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 02-26-2008, 03:37 PM   #41
skip spence
shadow of a doubt
 
skip spence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Back on the streets
Posts: 1,143
skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
Even if it will make myself look like a total ignoramus here as well I must confess I have never heard of this Brin-guy before either until reading this thread. So I definitively have not been listening to him.
Sorry mate, you must have misunderstood me (no wonder, my post was a bit of a mess). The questions was to tumhalad2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
I don't see the point of this here... I'm all for demanding changes in cultures, like getting the Western culture less individualistic without falling back to religious or nationalistic fundamentalisms etc.
Agreed. Just a thought I had at the time. Never mind that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
But the question now remains how we should tune ourselves with it? Should we treat is as an original mythology (no!), should we treat it as a piece of the most ingenuine piece of fiction based on traditions (yes!), should we treat it as a way guiding us to a moral and good life in today's society and world (yes/no?).

I think it's the last question - or the interpretation of what it means - that may divide many of us.
Perhaps. My answer is that if you do find a moral guideline in his works, that's great. Tolkien certainly had a lot to say about morals. Personally, although I also appreciate much of his more philosofical and theological stuff, I read his books because I love the stories and the language.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
The things and ideas Tolkien brings forwards in his work are those of the mythological era and thought but he does it in a way that demands a modern reader an effort to think it her/himself - a mark of a purely modernist attitude in itself.
I dunno if the ideas are those of a mythological prehistoric era. I highly doubt that the people in the actual 'mythological' era ever reached the subtlety of Tolkien or of his characters.

As for the debate of how modernistic Tolkien was I'm afraid I can't add much. I was under the impression that 'modernism' was the much akin to positivism, the belief that logical reasoning based on observable facts (the method of the natural sciences) is the best, if not the only way forward into the future. Based on this belief I did not think Tolkien would appriciate a modernistic agenda with scientific progress and rationalisation as a top priority. But I also knew that 'modernism' had other applications in other fields, and some posters have argued that Tolkien indeed was modernistic. To be honest, I find concepts such as modernism, post-modernism, symbolism to be rather silly and restrictive and the people who like to use them often do so in a vain attempt to appear more clever than they really are. But please note that I'm not talking about the people writing on this thread.
__________________
"You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way" ~ Bob Dylan
skip spence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 04:51 PM   #42
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
Quote:
Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
As for the debate of how modernistic Tolkien was I'm afraid I can't add much. I was under the impression that 'modernism' was the much akin to positivism, the belief that logical reasoning based on observable facts (the method of the natural sciences) is the best, if not the only way forward into the future. Based on this belief I did not think Tolkien would appriciate a modernistic agenda with scientific progress and rationalisation as a top priority. But I also knew that 'modernism' had other applications in other fields, and some posters have argued that Tolkien indeed was modernistic. To be honest, I find concepts such as modernism, post-modernism, symbolism to be rather silly and restrictive and the people who like to use them often do so in a vain attempt to appear more clever than they really are. But please note that I'm not talking about the people writing on this thread.
The terms... the terms... Everyone seems to use it one way or another... But in humanities like philosophy, cultural studies and aesthetics the word 'modern' means the enlightenment and positivism as well as Baudelaire, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche - or Cézanne, Malevitch, Ravel or T.S. Eliot; or Durkheim and de Saussure... as opposed to both classical attitude or romanticism.

The words themselves are not silly. They try to point out to actual differences. They just sadly seem to have a multiple meanings depending on the author who talks about them. But still there is some common ground one could see in all those modernisms in comparison with the classical stance or the romantic way of looking at things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Sp.
Tolkien certainly had a lot to say about morals.
Absolutely. And I think he had a crush on past morals of virtue exemplified by the authors of Antiquity and of the old tales of lesser known civilisations. And there's nothing bad in it in itself. To a modern reader the virtue-ethics looks refreshing indeed! It's just a question whether we can avoid taking all the loads of that generally chauvinistic background thinking with them as well when we cherish the ethics of virtue so appealing to the modern man who has lost the sense of purpose in this world we live in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS
Personally, although I also appreciate much of his more philosofical and theological stuff, I read his books because I love the stories and the language
As well as I do, even if I find his philosophical ideas quite common or "basic-romantic" and his theology tied to his age and prejudices as well. But there are those funny modernist things in between his writing that keeps his work from falling down to the oblivion of standard "classical romanticism". And the stories and the language... well there he's the champion with no one to compare him with! Unless our long gone elders make the claim...
__________________
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 02-26-2008, 05:11 PM   #43
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
Quote:
Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
I was under the impression that 'modernism' was the much akin to positivism, the belief that logical reasoning based on observable facts (the method of the natural sciences) is the best, if not the only way forward into the future.
That's the basic principle of something that is today called 'naturalism' and which has its roots in the enlightenment... but also in the speculation of the 17th century philosophes and earlier "scientists" and even theologians... and the engineers of the Middle-Ages (like Leonardo da Vinci who was first and foremost an engineer and only secondarily a painter at that time)...

The positivists were self-critical enough to cancel their own project during the twenties when they realised that their motto "anything that can not be verified empirically can't be taken as a knowledge" was itself not verifiable empirically...
__________________
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 02-26-2008, 06:18 PM   #44
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,039
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
No time for anything other than a quick scan of this interesting thread, so I'll have to refrain from making any large scale declarations. (Lucky you!)

I notice, however, that writers such as Joyce, Lawrence, Eliot and Peake are mentioned as exemplars of literary modernism. One writer who hasn't been mentioned is Virginia Woolf.

Just a few titles in case anyone is interested in checking out her presentation of consciousness: Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and, particularly, The Waves.

