed by more religious friends) about why a "loving God" would allow suffering. Tolkien, as a devout Catholic, would, I believe have wanted to reconcile these two things in his writing.

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Maciliel
Valinor


May 5 2013, 6:03pm


Views: 228
suffering and meaning, and diverse opinions


In Reply To
[elaen32] Yes, the finding meaning in suffering is a very personal thing and can be contentious. I did not meant to imply that all or even most people could find meaning, just that it was a natural thing to want to do. It really does depend so much on culture in RL- reams have been written (as I understand it and am informed by more religious friends) about why a "loving God" would allow suffering. Tolkien, as a devout Catholic, would, I believe have wanted to reconcile these two things in his writing. [/elaen32]


ah, no fretting here... i, too, am treading lightly. in expressing my opinions, i'm hoping i'm doing it in a respectful way for those who +do+ adhere to the "happens for a reason" proponents, not just for the sake of respecting their life framework, but because that framework might have helped them through some very difficult times. and i would by no means undermine that.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 6:22pm


Views: 209
Glad to have you around!


In Reply To
And I'm glad to have been able to participate :)




Smile

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 6:32pm


Views: 213
Interesting Elaen about meaning in reconciling faith and canon


In Reply To
Yes, the finding meaning in suffering is a very personal thing and can be contentious. I did not meant to imply that all or even most people could find meaning, just that it was a natural thing to want to do. It really does depend so much on culture in RL- reams have been written (as I understand it and am informed by more religious friends) about why a "loving God" would allow suffering. Tolkien, as a devout Catholic, would, I believe have wanted to reconcile these two things in his writing.




About Tolkien's faith. I do think that his attempt to reconcile his Catholicism both leads to leaving the fate of Men as a mystery as well as implying that it is a 'gift' and that what appears to us from a short-living perspective as a painful end or diminishment is actually a blessed release from the pain of the world. I see him as optimistic and deeply concerned with the fate of the RL human soul, and in that vein the fates of the Immortal Elves serve as a literary theological counterpoint to men's. We get to see the darker side of what we don't have - Immortality - and thus maybe he wishes us to be joyous and thankful for then Gift, which is what we do (even in a translation from RL Catholicism, since much of it remains similarly unknown.)

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 9:38pm


Views: 202
Of Mice and Men

Thanks for kicking this off in such a novel way, Maciliel. Where to plunge in amid the swirling thoughts and twirling kilts and spinning dwarves?

1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
2. 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?
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.”)

I think everyone in Tolkien's universe is supposed to grow in empathy. It seems that the Eldar are better at developing it than Men, which could be due to a number of reasons: 1) they have more time to develop this trait, 2) they are genetically or culturally predisposed to it, or 3) they are just plain superior to Men in every possible way. I lean toward #3. When I read Tolkien, I get the sense that he earnestly wants everyone to become better than they are, and it's a tragedy to him when they do not, but while he writes he mixes the real world with Faerie and has to explain the former in the latter. So Men start out weaker and less lovely than Elves, and have less potential for perfection, and that's why humans are the way they are in RL. He usually seems disappointed when telling the history of Men, much more so than Elves, and Men seem to squander the opportunities given to them by Fate and the Valar.

All of that is to say that Men's suffering does have a purpose to make them grow in wisdom and empathy, but not very many take advantage of it, or not enough for Tolkien to be satisfied with them. Though I don't think lifespan has anything to do with it. There are wise teenagers and bitter 90-year-olds who've been bitter all their lives in the real world, so having nearly a century to learn doesn't mean you do. I would say that overall, having more time to learn, as the Elves do, makes it more likely that you will, but only a little more likely. Celeborn is thousands of years old when Galadriel has to correct him and tell him to show a little empathy for their guests. As Erumer pointed out, having a longer life didn't make the Numenoreans any more empathic or wise. It ultimately made them more self-destructive. So once again, interference from the Valar has backfired.

It seems quite the paradox that the Edain might most need guidance from the Valar, but are cut off from it.

Speaking of the Holy Ones, it seems an egregious error of the Valar to not seek out Men and greet them when they do appear. I can understand that they don't want to repeat the mistake of bringing them to Valinor, but to ignore them completely? Makes no sense at all. When I read the Aule & Yavanna chapter, I always think she got a bad deal, and I think the same when I read about the first Men in this chapter. What are they thinking in their Ring of Doom?

"Melkor has rebuilt his fortress and is striving to take over Middle-earth again. The Noldor have no hope in winning. Men are coming soon, so we can't fight Melkor ourselves. What do we do? Oh, what we're best at--nothing."

But in a roundabout way, it makes sense about spiritual yearning. "We are the Eldar and we have seen the Light of Valinor. It's cool. Been there, done that." And after the First Age, the Eldar get a free ticket back to Heaven whenever they want. Men have never seen Heaven, don't get to talk to any Men who have, and they don't know where they go where they die, whereas all the questions have been answered for the Elves (*yawn*). So while it seems ridiculously unfair for the Valar to neglect Men, it explains the profound Mannish tendency to seek out Light, and long life, and answers to life's mysteries in an aggressive manner that the Valar and Eldar don't understand.

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?
Honestly, I admire the Elves most of the time, but their racial slurs for others diminish them in my eyes. They're not exactly appreciating the other singers in the Music's choir, are they? Maybe the world would be too perfect if the Elves hugged Men and Dwarves the way they do trees. There are plenty of Elves who do love Men, but plenty who don't, and all because of their race. Maybe I wouldn't be so sensitive on the issue if racism in the real-world was a dead concept instead of a little worm nibbling under the carpet.

