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Old 08-12-2003, 02:36 PM   #1
Måns
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This is a theory that I have, it may seem quite excentric but I beg you to listen to it before you judge it. The theory is that the elves and elf-friends were in fact the blockers of development in Middle Earth. It is common knowledge that the elves were the fairest, long lived and wisest but they were always the same. Did the elves ever represent any change? No. This is quite well illustrated in the Ainulindalë, especially the early versions that stresses their difference from men. It says that men, though they were short-lived always had a power the elves did not they could take the world a step further. While all elves did was predicted and regulated by the song of the Ainur, as was it with the valar, men had been gifted by Eru with the power of creation. They could use what was in Eä to develop things of their own, good or bad, unseen and unpredicted by the Valar. This is also said to be the most important difference between them and the Valar which made it ahrd for them to communicate and understand eachother.

To the main part of the theory, men always ahd this capability to build and used it early in the beginning. However, when men fled from Morgoth during the wars in the First Age, they came in contact with the elves and suddenly stopped developing, as did those who came under the rule of Melkor, a valier and thus more related to elves than men. No development was made during the entire first age, thoguh this could be partly blamed on the fact that they were quite busy making war on eachother, but, traditionally war has, terribly enough, often meant an acceleration in the development of both society and technology. If we take a step further in the develpoment of men, they, or some of them, learned much of the wisdom that the elves did have, all was predicted in the music but still, it increased their store of wisdom greatly and moved to Númenor. Now, the men left in Middle Earth were still left in their old patterns of lack of knowledge while the men of Númenor developed greatly. This leads me to think that men needed the guidance of the elves in the beginning to start their own progress. After all, the men in Númenor became more and more cunning and advanced while they distanced themsleves more and more from the elves, why could this be? Shouldn't it be the other way around? No, because the elves had only a certain measure of knowledge to give, and when they had given that, they drew men with them in their preserving of a lost glory. Elves always thoguht they were waning which is true for them in ME but rather, they were stuck forever in their immortality as well as their behaviour and technology. I do not say that men became greater during the time in Númenor, they would ahve needed guidance to remain good.

If we take a look at the wars in the third age, they were only of a preserving nature, Gondor never attempted to expand the boundaries of civilisation, by force or otherwise. They held on to what they could and did so pretty well for three thousand years, but still, all the time they waned. That is, I think due to that they had so close relations with the elves, the elves wanted them topreserve an order taht had been, with the learned language Sindarin, classical knowledge and the elvish culture in Genreal. That was not according to the nature of men who went restless and thus their strength did not grow. After the passign of the elves, at alst, men were free from the governing of the elves and developed more rapid than ever, ever growing in strength and advancing rapidly. D we have a pattern ehre? As soon as men were distanced from elves, they went on, from the old, that is true, from the old elvish wisdom and beauty but to knew things that none except Eru could predict.

MånsThis is a theory that I have, it may seem quite excentric but I beg you to listen to it before you judge it. The theory is that the elves and elf-friends were in fact the blockers of development in Middle Earth. It is common knowledge that the elves were the fairest, long lived and wisest but they were always the same. Did the elves ever represent any change? No. This is quite well illustrated in the Ainulindalë, especially the early versions that stresses their difference from men. It says that men, though they were short-lived always had a power the elves did not they could take the world a step further. While all elves did was predicted and regulated by the song of the Ainur, as was it with the valar, men had been gifted by Eru with the power of creation. They could use what was in Eä to develop things of their own, good or bad, unseen and unpredicted by the Valar. This is also said to be the most important difference between them and the Valar which made it ahrd for them to communicate and understand eachother.

To the main part of the theory, men always ahd this capability to build and used it early in the beginning. However, when men fled from Morgoth during the wars in the First Age, they came in contact with the elves and suddenly stopped developing, as did those who came under the rule of Melkor, a valier and thus more related to elves than men. No development was made during the entire first age, thoguh this could be partly blamed on the fact that they were quite busy making war on eachother, but, traditionally war has, terribly enough, often meant an acceleration in the development of both society and technology. If we take a step further in the develpoment of men, they, or some of them, learned much of the wisdom that the elves did have, all was predicted in the music but still, it increased their store of wisdom greatly and moved to Númenor. Now, the men left in Middle Earth were still left in their old patterns of lack of knowledge while the men of Númenor developed greatly. This leads me to think that men needed the guidance of the elves in the beginning to start their own progress. After all, the men in Númenor became more and more cunning and advanced while they distanced themsleves more and more from the elves, why could this be? Shouldn't it be the other way around? No, because the elves had only a certain measure of knowledge to give, and when they had given that, they drew men with them in their preserving of a lost glory. Elves always thoguht they were waning which is true for them in ME but rather, they were stuck forever in their immortality as well as their behaviour and technology. I do not say that men became greater during the time in Númenor, they would ahve needed guidance to remain good.

If we take a look at the wars in the third age, they were only of a preserving nature, Gondor never attempted to expand the boundaries of civilisation, by force or otherwise. They held on to what they could and did so pretty well for three thousand years, but still, all the time they waned. That is, I think due to that they had so close relations with the elves, the elves wanted them topreserve an order taht had been, with the learned language Sindarin, classical knowledge and the elvish culture in Genreal. That was not according to the nature of men who went restless and thus their strength did not grow. After the passign of the elves, at alst, men were free from the governing of the elves and developed more rapid than ever, ever growing in strength and advancing rapidly. D we have a pattern ehre? As soon as men were distanced from elves, they went on, from the old, that is true, from the old elvish wisdom and beauty but to knew things that none except Eru could predict.

Måns
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Old 08-12-2003, 02:42 PM   #2
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well, it is true that there was a lot of technological advancement that should theoretically of happened in the time between the first age and the fourth, but whether it was the Elves that stopped it or not is another matter. they didnt exactly do out of their way to stop men(or dwarves for that matter) developing
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:57 PM   #3
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well, it is true that there was a lot of technological advancement that should theoretically of happened in the time between the first age and the fourth
I beg to differ. The advancements made between the First and Fourth Age were remarkable. On a timescale compared to our own, their progress was unbelievable. Humans have been around thousands of years, far longer than the number represented in the First through Fourth Age, and only in the past two milleniums have we made any real technological advances that can be measured today (some would argue against me, and cite the pyramids, but that was still a relatively well-developed society compared with the societies of Middle Earth).


