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Did you see the PBS series or see the book from it, both titled [u:36a5lfwp]The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life[/u:36a5lfwp]? It reminded me of a course I took in college. I was a Rhetoric major, which included a lot of cognitive psychology and analysis of communication and interpretation and perception and such, but also lots and lots of speeches, and lots and lots of logic and argument. One of the best courses ever was called [i:36a5lfwp]The Rhetoric of Religion.[/i:36a5lfwp] The assignments were all essays--some sermons, some fiction--about whether God existed. And they pretty much alternated between "Yes there is a God," to "No there isn't." And they were all REALLY good arguments. At the time I was going to church on campus, and kind of newly doing it on my own on purpose because I wanted to (not because my parents wanted me to). So, you know, I wanted it to come out that there was a God. So I'd be reading, and I would say to myself,"Oh whew, good," (flip to the next reading,) "Oh $&%*, there ISN'T one??!!" Well, I wasn't that emotional, but there were really compelling arguments against it sometimes and I had to admire them and often I'd be stumped to come up with a rebuttal. The point of the course was not to put everyone's religious faith into a tailspin, but to expose us to a great variety of TYPES of arguments, and what argument works against what other one. It was like learning chess strategies. And the cadaver, or practice dummy or game board or whatever happened to be the subject of religion. Religion is a good one to use because it never gets solved, but really SMART sincere people keep trying. Armand Nicholi, the originator of the PBS series and author of the book, is a professor at one of the big hoo hah universities, and he never tells his students what HE really thinks. This series was the closest thing I have seen to the experience of the course I took. It was wonderful. (the course, I mean)
One thing, though, that bugged me was that you've got the academic environment where you question and question and rethink your own views, and really are never entirely allowed to settle into a position, and then you also have to live in the outside world (and possibly go to church) and you have to act--which means that you do have to settle into some kind of a position. I mean, pastors/ministers and such go to seminary and I imagine that they take courses like this and they have to question and rethink their views, but eventually they have to get a solid personal ethic going so that they can do their work. They can't be constantly having crises of faith, and they can't debate endlessly with their parishoners, because they're supposed to be solidly on the "God" team. When they are at someone's deathbed, you know, they're supposed to be reassuring.
So, I'm wondering, on the Narniaweb site, if it gets hard for people. Some are really good at making the arguments, some are tired of arguing the same points over and over, some hear them for the first time and get really upset because they don't have any answer to the new questions asked by a smart doubter (or a pagan agnostic nontheistic person ). Some of the older ones may feel a bit protective of the tender young 'uns who participate on the site and they get a bit [i:36a5lfwp]techy[/i:36a5lfwp] (is that the right spelling? [i:36a5lfwp]tetch-ee[/i:36a5lfwp]). Or some may feel more threatened than they like, and you end up looking kind of like an orc, and they feel they have to win one FOR THE SHIRE!!!! If everyone can stay calm and civil, and maybe tolerate a bit of cognitive dissonance now and then, everyone can learn something.
On another point, I love it that you asked your mom about British underwear and that she had an answer, and I love it that the underwear had a name and that she remembers the eeewy rubbery buttons.
But apparently Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were very gentlemanly toward their female students. "We were treated like queens," I remember reading.[/quote:16br8bt0]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":16br8bt0]on the subject of feminism, I suppose I've been engrained with a lot of "first wave" feminist notions. But I must say, I have found the attitude that "women won't fight, therefore they deserve less respect" puzzling -- as, generally speaking, men are the ones that put women on the pedestal to begin with. Probably starting with Paleolithic men instinctively protecting the survival of the species, and marvelling at the ability to bring life into this world. In Bronze Age times, women became property and men were protecting their "property rights", which has really only declined since the advent of women's suffrage. Rianne Eisler has written some excellent books on the Sacred Feminine and the history of "Dominator style vs Cooperative style" (or something like that) forms of governance.[/quote:16br8bt0]
I think that women, through the suffrage movement have actually LOST the respect they once had. They wanted to be equal with men, and have rights, and be treated fairly, etc. But, before that, women were prized in people's lives. Women were respected, indeed, to the extent of a dignitary or a queen. There was etiquette that you had to learn for being around a woman and interacting with her. One had to treat a woman with the utmost respect and, really, awe. It was a blessing that women didn't have to go off to war.
But women wanted to be equal with men, so a lot of the respect went out the window, and the etiquette soon followed. Women wanted to be treated like men, so they were treated like men. Now they are despised, used, and exposed to the blatant horrors of the world. There was a time when the world, with all of its cruelties, was the man's battlefront. He didn't want to expose the woman to it, because he wanted to come home and be able to shut the world out for a while.
I'm just rambling now. I just think that if women hadn't had their "equal rights" movement, they would be a lot better treated, and a lot more respected. What really happened was this: they wanted to be part of this cruel, sick, dirty, and disgusting world, and so they became part of it, they themselves becoming cruel, sick, dirty, and disgusting.
It's one of the tough things we're trying to figure out right now, as humans. Innocence and gentleness is to be cherished. But, on the other side of the balance (there are always two extremes and a desirable balance between them that's tough to achieve, isn't there) Eowyn says, "Those who do not wield a sword can still die upon them." It is not pleasant to feel vulnerable or scared or powerless...or caged. What if there IS nobody else to protect you but yourself? What happens if your knight in shining armor gets killed? Or what if he goes off on an adventure and Little You are at home with no skills of self-defense to protect hearth, home, body, and wee ones? Or what if your "protector" is an abuser? Or what if being "safe" means that you never get to be Bilbo, and leave your front door and maybe see 'elves and all'? (Yuck. Poor Emily Bronte, stuck in a dark little house with no telephones, no Internet...) So it is good that women have become more empowered as a result of the women's movement. The behavior seen on [u:kbcrk5kn]Rock of Love with Brett Michaels[/u:kbcrk5kn], though, is probably not a great sign of progress.
When women became property men lost out too. Communal values gave way to the values of Individual control of property, just a few individuals that is. The evils of slavery, Feudalism, and wars for the control of property and the Hegemony of this ideology ensued. World Wars 1 and 2 were really fought to decide which of the Colonial Powers would dominate the worlds markets and resources. In WW2, the Jews were just a convenient scapegoat for Hitler. Primary was the consolidation of economic power and secondary the defense of Capital against Bolshevism.This is not to say that as technology and agriculture evolved people shouldn't be able to own their own home, farm or small business.
