The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
Are we schizophrenic?



Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 10, 4:30am


Views: 648
Are we schizophrenic?

For discussing fiction such as Tolkien?


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 10, 4:42am


Views: 526
I think you'll need

to provide a bit more explanation for your question to get properly relevant replies.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 10, 5:56am


Views: 536
My uncle said...

Normal people past 15 don't read stuff such as Tolkien. That they live on a fantasy world.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 10, 7:07am


Views: 524
"When I became a man I put away childish things..."

Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
- C.S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing For Children"

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jan 10, 11:50am


Views: 503
What's wrong with that? ;)

What do YOU think?

I didn't even start reading Tolkien until I was 19 years old... so I'd be in BIG trouble if I didn't think it was proper to read LotR or Harry Potter or Gone With the Wind...

I understand where your Uncle is coming from, but I feel it's a rather unimaginative outlook. I'm sad for him and what he's missing out on if he truly believes that, because fiction encourages imagination, imho, and helps us grow and tolerate RL demands.

Does he feel the same way about watching movies or television shows that are fictional?

The escapism of reading (or watching) fiction is what keeps me going. RL isn't always what it's cracked up to be ;) By his definition, I've been schizophrenic for 52 years... thank Goodness!!

*high five*




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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 10, 2:02pm


Views: 499
Does your uncle read for pleasure at all?

I suspect not. I'm fifty-eight, myself; my copy of The Silmarillion was given to me by my youngest uncle when I was a teen.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 10, 2:05pm)


Alassëa Eruvande
Valinor


Jan 10, 2:26pm


Views: 498
I didn't read Tolkien until I was 34.

I also think I would not have appreciated his nuance if I read him as a teenager. It's much more than just fantasy.



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 10, 4:26pm


Views: 508
It can be a difference in worldview

This has been an ongoing debate in many circles ever since Tolkien's writings were published.

Personally, I think it's often just a way people see the world. Those who do not need much imagination, and/or a sense of the transcendent to operate in the world do not understand people who do, because they have never deeply experienced things of that nature, and they are still doing fine. But those of us who do would find the absence of such things a lot like losing an arm--or a lung for some of us.

Thinking beyond what the material and practical world offers us I think completes reality. Think of it as a color spectrum: birds can see more colors in the spectrum than we can. If they couldn't experience those colors, they could still see, but something real and important would be missing, especially since by nature they are designed to used and experience those colors. Like the birds, those of us who enjoy fantasy aren't just escaping, but are seeing the world in different ways, which shows us possibilities in the real world that we might not have thought of otherwise.

It also gives us a way to experience beauty and the best qualities in people, as well as encounter evil and the worst qualities in people in a way that can't be easily explored in the real world. But those things do exist in reality, so to see them in a different light in a fantasy book helps us to understand their true nature, and better ways to think and deal with it in our day-to-day lives. And Tolkien's ideas can inspire us in the real world to be better people, and relate to each other more bravely and kindly.

Also, one thing that people don't always realize is that while the Hobbit is a children's book, LOTR is not. It's intended for adults.The themes in it about loyalty and courage and sacrifice; the importance of beauty and freedom, and understanding between races; and even things about military strategy are all very grown up. Much of LOTR is beyond the understanding of children, although it can certainly be enjoyed by older children. But they miss a lot. I certainly did. I tried it at age 11 and had to give up. By age 12, I got more. As an adult, I really started to grasp the deeper themes.



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jan 10, 4:26pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 10, 4:27pm


Views: 495
"Queen Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia"

One of the saddest sentences in all of Lewis, I think.



Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Jan 10, 6:02pm


Views: 489
Tell your uncle I said thanks.

Compliments, even unintended ones, are always appreciated.

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that." - Viggo Mortensen


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 10, 7:25pm


Views: 483
Define "normal"

At first I laughed and wondered if your uncle is confusing Tolkien with Grimm's fairy tales, or even C.S. Lewis. But then I thought about his use of the word "normal." I would be reluctant to call myself normal, knowing I can be quite child-like at times. But I also hold down a job, pay my bills on time, raised 2 kids, finished a degree, etc. Stuff that is pretty "normal," I guess. But then again, I'm a 58 year old woman who likes heavy metal; not something a "normal" woman my age would be into but it hardly means I live in a fantasy world. We don't live in a fantasy world, we just visit it periodically.





Annael
Half-elven


Jan 10, 9:52pm


Views: 465
my answer to that

https://jodybower.com/...is-fantasy-escapism/

Some context: I'm 67, I have three advanced degrees (two master's & a doctorate), I've had a long & successful career as a scientific editor, at one point I owned both a regular home and a vacation home . . . in other words, I've accomplished what is expected of most adults. And I've read fantasy for most of my life. I can tell the difference between fantasy and real life, just like I can tell the difference between a painting and a photograph.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Jan 10, 9:56pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 11, 10:26am


Views: 436
No he doesnt.

He is your average Joe guy, who doesn't like reading.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 11, 2:16pm


Views: 430
That explains a lot.