Given that Tolkien does not present--and is not interested in depicting--this form of the interiority of thought--he would seem to fall on t'other side from Woolf--but I'm not getting into any definition wars!
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 10:41 PM   #45
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
But getting back to the original question– by what logic does Star Wars exemplify modernism? Any ideas?
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 11:03 PM   #46
tumhalad2
Haunting Spirit
 
tumhalad2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 95
tumhalad2 has just left Hobbiton.
Some incredibly intersting stuff there guys-wow! Philosophy is so interesting!

As to Star Wars, Nerwen, I'm not sure it exemplifies modernist values any more that the Lord of the Rings, and though Im a fan of Star Wars I will go so far as to say that Tolkien, with his inserted, somewhat surprising, modernist ideas about death and the like perhaps takes his universe to a level Lucas never achieved.

However, I do not want to get into a debate about the merits of each franchise; that is what these other forumers did and look how that turned out!! Not that that would happen here, but still...

In response to your question, skip spense David Brin may be a little pretentious but I do not think he is a fool-his opinions need to be considered, in other words. At times I have thought that his ideas were so overwhelmingly 'right' that Tolkien seemed a blemish on my palate of interest, but then I quickly come to...It was probably in such a downcast mood that I wrote the first post!
tumhalad2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2008, 07:25 AM   #47
William Cloud Hicklin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
William Cloud Hicklin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,838
William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.William Cloud Hicklin is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Star War's 'depth' in a nutshell: Obi-Wan screaming at Anakin/Vader that he was sworn to defend.... democracy!


Now if Lucas can't figure out that democracy is not a goal but merely a system directed towards that goal, then he has no claim on depth of thought.
__________________
“It is good to be both loved and feared; but if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved" --Machiavelli
William Cloud Hicklin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2008, 10:24 AM   #48
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Somewhat OT...

Say what you like about StarDestroyer.net, it brings much joy. What follows is a genuine, unaltered quote.

Quote:
I often tell people Shakespeare sucks because there is no way a real human being ever spoke like that.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2008, 10:30 AM   #49
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,039
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
But getting back to the original question– by what logic does Star Wars exemplify modernism? Any ideas?
Since my post in reply to this was lost out on Route 69, I'll repost it here:

Star Wars exemplifies modernism through a glorious delight in machinery and a broad faith in technology as well as The Force.
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #50
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Since my post in reply to this was lost out on Route 69, I'll repost it here:

Star Wars exemplifies modernism through a glorious delight in machinery and a broad faith in technology as well as The Force.
Must be why I love it so much...

However, the technology in Star Wars tends to be more of a backdrop to the story. In fact some purists consider it not to be "real" sci-fi for this reason. (Well, that, and the way the laws of physics get flouted.)
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 03-11-2008 at 08:26 PM.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2008, 09:20 PM   #51
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,039
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Must be why I love it so much...

However, the technology in Star Wars tends to be more of a backdrop to the story. In fact some purists consider it not to be "real" sci-fi for this reason. (Well, that, and the way the laws of physics get flouted.)
I'm not so sure it is a backdrop. Luke's fascination with flying his racer through the canyons is one important aspect of his character and also one that ensures his victory at the conclusion of A New Hope. That fascination comes straight out of Lucas' love affair with the automobile--think American Graffitti. Think also of Han Solo's "special modifications" made to the Millenium Falcon and how that is highlighted when Leia treats it to a sarcastic remark--was that the start of their love affair? I can't imagine Tolkien or Frodo or any of the other hobbits engaging in that kind of love affair with machinery. There could be dwarves who might delight in sledding down cave tunnels, but it wouldn't be powered the same.

I suppose R2D2 and 3PO could be Mutt and Jeff or a human comedic duo, but for me part of the delight in their characters lies in their robotic nature--or its interface with their human aspects. I dreamed of having my own R2D2 to do housework and still have an R2D2 cookie jar which lovingly has never been used, but is carefully wrapped and put away like good china. I don't think 3PO would be as funny if he were merely an abnoxious human, but being a robotic linguist as well as an English butler makes him delightfully entertaining.

Granted lots of the technology, especially the wonky bits, beongs to the Dark Side, but even the great glorification of special effects which Star Wars initiated represents a paen to technology. Someday, and someday soon, a Gollem won't need an Andy, and the current fascination with that began with SW.

As for the laws of gravity, they're a bit like Rodney Dangerfield, eh?
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2008, 09:41 PM   #52
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I'm not so sure it is a backdrop. Luke's fascination with flying his racer through the canyons is one important aspect of his character and also one that ensures his victory at the conclusion of A New Hope. That fascination comes straight out of Lucas' love affair with the automobile--think American Graffitti. Think also of Han Solo's "special modifications" made to the Millenium Falcon and how that is highlighted when Leia treats it to a sarcastic remark--was that the start of their love affair? I can't imagine Tolkien or Frodo or any of the other hobbits engaging in that kind of love affair with machinery.
Yes, but I said "more of a backdrop". Obviously Lucas loves technology... but the story isn't really about it, not in the way "hard SF" is. I mean, you could transplant much of the plot into a pure fantasy setting with minimal changes. (Isn't A New Hope supposed to be based heavily on a samurai film?)

EDIT: Perhaps I should say, "pure sci-fi". "Hard sci-fi" is supposed to be actually plausible– with the result that practically nothing qualifies.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 03-11-2008 at 10:02 PM.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2008, 12:21 AM   #53
tumhalad2
Haunting Spirit
 
tumhalad2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 95
tumhalad2 has just left Hobbiton.
ok guys here is another ingredient we can add to the mix: some intersting articles that contrast somewhat to Brin et al..