Capitalism is ultimately an extension of feudalism, a kind of Neo -feudalism if you will. The evidence for this is as strong today as it was in the time of the Robber Baron. The Founding Fathers believed that the divine right of Capital superseded the divine right of Kings. They believed that only those smart enough to control capital should have Suffrage. Thomas Paine was practically the only one among them to recognize that Universal Suffrage (political democracy) and economic democracy were linked. The vile and violent excesses of the French Revolution to the Bolshevick Revolution were a response to the centuries of economic and political brutality the people, proletarian and peasant alike, had endured. Ultimately, a more ideal solution would involve the Democratic control of large industry and banking while allowing indviduals and families private homes, small farms and small businesses, i.e. Democratic Socialism.
I return now to Tolkien and Lewis to bolster my points. They were both fascinated with Medievalism. And Medievalism was the beginning of the return of the Sacred Feminine. Troubadours sang of Courtly Love and Knights were expected to uphold the values of Chivalry against the greed of Potentates and Popes. This led eventually to the Enlghtenment and the rise of the Popular Revolutions. Ironically, it also gave rise to the Merchant and Banking Class who sought Suffrage for themselves alone. The Royal Courts of Europe either fell in line with the neo--feudalists (Capitalists) or were replaced (with varying degrees of success). Of course as long as some seek Power for themselves, class struggle will continue to exist (which will probably always be true). Tolkien recognized that Faerie Story
revealed the possibilities of Freedom from these Dark Forces. In a way TLOTR is more about political/economy and Narnia about the Sacred Feminine and Pagan Desire, but both were reflected in each other. I hope this hasn't bored people or turned them off. I just wanted to show that Feminism is inevitably linked with Universal Suffrage and that is a good thing.
Happy New Year
I totally need to unpack what you wrote earlier to even try to tackle the above concluding remarks. First, Communal Values and Feminism: There's nothing like having a baby to make you appreciate communal values. You WANT to be proud and self-sufficient and empowered (so that you can feel safe inside--we all want to feel safe inside--and so that you can maintain some measure of self-respect). But having a baby makes you temporarily handicapped. Like they should give new moms a sticker similar to the icon with the person in the wheelchair, only make it a lighter color to indicate that the real handicapped people come first. Because, when the baby is really little and floppy, you are pretty much stuck half of the time operating with the use of only one arm. Try making a taco, tying your shoes, getting in and out of a store if there is no automatic door. You know, and if you are nursing, you've basically got this fragile barnacle attached for at least 20 minutes out of every 2 hours. I don't know, maybe try imagining that you are responsible for maintaining a 3,000-year-old Ming dynasty teacup, only you have to keep it constantly out and exposed to the world because it needs to be cleaned and fed and given air and otherwise held on your person almost 24/7, and you have to try to function--like go to the bathroom and brush your teeth and eat and sleep and shower and be civilized. Maybe not a great analogy. But the 3,000-year-old teacup conveys the idea of the anxiety involved, except you can't say, "Oh, screw it," and smash the damn thing to get out of the sense of suspense and responsibility. And you're out in the world, trying to take the thing to the doctor to get its shots, and to buy it diapers and so on, and thank HEAVENS that the world out there is full of other people who have already had babies, and particularly imaginative and empathy-filled people who have not, because people will open doors for you and hold down papers for you when you have to sign things, and otherwise tolerate your slowness. You know, and then when your 3,000-year-old teacup starts to walk, you've got to keep it from getting squished by cars... And as soon as you start to get really good at it and used to this responsibility, you're likely to get a second teacup. And you really need other people to take the teacup for you sometimes so that you can get a break, otherwise you will lose your mind. And your needs widen as your teacup grows. You hope that people obey traffic laws and speed limits, and you look for crime-free, litter-free, pollution-free places. You want good doctors and good policemen and good construction workers, teachers, soccer coaches, and providers of safe food and drugs. You know, you are no longer content to be a free agent, responsible only for yourself, free to live and let live: you start to really care that other people behave themselves and care about the larger community. You know, and you really start ultimately to be concerned that other people raise their teacups well so that their teacups don't get your teacup pregnant.
Arg. Sorry for so much blabbage. So we need community. But there's also the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants, you know, where the ants work their butts off all summer, filling up their anthill with food and such, while the Grasshopper plays his fiddle and dances and sings doo de doo de dooo. Then when winter comes, the Grasshopper is stuck outside in the snow with no food and no shelter. So the ants let him live with them. How nice of them! Let's hope Grasshopper learned his lesson. But what if Grasshopper tells his other grasshopper friends and the ants get invaded by a swarm of freeloading dudes who are 50 times bigger than each of them--and I don't know, maybe some of the grasshoppers have 3,000-year-old teacups as well. How fair is that for the ants? Especially the really industrious ones who sweat and sacrifice and maybe take Calculus and Organic Chemistry and think of better food-fetching strategies?
It just happens that I was trying to read Ayn Rand recently. I gave up--for much the same reason that I gave up reading the [u:1nryj6zc]Silmarillion[/u:1nryj6zc] earlier--it takes a lot of patience and detemination to read. I wanted to understand the world my parents lived in when they were young adults, and Ayn Rand was a big influence on my dad. We all know that in the 50s in the US there was major fear and paranoia about communism. One thing I did get from perusing Ayn Rand was that she feared that the government, or some communal entity, would start to dictate how many chemists our society needed and how many teachers and so on and that people would be ASSIGNED their roles rather than being able to develop their real talents and be who they really wanted to be, and that, as a result, we would have a lot of really flat dissatisfied chemists and teachers who weren't very fired up by their jobs and who ended up doing kind of B- or C+ work. She believed that dictating effort, drive, discipline, and achievement from above would just suck all of the motivation out of people, and that really, if people were allowed to pursue their own self-interests, those interests would ultimately work for the good of the whole (i.e., we want chemists who looove chemistry and who will work really hard and who will be rewarded and encouraged to do great jobs). She writes as if there's a real danger that the government will become an all-powerful machine, impersonal and imperfect, and impossible to control. It does seem that people in the U. S. were much more worried about communism/socialism than were people in Europe. [This is a chunk of history that I really need to explore more.]
