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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM Essay "The Often Maligned God of Arda: How Eru is the Ultimate Hero of Middle Earth" by Rangerfromthenorth
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TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Nov 12 2013, 2:55pm

Post #1 of 69 (788 views)
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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM Essay "The Often Maligned God of Arda: How Eru is the Ultimate Hero of Middle Earth" by Rangerfromthenorth Can't Post


Welcome to November 2013 TORn Amateur Symposium, the second TAS!

We are very pleased to present the next essay for TAS2:



"The Often Maligned God of Arda: How Eru is the Ultimate Hero of Middle Earth"

Abstract:


In this paper I will explore the complex topic of Eru's providence and sovereignty in Arda. I have often run into Tolkien fans who either misunderstand Eru or some who even suggest that he is a terrible God. I believe they think this way because they are frustrated not with Eru but with God in the real world. This of course is a testament to how Tolkien's work is so excellently crafted that it naturally connects to our world. The misconceptions of fans stem from a failing to realize that how Tolkien conceived of God (from a Christian and Catholic perspective) greatly impacts how he portrays Eru. Any analysis of Eru must start with this reality This paper is not about rehashing the same tired arguments about Christianity and Tolkien, rather, this paper will look specifically at the providence of Eru in light of Tolkien's views and how, ultimately, Eru is the true hero of Middle Earth. Without Eru, evil would have never been defeated and we would have been robbed of the immense joy of reading the many chapters of Middle Earth history. I will examine several instances, starting with the creation account, showing that Eru is not detached but is working out his perfect plan as found in the Great Music of the Ainulindale.




To view the essay, please click on the link above.

Our authors have written essays and analyses that are concerned, in some way, with the legendarium of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. These essays may be philosophic opinions, scientific theories, or analytical approaches to understanding or highlighting some facet of Tolkien's writings and world. These pieces are written with the goal of amateur scholarship at their core - thus inspiring our Symposium title. Authors may choose to include citations or footnotes, but they are by no means required. Keeping in mind the dual spirit of enjoyment and inquiry that we believe in (as much as we value cheer and song), and which is of paramount important to both the TAS team and our authors, we fully encourage discussion of the essays presented.We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy posting it. The TAS is open for discussion, and any comments, questions or thought you wish to share about this essay can be posted in this response to this thread.

We have quite a full schedule of essays - essays will posted approximately every other day. The full schedule can be found
here.

So please, go forth and enjoy all of the works we have posted for this 2013 November Session. The entire TAS Team, (Elaen32, DanielLB and Brethil), is both delighted and proud to present the essays our TAS members have crafted, relating their interests and skills to the world of JRRT that we all love; a world most intricately crafted, and one that "takes hold of us, and never let's go."




(This post was edited by TORn Amateur Symposium on Nov 12 2013, 3:02pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 12 2013, 3:46pm

Post #2 of 69 (321 views)
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Great piece Ranger! [In reply to] Can't Post

You bring up so much of the turning points of the tales, and particularly I like how Eru chooses to intervene in Middle-earth through sending Gandalf back. In letters. JRRT writes that Gandalf's choice on the bridge was a personal sacrifice, an abdication of all his hopes in defeating Sauron - a self sacrifice of a being who had the vision to know the scope of the consequences.

Perhaps that choice in itself shows Eru's nature? That this was the being sent back, and given charge of leading the way. Eru did not choose based on 'power' and 'strength': but it is the wisdom and humility of Gandalf/Olorin is what Eru singles out? The beauty being, as it were, in the eye of the beholder.

I really enjoy too how you delineated the Third Theme, and the Children being the answer to evil. A deep and hopeful optimism on the value of men in there which is part of what I love operating within all the legendarium.

And so much turns on one little Hobbit finding the Ring, doesn't it?

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!





elaen32
Gondor


Nov 12 2013, 4:34pm

Post #3 of 69 (310 views)
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A very thought-provoking essay Ranger.... [In reply to] Can't Post

The concept of evil ultimately paving the way for good relates to the Christian idea "from out of darkness, there came light" and that, as Gandalf says "is a comforting thought". And only God/Eru can see all ends.