6. Does the introduction of the Edain make the Silmarilion more real for you? More personal?
Funny you should ask that. I enjoy the fantasy world that takes place in the First Age, and when Men appear, it makes it a little too real, and I wish they weren't in it. First Tolkien sprinkles Men all over Beleriand, and what other too-familiar ingredients will he think of next--Starbuck's? Nooooooooooooooooooo. (Then again, sitting at a seaside cafe in the Falas while talking with Ulmo about what whale songs mean with a lite mocha frappucino with whipped cream wouldn't be all bad.)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 5 2013, 9:46pm


Views: 194
What evils would 10,000-year-old Men cook up?

Glad to have you join our discussion, Erumer, and no worries about spoilers. It's a safe assumption that everyone here has read the books, and if not, they'll learn something when people bring things up. Everything is so interconnected in our conversations that it's hard to not bring up something from somewhere else.

And good point about there being a sort of existential need for Men's live to burn out quickly before they can do too much damage. The Elves cause less and less damage over time, whereas Men often cause more and more.


telain
Rohan

May 5 2013, 11:43pm


Views: 185
very much agree

I do think Tolkien was in a way reconciling his Catholicism with the "fate of Men." I also like your (and elaen's) interpretation of suffering as well.

To that I might add that perhaps the short life of Men and the suffering (disease and death particularly) may be some way of tying Men to Middle-earth, as opposed to Valinor. Since Eru must know that spoiler Middle-earth will be sundered from Valinor, perhaps Eru also knew he needed one race to represent the more fleeting aspects of life in Middle-earth. I almost equate the Elves to the water and air -- those elements that are constant, like their immortality. The dwarves -- wait, Brethil, concentrate! -- are equated with the rock, which seems to last longer, but can be eroded and changed. Men can be equated to the kelvar and olvar, since they do succumb to disease and death, but still multiply generation after generation.

It may also be extrapolated that dwarves are as strong as stone and have "chiseled" good looks, but that is for the individual to decide...Wink


telain
Rohan

May 5 2013, 11:44pm


Views: 183
I shudder to think!//

 


Brethil
Half-elven


May 6 2013, 12:22am


Views: 182
I like your equations Telain


In Reply To
I do think Tolkien was in a way reconciling his Catholicism with the "fate of Men." I also like your (and elaen's) interpretation of suffering as well. Thanks Telain.
To that I might add that perhaps the short life of Men and the suffering (disease and death particularly) may be some way of tying Men to Middle-earth, as opposed to Valinor. Since Eru must know that spoiler Middle-earth will be sundered from Valinor, perhaps Eru also knew he needed one race to represent the more fleeting aspects of life in Middle-earth. I almost equate the Elves to the water and air -- those elements that are constant, like their immortality. The dwarves -- wait, Brethil, concentrate! -- are equated with the rock, which seems to last longer, but can be eroded and changed. Men can be equated to the kelvar and olvar, since they do succumb to disease and death, but still multiply generation after generation. That is a really amazing way to look at the races as almost Jungian archetypes of the properties of life. I have a thought - that somehow the binding of Men to ME and their ability to keep changing and adapting says something about what their place will be in the Second Song. Just not quite sure where it goes entirely...will think on it more...ideas anyone?
It may also be extrapolated that dwarves are as strong as stone and have "chiseled" good looks, but that is for the individual to decide...WinkAgreed - and *very* well stated Telain! (Sigh. It's not easy being so Dwarvishly distracted. Like a cat with a laser pointer.)Blush


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


telain
Rohan

May 6 2013, 12:27am


Views: 187
late to the party, but I brought two winky emoticons!

1. So does this suffering have a purpose?

I responded to a post by Brethil that contains a longer answer. Basically, I liken Men to the kelvar and olvar: susceptible to disease and death. I also had soemthing in their about Elves and air/water, dwarves being akin to "hot rocks" some other nonsense Wink

I think my thought behind this is very close to CuriousG's response and the second question (below); it is about empathy.


2. 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 quite like the idea of men becoming Ainur. It certainly would balance the suffering and mortality. Perhaps there would be some teaching about not waiting until something bad is upon you. Maybe that is why human life is so short -- if you want to do something, you have to hurry up and do it, or risk regretting it later when you are no longer able. I guess I just posited a possible answer to question 3!

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.”)


Oh, Maciliel! I so very much understand. I feel like I have been preparing to do something all my life, but I never seem to quite reach it. And sometimes what we truly learn is not something that we thought we would learn. Or we truly understand something that we thought we knew. I think the short life really forces one to be grateful for the things that one has (either spiritually, materially, or otherwise.) Unfortunately, it does not necessarily happen for everyone or in the same way. Perhaps that human trait (via Tolkien's interpretation) of desire for power is the desire that motivates people to do great things. Whether for good or ill (and here I am thinking of CuriousG's posts about the deeds of 10,000 year-old men).

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?


I would say that the Second People, the Followers, the After-born, the Mortals, the Children of the Sun and, arguably the Inscrutible are all names from the Wisdom side of the Eldar. The others are from those insecure Elves whose haughtiness has overtaken their good judgement. I think names come from three places: nicknames for those you like and derogatory names for those you don't like, and those names you use for people you just don't know very well.

And, true, Tolkien did sing the praises of the Eldar time and again, but he never did say they were perfect. I think the Eldar were a group of individuals; some perhaps not as great (or creative) in their nicknaming as others... Come to think of it, I do not recall Tolkien ever mentioning any Elf as being "the greatest name-caller that ever lived, in Middle-earth nor in Valinor,..." Wink


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.


As many of you have said, I think that the Valar are once-bitten, twice shy (for once!) I think they doomed Feanor and they are not willing to be the cause of another one of Eru's children's downfall. I do find this interesting, however:


Quote
Ulmo nonetheless took thought for them, aiding the will and counsel of Manwe; ... But they have not skill in those matters, and still less had they in those days before they had mingled with the Elves.