Then, I remember from the C. S. Lewis biography-ish movie Shadowlands, that Joy Davidman says to him that she's a communist because with the rise of Hitler, she felt that she only had two choices: to be a fascist or a communist. And that line just gets said and the movie goes on and the issue is not raised again. So I've always thought, "Huh...don't understand that one...gotta save it for later inquiry." Then there's this miniseries with Ken Brannagh and Emma Thompson, made right after they did Henry V and were in their golden phase, ...this miniseries about English translator working in Russia just prior to WWII. You know, and the Europeans have/had much more of a sense of reaction against the class/aristocracy system than did people from the U. S.. Much more of a sense of communalism/socialism in reaction to the old system of people being stuck in this or that class. So what does that mean? Having to make an either/or choice betwen communism and fascism? People living in America would have said, "Neither!"
The code of chivalry (in the sense of putting the Feminine on a pedestal) essentially protects babies and tender young 'uns and allows their caretakers to focus on taking care of them. Being a baby-raiser makes you vulnerable and in need of protection and support. Women aren't THAT helpless otherwise. [Well...probably wouldn't match well against football players, so probably wouldn't do as well in combat, but there are a lot of wimpy boys who wouldn't make it on the football field either and would get stuffed into lockers and trash cans...and men figured out how to use those guys...made them into monks? Guys who stayed in the rear to run the mess tent and repair the gear?] We need to be a cooperative species. Hmm...but the chivalric code also rewards achievement. Some knights are going to lift weights and eat their spinach and not fiddle around playing video games, but will run and sweat and practice and lose sleep and liesure to become better and better at what they do, not always just to protect babies and the beeeeautiful women who raise them--because I really think that this is usually something that motivates an older man...maybe one with grandchildren--but younger knights will want to gain honor. Hmm...I think it's a mixed motivation (thinking on personal experience, watching hard-working soldiers and noticing what seems to motivate them to throw themselves on the grenade, so to speak, it's a mix of love for county and all of the babies and trees and green grass and lovely slender girls and Mom and friends and pizza and Big Macs in it, and also the love of the job itself, the joy of playing with those cool machines and learning awesome techniques like jumping out airplanes and blowing big things to smithereens, and the ethic of excellence and self-actualization, because they reeeeeeeaaally love the medals....but oh hell, the soldier ethic is a totally communal one--with some tiny self-aggrandizing totally symbolic rewards for personal excellence). What about Achilles? Isn't the "honor" that he desires just the external reward that his society gives to those who are really good at protecting the babies?
I am SO SORRY for blabbing on and on and on like this Can I summarize or clarify the issues that I most would like you to respond to? Help me figure out this idea that there's an either/or choice that needs to be made between Communism and Fascism, and please demonstrate more clearly how Capitalism is a "dark force" or that democratic control of such forces is necessarily better. And is capitalism symbolized by the grasping attitude and desire for control/power that the ring generates? Say more, please.
On Ayn Rand: she hurts my head too. She thinks she's a libertarian ( with a small L), but she, like most Libertarians (big L) in America fails to understand that individual liberties can only exist when Communities work together to protect each other. This style of individualism leads inevitably to Fascism (the confluence of Capital, State, and Religion) and Feudalism etc..All the isms that protect the right of a few individuals to lord it over the rest of us. The only reason to bother with Rand is so when you are arguing politics and someone brings her up, you can then claim to speak knowledgably of her views.
On American History I suggest Howard Zinn's A Peoples History of the United States. On political economy Noam Chomsky is good, but Michael Parenti is sooo much better. Try his newest book Contrary Notions and work your way back. Contrary Notions is a collection of updated articles and essays. Parenti is by far the clearest and easiest to read. You can actually understand what he's on about. Naomi Klein's Disaster Capitalism is really good, but she takes longer to read. Reading Michael Parenti is like reading Narnia, captivating and quickly moving.
Part of the problem with Libertarian Conservatism is they don't distinguish between Government and the State. They smush these ideas into one to confuse people. The Government is the Community working together to provide for all. The State is the Executive Branch, The Military and the arm of the Ruling Class. In Europe this is understood. The Prime Minister runs the Government and the President (or King or Queen) is the Head of State, so there is a much clearer separation of powers than in the USA where the President is expected to perform both functions. But Europe isn't perfect either. The State has infiltrated and taken over the Governments, particularly in Britain. You can always tell when this is happening because politicians start to say "for the people" when in fact they are for the Corporations. Blair and Bush's War for Oil is the most perfect example of this. Why else would a Labor Party leader team up with a Right Wing Republican. So in the applicability sense the Ring does indeed represent the Dark Forces of Greed and Lust for power which is what Capitalism is really all about. Whenever right-wingers go on about small businesses they are lying through their teeth (no offense). Their real concern is for Big Business which tramples all over small business. Having owned a small business has just made me More socialist not less. Democratic Governance is about health care, schooling, community policing, fire departments etc. (the things usually relegated to the Feminine). The State is about protecting the Rich from the rest of us (and clearly represents the Patriarchy). This was explicitly spelled out by the Founding Fathers. They were really concerned about the "levelling" tendencies of "too much democracy". Hence they created a strong executive, and a Senate modelled on the Imperial one, that would check the power of the Congress, which -- as in Rome -- represented the Plebes, i.e. the rest of us.
I will continue this but I want to upload it before I lose it.
Happy New Year
Alrighty roo...I'm going to go totally off topic, but whatever. I watched the movie [i:18wnngbj]Troy[/i:18wnngbj], with Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, and I do not know if my interpretation of it matches what the director intended--or for that matter, what Homer intended--but... It seemed like the Greek army (Achilles' team) represented almost a Spartan ideal--everyone so tough in order to assure the defense of their culture that they have a dry tough hard culture that is hardly worth defending. And the Trojan society represented a really fun place to be, but too vulnerable, because maybe they are too soft and idealistic and don't spend enough of their tax dollars on defense. (Notice how pretty their fountains and curtains and interiors were compared to the dark war-focused feel of the Greeks' living spaces). Priam--Orlando Bloom's dad--is so nice and tolerant. "That's okay, son, I don't blame you for wanting the good fruits of life. You're young. She's pretty. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. What can we do? Kiss kiss. Welcome to Troy, my dear girl." They're like Sweden or Switzerland, except they don't get away with it: they get slammed, because they're in a world full of violent acquisitive neighbors. Agamemnon, by contrast, is totally cool about killing his daughter to persuade the gods to get the wind to blow so he can go to war. He's totally ready to make yuck sacrifices to be strong. I'm thinking here that the Greeks are like the ants, doing the tough yucky hard work, while the Trojans reveal their feminine side, artistic grasshoppers, making music and fountains and love. Did anyone else get that vibe from the movie?