One issue concerning the Music- were the Ainur, minus Melkor, singing in unison or harmony? I'm not being trite here, but, symbolically, harmony would make more sense. Unison implies them all singing the same tune, which would make for a rather monochrome world and they would all know the whole of the Music if it was the same part for each of them. If they are singing in harmony- each individual Ainur singing their own part, but in concordance with Eru, this would produce a more varied and balanced creation. As with a choir, each Ainur, or group Ainur, would only know their own part, which made up the whole. The whole, of course, only being known to Eru


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!



rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 12 2013, 4:38pm

Post #4 of 69 (310 views)
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you are quite right... [In reply to] Can't Post

Unison was a poor choice, but I was trying to communicate exactly what you are referring to, that they are in harmony, singing their correct parts together as one. Unison in regards that they were singing it together but alas, it could have been worded better.

Not all those who wander are lost


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 12 2013, 4:40pm

Post #5 of 69 (313 views)
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I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph: [In reply to] Can't Post


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Tolkien wants us to look forward with great hope and anticipation to when we shall see the beauty of God’s perfect plan in its full and completed glory. The sovereignty of God in no way lessens our responsibility to actively strive against evil as we see so many of our favorite heroes do in the history of Arda.


I think from the start, Eru allowed the evil to remain (in some shape and form) in the world so that people should cherish the importance of good. Without the presence of evil there is no value of good. Everything, after all, was deliberate in Eru's design.



elaen32
Gondor


Nov 12 2013, 4:42pm

Post #6 of 69 (306 views)
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Nah, it wasn;t a criticism... [In reply to] Can't Post

I genuinely couldn't remember how Tolkien described the Music, but harmony seemed to make more sense to meSmileSmile

Really enjoyed your essay and the way you structured it


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!



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 12 2013, 6:41pm

Post #7 of 69 (299 views)
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best of possible worlds, redshirts, and free will [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice article RftN

I imagine the Eru-is-rubbish argument goes:
  • Eru is mean to be both omnipotent and benevolent
  • Therefore he ought to create the best possible of all worlds
  • But whether Arda is the best possible of all worlds is debatable - clearly not everyone is happy all of the time; there is plenty of mayhem, suffering, violent death, and missing second breakfast.

I suppose a possible counter-argument here is that Arda is the best possible of all worlds globally, and that includes some local strife:
For example - rough on Hama getting killed at Helms Deep and then posthumously and dishonorably dismembered. But globally, tit's good for that to happen because its so shocking that Theoden remembers it at a key moment when he's trying to resist the spell of Saruman's voice. Thereby, arguably, Hama's death is a necessary part of Theoden not compromising with Saruman: who knows what might have happend then. (Please don't try this argument on Mrs Hama please though: she's still finding that trade-off a little hard to bear)

Or a more general example - the world is better containing the evil of Morgoth or Sauron, because that way it can contain the heroism on Luthien and Beren, Frodo and Sam, and so on. In some way, the good more than cancels out the bad

Hmm - I think it becomes a matter of faith - whether Middle-earth is optimally happy is only realistically known to Eru. He has to mark his own homework.

Parenthetically - This line of thinking causes me to note that Tolkien has few "redshirts" (minor characters introduced solely so that their death can add excitement or drama or tragedy). We understand that the orcs are much give to massacre, but usually names characters seem to die for a reason. The difficult case I've thought of is Deagol - he just seems to have been in the way. What's with Deagol, Eru?

Also relevant, I think is the problem of free will. Eru seems to like this - at the point where Melkor starts to improvise in the Music, Eru (omnipotent) has the option of blowing him to smithereens. Or presumably, blow everyone to smithereens and start over with a more biddable set of singers. But he doesn't (or he can't - these are his thoughts and he's having trouble controlling them? Know the problem!)

