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Flagg
Tol Eressea


Jul 2 2011, 6:18pm

Post #251 of 270 (485 views)
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'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 2 2011, 7:42pm

Post #252 of 270 (488 views)
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For Tolkien, the distinction between the two is no so clear-cut [In reply to] Can't Post

As he wrote in his famous letter to Milton Waldman that is excerpted as a preface to the second edition of the Silmarillion:


Quote
The Machine is our more obvious modern form [of Power] though more closely related to Magic than is usually recognized.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 7:48pm

Post #253 of 270 (486 views)
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Do not forget The Fisher King.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
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Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 7:55pm

Post #254 of 270 (488 views)
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The distinction between Good & Evil lies in the application of power not in the power itself.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



DrDeath153
Lorien

Jul 2 2011, 8:10pm

Post #255 of 270 (505 views)
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Ooooh, now there's a question [In reply to] Can't Post

You must really love the sound of my voice since that's basically an essay subject you're offering up thereLaugh

Flagg has already produced what is arguably the killer quotation here 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic', and there is a lot of magic in Middle-earth that could be mimicked in effect if not form in the modern age. The Palantir if you were inclined to do a 'real world' take would not be too far from a kind of globe formed video-conferencing device or laptop- 'communing in thought' is essentially what we're doing here by virtue of the internet. The Palantiri however are even better than that- they're better than touch screen, they might be voice activated or even mind impulse activated, technology that we in the 21st century haven't yet mastered.

As a rough starting definition i suppose we could say that what marks something as magical rather than technological is that it is imbued with qualities greater than the artifice invested in it. In the case of perhaps the most famous magic item in the entire story- the ring, making a gold ring is a comparatively easy matter, but imbuing it with all the qualities that make it what it is takes something more than mere artifice- a huge investment of Sauron's soul. By comparison, even the foundation of our modern world- the microchip requires artifice to first create it and then to program it. Once programmed of course it can be rapidly built upon and it's capabilities will grow (and it can be mass produced but that doesn't) but from scratch it requires a vast amount of work to generate any kind of effect from what is ultimately a soulless piece of machinery, let alone effects as far reaching as the Ring possesses.

Magical items also do not need any source of power (this is actually a pretty conclusive one)- they do not need to recharge, to be linked up to electric cables, to be left out in the sun or anything to remain as active and effective despite thousands of years of use, misuse, damage, fire, flood and some extremely inadvisable storage locations. While mechanical items if made out of suitable materials would weather that, there are few things of much amazement that are purely mechanical- most from cars to paycheques are now based on the microchip and so enslaved to power via electricity which has only become so widely proliferated to meet the demands for it.

In this magic kind of mirrors the concept of creation and subcreation that Tolkien based many of his key themes around. In order to invest those greater qualities into a seemingly ordinary object, the creator must invest a portion of their own essential being into it's creation, a commodity that cannot be replenished except by divine will and Eru's power of infinite creation, embodied by the secret flame. It is that investment that provides ones artifice with a life of it's own- the x factor, the magic quality. If the creation is good, made with the best intentions then Eru may invest it with that power himself, but as in the case of Morgoth and Sauron, he may decide not to, diminishing those who use their essence to create things of evil and pain, and so leaving them to diminish with each investment (this is all beginning to sound a bit 'Dr Strangelove'- remember Jack D. Ripper? Tongue) while not denying them the power of subcreation (although at their own expense). Something that is magical and not technological therefore has had such an investment and so you could say has 'soul' whereas technology, however clever or even beautiful will remain soulless.

This is a very brief and highly incomplete analysis but i hope answers the question to a certain extent pending the time or desire to venture further down that road. So are ya satisfied?Sly

Dr Death


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 8:20pm

Post #256 of 270 (486 views)
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I am a poly-deistic animist. [In reply to] Can't Post

All things have soul.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
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(This post was edited by Kangi Ska on Jul 2 2011, 8:20pm)


DrDeath153
Lorien

Jul 2 2011, 8:25pm

Post #257 of 270 (482 views)
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Well sod you then [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

Dr Death


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 8:37pm

Post #258 of 270 (482 views)
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By the way your essay was nice and quite interesting. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just view the mechanics of the universe on the spiritual plane as being different from your description. Oh, by the way what do you mean when you say "sod you"? Am I to be instructed, insulted or is it a compliment?

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



Phibbus
Rohan


Jul 2 2011, 8:44pm

Post #259 of 270 (482 views)
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To drift yet further off-topic... [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, someone made a new thread for the Empire content, anyway, and I think this one is far (and interestingly) enough OT to keep going.

Did anyone here read The Last Ringbearer? It very likely was discussed on these boards in my absence, and it was mostly attacked as poor fanfiction. I found it to be an interesting contrarian take on LotR (and a clever espionage novel, to boot.) It was also a very pro-technology response to (at least what I think the author perceives to be) Tolkien's anti-industrial stance.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 8:46pm

Post #260 of 270 (503 views)
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It dissappeared before I could snag a copy.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



Phibbus
Rohan


Jul 2 2011, 9:00pm

Post #261 of 270 (473 views)
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You can still get it... [In reply to] Can't Post

I honestly don't think it is something the Tolkien Estate will go after and try to suppress (heck, they've left Bored of the Rings alone for all these years.


