Sunday, December 13, 2009

Please take my Poll on Elves and Gender Issues!

And please also post evidence for it in the comments to this post.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Strange Theory

Do any of you think that perhaps Tolkien intended the Silmarillion to be a sort of fictional "extension" to Genesis (it would be between the Fall and Abraham)?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Ah! Those beautiful mountains!!!
Rising tall above the dry, barren plain
Ever reaching toward Heaven
By way of their glorious peaks

I'm NOT a poet (despite my weak and feeble efforts). But for those of you who are, write a poem about Wyoming in the comment box below!!! Never been there? Look it up on Wikipedia!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why I am not an Elf

"Whereas to men he gave strange gifts..."

--The Silmarillion

If memory serves me right, there are two strange gifts of men: to determine their own destiny, and to die. The elves, of course, are blessed with intelligence, immortality, and the ability to both live in the world and transcend it while they live in it. They are like a stained-glass window: their very nature, by its very nature, lets the light of the supernatural enter and be seen.

But there is one thing the elves lack. It is not obvious. In fact, it took me half an hour of wandering past stained glass windows to figure out what it was.

Consider an elf who performs an act of valor. It could be a great act. It could be a difficult act. It could be a humanly impossible act. But it does not make the elf a hero. Ironically, any act of heroism on the part of the elf has, of all things, an excuse: "He's an elf. Of course he could do that!"

In the War of the Ring, one of the most crisis-filled moments in LOTR history, when the continued existence of the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth seemed most impossible, the elves responded by flight (such as the elves of Rivendell who fled to the Undying Lands) or hopeless resistance (Galadriel). Even after victory, the elves are unable to save themselves: they flee or vanish, inevitably submitting to the destruction of the preserved things of the Rings.

In the LOTR universe, however, the actions of the human characters stand in marked contrast to this. Heroes arise out of the nowheres of the world: men like Turin Turambar, Elendil, or Aragorn come out of backward tribes, decaying nations, or defeated bloodlines. Their success is not based on their history or their culture (the elves' success is) and thus, rather than a linear devolution, it is cyclical, with not only fading kingdoms, but rising kingdoms. Unlike the elves, whose success, in the final analysis, depends on the action of the gods, the men are partially free even from the decrees of the gods (aka Valar), with Luthien (who becomes a woman) directly defying the Vala Mandos himself.

The elves are noble, great, helpless and lost. Men are dirty, fallen, and weak, but they have something the elves do not have: freedom to choose their good and evil fortunes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

To Add to the Harry Potter Confusion


It's my attempt to write a story with a plot line somewhat similar to the plot of HP and the sorcerer's stone (as I understand it, I haven't actually read it): a boy is taken from his home to be schooled in the ways of magic, learns the magic (with all the technichal details included in the book), and then uses it to battle evil. I have tried to go as close as possible to what makes HP attractive, while at the same time, make the good magic implicitly sacramental and the bad magic explicitly occultic. But I haven't gotten to the technichal details yet, so you can read just for fun...for now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Debate Topic

I thought of a debate topic that I think will be a long one:

Is Harry Potter Occultic?

Now, I know that some of you like Harry Potter, and some of you don't. Just remember, don't take anything personal. :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Debate is On!

Thanks to Jo March, here's a debate topic. It's simple, brief, understandable, and best of all, provocative. Ready?

rumble rumble rumbmle

Was Tolkien an Environmentalist? Peter Kreeft says yes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Death Crawl

Those of you who have seen Facing The Giants will know what I'm talking about. I'm sure you all of you agree that the death crawl scene is the most powerful scene in the movie.

But do you remember what Mrs. Taylor said about her husband's team philosophy? She said that it applies to all of life, and not just football. So lets look at it this way. Could you carry a hundred and sixty pounds on your back for a hundred yards; while crawling? Maybe. Maybe if you were motivated. But too many of us wither when trials come our way. It's hard to do that! So can we make it to Heaven with sin on our backs? It's a long, hard road, and those of us who don't like hardships will turn back. Christ said to take up your cross, and that means carrying it no matter how hard. Yes, it is hard, but when we do something, we are naturally rewarded. The harder the task, the greater the reward. How great is Heaven, and our Maker who lives there? That's how hard it will be. We can't get to Heaven without hardships. Yes, maybe we'll fall. Many times we'll fall. But we can all get back up and keep going. That's one difference between going to Heaven and the death crawl, and I think that's a good thing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Most Middle-Earthian Place on Earth

No, it's not Scandanavia, or Oxford, or even Nebraska, (although It might very well be Scandanavia, I haven't ever been there), It's.......Siena!

You may not know it but I am in Italy, which is why I haven't been posting anything and haven't been sending AAron several e-mails a day. (I have free internet today, because I'm at a hotel in Naples.) You will see pictures of Siena on Disciples of Diotima when I get back to the US. Anyway, there have been times when I have tried to picture myself in Middle earth and have succeeded. In Siena, it was different. I felt like I was in middle-earth without even trying!

Specifically, I felt I was in Annuminas. Annuminas was the capital of the North Kingdom of Men in the early Third Age. It was located in Eriador, a bit north of the Shire. The north kingdom fell about halfway through the third age, leaving only the rangers to guard the free and peacful peoples of Bree, Buckland, and the Shire. Annuminas was the capital of the kingdom that built the fortress on Weathertop, and was where the king resided that the Hobbits of Frodo's time paid posthumous respect to.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Madness

I have attempted to get things going here one the Flame of Arnor by putting up a bunch of trivial polls. It's somewhat like the stimulus package. :-)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Great Social Global Entity

Since the dream discussion doesn't seem to be going anywhere, I think I'll change the subject. This is a topic that I think we'll all be involved in. The subject is:


We all know this network of instant messaging, pictures, status updates and such. However, it has much controversy surrounding it. It seems to embody all of human nature and inclinations into one intertwining web. In fact, one could compare it to drinking and smoking. When one joins it, he may do great good, or great evil. He may improve his relationships, become more knowledgeable about people in general, and maybe even spread the faith.

