Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Letter #131 Discussion: Of Elves and Men
First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All

Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 28 2013, 4:33pm

Post #101 of 109 (104 views)
Shortcut
Bucket lists [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
There is a thread running through all of them that, to me, says not to worry so much about death that you put off living. Since Man has a finite lifespan, they know how much time they have and know "how much they can fit in." I thought of it as a Bucket List. The Elves would have to have had a limitless bucket list to keep them occupied and relevant in their own lives. They fill it with art - a kind of childlike imitation of The Music - and exist in a kind of holding pattern.

Oooh, that's something else, isn't it. The journey where you get somewhere and the the journey where the destination is not really defined. Man's journey ends in death; the Elves end in... well, sorta fading... and kinda that's the end but... well... not really, then they can go back West but it's just not the same! The Elves up wandering through life and some of them become lost because they are not really headed... anywhere.

Love is the ultimate check mark on a bucket list because it sticks with you even after you make the check. It also gives the added benefit of a companion along the way in this journey called life and frees an individual from thinking of self only. Power by nature is not shared, but love is shared. It is the "other" path that leads more often to acceptance of the life given. (As a Pippen-ish aside: I've always wondered what Elrond would have been like if Celbrian had lived.)

Power gives purpose to a life that has no purpose. And I agree, it gives those who will not accept the end point something to which to cling. In doing so, Man becomes more elven-like, they add things to their bucket list (Or put unattainable things on that list) so they can say "not done yet!" because they will not accept their fate. The "gift" is shunned - the ultimate smack in the face of Eru - and they "fall." Their endpoint is taken away from them and they fade into nothing, lacking even the prospect of that last trip to the West.




Another insight into how the weariness can build over time, essential to the nature of Immortality: think of how a young Elf would feel, filled with energy and desire to interact and create. And as ages draw on, the nature of watching repeated change, destruction and (with the advent of Men, death) the 'bucket list' of desired things to do would be either exhausted or lose its appeal...a sort of emotional entropy.

And the Men's Incredible Expanding Bucket List: like the Kings of Numenor, not giving up power and action, expanding The List as it were and holding onto their time: Elf like in their entropy? Great comparison: and the weariness comes with it.

Your Elrond question...I wonder what happens when he gets to the Blessed Realm and has to tell her that Arwen isn't coming; and that whatever goodbye they exchanged before she departed (with the expectation of seeing each other again, I believe) was the final goodbye. Ouch.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 28 2013, 5:22pm

Post #102 of 109 (104 views)
Shortcut
Ties in to a very important question [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote

Love vs Power. Love allowed Aragorn to not fear death. Love allowed him to have faith and freed him from time. The Ringwraiths wanted power because they were afraid of death. They mark time and are incapable of love. A curse indeed - and their fear of death so well played by Sauron.

My 'important' question relates to this idea: I wonder here if *this* is the reason JRRT felt that Sauron was the closest thing to Absolute Evil in his tales - more so than Morgoth? Destroying the Gift, using Fear to dominate and pervert the Gift? Is this the act which damns him more than Morgoth (whose creation of the Orcs was his own personal 'worst')?

In # 183 he says about Sauron: "In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there I such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think at any rate and 'rational being' is wholly evil. Satan fell. In my myth Morgoth fell before Creation of the physical world. In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to wholly evil as possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit* [Of the same kind as Gandalf and Saruman, but of a far higher order.] In The Lord of the Rings the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honor...Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants."


Is the creating of the One Ring and its influence over the Nine, the perversion of the Gift and the transmuting of himself into the god-like (utterly rejecting his inner divinity, and his intimate knowledge of it) power of controlling that Gift the rationale for this statement perhaps?

Quote

I wonder if mortality allows humans to love more deeply (as in Wagner's Ring) and therefor increases their faith over what the elves are capable of. The fate of the elves is tragic. In the end they will never be reunited with the source of love whereas humans can. Theirs is a reflected love. Love this insight. The closest the Elves will get in Arda is fulfilling their mandate (subcreatively, which by definition advances them *further* from the initial Divine state of the physical world) or keeping the company of the Valar once the choice to leave is made.

Quote

It is late so I might not be making any sense at all. The concept is rather hard to put into words at the best of times which is why I have to use so many quotes that may appear irrelevant but after being read closely convey the idea. No you are good! Still making perfect sense! Though I agree, sometimes the concepts and feelings one gets while reading both the writers' quotes we read, plus the input of the Fellowship (of the Room) is like a will-o-wisp: seen peripherally but hard to grasp and capture in words!


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








(This post was edited by Brethil on Sep 28 2013, 5:24pm)


Terazed
Bree

Sep 28 2013, 7:57pm

Post #103 of 109 (95 views)
Shortcut
The God-King: What about Neitzsche? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
My 'important' question relates to this idea: I wonder here if *this* is the reason JRRT felt that Sauron was the closest thing to Absolute Evil in his tales - more so than Morgoth? Destroying the Gift, using Fear to dominate and pervert the Gift? Is this the act which damns him more than Morgoth (whose creation of the Orcs was his own personal 'worst')?