The two things that struck me are that Ulmo seems to be acting on Manwe's counsel, so that is interesting (but not sure what I think that means just yet...)

The second thing is that they understood less before they mingled with Elves. Perhaps this was one of the lessons that Tolkiens was eluding to. The Elves had to learn to find the Edain worthy and to teach them the ways of the world, and the Edain had to learn. Perhaps there is something about learning -- and maybe learning how to coexist -- that is hidden in this chapter.

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?


Am I hiding something? I'll never tell. I do know that when I first read The Hobbit and LOTR, both at rather young ages, I felt more relationship to Elvish characters and landscapes (and still do). Interestingly, my husband and I, in our yearly 'watching of the films', had a great discussion of which landscapes in LOTR felt more like home. Though he and many people would say the Shire -- and don't get me wrong, it looks like a lovely place to visit -- it is not at the top pf my list. Rivendell and book-Lothlorien, on the other hand...

Back to Maciliel's excellent question: what this chapter does for me, is to bring the ancient world -- what I sometimes refer to as "The Old Ways" -- in touch with the modern world.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 12:54am


Views: 182
a telain is never late. she arrives precisely when she means to...

 

re the edain becoming ainur... from my questions i believe i have revealed much of my own inclinations... i love your thoughts on the value of time... we edain would know best that sometimes you don't get do-overs (rebodying), sometimes it's best to act (valar waiting, waiting waiting).

a real waste is to do nothing. do something. time is short, take a step, any step will do, it will certainly lead to another. and another.

re name-calling:

who, you ask was the greatest eldar name-caller? wouldn't that be our specially gifted orator, feanor? maybe he came up with all these catchy names. we know he didn't think much of us (i tease feanor).

re the valar:

it rather feels like they just abandoned the edain. the only valar (besides ulmo) that takes an interest in us is morgoth. can you blame so many of us for going astray? especially when most of us were learning about the valar from the moriquendi, who were afraid of the valar, or at least wary of them? boy, leaving the moriquendi on their own sure does come to haunt the valar.

i like your three classes of nicknames, including the class that's more neutral for folks we don't know very well.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 1:20am


Views: 179
wisdom and other conditions

 

Quote
[curiousg] It seems that the Eldar are better at developing it than Men, . Men seem to squander the opportunities given to them by Fate and the Valar. [/curiousg]


huh.... why do you perceive the elves are wise (perhaps you do, because you're wiser than i)? they seem to make much folly. feanor, his sons... and every single elf who followed them... turgon not (spoiler) vacating gondolin, even though he's had direct contact with ulmo, thingol being high-handed with the dwarves (who -- spoiler -- kill him). i know tolkien +says+ they're wiser than the edain, but they often don't appear to be in practice. i think tolkien idealizes the elves (understatement), and seems to take the edain to task more for their failures.



Quote
[curiousg] There are wise teenagers and bitter 90-year-olds who've been bitter all their lives in the real world, so having nearly a century to learn doesn't mean you do. [/curiousg]


and even bitter 90-year-olds might have started as wise teenagers.

btw, i love hearing you wax eloquent about the shortcomings of the valar. (btw, why do you think yavanna got a raw deal?)


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 1:50am


Views: 180
of [strike] hot dwarves [/strike] men

 
do namo and manwe know what the fate of the edain is? i'm not sure. namo might know where they hang out in mandos, but beyond?

i don't see the afterlife as compensatory for what the edain experience in arda. i think there's a strong possibility that no paradise awaits the edain. what does? more work. noble work, but more work.

what you reference, the dancing on a wire without a net... it's sort of a variation of "ethics are what you do when no one else is looking." how the edain act, when there is no assurance. hope. faith.

re the valar's perception of the edain... perhaps we sort of look like... orcs to them. (i tease the valar.)

thanks for the additional data re neanderthals. : )


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 6 2013, 2:32am


Views: 177
Smaht Elves

Here in Boston people can't say their "r"s, which makes the Elves smaht. They're not always smaht, but smahtuh than Men, and Men only get smaht when they hang around Elves.

Elves make mistakes and aren't perfect, but they're wise, and make fewer mistakes than Men. In the Third Age, the Wise are the Wizards and the Elvish leaders with no Men allowed. Denethor doesn't get a seat at the Wise table despite his pre-insanity wisdom (he would have been the best candidate, unless you're a delegate for Butterbur).

I wholeheartedly agree with your statement: "tolkien idealizes the elves (understatement), and seems to take the edain to task more for their failures."

RE: Yavanna's raw deal, Telain brought up how dismissive the He-Gods are with the Earth-Mother. And I wanted to say, "Mac, that wasn't that long ago, don't you remember participating?" But wow, it was back in January before you joined in March, so now I can't say that, except I already did, and where is that Backspace key, anyway?

It's May, and we're still discussing The Silmarillion? How cool is that? We've only had one battle of Beleriand so far, and we won part of it, and reinforcements are on the way, so I'm sure things will work out fine for everyone. Don't spoil it! Wink


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 3:01am


Views: 165
wow

 
i can't believe you guys started without me.


cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 3:24am


Views: 167
accent

 
ah sawh vahda jogging ahround jahmaica pond.

that feanah was wicked smaht.

finahfin likes ta hang ahround quinzy mahket.


cheeahs ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on May 6 2013, 3:25am)


sador
Half-elven


May 6 2013, 7:37am


Views: 159
Sunny side up

as a bonus, the Edain also possess less beauty than the Elves – whatever that means.
Do you really want to go there? Because i don't.

