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Thread: Eru's thoughts (Ainur)

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I think all of this has already been answered somewhere in the beginning of this thread.

We already gave so many quotes that the entire AinulindalŽ is probably already included in this thread...


Well I am not interested in that. Just quoting from a book isn't that helpful for a discussion and once I see it is quoted I skip the text. I want to know a persons viewpoint, not that of Tolkien. And even so, I can interpretet the Sil differently then you, simply because my frame of reference is different then yours or someone elses. I still do have those questions that the Sil, UT, Letters does not cover. So my questions remain.


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Because of their shorter life span Men also hold the key to success against Sauron - hope and striving against all odds, while elves prefer to keep things unchanged and hide away from the evil.End Quote

Hiding away from evil? Yeh, sure. That's why the Noldor returned to Beleriand at the beginning of the First Age and why the Elves at the end of the third age accepted the destruction of the One Ring which put an end to the Three.

Elves have always done what they had to do against evil.


I'm not saying the elves didn't fight against evil, when they could or when they had to or when there was no other choice or even when they damn well felt like it. But the elves disliked change and they had a habit of trying to preserve what they had in little hidden kingdoms like Lothlorien. They had a different way of fighting evil - after all they had ages to deal with evil whereas Men, individually, had very little time. At the end of the Third Age they had very little choice. The change they had so long fought off would overtake them anyway once the Ring was destroyed. There was no other choice then. No doubt if the confrontation with Sauron hadn't happened then they would have carried on as they were for another few thousand years.

When I said that elves dislike change and hide away from evil I was thinking of Tolkien's own description of elves (in general) and the words he uses such as 'fading', 'embalming', 'decay'...

Letters
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They wanted the peace and bliss and perfect memory of 'The West', and yet to remain on the ordinary earth where their prestige as the highest people, above wild Elves, dwarves, and Men, was greater than at the bottom of the hierarchy of Valinor. They thus became obsessed with 'fading', the mode in which the changes of time (the law of the world under the sun) was perceived by them. They became sad, and their art (shall we say) antiquarian, and their efforts all really a kind of embalming - even though they also retained the old motive of their kind, the adornment of earth, and the healing of tis hurts. We hear of a lingering kingdom in the extreme North-west... blah blah blah.... and of other settlements, such as Imladris... blah blah blah.... The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. change viewed as a regrettable thing)

Rhapsody, Olorin gave a pretty good answer to at least one of your questions. Any comments on what he said? Did it help at all?

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Well I am not interested in that. Just quoting from a book isn't that helpful for a discussion and once I see it is quoted I skip the text. I want to know a persons viewpoint, not that of Tolkien.

I agree with the Dutchesse here. To use a quote to illustrate or support a point is OK, but it is the point the person is making that is interesting, not the quote itself.
Plenty of those here with or without quotes.
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Well I am not interested in that. Just quoting from a book isn't that helpful for a discussion and once I see it is quoted I skip the text.

Ppl sometimes give quotes to try to answer any questions a person may have. Glad to see that is appreciated. I actually thought i was helping ppl out with giving quotes.

I usually skip a person's viewpoint when either a quote or JRRT himself shows that person's viewpoint is incorrect. Which is the reason i'm outta this thread. It's no point discussion when ppl don't even read what's included in the Sil. Pathetic.
Ok, this is my 3rd attempt of typing a reply.... arrrrgh. Not sure if I can capture that momentum of the first two..

Olorin's posts are great, yeah. But. There is always a but Wink Smilie I am not asking about Melkor's nature, but that of Eru himself. I know more then enough about Melkor.

Laurelindhe ilmarin posted on Monday 10th January 2005 (05:45pm)

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Dark Duelist, yes the choice of evil is always there, but one cannot be wholly evil without there being evil already innate in that person...otherwise they are only pseudo-evil, which is much less menacing and far more like the lovable badguy, who is not evil but merely misunderstood.

And anyway, what in tarnation does that have to do with Eru's thoughts?


If Eru created Melkor as an offspring from his mind, shouldn't Eru have evil in himself? Did he create Melkor with the potential that such an offspring could turn evil? Even more, didn't Eru cast Melkor into the void because maybe it was hard to see that such an creature mirrors something from yourself that you rather do not want to see? Or even more, when he tried to correct this offspring, did he fail because he himself did not fully understood this part of himself? Just some musings. As Virumor said somewhere else: Tolkien did not explain or did not wish to explain everything, so I am wondering what the thoughts of others are on this.

Somehow an Eru with both good and evil inside himself sounds more believable then a only good Eru and would explain more how Melkor could have become like he did.
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Virumor wrote:
I usually skip a person's viewpoint when either a quote or JRRT himself shows that person's viewpoint is incorrect. Which is the reason i'm outta this thread. It's no point discussion when ppl don't even read what's included in the Sil. Pathetic.