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/ID24Aa01.html

there are links to this guys two other articles at the bottom of that page
tumhalad2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2008, 08:24 AM   #54
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,039
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Yes, but I said "more of a backdrop". Obviously Lucas loves technology... but the story isn't really about it, not in the way "hard SF" is. I mean, you could transplant much of the plot into a pure fantasy setting with minimal changes. (Isn't A New Hope supposed to be based heavily on a samurai film?)

EDIT: Perhaps I should say, "pure sci-fi". "Hard sci-fi" is supposed to be actually plausible– with the result that practically nothing qualifies.
Well, even if we could--and I'm not so sure I would concede that, as I think the love of technology is essential to the story--just as we might cross out the "children's passages" in TH to create a dark TH, that wouldn't remain Lucas' work any more than it would remain Tolkien's work: it would be ours.

Definitions are always tricky, as they end up excluding writers who usually are accepted as belonging to the genre. Saying Science Fiction is about technology would eliminate Ursula Le Guin, Judith Merrill, and other writers who also want to consider how technology impacts society, culture, psychology.

I myself prefer the designation Speculative Fiction, as that seems more encompassing--it includes writers who strive to push the edges of the genre.

We also can't overlook the aspects of the cowboy genre in Star Wars. It seems to encompass so many different kinds of stories while weaving its own adventure. In that sense, it is much like LotR, which holds so many earlier narratives in its sight while producing something unique.
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2008, 10:15 AM   #55
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
I'm sorry, I seem to have conveyed almost exactly the opposite of what I meant here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Saying Science Fiction is about technology would eliminate Ursula Le Guin, Judith Merrill, and other writers who also want to consider how technology impacts society, culture, psychology.
Well no, because I was referring to the definition of science fiction that says it is primarily concerned with exploring the impact of technology on society, etc. Whereas the technology in Star Wars, important as it is, isn't the essence of the story. Does that make more sense?

Mind you, I don't really hold with these strict definitions myself– the setting in my mind does make it science fiction– but I know not everyone agrees. What I do mean is that Star Wars is not exactly at the cutting edge of SF, and indeed gets looked down on as "space opera" or "science fantasy".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I myself prefer the designation Speculative Fiction, as that seems more encompassing--it includes writers who strive to push the edges of the genre.

We also can't overlook the aspects of the cowboy genre in Star Wars. It seems to encompass so many different kinds of stories while weaving its own adventure. In that sense, it is much like LotR, which holds so many earlier narratives in its sight while producing something unique.
...Which is actually roughly what I was trying to say.
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #56
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,039
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
I'm sorry, I seem to have conveyed almost exactly the opposite of what I meant here.
My apologies for any misunderstandings.


Quote:
Well no, because I was referring to the definition of science fiction that says it is primarily concerned with exploring the impact of technology on society, etc. Whereas the technology in Star Wars, important as it is, isn't the essence of the story. Does that make more sense?
Well, part of the story is the idea that the Dark Side misuses technology in its worship/pursuit of power, so I think it is part of the essence. For Tolkien, I think, modern machinery is a blight but for SW, it has a glorious side. But perhaps I should ask what you understand by the essence of the story?

Quote:
Mind you, I don't really hold with these strict definitions myself– the setting in my mind does make it science fiction– but I know not everyone agrees. What I do mean is that Star Wars is not exactly at the cutting edge of SF, and indeed gets looked down on as "space opera" or "science fantasy".
Sounds to me like SF must have its purists as well as Tolkien. I think Blade Runner is probably closer to what you mean by the cutting edge of SF, right? Yet even there the element of Romance creeps in.

Nice to discuss SF with someone who appreciates it!
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2008, 09:20 PM   #57
Nerwen
Wisest of the Noldor
 
Nerwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,701
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via Skype™ to Nerwen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Well, part of the story is the idea that the Dark Side misuses technology in its worship/pursuit of power, so I think it is part of the essence. For Tolkien, I think, modern machinery is a blight but for SW, it has a glorious side. But perhaps I should ask what you understand by the essence of the story?
Perhaps if I quote both of us?:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
I mean, you could transplant much of the plot into a pure fantasy setting with minimal changes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
We also can't overlook the aspects of the cowboy genre in Star Wars. It seems to encompass so many different kinds of stories while weaving its own adventure.
And these stories could be taken from, or brought into, almost any genre– there's very little there that's exclusive to science-fiction.

Yes, misuse of technology is a theme– and as you say, perhaps it is part of the essence– but for some people that doesn't let Star Wars off the charge of being a disguised fantasy. (And after all, it's a secondary theme of The Lord of the Rings too.)

Another example: A "pure" science-fiction story might deal with the development of faster-than-light travel, and how it changes society, etc., whereas in Star Wars it's really just the way people get around– spectacular space battles notwithstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Sounds to me like SF must have its purists as well as Tolkien.
I'll say. I couldn't care less myself... but purists there are, and they consider Star Wars to be not quite kosher, so to speak. The sort of people I'm talking about are fond of rating fiction according to minute gradations of "hardness"– the harder the better. The crew at StarDestroyer.Net must know this perfectly well, which may be why they're jumpy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Nice to discuss SF with someone who appreciates it!
Same to you!
__________________
"Even Nerwen wasn't evil in the beginning." –Elmo.

Last edited by Nerwen; 03-13-2008 at 05:02 AM.
Nerwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2008, 09:27 PM   #58
Boromir88
Laconic Loreman
 
Boromir88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 7,068
Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via AIM to Boromir88 Send a message via MSN to Boromir88
Just popping in to say hello and adding perhaps a couple things of interest.