Anyway, to answer your questions:

1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
According to Tolkien, it is all a part of the Plan; I wouldn't attempt to bend his story to my own beliefs - although in my case, not much bending is needed.
The interesting part is that Men seem not to be bound by the Music, and to have a power to shape their destiny for themselves. But once this power is granted to multiple beings, friction (of all kinds) is inevitable, as is suffering.
It seems that the brief span of Men's life, and the many mishaps which are strewn on their way, are intertwined with that power - with the Gift of Iluvatar.

2. 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?
I've noticed that some of the responses here asserted that the Elves did have greater empathy. I beg to differ; I do not see any indication of this. Consider for instance Lindir's dismissal of Mortals and their affairs in Many Meetings - and even Gildor expressed the same feeling, somewhat less rudely.
Or else, consider the Elvenking.

Will their spirits which have grown in such a way become Ainur, or Ainur-like?
They are Ainur-like - but like the Ainur of the Music, not the clothed Valar and Maiar.

Are the themes that are to be sung by the Edain in the Second Music to teach the present Ainur in any way?
I do not know about the Second Music, but it appears that the actions of Men in Middle-earth can teach the Ainur quite a bit (sometimes by negative example).

3. If suffering can be a pathway to empathy and wisdom, why is the lifespan of the Edain so short? There is a limit to suffering one can accumulate and grow through, is there not?
I guess you've read The Wanderings of Hurin, right? I think this is a case of someone whose sufferings have gone beyong his capacity.

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?
The Eldar like to call others names. And to pinch their pimply faces... But I digress.

However, the Elves do seem to treat Men with just the wrong mixture of contenpt and fear.

5. No Vala comes to help the Edain. Why?
Do you want me to spoil my discussion? I was planning to discuss this...

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?
According to what I've written above about the strange power that Men have over their destiny, perhaps a direct message won't help, either.

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?)
I would hope so. At any rate, Ulmo considered the invitating of the Eldar wrong, and is the only one to reach out to Men.

or is this just another instance of their isolationism and neglect?
In Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin, Ulmo makes the odd statement that "Doom is strong" (UT p. 29), which implies that he is in a way working against Mandos (despite his earlier qualifying this by "seem to"). What does that mean? Did Mandos prefer Men to be left in the dark?
Anyway, it seems that you are the source of ElendiltheShort's comment last week.

It seems quite the paradox that the Edain might most need guidance from the Valar, but are cut off from it.


In Reply To
But all of us on this thread are Children of the Sun (unless some of you are hiding something).

Everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey.

6. Does the introduction of the Edain make the Silmarilion more real for you? More personal?
Not more real, but more like a human myth.



Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 10:46am


Views: 362
here's your order, sir...

[sador]

In Reply To
as a bonus, the Edain also possess less beauty than the Elves – whatever that means.
Do you really want to go there? Because i don't.
[/sador]


i have no problems going "there." but i will understand if you sit on the bench, and let this this ship sail.



[sador] Anyway, to answer your questions:

1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
According to Tolkien, it is all a part of the Plan; I wouldn't attempt to bend his story to my own beliefs - although in my case, not much bending is needed.
The interesting part is that Men seem not to be bound by the Music, and to have a power to shape their destiny for themselves. But once this power is granted to multiple beings, friction (of all kinds) is inevitable, as is suffering.

It seems that the brief span of Men's life, and the many mishaps which are strewn on their way, are intertwined with that power - with the Gift of Iluvatar. [/sador]


interesting.



[sador] 2. 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?
I've noticed that some of the responses here asserted that the Elves did have greater empathy. I beg to differ; I do not see any indication of this. Consider for instance Lindir's dismissal of Mortals and their affairs in Many Meetings - and even Gildor expressed the same feeling, somewhat less rudely.
Or else, consider the Elvenking.
[/sador]


i definitely see elves as operating more in harmony with eru's plan... but when it gets to the point where they are dealing with other children of iluvatar, i don't see them acting in as much harmony. and that is surprising, given their status as "wisest."


[sador] Will their spirits which have grown in such a way become Ainur, or Ainur-like?
They are Ainur-like - but like the Ainur of the Music, not the clothed Valar and Maiar.
[/sador]

interesting! already ainur-like.



[sador] 3. If suffering can be a pathway to empathy and wisdom, why is the lifespan of the Edain so short? There is a limit to suffering one can accumulate and grow through, is there not?
I guess you've read The Wanderings of Hurin, right? I think this is a case of someone whose sufferings have gone beyong his capacity. [/sador]


no, i have not read "children of hurin," 'tho i know the tale from the silmarilion. i do think there is a limit to suffering though which one can learn and grow, but i wouldn't set one of the parameters at length of life (the elves seem to work well with that), but with the (variable) concentration of suffering within any given time span (long or short) that is beyond the individual's capacity to balance. additionally, intense pain that is overwhelming for an hour or six months may be able to be balanced through time. which doesn't necessarily mean that the grief or loss is less, but that it doesn't overwhelm and drown everything else out. accumulating positive experiences can balance out intense suffering, over time. but that is how the edain do it. perhaps the elves do it differently.



[sador] 5. No Vala comes to help the Edain. Why?
Do you want me to spoil my discussion? I was planning to discuss this...
[/sador]


of course i do not wish you to proffer thoughts you are keeping in reserve for your own chapter. there were explicit sentences in "of men" that describe this, which is why i included it. again, feel free to let that ship sail.




[sador] 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?
According to what I've written above about the strange power that Men have over their destiny, perhaps a direct message won't help, either.
[/sador]


will have to mull this over. but i'm certainly glad tuor got the message.