I've had relatives like that. Just ignore it. Your uncle doesn't know what he's missing.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 11, 2:18pm)


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 12, 3:31am


Views: 397
Wow. *mods up* You really hit the nail on the head

Amazing answer, E.D. I really couldn't put it any better.
For some reason, most of the people I encounter In the finance and accounting world are like Paulo's uncle: they would never consider reading LOTR or The Hobbit, and fall asleep every time they try to watch the movies. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's a right-brain/left-brain thing. That said, I seem to function perfectly well in both the financial and fantasy worlds, so maybe not. Crazy


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"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 12, 6:58pm


Views: 372
Why, thanks! :)

I try to think of reasons that will help me not be mad at the other person. Evil
I suspect it's more of a "do you use both right and left [brain] a lot, or lean more heavily to one side." I'm on the "other" side pretty much--finance and accounting make me break out in hives while my brain shrinks back in my head trying to avoid processing any such thing--although I like logic and philosophy almost as much as creative fiction. My mother blames it on my first grade teacher, but I don't think the poor woman had much of anything to do with it.



Annael
Half-elven


Jan 12, 7:59pm


Views: 362
well said

Reminds me of an atheist friend who finds the world as it is beautiful, inspiring, and all he needs. He's baffled by those of us with a metaphysical bent, and he always will be, because the idea that there is something "more" just doesn't make any sense to him. You can't talk someone into feeling something they've never experienced.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 12, 8:40pm


Views: 354
Exactly.

Although I can't help but think it is sad. I'm sad I can't see those colors that birds can.
I actually learned more about understanding other points of view and accepting the reality of those views for the people having them right here on these boards, more than anywhere else in my life.

I think the frustration for us here, is that those who don't experience that "more" often think we are imagining, or aren't really feeling and experiencing the things that we are.



Greenwood Hobbit
Grey Havens


Jan 12, 9:26pm


Views: 344
I don't live in a fantasy world -

though I do like to visit from time to time! I first met Tolkien's work in my early 30s and the reality of my life at that time made a little fantasy very welcome, so I think it has a role in helping people to stay grounded and deal with real life whilst letting their spirits fly free and explore different existences. I feel a bit sorry for the uncle concerned, that he has not been able to experience that. However, Tolkien - or any other fantasy writer for that matter - will not necessarily appeal to everyone. We're all different. Perhaps the uncle's happy as he is, which is fair enough. I respect his right not to like the genre, but I would like to think that he would respect the right of others to read what they find fulfilling (as long as it's legal!) and not automatically dismiss it and them. I wonder if he's ever tried reading any?


sherlock
Gondor


Jan 13, 11:56am


Views: 298
I remember being

a teenager and being proud that I was so “grown up”. Now that I’m an old lady I’m proud to be childish.


sherlock
Gondor


Jan 13, 12:02pm


Views: 299
I worked in

Finance but now I’m retired and don’t have to put up with those people any more.


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 13, 5:15pm


Views: 287
Yeah

I don't miss working with engineers. I remember once using a metaphor to explain to my engineering-background boss about something, and at the end of it he said "I didn't understand any of that." He was a smart guy, just completely literal. He didn't read fiction either.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 13, 5:29pm


Views: 282
"Why don't they just say that?!"

You reminded me of some cinema-loving friends trying to explain a movie to their literal-minded friend, saying things like, "On the surface it was just about life in a small town, but deep down it showed how romance can start out blissfully but lead to shattered lives and regret." They thought they were being eloquent, but their friend was exasperated and shot back with my subject line.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 13, 6:09pm


Views: 276
Wonderfully articulate insight, Ethel

And since I'm skipping around in Letters, I found this from Tolkien in #73:


Quote
As for what to try and write: I don’t know. I tried a diary with portraits (some scathing some comic some commendatory) of persons and events seen; but I found it was not my line. So I took to ‘escapism’: or really transforming experience into another form and symbol with Morgoth and Orcs and the Eldalie (representing beauty and grace of life and artefact) and so on; and it has stood me in good stead in many hard years since and I still draw on the conceptions then hammered out.



Meneldor
Valinor


Jan 13, 7:06pm


Views: 269
There are engineers, but then, there are engineers.

The first D&D group I played with, all 4 of us were engineering majors. And that's probably the most imaginative and creative group I ever played with. Of course, all of us knew that JRRT was a genius, too.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 13, 8:57pm


Views: 180
Yep

I'd rather be "natural" than "normal". Less ulcers that way.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 13, 11:18pm


Views: 161
Well, once in awhile

I manage to get my thoughts untangled enough to communicate, without writing for pagesCrazyLaugh.

I love that comment in the letter, about "transforming experience into another form and symbol." In a way, that's a whole new insight. Makes me think of archetypes (not that I'm always sure just what those are . . .).



Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 15, 9:41pm


Views: 138
Here, here!

