Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Holly Oardway on Tolkien

Holly Ordway: The Christian faith of JRR Tolkien
29 May 2024, Seen & Unseen

"it's like people love it I think because 19:06 it's it's sketching out a different world but that has its own consistency and story and and so what what what's 19:14 what's the Allure of that because you might say well look we've got a world we already live in why do we need a different world the world that was 19:20 inside CS Lewis's head or tolkin head why do those worlds seem to attract us 19:26 well I think this is something that tolkin thought are great great deal about"

19:28 May I give my view?

God doesn't just know all there is to know about the world he actually created, with certainty, the primary world, He also knows all possible worlds.

And conditionally possible worlds, worlds that had been possible with some different choices in God's creative acts.

This obviously means, God knows all there is to know about the World of Narnia, or about the world of Elidor or about the England in which Susan Pevensie met both Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis (in my fan fic) or about a version of our universe with non-Adamite images of God like elves, dwarves, incarnate ainur, probably even a non-Adamite version of mankind, et c.

He also knows all there is to know about worlds so terrible or skewed that people only view them in nightmares and in insanity.

And about worlds and timelines so horrible, that they are not glimpsed even on that individual level.

All talent a world builder actually has, comes from God. This should indicate, there is some kind of providence about what fiction is written.

So, the ultimate reason would be, things like the seven Palantirs or the Stone Table, perhaps even more stories like Akallabêth and The Last Battle, came to be written when God knew they would be emotionally, morally, in some sense culturally relevant for encouraging the good and for restraining somewhat the bad.

Tolkien's supervillains are terribly written, as characters, fortunately. Morgoth is basically a rebel and destroyer (the exact Biblical description of Satan) and as seducer a cad, like a teen age version of Marquis de Sade not all that much worse than Casanova. Like the passage in the Dialogue of Andreth, where Morgoth is pleasantly surprised when men volunteer for human sacrifice, "he hadn't dared to hope they would be that corrupt" basically ... just like a teen getting into the darker parts of BDSM. But they are excellent props for getting the good guys in bad scrapes, and we actually need to see the dragon and the giant before we see the dragon killer and Jack with the beanstalk. And today, I think we are approaching times, we well see Ar-Pharazôn and Rishda Tarkaan in real life. We need encouragement, and God has provided the English speaking world, and many people just outside it, with two magnificent authors for that purpose.

If copies of LotR and LB were lying on some street in Jerusalem waiting for a bonfire and then flying up unscathed three and a half days later, it's not how I think Apocalypse 11 will be fulfilled, but if that happened, I would either think God had fulfilled that in a surprising way, or, God was warning the perpetrators, this will happen when they come to Henoch and Elijah as well!

"so when he talks about the prisoners due to escape I mean I'm sure 20:06 he's thinking being a prisoner of war I mean he wasn't himself a prisoner of war but he could easily have been you know 20:11 the prisoner's duty is to try to escape not to just say well here I am you know in my prison and fantasy and other 20:19 literature but fantasy I think particularly well can allow you to to see beyond the walls of your prison cell"

20:25 That passage can be very differently interpreted depending on what the "reality" is.

Is "reality" whatever is real as God sees it, whatever God has created and allowed to become what it is (sometimes in corrupted versions)?

Well, then the "duty of escape" could be construed as a kind of gnosticism, like Dan Andersson's "there is something beyond the mountains" (he was thinking of mountains in Lapponia, btw) "and it's calling you and saying 'this is not your country' " ... that could be taken as Heaven being more real than Earth, but it could also be taken as the material universe being created by a lesser being.

However, what I think Tolkien means by the word in the context is "reality as a social construct about what is real" ... it involves facts about the universe and history we know are real, but those facts are set in contexts that reflect socially accepted and promoted world views, like Evolution, Materialism, Big Bang Cosmology, Freudianism, perhaps also a Marxist view of history and so on ...

Tolkien is not showing different mountains or coastlines or tobacco fields to denigrate material reality, but to free them a bit from what an Oxford Don at many non-literary faculties would be saying about them. And about reality as a whole. Or from what the man writing the news stories in The Times would take for granted. Or from parts of what the Middle School teacher said about them.

27:57 "in these more ecumenical times"

Disagreed, partially.

In Sweden, I think most of the English world is similar, you can definitely find moral pockets and be confronted in your life situation with pockets where being Catholic is very costly.

If I had made my life for instance as a language teacher or writer first, and had converted only after that, ideally in company with people, I could have had a pretty decent life in Sweden.

I decided to convert in my teens, I am on my father's side from a pretty anti-Catholic family, my father was raised as a 7 Day Adventist by his mother, and if we look at the present situation, that family likes Atheism, Modernist Greek Orthodoxy, Lutheran Semi-Conservatism better than Catholicism.

Especially than fairly non-ecumenical versions of Catholicism, like if you believe Nostra Aetate is not by a real Council. Add to that the stigma of a Young Earth Creationist and a Geocentric. The latter, I added after the social situation was humanly speaking hopeless anyway ...

Add to that, if I hope to marry a decidedly younger bride and also wish to lower age limits for marriage, some will add the stigma or paedophhilia onto that:

New blog on the kid: Japan Went the Wrong Way

AND among French and East Europeans in France, Tolkien is partly a stigma too.

"I think it's easy to take for granted that he remained a Catholic 30:15 but there is no taking for granted about it he he stuck with it because he he believed it."

Me too.

Given the lack of interaction with me as internet debater in Paris, where I physically live, and the predominance of non-Catholic or non-Creationist or both at the same time, interlocutors, I have paid a somewhat hard price for being Catholic and Creationist.