I currently have two editions from the Sil, UT and the letters 10 cm away from me. If I want to know a quote I can look it up myself. Some quoted purely from the Sil without saying why, I skip those posts yes. Is it so bad to be interested in someone elses pov? For me it just gives me some insight or an angle I have never thought of.
Rhapsody - you are asking much the same question as I did to start this thread. There have been many points of view both with and withoutTokien quotes . Those POV have lead to other POV and so on. Rather than ask the same question perhaps you could pick up on some of the comments already made and form more questions from them and give us your POV on those comments.

As for quotes, they give insight into where a POV may have come from and in a thread like this I think they are invaluable.
You have to be careful with those POVs... the Convention of Geneva you know.

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I'm not saying the elves didn't fight against evil, when they could or when they had to or when there was no other choice or even when they damn well felt like it. But the elves disliked change and they had a habit of trying to preserve what they had in little hidden kingdoms like Lothlorien. They had a different way of fighting evil - after all they had ages to deal with evil whereas Men, individually, had very little time. At the end of the Third Age they had very little choice. The change they had so long fought off would overtake them anyway once the Ring was destroyed. There was no other choice then. No doubt if the confrontation with Sauron hadn't happened then they would have carried on as they were for another few thousand years.

Agreed, but you also said in your previous post Elves were hiding from evil. Why did you say this? That i didn't understand.

I think the reasons you stated for Elves to fight are the only good reasons - unlike most humans elves do not fight to fight and kill to kill.
Rhapsody, you are now delving into an area where there will likely be basic philosophical differences, and we must therefore be very cautious where we go, because this is, and must remain, a friendly site. Discussion is wonderful, but, you'll see what I mean in a minute I hope.

The nature of Eru. Wow. We don't know, except that He is the Creator. Before Him there was nothing. No Ainur. No physical world. Eru and the void. Eru chose to create those beings we read about in the Ainulindale. Eru chose to embody them with thoughts, desires, and wisdom, each to a certain degree. Eru gave them a large amount of free will, to use in making real the fruit of His thought. Manwe's thought turned to the air. Ulmo's thought turned to the waters. Aule's to the making of things. Yavanna's to living things, both flora and fauna. Etc. To Melkor Eru gave the greatest amount of power and thought, slightly greater than that of Manwe, and they are called brethren. Eru gave Melkor a bit of the thought of everything, kind of a Jack of all Trades. Melkor, however, did not want to be a "Master of None". Melkor wanted mastery of all. Eru did not give to Melkor the "gift" of evil, which is where my reading of your questions leads me. Evil and good are not gifts of themselves, but byproducts of the use of other gifts. If you intentionally use your gifts for the betterment of all around you, in this case for the beautification and betterment of Arda, the result is what we would call "good". If, as Melkor did, you use these gifts for your own purposes and designs, maliciously and with the desire to control and subjugate, the result is "evil".

Back to Eru. The theism Tolkien created in the Silmarillion is monotheistic. Eru is responsible for the creation of all that is. In this light, Eru is also responsible for the creation of the concept of "evil". That does not mean, however, that evil itself was embodied in Him. Sam says, "Handsome is as Handsome does". Sam is a lot wiser than most give him credit for. Evil and good are resultants, again, based upon how one uses what is given them.

Again, read the Sil carefully. Eru did not cast Melkor into the void. The Valar did. Eru created the Ainur to order things as they saw in the Music. Eru sits and watches, sometimes smiling, sometimes weeping, sometimes angry, sometimes wistful... until all has come to pass.
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Agreed, but you also said in your previous post Elves were hiding from evil. Why did you say this? That i didn't understand.


I did try and explain it but maybe not enough. I won't quote what I said or what Tolkien said again but by hidden I meant that their natue had become one of avoiding change in the world. They wanted things to remain as they were (not Feanor or the early elves but Elrond and Galadriel mainly). They obscured their kingdoms, as did Thingol with the Girdle of Melian. While the One Ring existed they used their own rings to 'hide'. I don't mean they ran away, they were working to destroy Sauron's power when they had to, but they preferred to live away from other races and to keep themselves to themselves.

As I said earlier Tolkien used words like fade and embalming and to me this shows that they were removed somewhat from what was becoming the world of Men.

And even their eventual journey West took them away from the world of Men. Their future lies not with us but apart and hidden from us as they were much of the time even then.

I'm not saying they were wrong to do this - their lifespan was such that to live at the same pace as Men would probably harm them and their culture.

Yes, they fought when necessary - the Last Alliance was just that, the last time elves put themselves completely on the front line of battle against evil. Their way of dealing with Sauron was from the sidelines almost. It was left to Men to take the full brunt of Sauron's armies.

Hope this helps.
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Eru sits and watches, sometimes smiling, sometimes weeping, sometimes angry, sometimes wistful... until all has come to pass.


Eru did become involved at least once in what was happening in the world as it was He who took Gandalf out of 'thought and time' and returned him to Middle-earth to finish his work.

Nice post though. Good explanations.
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Virumor wrote: You have to be careful with those POVs... the Convention of Geneva you know.