[sador] 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?)
I would hope so. At any rate, Ulmo considered the invitating of the Eldar wrong, and is the only one to reach out to Men.
[/sador]


so, is ulmo not only the only vala reaching out to the edain, but also bucking the system? ulmo certainly has been a good friend to us. it is said (actually, i said it, in another thread) that the echos of the music live longest in the water, and perhaps because the water flows through ulmo, or that he is its lord, that ulmo is better in touch with the thoughts of eru.


[sador] or is this just another instance of their isolationism and neglect?
In Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin, Ulmo makes the odd statement that "Doom is strong" (UT p. 29), which implies that he is in a way working against Mandos (despite his earlier qualifying this by "seem to"). What does that mean? Did Mandos prefer Men to be left in the dark?
Anyway, it seems that you are the source of ElendiltheShort's comment last week.
[/sador]


i am not understanding your reference to elendiltheshort's comments (?).



sunny cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


sador
Half-elven


May 6 2013, 10:59am


Views: 366
The Wanderings of Hurin

Is a long work by JRRT, which describes a part of what happens to Hurin after his release from Angband (it was never completed).
I won't spoil it for you - but I highly recommend reading it. It was published in The War of the Jewels (HoME vol. xi).

ElendiltheShort complained about some people being too ready to criticize the Valar; I've replied to that in the discussion of the previous chapter.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 6 2013, 11:01am


Views: 358
yes, i saw that....

 
...just didn't ascribe what he was talking about to me...

thanks for the recommendation. : )


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


telain
Rohan

May 6 2013, 1:28pm


Views: 351
oh, thank you for that!

I do love that quote...

I completely agree -- do something. Actually, one of the things I tell myself when I am feeling unmotivated/unfulfilled is "what I am doing right now is exactly what I should be doing." That seems to calm my otherwise overactive imagination. At least sometimes...

Ah, yes. I think Feanor probably would be the greatest name-caller! At another time I would imagine Elrond might come in a distant second (I'm sure he had some "words" for Aragorn from time to time...).

Good point about Morgoth and the reason so many Edain go astray! Yes, if the only higher power that takes an interest in you (and you just happen to be predisposed to like power) then, well, I suppose it should be no surprise to anyone.

About the Moriquendi: I would like to know more of their take on all this. I suspect they would have a rather different attitude toward the Valar, and toward the Edain. Do they have a favourite Vala? (I suspect most would have at least a respect for Orome). Clearly Morgoth doesn't see them as particularly worthy of ruin, which means they get a bit of the best of both worlds.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 6 2013, 8:42pm


Views: 343
So true Mac, about being seperate from the Song. Half a theory here.


In Reply To
[1. So does this suffering have a purpose?
According to Tolkien, it is all a part of the Plan; I wouldn't attempt to bend his story to my own beliefs - although in my case, not much bending is needed.
The interesting part is that Men seem not to be bound by the Music, and to have a power to shape their destiny for themselves. But once this power is granted to multiple beings, friction (of all kinds) is inevitable, as is suffering.

I find this idea to be critically important. Haven't worked out all (most?) of the details or prettified the concept, so not entirely sure how, but somehow the Firstborn and all the mishaps of early Arda seem to be a test mode, in a way. And that the latitude of Men to make unforeseen decisions and have a fate beyond the bounds of the Song as the Valar understand it ... but NOT past the understanding and foresight of Eru ... might imply that Men will have a large part to play in the Second world, beyond the Ainur, and that they are indeed key players. This may be out on a (creaky?) limb - but is the purpose of the Firstborn to prepare the world for Men, who in return will shape the Second creation phase? As Telain pointed out so excellently the archetypical roles we can assign to the various races indicate Men as the sort of ever growing, ever changing population - their shorter life would contribute to that rapid and adaptive change that they are able to survive. So maybe 'individual' suffering and experience isn't as important, instead the adaptation of the entire race through those experiences? Again I have to believe in a higher purpose in JRRT's mind, considering his own belief set; and that somehow it is optimistic for the souls of Men in the long term.
This is in NO way a complete idea. Just always a feeling I get. Your chapter insights seem a perfect place to theorize on it Mac...SmileAngelic





Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 12:19pm


Views: 326
Just what are Men good for, anyway?

That's an interesting theory, Brethil, that it's more about the education of the collective than the individual to prepare for the next phase of Arda. That makes us individuals feel less important, especially if our suffering is "for the greater good," but to back away from the situation, it would make sense. Certainly in the first Music is was all about collective groups: the Ainur sang as individuals, but only as a united group did their song have any power, and the great themes for Elves and Men didn't single out great individuals (like Earendil, Feanor, etc).

The other bit that would support that is how much learning by trial and error happens in the first ages of the world. The Valar make plenty of mistakes, as do the Elves (except the Vanyar, I suppose). The immortals need to learn things first, so by the Third Age they're much wiser. The Valar decide to send the Wizards to oppose Sauron partly because they don't want to intervene directly anymore, but the Wizards' task is to unite the free peoples (mostly Men as the most numerous race) to defeat Sauron by realizing their potential to do so. Yes, many of them will die in the process, and I won't make light of that, but as a collective, they will realize that they can set the world to rights and don't need the Valar to solve everything for them, preparing the human race to play a larger role in the Second Music and not just be backup singers for the Elves.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 7 2013, 1:37pm


Views: 324
the moriquendi

 
yes.... i've definitely got an interest in the moriquendi... we hear so little of them... nandor, green elves, eol's people.

btw... i've been thinking of the gifts of the calaquendi, moriquendi, the edain....

tolkien makes various comparisons. to simplify, he says that the degree of greater wisdom and skill and power that the eldar have over the edain is of similar degree to that which the calaquendi have over the moriquendi.

when each kindred intermingles with those who have gifts of less stature, it is to the benefit of the lesser.

we may look at the moriquendi as "elves" and that means so much, so much that may be dazzling or awe-inspiring. and they may look that way at the calaquendi.

taking this back to real life -- and suffering -- when we compare ourselves always to those who have more (or the perception of more; more also depends on what you're valuing), we might feel "moriquendi." but to someone in a third world country, we may look "calaquendi" to them.

