The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-03-2006, 07:06 PM   #41
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Why are they jailers?

Because they hold power and want to keep it, and the only way to keep it is to make sure no-one can get out? Is that too cynical a hypothesis regarding the criticism of literature though?
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2006, 12:30 AM   #42
HerenIstarion
Deadnight Chanter
 
HerenIstarion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,301
HerenIstarion is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Send a message via ICQ to HerenIstarion
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
Why are they jailers?

Because they hold power and want to keep it, and the only way to keep it is to make sure no-one can get out? Is that too cynical a hypothesis regarding the criticism of literature though?
Yes, up to a point. A bit cynical, maybe, but:

People to have a Cause (bright future, democracy, development, betterment of the world – underline applicable), and to be (or at least to proclaim to be) in the pursuit (especially, in the lead of such a pursuit) of its fulfillment, do not like some of their ‘flock’ to ‘digress’. If I care for something more than I do for the Cause (or even if I do care for both equally, still more if I do not care for the Cause at all) I’m a threat to it (even if I do nothing of my own accord against it). In this respect, my effort to ‘go out’ will be labeled ‘escapism’ no doubt, and from my point of view, those to try to keep me ‘in’ would be jailers.

Maybe ‘wicked children’ would be a better description? Haven’t you met such, who want the whole kindergarten to play games they like, not letting others entertain themselves according to they own tastes?
__________________
Egroeg Ihkhsal

- Would you believe in the love at first sight?
- Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time!
HerenIstarion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2006, 05:53 AM   #43
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Actually, your shepherding metaphor speaks to me. Imagine shepherds who, for fear of their flock "digressing", decide to never take them out of the pen? Isn't that a kind of "jailing"? Funny, I seem to have subconsciously begun to spell the word 'jailing' with an "f" before I corrected it; well, for shepherds to so jail their sheep is a failing.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2006, 09:28 AM   #44
MatthewM
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
MatthewM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 627
MatthewM has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to MatthewM
This is a great topic. I am always thinking about this. When I dive into The Lord of the Rings, I see it as an escape from the real world. All of the problems this world has fly away as I read. I'm not trying to hold onto anything, it's just in me. I keep the lands and people and stories of LOTR alive in me, which enables me to really visit Middle-Earth as I read.
MatthewM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2006, 07:26 AM   #45
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh
Spectre of Decay
 
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Bar-en-Danwedh
Posts: 2,180
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is a guest at the Prancing Pony.The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Send a message via AIM to The Squatter of Amon Rûdh
Pipe Escape to Reality?

Returning to HerenIstarion's point, how many of the minor intellectual gaolers really do believe wholeheartedly in a cause? So many of those who decry intellectual conscientious objectors do so despite the fact that they are doing nothing about the world's problems for themselves. Robert Windbag (author of the HP review above) has identified juvenile delinquency as a problem, but I haven't heard of him doing anything practical to address the issue. He might as well have been living in someone else's fantasy world for all he's actually done to help this one. Besides which, as has been pointed out above, a world in which teenagers are all petty criminals is as much a fantasy as one in which they all spend their evenings discussing Sappho over tea and crumpets or foiling robberies.

I think that there's more to this than devotion to some real-life cause. I think that some people are just proud of their own ability to contemplate unflinchingly an unfair, ill-managed and brutal world. To invent a new world, even if it contains the same problems as our own, is seen as side-stepping the issue, shutting oneself off to the harsh, bleak reality that they perceive themselves to inhabit. Readers of 'fantasy' are their Lotos-eaters, who inhabit a self-made fool's paradise. This, as Bertie Wooster would say, is where they make their bloomer. Unflinching contemplation without action is so close to acceptance that they look the same. Suggesting that there is hope, for example by pointing out that some adolescents enjoy a spot of Chaucer now and then and that most of them aren't likely to be knifing anybody in the near future, challenges the realist to do something to help hope into reality; most significantly, to risk disillusionment by putting their faith in something. After a century that abused and misdirected idealism on a grand and global scale, a lot of people just don't trust idealists. What does fantasy do but allow us carte blanche to ask 'what if?', to reject those things about our world that we would change had we the power to do so. The danger is that 'what if?' will become the more dynamic 'why not?', which can only get closer to action by ceasing to be a question. Escapism leads to questions, questions lead to change, and change is not always for the better.

