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Old 03-04-2003, 11:43 AM   #1
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Silmaril Cycles vs. linear time?

There seems to be two conceptions of time acting simultaneously in Arda: the time of elves which is cyclic, and the time of men, linear. When elves die it's not some fixed condition; they dwell in the Halls of Waiting until it's their time to move on. But when men die they have no chance to come back.

What I was thinking is how this fits the common ideas of time in the Middle Ages and at the beginning of new age. In the Middle Ages these two conceptions existed as in Arda from First Age till the beginning of the Fourth. Before the First Age (=in antiquity) cyclical view was the only view (with some exceptions) and then again when the time of elves was over and the time of men truly began (beginning of Fourth Age=renaissance) the "new" way to comprehend time overrun the old.

Does this sound even remotely logical way of thinking. I'll try to get back to the subject when I've cleared my head for a while and perhaps studied it bit more. Some enlightened comments would be welcome! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 03-04-2003, 04:41 PM   #2
Arwen Imladris
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I'm not sure that this is totally related, but even with "men" things can also go in cycles. Just look at art or music. The Baroque period had many of the same ideals as the Romantic period, for example.
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:10 PM   #3
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But when men die they have no chance to come back.
That of course wasn't set in stone.

And this is how it progressed in our world too, from the Mayan (for example) conception of time to our own.

And even elves time is linear as they generally don't come back. They dwell in the walls of waiting yes, but all they're really waiting for is the end of the world. It isn't really determined whither men go when they die.
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:42 AM   #4
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Renaissance = 4th age is probably just for comparison's sake, so fine.

According to the author of "How the Celts Saved Civilization" (I can't think of his name right now), all humans experienced time cyclically until Abram, who was the first to break away from cyclicality to a linear experience of time, going somewhere to fulfill a destiny. Does destiny have to do with linear, versus cyclical time, I wonder? Because Tolkien writes a lot about destiny and doom. In this sense, it seems to me that the Vanyar experienced time cyclically, and so did the Teleri, and many of the Wood elves (Moriquendi), but the Noldor, and those they affected, experienced time linearly, because they swore an oath whose process of fulfillment overwhelmed cyclicality. Make sense?
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Old 03-05-2003, 11:25 PM   #5
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Poet, are you referring to Thomas Cahillís How the Irish Saved Civilization? Itís a great book. I donít recall any details in that book regarding the Celt conception of time, though.
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Old 03-06-2003, 07:38 AM   #6
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what exactly happened to the dwarves? was their time linear or cyclical?
it was said that aule reserved a place in the halls of mandos for the dwarves. and it was said that durin the deathless was reborn. so did they go in circles too?
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Old 03-06-2003, 11:55 AM   #7
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Good question. Dunno for sure, I'll have to look it up later, but my feeling is that dwarves maybe have had cycle time orginaly, but something happened to cause them to stop experiencing time cycisticly(oh gosh I have bad spelling). Much like the Noldor. Because by the third age dwarves most definitly are in liner time. And if this is completly off, I appologize in advace. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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