So either:
He wants Melkor to be evil - evil Melkor is part of Eru's plan. This has an odd consequence_ is it then Melkor's fault that he's evil? Isn't he just doing Eru's will then? Extending that argument would seem to absolve everyone from praise or blame - they're merely Eru's puppets; can't help being brave, cowardly, evil, good, whatever.
Or:
Eru prefers a world in which free will is possible, even though this makes evil almost inevitable (because beings with free will will sometime use it to be lazy, cruel, small-minded, selfish etc.: If they can't make those choices, they don't really have free will. So Smeagol chooses to murder Deagol because Smeagol has free will, and that has to be tough on Deagol...

Free will does seem very important in Tolkien's works - for example, people seem to go out of the way NOT to compel Frodo to take the Ring to Mordor, even though its pretty clear how important it is that he does so. Compelling other beings to do things seems to be the express route to evil, in Tolkien's view.

So does that make Eru a voluntarily-restrained omnipotent god, do you think? He's calculated that the world is better with free will, despite the mayhem that causes? So he urges and nudges, rather than weighing in to fix everything?

Again I think it becomes a matter of faith - whether Middle-earth is optimally happy is only realistically known to Eru.

Hmm - at this point, as a father figure myself, I should go and encourage (hopefully not compel) my son to do his homework: life with homework in it does not seem the best possible of worlds to him, but I believe I see a wider pattern in which it is necessary....

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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


FaramirFan
The Shire

Nov 12 2013, 7:19pm

Post #8 of 69 (290 views)
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Free Will [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a quick point - free will is paramount. It completely dominates, precluding any discussion of "best of all possible worlds". And predestination is right out for that reason also.

Another comment, the point about Gandalf's encounter with the Balrog being a personal sacrifice, from one of Tolkien's letters, is also key. It means that Gandalf is a free actor. (and by extension other Maia or possible Maia, ie, Eagles)
edit: in my opinion. Smile


(This post was edited by FaramirFan on Nov 12 2013, 7:20pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 12 2013, 7:29pm

Post #9 of 69 (284 views)
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The return on "Prophecies with Wiggle Room"! [In reply to] Can't Post

"Prophecies with Wiggle Room" (a phrase of Brethil's I think) was an idea we discussed during the last Silmarillion read through. It might allow both predestination/prophecy and free will


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I was recently reading a possible philosophical solution, in Grant Sterling's essay, The Consolation of Bilbo. (It appears in a very interesting book, "The Hobbit and Philosophy" Ed. Bassham and Bronson, pub. Wiley-Blackwell.) it seems to me that it could work - Id be interested to hear what others think.

It's really a version of Brethil's idea about "prophecies with wiggle room". Here's how I understand the idea:

We are used to a world where there is one settled past. Our actions now - which appear to us to be based on our free will, and chance, and other factors - contribute to the one future we go on to experience. But, the argument runs, Eru exists outside time, and could have a complete view of the present and of all possible futures that can arise from it. I find it a bit hard to imagine this: it helps me to imagine a control room with lots of monitors on which all aspects of the present and all possible futures can be seen. Assuming I can watch an infinite number of monitors at once- which Eru maybe can, not even needing the monitors.

Anyhow, let's assume that Eru hopes Beren will encounter Lúthien in the woods and they will fall in love. He can influence this - if Beren decides to wander off in the wrong direction, or if Lúthien decides it's too wet for dancing today, he can tweak some things, and keep tabs on how what he's doing affects the likely futures. Maybe he has a plan B (or Plans B to infinity) in case of Beren and Lúthien resolutely not falling in love, or choosing not to go questing. Those of us who exist within time don't see all these other possibilities (should I be waving my arms and writing stuff about "collapsing the wave function" at this point?) and so it wrongly looks like what did happen is the only thing that could have happened.

I think that works, and explains why, for example Frodo is both "meant" to have the Ring, but also could choose not to take it to Mordor.

This explanation bought to you by the philosopher Boethius, apparently. Grant Sterling quotes a Tolkien story which I haven't read - Ósanwe-kenta - for evidence that Tolkien saw things as working this way.