I doubt that most of this has been thought out in so full a form by dyed in the wool realists, and there are many shades of intellectual and moral laziness involved that I have not explored, but I think that the main point is the great demand that alternatives and hope place on the individual: it's easier to declare mournfully that the world's going to hell in a handbasket than it is to take a chance that action will stop that. It's easier to decry escapism than it is to contemplate our own captivity, and its easier to complain of universal madness than it is to step outside the asylum. Perhaps considering things from another angle might make the 'they' who are responsible for the evils of society include the complaining 'I', as it almost certainly does. Perhaps a temporary escape will just make the real world seem worse, or perhaps it's easier to think that what we have is all we can have than it is to regard our own failure.

Medieval literature had no qualms about stepping outside reality. Dreams and visions were a good vehicle for expressing religious tenets while avoiding the possibility of promoting heresy. One could depict Heaven, for example, whilst still being able to disclaim the vision as 'just a dream' if it disagreed with some obscure teaching of the Church. One of the true classics of this genre is Pearl or The Pearl, which addresses quite complex theological responses to death and bereavement through the medium of a dreamer's conversation with the soul of his dead daughter. Although the author believed entirely that there was such a place as Heaven, his aim is to step outside the world to consider how best one may order one's life in order to get there; how, in fact, to reject the demands of the world in favour of those of the spirit. The vision of the afterlife portrayed in this work is based on scripture, but much of its colour and detail have arisen from individual sub-creation. One might call such a work 'practical fantasy', since it aims to alter the behaviour of people in the primary world through the description of an imagined reality. The Pearl poet hoped that the ideas expressed in his secondary world would improve his readers and guide them to a better way of life, because his secondary world was, according to the generally accepted world view of his readership, a concrete and definite although invisible reality. Heaven is more real than earth, or at least more universal and enduring, yet it can only be described in terms of the most elaborate fantasy. In other words, sometimes we must step outside the real world to approach the universal.

Such a view, far closer to Tolkien's than those of many of his contemporaries, is not compatible with a world that bases its reality on empiricism and observation. Nowadays we persuade with real-life examples, with names, dates, quotations; with science. More importantly the benefits must be tangible as well: our self-improvement manuals tell one how to lose weight, look younger, advance in business, make friends; very few of them promise to improve one's character, and it is no longer acceptable to describe the entire idea in the form of a dream. A practical world for practical people, but people are not exclusively practical, logical or scientific, and they miss their imaginative freedom. With those who appear not to, one might point out that if we have failed to create our own physical Utopia, then either the principles on which we tried to found it are wrong or it is impossible to create one at all. The system is hard to change and an abyss is not an easy thing to contemplate; however to divert one's mind from the question by concentrating on the concerns of the day is simplicity itself. It is easier to become one's own gaoler than it is to face life on the outside.
__________________
Man kenuva métim' andúne?

Last edited by The Squatter of Amon Rûdh; 06-19-2006 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Spellling, grammar and phrasing
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2006, 03:55 PM   #46
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
What you're saying, Squatter, if I may make bold to summarize at least a little bit of what I understand from you, is that our self-proclaimed literary gaolers claim a false courage, having failed to attain to real courage. That is, looking bleak (as they see it) reality in the face rather than taking the risk of allowing for the potential change that is part of the power of fantasy - - or I would rather say - - mythopoeia.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2006, 02:49 AM   #47
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh
Spectre of Decay
 
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Bar-en-Danwedh
Posts: 2,180
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is a guest at the Prancing Pony.The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Send a message via AIM to The Squatter of Amon Rûdh
Pipe Summary

Are you suggesting that I take more words than necessary to make my point? I brook no summaries.