However, one may do great damage to himself and those around him through this web. He may use it to slander others and gossip about them. He may also succeed in making his relations impersonal and distant: more like members of a corporation than friends. His actions - whether intentional or not - may also cause jealousy and envy. But do these things not already happen? This is just another means of transmitting them. I think that facebook, like drinking and smoking, is morally neutral. It can be good or bad depending on the person that uses them (although I think it should be said that facebook has more potential to do good than drinking or smoking).

So what is your opinion? Comment!!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dreams Again!

Well, I would like to reawaken our discussion on dreams. (Uuuuh, I apologize for the pun, I PROMISE you it wasn't intended!) I find the subject extremely intriguing. I've never actually been able to control my dreams (Lucid dreaming), though I think it would be really fun! Here's a wiki article I found on lucid dreaming, it's long, but interesting!

Maybe here's something we can argue about, because it seems people are eager for a debate: Do you think dreams ever mean anything, or predict anything? Are they distortions of events our subconscious is thinking about? Can we learn anything from dreams? Can we solve problems that have been nagging at us? DISCUSS!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can We Disagree On This???

What does Chesterton say about cooking? About films? About war? About the economy? About environmentalism? About the feudal system? About democracy? About the Holy Roman Empire? About Napoleon? About ancient Greece? About ancient Rome? About ancient Egypt? About the city of Tyre? About France? About the occupation of Ireland by England? About the Hundred Years War? About the native Americans? About the Mongols? About James Horner and John Williams?

Is this enough to disagree on? Which one should we pick first? (am I asking enough questions?)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Advice from Lewis

CS Lewis developed a concept of a 'Second Friend,' a person who likes all the same things you do, but disagrees with you and can argue well. We all like LOTR, so we need to find something to disagree on so that we can be second friends to each other.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Never Mind

Okay, her kidnappers saw my post and hastily returned her in fright. Vote for my cuddly politician!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jealous Politicians!!!

I'm afraid I must break the horrible news. My favorite politician (see picture below) has gone MISSING!!!!!! She was leading in all the polls, and now she's gone!!! Probably kidnapped. It's unfair to say, but I'm sure it was one of her opponents.

Monday, April 27, 2009


What did the other composers do music for?

And why is Howard Shore not on the list. This is a LOTR blog after all!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chemistry and LOTR

Does anybody know of any passages in Tolkien's writings that show that the things in Middle-Earth are made of atoms?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't be Bored

In the appendicies to The Return of the King, there is an entry "The Watchful Peace Begins." During this time, Gondor placed fortresses on the borders of Mordor to keep in the enemies. Nothing happened for hundreds of years.

Bear this in mind as you bear with me. I have been insanely busy these last two weeks, which is why I haven't really been posting anything. Why have I been busier? I have no clue.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

If I were George Lucas...

Wishing to disestablish the Force as a god in Star Wars, I invented this
historical retelling of general JedI history.

The Force has its origin in a small plant that is native to most plants in the
galaxy. When this plant is eaten, it greatly accelerates and strenghtens the
bodily functions of the eater, especially the nerve impulses to the muscles,
enabling the eater, through special muscle-use techniques, to project electric
fields into nearby objects and thus manipulate them in ways that seem
telekinetic. The relevant chemicals in the plant must be eaten on a daily basis
for the powers to be retained. These chemicals can be synthesized, in which
case only a person previously exposed to them by eating them or having a mother
who ate them while pregnant can eat them without being poisoned.

Because of the widespread habitat of this plant, amateur JedI-societies sprung
up independent of each other in many places. Some worshipped the Force, and
their “sacred” texts had some of the earliest JedI advice and techniques, hence
the value placed by all the JedI on them; some did not worship the force. Some
used the powers classified as Light, some used the powers classified as Dark.
When Palpatine was planning his takeover of the Republic, he sold government
offices in order to gain money for his plans. The office of state historian he
sold to a Force-worshipper who falsely made this religious Force the official
recorded religion of the JedI according to state records.

For thousands of years, there was no actual JedI Order. The small JedI
societies had no knowledge of each other; many did not even have any knowledge
that the chemicals they ate each day by tradition were the source of their
powers and/or intelligence. During this time (Referred to by JedI historians as
the Glorious Dark Ages of the JedI), these societies were merely amateurs.
However, many of the greatest JedI intellectuals wrote during this time, and
JedI achieved prominence as poets, artists, educators, and even religious
leaders of many denominations. (Cerea, Ki-Adi-Mundi’s planet, was especially
known for its high number of JedI who were also Catholic priests. ) During
this period, light saber combat was not one of the prime functions of the JedI.
The weapon was originally invented as an amusement for the JedI boys’ club in
Maputo, Correlia, and became an inter-planetary toy sensation. It went out of
regular children’s toy stores a few years later, but that was enough time for
many jedI-empowered families to have one in their possession. Because of the
durability of the toy, many became family heirlooms.

One of the less desirable consequences of eating the Force-plant .is that bad
habits are formed much more easily and the brain is somewhat perverted so that
anger becomes especially attractive. This means that JedI must get angry as
little as possible, especially in combat, when they are the most susceptible to
anger becoming irresistible forever; if they do not control anger, they run the
risk of being perpetually angry. In fact, in some jedI, certain kinds of anger
are so dangerously habit-forming that avoiding them is a moral obligation. Some
JedI, known as Dark JedI, are immune to this effect. Plo-koon, Kyle Karhun, and
Palpatine’s master were some of these.

The force does not grant longevity! The ancient Yoda was actually half-elven
and immortal. According to his family history, he, Mace Windu, and Quigon (they
were half-brothers: Yoda was so short because he had a hobbit-father, Mace and
Qui-gon had human fathers) were descended from Middle-Earth elves who left
Middle-earth after the rounding of the world (see the Silmarillion) but whose
boats took a wrong turn on the Straight Road to Valinor. Yoda and his cousin
Palpatine (who was also of elvish descent) were mortal enemies due to the fact
that Palpatine fell for the Dark Side due to an encounter with the maddening
rhythms of Aztec music. As part of Palpatine’s assaults of Yoda, Yoda caught an
artificial aging disease that made him older but no closer to death.