*grin*

Anyways LOL, sorry that was too funny, it is getting more into the direction of what I looking for. Thanks for posting Olorin. Vee as I explained before, I still have ponderings about certain things.

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Olorin wrote:
To Melkor Eru gave the greatest amount of power and thought, slightly greater than that of Manwe, and they are called brethren. Eru gave Melkor a bit of the thought of everything, kind of a Jack of all Trades. Melkor, however, did not want to be a "Master of None". Melkor wanted mastery of all.


Isn't Melkor then almost a copy of Eru? And was the creating of his own music not something natural for Melkor? Just a retorical question Wink Smilie

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If you intentionally use your gifts for the betterment of all around you, in this case for the beautification and betterment of Arda, the result is what we would call "good". If, as Melkor did, you use these gifts for your own purposes and designs, maliciously and with the desire to control and subjugate, the result is "evil".


But initially Melkor did do it for a good purpose, only he is punished for it (cast in darkness: "descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness...). I messed up the cast into the void with his trip into darkness.

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In this light, Eru is also responsible for the creation of the concept of "evil". That does not mean, however, that evil itself was embodied in Him.


Agreed. Smile Smilie This makes sense.

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Again, read the Sil carefully. Eru did not cast Melkor into the void. The Valar did. Eru created the Ainur to order things as they saw in the Music. Eru sits and watches, sometimes smiling, sometimes weeping, sometimes angry, sometimes wistful... until all has come to pass.


As I said above, I mixed things up, there is the cast into the void after the War of Wrath, but there was also something going on or after the creations of musics with Melkor (see Valaquenta).

Olorin, I loved this line, it is so true:
Evil and good are resultants, again, based upon how one uses what is given them.

Thanks for sharing Smile Smilie
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But initially Melkor did do it for a good purpose
I don't understand what you mean. Can you explain what purpose that would be? Melkor disobeyed Eru three times during the music. His reasons were not evil at first, but selfish. He didn't know what he was doing, none of the ainur knew what they were making. He only knew he didn't want to do like Eru asked him to. He then later became ashamed, gready, abused his powers, jealous, destoryed what the others created and though he was given several chances to change his ways, he didn't. I belive it all boils down to his great ego.
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Isn't Melkor then almost a copy of Eru?


No, not even close to a copy. Merely 'offspring of his thought' . The Ainur knew little compared to Eru. In the beginning they had no idea what the music was for but Melkor 'sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part assigned to himself' and he had a 'share in all the gifts of his brethren.' He had a bit of everything but not the whole and he wanted more. This craving for power and knowedge became the beginning of his downfall.

I suppose Eru could have cast Melkor out there and then if he wanted to but instead he used Melkor's discord within the Theme.
AmariŽ:
Disobedience is not per se a bad, or indeed an evil thing. Evil things happened in Iraq recently because some people were too obedient. Instead of thinking things through themselves they trusted and followed the orders of their superiors, thinking "I'm just a small cog in the machinery that has only my part to do. I might not understand it, but surely, those above me have the overview to see things that I can't comprehend, and I should blindly trust them. Who am I to say they are wrong?"

This sort of evil has arisen many times and in many areas, both geographically and socially.

Reading your post through again, with this context in mind, Melkor was the best of the bunch! If Eru told him to do something without explaining to him what it was that he was supposed to create, then "yelling at him" for doing "it" "wrong", then heck, even I would have been pissed off!


What is evil anyway? I prefer the Spinoza way: "Don't condemn the person, only the action" Which actions are evil seem to depend on both intent and end result, and can also be heavily dependent on what side you are on in a divided conflict.

Later Melkor is clearly evil in his desire to destroy everything.* But was he evil from the start? Or was it Eru's bad parenting that drove him away from "the narrow path"?



* (Well, if you believe the Bible, God will unleach the Apocalypse to destroy the world.. Hmmm..Tricky one. )
I don't like the elves at all.

In the Silmarillion they are a bunch of greedy, selfish, arrogant, backstabbing and violent war mongers, running around much like a merger between the vikings on poisonous mushrooms and the neanderthals, killing, wreaking and burning anything in their way. (My apologies to the neanderthals)

In the Hobbit, they are silly, giggely and mocking.

In Lotr, they do nothing but complain and feel sorry for themselves. "Oh, poor me! I must leave my beloved tree behind, to go across the sea and live happily ever after! Sob!"
" Is an evil lord trying to take over the world and kill or enslave every human, hobbit, dwarf and whatnot in it you say? Who cares! I can flee to somewhere safe and wonderful. Poor me! Sobbetisob!"


I might come back with some reasoning behind my statements later, if I survive the onslaught of outrage soon to come my way. Big Smile Smilie
Good and evil don't exist anyway. In the end, it's the victor who writes history and in that history the victor is 'good' and the enemy 'evil'. In JRRT's works, as the Elfies, Dwarfies and Humans win the house, they're 'good'.