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The theory is that the elves and elf-friends were in fact the blockers of development in Middle Earth. It is common knowledge that the elves were the fairest, long lived and wisest but they were always the same. Did the elves ever represent any change? No.
Tolkien's beliefs about the natural world were such that change was not as good as preservation. Tolkien believed that staying close to the natural world and preserving its beauty was far more important than technological advancement. In fact, he was a stern advocate of technological 'advancement' and industrialization, which he strongly believes (and I agree with him) will lead to the end of the human race and the rape of the natural world. If Men were imbued with the powers to change and advance technologically, I believe this power would be more firmly rooted in the fact that Morgoth, who changed Iluvatar's plans and who first developed machines and engines of war, had a great influence on men at and after their awakening. A part of Morgoth went into men, so that they could never sit understand nature as the Elves did and could never sit fully contented in time of peace.

You may say that Elves are 'stuck in their ways', and this is true to an extent, but this is because their nature itself has created a kinship and bond with nature for them which they (wisely) feel would be better left undisturbed.


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traditionally war has, terribly enough, often meant an acceleration in the development of both society and technology. If we take a step further in the develpoment of men
True enough, but is this development really positive at all? Certainly World War II led to the advancement in the nuclear arms race, which has altered society drastically but has not had any desirable effect. WWII and Vietnam set the precedent for testing new and more powerful weaponry on our enemies each time we engage them. None of these wars significantly advanced society as a whole, nor could the positives of these advancements outweigh the negatives.

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all the time they waned. That is, I think due to that they had so close relations with the elves
An absurd notion, really. Gondor waned as their relationship with the elves decreased, which it did drastically after the Last Alliance (when Gondor was at its most powerful). Need I remind you that the Numenoreans learned much if not all of their craft from the Elves of Eressea?

The Noldor and the Teleri certainly made great 'advancements', in the fields of gemcraft and shipbuilding, respectively. The Noldor it were who wraught the most fabulous gem creations ever, not to mention extremely strong swords and mail. The Teleri were certainly masters of shipbuilding, and their ships were completely unrivaled by men in later days who (gasp) did not have relations with the Elves.

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As soon as men were distanced from elves, they went on, from the old
Tell me, what great accomplishments have Men made since the fading of the Elves (assuming, of course, that Middle Earth is real history and we are talking about Men as humans now who are descended from the men of Middle Earth)? Men are destroyers of the natural world, who have made no advancements in living, really. Elves were the embodiment of serenity, and their oneness with nature was idyllic in Tolkien's world. Tolkien thought of men as slightly corrupted beings, who could not help but try to force their ways on the natural world, what we now call 'advancement.' The Elves were the wisest and most pure, and it was they who most fully understood the workings of the natural world.
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Old 08-12-2003, 04:43 PM   #4
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Sorry for posting the last thing twice, my bad.

Anyway, the first part I do not recognize at all as mine, sorry I can't reply to that, I have never thoguht that there was no technological or other development in that time. Though you have to admit that the development did not go far, it went from early medival to high medieval in 9000 years, a process that took around 400 years here.

I know perfectly well of Tolkien's conservatory and reactionist views on industrilization, but what does it matter. There is one assumption, caused by modern society I guess, that follows you through your entire post. You say taht to be development it has to be good. It hasn't, as long as it's something new, different from what was before it is new even if I and all otehrs prefer change to be for the better. Morgoth made engines of war, but, and I quote Eru himself: "And Thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined." Morgoth was but the tool of Eru when inventing those war machines, as where men when they invented, the difference is that what Morogth did was predicted in the First music of the Ainur, while men could do things new to all. Thus Melkors actions could only take effect to some extent, when his part in the music was over, so was his influence of men since they were unbound by his actions adn had their ability to create new things. Of course a part fo emn went into Morgoth but he could not change them as a whole in their nature. They were impatient, not like hte elves and that had not with Morgoth to do. Anyway, there is a point that you seem to have forgotten. Development hasn't got to be good, it ahs to be change.


Elves were bound to nature in a different way than men, but not more or less. They understood it better, because they were more like it but there is absolutely no proof of an elvish conscious attempt to preserve their kinship with nature by any elf.

I don't see the problem you've got with development ahving to be positive when you are yourself saying it can be negative. Of course, the second world war had upsides, the ousting of Fascism and so on but it does not compare to the downsides, for example the death of up to eigthy million people (NOT 50, that is the Russians losses alone, 20 million is a number supported only by Stalin's word for it at Potsdam, and do we usually trust him today?). I don't say it was good at all in any way, but it was development.

What is so absurd about it? I think that you are a little to rash in your judgment on me. Do you not think that there were other reasons for Gondor being at the height of it's power before such a great war? Moreover, remember the word elf friend. The elvish culture lived extremely strong from Númenor, many spoke Sindarin though they did not use it in everyday speech. So eager to remind me, friend, of that you must have missed naother part, that they needed the elvish wisdom to some extent, surely but that this was static and did not develop. Need I remind you that it was after the ending of the contacts with the elves Númenor became the mightiest and most advanced, though not the happiest?

Please, why do you think that men's lore would stop were the elves had? Since it is a representative of this world, I do think our boats are superior to that of the elves, adn actually, it was all predicted in the song, they could do that but stopped at that. The elves did not invent anything Illúvatar did not want them to invent from the beginning, and thus it was not inventions, while men used the materia of Eä to form new things, for good and bad.

Well, once again I am sadly enough forced to repeat that it might not be progress for a better and happier world we have made, personally I think the 20th century the worst ever, followed by the 19th but we ahve developed much. You don't see, men are creators as well as destroyers, but sometimes, those two are not very far away from eachother. We surely do not understand nature, which teh elves do but they cannot change what they understand, bound as they are by the song of the Ainur. Men have the power to create, and that is the gift Eru gave them which the elves could not comprehend.