+many+ have had the experience, suddenly looking at someone else who couldn't walk, lives in a slum, or has competing warlords for neighbors and looking back to themselves... the world opening, seeing more value in what they do have, and the greater ability to choose a path of their own making.

but those who are less fortunate than we are are not cursed with ill-fortune or immobility or murderous neighborhoods because it is their purpose to teach us a lesson. we may glean wisdom, we may glean humility from their suffering, but they are individuals with as much value as we have, so to think of their suffering as somehow engineered to inspire others is distasteful to me.

people suffer. it is. we can do much to prevent it, we can do much to heal it -- and we gain +so+ much by being the caretakers and the healers. we do not even often realize how we are impacted by helping others.

if you've ever had a horrible day, or even been in bad straits, and come across someone in need, and you did something to help them, that made that moment or that world a little better for them, often you may have also experienced a lightening of your own load. no, your problems may not have gone away, but perhaps they became more bearable.

i know tolkien was a devout catholic. and looking at suffering as we're discussing it in this thread, i'm wondering about the value he placed on suffering and martyrdom, in a catholic context.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 2:35pm


Views: 315
Even pity is an act of distancing yourself from someone

I appreciate your comments, Mac, in particular:


Quote
but those who are less fortunate than we are are not cursed with ill-fortune or immobility or murderous neighborhoods because it is their purpose to teach us a lesson. we may glean wisdom, we may glean humility from their suffering, but they are individuals with as much value as we have, so to think of their suffering as somehow engineered to inspire others is distasteful to me.

Personal suffering may have a purpose, but seeing the suffering of others as solely a purpose for yourself to appreciate things is, as you say, rather distasteful in how self-centered it is, even though the intent is good to draw something positive from a negative situation.

I was struck by a TV show where a mother was trying to explain the brutal reality to her daughter with Down's Syndrome that even if people were nice to her, some of them were thinking, "I'm so lucky I'm not like this child or my children aren't like her." That is pity and counting your blessings, but it distances you from the person too, which was the mother's point. I'm not meaning to be morally condemning here or that I'm terrific at dealing with disadvantaged people, just bringing up a nuance I've observed about well-meaning pity.

RE: the Moriquendi. There is some inclination to say that they chose to stay in Middle-earth, so they need to live with the consequences and any suffering that involves. And despite the view of Ulmo, they didn't seem to bloom and prosper like the Calaquendi, so maybe Ulmo was wrong for a change. Did they esteem the Calaquendi, or resent their advantages? Did Men resent the advantages of the Moriquendi? Maybe not. The Edain who entered Beleriand were drawn there by the rumor of the splendor of the Elven kingdoms there. The Edain seem like second-class citizens to me (as Moriquendi seem like second-class Elves) who were happy with their status despite both a racial and class divide. The Easterlings were of a different sort, but they come along much later.


Maciliel
Valinor


May 7 2013, 3:06pm


Views: 311
i get what you're saying... but...

 
... i think "pity" has taken on connotations in recent generations that make it less palatable as a word. it seems to connote being moved by someone's plight, but not being burdened by whatever is burdening that person, and is in the superior position +and+ feels like he/she is in the superior position.

but i think pity/sympathy is necessary. i think it brings us closer to empathy. pity also bridges the divide between "me" and "you." i think some things that come along with it that +sometimes+ +some+ people feel (the superiority) is not really a component of pity, but often rides piggyback. no one in need likes to feel inferior; that's just rubbing salt into the wound.

empathy is wonderful, but not everyone has the same empathetic gift, but perhaps pity/sympathy can be used to develop it.

is it inherently distancing to feel "i'm lucky i'm not unemployed, that person," "i'm lucky i'm not in a wheelchair, like that person"... i don't know. i don't think there's anything inherently wrong with feeling that, as long as that doesn't lead into "i'm employed because i'm special" "i'm not in a wheelchair because i'm special." i think if it never occurred to someone that she was fortunate to have a job or have full use of her extremities, i think, that would be unusual, and strange, and maybe not so healthy.

but we don't really have static states of consciousness like that... someone with the use of her legs could be conversing with someone who didn't, and have a "meta moment," feeling fortunate, and also feeling compassion for the person in the wheelchair, and swing right into forgetting about all that and hanging out, playing pinochle. if you never took a mental step back and compared someone's state with your own, how could you ever feel empathy for that person, really?

this is an interesting line of discussion, thank you.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Valinor


May 7 2013, 3:12pm


Views: 309
pity vs. empathy in tolkien

 
...so "the pity of bilbo," wearing the ring and trying to escape the caves and seeing gollum all bereft... pity or empathy? good thing, or good-thing-with-flaws, or something else?

in the return of the king (film), the moment in which frodo has fallen down in shelob's cave, without sting, without the phial, exhausted, alone... galadriel comes to him in a vision, bends down, extends a hand... pity, or empathy? if pity, is there something less commendable about that moment? is she not feeling all that she ought to?

aragorn's rebuffing of eowyn (again, i'm thinking of the film version) before he enters the paths of the dead. pity? empathy? if it's pity, is it something less worthy?

would +love+ to read some additional examples of what folks think of as pity/empathy in the lord of the rings / sil, and what they think of it.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 3:35pm


Views: 309
Pity and empathy, though personally, I prefer scorn and disgust :)

Bilbo and Gollum: pity

Frodo meeting Gollum in Emyn Muil: empathy

Galadriel in the movie with Frodo: neither. I think that an almost parental intervention, seeing him stumble and almost give up, and encouraging him to recover and go on. Or a coaching moment. Not out of pity, but to give reinforcement and inspiration where it was clearly wounded.