What do you think?
noWizardme
http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=620131#620131
(the original "wiggle room" post is here )


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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 12 2013, 7:32pm)


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 12 2013, 7:41pm

Post #10 of 69 (271 views)
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Providence & Free Will [In reply to] Can't Post

And that is the great question! Not just in Middle Earth but in Christian Theology as well. I would lean myself more in the direction that the Providence of Eru takes into account the free will of Man. Being we are told that the Music finds it essence/being/everything ultimately in Eru his knowledge is unending even in regards to the future choices of free agents.

That is where i think we need to acknowledge the presence of mystery. Tolkien wants to affirm that men, elves, dwarves, etc. are free moral agents and yet Tolkien holds onto Eru's omniscience and his total providence. How do they work together? I don't know and I do not think tolkien directly addresses it.

Not all those who wander are lost


FaramirFan
The Shire

Nov 12 2013, 7:49pm

Post #11 of 69 (264 views)
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Road to Middle Earth? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wait, are you talking about Tom Shippey's Road to Middle Earth there? Boethius' philosophy is something Tolkien was more than just aware of, I'm too hazy on this though, I read the first edition just before I got out of Tolkien land round bout the time the Atlas came out.

looking.. oh, okay, and Osanwe Kenta was published in 1998, after my time.

argh, no time, found a copy of Osanwe but must run, to be continued... edit: quickie perusal though definitely implies awareness outside timestream, but bubble universes/multiverse, eek... very modern for jrr


(This post was edited by FaramirFan on Nov 12 2013, 7:51pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 12 2013, 8:13pm

Post #12 of 69 (261 views)
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Very apropos recalling that Furincurunir [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"Prophecies with Wiggle Room" (a phrase of Brethil's I think) was an idea we discussed during the last Silmarillion read through. It might allow both predestination/prophecy and free will


Quote
We are used to a world where there is one settled past. Our actions now - which appear to us to be based on our free will, and chance, and other factors - contribute to the one future we go on to experience. But, the argument runs, Eru exists outside time, and could have a complete view of the present and of all possible futures that can arise from it. I find it a bit hard to imagine this: it helps me to imagine a control room with lots of monitors on which all aspects of the present and all possible futures can be seen. Assuming I can watch an infinite number of monitors at once- which Eru maybe can, not even needing the monitors.





I think all of that is true: nothing exists without the knowledge of Eru, so of all possibilities none is unforeseen (though Men, the veritable Loose Cannons, are the closest, perhaps, to that which is unforeseen). I would think the philosophical idea of living "outside of time" is what gives a creator, like Eru, the vision of all that has or will occur, because if you remove time from the equation it all is simply a unified reality?

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!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 12 2013, 8:19pm

Post #13 of 69 (274 views)
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Wrapi it up in paper and tie a pink bow on it!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, that last paragraph does sun it all up nicely.

Speaking about a deity here, the words 'faith' and 'religion' are bound to crop up. I don't really think there is much 'religion' in ME, not in the organized sense, but there seems to be some cognizance of a 'higher power(s)'. That rudiment of belief dies allow us to debate the niceties if what we call 'faith' even when explicit worship is absent.

As you say, Tolkien/Eru, whomever we see the 'god of ME', doesn't offer an itemized explanation of the Great Theme-- his plan. They only ask for trust that in the end it will all work out, thus they should labour to accomplish 'good'. In knowing/believing that Eru is good, we should hold out for a happy ending. This request might present acute difficulties for the more sceptic, or those who need/want further confirmation.

On the topic of 'faith' itself, I must say that your paper recalled the exchange of Andreth, a mortal woman in love with Aegnor, brother to Finrod, and Finrod's Felagund himself. In that exchange Andreth questions the existence of the hope they had against Morgoth. Finrod replies that for the Elves, they had two words for what Men called 'hope'; 'Amdir', looking up 'an expectation of good to come, and that has foundation in what is known', and 'Estel', trust that is found deeper than mortal or immortal eyes, for it comes not from experience or knowledge, but from Eru, as part of the spirit and life of the Eruhini.

Andreth says that there is no 'Amdir', everything looks so bad that it seems no good could ever come of it. The circumstances give no present intent of imminent good being apparent. (Think Sam's motivational speech)

What of 'Estel'?