In # 183 he says about Sauron: "In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there I such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think at any rate and 'rational being' is wholly evil. Satan fell. In my myth Morgoth fell before Creation of the physical world. In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to wholly evil as possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit* [Of the same kind as Gandalf and Saruman, but of a far higher order.] In The Lord of the Rings the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honor...Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants."


Is the creating of the One Ring and its influence over the Nine, the perversion of the Gift and the transmuting of himself into the god-like (utterly rejecting his inner divinity, and his intimate knowledge of it) power of controlling that Gift the rationale for this statement perhaps?


Perhaps a discussion of Nietzsche might not go amiss right here. Nietzsche started off as a classical philologist and a disciple of Schopenhauer but when he set out to write his own philosophy he broke with that tradition. Nietzsche decided that the noumenal did not exist and that the phenomenal world was all there was. "God is dead, we have killed him you and I. " He saw that if this was the case there was nothing to prevent the world from slipping into nihilism. He set out to create a way of living that would prevent the human race from falling into nihilism.

In reality Nietzsche's concept of the superman is a rehashing of Aristotle's old philosophy of the good man. Nietzsche thought for one thing that the only possible way to live one's life was to believe that they would be living the same exact life over and over again for all eternity. It sounds like the very definition of serial existence. Nietzsche came up with the idea of Will to Power. He conceived of a person living as if he were a superman. That person should not feel compassion for the suffering of the mass herd of humanity for that was the way to lead society into nihilism. Instead he thought a person should strike out from the herd and lead by example. In this way a newer and better future could be created. It was a utopian and idealistic concept typical of time but history shows that how Hitler conceived of himself as that superman and that lack of compassion for the herd lead to some of the darkest days in human history.

So in answer to your question Sauron is the more evil not just because he knew how to play into men's fear of death. He also taught that there was no noumenal world (God) above the phenomenal human world to aspire to. He struck down compassionate love as the cornerstone of society and marked it out as weakness and not strength. In doing so he brought out the worst in man rather then the best. Again it is a question of true immortality vs serial existence.


Lightfoot
Rivendell


Sep 29 2013, 12:50am

Post #104 of 109 (90 views)
Shortcut
I think the elves might have stayed put if [In reply to] Can't Post

Melkor had never aroused Feanor and his sons. Some of the elves might have journeyed out of Valinor but not the mass exodus that they experienced. And if they never left Valinor I think that they would have stayed content and would not have faded. But what would the men have been like with out the elves migrating to Middle Earth?

Faithful servant yet master's bane,
Lightfoot's foal, swift Snowmane



Lightfoot
Rivendell


Sep 29 2013, 1:00am

Post #105 of 109 (96 views)
Shortcut
Elvish civil war! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Then you have the Noldo in Valinor that never left. How would they greet the hard working Moriquendi? Would they be estranged, the Noldo having been puffed up an proud, like Roman Plebians? Would there be questions like "Why did WE have to do ALL the work? Could this have started another conflict?

Too many questions.....

I can totally see elvish society falling apart over this!

Faithful servant yet master's bane,
Lightfoot's foal, swift Snowmane



Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 29 2013, 1:24am

Post #106 of 109 (76 views)
Shortcut
The Moriquendi as Men's teachers... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Melkor had never aroused Feanor and his sons. Some of the elves might have journeyed out of Valinor but not the mass exodus that they experienced. And if they never left Valinor I think that they would have stayed content and would not have faded. But what would the men have been like with out the elves migrating to Middle Earth?




Very good question Lightfoot - I suppose we would have had the Moriquendi as the source of knowledge and higher wisdom. Which would still have been much to learn about the Earth...but I wonder if that 'strand of blood' that enriches Men's art and poetry, as JRRT saw it, would have been absent without the returned Noldor.

The union of Elf and Maiar would have still happened...but without Nargothrond and Gondolin I don't think we may have had Earendil born at all. And I wonder if the Noldor had stayed with the Valar, when they would have turned their attention back to Arda...

In Arda itself, maybe it would be too late, and Men would have been (mostly, hopefully not all) overcome by Morgoth by then?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 29 2013, 2:12am

Post #107 of 109 (73 views)
Shortcut
Another great tie in [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
My 'important' question relates to this idea: I wonder here if *this* is the reason JRRT felt that Sauron was the closest thing to Absolute Evil in his tales - more so than Morgoth? Destroying the Gift, using Fear to dominate and pervert the Gift? Is this the act which damns him more than Morgoth (whose creation of the Orcs was his own personal 'worst')?

In # 183 he says about Sauron: "In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there I such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think at any rate and 'rational being' is wholly evil. Satan fell. In my myth Morgoth fell before Creation of the physical world. In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to wholly evil as possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit* [Of the same kind as Gandalf and Saruman, but of a far higher order.] In The Lord of the Rings the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honor...Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants."


Is the creating of the One Ring and its influence over the Nine, the perversion of the Gift and the transmuting of himself into the god-like (utterly rejecting his inner divinity, and his intimate knowledge of it) power of controlling that Gift the rationale for this statement perhaps?


