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Old 10-28-2016, 01:57 PM   #19
Fordim Hedgethistle
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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I need a snack

I've always seen evil in Middle-Earth not as a presence (the Manichean heresy) but as absence (nicely orthodox of me and fitting for our very religiously conservative professor): in particular, as an absence of self-control over one's own appetites.

Appetite strikes me as the central 'flaw' or 'impetus' of all the evil folk, with the extent of the appetite being directly related to the extent of the evil. If you have an appetite for a bit of destruction and violence, you're an orc; if you have an appetite for the whole world you're either Sauron or Shelob -- cause there's different 'flavours' of appetites: you can want to eat for different purposes. Sauron wants to eat the world in the sense of sating himself on it, taking it all and containing it within himself. He likes the taste of the world. Shelob wants to consume it, to see it all gone, to eat not from hunger for it, but for a mindless desire to feed. Sauron's connoisseur to Shelob's glutton.

The absence here is the absence of self control: all creatures have appetite, all individuals do but know or learn that unrestrained appetite is dangerous to oneself and others, but in some this sense is turned off or gone; the lack of self-control over one's appetites leads to evil.

My tuppence.

Nice old thread, nice revival.
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