(This post was edited by Silverlode on Jul 3 2011, 12:18am)


squire
Half-elven


Jul 2 2011, 9:27pm

Post #262 of 270 (462 views)
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I can't believe that wasn't an error in the manuscript [In reply to] Can't Post

"Wire worm" (i.e., a click beetle larva) makes no sense. "Were-worm", as it appears in the printed edition, makes tons of sense.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


taekotemple
Grey Havens


Jul 2 2011, 10:50pm

Post #263 of 270 (444 views)
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Ooh, more reading! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that link! I'll have to read that!


Phibbus
Rohan


Jul 2 2011, 11:15pm

Post #264 of 270 (459 views)
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Hmmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've just had a search of the forums and The Last Ringbearer discussed in just one thread, here. Voronwë_the_Faithful took exception to linking to the site where it could be downloaded as a possible violation of copyright law, and Silverlode did remove the link. I would do the same with the link which I posted, however the time limit for editing has expired.

I'd certainly make an argument for the work not being in violation of copyright and worthy of examination, but I'm not certain here would be the place to do so. I'll petition an admin to remove the link.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 3 2011, 2:43am

Post #265 of 270 (437 views)
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It is [In reply to] Can't Post

an insult offered in a light-hearted and jesting manner, possibly indicating that DrDeath has no comeback to your post and so he concedes the point in your favour. While the phrase is blunt, the winkie emoticon saves it.

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 b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 3 2011, 3:18am

Post #266 of 270 (409 views)
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Thanks for the insight.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



DrDeath153
Lorien

Jul 3 2011, 12:59pm

Post #267 of 270 (390 views)
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Yes because without the winky it would be sinful [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a bit of a badman on these boardsAngelic

You're right that the context was humourous though or at least affectionate, but i wasn't conceding a point (as such) merely refusing to rewrite my response to cater to Kangi's newly revealed (and i suspect tongue in cheek) personal philosophy. If taken seriously, Kangi's poly-deistic animism does not change the argument anyway, since Tolkien's own notion such as i have attempted to define is not affected by the personal means of interpretation of the audience, and if he was not (as i strongly suspect) then i was not prepared to run back to the books to purposefully disprove him for the sake of his three-word complication. Tongue

Dr Death


Flagg
Tol Eressea


Jul 3 2011, 2:00pm

Post #268 of 270 (377 views)
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The three films I mentioned are only my favourites [In reply to] Can't Post

But I also like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus very much. I wasn't sure what to make of Jabberwocky, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm and Tideland; there are plenty of good ideas and memorable moments in all of them, but they are stranger and more difficult to watch than the others.


Flagg
Tol Eressea


Jul 3 2011, 2:45pm

Post #269 of 270 (376 views)
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What's the difference, at the end of the day? [In reply to] Can't Post

I can accept that, within Tolkien's universe, there are two modes of creation: mechanical and magical. Mechanical creation involves the crafting of materials through physical prowess or the clever use of tools (Dwarves forging axes and whatnot), while magical creation is the same but also involves the endowment of a portion of the creator's essence (Sauron forging the ring, Fëanor crafting the palantirí and the Silmarils). What I can't understand is this: what's the actual difference between the two? Your analysis implies that everything the Dwarves ever created with their craftsmanship is soulless; they might dispute that, or they might not, but ultimately – what does it matter? Are items made with magic automatically superior due to the 'souls' they contain? Are all items of magical origin 'alive' in some way? Do they all have minds of their own?

You say that magic items don't need to recharge or be left out in the sun, but I'm not convinced; Tolkien was a learned man, and I'm quite sure he was familiar with basic Newtonian physics. If a magical object can be used again and again to perform remarkable feats without ever becoming diminished, some game-breaking glitches would be inevitable. If Saruman can conjure flames from his staff, why doesn't he use it to power a steam turbine and give himself a constant, unlimited supply of energy? I think magical items must draw their strength from somewhere rather than spontaneously generating it; the Arkenstone became quite pallid after being shut away from the sunlight for an extended period of time (though it's unclear whether it's actually imbued with any magical properties), so perhaps some magical artefacts are solar-powered after all. It seems plausible to me that the palantíri, and perhaps other magical tools, draw their power from the person using them. Perhaps the Rings of Power constantly expend energy to hold their wearers in the wraith-world, and drain their soul or life-force to do so, gradually diminishing them to wraith status.

I don't think Eru frequently imparts power or soul into the creations of his creations; the only example I can recall is the making of the Dwarves by Aulë, but that's the exception, not the rule. It seems that the inhabitants of Middle-earth are pretty much on their own in this regard – if they want their creation to have a soul, they have to pour their own into it.

I'm not trying to make any particular point here – just meandering around...


Milknut
Rohan


Jul 4 2011, 8:05am

Post #270 of 270 (530 views)
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They used the word "insalubrious" [In reply to] Can't Post

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