Putting aside that icky aspect, it also portrayed Athenians as a cowardly lot, another point I take issue with. But clearly, as you were pointing out, the Philosophers and Artisans need the Warriors too. One of the reasons I like Eastern traditions a bit more than Western ones is that the separation wasn't so distinct. One could go to a Shaolin Temple or a Tibetan Monastery and learn Philosophy [b:1v7ggow9]and[/b:1v7ggow9] Martial Arts. Anyway the whole point is everyone has something to contribute to the community, and a well organized community has enough for the few that don't have so much to contribute. Now, as far as I remember, I totally got the vibe from Troy (the movie) that you attested to.
Was Germny one of these capitalist regimes that was afraid of the new competing ideology? Hitler's party was the Something Somethg Socialist party. How did they get to be fascist?
Back up to pre-WWI. Russia had its own revolution that was anti-aristocratic, anti-feudalism, yes? A really late version of the French Revolution? Aaaa!! The people are starving!!! "Mwaah ha ha haaa...let them eat cake." "UNCOOL!! We're protesting!" (Shooting the protesters.) (Shooting the Czar and his family.) (Aaaa!! Everyone with money run away!!) (AAA!!! Anyone with no money looting.) So then, what? European countries who were close by to this were afraid they would get political cooties? Exposure to these new ideas? Too much change too fast. Yeah, I bet they weren't so much afraid of "new ideas" as they were afraid of new methods being tried without proper caution. The People (whoever THEY are) don't know what they're doing, because they haven't been in practice governing and managing, and they're going to screw things up, and there aren't any checks and balances in place to curb them, and they're drunk on the thrill of newly-acquired power. They're dangerous. So then what? Did surrounding countries take preventative action against the Russians?
Oh, I wish I had paid more attention in high school history class. We just brushed over this stuff so fast. I remember reading [u:3i1qnnv0]The Jungle [/u:3i1qnnv0]by Upton Sinclair. That's about the extent of my big memories. The danger of letting people be free to acquire and manage on their own without any kind of government regulation or counter-force to prevent selfishness of factory owners.
Again, why was Hitler's party both Socialist (in name) and Fascist? And did the Germans invade those Eastern European countries first because those were the poisonous ones that were likely to spread those dangerous competing ideologies? Oh my, Poland and Czechoslovakia...right there just yards away...and filled with Grasshoppers...Grasshoppers with violent ideas...going to take over the ants and then just try to suck up all of the wealth but they don't have any notion of how to make any, so it will be a disaster.
I know that History says that Nazi Germany grew out of frustration caused by the badly wrapped-up aftermath of WWI, and that Germany was punished for its role in WWI, so to trace the problem, we really have to go back to the start of WWI.
One of the main goals of WW2 was to save Capitalism from itself, i.e. the global economic collapse of the 1930s. Indeed this had been brewing since WW1. prior to WW1 there had been an attempt to create the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. The Weatern capitalist powers and Japan had been trying to build a global economic system to allow the investor classes to more readily suck up the resources of the "third world". Prior to this Colonialism was done through occupying sections of other countries and supporting the collaborating ruling classes in return for low wage workers and vital resources, like OIL. A lot of WW1 and WW2 was about who would have the most access to those resources. So the wars were about competition between the various Capitalist nations and yet at the same time they were trying to establish Global Capitalism and put down popular resistance of the workers unions and collectives.
Post WW2 a strong international monetary system was put in place with the victor, the USA at the top of the heap, and the war machine had staunched the Deppression. Because there was the competing ideology of communism and socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe it was necessary for Capitalists to allow a strengthening of the middle classes. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Global Capitalists have been breaking unions and rolling back all of the democratic gains people had struggled for. Only the advent of the current Economic Crisis has convinced the Capitalists that maybe we should have a few regulations to stop the system from devouring itself. Every time these crises happen though, the right wing of the ruling classes tries to use the crisis to say: "Workers make too much, Oh No ...how can we compete". The less right wing of the ruling class (centrists and "liberals" know they have to give alittle back to the rest of us in order to keep us complacent.
Germany seems to have been at the center of both wars, but I think there was a lot of provocation by other countries. The various leaders of the different countries seemed to have no real personal quarrels. Hitler wined and dined with various Royal figures of other European countries even as they were blasting each others peoples to bits. US bombers were ordered not to bomb Ford plants in Germany, so during bombing runs Germans used them as Air raid shelters. Prescott Bush (W's Grampa) was known by the sobriquet Hitler's Banker. Was indicted on Trading With The Enemy charges and got a slap on the wrist. The British Government alone among the Capitalist powers, seems to have been truly at war with Hitler (though even a few of Britain's Royal family expressed admiration for Hitler). Britain, despite several centuries of Colonial Rule and Empire, at least could be moved by appeals to conscience (especially when news of atrocities got out). This is why peace loving Ghandi was eventually able to end British rule of India. The Brits like to believe themselves to be the height of civilised society (as do the French, hence the competitiveness between them). So Lewis and Tolkien--coming from this tradition,and despite being conservative Oxford Dons-- would be seen as very liberal; even by todays American standards. And so is Rowling.
Anyway, this is a sort of broad brush approach to modern history. For details like: Why did the First World War begin in Serbia? -- I am afraid I will have to refer you to the History Books or a Google Search. Just remember, when researching online for answers to detailed questions like that, try to get answers from competing sources to compare. Get answers from University websites, mainstream and marxist. If they both agree, the answer is probably right. I wish my memory was better on those sorts of details but I have to return to the books myself for reminders. Glad I can help a bit. Remember Michael Parenti and Howard Zinn; they are my favourites. Also use your own excellent instincts. Don't just take my word for it.