The general conception (of Brin and others) is that Tolkien was a technophobe, and thus should not be taken as a serious author. I wonder where they ever got that idea? I mean sure Tolkien loathed the RAF, and in Letter 75, written to his son Christopher, he doesn't have too many kind words about "The Machine":
Quote:
Unlike art which is content to create a new secondary world in the mind, it attempts to actualize desire, and to create power in this World; and that cannot really be done with any real satisfaction.Labour-saving machinery can only create endless and worse labour. And in addition to this fundamental disability of a creature, is added the Fall, which makes our devices not only fail of their desire but turn to new and horrible evil.
That's particularly funny after seeing that perhaps planes had some good uses:
Quote:
Well, I have got over two thousand words onto this little flimsy airletter; and I will forgive the Mordor-gadgets some of their sins, if they bring it quickly to you.~ibid
I believe "The Machine" Tolkien often speaks of is more than "technology" or actual machines, but it's more of a state of mind. "The Machine" is all about control, something Tolkien was most certainly against. And as Lalwende astutely observed in a thread talking about Orcs (take a look at Gorbag and Shagrat) that even Orcs can't always be "cogs in The Machine."

Tolkien does seem to quite often rant about technology (I believe he had a problem with typewriters too), so it's not shocking that Brin paints Tolkien as a technophobe. I would like to point out, however, that the most modern (and dominant!) view in the world is the idea of the "West." I don't think our modern-day West is Tolkien's idea the "The West." But my point is that our West is the dominant, modern way of thinking, and I think we see some of that in Tolkien's writing.

We have the Greeks to thank for this revolutionary way of thinking (at least back in their days), the hebrews added there own contributions, and the Romans spread the their ideas to the rest of the world. Democracy, the idea that the rights of an individual outweigh the "good of Society" was Greek thinking. Hebrews added Christianity, and stories of the "small" overcoming great trials, because the "mighty" were unable to do so, to the "Western" way of thinking. That last bit is one thing which is very strong and evident in Tolkien's story:
Quote:
The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.~The Council of Elrond
It's interesting that now when asked what is "Modern?" Technology seems to be the number one answer, but technology is actually only a recent addition to our West. That's rather funny because the Greeks were pretty horrible engineers, they just liked to sit around and think and argue about how to do things, not actually doing things. The Greeks didn't have roads, besides temples most of their buildings were made of mud bricks, the Greeks biggest contribution (besides democracy) to the West, was Science. It was the Romans who were the great technological engineers. Now it seems like technology has replaced Sciece as the #1 answer to what is "Modern?"
__________________
I used to be for flip-flopping. Now I'm against it.

Fenris Penguin
Boromir88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2008, 11:26 AM   #59
Eönwë
Flame Imperishable
 
Eönwë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Right here
Posts: 3,889
Eönwë is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Eönwë is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Eönwë is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
It's interesting that now when asked what is "Modern?" Technology seems to be the number one answer, but technology is actually only a recent addition to our West. That's rather funny because the Greeks were pretty horrible engineers, they just liked to sit around and think and argue about how to do things, not actually doing things. The Greeks didn't have roads, besides temples most of their buildings were made of mud bricks, the Greeks biggest contribution (besides democracy) to the West, was Science.
How about the Antikythera Mechanism?

But other than that I must agree. Technology is only part of Modernity. But also, going back to your point, Boromir88 (you're back!)Athenian democracy was different to what we today call "democracy".
__________________
Welcome to the Barrow Do-owns Forum / Such a lovely place
Eönwë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2008, 02:54 PM   #60
Groin Redbeard
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Groin Redbeard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Facing the world's troubles with Christ's hope!
Posts: 1,735
Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
I think you are really underestimating the Greeks here Borormir. Not only were they great in the subject of Science but especially Philosophy and Mathematics (do you remember Archimedes). They are the cornerstone upon which Western Civilization was founded!

Tolkien and Modernism
Tolkien was a traditionalist, a man who looked to the past for guidance. His age was the era of technology and great change. Now in general people don't like change, but I think that when you are a traditionalist it's even worse.
__________________
I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old, familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeatof peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Groin Redbeard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2008, 05:24 PM   #61
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Shield The lesser of evils

Historians would beg to defer from the view that traditionalist are worse. Christopher Columbus set out to prove that he could sail all the way to China based on the then-modern view of the round Earth. He discovered another land instead. Chairman Mao set out to prove that humanity can triumph over nature. His revolution faltered when he attempted to tame the Yellow River.

It is a gift of post-modernism to allow individuals the benefit of doubt, including that of oneself.
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2008, 09:07 PM   #62
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
First, I find it humorous that this entire Tolkien critique originated on a Star Wars site. The mythos of Star Wars (backstory actually -- it would give too much credit to Lucas to define his plot as mythos, even though he lifted the greater part of his plot devices from Joseph Campbell) is banal New-Age pablum, a shallow bowl in which was dipped pseudo-Eastern blather with Sci-fi gadgetry, then veneered with a Hollywood candy-coated shell meant for mass-consumption by juveniles. It is neither literate nor insightful filmmaking. The dialogue is wretched and the primary actors (Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Ewan MacGregor, Liam Neeson, etc.) had far more meaningful and memorable roles in other films (ones that actually had scripts written by professionals). For those still strident in their acclaim for glorified B-movie science fiction, I suggest they read Dune or Foundation to get a proper grasp of the true immensity and brilliance of effective and thought-provoking science fiction literature.