Yoda was the one actually responsible for the organization of the JedI into an
organized system. When Yoda was about 20 years old, Palpatine, who had already
gained his hatred of Yoda, organized a convention of JedI from all over the
galaxy. Hoping to form them into a mob and then seduce them with Aztec music,
his plans were foiled when Yoda was accidentally invited to the convention.
Yoda managed to keep a few of the JedI present from becoming Sith.

Knowing that the Sith would attack eventually, their anger being
uncontrollable, Yoda re-made the lighsaber into a more potent weapon that only
people with the electric sensitivity of JedI could handle safely. The lighsaber
was forgotten and thrown away among non-jedI. Yoda also established a
Christian monastic order of warrior-monks, the JedI Order, whose Temples on many
planets (especially Courescuant) became renowned centers of learning. The
amateur JedI societies continued to exist, and some amateurs (such as Qui-gon)
rose to become professional full time JedI warriors and instructors, though not
actual monks or nuns. Such amateur rise was rare, although many amateur JedI
became renowned in the militaries of their own planets.

The JedI Order rose to great Intergalactic prominence when it conducted the
defense of Nubia when Nubia was attacked by the sith in the battle that started
the Great Sith war. The Galactic Republic, originally consisting of only three
planets, was founded in this time, and the JedI Order was given an official
place in the government to prevent government corruption. The order had an
excellent relationship with the bishops of Courescuant.

When the Republic experienced a grand expansion of membership about 30 years
before Star Wars Episode I, the religious order was disbanded and the JedI were
made an official funded branch of the Republic. It never lost it Christian
character, however, merely its monastic status. This federalization gave the
state historian (who remained so in the days of the Empire and the New Repbulic)
the leverage he needed to spread lies concerning the religion of the JedI. Many
of the incidents recounted in the movies are, in fact, false and his invention.
The others can be explained by the principles outlined above.

Friday, March 27, 2009


One of the things Tokien wanted people to do with his tales was to use them as a background mythology, much as Ancient Greeks and Mideval Christians used the pagan myths to get inspiration for their own works. To see an example of it,


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Star Wars…You asked for it

A. What about Star Wars would you like to know? B. On the other hand, what
could I tell you that you wouldn’t know already? C. Or are you asking for an
opinion about Star Wars? B-cause of B, I will A-sume that you do not mean A, so
it Ceems that you mean C. Because Ancient Greek Phil. usually wants a
moralization of some sort, he shall get it. Is Star Wars a good thing, and for
whom and under what conditions?
Before writing, I did some reading on Wikipedia. They classify Star Wars as a
“space opera,” meaning that it is a melodramatic, comic-book sort of story with
exaggerated technologically advanced forms of conflict. You could visit
Disciples of Diotima and read the article ‘Between the Charbidys and Scylla of
Emma and Godzilla’ to get my views on comic-books. You could also simply accept
it on my word that comic books are an excellent way to instill basic morality or
immorality into the minds of little boys and other people who are fortunately or
unfortunately like them.
And, in Star Wars, many of the basics of morality (and it’s very difficult to
capture all of them in one story) are presented excellently. Especially
calculated to indoctrinate virtues of valor, obedience, patience, patriotism,
distributism, and the like, while at the same time instilling a horror of
treachery, anger, hatred, over-mechanization, laziness, greed,
over-centralization, and injustice, the story definitely achieves this part of
the end of being a good story without directly such preaching such ideas. I
don’t think I need to give examples of such moral instillations; the very genere
covers some of them and the others are more or less obvious features of the
somewhat simple general plot. For the observer enamored of action, the lessons
will be swallowed along with the moves and the chicken in the Tatioone market.
But I don’t think that is really what you want to know. Of course there is
good and evil in Star Wars in a very general sense, and nobody would object to
their children or themselves learning it. In swallowing one virtue from Star
Wars, is there not the danger of swallowing other less good things contained in
it. This is art, not life; we can pull out the tares and not damage the wheat,
but if we harvest the wheat we might get tares too.
And the tare said to be contained in Star Wars is the religion/ethics of
relativistic pantheism. Is it really in Star Wars?
(Here follows a quick summary of relativistic pantheism. RP is the belief that
all things are not separate from the god. By definition, this includes the
denial of individual free will and the denial of good and evil. It is generally
the religious system of non-Christian religions, including Hinduism (which
substitutes desirable and undesirable fatalistic consequence-punishments for
good and evil), Taoism, and Buddhism (which substitutes passionlessness and
passion for good and evil). Star Wars seems to moderate the ethical
consequences this claim (more on this later) by positing two sides to the same
pantheistic deity, dark and light, much as Zorastriansim and Manicheanism posit
two equal gods, one good and one evil, without giving any real reason to follow
one god and not the other. By the way, the Christian justification of being
good and not evil is that evil does not exist except as a good thing deprived of
a quality it ought to have, thus making pursuit of actual evil not only
undesirable, but impossible.)
For Star Wars to in fact be a story in which one could swallow relativistic
pantheism along with virtue, worship or acknowledgement of such a deity has to
be portrayed as desirable (not good, as there is no “good” in relativistic
pantheistic metaphysics or ethics) and true (it could be portrayed as good but
not true, as the statement “Buddhists are often good people” does, or true but
not good, as Sartre portrays atheism in ’Nausea,’ but neither of these would be
dangerous for the Christian.). Now, I cannot remember whether or not the Force
is ever explicitly treated as a god in the films (I suspect that if it is, it is
by Yoda on Dagobah). Whether it is explicit or not is irrelevant for the
viewer, however. For the unaware viewer, if the Force is treated
non-explicitly as a god, they will swallow it anyway. Making the treatment
explicit would make the viewer aware and would render the series preachy, thus
weakening both the moral and the theological messages. For the aware viewer,
non-explicit treatment can still be seen as paganism (its subconscious influence
on the viewer is debatable), yet give the viewer freedom to imagine around the
non-explicit difficulties.
The most significant argument in favor of a non-explicit treatment of the Force
as a deity is in the jedi’s source of morality. Christians, as noted above,
treat good and evil as existence and its deprivation, thus goodness comes from
the Essence of God and evil comes from “nothing.” Whether or not Star Wars is
compatible with this system of morality is at best unclear. What is clear,
however, is that the main source of morality for all the characters is the
light-dark dualism of the Force. G.K. Chesterton says that the denial of
morality is allied with the exaltation of less-than-moral rules, such as manners
and conventions. By emphasizing the Force-conventional-code (for the light and
dark sides are not sufficient to determine good and evil under God, and thus
have only the status of laws/conventions/etc, not objective good and evil) and
ignoring the God-Morals, the jedi, whether or not they actually believe the
Force is god, are undermining God’s ethics and setting up The Force in God’s
ethical place. Obi-wan even goes so far as to say in Episode III, that “Only
the Sith deal in absolutes,” thus lending even more credence to the idea that
the jedI are pantheist-relativists (the Sith, in this system, would be seeking a
thoroughly evil version of what the JedI want to be mostly good.)
Another argument is the JedI’s use of eastern religious meditation techniques
that, in the real world, are related to demonic possession even though those who
practice them. There are other similarities to such eastern religions in Star
Wars, thus making the idea seem all the more true, if not explicit. And, though
all of this, the Star Wars characters posit no God in addition to the Force,
thus letting and even encouraging our religious impulses in our imagination add
the character of worship to the use of the Force. I think it is plain enough
that Star Wars can be dangerous to the morals of the viewer, especially the
uninformed viewer.
There are, however, three ways to counter this.

