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Old 07-12-2016, 05:22 AM   #41
skip spence
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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
My point was that he does not mention a great deal of things (even within this letter there is a great deal left unstated or unaddressed - One such Example is the Predator-Prey relationship of Middle-earth in terms of the Human/Hobbit/Dwarf/Elf population to the Populations of the Orcs/Trolls/etc. - If you look at such typical relationships, even among omnivorous apex competitor-predators, such as Bears, you find that Middle-earth's population of Humans/Hobbits/Dwarves/Elves isn't large enough to support a Predatory population that he provides of Orcs and Trolls).
Although I agree with you overarching point this example is very odd. The predator-prey relationship between Men/Hobbit etc and Orcs is not explicitly laid out that's true but most probably because none existed. Sure the Orcs are not averse to human flesh if given the chance but to suggest that there should be a finely balanced eco-system where Orcs as the top predators are prowling at the outskirts of society with humans as their preferred prey is preposterous I must say. Seems like their mainstay was agricultural products such as bread, just like it was for Men.

And the Trolls, as described in the Hobbit... they don't really fit in to the latter, more realistic Middle Earth at all, do they? Seems like they come straight out of a Fairy Tale without any regard for a consistent metaphysical of teleological system. Besides, it seems like their mainstay is stealing cattle from farmers or possibly raising them themselves. Cooking a bunch of Dwarves was obvious a novelty for them.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:51 AM   #42
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Boots What Orcs and Trolls eat

I agree with skip here, Marwhini, in that while I agree with your overarching point, the example you gave was odd.

While there are indications that Orcs ate human flesh, and had no problems with doing so, I don't think we have enough information to indicate that they did this on a regular basis.

I would disagree with you, skip, in terms of the eating habits of the trolls in The Hobbit. You thought that 'it seems like their mainstay is stealing cattle from farmers or possibly raising them themselves. Cooking a bunch of Dwarves was obvious a novelty for them'.

If we look at the book, we first hear and see, from Bilbo's point of view, the three trolls eating mutton and drinking beer. However, one, Tom, is complaining about not having eaten 'manflesh' for a long time, criticising another, William, for bringing them into those parts. William pointed out to Tom and Bert, the third troll, that they ate 'a village and a half' between them, since they came down from the mountains. It's quite clear that they also eat, and have eaten, men.

Tolkien then said that Bilbo should have tried some good quick burgling, or else have told the dwarves that there were three trolls 'in a nasty mood, quite likely to try tosted dwarf, or even pony, for a change'. To men, we can add that trolls like to eat dwarf, as well as pony. Their liking for dwarves is later confirmed; because when Tom saw Balin, he gave 'an awful howl', the reason being that 'Trolls simply detest the very sight of dwarves (uncooked)'.

To be fair to the trolls, they are quite prepared to try new things, in terms of agreeing to eat a hobbit. Later, after the trolls have turned to stone, and their cave found, Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves find 'bones on the floor and a nasty smell was in the air', and also find 'lots of clothes', Tolkien telling us they belonged to the trolls' victims.

It's therefore quite clear from what we read that those trolls like eating humans, dwarves, possibly ponies, and are prepared to eat hobbit. While they are prepared to eat sheep and possibly pigs, they seem to prefer beings on two legs. They might, like the pigs in Animal Farm, agree with the slogan, 'Four legs good, two legs better'.
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Old 07-12-2016, 02:33 PM   #43
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It's therefore quite clear from what we read that those trolls like eating humans, dwarves, possibly ponies, and are prepared to eat hobbit. While they are prepared to eat sheep and possibly pigs, they seem to prefer beings on two legs. They might, like the pigs in Animal Farm, agree with the slogan, 'Four legs good, two legs better'.
Haha you are quite right of course. Haven't read The Hobbit in ages.