Måns
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Old 08-12-2003, 05:24 PM   #5
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Anyway, the first part I do not recognize at all as mine, sorry I can't reply to that
I was, of course, replying to Morgoth the Great's post.

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This is a theory that I have, it may seem quite excentric but I beg you to listen to it before you judge it. The theory is that the elves and elf-friends were in fact the blockers of development in Middle Earth.
Perhaps I misunderstood your semantics. By saying development, I thought you meant 'progress', which would have positive implications. The term 'blockers' has a distinctly negative stigma. Therefore I thought that you were implying that the Elves were impeding positive progress, which I would entirely disagree with.

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And Thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.(Iluvatar)
This quote has been used and misinterpreted countless times in these fora. This quote was not meant to imply that everything done within the confines of Ea is good. Nor does it imply that Melkor was acting on Iluvatar's will when he waged war upon Middle Earth, or that Iluvatar ever intended for Melkor to do so. It means what it says: nothing can be created that does not have its uttermost roots in Iluvatar, since he was the original Creator. It is simple creationist logic: if everything began with One, then everything has its source in One.

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Do you not think that there were other reasons for Gondor being at the height of it's power before such a great war?
I think that one of the main reasons was their relationship with the Elves, specifically Gil-Galad in Lindon and Elrond in Imladris.

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The elves did not invent anything Illúvatar did not want them to invent from the beginning, and thus it was not inventions, while men used the materia of Eä to form new things, for good and bad.
I believe your view on this matter is skewed. What you seem to be implying--and I do not wish to put words in your mouth but the above quote speaks for itself--is that the Elves did not have the ability to exercise free will and that they had no power of sub-creation. I strongly disagree. While Elves may have been influenced by Iluvatar and while Iluvatar may have wished for them to create the ships (or gems, or anything else that they created), this does not take away the fact that they are the sole inventors and the idea of their creations originated with them just as much as Mannish creations originated with Men. I entirely disagree with your statement that the works of the Elves cannot be considered 'theirs'. Iluvatar foresaw their creations, but that does not mean he can claim responsibility for the final work.

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men are creators as well as destroyers, but sometimes, those two are not very far away from eachother
I agree with this statement entirely, and I apologize if I came off as too judgemental in my last post.

Cheers!
-Angmar

[ August 12, 2003: Message edited by: Lord of Angmar ]
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Old 08-13-2003, 02:33 AM   #6
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Yes. That is one of the downsides of not having english as your first language, you translate words without thinking of a slight change in what it implies, just as I just did. Well, development is realy the only word for it , possibly change btut hat does not perfectly describe the innovation involved.

I know of the many misinterpretations of this quote, but the second part is important, where he says that it will only make his creation wonderful. It is connected with the pre-first world war emotion, that no good can be without good and ultimately that life is not as beautiful if it is not at peril at times. This is how the famous line should be interpreted correctly, it is not good, but it is the will of the Creator that it should happen in so much that he did not stop it which he doubtlessly could have done. He mourns it, but if it was not his will he would stop it, he waated the world to be happy, but as he says, the vision would not have been so glorious and great without it.

"'Know that I love the world and tha tit is a room of play for Eldar and men, who are my bleoved children. But when eldar come they will be the fairest and most lovely of all that is created, and their knowledge of beauty will be greater and they will be ahppier than men. But to them, I will give anotehr gift, anew and greater.' And thus he decided that men would be given a freeforce within them that meant that they, within the boundaries of the worlds powers and substances and possibilities, would eb able to shape and form their lives even beyond hte original music of the Ainur that is as everything else's fate."

The Boook of Lost Tales 1, poorly translated from Swedish by Måns.
I thought this was commonly accepted, sorry for not quoting this before. Well, this proves the first half of my argumetn, that is quite obvious, that men were the developers with the free will to create or destroy what the elves and ainur could not, since they were bound by the song, that was their fate. The scond part of the theory is more complex and I be to refer to my earlier posts.

I do not. Firstly, I don't see it strange that a society declines after such a war (that could not have happened in medieval europe) and when it is governed by elf friends. The ones that escaped from Númenor were the elf friends, and this was true to a higher degree when spekaing of the nobles. Elendil's words when he comes to middle earth is quenya as is his oath ofalliance to Gil Galad. They are entirely indoctrinated by the superiority of elvish culture and they think it great. Of course their aims become the same, the protecting the remnant of the elves and preserving elvish culture in their minds. This passed on through the generations and was weakened during the time fo Denethor but we must bear in mind one thing. He totally resented the elvish wisdom and heritage, which is not good. What I speak of is maintaining the elven wisdom but not to any prize, it was essential that one kept that as a platform. That is how the men of Númenor came so far, they knew the elvish wisdom and invented freely to it.

On elves and sub-creation, all that the elves did was predicted in the song, they could do nothing new as men could, as proved above.

Mayeb I was a bit itchy in the last post, mostly because I ahd left so many holes in the theory without explaining it and mistranslating into development but there is no other word for it,

With all respect, Måns
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Old 08-13-2003, 03:09 AM   #7
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Mans, you are correct. The Elves were exactly this. They would not distance themselves from nature with technology, they did not desire change in this way. As Tolkien states, their immortal lives -- bound up with the natural stuff of the Universe (as we debated in a thread of mine a few weeks back, actually, not so much the biological world as the world of existence the way they were created; they were attached unbreakably to Ea, and their lives were its. They were against change to its eternal rythm, that they were part of, and also unwilling to distance themselves from the natural world that they saw as beautiful and were the mediators of) -- their minds dwelled in the past and its beauty, wishing to continue this, rather than thinking ahead to ways of drawing outside power to oneself.

The Elvish influence on Men, in the first Three Ages, restrained Men at first; but when the Dominion of Men finally -- inevitably -- came, the developmental capacity of our minds was unleashed. This fact has been discussed once or twice before.