And part of it is, Catholic parishes in Paris would be thrilled if I gave up Young Earth Creationism, gave up arguing for its scientific possibility, gave up arguing for it being obligatory as corrollary to not just the Christmas Day martyrology reading, but also §3 of Dei Verbum, but also the first three anathemas of Trent Session V on Original Sin.

"he 45:00 could have let go entirely and he didn't and all of that I think forms the undering out of which 45:09 comes his great work and of course all that meant that he also had a great insight into human nature human struggle 45:16 um and that's common no matter what your professed beliefs are we all go through T times so I think all of that helps to 45:24 give us that sort of ging for his faith that is in The Lord 45:30 of the Rings"

I think it does help he had a certain age before he wrote the stories. A reason why I hope to be published as essayist first, even if I should get along with any novel ...

I have sometimes compared Mozart and Tolkien as both showing the aesthetic taste choice of wabi sabi ... but they are also contrasted insofar as Mozart was a man who died young, just 35 years. Now, his librettists were in fact older, so the stories told in his operas are not tainted by his youth.

Mozart was born 27 Jan. 1756

Da Ponte was older, born 10 March 1749.
Schikaneder was older, born 1 September 1751.
Metastasio was definitely older, born 3 January 1698 (same birthday as JRRT, by the way).

Tolkien was 45 when he published The Hobbit and 62~63 when he published Lord of the Rings.

47:47 I'm glad I haven't given Humphrey Carpenter an exclusive authorisation to depict my life ...

He is out of touch with Catholicism.

So are quite a lot of people who think and comment about me, if my impressions from what happens can tell you anything. And prepared to give an equally preposterous view of my Catholicism.

51:50 Wikipedia is editable.

IN early 2005, French wikipedia egregiously defined Geocentrism as the view in which Earth rather than Sun is the centre of the Solar System.

The problem is this presupposes a Heliocentric view of many parallel solar systems. It even kind of suggests that a Geocentric would consider the star system named after Kepler as Heliocentric and dito for all other Exoplanets, and not revolving around Earth, while only the solar system revolved around Earth, which is fairly preposterous as a definition and a ridiculous strawman about Geocentrism.

I edited it to Geocentrism is the view in which Earth is the centre of the universe (I could have said "of the visible universe" but you see where it is going).

Today, 15:33 Paris time, 29.V.2024, on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi, I consulted the article and found:

"Le géocentrisme est un modèle physique ancien selon lequel la Terre se trouve immobile, au centre de l'Univers."

Yes, it still correctly says "au centre de l'Univers" ... good edits aren't necessarily wasted. Don't complain about wiki saying so and so, edit the article. Most articles are open access, you can edit them with the computer you are at as the log for the edit, without logging in. Some aren't and require you to be registered user for that language version of wikipedia. Even that doesn't require you to be a Leftist with low regard for detailed knowledge.

Some of my other good edits on that article were turned down as "own research" by other users.

54:24 I think there is a letter where he stated that CSL made a mistake in becoming Anglican, by "entering through the door where he had left" ... "same door where one has left" or sth (I'm paraphrasing because I can't recall the exact quote)

As the comment stands it looks more like an appeal to "spiritual laws" than to the specific exclusive truth claim .... but I think there was some disappointment.

Could have been one of the letters to his son Michael, one of the things I went for guidance to as a young convert, both before and after reception.

57:38 "most explicitly apologetic thing that Tolkien ever wrote"

And the letters to the son Michael?

Ryan Parker
Did he write to his son about Theological Apologetics or do you mean something else

Hans-Georg Lundahl
@ryanparker4996 Partly.

He wrote very openly to his son Michael on basically all things Catholic.

It definitely includes comments like "the Catholic Church is the true one, because it respects the indissolubility of marriage" and "[dito] ... because it gives us and presents us with the Eucharist" (despite quotation marks, paraphrasing), possibly some more.

58:58 I recall Dosetej Motika, Serbian Orthodox bishop most relevant for Sweden (not sure for how many other countries) saying that when he was a child, he gave the crushed shells of Easter eggs to the ants, so they could participate in the Joy of the Resurrection.

I think it is very possible that Tolkien was perfectly right on this point, but that this participation is not necessarily a Salvific one, it confers actual graces, but not Sanctifying grace, like ants are not able to receive Sanctifying grace.

59:34 "every human being ... universal appeal"

I think there are also lots of people who are simply allergic to LotR. I think CSL in one essay spoke of people allergic to fantasy.

But even if you like speculative fiction, there is a faction who find Tolkien and Lewis unreadable, and vastly prefer Asimov. Personally, I find Asimov unreadable. Ari Seldon is as close as Asimov comes to a Christ like figure (I think even parallelling roles as "dead founder of a religion gone wrong since then" which very probably says sth of how Asimov viewed Christianity) and I find him so horribly antipathetic, I place him closer to Saruman than to Eustace Clarence Scrubb before converting.

I sometimes feel targetted by people who think I should remake my teens and find Asimov instead of Tolkien and Lewis my go to ... and they probably would prefer me putting Billie Eilish over Mozart as well. Don't get me wrong, I find her one of the sweeter faces and one of the more listenable musics in today's music scene, but you know what I mean.

If you aren't too tired to appreciate Classic music, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Figaro ci, Figaro qua, Non più andrai farfallone amoroso, or that theme that's been reworked by Rachmaninov actually are better.

I have also been pretty systematically kept too tired to make any complete reread of LotR since 2004 when I left Sweden.

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