1. Be informed. I just informed you.
2. Do an implausible re-interpretation of Star Wars so that you can understand
it in a Christian way. I have done this, and I can show you that too. Later
3. Find a way in which Star Wars portrays the pantheistic system as
insufficient. An example would be a connection in the movies between the false
ethical/religious system and the fall of the Republic. This would make it
appear that no matter how pagan the jedI were, they end up being more or less
wrong, though honorable. I can try to do this, though I might have to watch the
movies again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

May The Farm....... I mean force.... or do I mean..... oh never mind

You know what we need, Old Fashioned Liberal? We need an article on Stars Wars! I should write it, but you're a much bigger fan than I am, and I'm just too lazy right now anyway. I could do an article on the music though, as I'm listening to Princess Leia's theme right now. :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Augustine Explaining Melkior

"For it does many things through vicious desire, as though in forgetfulness
of itself. For it sees some things intrinsically excellent, in that more excellent nature which is God: and whereas it ought to remain steadfast that it may enjoy them, it is turned away from Him, by wishing to appropriate those things
to itself, and not to be like to Him by His gift , but to be what He is by its own, and it begins to move and slip gradually down into less and less, which it thinks to be more and more; for it is neither sufficient for itself, nor is
anything at all sufficient for it, if it withdraw from Him who is alone sufficient: and so through want and distress it becomes too intent upon its own actions and upon the unquiet delights which it obtains through them: and thus, by
the desire of acquiring knowledge from those things that are without, the nature of which it knows and loves, and which it feels can be lost unless held fast with anxious care, it loses its security, and thinks of itself so much the less,
in proportion as it feels the more secure that it cannot lose itself."

--St. Augustine

Notice the similarity to how "it" (the soul, in this passage) sins and how Melkior fell. The soul sins by wanting good things as its own rather than as God's gift. Melkior sinned by wanting to master the power of Creation, not have it as a gift from Iluvitar.

Is this post confusing, AGP?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dead Blog Syndrome

There is a deadly malady going around Blogger. An infectious disease known as "The Dead Blog Syndrome". This disease is highly contagious. It starts as a lack of desire to write. It gradually consumes you until you are unable to write anything at all.

If you read this, you are vulnerable to The Dead Blog Syndrome". Beware!!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Well it seem as though no one thinks I'm weird!!!! I'm really surprised, since I think that was a weird poll!!!! Whatever happened, it turns out that the majority of you that voted can control your dreams slighty. I'd be interested to know who it was that can control their dreams entirely!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Favorite Politician

Believe it or not, there's one politician that I REALLY LOVE!!!!!!! Can you guess who? This politician never intended to be one, but she certainly is one. When the next presidential election comes around, I will vote for:

That's right, my cute, cuddly, CAT!!!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another LOTR Dream from my Sister

Moria's wealth was not in gold or jewels, but in oil, and when the Balrog arrived, he went to school, where all the children, except the ones with swords, ran away in fright (is that a case for or against weapons in school?). Then, the Balrog ran away from his own orcs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yet Another Wonderful Poll Has Closed

Yes, another day and another poll. It seems more people in our small group of readers prefer Phantom of The Opera to Les Miserables (speaking of that, I still need to finish my lengthy analysis). However, Les Miserables is currently at the number one spot last I checked. But Phantom of The Opera is still playing while Les Mis is not. Figure that one out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Day of The Polls

Another day has passed, and another poll hath closed it's doors.

Well, that's not exactly poetry, but the poll is closed, and Tolkien
won by a CLEAR majority. Sorry all of you Chesterton fans. :-)