If I may, there's an excellent quote found in a Terry Pratchet book I once read that sums this up nicely (Pratchett is a very funny comedy writer, which may seem unfitting [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img], but he does in fact seem to be discussing a real moral point under it all in every work; he's a bit of a satirist). It's about the emergence of guns as weapons, in Pratchett's invented (Real-World-mirroring) Discworld.
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(something like this)[i]Crossbows or spears or the like were different, they just stored up your power really. But gonnes (guns)... they gave you power from somewhere else.[i]
This is exactly it. The Elves were only happy with being 'natural', living within the bounds of this, and would detest guns or industrial machines that (apart from being destructive) are not part of this. They are powers in their own right, manufactured and used by Men. They distance Men from the substance of Arda, that the Elves love.

Men, being temporary -- more a part of the biological world than Elves, who are more its mediators -- on the Earth have no such qualms. It is in the nature of Man to think of and use such things.
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Old 08-15-2003, 04:03 PM   #8
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Which is exactly what I ahve proved in the above posts. I would however redefine that we were only hindered only in the first three ages by elves, my argument has two sides. Men needed elves for a long time, because of their superior skills in virtually every area and were helped spiritually by them. There, in the protection of the elves, men grew to what they were to become, beings that could exercise a free will without being ruled by good or bad. They needed elves and were not hindered by them in the first age but it was increasingly so in the latter ones.

The alst aprt is sadly proved in the Númenorean cutting down of woods in the region between the old forest and Fangorn.

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Old 08-22-2003, 03:50 PM   #9
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It seems evident to me that the Elves, being arguably Tolkiens ideal creatures (or hobbits, but elves fit this discussion better) would show an unwillingness to advance technologically.
Tolkien was avidly against the industrial revolutions that scarred the beloved countryside he called his home. He despised advancement at the expense of nature.
Tolien was against such technological advancements that formed the twentieth century, and his ideal characters display this marvelously.
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Old 08-22-2003, 07:14 PM   #10
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It is interesting talking about elves. It seems to me that Elves tend to advance to a certain point and then they stop at the pinnacle of it.
Consider the Teleri with their white Ships in the havens of Alqualondë before the Kinslaying. They said that they could never make a ship better than that. I as a human being cannot understand that. How is it possible to reach a pinnacle? I just simply cannot fanthom the idea that you can make something and be unable to make something better. I think that that is the great thing about humans in ME and in general, they can always improve.
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Old 08-23-2003, 01:27 AM   #11
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They said that they could never make a ship better than that. I as a human being cannot understand that. How is it possible to reach a pinnacle? I just simply cannot fanthom the idea that you can make something and be unable to make something better. I think that that is the great thing about humans in ME and in general, they can always improve.
I also remember feeling uncomfortable when reading about the Teleri never being able to make better ships.

I mean, they have a few thousand years to get better, but they can't. Uhg.
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that it might not be progress for a better and happier world we have made, personally I think the 20th century the worst ever, followed by the 19th
Ummm... I would say that the years when people had to work all day to stay alive, the years that life expectancy was less than half what it is now, the years where iron-fisted and cruel rulership practices were more common because no one was there to challenge them, and the years when people knew jack about the human body and diseases were much worse centuries than the past two.

Everyone should try going without any modern thing for a couple weeks and see what it's like. Go into the middle of the woods naked, with no tools and food, and make your own clothes, try to find food, if you can make a weapon then try to catch something, and so on. After two weeks, your stench alone (from not having soap, shampoo, running water, deodorant, or cologne) will make you long for the modern conveniences developed over time.

And what if you fall and break your arm. With a doc handy, you can fix the arm up and use it again in a few weeks. With no medical technology, if you broke it just the wrong way it's possible that you could never use the arm again.

Or what if you have gum trouble, or tooth trouble, or get bit by a bug and get West Nile Virus.

Think about that, and then I think you'll be thankful that you live in our current day and age.

(Plus, there was NO BARROW-DOWNS back then!! Aahhh!!)
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Of course, the second world war had upsides, the ousting of Fascism and so on but it does not compare to the downsides
I don't know. The war killed people, but if the war wouldn't have been fought, then Hitler takes over whatever he feels like. I think Hitler running the world (and perhaps doing a worldwide ethnic cleansing of all non-Germans) is a huge downside that we averted by fighting the war (making it a positive), in which case the positives would far outweigh the negatives.

Unless you're meaning that it would've been better if the war had never even been necessary (in other words, everybody got along), then OF COURSE. We'd all pick everyone getting along over having a nasty war. But that would require everyone being good boys and girls, and that's sadly not the way it is.
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Men are destroyers of the natural world, who have made no advancements in living, really.
No advancements in...what...are you kidding?

I must be misinterpreting your statement (I hope I am).
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True enough, but is this development really positive at all? Certainly World War II led to the advancement in the nuclear arms race, which has altered society drastically but has not had any desirable effect.
Very true. The advancements are scary ones, but unfortunately, necessary in this scary world.

(Well, I doubt this post is good for my popularity, but whatever. Part of the reason some people come to The Downs is to see varying opinions.)

[ August 23, 2003: Message edited by: the phantom ]
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:06 AM   #12
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They said that they could never make a ship better than that. I as a human being cannot understand that. How is it possible to reach a pinnacle? I just simply cannot fanthom the idea that you can make something and be unable to make something better. I think that that is the great thing about humans in ME and in general, they can always improve.
I think that this is possible if you consider the Elven ships as 'Art' and not as 'Industry'.
Take the art of painting as an example. For me is feasible that Michelangelo could have considered that after painting the Sistine Chapel he could never do anything better (I don't know whether this is true, it's only an example). And even though there have been other extraordinary painters after him, it is also feasible to think that nobody could have done the same Michelangelo did.

In my opinion, this is the main difference between how Elves and Men 'do' things. For Elves, everything they did was considered a piece of Art, and therefore either impossible or very difficult to copy or improve.
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:19 AM   #13
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On elves and sub-creation, all that the elves did was predicted in the song, they could do nothing new as men could, as proved above. (Mans)
Just a quick note: Just because all of their creations were predicted in the Song of the Ainur, does not mean that they are any less their own creations, or any less exertions of their own free will.
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Old 08-25-2003, 03:30 PM   #14
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I may be posting this a little late but oh well...

Well there are things I find wrong with your theory.