Second, there is certainly an absence of 'modernity' (or the post-modern intellectual worldview) in Tolkien's Middle-earth corpus primarily because it is not in the least applicable to the ancient world Tolkien created, and I am rather amused that these supposed intellectuals cannot grasp such a simple fact. It would be just as ludicrous to impose such standards of modernity on Cervantes, Mallory, or Shakespeare, for that matter. To demean a classic piece of literature because it does not fit nicely into the jaded, atheistic norms of post-modern intellectuals (who, from personal experience, are just as fascistic in their near-sighted zealotry as those they attempt to minimize) is a disservice to younger readers who have not yet formulated a literary view of their own, but who are force-fed this arrogant and elitist prattle in schools and universities, and are expected to follow the party line like good little Bolsheviks.

Third, Tolkien was indeed conservative, but in the truest sense of conservation, whether that lay in his fascination for ancient languages and epics, or in his distrust of technology and its negative effects on the environment. He watched, year after year, the none-to-gradual erosion and destruction of his beautiful countryside, the places of his childhood revelry, as I myself have seen the rapid urbanization, suburbanization and exurbanization of those places I once held dear. Now we are facing Global Warming, dwindling natural resources and an energy crisis, and one has to agree with Professor Tolkien that perhaps too much technology is too much of a good thing, and that we may well technologize ourselves into extinction.

In the end, it must be said that much of what Tolkien devised seems archaic and colloquial by the standards of the snide post-moderns (but wouldn't you really rather be in Elessar's court in Minas Tirith than in court on Trial with Kafka?). Tolkien created an incredibly detailed world based on those things he loved the most: Anglo-Saxon literature, the Eddas and Sagas, the Kalevala, and infused it with his faith (but with any religiosity subsumed as undercurrents in the text, so as not to appear allegorical or preachy), and his harrowing experiences in WWI. The valor, camaraderie, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and, yes, a clearly defined sense of good and evil were to be found in the foxholes and trenches of France, just as the grim specters in the Dead Marshes were the silent, floating corpses staring blankly up from flooded bomb craters of the Somme.

We read of Middle-earth as wide-eyed innocents and yearn for the simple fellowship and bright promise of by-gone ages. But the tale also inspires us to fight the long defeat against all odds, and hope to make our world a better place, if not for us, perhaps for those who survive us. Unfortunately, we cannot go back to a time when evil was more clearly delineated. There is no longer a central evil, but evil is in everything. It pervades all governments, it oozes forth from multi-national corporations who no longer hold allegiances save for the propagation of their own profit, it erodes our sensibilities through mass-media, and it haunts our steps through the senseless and insane violence bred in the name of religion, race, poverty or political persuasion.

Screw your modernity, give me Middle-earth anyday.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2008, 05:39 AM   #63
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Pipe It's a starless night

It is, of course, understandable that in every epoch, there would be people who detest another worldview. It is certainly much more pervasive that this other worldview is glorified in an ocean of discourse we call the Internet. But I can't agree with the notion that "the past is better, and it only exists in books these days". Think Black Death which wiped out more than 30% of Europe's population.

Tolkien's work only embraced the ideals, not the details.
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2008, 09:45 AM   #64
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
Tolkien's work only embraced the ideals, not the details.
Actually, what I was saying is that the ideal was better then than the idealogues now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
But I can't agree with the notion that "the past is better, and it only exists in books these days". Think Black Death which wiped out more than 30% of Europe's population.
I think we can all honestly say that we could do without looking like a peasant from a Bruegel painting ("Awww, look...Junior's got his first goiter! That'll hide his pock marks."). Neither would we wish to be subjected to polio or death by a simple toothache. Technology has its place, but rampant technology and its encroachment on the environment is heading us towards a global disaster so profound that one day we might look back on the era of the Black Death as a Golden Age for humanity. 'Tis all relative, and one could say that Tolkien was prophetic in his environmental views.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
It is certainly much more pervasive that this other worldview is glorified in an ocean of discourse we call the Internet.
In another discussion somewhere on this fora, we were discussing college curricula and the fact that many American colleges (I can't speak for the Europeans) have adopted the current worldview with a militancy that would make Stalin blush. Classicism in literature is eschewed for what amounts to an extended Sociology course.

The University where I graduated from -- which once had a vibrant variety of professors and literary views (from almost Stoic Classicists to Kerouac-addled ex-hippies to avant-garde post-moderns), has now been so thoroughly saturated with the post-modern worldview that a post-graduate English lit. syllabus has more to do with marxism, absurdism, feminism, class and racism, lesbianism, and a horde of other isms which, in and of themselves, are fine discussion points and pertinent to current world affairs, but are more applicable to sociology, psychology or poli-sci. One can only scratch their head and ask, 'Excuse me, is their anything that actually pertains to literature in any of these courses? I'd really like to read a poem, if that's alright with you.' I am sure the query would only be met with derision: 'If you don't have an ism, you can't read any poetry. How can you read your poetry without any isms?'

The world-weary cynicism, blanket disapproval of literature for its own sake, and the almost oppressive reliance on psychological motivations which tends to be the primary focus of the current worldview was summed up by C.S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man. Lewis spoke disapprovingly of an English lit. school book authored by two individuals wherein they quoted a well-known story regarding Samuel Coleridge listening with interest to two tourists regarding their impressions of a waterfall:

Quote:
...one called it 'sublime' and the other 'pretty'; and that Coleridge mentally endorsed the first judgement and rejected the second with disgust.
The authors of the book Lewis was deriding comment as follows:

Quote:
'When the man said This is sublime, he appeared to be making a remark about his own feelings. What he was saying was really I have feelings associated in my mind with the word "Sublime", or shortly I have sublime feelings...This confusion is continually present in language as we use it. We appear to be saying something very important about something; and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings.'
Lewis then goes on to question the author's woodenheadedness, and the obvious assumptions that arise when using such narrow thinking; he states that there is an objective beauty and not merely a subjective use of predicates to mirror one's psychological mood. That is what seems to be missing from the current equation.