Having said that, essentially yes. Rejecting the hope or possibility of a different way of doing things leaves one with only one course of action: acceptance. To endure cheerfully an impossible situation is a virtue, but surely it's no coincidence that acceptance is also the route that requires the least effort or risk. It's also not exactly a virtue to revel in the bleakness of existence, to delight in the things that are wrong in the name of realism. Perhaps there's also a certain envy that cynicism feels for idealism, as something lost which, though it cannot be reclaimed, can be taken from others.

Perhaps one could summarise my position as 'misery loves company'.
__________________
Man kenuva métim' andúne?
The Squatter of Amon Rûdh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2006, 05:53 PM   #48
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
I humbly apologize for summarizing out of turn.

There is, in Germanic tradition, a "Gõtterdammerung" perspective that this seems somewhat akin to, though I may be giving it more credit than it has coming. I mean that there is a Nordic tendency toward a view of life as bleak and "we're doomed so we'll live it to the fullest"; which is, essentially, a form of "eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die". So it seems akin, but perhaps gives these frankly cowardly literati too much credit, if I may make so bold in calling them so.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2006, 06:04 PM   #49
Mister Underhill
Dread Horseman
 
Mister Underhill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Behind you!
Posts: 2,738
Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
This might be the right time and place to toss out a link to Raymond Chandler's "Realism and Fairlyland" essay, since it touches on several points made in the most recent posts.
Mister Underhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2006, 07:45 PM   #50
THE Ka
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
THE Ka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: As with the flygja
Posts: 1,559
THE Ka has been trapped in the Barrow!
Send a message via MSN to THE Ka
First of all, I would like to say that is an awesome thread, it's one of those wonderfully provoking ones that puts people into such a tizzy that they have to think.

If you begin to really explore why we write, or read fantasy, you also begin to explore the question of 'why do we even need it in the first place?' Thomas Man once said that he, 'would rather participate in life than write a hundred stories', whither we can agree with him is a whole other factor.
Fantasy can be used wonderfully, to communicate an idea, or concept. Sort of like a writer having a broadcast of their lucid dreaming. So, really, fantasy is both a dream that can be made by the author or shared possibly by one or more authors, and the escape is that experience or possibly expression of concepts to their readers.
So, then, maybe what I'm trying to say is that fantasy, like any writing form, is an outlet that pretty much can be used by anyone of any age, or gender, as long as they are interested in the sharing and thought of significant insights.

It also could be one of the best bloody outlets for letting anyone who has a mind explore themselves as well, by using the 'fantasy' written world presented to them as a trainning track, all we have to do is have some will to explore it.


Well, I'm done with my rant. I saw this thread again and had to say something, its one of those experiences I guess.

~Aesthete
__________________
Vinur, vinur skilur tú meg? Veitst tú ongan loyniveg?
Hevur tú reikað líka sum eg,
í endaleysu tokuni?
THE Ka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2006, 08:07 PM   #51
Nogrod
Flame of the Ainulindalë
 
Nogrod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Wearing rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves in a field behaving as the wind behaves
Posts: 9,051
Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.Nogrod has passed beneath the Argonath.
Send a message via MSN to Nogrod
"Art reflects [the] dynamic in its insistence on its own truth, which has its ground in social reality and is yet its "other". Art breaks open a dimension inaccesible to other experience, the dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle. Subjects and objects encounter the appearance of that autonomy which is denied them in their society. The encounter with the truth of art happens in the estranging language and images which make it perceptible, visible, and audible that which is no longer, or not yet, perceived, said, and heard in everyday life."
~Herbert Marcuse: The Aesthetic Dimension, 1977 ~

Sometimes even the theorists seem to get it right?
__________________
Upon the hearth the fire is red
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet...
Nogrod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2006, 04:00 AM   #52
Thinlómien
Shady She-Penguin
 
Thinlómien's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: In a far land beyond the Sea
Posts: 7,959
Thinlómien is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Thinlómien is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Thinlómien is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Thinlómien is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Thinlómien is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Thinlómien
Leaf

Dared to read the thread through at last...