But if we look at it from the Orc's point of view, it's the Elfies and Co who are evil.

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I don't like the elves at all.

In the Silmarillion they are a bunch of greedy, selfish, arrogant, backstabbing and violent war mongers, running around much like a merger between the vikings on poisonous mushrooms and the neanderthals, killing, wreaking and burning anything in their way. (My apologies to the neanderthals)

In the Hobbit, they are silly, giggely and mocking.

In Lotr, they do nothing but complain and feel sorry for themselves. "Oh, poor me! I must leave my beloved tree behind, to go across the sea and live happily ever after! Sob!"
" Is an evil lord trying to take over the world and kill or enslave every human, hobbit, dwarf and whatnot in it you say? Who cares! I can flee to somewhere safe and wonderful. Poor me! Sobbetisob!"

I think those greedy, arrogant, etc. Elfies were just the FŽanorians. The rest of the Noldor, particularly the House of Finarfin, were OK. Confer "House of FinwŽ" thread. And anyway, those greedy, arrogant ones aren't better than the humans at the end of the Third Age, really. Look at Denethor.

As for the complaining in LOTR : that's all Legolas's fault, really. Even since he sees the Sea, it's endless whining indeed. Not to mention his songs. Bweeerk.

At least the Elfies in the First Age were doing something.

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Later Melkor is clearly evil in his desire to destroy everything.* But was he evil from the start? Or was it Eru's bad parenting that drove him away from "the narrow path"?

He wasn't. I'll refer to the quotes/theories Olorin and I have posted somewhere in this thread not that long ago.

Melkor isn't evil, i think. He's considered to be evil. He just follows another plan, that's all. Just like Satan in the Bible, and Pinkie in "Pinkie and the Brain".

Eru didn't parent the Ainur, even. He created them and let them go their own way. Thank Eru that Melkor didn't get a spanking on the butt, otherwise we wouldn't have much of a story.
LOL Vir

I certainly hope Satan, Melkor and Pinky aren't your chosen poster boys for "Free Thought"

I don't think it was so much 'bad parenting' as Melkor using what had been given to him as a means to expand his power and knowledge. Now whether that is Eru's fault is another matter. But Eru brought the Ainur into being and they were not as we are, they were not men with their questioning, demanding minds, they were created by Eru to fulfil his plan by creating the Themes. At first they sang alone because they only had knowledge and understanding of that part of Eru from which each came. Their understanding grew and they 'increased in unison and harmony'. Not a bad start I would think. They are not yet itruly ndependent beings, not yet ready to be set free upon a world to mould and guide it. In gaining understanding and knowledge Melkor became aware of what he could gain and he craved power.

I suppose one could say that Eru should have explained things to Melkor but why? He was supreme. They were his creations, there to sing and make music and that was all they needed to know. None of the others seemed bothered by not having things explained in detail so maybe the fault was that Melkor was given too much knowledge to start with. But if Eru is infallible then do we suppose that Melkor's contribution was expected and as Olorin said earlier without evil how do we appreciate what is good?

Hmmm.... I've got my husband telling me about booking flights to Edinburgh, airport car park fees and B&Bs and my son talking about a documentary on ghosts and plasma screen costing less than he thought..... not conducive to focused thinking. So, apologies if nothing here make any sense.

Also..... (shutup about plasma screens! and no, I don't know where your homework diary is!) Melkor's fall into disgrace came about after the vision of the World was played before the Ainur. So he saw what Eru had planned and he coveted it. He wanted control of the world and everything in it, to be called Lord and be master over others.

About elves.... well, Feanor and his stupid oath started a whole mess of maggots. The elves should remember that when they start moaning about Men and dwarves. Tolkien himself admits that elves should not be seen as wholly good.

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But the Elves are not wholly good or in the right....

They wanted to have their cake and eat it; to live in the mortal historical Middle-earth because they had become fond of it and so tried to stop its change and history, stop its growth, keep it as a pleasaunce, even largely a desert, where they could be 'artists;...

Letters
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They wanted to have their cake and eat it; to live in the mortal historical Middle-earth because they had become fond of it and so tried to stop its change and history, stop its growth, keep it as a pleasaunce, even largely a desert, where they could be 'artists;...

I really can't see the problem with that : it's their choice of life and that's just it. For humans such a life would indeed be not good, because such a life would be incredibly boring due to their short lifespans - but for Elfies who have plenty o'time such a life is fully acceptable. I think they just wanted to recreate something of Valinor in their Elven realms in Middle-Earth : eternal beauty that never goes down. They have the chance to do this because of the gifts Eru granted them, so why not go for it?

It would be not good if the Elves would try to conquer all lands of Middle-Earth to force everyone and everything to live like they live. But they aren't like that. They keep to themselves.