I am rambling and have consumed far too much coffee this morning, which I must admit is sublime.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2008, 09:51 PM   #65
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Pipe The art of keeping silent

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent" - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Ludwig Wittgenstein

The "father" of post-modernism would probably shrugged at the current worldview embraced by US academia. (He probably would not even bother to shrug) It is however one thing to rand about technology and quite another to wince at pseudo-sophism in literature. (I won't even call that post-modernism)

It is hardly rampant technology that encroached upon the environment. It is simple economics. One simple example is that of industrial development in 3rd world countries. Rather than manufacturing a "green" vehicle in a technologically advanced country (where environment-friendly technology is more readily available), a multi-national corporation would rather chop down a few hundred hectares of tropical rainforest and build a dozen of low-cost factories in a rural undeveloped country with virtually zero environmental policies.

The governments of undeveloped countries would naturally be pleased with the arrangement, as would the families of factory workers. This is the realistic view of the world with nothing to do with literature. It is doubtful, however, that Tolkien had such things in mind when he described the devastations in "the Scouring of the Shire".
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2008, 11:12 PM   #66
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
"Guns don't kill people, people do." (NRA)

"Technology isn't to blame of the state of the world but people using it are."


Somehow I disagree strongly with the first declaration and agree with the second one even if my reason tells me I should treat both accordingly.

How is the reason of those thinking the opposite: guns good, technology bad?

A typical European "leftist intellectual" then? Not able to admit his own shortcomings and blaming others?

Maybe... well I try to argue against myself now... (typical leftist rhetorical-posture?)

And what has this to do with Tolkien?


I think the most important thing is the cohesion of the society, the prevalent trust inside a community - and the way it defines itself as a community - the way people see the world and the options open to them as well as those honourable and/or discraceful or outright bad ways to behave in it.

Let me make an example.

Had I a gun I would never ever dream of killing anyone. In Finland there are something like second most guns per capita around the world but only something like 1/100 kills with a firearm compared to the U.S.. But still Finns are the "second most violent" (well, third, fourth or something) nation in the world. People here kill each other by a knife, an axe, or by a fist (or a foot)... basically when they are drunk...

But.

The guns in Finland are hunting-guns owned by the rural people, about 10 each... and we have no gun-culture where people carry guns when they are walking down the street or one in their bedroom-drawer just in case. And we are not afraid of each other constantly and all of the time. We trust each other - looking at the statistics that's a bad guess but still it's the one we tend to make - and that's good...

There is a difference as to how a culture defines how some things are used.

The question of technology seems to follow that line of thought. If the leading idea of what the technology is for is fast money / immediate gains for me, it's certain we have the world we have right now. If the general attitude towards the technology would be "let's see how it can help us to sustain a balanced planet" all would be different.

So in a funny sense the conservatives and the leftists join hands in here. A global capitalism that the media (owned by the mega-rich) and the top-politicians (owned by the mega-rich) shows us encourages us to think that it is a game where everyone needs to guard his own and try to make a maximum profit whether it be wealth, sexual experiences, power, a newest brand-items or quartiary profits etc...

It's easy to see how Tolkien would have reacted to that...

More than guns or technology themselves this crazy desire for individual fulfillment - based on unnatural models drawing from a thwarted basic assumption of competition of one against each other (like those of the beauty-queens, athletic-heroes, so called "reality-tv"; or those ridiculous ideas of Hobbes the new right so happily endorses) and of personal experiences as the meaning of life as the primordial human condition - has really poisoned the western societies today.

And Tolkien would howl and whine today for these developements.


Try a test.


Not the one whether Tolkien confessed the same religion you do - or was a christian anyway - or whether his ideas of gender-roles fit your own. Or whether you still think in chivalric terms about things like friendship or courtly love (typical conservative notion of an idolised past that has actually never been) or if you distaste Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera...


But would you change extra money for more free time?

Would you walk to your school or your working-place? And if you live in a suburbs and use a car everyday - would you acknowledge the way of your living is the downfall of us all and do something about it?

Would you live without the telly, sitting with a friend / friends in a tavern every night rather than watching TV?

Would you love rather than gain?


I think I know what Tolkien would have answered...
__________________
Upon the hearth the fire is red
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet...

Last edited by Nogrod; 06-17-2008 at 11:17 PM.
Nogrod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 12:41 AM   #67
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
It is hardly rampant technology that encroached upon the environment. It is simple economics. .
How one can divorce technology from industrialism is beyond me, for they have walked together in lock-step -- these twin sons of different mothers of invention --from Blake's Satanic Mills to the current denuding of the Amazon. Tolkien's aversion to technology is directly linked to the industrial pollution that billows in its wake (in his letters he often complains of fumes and reek).

In letter #328, Tolkien describes "the horror of the American scene...polluted and impoverished to a degree only paralleled by the lunatic destruction of the physical lands which Americans inhabit." Don't worry that Tolkien had only disparaging words for the U.S., he also described Britain as "this polluted country of which the growing proportion of inhabitants are maniacs."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
It is doubtful, however, that Tolkien had such things in mind when he described the devastations in "the Scouring of the Shire".
Perhaps not, but I think his description of the ugly brick mill belching forth smoke, the defoliation of Hobbiton and the mean shacks erected in place of traditional Hobbit holes bears a striking resemblance to any shift from agrarian, pastoral lifestyle to a more industrial, 'technologically advanced' society.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 03:33 AM   #68
Lush
Fair and Cold
 
Lush's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the big onion
Posts: 1,803
Lush is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Send a message via ICQ to Lush Send a message via AIM to Lush Send a message via Yahoo to Lush
Silmaril

Great thread. You know, I think it's perfectly healthy to be uncomfortable with certain aspects of Tolkien's work, just as it is healthy to be uncomfortable with certain aspects of Pullman's work (An entire village of horrible, drunk, smelly Slavs! So much more progressive that J.R.R.T., Mr. Pullman!).