I Hope you have a Wonderful New Year Otto's World, also to Beren, Ady, Show and everyone else
P.S. We really need to change the title of this thread now. How about Feminism and Politcs?
Yes, one has to be a discerning reader to search the internet for information. Whew! I'm a big fan of trying hard to understand the sincere beliefs of both (or all) sides, and I am also glad that nobody is YELLING on this forum. Not only is yelling unpleasant and stress-inducing, but it is really hard to get to understand the different positions when that happens.
Well, getting back to Tolkien topics, you said this:
[quote:8ldphkc4]The Brits like to believe themselves to be the height of civilised society. So Lewis and Tolkien--coming from this tradition,and despite being conservative Oxford Dons-- would be seen as very liberal; even by todays American standards. And so is Rowling.[/quote:8ldphkc4]
(I do want to pursue this political topic a lot more, but not exactly just now. Too many thoughts and questions coming up.)
One of the many reasons why I admire J. K. Rowling is that she teaches or models for the reader this discerning method of thought. Notice how often characters come to the wrong conclusions about other characters. Or the way Harry or Ron will read a newspaper and then Hermione will teach them to read between the lines or to read beyond the front page. Rowling exaggerates big time the need to read between the lines and to be skeptical of journalists with the whole Rita Skeeter running joke or how the MInistry of Magic so often presents things as much different than they are, and then different characters have prejudices and loyalties that make them more or less apt to take this or that position on something. And we get to feel the brunt of a lot of it because we see things from Harry's point of view and he is so often the victim of these faulty conclusions and readily constructed opinions. For a "children's series" it is a greatly undervalued quality of her books.
I have a question out of the blue, since we are talking about the way Tolkien and C. S. Lewis might have seen the world and politics and social issues: What is meant by Lewis's description of Eustace Clarence Scrubb and his parents in [u:8ldphkc4]Voyage of the Dawn Treader[/u:8ldphkc4]? Something like, "They were very modern and up-to-date. They were teetotalers and wore a special kind of underwear." Underwear? Underwear... They were mormons? They were worried about nudity and so wore lots of underwear? They were really super liberal and wore thongs? I'm totally confused. And then Eustace wants some kind of "nerve food" which makes me think that his family shops at holistic homeopathic organic type grocers and that Eustace is a bit of a hypochondriac. Is Lewis describing a recognizable type in society from his time?
I had to leave the post for a bit and I asked my mother about the whole underwear thing. Strangely enough, most English underwear was actually less restrictive, but she remembers Liberty wear which her mother got her. Light, soft woolen bodices, but tight fitting and lots and lots of annoying rubbery buttons. Eustace would have worn the boys equivalent.
That's what I love about posting. I used to do talk radio, but AM really was horrible, people just yelling over each other. My friend with the website used to have a radio programme on FM, where we talked about a lot of the sorts of things on his website. There were occasionally arguments with other callers, but he always gave people time to express their viewpoints. Posting is great because even in an argument, I can turn verbal Heavy Artillery into a Fluffy Pillow attack instead, thus avoiding emotional damage. I have to say, that my approach has garnered me some modicum of respect from the Christian moderators of Narniaweb. Until I post again...
On Narniaweb, I have been trying to demonstrate that not all Pagans are Heavy Metal Hooligans, or Savages ready to eat their babies. And I am also trying to show that it is possible to hold a firm point of view without assuming that anyone who doesn't believe in their particular stripe of Christianity is automatically going to Hell. That one is a little tougher, but I'm working on it. What I love about Lewis and Tolkien is that they are both Inclusivist. Not automatically rejecting people based on faith.
Of course his point is not mutually exclusive to the notion that they were anti-war activists, but it should be pointed out that many back-to-nature groups of the 1930s and 1940s were associated with Fascism (though certainly not all such groups, and as with National "Socialism", may have involved cooption on the part of the fascists). So I think even Paul Ford's commentary on this subject requires more research and analysis.
[b:eaardxvv]P.S.[/b:eaardxvv] Also Ford's point is, I think, belied by Eustace and his parents scientific worldview.
I finally found (I think) the spare oom in Narniaweb where there were all of the Chesterton quotes. So many rooms there. No wonder it kept you busy, GB. It was interesting but it also made me feel reeeeaaally sad--maybe has to do with the sinus infection. I think I will watch Prince Caspian to cheer up.
I didn't think that Harold and Alberta were Momons, but I am not aware of any other belief system or ideology that involves special underwear. Oh no! They're fascists?!! Fascism and paganism keeps cropping up everywhere.
The whole Pagan, Occult, Hitler thing is way overblown by people trying to deflect attention from the much more documented Catholic/Fascist connection. Hitler did indeed seek occult artifacts (if I remember correctly Himmler was in charge of that) as another means to Power. But for the most part they were after Christian based Occult symbols, as the Indiana Jones films attest to (one of the more accurate things from the movies). It is also true that Hitler promoted (on a minor level) Odinism. But folks who claim Hitler and the Nazis weren't "Christian" are trying to rewrite history (though, obviously they didn't follow Christs example of peace and love). The whole Get The Jews thing is a dead giveaway. Even Muslims weren't anti-jew until the late 19th century when the Colonial powers started stirring up trouble in the Middle East.
I think more people will start posting again after the weekend when all the New Years Parties are done with. I have the same Sinus thing right now, but I can't stay away either. I haven't visited the Spare Oom yet, you will find most of my debates under the Narnia and Christianity section of that forum. There are several threads there I've been posting on. My most severe critic is The Black Glove. I've actually got quite chummy with Dr Ransom though.
Men and women will (in my opinion) never be "equal". I say this in regards to men and women being the same. I believe this for the simple reason that men and women are not the same, if you have any doubts, see a doctor. That being said, this doesn't mean that one is better than the other, just different.
Much of these arguments will include lots of stereotypes, which the politically correct crowd tells us are wrong and evil. But the interesting thing about stereotypes is that often they exist for a reason. "Women are more understanding and compassionate while more are more direct and aggressive". PC teaches us that this is incorrect, but life teaches us that it is not always true, but often does serve as a predominately truthful start.