Aragorn and Eowyn: pity

Gandalf pitying Sauron's slaves: empathy, to me. I generally think Gandalf always feels empathy despite the gruff exterior. He even empathizes with the trees at the Hollin Gate that get torn down.

When Aragorn, Lego, and Gimli are tracking Merry & Pip, Gimli says that the thought of them being driven like cattle was grievous to him. A mix of empathy and pity

A Conspiracy Unmasked: the other hobbits have empathy for Frodo and Sam, as little as they know about his burden

Galadriel and Frodo at the Mirror: she feels empathy for him


Maciliel
Valinor


May 7 2013, 3:40pm


Views: 318
perhaps....

 
...i put the cart before the pony... but...

what do you deem is the difference between pity and empathy? and is pity different than sympathy?


cheers ---


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 4:51pm


Views: 301
Pity and ponies

I would equate pity and sympathy, negative connotations aside. I understand them to mean feeling a certain grief for the hardship of others, but not identifying with it or seeing it from that person's point of view. Empathy goes a step further, and you see things from that person's POV and identify with their feelings somewhat. Empathy involves more understanding of the person's plight.

Pity/sympathy: "I feel sorry for that pony struggling to pull that heavy cart while being beaten by its master."
Empathy: "I feel that pony's struggle, the way we all struggle under duress and abuse."

Or for another example. Jeff Dahmer, the guy who killed and ate people, made me feel sorry for him that somehow his life got so twisted and debased that he wound up a total loss to humanity. But I had no empathy.

People who had their legs blown off in the Boston Marathon: I wonder how they view things, will they run again on prosthetics, will they feel safe in public again after random violence like that, how are they dealing with their medical bills, how are their families taking the news, don't they want to leave the hospital and just go home?

Or in Tolkiena: Bilbo pitied Gollum's misery, and that was all. Frodo knew from his own Ring-struggle what Gollum felt, at least partially, so he understood him from the inside out and didn't just pity him on the surface.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 5:52pm


Views: 294
Interesting set of interactions.


In Reply To
Bilbo and Gollum: pity Pity because Gollum is so alien to Bilbo, bit he has that quick glimpse of Gollum's past - the sneaking and living alone in the dark (the enhanced vision of the Ring at work? Or inherent insight?) so I almost think a splash of VERY quick empathy too.

Frodo meeting Gollum in Emyn Muil: empathy This one I am not positive on. I think it's such a mix of pity (removed from Frodo) empathy (in seeing with this extra insight what Gollum's seen) and disgust. Complex.

Galadriel in the movie with Frodo: neither. I think that an almost parental intervention, seeing him stumble and almost give up, and encouraging him to recover and go on. Or a coaching moment. Not out of pity, but to give reinforcement and inspiration where it was clearly wounded. Actually I think there is a whole different dynamic here - Galadriel can surely sense Frodo's pain and flagging spirit from afar, but her reaching out to him has a whole lot of NEED behind it, coming from Galadriel herself. She needs Frodo to get up, to go on, or all is lost, as she only too clearly knows. So its almost a supplication, (portrayed in a physical sense) and the focus of power is shifted from the Wise to the Small.

Aragorn and Eowyn: pity I dunno - I can see a lot of empathy here too, as at the moment Aragorn also loves someone he thinks he can never have.

Gandalf pitying Sauron's slaves: empathy, to me. I generally think Gandalf always feels empathy despite the gruff exterior. He even empathizes with the trees at the Hollin Gate that get torn down. Gandalf also has the length and breadth of vision to remember 'before'; like maybe that time a bunch of the Maiar were hanging out on the grass in Aman under the stars listening to Tull, with a keg of Ainur's Finest... days when Sauron was still Fair and full of potential. So I think he feels not just pity but sadness for what has been corrupted. And I am sure he has quite a feeling of empathy for the lost trees at the Gate - I think that's a strong symbol for any of the Istari (which makes Saruman's conduct especially wicked and a rejection of the Valar.)

When Aragorn, Lego, and Gimli are tracking Merry & Pip, Gimli says that the thought of them being driven like cattle was grievous to him. A mix of empathy and pity I see empathy here, as the thought causes Gimli pain. Pity I see as more external and compartmentalized from you.

A Conspiracy Unmasked: the other hobbits have empathy for Frodo and Sam, as little as they know about his burden I agree here. They still feel for him but just don't have the whole picture yet.

Galadriel and Frodo at the Mirror: she feels empathy for him I would say pity here too, as she knows what he will have to face on the way was the Bearer.


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 5:56pm


Views: 285
Like where you took this


In Reply To
That's an interesting theory, Brethil, that it's more about the education of the collective than the individual to prepare for the next phase of Arda. That makes us individuals feel less important, especially if our suffering is "for the greater good," but to back away from the situation, it would make sense. Certainly in the first Music is was all about collective groups: the Ainur sang as individuals, but only as a united group did their song have any power, and the great themes for Elves and Men didn't single out great individuals (like Earendil, Feanor, etc).
The other bit that would support that is how much learning by trial and error happens in the first ages of the world. The Valar make plenty of mistakes, as do the Elves (except the Vanyar, I suppose). The immortals need to learn things first, so by the Third Age they're much wiser. The Valar decide to send the Wizards to oppose Sauron partly because they don't want to intervene directly anymore, but the Wizards' task is to unite the free peoples (mostly Men as the most numerous race) to defeat Sauron by realizing their potential to do so. Yes, many of them will die in the process, and I won't make light of that, but as a collective, they will realize that they can set the world to rights and don't need the Valar to solve everything for them, preparing the human race to play a larger role in the Second Music and not just be backup singers for the Elves.