1 Gondor was at the height of their power when they were closest to the elves. The last alliance of men and elves was one of the greatest hosts ever, and defeated the Dark Lord when he had the ring.... This could not be done in the third age when Gondor had been estranged from the elves for over 1000 years.

2 Also Aragorn was as great as the Kings of old and he had been raised by the elves.

3 Way would Men need to advance past the elves? I really don’t think there is a reason. The elves have their wise ways and we have the Prancing Pony.

4 Also I think that the elves had the great technology and civilisation in middle earth. But it was mortals that finally brought down Sauron. Something about a mortal hero that the elves do not have. I include Hobbits as mortal heros as well.

Hope you find the truth someday,
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Old 08-25-2003, 07:49 PM   #15
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Mans, you said in one of your earlier posts that it didn't matter what Tolkien thought. Since when do the Creator's thoughts not affect his creation? Tolkien created Middle-earth, so naturally his views would influence it.

You say that Numenor reached its pinnacle after it severed relations with the Elves. Just what pinnacle do you speak of? Would you consider sacrificing countless innocent humans, reaching a pinnacle? Would you call tearing apart families in the name of land and country, a pinnacle? If that is the epitome of perfection, then I would much rather live under the influence of the Elves, the so-called "blockers" of development.

You claim that the Elves' desire to preserve what they viewed as beautiful just impeded the development of the rest of Middle-earth. Take a look at the situation that they were in. Would you have done any different? If you were a superior race, coming to a new land, full of new dangers and new races, with nothing but your heart and your will to guide you, what would you do? If you wanted to raise a family, would you not want to provide the most stable home for them? All they did was stabilize their surroundings. The Elves figured that it was worth taking the risk of impeding progress, to create a safe home for their families and future generations. Is that impeding progress? Is the desire for a safe, secure home impeding progress?

What you perceive as impeding progress, is what I perceive as a simple desire to keep things safe and secure. To raise a family, a healthy, functional family, mind you, you need stable, secure surroundings. The Elves were willing to take the risk of not "progressing," so that they could build secure homes.

Perhaps the way we are brought up in this day and age needs some rethinking, at least it does in my opinion. We are brought up to think that progress should be give top priority, and everything else should be considered later, or never at all. What happened to treasuring Nature? Seeing beautiful, green, thick-leaved forests marred by telephone poles, and torn down to build luxury high-rise apartments brings tears to my eyes. Perhaps it's just me, but I know that Tolkien would have shared in my sentiment. In this age of machinery, we are forgetting the one thing that brought us here, we are forgetting to give the credit where it is due, to Mother Nature. If it weren't for her, none of us would be here. If it weren't for her, humankind wouldn't have even evolved to what it is today. We owe her for making us what we are, and now, how do we pay her back? By mauling and mutilating her.
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Old 08-26-2003, 02:29 AM   #16
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Very good, Finwe. And what's really ironic, when you think about it, is that in a sense nature has destroyed itself...

But then again, that's just the natural distinction between the First and Secondborn. The Elves were a 'block'; they did restrain Men at first, and that is a fact of the invented Middle-Earth.

Of course it is all in the Plan of Illuvatar, and that is why we are here. It is inevitable that we should do this when you consider our nature. It is simply what our intelligence, and our deep-seated desire to 'make something' of our lives while we are here -- to contribute to the development of humanity in some way, something that the immortal and harmonious (seeing no need for it) Elves did not need to do -- and so far, largely, we have done this heedless of our responsibility to conserve and protect the Earth at the same time.

I believe it can be done, though. We do need to turn our race around, and this is possible. Our developmental nature is not unchangeably programmed with this compenent of heedlessness, and we should in fact be able to direct it towards reversing our destructive actions. (Remember that so far, these actions have not yet been that bad. They are still rectifiable if we can make the effort.)
We should then be able to take a leaf out of the Elvish book, while still being Men, and be conscientious in our steady advancement. Development is not neccessarily a bad thing, Finwe. The worlds of quantum travel and space, cures for illness, still greater knowledge than that we already possess are there for us to embrace. We are Men, as I say; our progress is going to continue and cannot be stopped. What we need to do is add 'be mindful' to this list.

Change in the way we do it is what we need, and is a goal that we can make happen. But effort is definitely first required... so don't just read this, get up and do something about it!! You are a child of this universe, as much as the earth of the stars. We owe it to the universe to be a better part. You might look at our society and see that it is warm, and a good thing, and enjoyable, and it is. We are -- to ourselves, at any rate.

Look at it from another perspective, eh?

The thing is to keep both these perspectives in mind, and be heedful of the latter while still being a part of the former.
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Old 08-26-2003, 04:19 AM   #17
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Well, whether Elves were 'blockers' or not, does it matter so very much? I have regretted for a very long time not being able to go somewhere peaceful and see nothing but the natural world...anywhere you go there are houses, electricity pylons, telephone cables...or a nice lovely motorway going right through it. The Lake District is beautiful, but is also affected. I don't really like the idea of progress at the expense of the rest of the world. It scares me. And what is the point anyway????
And about those advancements during wars. The advancements are not restricted to develpments in weaponry. Medicines have made huge leaps during wars, simply because more were needed, so money was poured in to research and manufacture etc.
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Old 08-28-2003, 08:09 PM   #18
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Forgive me for being so vehement. I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

Gwaihir, I see your point about looking at it from both perspectives. I agree that the human race has made leaps and bounds from where we were in the beginning, to where we are now. I will not deny that many of those developments were good, and kept us alive when we would have died, otherwise. The thing that troubles me, is that many of us keep only that in our minds, and forget that we are part of "the big picture." The world isn't about just us, we have to take Mother Nature and our planet into account.

Humans have this quality that makes them pursue their goals with only that goal in mind, at the cost of everything else around them. Now that does come in handy at times, but I feel that it does more bad than good. What say you?
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Old 08-29-2003, 12:51 PM   #19
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I agree. It grieves me to see what disregard humans have had for the rest of our world in pursuit of 'progress' or wealth.
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Old 08-30-2003, 01:30 AM   #20
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Yes, Finwe, absolutely. As I talked about in my post, we need to be a little more Elvish and take notice of those things in our advancement. It can be done.
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Old 09-02-2003, 02:32 AM   #21
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Coming in a little late here, but, as far as the Third Age goes, I think the principal 'block' was the presence of the Rings. They were designed with the purpose of 'preserving' the natural world against the depredations of Sauron, but also to 'stop time'. Galadriel desires to live in a place where the flowers & trees do not die.