Having read the Lord Of The Rings within memory's grasp I can't help but wonder into what parts Bill, Bert and Tom strayed earlier to find such plentiful game. The lands West of the Misty Mountains seems all but empty of people in the latter book. Maybe the trolls ate 'em all.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:01 AM   #44
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Having read the Lord Of The Rings within memory's grasp I can't help but wonder into what parts Bill, Bert and Tom strayed earlier to find such plentiful game. The lands West of the Misty Mountains seems all but empty of people in the latter book. Maybe the trolls ate 'em all.
Well, it was said that Dwarves still traveled the Great East Road fairly regularly, and maybe even the Dúnedain were occasional prey of the trolls. I seem to recall Aragorn's grandfather being killed by them.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:55 AM   #45
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Boots Arador killed by trolls

You're right, Inziladun. According to The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, Arador was 'taken by hill-trolls in the Coldfells north of Rivendell and was slain'.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:34 PM   #46
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Although I agree with you overarching point this example is very odd. The predator-prey relationship between Men/Hobbit etc and Orcs is not explicitly laid out that's true but most probably because none existed. Sure the Orcs are not averse to human flesh if given the chance but to suggest that there should be a finely balanced eco-system where Orcs as the top predators are prowling at the outskirts of society with humans as their preferred prey is preposterous I must say. Seems like their mainstay was agricultural products such as bread, just like it was for Men.

And the Trolls, as described in the Hobbit... they don't really fit in to the latter, more realistic Middle Earth at all, do they? Seems like they come straight out of a Fairy Tale without any regard for a consistent metaphysical of teleological system. Besides, it seems like their mainstay is stealing cattle from farmers or possibly raising them themselves. Cooking a bunch of Dwarves was obvious a novelty for them.
That Orcs depended upon agricultural products means they had to get them somewhere.

If they grew them themselves, then they needed a lot of land on which to do so. While Mordor had the fertile lands of Nurn to feed them, this is not the case for the Hithaeglir.

I bring this up because it was things exactly like this with which Tolkien struggled in his later days, looking specifically for the rules by which the world operated (for which this would be one).

And Orcs do not need to be capturing and eating people to make them predators. That isn't what I meant by that relationship.

Their relationship with all of civilization is that of a predator, who preys upon "Civilization" itself (ruining it, in some fashion).

The manner in which it "Ruins" civilization is secondary.

For instance: Cuckoo Birds have the same Predator:Prey relationship as do raptors like Hawks, Owls, and Eagles with their Prey.

Except the Cuckoo Bird isn't preying upon the other birds to eat them. It is preying upon them to raise their young.

The Cuckoo isn't exactly what you would call a "Parasite" either. But Parasites tend to have similar relationships in populations as do Predator:Prey populations.

And the Orcs fit into a similar relationship with Elves, Hobbits, and Men. They Prey upon the civilization itself, whether taking time to replace things simply destroyed outright, or in replacing things stolen, or people killed, or kidnapped.

Tolkien did not want Middle-earth to be simply a "Fairy Tale."

At the end (from the 1950s onward), he was looking specifically for the "underlying postulates" that formed a "coherent theological and metaphysical system." (p. x of Morgoth's Ring). Those words imply that he needed things to have an explanation for How they worked, and not just that they existed within Middle-earth. They needed a reason to explain their existence, and a means by which they operated (a Metaphysical Explanation).

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Old 07-13-2016, 04:46 PM   #47
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Haha you are quite right of course. Haven't read The Hobbit in ages.

Having read the Lord Of The Rings within memory's grasp I can't help but wonder into what parts Bill, Bert and Tom strayed earlier to find such plentiful game. The lands West of the Misty Mountains seems all but empty of people in the latter book. Maybe the trolls ate 'em all.
This is one of the problems Tolkien seemed to be trying to explain in his later days.

One possible solution is that the lands were occupied, just not with a sufficient number of people to form a collective civilization of any kind.

For instance, we know that the Dúnedain still existed into at least the thousands in the Third Age (The minimum to retain a genetic viability). That would mean at least one or two significant settlements, at least.