She questions whether it is actually a thing, distinct from irrational 'Amdir'-- a hope beyond hope, or fool's hope. Somethings have turned out well: by following a rumor, more like a premonition, the Fathers of Men escaped Darkness in the East, finding light in the West, but it was not total deliverance from evil . Could it not be by accident? But there are still the unquenchable flickers of a fire that is kindled against Morgoth. Some say that he can, and will be defeated, but she argues that it might be a dream, delusive and pleasant, but still lies and wishful thoughts.

These two bring different parts of understanding into the discussion, which the other had no knowledge of, and in the end it is left in a theoretical form. Realising that the whole knowledge of Eru's plan cannot be known within Arda, it is concluded that they must choose to believe in the Hope that can find, of both varieties. In the end, it all comes down to faith, and Andreth and Finrod must take the hope they have learned of each other, and choose what to do with it.

Great paper!! It hits all of the important points without diving into the inexplicable intricacies of every occurrence. It encapsulates the main ideas, and gives a clear choice that begs a compelling question:

Do you have 'Estel', and what will you do if 'Amdir' fails?

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Nov 12 2013, 8:25pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 12 2013, 9:02pm

Post #14 of 69 (257 views)
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A ticklish business [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, how can a deity allow free will, but be all powerful? Tough question, but I have my own theory.

If we liken the Fate/History/Plan of the World to a book, or story, I can see Eru as the Author. He begins the tale, but allows others to embellish, edit, or even craft whole chapters. All the while though, he is making subtle alterations. He has an end in mind, and is constantly working toward it, tweaking where bed arises.

His story adopts new ideas and concepts that others have introduced, and weaves them into the tapestry of the History( I know I am mixing metaphors, but please bear with me). From the back we see little, and a confused mess, but when it is turned around, we will see the whole picture. It has become more beautiful now for all the extra splashes of color that have been added. Following the same design, it is the article that it was first meant to be, but now it possesses more subtlety and rich beauty than if it had been constructed by on mind alone. It blends different styles into an awesome whole.

Back to the book illustration. Now all these disparate ideas coming in are set in ink, never to be changed, but by authorial additions changes can be produced on the whole. At the end, the Author, with unmatched skill, draws all of the countless arcs, and subplots to a fitting close. Did he write it? Is it his book? Yes and no.

It is not the pure element that it once was, but the additions have been used and grafted by one set if hands and mind. There is conflict, but it is resolved by one person, avoiding contradiction. The co-authors may contribute for a long time, but they did not originate the story, and had no part in the conception. Alter it to a great degree they might, but it cannot be transformed into something totally opposite to the primeval germ of idea that began its life. The Author has the last few pages after all.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 12 2013, 9:18pm

Post #15 of 69 (253 views)
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outside of time.... NICE! [In reply to] Can't Post

That I think is a small key to increasing our understanding here. Eru is not limited by time he is outside of it, but he does operate inside of it at times and rules over it. Spot on!

Not all those who wander are lost


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 12 2013, 10:29pm

Post #16 of 69 (241 views)
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Rem , you are reminding me of Alisdair Stuart [In reply to] Can't Post

Alistair Stuart, whose collection of essays "The Pseudopod Tapes" contains on called "What's God's motivation in this scene?


he starts

Quote
The fastest way to write yourself into a corner when you're writing genre fiction is to write about God…


He goes on to review some examples And he ends with the possibly tongue in cheek theory. (A bit like your tapestry, Rem):


Quote
In fact, going further, perhaps that's ...why God doesn't intervene when terrible thing happen. He, or she, is a writer. Sometimes their characters go places even hey we're not expecting and sometimes they get writer 'a block. After all, who doesn't?