Why should fantasy be either dream or an escape? Can't it be both?

Can we really separate a dream and an escape?

In my opinion they are the same to some extent. What else is a dream than an escape? Don't we escape the present to dreams?

Yet, escape might be more than a dream, it can be something more concretical (sp?).

Of course there are many extents to both "dream" and "escape", but as long as they are interwoven and entwined, they are (almost) the same thing and isn't that what is fantasy? Or faerie?

(And if this made sense, I'm surprised... )
__________________
Like the stars chase the sun, over the glowing hill I will conquer
Blood is running deep, some things never sleep
Double Fenris
Thinlómien is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2006, 09:52 AM   #53
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Dreams are understood as the mind processing one's day/life while asleep. Nothing planned about that. By contrast, fantasies are constructed by the waking human mind. There are similarities, surely, but there is artifice in the one and happenstance in the other. Make sense?
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2006, 10:01 AM   #54
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
Dreams are understood as the mind processing one's day/life while asleep. Nothing planned about that. By contrast, fantasies are constructed by the waking human mind. There are similarities, surely, but there is artifice in the one and happenstance in the other. Make sense?
Unless you are capable of lucid dreaming. I knew someone who reckoned he could do this, but I remain sceptical.
__________________
Gordon's alive!
Lalwendë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2006, 02:09 PM   #55
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
Unless you are capable of lucid dreaming. I knew someone who reckoned he could do this, but I remain sceptical.
I've dreamed lucidly a couple of times. I did change the outcome. I have a friend who reports that she dreams lucidly quite often.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2006, 06:16 AM   #56
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
I've dreamed lucidly a couple of times. I did change the outcome. I have a friend who reports that she dreams lucidly quite often.
The only kind of lucid dreaming I can do is managing to wake myself up screaming just at the moment the bomb drops or the rocks fall on my head. I will often return to the same dream, too, though I do suffer with recurring dreams anyway as that's a feature of PTSD, unfortunately. Hmm, I might be more convinced if you can do lucid dreaming - the guy I used to know who could do it ended up seeing the Four Horsemen one afternoon and being taken away, so I'm always cycnical and see it as part of his erm 'problem', which is not appropriate to go into here.

So, is a lucid dream a fantasy or a dream then?
__________________
Gordon's alive!
Lalwendë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2006, 08:58 AM   #57
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I will often return to the same dream, too, though I do suffer with recurring dreams anyway as that's a feature of PTSD, unfortunately.
Yike. Perhaps you might look into EMDR. Worked for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lal
So, is a lucid dream a fantasy or a dream then?
It's dreaming; but in this case the conscious mind is able to affect the subconscious, and thereby render the incipient chaos, ordered. ... very important for mental health.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2006, 12:28 PM   #58
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Well, I'm mighty glad I came onto the Downs today! That sounds worth looking into. I have the feeling that recurring dreams are not good for you, especially recurring nightmares, and I have ones which I remember all day long. The more I read about Tolkien and the more I read of some of his characters and some of their own mental torments, I'm sure Tolkien himself had some form of PTSD after his war experience as he certainly understood the torments you can go through - recurring dreams, a 'doomy' outlook, fascination with fantasy etc. It seems he understood. Luckily he appeared to have a capacious memory.
__________________
Gordon's alive!
Lalwendë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2006, 12:24 AM   #59
Raynor
Eagle of the Star
 
Raynor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sarmisegethuza
Posts: 1,058
Raynor has just left Hobbiton.
Seeing that Tolkien planned very little when writing, I think that he conceived fantasy as some sort of "lucid" dreaming.
Quote:
I'm sure Tolkien himself had some form of PTSD after his war experience as he certainly understood the torments you can go through - recurring dreams, a 'doomy' outlook, fascination with fantasy etc.
I agree; he does reffer to "mental suffering" in a letter to his son, thanking him for being such a great support.
Raynor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:46 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.