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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
Tolkien, Wodehouse: Escape and Consolation

Attalus
Lorien


Feb 8, 5:09pm

Post #1 of 7 (409 views)
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Tolkien, Wodehouse: Escape and Consolation Can't Post

Great essay on Wodehouse and how he and Tollers shared some parts of a philosophy:

http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/...mp;mc_eid=4eeb7ff6ce

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Belegdir
Lorien


Feb 8, 8:09pm

Post #2 of 7 (380 views)
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Wodehouse was magic [In reply to] Can't Post

Great article. Wodehouse is easily one of my favourite authors of all time. I'd never really considered Tolkien and Wodehouse together before, but Tolkien must have certainly read some of Wodehouse's writing.


Annael
Half-elven


Feb 8, 11:27pm

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interesting read [In reply to] Can't Post

I recently came across the idea that most people cling to one of two very different myths. The first group believes in "the myth of the fall," the idea that we once knew a better life - life in the Garden, or the Golden Age, or maybe even the 60s? - which we have fallen away from and need to get back to. I remember noticing this in Tolkien's works, particularly when Galadriel says something about how she and Celeborn have been fighting "the long defeat" all their lives. It actually put me off, but then, I'm in the other group, the one that believes in "the myth of progress" where the Golden Age lies somewhere in the future and is something to strive toward. (I am also not a Christian.) Having just encountered that idea, and thinking about it a lot, I was struck by how this essay reflects that thinking. It is foreign to me, but it explains a lot I have not understood about the conservative viewpoint.

Of course there are also those who, as far as I can tell, believe in nothing much more than living for the present moment . . .

hopefully no one will find this post inflammatory, which is not my intent at all.

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

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NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


squire
Half-elven


Feb 8, 11:55pm

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Is there a "myth of progress"? [In reply to] Can't Post

I get what you mean about people being either conservative or liberal, temperamentally. I'm not sure I entirely agree that there is a kind of universal "myth" that foresees a future Golden Age, that can be contrasted with the well-documented "myth of the fall" from a past Golden Age.

As far as I can tell, the latter reflects adults' memories of childhood, combined with the human propensity to forget history's tragedies and celebrate history's high points. In other words, adults find it easy to look back into cultural and personal memories that agree that "those were the good old days".

By contrast, how much more difficult it is to believe that the future will be better! Every aspect of life tends to reinforce the learned experience that life is a tragedy of disappointed expectations. The comic impulse fights that, of course, but that is a survival mechanism, not a myth generator. Myths aren't comic. Excluding the many religious redemption myths, which postulate a future revival of the Golden Age only via divine intervention, the only "myth of progress" I can think of is the political one of liberal or left politics. That was born out of the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution, two Western experiences that argued that the past was inferior to the present, and thus the present must be inferior to the future. It's certainly a valid point of view, and political parties, intellectual progress, and science itself all participate in it. But does it qualify as a "myth" in the same way the Fall does? The literature associated with a hopeful future seems to be variations on science fiction, the Communist Manifesto, and the Declaration of Independence. That's weak stuff compared to most of dramatic and epic literature, the mythology and legends of an infinity of cultures, and most of the history that gets written.

Again, I'm mostly arguing terms. Yes, many many people take an optimistic viewpoint on the human prospect. But does that translate into "most people cling to one of two myths?"



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Attalus
Lorien


Feb 9, 12:28am

Post #5 of 7 (352 views)
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Progress? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am one of those, obviously, who has read too much and seen too much to believe that humanity has made much progress to a future "Golden Age." Are we really better folk than the characters in the Iliad or Greek tragedy? As CS Lewis wrote, approximately, we may be more merciful and considerate than, say, the Medievals, but we seem to lack the courage and determination they had in that Age. , But, like you, I am not going to argue the point, simply point out that JRRT was certainly of the part of humanity that yearned for a golden past. In the Sil'77 he had one of the characters speak obliquely about the Fall.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Annael
Half-elven


Feb 9, 3:19am

Post #6 of 7 (330 views)
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I'm quoting Rick Tarnas [In reply to] Can't Post

author of The Passion of the Western Mind. If you define "myth" as "a way of explaining the world that helps a person cope with that world" then yes, I'd say the idea that the world is evolving, not devolving, is as much a myth as the other. But then I think the idea that science can explain EVERYTHING is also a myth and not always true.

I don't find it hard at all to believe in the myth of progress, when I look at what's happened as far as the rights of women, of people of color, of the non-binary gendered, etc. just in my lifetime. When I was 25 my best friend died of a cancer we can cure easily now. Etc. But then I was raised to believe that way, which filters how I look at the world and what I allow myself to see.

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 Feb 9, 3:20am)


Annael
Half-elven


Feb 9, 3:24am

Post #7 of 7 (327 views)
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you might be interested in this [In reply to] Can't Post

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feuq5x2ZL-s

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

 
 

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