The piece originally appeared on the Pseudopod podcast here: http://pseudopod.org/...274-the-god-complex/ (Be aware that pseudopod is a horror podcast. & being easily horrified, I haven't listened to it. I bought Stuarts book instead. So for all I know that link leads to something that'll scare the Bej- … the Valar outa ya. ) Smile

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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


elaen32
Gondor


Nov 12 2013, 10:49pm

Post #17 of 69 (246 views)
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Thanks for quoting this story Rem [In reply to] Can't Post

Andreth and Aegnor is one of the stories I haven't yet read (which book is it published in btw?) I suppose a mortal would be more likely to disbelieve the concept of Amdir, in that they can only see hope in the context of their own life span or the next generation's. The immortal elves are likely to have a much longer term view. The loss of Amdir could equate to suffering depression within our own world. Was it more associated with " fading" for the elves of the Third Age?

Estel could be said to be the very foundation of faith and also of religion ( personally, I don't think they are exactly the same thing) in our own world. In Arda, the loss of Estel , especially for an immortal, could lead to evil, whereas, I feel that loss of Amdir is more likely to lead mortals into evil, or acts of desperation, which result in evil. This is well illustrated in characters like Denethor, Boromir and Turin.

This is fascinating!!Smile


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!



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2013, 1:02am

Post #18 of 69 (233 views)
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My pleasure.... [In reply to] Can't Post

TTTT, I was recently reminded of it myself by another in the RR. The exchange (Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth) is found in Volume X of the HoME: Morgoth's Ring. It is more of a philosophical discussion of the respective fates of Elves and Men, and what they believe. Deep stuff for ME.



Yes, loss of Amdir would discourage Men. Those who only believe what they can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste, would be especially susceptible to this despair. Living in a short period of time that is full of death, destruction, and despair (Let's assume that they live exclusively in a terrible time analogous to WWI Europe), they would conceive a dark and bitter worldview. Life would be pain, death, and utter desperation. They could not begin to imagine a world otherwise.(They would not be able to imagine a place like Disney World). Estel though, would be the thing to get them through the rough parts of life. How many stories do we have of Faith, Love, Family, or any other thing, being the thing that got a person through a difficult time?

Elves would be able, as you say, to wait for the entire geopolitical status quo to change, but perhaps they might fall into the trap of Saruman/Melkor? Trying to change the world, and do good by their own means, seeing no imminent aid or help coming from any other quarter?

A loss of Estel, would be devastating to an Elf. Seeing the whole of history as one long string of mistakes and goofs. They might triumph for a little, but they believe it is a short-lived victory, earned by their sweat and toil. Having it would mean a purpose and plan behind their suffering, and lend courage to the faltering heart. Men could live without it, but would be subject more intensely to the idea that hope is a fleeting thing. They would begin to think as Andreth did, that there is no victory.

Loss of Amdir works more quickly on a mortal, but Estel would hold them true I think. Elves might be able to live without it, but become more withdrawn, leaving the world to work itself out.

Loss of Estel would be more far reaching, but slower in effect, I think. It would be some time before a natural Optimist loses that buoyancy of spirit. Each defeat would drag them down, though, because there is no one to redeem their mistakes. Men would give up like Andreth, seeing nothing to hope for beyond the passing joys they carve out for themselves.

If any equation must be given, I'd call Amdir, happiness (i.e. dependant on 'happen'ings) and Estel, joy (i.e. a deeper satisfaction independent of situational factors)

Finrod learned much of Men's hope from Andreth, though she might not have believed it. Andreth, in turn, learned much of the Elves hope, and Finrod speculated that the two kindreds were supposed to comfort each other with the different hopes that they had received.

So much good stuff here... I think we need a topic for it by itself.




Faith and Religion IMHO are closely related, often conflated, but separate entities.

I can have 'faith' in God or any other deities to care for my soul, in a chair to support my weight, a person to do what they say they will do, or a machine to operate correctly. Obviously we mean different things when we say 'faith' in varying contexts, but that's English for youCrazy. I'd call it 'Taking someone/something at their word/reputation. Having 'faith', to me suggests that we act on those beliefs, without any solid factual proof.

Religion is a system of worship, or a specific belief system, taken as separate of others. It's meaning and implications are quite broad, and indefinite. Religion, to me, means a general system or pattern followed by a group of people, and serving one set or person of deity(ies).