All of you who wanted more poetry from me, try this

Lessons from the Valaquenta

I. On Humility

One slight oddity in the Valentaqua is Tolkien’s treatment of the Four Elements, earth, air, fire, and water. He does NOT associate one with each temperament. The oddity consists in who is associated with what element. Obviously, Manwe is the angel of the air, Ulmo the angel of the water, and Aule the angel of the earth. Under this system, air, not the traditional fire, is treated as the highest element. What could be the significance of this?
The closest there is to being a spirit of fire in the Valentaqua is Melkior, the devil. Described by Tolkien as the greatest of the Ainur, Melkior is also the spirit of the highest element, fire, the element associated with creation, existence, and God in the Ainuirnidale. He, the highest angel, is the fallen one, and his very height is that by which he fell (remember: he searched for the secret fire in the Ainuirindale, and, failing to find it, tried to create his own things and fell from grace).
This is a good explanation for why Melkior fears Elbereth, not Manwe, most of all the Valar. Elbereth, the woman of the stars, is the closest to a fire-angel of all the Valar. Yet she does not make things with her fire in the same way that Melkior aspired to do; her things are real and natural, not the evil parodies that are orcs and trolls. By staying within the bounds of God’s creativity and goodness, Elbereth, though a firey spirit, humbly escaped Melkior’s self-inflicted doom.
Sauron, the greatest of Melkior’s servants, is falls in much the same way as Melkior. Sauron, it is said, was a maia of Aule, and thus would have been skilled in the art of making, Through this, the desire for making is portrayed as a great temptation to pride and evil from its height that comes with affinity with Creation, a fact that is reinforced throughout the whole book (Feanor is the greatest example) and even in the Lord of the Rings proper. Such an idea is consistent with Maritain’s evaluation of the art of making: he gives it a dignity approaching the art of thinking and warns that he who would aspire to the highest and most creative form of making, abstract art, must beware of the extreme temptation to pride.
The crucial difference between Sauron and Aule is obedience and humility: Sauron’s ring is something that anyone is loth to give up, (including himself), but Aule obeys Iluvitar when he is caught making the Dwarves out of season. Aule is also uninterested in using what he makes, but makes for the joy of making, a humble activity. One last parallel is that Aule’s creative work would have used fire to achieve its ends.

II. On the priorities of the Valar

From this furious dichotomy of angelic good and angelic evil, the task of the Valar and their opposites emerged. The Valar are precisely those Ainur who loved the material world so much that they wished to enter it, the evil versions entered it to twist it.
From this love of the world, the Valar became spirits of protection. Their society-structure reflects in one significant way the most marital society the human world has ever known: Dark Ages Northern Europe.
In the company of the Valar, the feminine characters do the productive work of growing plants and tending animals. Most of the masculine characters are limited to functions of war and worship: Orome and Tulkas are warriors, Manwe and Ulmo are wise councilors, Mandos tends the dead souls, and Lorien…inspires? This is exactly the structure in the Dark Ages society mentioned above. Aule makes, of course, but his skill in making is strangely out of place sometimes: it causes the elves to make the tragic silmarils, it makes the Dwarves out of turn, and it does not provide anything of use to the war. In some places, Aule is the only Valar that comes of looking in any way foolish. Doubtless, he has a magnificent aeon of glory while in Valinor, but in summary, making, unlike military virtue or practical productiveness, is not something that is always a wise indulgence.
This allusion to the Dark Ages society illustrates the grand peril in which Middle-earth is caught: it prevents even the Angels from forming a society bases primarily on the arts of peace.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome to one of MY favorite topics.


For starters, my sister dreamed that Merry and Pippin, while on the way to a secret "How to kill a Balrog" council, killed the balrog.

Do You Like Obama? NO!!!!!!!!

It's official: nobody likes Obama!!!! Well, at least no one of the six
people that voted. :-) Maybe I should put up a poll about Bush
next. I'm really going to get thrown in jail someday (if I get lucky).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Okay, I though I would try using these reaction thingys. Since we've
been coming up with pretty much anything (which we can still do of
course), I thought it would be good to know exactly what people are
reading and not reading. So here they are! Take a quick look after each
of your posts to see who's reading and who's not!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Appendix to the Dracula article

In house of mirrors, where shining bloody knives
Kaleidoscopically dance on eyes edge
Swift-bearing madness while women’s sharp kiss
Threatens to deaden high madness’s ledge
The bearer of death, the holder of knife
Stands keenly intent on murder within,
With blood perfuming, raining, his like-life
Mouth-piece, in, (ugh), within, a wooden coffin.
Of all within the thin, thin shell of man’s
Veneer of city, house, and manners’ ways
There’s naught that saves from such a demon bland,
The mold of his body in his own grave.
There’s naught of man’s, but God, the God Who died
Gives life by blood; as Bread He does reside.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Bit Concerning Dracula, Evil Fellow.

When I told our Ancient Greek Philosopher that I was reading Dracula (this was last summer) he thought I might be going insane. Thank goodness AGP's not a real psychologist yet. Besides being an engrossing suspense/supernatural story, Dracula is also filled with worthwhile elements that make it more than just recreational reading. By putting his characters in the presence of the threat of a vampire, Bram Stoker, the Irish author of Dracula, edifies us by implanting in us a horrific and true vision of evil, by giving us a respect for the aids God gives us to combat it, and by presenting to us a marvelous work of character artistry.

Count Dracula of Transylvania first presents himself as a cultured aristocrat, the world-wise descendant of proud (and sometimes cruel) kings of the bleak Hungarian wilderness. He hides, of course, his trademark secret: he is a vampire.

Now, what exactly is a vampire? Intending all the horror the name implies, Stoker calls them "undead," a term clarified in greater degrees of horror as the novel progresses. Dracula, and later his female victim, have, in short, already died, but their bodies remain horribly incorrupt, doomed to involuntarily wander the world in search of bloody humans to devour until the vampires themselves are killed. They are empty and corrupt, dissolving into dust as soon as the evil powers stop sustaining them, just as evil itself is a frightful nothingness, an absence of the goods proper to a thing. The vampires do not need blood to live, they merely cannot resist it; this compares with addiction to sin: the addict does not need to continue to sin to live, but he cannot stop. Dracula can only sleep on cemetery soil blessed by a Catholic priest, and some of his actions are twisted allegories of the life of Jesus (such as the fact that he sleeps on a boat for three days before rising again in England); such parodies of the sacramental system are common in the occult, a faith of which the pre-dead Dracula was a definite and voluntary member. And of course, there is the drinking of human blood, both in the blatantly sickening scene in Transylvania where one of the characters finds the ruby blood of a small baby coloring the count's lips during a vampiric sleeping period and in the subtle fear in the scenes as the vampire's first English victim gradually has her life drained from her by an unseen intruder. As if this was not enough, Stoker directs our horror not only at evil in general, but the particular evil of sensual vice by having Dracula behave in a seductive matter toward his victims. Dracula embodies both evil's fascination and its emptiness.