FŽanor and Morgoth have much in common, in fact. The biggest geniuses and most talented ones often have the biggest ego, and often become the biggest baddies.
I have mentioned before about the elves 'hiding' and the difference in lifespan affecting how they live as compared to Men but Tolkiens words quoted in my previous post lead me to suspect that their influence was not confined to their own little worlds within ME but spread out into the rest of ME thus implying a selfish side to them. Did they see themselves as superior to Men? Did they want to be the artists and cultural leaders of the world? Did they look down their little elvish noses at Men? And as GrevRev pointed out they had the choice of staying or going to a nice little paradise so if they stay in ME why try and stop it evolving? Cake and eat it...... as Tolkien says.
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Did they see themselves as superior to Men? Did they want to be the artists and cultural leaders of the world? Did they look down their little elvish noses at Men? And as GrevRev pointed out they had the choice of staying or going to a nice little paradise so if they stay in ME why try and stop it evolving? Cake and eat it...... as Tolkien says.

They certainly didn't try to become those leaders, as the Elves never bothered with humans after the Last Alliance ended. Why do you think the two races got estranged from each other? Elves never bothered with human affairs and vice versa. Hence i don't believe that Elves wanted to become 'cultural leaders' of Middle-Earth. That sounds absurd to me.

They don't try to stop the evolution of ME at all. How would they do that? They just stay for thousands of years in their own island realms without even bothering with the outside world (which isn't true of course, look at Elrond's and Galadriel's role in the White Council). Tell me, pls, how they influenced the rest of Middle-Earth? Only thru the Council and the Council's goal was NOT dominate the rest of Middle-Earth.

Some Elves looked down upon humans and dwarves indeed, due to this isolation. But there has always been some kind of strife between dwarves and elves, ever since the first dwarves were hunted down by Elves. And with humans, the elves don't forget who fought with them in the First Age, and who betrayed them. They know what humans are worthy.

Elves had the opportunity to flee, yes, and some indeed did, but others didn't as well, because they cared about Middle-Earth. Some Elves even stayed in Middle-Earth in the 4th Age : the Wood-elves for instance.

It's not that the Elves have an air of "we can flee out of here anyway so let those humans do it all alone ha ha ha". They also did their part of the work in the War of the Ring.

I completely disagree, sorry! Their cake is not the entire Middle-Earth, but their secluded realms. If they'd really be like you suggested, they'd never participated in the destruction of the Ring, but instead send it into the West or just hide it : if they were really hiding from evil like previously suggested or stop evolving or not caring because they could flee into the West, they'd never allow the Ring to be destroyed as that would be the end of the Three and the end of their secluded realms. They didn't do that, and should be honoured for that.
I was asking.

The suggestion wasn't mine but what I saw as implied by Tolkien.

(edited by Vee)
(Hehehehehe, better Grevrev?)
MODS!! MODS!! Look! One-liner!!

!"§&&£$ʖ@ (<= irrelevant clutter to avoid the same myself) Tongue Smilie

*runs from the goodess* Goddess? Oops! *puts on tinfoil hat* Na-na-na-na-na Smilie
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I think those greedy, arrogant, etc. Elfies were just the FŽanorians.


Not all of them were like that. But that discussion does not belong in here. There are some of the FŽanorians I do not like, but all in all, some of them were noble and good guys. Kicking Melkor's hiney where ever they could. They are just complicated, but aren't we all?
I think they were all jerks. Guys like Maedhros and Maglor were just lesser jerks.

The discussion doesn't belong here ? I'm sure it does, as Vee hasn't moved it yet so it must be okay!

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MODS!! MODS!! Look! One-liner!!

!"§&&£$ʖ@ (<= irrelevant clutter to avoid the same myself)

Tsk tsk, Grev. You should know that MODs are impeccable. And now your account will be deleted... Very Big Grin Smilie
I think it's more like a computer game or even a program.

Eru can be considered as the master programmer. He's produced the game and the story. The game engine has been given the AI, which can be the Valar. It's like a football game where you choose your opponent and the difficulty level. Only, in this case, I think the AI somehow due to the inherent programming, sorts itself out, for the outcome is more likely or not, decided.... which is the victory of "good". But then again, for the "good" to be victorious, there has to be evil. Isn't it kind of fitting that Melkor, who was to face all the valar alone, was the mightiest and had a share of others' powers? Maybe, it was like "The Matrix". A program gone out of control. But then, even in the case of an operating system on your computer, a non-responding program is shut down by the "good" programs. I think Melkor was like this one program gone out of control.

Then comes the point direct interception of Eru. I think it's a case of debugging the program. The end result, in any case is to achieve the output. The output could be something expected or planned or something completely random. That'd depend on the programmer.

Like, Melkor started going off course. But Eru only used it to make his creation more beautiful.... He didn't "debug" in this case, but he merely "patched" it, to actually make the "bug" useful in improving the output.

I'm not sure how many people would understand what I just said.... Oh well. I guess I should have posted a month ago, when the thoughts were clear in my head.
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I'm not sure how many people would understand what I just said....
It makes sense to me, Floyd.
It makes sense to me too. I never would have thought of it, but "patching" is really the perfect analogy. Eru didn't allow Melkor to change the outcome, but instead allowed him to alter the course in between, and the scenery as well.