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


cats16
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2013, 2:09am

Post #19 of 69 (236 views)
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Dare I mention it... [In reply to] Can't Post

But, from observation, the Destruction of Númenor is an event that many who would disagree with your argument would bring up in this discussion. I know that it came up in the Sil RR discussion, so there are likely folks who have thought long and hard about it (I seem to remember CG having some ill will toward Eru).

I know that your paper (another great piece, btw, rangerfromthenorth) didn't bring in events from the FA or SA, but I think there are key events in that time span to consider analyzing Eru. Eru's act of destroying Númenor is near the top of that list.

I'm so thankful that these books rarely garner a unilateral interpretation from readers. Everyone brings in their own beliefs, values, and experiences, and those, in turn, lead us to drawing the conclusions we make about a text. Even on topics, such as faith and religion--which for some people is a touchy topic--it's handled quite sensibly and well thought out.


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 13 2013, 2:52am

Post #20 of 69 (214 views)
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Sounds like a Symposium piece Rem... [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a great tie-in to how Eru works within the world.

And I wonder if amdir and estel are also defined by the longevity of their holders. Immortal Elves, having seen the gods with their own eyes, maybe don't need Estel quite so much - yet Men, born to a world of the retreating Valar, need Estel because there are no gods walking among them that they can feel and see and hear (even ever-present Ulmo is lost to them - they cannot hear his messages.)

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 Nov 13 2013, 2:55am)


FaramirFan
The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 3:03am

Post #21 of 69 (221 views)
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Rem, wait... [In reply to] Can't Post

Woefully behind and catching up, but this...


In Reply To
If any equation must be given, I'd call Amdir, happiness (i.e. dependant on 'happen'ings) and Estel, joy (i.e. a deeper satisfaction independent of situational factors)


Is additional interpretation necessary? Isn't Amdir simply "hope" while Estel is simply "faith"?

From its definition in the Tolkien Gateway, it is exactly Catholic "faith", isn't it? Though not exclusively Catholic, of course, but reading the entry there, that's as nearly a perfect description of faith as any other I've read.

Hmm, interesting how everything intertwines, lack of this is exactly Boromir and Denethor's flaw, discussed on another thread.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2013, 3:05am

Post #22 of 69 (212 views)
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Yes.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wrote a veritable corpus in my exchanges with Bombadil21. It was quite an illuminating discussion.

Here's a link if anyone is interested.

http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=637382;page=1;mh=-1;;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC#638432

Faith would seem to be a prerequisite for any confidence in Eru, or any deity for that matter. Isn't that what faith is--trust?

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Mikah
Lorien

Nov 13 2013, 3:09am

Post #23 of 69 (215 views)
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Indeed... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking the same thing as I read the post! I would love to read that analysis!

Ranger, this is really a fantastic essay. I especially enjoyed the piece title "Providence in Middle Earth." The countless hours I have spent analyzing "The Silmarillion" I had never really thought about Eru's power in regards to the music. Melkor's evil really did accomplish something far more beautiful didn't it? That is an excellent point. With all of the evil; both in our world and that of JRR Tolkiens, it is amidst that evil that we truly can see good. It is only in adversity and strife that a person can truly be courageous, merciful, honorable, or any other quality we so admire. In this you are so right, what Melkor intended for evil, Eru used for good.


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 13 2013, 3:13am

Post #24 of 69 (212 views)
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Thanks Ranger, glad you like that bit [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
outside of time.... NICE! That I think is a small key to increasing our understanding here. Eru is not limited by time he is outside of it, but he does operate inside of it at times and rules over it. Spot on!




Another point about your essay which is an interesting parallel: Bilbo is indeed 'the most unlikely' to have picked up the Ring...and it seems so were Deagol and Sméagol really! Another move in the divine chess game - that this game of such greatness be played out among the Smallest folk (both noble and mean) of Middle-earth?

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!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2013, 3:20am

Post #25 of 69 (208 views)
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A discussion for another day... [In reply to] Can't Post

We really need to schedule a discussion for this piece later on.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Nov 13 2013, 3:20am)

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