The 'preserving/embalming' effect of the Rings in Lorien & Rivendell would surely act as a brake on progress, & the effect of such powerful objects as the Elven Rings would surely 'bleed out' into the world around. Also, do we know how many lesser Rings, made with the same power & intent were 'floating around' in ME? Aside from the physical effect, would there not also be a psychological one, affecting the way the people of ME thought, slowing their desire for progress, & leading to a backward looking idealisation of the past. When the One is destroyed, the effects, physical & psychological, of the Rings was disipated, allowing change/'progress' to begin in ME.
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Old 09-02-2003, 03:01 AM   #22
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Interesting, but remember that the only 'change/progress' that has happened since Sauron's fall is that of Men -- Men have progressed, and we have ourselves changed the earth.

At any rate, the Rings were nothing more than an amplification of the power that the Eldar already had in Middle-Earth. The 'block' is still Elvish. Up until the forging of the Rings, through the First and largely Second Ages, Men were less restrained than they were in the Third Age; this was clearly due to the restraining effect of the presence of the Elves themselves. In the First Age, of course, the supreme mastery of the Earth was theirs over Men. Numenor in the Second Age seems to have been affected and influenced by the Elvish psyci, whish is why it didn't become as much of a typical human realm as we might have expected it to be. (Except after the coming of the Shadow, which is an example of Man's ability to be corrupted and is not to do with the Elves.

In the Third Age, Men were actually restrained by the Elves in rather a looser way. The Elves were still there in some numbers, though, and the principal kingdom of Gondor had a strong Numenorean heritage -- the Three Rings could have been a component of the 'Elvishness' that lingered about Middle-Earth, although this was chiefly for the Elves themselves I think you'll find; it was the tendency and need of the Elves to look behind or to the present that forced them to leave (in the face of Men, who look forward), and this backward-looking feature seems to have been contained solely within the Elven kingdoms (Lothlorien's borders, I believe, are most probably where Galadriel's influence over time ended). I believe that in the Third Age, however, the real 'block' was nothing more than the legacy of the Eldar in the minds of Men.

By no means was the 'Elven block' what hindered Men from technological advance, as the Easterlings and the Haradrim were clearly at if anything a lower level of advancement than the Gondorians. Men had, at this stage, I think simply a long way to go in terms of time. It is in the North-West of Middle-Earth (that the Eldar and Edain, the noble races, ruled over) that fairness was maintained, and this is the true 'Elven block'.

The block to the kind of advancement that we have now. The Elves left because we were beginning to spread, beginning to wake up to our full potential to dominate. I am not of the opinion that it was the prescence of the Elves, and all things Elven (perhaps inc. the Rings), in Middle-Earth that perhaps stood as somewhat of a barrier to us. This barrier was in the psychi of Men, Men with an Elvish or Edainish past, and by this a certain Eldarin component of the Western kingdoms (excluding Dunland, obviously) of Men was retained.

Slowly developing out of these roots, or developing a new Mannish identity (still with an Elvish base, but one that would inevitably wear off over time), Men overcame the block. The Elves by the beginning of the Fourth Age had very little to do with the affairs of Men, instead looking inward, to the past and the West that is Uttermost; no new influence on their part was forthcoming, although by this stage the independance of Man had formed and further influence could not have been.
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Old 09-02-2003, 07:26 AM   #23
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I still think - while agreeing with what you say about the Elvish mentality, that the Rings themselves will exert a physical brake on change, on the 'tides of time'. The Rings enable the Elves desire for a timeless realm to be made manifest in the physical ME. Time itself flows differently within the sheres of power/influence of the Rings. In effect, they create a kind of 'time warp' around them, acting almost like mini Black Holes, where time is frozen. But as I say, this effect would be psychic as well as physical. While the Elves dwell in ME, using the Rings, then their mentality would influence the other races, yes, but it would be amplified to an unbelievably large degree by the Rings. So the passing of the Elven, & other, Rings, would not just free up the other races psychologically, but also there would be a physical change in the structure of ME, like the breaking of a storm, possibly resulting in a sudden spurt of change, as the 'released' energy is suddenly free to be put to use.
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Old 09-02-2003, 08:08 AM   #24
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I agree with you in that in the Third Age, Elves can be seen as blockers of technology or change, but they were not always like that.

Mainly during the First Age, but also during the Second Age, they were very interested in learning and applying their knowledge to build new and beautiful things. It is only in the Third Age when the Elves that remain in Middle-Earth devote themselves to preserve what they achieved in previous ages.

In my opinion, this way of acting looks like the different stages in the life of a person: the First Age would be similar to the youth, when everything is new and people want to learn and experience new things. The Second Age would be the maturity period. And the Third Age would be the old age, when people only live on memories, and think that old times where better.
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Old 09-02-2003, 09:16 PM   #25
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We also have to remember that the duty of the Elves was very different from the so-called duty of Men. It was a kind of chain reaction, that was started by Iluvatar himself.

If you take a look at the Silmarillion, in the Creation, it says that Iluvatar created the Ainur, and then created Arda, and told them that they could go into it to prepare it for the coming of the Children of Iluvatar, the Eldar and the Atani, or Elves and Men. The Ainur who entered Arda became known as the Valar and, later, the Maiar followed. Their function was to make Arda habitable for the forthcoming Children of Iluvatar, not to live in it themselves. As time progressed, they ended up accomplishing that, even though Morgoth tried to circumvent that purpose.

Once the Elves had awakened, the job of the Valar, in a sense, had passed on to them. It was now their turn to "keep" Beleriand and Middle-earth for the coming of the Atani/Edain/Men, and that was what they did. Now at first glance, it seems like in fighting Morgoth, they were trying to create a stable environment for themselves and their families, and that is true. Yet, there was a deeper purpose in fighting and trying to conquer Morgoth. They had to make Beleriand/Middle-earth safe for the Edain, even after the latter awoke.