Wink





Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 15, 9:47pm


Views: 139
I was going to say

that engineering is a creative endeavor, one that requires people to use imagination and think "outside the box." My daughter is a chemical engineering major hoping to do medical research. But she loves to read fantasy (when she has the time, LOL!) and originally wanted to major in music theater! I'm glad she changed her mind, not just because of job prospects but because she's truly intelligent and could someday find cures for genetic disorders (her goal). Yeah, I'm a proud mom!Smile





Annael
Half-elven


Wed, 4:43pm


Views: 126
they are problem-solvers for sure

but honestly, in a career spent working with physicians, PhD scientists in every field, and engineers . . . I found the engineers the most difficult to work with. One made me SHOW him, in one or the other of the shelf of grammar and usage authorities I had, why I had made EVERY SINGLE EDIT I ever made to any of his documents. After three years, when he had not been able to catch me out a single time, I asked if he was ever going to trust that I knew my job. "No," he said.

I also got treated as an idiot for not knowing everything they did. They tended to suffer from what is called the "Curse of Knowledge," which means that you don't remember that 1. you had to be taught something and 2. how hard it was for you to learn it, and instead assume "everybody knows that." As a technical editor I had to deal with new terminology and ideas constantly. If I asked anyone else "so what's a ____?" they would cheerfully say, "Oh! It looks like this, and it does that." Doctors especially would drop everything to teach me about something, but then, they have to do that with patients every day. But engineers . . . would look at me like I'd crawled out from under a rock where I'd been living in utter darkness and ignorance because I didn't know what a piezometer was the first time I read the word. I'd explain that I had to know because the likely reader of their reports would be an executive of the business that had hired our firm, who also was not an engineer, so I needed to word things so that THEY did not feel like an idiot for not knowing something, but this only got a shrug.

So sorry, I'm sure there are exceptions to my experience, but . . . that's my experience.

However, my least-favorite client is a marketing executive totally in love with the new jargon he just made up that he wants to make into the buzzword of the day, but that MEANS NOTHING TO ANYONE ELSE.

Anyway, I'm not sure being creative is the same thing as having the kind of mind that works in metaphors. Yes, engineers figure out how things work and then imagine making something that works to deliver a new result . . . but I don't think that means seeing a thing as being like something completely different - especially seeing a tangible thing or process as being LIKE an intangible thing.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Wed, 4:58pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Thu, 12:44am


Views: 94
Interesting! I had always thought

that making unusual connections and parallels between (often disparate) things was the hallmark of a creative mind. Maybe it is. Maybe there is an additional difference between minds/personalities: "practical" and/or "material-world oriented" vs. "open to metaphor, fantasy, imaginative reality, and perhaps the spiritual." Perhaps creativity is mistakenly thought to always have elements of the second set operating, when that may not be the case at all.

I can imagine creativity taking place in "practical" settings like engineering or fiance, etc. that don't require any of the second set to take place.
I'm just wondering if there's really a 4-way divide rather than the 2 we've been considering here: practical reality oriented minds, practical reality oriented creative minds, minds open to realities or at least metaphors beyond the physical and practical while not being particularly creative in their approach to life, and minds open to "other realities" who are also creative.
That last group, perhaps, would be the people we hear about in fields usually thought of as creative: folks like Rembrandt and Monet and Dante and Tolkien.



Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Sat, 3:15am


Views: 59
I might want to add...

that my uncle said Tolkien is ''useless culture'' or something like that. I.e. that it is ''knowledge'' that is good for nothing. What do you think of that?

P.S.: He refers to LOTR as ''the Sméagol story''. Laugh


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Sat, 3:16am)


Lissuin
Valinor


Sat, 4:29am


Views: 50
Different strokes for different folks.

Human cultures have been telling stories about how to be good humans and deal with life's difficulties since we could speak to one another. Thank goodness there has been more than one way to get those points across because everyone seems to hear and accept that teaching differently. Religion, poetry, comic books, theatre, fairy tales, science fiction, fortune cookies...I say whatever it takes for someone to hear it has to be a good thing. Tolkien's sturdy Hobbits have inspired me not to give up more than once in my life. So, no, not useless at all. I expect your uncle just got his lessons from different sources.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sat, 2:17pm


Views: 39
Since you ask...


In Reply To
that my uncle said Tolkien is ''useless culture'' or something like that. I.e. that it is ''knowledge'' that is good for nothing. What do you think of that?

P.S.: He refers to LOTR as ''the Sméagol story''. Laugh


...I say that your uncle does not understand how fiction can speak truths about the human condition that cannot be conveyed by dry statistics and recitation of facts. It doesn't matter if it is fantasy, science fiction, mystery or mainstream as long as it is insightful and well-written. Good fiction is not automatically escapist, or at least not just escapist.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sat, 2:27pm)


squire
Half-elven


Sat, 2:25pm


Views: 39
How is it that someone who doesn't read and thinks LotR is useless knows that Gollum's real name is Smeagol?

I guess I'm a little confused as to who your uncle actually is.



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Darkstone
Immortal


Sat, 4:16pm


Views: 38
Hmmmm....

"Nutzlose Kultur". Who else have I heard using that term....

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.