Fortunately, Stoker places God himself in dramatic contrast to the evil of Dracula. While the use of the somewhat random, spiritually meritless objects like garlic seems to be reminiscent of the simple superstition of the Hungarian peasants, other objects carry God's power and anti-demonic wrath. As long as the dead victim has the crucifix on her chest, for example, she is unable to rise to become a vampire, a precaution that is voided when an unknowing beggar steals the crucifix. The most powerful weapon against the vampires, however, is Jesus himself in the Holy Eucharist. Whenever Dr. Van Huelsing holds the envelope containing the "Sacred Wafer," neither Dracula nor his victims can approach, and one of his victims is actually burned when the Eucharist touches her skin. (Dr. Van Huelsing does commit the a Eucharistic sacrilege at one point, but he had good intentions and may very well have not known that what he was doing was wrong.) Stoker sees the solution to such great evil in the redemptive power of God and the avenues of His power.

And finally, by putting his characters in such difficult situations, Bram Stoker is able to show off his own skills as a writer and use them to further accentuate his theme. Dracula, unlike some villains, is appropriately one of the least interesting characters in the story. Much more fascinating are the American cowboy, brilliant and sensitive Dr. Van Huelsing, and the conversion experience of the local psychologist. Stoker even has the style to make believeable in writing one of the most difficult sorts of scenes to pull off, that of grown men breaking into tears under their stress.

In short, Bram Stoker is an excellent author and Dracula is an excellent book.

Political Poll

You all knew it would come. I am referring to the recent poll I put
up. So if I should disappear suddenly, you'll all know why. :-)

Quick Question

Just wanted to know your thoughts on the Inheritance series, especially compared to The Lord of the Rings. Put the words that represent your thoughts in the comments box.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Thomistic Metaphysics of Ainulindale

0.5 Intro to Ainulindale

Ainulindale is Tolkien's version of the creation story, in which Iluvitar, (God), creates the Ainur (angels), and then, through them, creates Middle-earth using something analogous to music. In it, Melkior, (the devil), falls through his pride and desire to make things of his own.

1. God, Angels, Knowledge, and the Residence of Essences

“There was Eru, the One, Who in Arda is called Iluvatar, and He made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of His thought, and they were with
Him before all else was made. And He spoke to them, propounding to them themes
of music, and they sang before Him, and He was glad.”

“Iluvitar said to them: ‘Behold your music!’ And He showed to them a vision, giving to them sight where before was only hearing; and they saw a new World
made visible before them.”

“No theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in Me, nor can any alter the music in my despite.”

“’I know the desire of your minds that what ye have seen should verily be, not only in your thought, but even as ye yourselves are, and yet other. Therefore I
say: Ea! Let these things be!”

Obviously, Iluvitar represents God, and the Ainur His angelic creatures. This ought to be, and probably is, common knowledge among Tolkien’s followers. What
is probably less known is the incredible combination of relatively obscure
Thomistic metaphysics with the obvious drama of the text.

First, it can be inferred that Iluvitar and the Ainur are spiritual, not
material, beings. Obviously, this is the first impulse of the reader. Second,
Tolkien calls the Ainur the offspring of “His thought.” If Tolkien intended the
Ainur to be material beings, why would he specify the “thought?” And if the
Ainur are spiritual, Iluvitar must be as well.

When constructing his philosophy, St. Thomas faced a problem concerning
spiritual beings: how they know things. They obviously do not perceive, as
humans do, for they have no bodies and thus no senses, yet God knows all things,
and the angels are obviously quite intelligent. St. Thomas states that
(1) God knows all things, even the contingencies of free human wills, as author,
not as perceiver, and
(2) communicates this knowledge to His Angels. (Existing and performing the act
of creation continuously, for God is outside of time, God holds even our wills
in existence, even when they make evil choices.) This knowledge (3) further
constitutes the essences of all things that are or are yet to be, even the free
creations of human art, thus making all artistic creation a form of discovery,
for God knows all things, even essences, and his knowledge of these essences
would play a role in the things that possess these essences. (1) and (3) are
supported by the statement “No theme may be played that hath not its uttermost
source in Me [the themes are the things by which things are made, and God would
of course know those things from all eternity}, nor can any alter the music in
my despite.” (2) is supported by the fact that He communicated the themes to
his Angels, and then revealed to them that the things were real; they did not
perceive the world without His specially granting it to them. These things, of
course, were made real, as Iluvitar so gloriously states when He decrees “Ea! Le
these things be!”

2. What is “The Flame Imperishable?”

“I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your
powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he
“He [Melkor] had gone often alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Iluvatar took no thought of the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness. Yet he had not found the fire, for it is with Iluvitar. But being alone, he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren.”

“And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall be; and those of you that will may
go down into it.”

A school of the philosophers called the Stoics also spoke of a airy flame, the logos, the source of reason, a pantheistic deity that performed the function of
being the soul of the universe. (The Logos that St. John speaks of in the
gospels is a variant on this concept, The Word as the source of reason, but not
a pantheistic deity, of course.) Souls, the stoics stated, were material, made
of air and fire, and by moving throughout a substance, they gave the substance
its cohesion and its proper level of life: nonliving, plant, animal, rational,
and logos. Is the Flame Imperishable the same as the Stoic logos? No, for two

Melkior was not stupid, just proud and impatient. The logos would not be found in void places, for the Stoics believed that place was not material and did not exist, so therefore it could not possess logos. In Thomistic metaphysics,
however, God is present in all places by His power that gives places their
existence and power of having things placed within them.

If this doesn’t convince you (and it shouldn’t, for one could believe in logos but not the stoic theory of void places), it must be remembered that Iluvitar is not a pantheistic deity, as the Ainur are the offspring of His thought, not His
thoughts themselves, and Arda is itself separate from them. (If they are
separate, they cannot both be part of God, for God is entirely simple and has no
parts.) How then to explain the remarks of “Yet he had not found the fire, for
it is with Iluvitar,” and “I will send forth into the Void the Flame
Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall
be,” remarks that seem to imply that whatever this thing is, it is part of the
world, and of God as well.