Yes, going a step farther maybe it is a change that needs to happen for Men to truly possess the world, to come out from under the hem of the Valar and stand on their own. Its kind of a philosophical switch - because superficially the Sil reads as "oh that was all gorgeous and perfect, and then Men come along and it all slips away..." but maybe the message in here for mortal Men is that its all for them to inherit it and make it the best it can be. And maybe letting the Valar slip out of memory is OK in JRRT's book perhaps, because if the monotheism of Eru persists that can evolve into his Christian beliefs?

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 6:45pm


Views: 288
It's about THEM

I think pity, empathy and sympathy are about some feeling of connection with the sufferer: you are trying on their situation (or parts of it) and imagining how it would feel if it were you. So it's a feeling about their situation.

If you can imagine being in that situation yourself too clearly, it might also generate fear and disgust (as per an old lady's friends who cut her off when she suffers dementia- it's too horrifying for them, because they see that bring them).

Conversely, you can feel pity alongside frustration at someone who has made a bone-headed mistake.

Feelings about oneself - hooray for me, that can't happen to me because I'm too smart/ careful/ pretty/ rich/ powerful... Aren't pity. They are self reassurance. (And possibly vanity and pride). Or they could more innocently be a kind of gratitude and acknowledgement of good fortune

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 7:17pm


Views: 308
Yes, your descriptions are more nuanced and more true to life. //

 


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 9:25pm


Views: 279
The "pity" quote

CuriousG's commented that he could pity a murderer/cannibali without empathising with the man's motives for his crimes. I liked that (and should have said so in my last post, sorry). Maybe that's like Frodos eventual feelings towards the murderous Gollum?
... Which made me want to raise:

Quote
[Frodo, discussing with Gandalf] " 'For now I am really afraid. What am I to do? What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!'

'Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. ...'

....'I am sorry ' said Frodo, 'But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.'
'You have not seen him' Gandalf broke in.."


I like the way that Frodo uses one sense of pity (as in "regrettable") and then Gandalf uses the other sense right back at him.
I like the capitalisation of "Pity" (and "Mercy").
I think Frodo's feeling no pity because his thought (understandably enough) are about himself: he's frightened, and Gollum is one cause of Frodos predicament. He's wishing the predicament away )but is, as I read it, a bit ashamed when Gandalf pulls him up).
Gandalf's comment that Frodo has not seen Gollum is more than foreshadowing I think: because Frodo has not seen Gollum he's thinking of him in the abstract, as a threat and cause of trouble. If he saw him, he might have an opportunity to see Gollum as a person, albiet a ruined one.
Then Frodo, for all that he has none of Gollum's murderousness and sneakiness, can pity him (I also think CuriousG is right, and its picked up well in the film that Frodo can empathise: turning Gollumish himself is a vague possibility, but awful enough to excite the imagination .



Does that help at all?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Erúmer
The Shire


May 7 2013, 11:44pm


Views: 275
Frodo and Gollum--empathy

Hey, jumping in here, but what noWiz said reminded me of an amazing quote in TTT that felt really powerful for me and I think highlighted why Frodo acted towards Gollum the way he did:

"For a moment it appeared to Sam that his master had grown and Smeagol had shrunk: a tall stern shadow, a mighty lord who hid his brightness in grey cloud, and at his feet a whining dog. And yet the two were in some way akin and no valien: they could reach one another's minds."

I think this is saying that Frodo is able to feel, at least a little, of Gollum, and know a little of his soul. To me, empathy is only when you know another person's pain, not just feel their pain as a burden.

There are other great quotes to be had like this, but I'm too time pressed to dig em up right now :p


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 8 2013, 6:46am


Views: 304
Good one Erumer!

That quote makes me wonder whether there is some kind of connection through the Ring, as well as anything else.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 9 2013, 9:20am


Views: 250
Reactions to sad stories

This web article, about why many people enjoy sad films, reminded me of this thread (because we were discussing pity & empathy, not because this thread is sad Smile):

Quote
"A lot goes on in our brains when we watch sad, emotional, or tragic films, and what’s surprising is that a lot of this brain activity actually promotes feelings of happiness, closeness in our relationships, and a sense of community.
...There are a couple of possible explanations for this phenomenon. One is that watching sad films prompts us to get reflective and feel grateful for the ways our lives and relationships are better than those of the characters on screen (“Hey, at least I’m not lying frozen on a board in the ocean while my boyfriend drowns!”). This comparative reflection actually mirrors a therapeutic technique in which patients are asked to imagine someone in a worse situation in order to gain perspective on challenges in their own life...."

"Other research suggests it’s not just about turning inward — ... When we empathize with other people (even fictional ones on screen), our brain releases oxytocin, which engages brain circuits that prompt us to care about others."

http://greatist.com/happiness/why-do-like-sad-movies


Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 10 2013, 9:34pm


Views: 258
Makes me wonder about kids

Great article, noWiz. It makes me question if children are as empathic as adults, or just have different reactions. There are numerous observations that if you put a bunch of kids in an area, and one starts crying out loud, many of the others will start crying too. What's not clear is if they are just upset by the original crier (and wish they'd stop making the commotion), or if they are joining in their grief.

Since we're talking about little kids (age 3-6), they're not all that articulate or reflective about their emotions, so it's hard to ascertain if they're having one reaction or the other, or both, or another one, such as hearing someone else cry reignites a past crying episode of their own. It would be nice to think that empathy is more innate in us Edain than killing each other.