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Old 07-02-2016, 12:25 AM   #2
Marwhini
Wight
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
I hate replying to my own thread before anyone else.

But I found the quote for which I was thinking, when I wrote the original post, coming from The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring regarding JRR Tolkien's goals in revising and finishing the earlier works, and Cosmology of ňa, Arda, and Middle-earth:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJR Tolkien in The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring
. . . It seems not to have been until the end of the 1950s that he [JRR Tolkien] turned again seriously to the Silmarillion narrative (for which there was now an insistent demand). But it was too late. As will be seen in the latter part of this book, much had changed since (and, I am inclined to think, in direct relation to) the publication of The Lord of the Rings and its immediate aftermath. Meditating long on the world he had brought into being and was now in part unveiled, he had become absorbed in analytic speculation concerning its underlying postulates. Before he could prepare a new and final Silmarillion he must satisfy the requirements of a coherent theology and metaphysical system, rendered now more complex in its presentation by the supposition of obscure and conflicting elements in its roots and its tradition.
Among the chief 'structural' conceptions of the mythology that he pondered in those years were the myth of Light; the nature of Aman; the immortality (and death) of the Elves; the mode of their reincarnation; the Fall of Men and the length of their early history; the origin of Orcs; and above all the power and significance of Melkor-Morgoth, which was enlarged to become the ground and source of the corruption of Arda. For this reason I have chosen Morgoth's Ring as the title of this book. It derives from a passage in my father's essay 'Notes on the motives in the Silmarillion' (pp. 394 ff) ,in which he contrasted the nature of Sauron's power, concentrated in the One Ring, with that of Morgoth, enormously greater, but dispersed or disseminated into the very matter of Arda: 'the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring'.
Specific in my speculation of the Metaphysics of Middle-earth in the above account is the following passage:

"Meditating long on the world he had brought into being and was now in part unveiled, he had become absorbed in analytic speculation concerning its underlying postulates. Before he could prepare a new and final Silmarillion he must satisfy the requirements of a coherent theology and metaphysical system, rendered now more complex in its presentation by the supposition of obscure and conflicting elements in its roots and its tradition."

Also of importance is the capitalization of the word "Light" in the second paragraph. This indicates that Tolkien gave special significance to the "Light" of Aman, and the Two Trees compared to the "light" that existed in the everyday world.

As I mentioned... I believe I have solutions to these problems (not just the Metaphysics and Theology, but to the underlying problems listed in the second paragraph).

But before I lay out the specifics, I would be interested to see what others might be thinking along these lines, because I have discovered that the solutions I have outlined tend to be highly contentious among many fans of Tolkien's works who have not really pondered the mechanisms by which the world works, the:

". . . analytic speculation concerning its underlying postulates. . . [and] requirements of a coherent theology and metaphysical system."

These few phrases mean that Tolkien was concerned with discovering the means by which his world could contain things often considered to be "Supernatural," yet Tolkien clearly considered "Natural." Again, not having a digital copy of The Letters of JRR Tolkien is a hindrance, as one of those Letters laid out a distinction between "Magic," which Tolkien considered to be "Necromantic" or "Occult," and the Natural Abilities of the Ainur, Elves, and even some among Men/Mankind who were especially tuned to the FŽa within Arda. This is illustrated in Sam's desire to see "Elven Magic" while in Lothlůrien, yet which Galadriel denied was "Magic," yet explained that her Mirror was likely what Sam meant by "Magic."

And if we say something is "Natural," that means that it is subject to sets of Laws and Sciences that make it knowable to those who would bend their minds toward the understanding of such things. It is here where many of Tolkien's fans rebel; at hearing that "Laws of Science" will describe the Nature of the World of Arda tends to set them on edge.

Yet this is what Metaphysics is: The Underlying Postulates of a world or system that define the mechanisms of its operation.

By the literal meaning of the word, Metaphysics is: The Physics or Physics (from the Greek: Μετά - Meta - for "beyond," "upon," "after", and Φυσικα - Physika - for "Nature," or "the stuff of the Body"). From Metaphysics are derived the Sciences.

And thus with the right Metaphysical Assumptions, everything following arises out of "Nature" through consistent mechanisms which operate the same way every time they are encountered.

Tolkien seems to have desired that Middle-earth operate in a similar fashion. He ultimately failed to see a unifying Metaphysics because of his inability to reconcile Christian Faith with the Pagan nature of the world he constructed (remember, the occupants of Middle-earth are not Christians). Yet such a Metaphysics was within his grasp if he was just willing to accept a greater degree of Syncretism between his own faith and the reality of the characters within Middle-earth.

MB
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