In Thomistic metaphysics, God is perfect Existence (but existence is not God). By His power, all things participate in His existence without actually being
Him. Hence, the Flame Imperishable, which seems to represent existence, is “At
the heart of the world” not “Is the world” and “Is kindled within the Ainur” not
“is the Ainur,” but is “with” Iluvitar.

One ending note: Melkor seeks for the Imperishable Flame, but everywhere else, Existence is called the Flame Imperishable. Why the change of order? By
putting Imperishable first, Tolkien accentuates the imperishableness of the
flame. The Flame, like the Ring, grants imperishability, yet imperishability is
not its prime function, just as one who seeks the ring for immortality becomes a
parody of a human, just as Melkor is elsewhere said only to mock, not create.

So ends my post on The Ainulindale.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A New Quote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As you can see, I finally got around to putting up a new quote. I
didn't actually go through and pick one though: Carmen suggested
it. So as you can see, I'm still getting settled here.

Another quick note. The poll is over. It was a tie between the
Fellowship and both the Fellowship and The Return of The King
(I changed my mind by the way).


Who was the other person who voted for Chesterton besides me?

By the way, I voted for Chesterton because his writings cover a wider array of topics and his style is better. That being said, in terms of a single achievement, he has nothing that comes even close to Tolkien.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Music Of The Night

I won't post an article on the temperaments just yet, so you can all
relax. :-) One or two more articles, and I'll post one. However, this
article won't be an LOTR article, but similar lessons can be learned.
In this post, I want to explore all of the lessons from a certain novel
that can be applied to our present day (whether or not the author
was aware of them. Don't you just love it when the author writes
something that has moral benefits and doesn't realize it? It's much
more hilarious when they're intending to cause moral harm, although
I don't think that is the case here). After this post, you can do the
same with "Dracula", Old Fashioned Liberal. :-)

The novel I wish to examine is "Le Fantome De L 'Opera' ", or more
commonly known in English as: The Phantom of the Opera. Well, I
fibbed actually. I've never read the book :-), so I'm judging it off of
the interpretation of the famous musical.

I assume you all know the tale of the hideous figure that hides below
the opera house. But have you ever thought of the spiritual themes?
I will extract two particular ideas:

One: the frequently appearing struggle between good and evil.

Two: the practice of perfect Christian charity.

Of the two, the most obvious idea that is present the second. But
because of the overall evil nature of the Phantom and the somewhat
sinister and dark themes that occasionally occur, as well as the
seductive elements, the struggle between good and evil is also
present (Raoul is often looked on as "the good side"), but this is not
as obvious as . This theme might be harder to follow, because you
have to look at it from a supernatural point of view. The second is
easy to follow, because it is on the natural level. It is present in
Christine's practice of charity toward the Phantom, who has had
an unhappy life after all (I will discuss this in another psychology
post sometime).

The two ideas, or themes seem to go back and forth as far as which
one is prominent. So I will give a brief analysis of the musical and
examine each number.

Nothing to see here!!!

Nothing to see here either.

Think of Me:
Still nothing to see. The Phantom has not made his entrance yet,
and the two themes rely on his presence.

Angel of Music:
Here we have Christine talking about the Phantom. She describes
him as "The Angel of Music". This scene strikes me as having
elements of the first theme. It seems to illustrate how easily one
can be fascinated by something evil, and how something evil can
appear to seem like a good part of our lives (although I might be
playing this part up just a little bit). The Phantom is an unseen
force that seems to have brought about great good in Christine's
life, so she naively mistakes him for "The Angel of Music". A perfect
example of "a wolf in sheep's clothing".

Little Lotte/The Mirror:
This scene is much similar to the previous one. The only
difference is that Christine is talking to Raoul now. :-)

The Phantom of The Opera:
This is yet another portrayal of the first idea (theme). However, the
lyrics to this number are very abstract, so it is difficult to explain.
In general, the first half talks about being "called", drawn to
something, which doesn't sound very good does it (don't worry,
it gets better, and "lighter". Maybe...)?

The Music of The Night:
In this number, we the Phantom on a more natural level, but he
speaks (or sings in this case) with a voice that seems to be more
than meets the eye: a certain darkness which has enveloped him,
and he seeks to draw Christine to it with him. So there's definitely
elements of theme one going on here.

I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It:
After all this darkness, we have a change of pace in this number.
There's no trace of the first theme, but instead we have the second.
We have the sad tale of this man whom has been rejected by
society and neglected by his family on account of his disfigured
face. Surely this awakens memories of similar stories, most of
which are true. How many people have been misunderstood or
abused because of mere disabilities which cause them to seem
different to us. Some might believe that they are inferior to the
majority of us who are "normal". And one might make this less
specific. One might compare this to the countless number of people
who grow up to be involved in shootings, drugs, drinking, and other
such vices which can only lead to despair, all because they were
neglected as children due to divorced or excessively working parents
(more specifically the case where the mother works and the small
children end up in daycare). These people have never learned to
respect God's gift of life, because no one ever showed it to them by
example. Why is it any surprise then, that women have no respect
for their unborn children? Of course, if these people had heroic
virtue, they could overcome these terrible circumstances. But how
many of us are perfect? How many of us can say that we would
overcome those conditions if we were in their exact same position?
The only way we can overcome it is with God's grace.

I'm sure you can see the similarities here. I think all of these people
have sang "The Music if The Night" at one time in their lives, and
many will continue to sing it.

Magical Lasso:
Nothing to see here. Just a bunch of old tales about the Phantom.

Prima Donna:
Comic relief!!!!!!!!!

Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh:
In this number, we see the truly evil nature that has possessed the
Phantom (for those of you who don't know the story, he hangs a
man during the performance.). Believe it or not, this number still
follows the second theme, because there is nothing to indicate any
supernatural themes.

Why Have You Brought Me Here/Raoul, I've Been There:
This returns to the first theme. Christine talks about having been to
the Phantom's "lair", and is naturally afraid. This is undoubtedly an
evil place, and evil usually brings fear (not like I had to tell you that).
This can be compared to the fear of sin (grievous sin at least). Once
one knows the true evil and consequences of sin, and from where it
comes, one can have a great fear of returning there.