What I don't understand is the utter dismissal of a genuine work of art and a reductive reading that merely dismembers the material.

Quote:
The University where I graduated from... has now been so thoroughly saturated with the post-modern worldview that a post-graduate English lit. syllabus has more to do with marxism, absurdism, feminism, class and racism, lesbianism, and a horde of other isms which, in and of themselves, are fine discussion points and pertinent to current world affairs, but are more applicable to sociology, psychology or poli-sci.
I don't agree with you on Star Wars, but I think you're pretty spot-on here. I'm a feminist, but this was one of the several reasons as to why I decided against getting a PhD. And don't get me started on how those who are genuinely interested in Tolkien are often treated in academia...
__________________
~The beginning is the word and the end is silence. And in between are all the stories. This is one of mine~
Lush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #69
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Actually technology comes before industrialism, if one takes the stance that technology is the knowledge of developing and using tools for survival. Of course, people can survive with much less than sticks and stones. (much like beavers and chimpanzees) But the inconvenient truth is that nature is not divine, and that technology (thus industries) keeps the human race surviving.

A comet may wipe out all 99.99% of lifeforms on Earth, and the single-cell lifeforms left would probably be less bothered about saving the rainforests and whales than humans. And yet while things last, people would enjoy living in an unpolluted environment. This, sadly, can only be maintained at the cost of either less material comfort (thus less industries), or the invention of more restorative technology. As always, it seemed to boil down to simple economics.
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'

Last edited by Hot, crispy nice hobbit; 06-18-2008 at 05:03 PM.
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 05:57 PM   #70
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
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
Actually technology comes before industrialism, if one takes the stance that technology is the knowledge of developing and using tools for survival.
Absolutely.

Etymologically technology comes from the old Greek tekhne (skill, "know-how", knowledge) and logos (truth, wisdom, knowledge, language, discipline) and thence can be tracked back to the Greeks. And surely it's an older phenomenon dating back to the stone-age or what have you...

It seems self-evident that there can be no industrialism without technology. But the question remains whether there could be an alternative present with technology without industrialism...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit
As always, it seemed to boil down to simple economics.
That's a question of the viewpoint. Interpreting subsistence as kind of economics backs the argument and those engaged in the technology like to bring forwards the idea that wealth could be produced in "nature-friendly" ways. In Tolkien's times that was pure fantasy - and I'm afraid it's that in our days as well.

Anyhow. Leaving subsistence aside economy can be put on the second place, or third, or fourth...

Then it becomes a question of values.
__________________
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 06-18-2008, 06:26 PM   #71
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Palantir-Green

I'm afraid I can't agree more... (Economics may be considered the balance of values). I suppose Tolkien did have ideals of regenerative technology. This is instanced by the presence of the elesser, the green elf-stone of Celebrimbor/Feanor wielded by Galadriel which made things grew beautifully in the Lorien. At the end of the Scouring, Samwise also used the soil of Lorien to restore the Shire.

I guess if there's a restorative technology in modern days, it would be Botox, though I won't really want to know what goes into its making...

"Like butter spread on too much bread..." - Bilbo, on the effects of plastic surgery

On another note, something had really gone wrong with arts for arts sake. Maybe a scouring of US academia should be in order...
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'

Last edited by Hot, crispy nice hobbit; 06-18-2008 at 06:42 PM.
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 07:08 PM   #72
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
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
(Economics may be considered the balance of values)
It can indeed! But how do we pick our vocabulary is always a political choice... or at least value-carrying one.

So do we call the equilibrum of values the truth, the right, the peace on earth, God's will, the at last enlightened humankind... or economics...

This world of ours throws economics to our eyes 24/7.

But we're not obliged to use those terms.

Like in the schools the board of education talks of students as "customers" and schools as "providers of educational services" today... Who decided that we should talk that way? We ourselves?

What would have Tolkien thought of that? What if he had been told that he would have to make haste in the university, concentrating only on a narrow field to graduate in minimal time possible to be "efficient" from the point of economics, and not just study all those futile old languages which are not to be turned into instant profit by the markets?

Like I said, that's a question of values...
__________________
Upon the hearth the fire is red
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet...

Last edited by Nogrod; 06-18-2008 at 07:12 PM.
Nogrod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 07:36 PM   #73
Groin Redbeard
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Groin Redbeard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Facing the world's troubles with Christ's hope!
Posts: 1,735
Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
What would have Tolkien thought of that? What if he had been told that he would have to make haste in the university, concentrating only on a narrow field to graduate in minimal time possible to be "efficient" from the point of economics, and not just study all those futile old languages which are not to be turned into instant profit by the markets?
I've read your posts several times over, Nogrod, and I'm not sure if I'm getting the right message from you.