For my agreeing with Beren I will go on to say that the hay day of Chivalry was excellent. Opening doors, letting women go first. In a word, manners. What's more are those good manners towards women also lead to good manners towards everyone. The success of womenís right could be seen with relation to the decline of proper manners. They said to stop treating them so good and therefore people don't treat anyone good.
I will disagree because I do believe that people can be courteous and polite while expecting the same of women. Take opening the car door for example. In days past the man should go to her door and open it. In a balanced society she would in turn unlock his door while he circled the car. Not equal, but balanced.
I think that's just where this ramble will be heading, balance. I am against putting women on a huge pedestal and becoming a thrall to their throne. But I also am against the expectation that women will be exactly the same as men. There will be difference, but there should be balance.
In aid of this project; my friend is giving me a copy of Lewis's [i:3v2yqx56]The Discarded Image[/i:3v2yqx56] -- A treatise based upon the course on Medievalism Lewis himself taught. I also discovered (synchronistically or serendipitously) a book in the 50 cent sale at the library called [i:3v2yqx56]The Medieval Expansion of Europe[/i:3v2yqx56]. I am currently re-reading the Silmarillion (but I must find a cheap used copy to mark for notes) and [i:3v2yqx56]the Book of Lost Tales[/i:3v2yqx56] (already full of JRR and Christopher Tolkiens notes). And of course I will read as many biographies as I can find. Oh, let's not forget Planet Narnia. Then also, I must slog my way through reams of Lewis's Apologetics . On a more fun note, I shall have to obtain and read Lewis's books of letters (Tolkiens Too). I will also have to find and re-read all the old books that I have already read,etc. etc. . It's safe to say this project will take several years of research (though I wll try to write it as I go along). Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
I have already begun drawing up a reading list. And I will nead to print out some of the conversations here and on Narniaweb that I have engaged in. Thanks to Beren, I now have my own copy of Tolkien's Fairy Story essay. Anyway my work is cut out for me. Feel free to regale me with any suggestions . And thank you for the many you have already proffered on these threads. My task awaits.
I do know though, that the Inklings at least talked about these things and that Charles Williams also had interesing ideas about the relationships of the sexes. He uses the Galations line about "bearing one another's burdens" as a model for life. A woman cannot grow a baby without the participation of a man. A man obviously needs a woman to do the same. This is a model of interdependence that is how the sexes are meant to relate to one another. Cooperation and "getting up to get the spouse the drink of water in the night." Things spouses do for each other--little sacrifices that may be easier for one to do to relieve or help the other so that the math comes out as more--that doesn't make sense. If another human is stumbling and having a hard time, there may be something that I can do that is very easy for me but that helps that other person a lot. Silmilarly, others can do things for me that help me a lot but which cost them less than the amount of my gain. The model involves each person leveraging their own God-given gifts (easy and often pleasant work) so that the good achieved outweighs the cost.
I'm glad you got [u:1ywpz0nz]The Discarded Image[/u:1ywpz0nz]. That's fundamental and will give you a lot of bang for your reading effort buck.
Yes, I pity an author working on such a project. One would have to keep notes on all ideas and sources where ideas came from, marking up books and using tons of Post-Its. I would have a hard time remembering it all.
Now what I am interested in is what books you recommend for understanding more Pagan ideas.
[b:fjqj1xof]Riane Eisler[/b:fjqj1xof]--[i:fjqj1xof]The Chalice and the Blade[/i:fjqj1xof]--A feminist scholar whose work rocked the foundation of Anthropology and is largely the basis for anthropological research since. She has written other books which I have yet to read, but have read about.
[b:fjqj1xof]Elaine Pagels[/b:fjqj1xof]--Another feminist Scholar, whose work analysing the Gnostic texts at the same time Eisler published her works similarly established a new foundation for the study of early Chistianity. She has written numerous books including the seminal [i:fjqj1xof]The Gnostic Gospels[/i:fjqj1xof], [i:fjqj1xof]Adam and Eve and the Serpent[/i:fjqj1xof], and a book on the Gospel of Judas.
[b:fjqj1xof]Joseph Campbell[/b:fjqj1xof]--Who you already know--[i:fjqj1xof]The Power of Myth[/i:fjqj1xof] is a summation of his life's work and he is also well known for an early book [i:fjqj1xof]The Hero With a Thousand Faces[/i:fjqj1xof]. He is also an undisputed Scholar (despite some misgivings about his earliest work written before the advent of Feminism and Identity Politics which caused him to re-examine some of his assumptions).
[b:fjqj1xof]Mircea Eliade[/b:fjqj1xof]--[i:fjqj1xof]A History of Religious Ideas[/i:fjqj1xof]--[i:fjqj1xof]The Myth of the Eternal Return[/i:fjqj1xof]--[i:fjqj1xof]Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy[/i:fjqj1xof]--[i:fjqj1xof]The Forge and the Crucible[/i:fjqj1xof]--Another influential Scholar of the mid 20th century whose work has influenced many. His work is wide ranging with a focus on Eastern Traditions and Shamanism (but also includes comparative analysis with Western Traditions).
I am going to post now before a Gremlin gets this lot. I'll chime back in later this evening with more.
Where did you learn about Mithraism (sp?) the sun god religion with the lion's face who borrowed all of his best metaphors from Jesus Christ? [When I read about the lion's face my toes tingled.]
How did you learn about the Green Man?
Where did you learn about the Horned God and that he was turned into Satan and nine million other images?
I know it's almost impossible to remember if things came from the History Channel or Frontline. I TiVo-ed [i:jm9vopwh]From Jesus to Christ[/i:jm9vopwh][on Frontline], which may have some of this.
I have tried googling and there is a lot of info on the subject. But I'd rather lead you to sources I know and trust. I know a lot of the info is in some of the books I mentioned. I'll probably start remembering as I fall asleep, wake up and start posting later tonight.
I really can't recommend Terence McKenna highly enough. As I said, he is more speculative--but he is so highly informed his speculations are worth more than a lot of experts "facts." Though he and his brother's work focus on the Shamanistic use of Psilocybin and Ayahuasca, he factors many ideas into his equations. As an Irish American he has the Gift of Gab, is quite funny, and clear and easily understood. His books are as entertaining as they are informative and his lectures (available on Audio) are also. If you find his website, I suspect some of his talks may be archived. Find [i:7hr4llut]History Ends in Green[/i:7hr4llut] and give it a listen. I think some of this material is in that audio discussion.