Perhaps a discussion of Nietzsche might not go amiss right here. Nietzsche started off as a classical philologist and a disciple of Schopenhauer but when he set out to write his own philosophy he broke with that tradition. Nietzsche decided that the noumenal did not exist and that the phenomenal world was all there was. "God is dead, we have killed him you and I. " He saw that if this was the case there was nothing to prevent the world from slipping into nihilism. He set out to create a way of living that would prevent the human race from falling into nihilism.

In reality Nietzsche's concept of the superman is a rehashing of Aristotle's old philosophy of the good man. Nietzsche thought for one thing that the only possible way to live one's life was to believe that they would be living the same exact life over and over again for all eternity. It sounds like the very definition of serial existence. Nietzsche came up with the idea of Will to Power. He conceived of a person living as if he were a superman. That person should not feel compassion for the suffering of the mass herd of humanity for that was the way to lead society into nihilism. Instead he thought a person should strike out from the herd and lead by example. In this way a newer and better future could be created. It was a utopian and idealistic concept typical of time but history shows that how Hitler conceived of himself as that superman and that lack of compassion for the herd lead to some of the darkest days in human history.

So in answer to your question Sauron is the more evil not just because he knew how to play into men's fear of death. He also taught that there was no noumenal world (God) above the phenomenal human world to aspire to. He struck down compassionate love as the cornerstone of society and marked it out as weakness and not strength. In doing so he brought out the worst in man rather then the best. Again it is a question of true immortality vs serial existence.


All excellent points. And to someone as strong and devoted in his faith as JRRT was, the slaying of God and its effect on humanity would be quite morally repugnant (as well as the loss of the noumenal concept and that spiritual impact). Thus if we can equate Sauron with this sort of ideology his classification as closest to Absolute Evil does feel quite right. This is another great parallel.

If I remember correctly, I *thought* Nietzsche thought that the drive of faith toward 'truth' is what would reveal religion to be an intellectual construct. And I can recall reading that JRRT felt that the current living Church was like a living tree, should be enjoyed as such. That digging into the past for the primitive (now absorbed) seed OR trying to 'bring up to date' faith in a non-organic way could both damage faith. Perhaps that is his acknowledgement of the dangers of nihilism - the complete intellectualization of faith?

This fits perfectly with the idea of Sauron's ultimate failing.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








(This post was edited by Brethil on Sep 29 2013, 2:15am)


Terazed
Bree

Sep 29 2013, 4:43am

Post #108 of 109 (59 views)
Shortcut
Religious truth and the enlightenment [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
All excellent points. And to someone as strong and devoted in his faith as JRRT was, the slaying of God and its effect on humanity would be quite morally repugnant (as well as the loss of the noumenal concept and that spiritual impact). Thus if we can equate Sauron with this sort of ideology his classification as closest to Absolute Evil does feel quite right. This is another great parallel.


Slaying God is a bit of rhetoric on Nietzsche's part. What he is saying is that reason has made God obsolete. Nietzsche's point is that if reason tell us that God/religion is not real humankind has to make a complete reappraisal of it's ethics and morals in order to not to fall apart. Still it would horrify Tolkien the same.


Quote
If I remember correctly, I *thought* Nietzsche thought that the drive of faith toward 'truth' is what would reveal religion to be an intellectual construct.


Pretty much all modern philosophers since the enlightenment, even deeply religious ones, have had to concede that you can not use reason to drive faith towards truth. The whole point of Kant's concept on noumenon was that concepts such as God were beyond where reason could go. In a positive sense it keeps science from destroying religion, but in a negative sense there is no way to find "truth" in religion by the use of reason. Even Kierkegaard would say you have to take a leap of faith in accepting religion. The twentieth century analytic philosophers that have dominated Anglophile philosophy would say that religion lies beyond what language is capable of doing. Therefore all discussions of religious truth would be considered nonsensical at least as far as philosophers are concerned. The more open minded philosophers basically have accepted that there is a limit to where human knowledge can reach and that there are things that are outside of human knowledge that we can never know as true. One can only take a leap of faith or not. The more closed minded philosophers would say that what is beyond human knowledge can not exist for us at all.

In regards to religion the tenor of the romantic movement was that religion should be felt not reasoned hence the emphasis I place on love allowing faith. They were concerned that science and reason would be considered the entirety of reality and the that would destroy an essential part of what being human was all about. Many of them may not have been religious in any conventional way but they did understand that there had to be room to be spiritual.


Quote
And I can recall reading that JRRT felt that the current living Church was like a living tree, should be enjoyed as such. That digging into the past for the primitive (now absorbed) seed OR trying to 'bring up to date' faith in a non-organic way could both damage faith. Perhaps that is his acknowledgement of the dangers of nihilism - the complete intellectualization of faith?


Again in the modern world the "intellectualization of faith" would be the rationalization of faith to be untrue and thus not needed. Faith is to be felt not rationalized at least as far as philosophy goes.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 30 2013, 12:36am

Post #109 of 109 (66 views)
Shortcut
Another great addition [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Terazed for another thoughtful post! A lot to consider in here.

Interesting circle we have come philosophically - from discussing love out side of time *and* Sauron's ultimate failure, we arrive again at the state of the noumenal... AngelicSmile

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!







First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.