Nice job, Floyd!
Well, if the Music of the Ainur is the program Microsoft Windows, then i don't really expect a happy ending...

That said, does Eru really wear glasses?
It is quite a good analogy, Floyd, to explain quite a difficult concept. As long as it is just an analogy, it does work.
Even a non-techy like me can grasp it! Good one Floyd.

I love the idea of debugging as we go. A beta version of ME?
OK, I'm gonna post this now, without reading the rest of the thread (yet) so I don't forget.

First of (and out of order) yes, IMHO, Eru watched the HoME unfold as it happened, despite knowing what was going to happen beforehand (and yet the choices were NOT predetermined. Deal with that.) I've read the Silmarillion several times, and while my memory fails me from time to time, I do have a pretty good idea of what happened. I still read it again two weeks ago, and undoubtedly will again if I'm still here to read it. For Eru, even more than for Aule or Feanor, the joy was in the creation and in watching it play out as it would, seeing what his Children would make of their free will when it was entirely up to them.

Now, I want it noted for the record that the following was asked (I almost didn't show up for this topic because I knew where it would lead me: )
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Lord aelric
Posted Monday 29th March 2004 (02:39pm)

Has anyone thought to conjecture as to what the sources of Tolkien's creation myth are? I mean do folk think that its of Judea-Christian origin, or some chimera of the Norse Saga, or older still, has a Sumerian/Babylonian (Gilgamesh & Enkidu) ring to it... Or even that Tolkien developed it in isolation and without reference to any mundane earth-bound cultures?

I'd be interested to hear someone elses view on this...


It is my position (since to my knowledge Tolkien never declares his, though I haven't read the Letters; yes, I know, very naughty) that ME reflects Tolkiens Catholic faith in great measure. The previously quoted text from the Silmarillion where Eru speaks to Morgoth after the Music is ended is among my favorites from the Silmarillion, together with that part preceding it by two paragraphs,
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The other had now achieved a unity of its own; but it was loud, and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes [sounding brass or clanging cymbal?] And it essayed to drown the other music by the violence of its voice, but it seemed that its most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern. The Silmarillion, 1977 hardbound edition, p. 17


I frequently lean on these passages as the best "justification" I've found for suffering.

In Morgoth (Melkor as we was then known) we see some interesting parallels with another figure. First, he was the mightiest and wisest of his brethren, in all things. Second, we see him take on qualities distinct from Eru as a result of his departure from Eru:

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He 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 Ilývatar took no thought for the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness. Yet he found not the Fire, for it is with Ilývatar. But being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren.


In other words, Melkor was like the other Valar in being created by and derived from Eru, but unlike them he separated himself from Eru in the service of his pride, and it is then, in the absence of Eru, that we see him corrupted to evil. Of course, if Eru IS purely good, to be absent from him would be to be absent from goodness as well, which can have only one result. On the subject of his later chastisement in front of the other Valar, and the potentially excessive harshness this entails, I would simple say that one, it served as an object lesson for the others, and two, it would have been very odd if after all of the discord Melkor created in Erus harmony, a discord Eru himself had to correct, no comment was made by him at the musics conclusion. That last case would set a very poor precedent indeed.

On the Valar as a group, I find them much more comprehensible from a Catholic perspective (lest I be accused of preaching, and for the sake of clarity, I am not a Catholic.) I can see definite parallels: Manwe=Michael, Varda=Mary, Eonwe=Gabriel (bearing in mind that Catholic theology often considers both righteous mortals and seraphs to be "Saints.") To what extent the others correspond I can't say, as I'm not familiar with the provinces assigned to the various Saints, but I do know that the early Catholic Church would "canonize" pagan deities to facilitate conversion.

So, predestination or free will? Yes. We see Melkor take a very active hand in "changing" the Ainulindale, but at the end Eru makes clear that his purpose and design has been in no sense altered. All that is altered is the particulars of how it is accomplished, and to what extent even that is done is known but to him. We also have the enigmatic but intriguing statement of Gandalf to Frodo that Bilbo was "meant" to find the Ring, "and not by its maker." This is usually taken to mean intervention by the Valar, but the Valar were always loathe to intervene in ME for fear of disrupting the Music, and even less so by the end of the Third Age since many held this was AFTER the part of the Music whose Being they beheld. It would be like walking through a minefield blindfolded, and they wanted no part of it. That, of course, leaves only Eru. Various choices, from Isildurs choice to take the Ring "as weregild for my father's death, and my brother's" (and this, of course, is a very Anglo-Saxon concept right out of the Volsungsaga) to the choice of Smeagol and Deagol to go fishing/swimming, to the choice of Bilbo to accompany the Dwarves when they decided to take back their patrimony (and what of Gandalfs choice to include Bilbo?) led to this event, yet the event was decreed regardless of those individual choices; they were but the means of execution, and if those choices had not been made different ones would have accomplished the same thing.