[i:7hr4llut]Food of the Gods[/i:7hr4llut]-- is absolutely fascinating, and is his strongest evidence supported Theory of the emergence of High Consciousness in humankind. He discusses Catal Huyuk (the Archaeological excavation site dating back nearly 8000 years in what is modern day Turkey where many artifacts relating to the Horned God and Goddess have been found). Eisler discusses the dig site also.
[i:7hr4llut]The Archaic Revival[/i:7hr4llut]-- is another seminal work of his. It is a collection of his essays and transcriptions of talks and interviews. It covers everything from Medieval Classicism and Alchemy to discussions of McLuhan and Artificial Intelligence. I think [i:7hr4llut]the Matrix[/i:7hr4llut] films were heavily inspired by his work.
I'll be back later after my friend straightens me out and brings me back into focus.
I should start by saying why I put the term:...Christianity "borrowing" from Mithraism in quotes. Mithra was apparently undergoing a Roman revival during a period dating roughly 100BC - 200/300AD. This is debated among scholars, but the evidence largely supports this and most scholars at least agree on this much.
Many Modern Christian scholars sensing this puts the Gospels in jeopardy of losing it's claim to Exclusive truth deny the similarities. Basing their denial largely on a Mithra Scholar's over-reaching regarding a story (just one story) involving Mithra and a Bull. And also on the fact that Mithra's (the Roman Version) content shared much in common with other Pagan religions. I shall examine both of these arguments.
Mithra actually seems to be an iteration of Mitra, a Hindu sub-deity, also lion-headed and a god of light or the sun (later versions seem to be Maitreya) supposedly born of a virgin, some of the dating for this myth ranges back 4000 years. Then Mithra appears in the Babylonian pantheon somewhere between 1400 and 600BC. There is a lot of dispute regarding this, but there is definitely some physical evidence for Mithra's Babylonian appearance no matter what. Most scholars seem to have at least agreed that original notions that Mithra was tied to Zoroastrianism are highly speculative with little supporting evidence.
To be continued:
The other argument is that Mithras had a number of similarities with other Pagan religions: i.e. the Winter Solstice festivals marking the rebirth of the sun on the date December 25th. This argument also seems detached from logic. The fact that a number of other Pagan religions shared some points of reference doesn't detract from the fact that Early Christianity [b:mm8lka7p]also[/b:mm8lka7p] shared points of reference; in fact, [b:mm8lka7p]more[/b:mm8lka7p] points of similarity than the other Pagan religions to Mithras/Mithra/Mitra.
Joseph Campbell's thesis, that all the ancient myths have common roots could hardly be more apt. So, in summary, the term "borrowed" may not be the most accurate descriptor. "Shared" mythology might be better.
Anyway, Hopefully my buddy will know some books on the subject that explore this topic with a fairly balanced view. My own knowledge is based on a number of years of piecing together from half remembered sources.
Cheerio, for now -- [b:mm8lka7p]Gandalfs Beard[/b:mm8lka7p]
As I've said before, I don't like conflict, and prefer to find explanations that can make everyone happy rather than ones that doom some people to hell or that trash people's beloved beliefs. So I really like Joseph Campbell's idea that religions spring from a common source. Even if that common source is that we're all homo sapiens and we think enough alike that our explanations of the world will have a lot in common.
And isn't it cool--in a fairy-tale-come-true kind of tingly way--that several different cultures came up with the image of the lion's face with his mane connecting with the concept of "golden" and the sun as life-giver potency?
When you mentioned someone battling with the bull or the "horned god," it made me think of Jason in the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and also of Jacob wrestling with the "man" (God). The most meaningful story I have heard in relation to the Minotaur is in Stephen King's novel [u:skhwai3s]Rose Madder[/u:skhwai3s], in which the Minotaur is used to represent the angry male animal force of a woman's abusive husband.
The story of Jacob wrestling with God--I took that to mean (after much head scratching ) that Jacob (Israel) will always wrestle with God and engage with him. They want relationship with him, but they are always wondering and they tolerate questions, and THAT'S WHY it's okay to have 6 rabbis in a room with 8 different interpretations of a text, because disagreement and dialog and dialectic is a totally fine method of understanding and relating to God.
I wonder if there is any way of blending those themes. Mithra would be a god tackling a bull--tackling the horned god, possibly. God tackling a different image of God. The golden sun force tackling the animal life force. Um...human nature battling heavenly nature?
Have not had coffee yet. Should not attempt such a dicussion.
It's quite likely that the Mitra/Mithra connection is relatively contiguous. It's when the Romans took it up the line of continuity gets sticky. I was thinking the same thing about Jason and the Minotaur and the "man". My guess is that the Romans folded the stories into Mithraism when they absorbed it. The myths seem to imply a changing of the guard in theology. It seems to mirror the shifting worldviews as polytheism gives way to monotheism. Hmmm!
I'm sorry, I called my friend again, but I haven't heard back yet . He may be busy preparing for his programme, or had to have his broken heel attended to. I assure you though, your questions will not go unanswered.
[i:3c704xd3]Green Man[/i:3c704xd3]--William Anderson 1990 It's an oversize book with a lot of photos and artwork and Gypsy says it's very comprehensive.
[i:3c704xd3]The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology & Salvation in the Ancient World[/i:3c704xd3], by David Ulansey (1989 Oxford U. Press)--Gypsy says this book covers the Roman version thouroughly and really discusses the theological/Cosmological aspects of this mystery religion. And laying out the shared symbolism. You'll probably have to do a bit of digging to delve further into the history, as before about 600BC the Mithra cult is shrouded in mystery.
He didn't have a single comprehensive book detailing the history of the Horned God, but he says Campbell definitely touches on some of it in [i:3c704xd3]the Power of Myth[/i:3c704xd3] and [i:3c704xd3]Primitive Mythology[/i:3c704xd3]. Campbell also discusses Mithras/Mithra in [i:3c704xd3]Occidental Mythology[/i:3c704xd3]. As mentioned Eisler and McKenna both reference at least the Horned Goddess's history.