So far I think that you're saying that the rich control the government and the economies, selling old languages for their profits, that guns are bad for society, and Tolkien would dissapprove of this all. I'm a bit confused as you see, could you elaborate on this a little more? I really want to understand what you are saying but I can't make it out (I learn better not visually)
__________________
I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old, familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeatof peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Groin Redbeard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 08:17 PM   #74
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
What would have Tolkien thought of that? What if he had been told that he would have to make haste in the university, concentrating only on a narrow field to graduate in minimal time possible to be "efficient" from the point of economics, and not just study all those futile old languages which are not to be turned into instant profit by the markets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post
I've read your posts several times over, Nogrod, and I'm not sure if I'm getting the right message from you.

So far I think that you're saying that the rich control the government and the economies, selling old languages for their profits, that guns are bad for society, and Tolkien would dissapprove of this all. I'm a bit confused as you see, could you elaborate on this a little more? I really want to understand what you are saying but I can't make it out (I learn better not visually)
Well, no, that's isn't what Nogrod was saying in the passage you quoted. He was saying that what if Tolkien had been told to be 'successful' at university, and choose a field in which he would have a 'sucessful career' (success in this case translating directly into a large salary -- it's simple economics), rather than wasting time on dead languages and centuries-old stories that no even reads anymore. So, he blows through his classes, gets an MBA in Economics, is hired by the local what-not manufacturer, and devises the means to make more what-nots with non-union workers, and after he breaks the union and lowers wages to below poverty level, he becomes chairman of the board, buries all of England's Lake District in a landfill for the toxic what-nots he's created, is knighted for his success and dies of gout after a long successful career.

And no one will have ever heard of The Lord of the Rings.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 09:06 PM   #75
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
White Tree Values and Virtues in language

Somehow, much hostility seemed to have sprung from the notion that economics is ammoral and political. To me (or, for that matter, to anyone who has to earn a living), the term has nothing after it other than the necessities of life. Taking this defintion, the term economics would have about just as much meaning to a savage as to a businessman.

But values, however, force people to choose: often between efficiency and equity. Again, that is simple economics... only this time there's a moral (some call political) ring to it. So why not keep things simple?
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 06:37 AM   #76
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot, crispy nice hobbit View Post
Somehow, much hostility seemed to have sprung from the notion that economics is ammoral and political. To me (or, for that matter, to anyone who has to earn a living), the term has nothing after it other than the necessities of life. Taking this defintion, the term economics would have about just as much meaning to a savage as to a businessman.

But values, however, force people to choose: often between efficiency and equity. Again, that is simple economics... only this time there's a moral (some call political) ring to it. So why not keep things simple?
You have a very quaint view of economics. One would think there were never any Federal Reserve, oil cartels, money devaluations, inflation, stock fraud or market speculations and fluctuations. I think the savage would be scratching his head and asking for his beads back.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #77
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Troll's larder
Posts: 195
Hot, crispy nice hobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril It is a crooked straight line...

That'd depends on whether you're looking at micro or macro-economics. Orks know the value of a mithril shirt, and its not just because its useful armour.
__________________
'He wouldn't make above a mouthful,' said William, who had already had a fine supper, 'not when he was skinned and boned.'
Hot, crispy nice hobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 09:38 AM   #78
Groin Redbeard
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Groin Redbeard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Facing the world's troubles with Christ's hope!
Posts: 1,735
Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Well, no, that's isn't what Nogrod was saying in the passage you quoted. He was saying that what if Tolkien had been told to be 'successful' at university, and choose a field in which he would have a 'sucessful career' (success in this case translating directly into a large salary -- it's simple economics), rather than wasting time on dead languages and centuries-old stories that no even reads anymore. So, he blows through his classes, gets an MBA in Economics, is hired by the local what-not manufacturer, and devises the means to make more what-nots with non-union workers, and after he breaks the union and lowers wages to below poverty level, he becomes chairman of the board, buries all of England's Lake District in a landfill for the toxic what-nots he's created, is knighted for his success and dies of gout after a long successful career.
Could you please summerize your view points! Are you saying that modern bussiness people are bad because they seek to gain money and better jobs, while unwillingly destroying things in the process? I am so confused here!
__________________
I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old, familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeatof peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Groin Redbeard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #79
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,364
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post
Could you please summerize your view points! Are you saying that modern bussiness people are bad because they seek to gain money and better jobs, while unwillingly destroying things in the process?
But Groin, summarizing what I just said would be like having to explain the punch line of a joke. Where's the fun in that?

You see, in this case the chicken did not cross the road because it cannot walk. This is because the poultry industry performs debeaking and toe-clipping of the birds and then puts them into tiny cages 16-18 inches wide with 5 or 6 birds crammed into each cage.

Debeaking is a painful procedure whereby the bird’s sensitive beak is sliced off with a hot blade. Poultry meat and egg producers that use battery cages and crowded floor systems remove one-half to two-thirds of the birds’ beaks to discourage cannibalistic pecking, a behavior that occurs when birds are kept in close confinement with no regard for their natural behaviors. Behavioral studies indicate that debeaked birds are often unable to eat, drink, and preen properly. They also exhibit behaviors associated with chronic pain and depression.

Toe-clipping is the amputation of a bird’s toes just behind the claw. This painful procedure is performed to reduce claw-related injuries on factory farms
.

In conclusion, the only way the chicken will cross the road is via a truck, cut up into bite size chunks for mass-consumption at your local McDonalds.

See? The joke loses much of its humor in translation.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 09:10 PM   #80
Gwathagor
Shade with a Blade
 
Gwathagor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A Rainy Night In Soho
Posts: 2,613
Gwathagor is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Gwathagor is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Gwathagor is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via AIM to Gwathagor Send a message via MSN to Gwathagor Send a message via Skype™ to Gwathagor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Screw your modernity, give me Middle-earth anyday.
__________________
Stories and songs.
Gwathagor 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 07:16 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.