OK, I'll stop there, and abide by the Councils decree (no other alternative readily presents itself.) Besides, I have more reading to do....
Once more, ere I can forget:

Was the previous statement (I wanna say by V, but six pages have kind of run together in my mind) that Hawking now says things can leave black holes a reference to Hawking radiation, or something else? I ask because my understanding of Hawking radiation is NOT that things leave black holes (though somehow that tends to be the way it's represented) but that in the case of the decay of complex matter (will leave it with phenomenon such as particle accelarators to avoid THAT argument) near the event horizon, since this always occurs in pairs, one particle goes one way (into the hole) and the other goes the other. Thus, while decaying/disintegrating particles invariably recombine almost instantly, in this very special case the "yin" to the "yang" has passed inside the event horizon and can't recombine, so the new particle goes its lonely longing way through the universe. Was this what was meant, or is there some new wrinkle with which I'm as yet unfamiliar (or quite possible both.)

As to the explicable nature of the material world, I've yet to here a compelling material explanation for a First Cause (many posit an eternal and cyclical universe, but this is explicitly rejected as absurd by Aristotle in positing the First Cause.) "Nothing from nothing leaves nothing; you gotta have something," right?

Um, hmm, something to make this about Eru... I guess I'll just go back to the ever fertile determinism/free will debate: Eru, with infinite vision rather than our finite one, can be aware of The Road(s) Not Taken along with the ones he knows we will take and plan accordingly. Thus the individual retains free will, but the universe as a whole is technically deterministic. And I wanna say in one of the LTs Menelmacar is represented as Manwes son whose swordbelt will glow red to signal the Last Battle.
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* (Well, if you believe the Bible, God will unleach the Apocalypse to destroy the world.. Hmmm..Tricky one. )


A parallel I neglected, though I hardly exhausted them all. In that theology we have a war begun against heaven itself, in which the world is destroyed as something irrevocably corrupted (as in Arda marred) and replaced with a new earth free from that corruption, much like the Arda of the Second Music.

For the record, I'd say Eru is responsible for the creation of the concept of evil only in the Aristotelian sense: in establishing good, he creates a dialectic and the concept of his absence, and with it the absence of good (evil.) This of course remains hypothetical until he introduces beings distinct from himself and possessed of free will, but then we have a separate agency that may choose to embrace or reject the goodness he embodies, and thus good or evil respectively. In that sense, no, you can't have any polar quality without simultaneously creating, if only hypothetically, it's inverse.
Morambar - with reference to the Hawking thing....

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Hawking previously argued that the intense gravitational fields inside the black hole were unravelling the laws of quantum mechanics, possibly sending the information shooting off into other universes. Now he thinks the information simply leaks out back into our own Universe.


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In other words, Melkor was like the other Valar in being created by and derived from Eru, but unlike them he separated himself from Eru in the service of his pride, and it is then, in the absence of Eru, that we see him corrupted to evil. Of course, if Eru IS purely good, to be absent from him would be to be absent from goodness as well, which can have only one result. On the subject of his later chastisement in front of the other Valar, and the potentially excessive harshness this entails, I would simple say that one, it served as an object lesson for the others, and two, it would have been very odd if after all of the discord Melkor created in Erus harmony, a discord Eru himself had to correct, no comment was made by him at the musics conclusion. That last case would set a very poor precedent indeed.


I like this thinking.... makes sense.

As far as Tolkien's religious beliefs being reflected in his work - so what? (That's my thought and should not be taken as a negative response to anyone's comments.) I would be surprised if his beliefs weren't reflected to some extent in his writings. We write best when we use our own experiences and beliefs even if we do twist them to suit. I have no problem with Tolkien's catholic beliefs being used in this way; I don't think Tolkien was ever saying "this is my belief, it is the only true belief...." etc. He was using them in his writings and he used them well. He creates images which pinch and pull at our own religious experiences and knowledge (whether we are religious or not). The fact that Tolkien doesn't bang on and on about religion certainly indicates to me that those beliefs were just part of his writings and not to be taken as hellfire and brimstone sermons.

No argument here; I'm just glad it passed the councils muster. I've been engaged in a rather involved religious debate at wotmania, where there are seemingly NO limits, and was afraid my perspective on what could be said on the grounds of real relevance and what was just proselytzing might have been totally warped. Thanks, V.

And for the Hawking info as well; it seems I'm not keeping up and will have to rectify that. I am a little curious how Hawking thinks this "leaking" is occurring; that might even tie into the other debate, as it covers a group citing Arps theories (which to my knowledge are purely scientific and take no religious position) about quasars being "white holes" (which I've always believed myself and don't find especially "revolutionary" but the reaction to Arp seems to be as if he said the sun set in the east.) It's about the only plausible explanation I can find for why quasars are soooo far away and sooooo bright (brighter than ANYTHING should be able to be.) Hmmm, a thought has occurred to me (RUNNNNN!) Maybe quasars are tachyon emitters; if matter entering a black hole approaches c as a limit, then perhaps matter leaving a white hole approaches it from the other direction. Just a thought, and I have to admit it's not really Tolkien (though I've always felt cosmology and metaphysics, which is really what we're discussing in "Erus thoughts," are inextricably linked.) OK, fire away at the armchair physicist.
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if matter entering a black hole approaches c as a limit, then perhaps matter leaving a white hole approaches it from the other direction

You should go write the scripts for Star Trek. You'd do a good job, even better than Mr Hawking.