Once the Second Age started, and Morgoth had been thrust out into the Void, the Elves had no real function any more, because everyone believed that evil had been vanquished. That, I believe, is the reason for the "Great Migration" of many of the Beleriandic Elves to Valinor. They thought they weren't needed any more. Now some, such as Cirdan and Ereinion Gil-galad remained behind, out of their love for Middle-earth, but they were the exceptions.

In the Second and the Third Ages, the Elves kept preserving what they knew as good and safe for the Edain, still thinking that they were needed. Now, I am going to be slightly harsh in saying that they weren't really needed any more, or at least not as much as they had been needed by the Men in the First Age. That "need" slowly decreased as time went on, and that, I believe, is why greater numbers of Elves left the shores of Middle-earth.

In the end, what made the existence of Elven kingdoms such as Rivendell and Lothlorien all the more poignant was that they were the remnants of a lingering people, who would soon not be needed any more, and would almost completely disappear from Middle-earth. The disappearance of that beauty was what made the loss of the Elves all the more poignant. Naturally, they wanted to stay in Middle-earth, and thus, tried to preserve it in safety and harmony as much as they could.
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Old 09-03-2003, 02:15 AM   #26
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I don't thikn it was exactly like that -- the 'reality' is more complex -- but interesting thinking, Finwe. If I had a little more motivation I'd make a better reply to it... (but my Tolkien-discussing desire has been rather exhausted of late. I'm going to have to take some time off again to get it rejuvenated, I think, but that's always been the way of it.)
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Old 09-03-2003, 02:36 AM   #27
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I think where the Elves cross the line is in the making of the Rings. They create objects which are designed to control the world & the flow of time. The Rings are 'unnatural'. They are manifestations of the Machine, designed to control & coerce the world. With the Rings the Elves are attempting to take over, & essentially rejecting their role. I think this is why Tolkien says they 'flirted with Sauron' - who's raison d'aitre is control & enslavement of all life. Its another 'fall' in their long history of falls. Its one thing to encourage other races to love the world, by philosophy & example. Its another thing entirely to force other races/the world to obey your will, but that's what the Rings, made with the highest intentions, are designed to do. The Rings are the ultimate refusal to 'let go'. Galadriel, in the end, has to be forced to acknowledge where her 'desire' would take her. But I think all the Elves finally see that the One was the inevitable result of the making of the Rings, & probabaly if Sauron hadn't made it, the Elves would have made a 'One Ring' themselves, as their 'ultimate' achievement, & that Ring would have been, in effect, if not in intention, what Sauron's Ring was, & caused the same problems.
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Old 09-03-2003, 05:39 PM   #28
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Well, all I can say is that the Elves did what they were intended to do. Tolkien intended to be a fallen race, not perfect angels all the time. They had their faults, and we have to accept that.

I think another factor in the creation of the Elven Rings was that same desire to preserve safety. Sauron must have deluded the Elves somewhat, and made them think that if they created the Rings, they could keep things "safe and sound," just the way they wanted them. Of course, things didn't work out that way, but that was another "fall" of the Elves.
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Old 11-22-2003, 06:50 AM   #29
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I have been pondering this for some time(and searching for it too [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) and i think that i have another thing to say about it.

I am currently studying Homer in my ancient greek classes, and thats when it hit me that there is no reference to using short swords in Tolkien. It has always seemed to me that there are broadswords and long swords. There are DAGGERS, but no army of men with short swords, as was the custom in ancient times. I also noticed that weapons never really advance from what they begin with. It is a long history span, but although strong there only seems to be exceptions(e.g. Narsil) that arent simply normal swords. The Elves have of course Elven blades and thus dont need to advance, but Men never seem to. There is the explosives at Helms Deep, but that was contrived by the Maia spirit Saruman, and can therefore not really be counted as advancements of men.
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Old 11-22-2003, 07:42 AM   #30
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Ah, but the Elves did evolve. They just didn't evolve very rapidly or extremely. The Elves of Lothlorien and Mirkwood were very different from the Elves of Mithlond and Rivendell because they had to deal with different conditions, different levels of danger, and different climates, which are all "breeding grounds" for evolution, or at least mild forms of it. Their customs and the objects that they used also evolved, depending on where they lived. The Galadhrim and Mirkwood Elves needed more functional things, and thus, didn't really bother with overly decorative, near-to-useless objects. On the other hand, the Imladris Elves probably had more "decorative" objects and customs. The languages also evolved, depending on who they came in contact with. Sindarin (and the Silvan Tongue) became the vernacular in Middle-earth, but Quenya was probably still spoken a lot in Imladris.
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Old 11-22-2003, 05:00 PM   #31
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The Elves have of course Elven blades and thus dont need to advance
i did not say the elves didnt evolve, i simply said that the Elves didnt advance, and in this context the weapons. Sorry if it sounded like i meant the elves didnt evolve, because i didn't mean that. The Elven weapons seem very much the same in the first age as the 3rd age. there may be small modifications, but there is no real advancement.
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Old 11-22-2003, 06:31 PM   #32
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The Elves have of course Elven blades and thus dont need to advance
Somehow, I don't quite see how that has anything to do with advancement or evolution. Just because someone has blade, that doesn't mean they can or can't do anything. An explanation would be really nice.
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But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
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Old 11-23-2003, 01:56 AM   #33
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I think what he meant was that human swords didn't get better, i.e. as good as the Elvish ones. Clearly not the case, though. I don't really know what he's on about there either.
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Old 11-23-2003, 08:19 AM   #34
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ok. what i meant what that as the Elves already had far superior blades than their enemies they did not need to advance in that way. I seem to of simply gone into one branch of advancement, warfare(as it is so easy to do in Tolkien). The weapons of men however, are still as simple in their design and use as they always were, and therefore i came to a conclusion that they did not advance in the ways that men in real life have. Going back to the short swords, going to long swords, and then advancing to guns. There is no sign at all that the men were advancing in a way that the men of this world had done. From their starting point, the men of M.E. did no where near the same (warfare at least) advancements that we ourselves have made. For example, they have no comprehension of explosives, and only the Maia spirit Saruman has really got the hang of it.
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Old 11-23-2003, 08:44 AM   #35
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You might argue that the Elves had, to some extent, learned their lesson. Technical creativity from the hands of such as Feanor and Celebrimbor had brought them to disaster. (An author working the mid 20th century might echo such a reaction.) Artistic creativity is another matter: this may have been flourishing. Presumably the great sagas of the First Age ('preserved' in the Silmarillion)were created later, and, as we have them, were translated by Bilbo (to use Tolkien's conceit here).
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Old 11-23-2003, 10:27 AM   #36
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I agree. I think that by the end of the Third Age, the Elves were a bit leery of anything technological or avant-garde. Fëanor's crafts and methods were avant-garde, and look where that got him. He became a murderer, betrayer, and all-round loony. (I still love him! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]) Celebrimbor's desire for technological/scientific advancement (according to the Elves) got him involved with Annatar's schemes, and ultimately, resulted in the destruction of Eregion, and the near-loss of the Grey Havens. I don't think the Elves would forgive technology/science that easily, especially since it took the majority of their heroes away.
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But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
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Old 11-23-2003, 11:39 AM   #37
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Technical creativity from the hands of such as Feanor and Celebrimbor had brought them to disaster. (An author working the mid 20th century might echo such a reaction.)
What an interesting thread! I wonder if yet another viewpoint could be put forward: the idea that this "technological progress" as it were, is no more than an application of the pure arts, and, as with any application, both good and evil get a free shot. The case in point to me is the palantiri of Fëanor. They were crafted with a subtle art, an ancient art that has never been recreated nor fully understood. Those who came after could make use of the Stones, but none could foresee all the nuances and repercussions of such use. They drew on parts of the mind and psyche that could not be fathomed by the later users and perhaps not by anyone but Fëanor!