He reminded me also of an excellent book I had forgotten about, [i:3c704xd3]Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe[/i:3c704xd3]--by Maria Gimbutas. We both remember she discusses the Horned God in her book. Anyway, I think I have a couple of books I may not have mentioned yet. I'll keep you abreast as I find them.
And, sadly for you, the space trilogy has a LOT to do with the idea of balance and the right relationship of the sexes. I'm listening to an audiobook version, which is a lot less painful than reading the paper version. I think that the female character, Jane, is supposed to accept that she's a woman and give up her book project (which was lame anyway) and submit to her role in the marriage and have a baby. I'm waiting for this to happen...and waiting to gag. Maybe I will not gag. Mayb I will see the light.
I wonder about your arguing that Lewis's ideas are OUTSIDE of Christianity, because one might argue that this blending with paganism is part of hte Christian tradition. I think the author of [u:ugtzhndt]Planet Narnia [/u:ugtzhndt]would say that. There are many "streams of living water" in the faith--although you really have to dig and be kind of intellectual and look a lot on your own to find it...so maybe that's a pretty lame argument to make.
Also, like many Gnostics, I saw Christ not as The One; but One of many masters who were redeeming mankind--not from sin--but from illusion. And that through the process of enlightenment one could attain equal status or oneness with the Universal Spirit. Except for a very few Universalists, no modern Christians would be able to accept these views as "within" Christianity. Which makes me sad too, but more for them than myself. Christians such as yourself, and Tolkien and Lewis have a much broader framework, a bigger colour pallette with which to frame/paint their faith. And that is exciting. Unshackled from tradition one is able to explore all possibilities, to "create" one's own religion as one discovers more Truths with which to build it.
Elaine Pagels in her book on Gnosticism shows how dangerous these kinds of views were to the early Roman Church. The Church leaders saw that these sorts of notions would undermine their authority. The Gnostics alone among Christians, Jews and many Pagans of that time period elevated women to the status of equals. When Gnostic groups had meetings they would draw lots to determine who would play the roles of Bishop, Priest, and reader. Women could become Bishop or any of the leadership roles. These roles lasted until the meeting ended and lots were drawn at the next meeting, thus eliminating any permanent heirarchy. Well that was going to fly with the emerging Orthodoxy like a lead balloon .
So indeed, though I might view Lewis's Pagan aspects as compatible with his Christian aspects, that notion is "outside" the mainstream of modern Christianity. I should end on this note though: Many Gnostics thought their's should be a "secret" tradition--one that could go to Orthodox Churches on Sunday--but that was revealed to those who were ready to go beyond orthodoxy to explore the Higher Mysteries of the Universe .
I think it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said that Jesus did not die on the cross for our sins so that we would not have to; he showed us how to do it. Those aren't his exact words. He meant that it wasn't a pure gift and we're not all simply "off the hook" now because of it; rather we are all supposed to emulate him. He was a model to follow--and the suffering part was a part of the model too. You know, and not that we are all expected to DIE (though Bonhoeffer actually [i:2xp1i8bz]did[/i:2xp1i8bz]--he was killed by the Nazis for speaking and writing against them) but that often doing the right thing can involve jumping a lot of hurdles and enduring some white-knuckle moments,and maybe enduring some tedium but you do it anyway even when it "hurts."
I was talking to a Jewish friend about this, because I have heard a lot of Jews kind of rolling their eyes a the Christian idea that Jesus "took away all of our sins"--as if that's a really childish la-la irresponsible idea. Like it's kind of offensive because their belief is that we have a responsibility to work to redeem the world and bring about The New Jerusalem--that our lives are important as is the work that we do. The Jesus-on-the-cross idea sounds to them like an invitation to cop out or abdicate responsibility. So I told my friend about what Bonhoeffer said about Jesus--being a model, even as a model of suffering, and she thought that sounded pretty much like an idea she could swallow--one that would mesh with the spirit of Judaism pretty well. (I always put more credence on Christian ideas that agree with Judaism).
Oh...got off track, sorry. Anyway, I don't know if that fits with the Gnostic idea or not. It sounds like it does.
Anyway, I've heard of some of Bonhoeffers ideas and I liked what I heard, but I'm not really informed about him. It definitely fits in with Jewish thought. The Gnostic thing is a bit more complex, but I think it's along the same line of thought. It's important to know that Though Gnosticism was largely Christian, there were Jewish, Greek and Egyptian Gnostics. And it seems that Gnosticism may...May have roots in Hindu/Buddhist thought. But it's kind of mixed up and noones really sure what came from where. Some think it was Greek influenced Judaism that was around in the century or so before Christ. But then Many say it was Hellenized Jews that developed Christianity anyway. Of course the Gnostics claimed to have the "real" Christianity themselves. They saw orthodox Christians as believing in a "false" religion. As their worldview is so similar to many Hindu/Buddhist ideas I'm tempted to believe that--but the scientist in me won't let me accept anything as "Gospel" (pun intended). I should probably leave off here--but if you can find yourself a copy of the complete [i:1vnqg9ah]Nag Hammadi Library[/i:1vnqg9ah] (I have a 1988 edition edited by James G Robinson published by Harper San Francisco) and also a copy of Elaine Pagels book--[i:1vnqg9ah]The Gnostic Gospels[/i:1vnqg9ah]--you will be in fine stead to delve in. There's some good analysis in the Nag Hammadi, but Elaine Pagels really helps to understand the different strains of Gnosticism and how it all fits in with Judaism and the other forms of early Christianity.
On the Forces of Good, you have Elves, Dwarves, Men, and Hobbits, all which are divided into many counterparts and subgroups in which the Men of the East are under the Control of the Dark Lord. The most respectable and, If I may say so myself, powerful races on Middle Earth are the Elves. And, Go figure, The Leader of the Elves and the Free People's of Middle Earth, is in my view, Galadriel. Many people may rebuke this statement, but I believe this is what Tolkien intended, though I have never heard his thoughts in first person, very sadly.
This is just something random I noticed, that the Forces of Galadriel over come the Darkness, and that he might actually favor women over men. Yes, yes, I know I have almost no Facts to support my Theory, but yet, I believe it to be true! Feel Free to Discuss!