And that the Dúnedain were outnumbered by Men in the area... So the rest of the Population of Arnor was not wholly destroyed, but certainly diminished beyond an ability to form any type of State, or collective aid. We did see areas like this in Europe at various times, especially after some of the various Plagues that swept through Europe.

So taken that the Trolls mentioned a "Village and a half" in regions far to the North in Eriador, we can expect that scattered villages existed throughout the region... They are just not brought into the stories, especially not The Lord of the Rings as the entire trip through Eriador was made with the intention of avoiding all observation (save for the stop in Bree). So... They would have avoided all known established settlements or villages in Eriador, which I imagine Gandalf and Aragorn would have been especially aware of.

Outside of Eriador, we do see pretty significant settlement of humans. It is likely that Dunland is an example of how occupied the rest of North Western Middle-earth is. There are enough disparate villages to support a population of a few hundred thousand (In all of Eriador), which makes it roughly 1/10th the Population density of Europe during the Middle-Ages at its lowest population (which contained only a few million people - I cannot remember which Black Death it was that caused the deaths of almost ⅔ of the population, but it left Europe nearly "Vacant" as far as population goes).

And we know that in the northern valleys of the Anduin that the people of Beorn had multiplied to populate that region. And Dale had re-established itself as a sizable realm.

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Old 07-13-2016, 05:47 PM   #48
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Come on man, you are much too serious, I'm sure Tolkien would tell you the same.

I guess the problem is you are too sure of yourself.

I mean... We all know that Tolkien was a tinkerer, he was trying to make everything fit together as the world grew and was enrichened. Which is why I said that Bill and Bert and Tom don't really fit into the latter, more developed Middle Earth, for some of the reasons you've touched, I understand that.

It's just, your reading that Orcs are some allegoric Alfa-preditor of our society is a bit much really.

EDIT. I do enjoy your speculation though, so please take no offence!
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:30 PM   #49
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We know from The Hobbit that the Orcs of the Mountains used slaves for their manufacturing purposes:
"Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light."

Perhaps they produced food in the same way, although it's unclear to me where they would have found the land for such agriculture. But one imagines they could not have maintained their extensive, if petty, realms in the Misty Mountains and the Grey purely by raiding the Woodmen and so on.

We do know, however, that "sometimes used to go on raids, especially to get food or slaves to work for them." So perhaps they partially relied on raiding and partially had some subsistence of their own devising. But it does not appear that the Orc-raids, at least insofar as they are depicted in The Hobbit, were altogether regular.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:32 AM   #50
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That Orcs depended upon agricultural products means they had to get them somewhere.

If they grew them themselves, then they needed a lot of land on which to do so. While Mordor had the fertile lands of Nurn to feed them, this is not the case for the Hithaeglir.

I bring this up because it was things exactly like this with which Tolkien struggled in his later days, looking specifically for the rules by which the world operated (for which this would be one).

And Orcs do not need to be capturing and eating people to make them predators. That isn't what I meant by that relationship.

Their relationship with all of civilization is that of a predator, who preys upon "Civilization" itself (ruining it, in some fashion).

The manner in which it "Ruins" civilization is secondary.

For instance: Cuckoo Birds have the same Predator:Prey relationship as do raptors like Hawks, Owls, and Eagles with their Prey.

Except the Cuckoo Bird isn't preying upon the other birds to eat them. It is preying upon them to raise their young.

The Cuckoo isn't exactly what you would call a "Parasite" either. But Parasites tend to have similar relationships in populations as do Predator:Prey populations.
Actually cuckoos *are* generally considered to be parasites. They practise a nesting strategy known as "brood parasitism", with victim species being the "hosts".

Anyway, what is the "similar relationship"? Do you mean the fact that ultimately both predators and parasites are dependant on their victims and thus can't afford to wipe them out? Or what?

Quote:
And the Orcs fit into a similar relationship with Elves, Hobbits, and Men. They Prey upon the civilization itself, whether taking time to replace things simply destroyed outright, or in replacing things stolen, or people killed, or kidnapped.
So your point is that Orcs subsist *entirely* by plundering other species? Is there a source for that?
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:40 AM   #51
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Haha you are quite right of course. Haven't read The Hobbit in ages.