All I Ask Of You:
This is a beautiful number that the rest of the world might picture
as a nice love song, but I see more in it. This number still follows
the first theme. It is a beautiful portrayal of how Christ draws us
away from sin and darkness, and calms our fears if we put our trust
in Him.

All I Ask Of You (reprise):
We return to theme two now. After hearing Christine profess her
love to Raoul, he is grief stricken. Christine was the only light in
his life of terrible darkness, and his grief turns to great rage at her
absence. Perhaps he is obsessed with her because she is the only
ray of light in his dark world. In that case, can you not understand
his plight? It's true, however, that he wants her for the wrong
reasons, and only Christine can make him realize this.

-to be continued-

Friday, January 30, 2009

Last Day to Vote!!!!

Just to remind you all that this is the last day to vote on which
LOTR soundtrack you think is the best. Look down at previous
posts to find my review (my Ancient Greek review :-) ).

The War is OVER!!!!!!

Just letting all of you know that the debate is resting now (in peace
we'll hope). Absolutely NOTHING was accomplished by it. It was
a rather trivial debate and while it was fun fighting until the number
of comments rose past fourty, I never want to do it again. But it
would be fun to have a post on here with over fourty comments.
Why don't we try it?

LInk (Not the Nintendo Character)

The description of the link to the Disciples of Diotima blog is now officially accurate. In the space of one day, one post has recieved 25 comments.

(A note from Ancient Greek Philosopher)

Seriously, this is probably the most heated debate I've ever seen.
And I need help with the negative (okay, only partially negative)!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Shire

The Shire. That peaceful place where Frodo and Sam began their
journey. That quiet, joyous land where the carefree Hobbits live
their uneventful lives. Their only concern is what goes on in the
Shire, and no where else. However, the outside world won't leave
them alone forever. No matter how hard they try to shut it out,
the plans of evil will reach them sooner or later, and all the peace
and goodness will be destroyed.

Now, the childlike nature of the Hobbits is good. However, they
are a bit naive to think that they can bury their heads in the sand
to avoid danger. But perhaps we do the same. There are
well-meaning Christians out there who would rather not pay
attention to the outside world and just live their lives without
concern. And who can blame them!!!! Who would want to get
involved in the evils of this world?!??!!? Why can't we just be

The truth, of course, is in the middle. We can't go out seeking to
fight evil on our own, and we can't bury our heads in the sand and
say it doesn't exist. If we seek to fight evil without God's protection
and calling to do so, we will surely be lost to it ourselves, as was
Denethor when he used the Palantir. But if we bury our heads in
the sand, we will be helpless to resist the evil when it comes to our
doorstep. The Bible talks about being vigilant, "for you adversary
the devil is like a roaring lion seek for someone to devour". It also
says that the battle is not of natural means, but of "Principalities and

My advice would be to trust in God to protect us. We must come to
Christ as little children. Children know there is danger, but trust that
those more powerful will than they will protect them. When we
encounter evil, we must pray to Him and remember His
Commandments. And when He calls, we must be ready to fight for
our God.

The battle is in the Lord's hands.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

To Spell Check or Not To Spell Check??

I have heard about many complaints on the subject of the
automatic "spell check" from an English major I know. He first
of all says it is ineffective and misleading. So, should we use it?
When I think of the spell check, the first thing it (for me) appears
to symbolizes is the laziness of the American culture by means
of technology. One could easily type any way they want and then
just run through it with the spell check. The problem with that is
the spell check has the possibility of giving the wrong word. So
our glorious technology isn't infallible after all. However, when
it's use is correctly monitored, it can be a very useful tool. Now,
of course, it would be much better if one knew how to spell the
word in the first place. But we humans are imperfect, so we need
a little (a lot!) help.

Having said all of this, I will tell you what I do. When I write
something, I make the best effort to spell everything correctly.
Then I simply use the spell check to be sure. I think if one uses
it correctly, there's no reason to object to the spell check,
unless you resent the fact that you can't spell perfectly (by the
way, I used the spell check to write this article :-) ).

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Paralell

Just wanted to point out that the defining feature of the poetry of Rohan, alliteration, is also a defining feature in Old English and Middle English Poetry.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Lord of The Rings Soundtracks

You've all probably noticed the poll by now, "Which of the three
LOTR soundtracks is the best?". Well I thought it deserved an article
of it's own. Which one is the best? The Fellowship, The Two Towers,
or The Return of The King? Let's briefly look at each individual

  • The Fellowship of The Ring

The Fellowship starts with a segment of the ethereal and mysterious
Lothlórien theme, which quickly evolves into the rising and falling
ring theme. Obviously, many of the themes are introduced in the
Fellowship. Some of the themes include the ring theme, the the
Mordor themes, the Shire theme, and the Isengard theme.

  • The Two Towers

The Two Towers doesn't include some of the themes introduced
in the Fellowship. The Isengard theme is the only theme from the
Fellowship that is predominant in the Two Towers. But the Rohan
theme and the Ents' theme is introduced, and these are developed
much later.

  • The Return of The King

The Return of The King brings all of the themes from the previous
two films into play, as well as adding many pieces of new music, such
as "Into The West" (I know, it's a commercial pop song, but the bits
that are used in the film are quite effective). I think The Return of The
King soundtrack has an edge because it develops all (or most) of the
themes from the previous two movies while adding more material.

So much for my brief analysis. Now you are informed enough to make
your own decision. Some people can't decide between the Fellowship
and The Return of The King, but what I decided on for Return of The
King was the grand and glorious use of the Gondor theme as the
beacons are lit. How can the Fellowship beat that?

Non-Topical Subject :-)

Just so none of you are in the dark about this label. :-) When I label
something as "Non-Topical Subject :-)", I simply mean something
not Tolkien related. This is simply to emphasize that this blog is a
Tolkien blog first, but that anything may be discussed on it
(anything reasonable).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lazy Me

I'm sure the whole world has noticed that there haven't been any
posts in a few months, so I decided to post SOMETHING!!!!! I admit,
I am as much to blame as anyone for this inartistic atrocity (as I
hilariously call it). I personally hope to get over the American
Christmas madness and post something soon (sometime this month).