I fail to see much resemblance between christianity and the AinulindalŽ, safe Eru = God, Ainur = Angels. That's about it. Melkor can't even be called Lucifer as Melkor didn't start a war against Eru, nor did Eru threw him out down to Arda.

The biggest difference is of course, that Eru made his Valar to create Arda for him, instead of doing it himself... good move for us, as it gave us stories to read on rainy Sundays, but bad for the lads and lasses which are supposed to dwell in Arda.

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if matter entering a black hole approaches c as a limit, then perhaps matter leaving a white hole approaches it from the other direction
I figure what extinguished of a few batches of dinosaur species in the way back time, was the blowback from a black hole which just happened to intersect the earth in its orbit. That thar high energy beam just frizzled their hair, feathers, flesh, and eggs, causing another bunch of species bite the dust.

I figure this happens every few million years, but its like the great earthquakes that occur on the Great Circle of Fire where I live, if it happens it happens; we humans can't do anything to stop it. The Lord's will be done.
If a black hole ever intersected the earth's orbit, than the earth and the rest of the solar system would've been swallowed as well.

Besides, a blowback from a black hole is impossible : nothing can escape out of it, not matter, nor any form of electromagnetic radiation. This is the reason that mankind only knows black holes exist because it's in fact the matter that's about to be swallowed, that makes a final death cry in the form of X-radiation.

Although i am not a geologist, nor a palaeontologist, I thought it was already established that the dinosaurs died out because of volcanic eruptions and earth quakes due to the continental drift, together with the impact of one or several meteors.
Last I heard, the conclusion on what killed the dinosaurs was "inconclusive" though the existence of the Gulf of Mexico and a large impact crater in the Yucatan is pretty compelling evidence for a meteor strike. Blowback isn't impossible, though it's not my bet; that would take an awful lot of Hawking radiation, but there's enough matter in a stellar system it's tenable. I'm taking the Star Trek comment as a compliment, btw; tachyons are an established, if freaky, part of theoretical particle physics. And besides, I think the warp drive is tenable, too; you just have to generate an em field of sufficient intensity that nothing from the outside can get through, and then the laws of relativity don't apply to anything inside (or, more accurately, their "relative" motion to the rest of the universe is no longer problematic since they're no longer "connected" to it in any meaningful sense.) Not that any of this has anything to do with Eru at this point....
It wasn't the blackhole that intersected earth in its orbit, but the very narrow stream of high energy particles that are now thought to escape perpendicular to its plane. The blackhole can be millions of lightyears away and still do damage if something passes through its beam. Of course this is still theoretical. Checkout Astronomy magazine.

They have also found a crater off Australia that they think caused an even greater extinction 251 Million years ago, this since they found the one in the Gulf of Mexico that probably did that dastardly deed 65 million years ago.
Yes Virginia, this thread has gone severely off-topic...
I suppose you don't believe in Fat Santa Smilie either. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

I should probably delete the last few posts; any votes for their being kept?
Tsk, everyone knows Santa lives in Lapland : Santa's village.

Why delete any posts in this thread ? They're at least interesting. I suggest you delete some posts in "who's next?" instead, before that thread starts getting popular again...
Grondy - I don't have a problem with the off-topic posts. It was a minor diversion, and an interesting one.

As far as Miruvor's suggestion.... I'll continue that one in the Website Suggestions forum.
Morambar posted in Assignment 1...

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He represents not the expression of an evil inherent in Eru (who might be said to be incapable of evil since all of Ea is his creation and his to do with as he pleases, evil be here defined as something counter to the will of the proprietor,) but the supreme example of free will in the closest thing to independence anything relying on the Flame Imperishable for existence can be. It seems natural then, if not wholly inevitable, that such a creature will desire, sooner or later, to be wholly independent in a way it can never be; that it is impossible does not eliminate the desire.


I like this explanation. It is simple and believable.
Aw, shucks, thanks, Vee. Nice to know I'll always have at least one post. Elf Winking Smilie On reflection it reminds me of a comment someone else made about how Morgoth wanted to create life and when he found he couldn't turned to the spiteful perversion of life out of frustration and spite: "If I can't have it nobody will." That might be nearly inevitable, too, as free and self determinant life is a constant reminder of the desire he can never fulfill. Unfortunately I can't attribute and thereby credit that thought since I can only narrow it to somewhere in Assignments six through nine. What I get for showing up late, huh?
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