As a result of the events of the First and Second Ages, as well as the unfortunate marring of Fëanor, the subtle secrets of their art were lost and the opportunistic forces kicked in, bending what was once a sublime artistic achievement into yet another weapon by the time of Sauron and Saruman's ascendancies. I remember Gandalf's fond wish as he realized that he had held a palantir so close that he could have bent his mind to Aman and watched Fëanor at work in their crafting. Part of the evil wrought by their influence was this ignorance of the art within them; the other part, of course, was the direct influence of Sauron, turning what was a beautiful and subtle art to the uses of evil.

What is the meaning of all this rambling? What I mean to say is that the material progress, in itself, was not the evil, but the influence of evil--of Morgoth on Fëanor and then later of Sauron upon Saruman and Denethor by means of these wondrous seeing stones.

I do agree with davem about the Elves' fall. Fëanor's original arts were pure and untainted by the evil of Morgoth; however, Celebrimbor's art, the making of the Great Rings, was initiated by the corrupt influence of Annatar and thus their very root was tainted. The Three Rings worked much good, but ultimately, as Galadriel realized, they must pass if the evil of Sauron was to be defeated and purged from Middle Earth, thus the term for the struggle: "The Long Defeat."

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Fëanor's crafts and methods were avant-garde, and look where that got him. He became a murderer, betrayer, and all-round loony. (I still love him! )
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Celebrimbor's desire for technological/scientific advancement (according to the Elves) got him involved with Annatar's schemes, and ultimately, resulted in the destruction of Eregion, and the near-loss of the Grey Havens.
I think there is a fundamental difference, though, between the arts of Fëanor and those of Celebrimbor, for those of Fëanor were completed in Aman and were untouched by evil. It was Fëanor himself who was marred and somehow that cast a taint in the minds of some on his former works when, I believe, it should not have. Celebrimbor, however, was tempted by Annatar before his works were wrought; the evil influence was transferred into the heart of his creations and thus they could not stand longer than the realm of Sauron if Sauron was to be overthrown.

I can't think of any more right now, and work beckons, but I am enjoying this discussion quite a lot!

Cheers,
Lyta
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Old 11-25-2003, 04:00 AM   #38
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As i said in another post
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I'd say the Elves are not 'evolutionists'. Their natural state is backward looking - they look back to an ideal past, so any change will, to them, be 'devolution', as it is a move away from a more perfect state to a less perfect one. Flieger makes the point that they feel they are being pushed 'backwards' into the future, further & further from the place they want to be. Men, on the other hand, seem to be, psychologically at least, evolutionists, in that they see themselves as moving forward, creating a 'better' world, improving things.
I wonder whether the breaking of the World with the Fall of Numenor 'forced' a choice on the Elves of ME, between which 'world'/reality they would inhabit. There seems to have been a 'split' between a 'mythic' reality & a 'mundane' reality, with the Elves trying to remain in both worlds, but finding they simply couldn't. Almost in spite of themselves they find themselves inhabiting the mythic reality, but its as if the split between the worlds increases throughout the Third Age, with the Elven Rings acting as devices which hold the two realities together, enabling the Elves to retain contact/crossing points between the mythic & the mundane. When the Rings fail, the two realities finally split apart completely.

Does that make any sense? I tend to phrase my speculations as definitive statements, so please feel free to pull the whole thing apart [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-25-2003, 09:40 AM   #39
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I think that the Elves genuinely wanted a connection to exist between them and Middle-earth, but they knew that they were "Guardians" not "Owners" in the sense that Men were. My theory is that they were ultimately preparing Middle-earth for the Dominion of Men, just as the Valar and Maiar prepared Middle-earth for the coming of the Children of Iluvatar (Elves and Men). They genuinely loved the land, but they found themselves gradually fading, from memories, and from lore. Only the learned and the scholarly knew about, or rather, understood, the Elves. To the rest of Men, they were a race to be feared and mistrusted, and I think that hurt them. Who wouldn't be hurt by it? The Elves wanted to forge an everlasting connection to Middle-earth, and I think that was their rationale for the creation of the Three Rings. The Elven "block" came into existence when the Elves realized that they would never be able to forge that connection with Middle-earth, and that they were doomed to fade, if they did not sail West.
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But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
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