Having read the Lord Of The Rings within memory's grasp I can't help but wonder into what parts Bill, Bert and Tom strayed earlier to find such plentiful game. The lands West of the Misty Mountains seems all but empty of people in the latter book. Maybe the trolls ate 'em all.
This is one of the problems Tolkien seemed to be trying to explain in his later days.

One possible solution is that the lands were occupied, just not with a sufficient number of people to form a collective civilization of any kind.

For instance, we know that the Dúnedain still existed into at least the thousands in the Third Age (The minimum to retain a genetic viability). That would mean at least one or two significant settlements, at least.

And that the Dúnedain were outnumbered by Men in the area... So the rest of the Population of Arnor was not wholly destroyed, but certainly diminished beyond an ability to form any type of State, or collective aid. We did see areas like this in Europe at various times, especially after some of the various Plagues that swept through Europe.

So taken that the Trolls mentioned a "Village and a half" in regions far to the North in Eriador, we can expect that scattered villages existed throughout the region... They are just not brought into the stories, especially not The Lord of the Rings as the entire trip through Eriador was made with the intention of avoiding all observation (save for the stop in Bree). So... They would have avoided all known established settlements or villages in Eriador, which I imagine Gandalf and Aragorn would have been especially aware of.

Outside of Eriador, we do see pretty significant settlement of humans. It is likely that Dunland is an example of how occupied the rest of North Western Middle-earth is. There are enough disparate villages to support a population of a few hundred thousand (In all of Eriador), which makes it roughly 1/10th the Population density of Europe during the Middle-Ages at its lowest population (which contained only a few million people - I cannot remember which Black Death it was that caused the deaths of almost ⅔ of the population, but it left Europe nearly "Vacant" as far as population goes).

And we know that in the northern valleys of the Anduin that the people of Beorn had multiplied to populate that region. And Dale had re-established itself as a sizable realm.

MB
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:58 AM   #52
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Marwhini, looks like you just reposted your #47.
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:07 AM   #53
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Come on man, you are much too serious, I'm sure Tolkien would tell you the same.

I guess the problem is you are too sure of yourself.

I mean... We all know that Tolkien was a tinkerer, he was trying to make everything fit together as the world grew and was enrichened. Which is why I said that Bill and Bert and Tom don't really fit into the latter, more developed Middle Earth, for some of the reasons you've touched, I understand that.

It's just, your reading that Orcs are some allegoric Alfa-preditor of our society is a bit much really.

EDIT. I do enjoy your speculation though, so please take no offence!
They aren't an Allegory, nor are they an Alpha-predator.

They are simply a predatory species, one of many, which happen to coexist alongside man. Technically they are a mixed-predator, where some of their sustenance comes from predation, and some through self-production (but that still does not correct the problem).

As for taking this "too seriously..."

Tolkien tended to do that himself. In addition to p. [I]x[I] of Morgoth's Ring there are half a dozen places in Letters where he talks about the Sciences Internal to Middle-earth, and that these would be just as discoverable as those in our world.

Tolkien admitted his ignorance in these areas. But that doesn't mean those of us who are not ignorant of those Sciences cannot then look to see how they might function given the quote on p. [I]x[I] of Morgoth's Ring. We needn't be IN Middle-earth to do this, any more than we need to be ON an exoplanet to begin learning things about its composition (or any one of thousands of other means of indirect observation and Science).

The simple fact is:

Orcs have to eat. Orcs need to build houses. Orcs need to have children.

These take resources. Those resources take space to produce (space that we have objective measure of, and can predict what we would see given a certain type of population).

As for being "Sure of myself...."

Well... No... I am sure of the numbers I have. But I remain very unsure of many aspects lacking others who are formally trained in the specific sciences who are also as familiar with Tolkien. And, unfortunately, the few who are currently have so little time to devote to it (Such as Dr. DJ Lundt, who did an excellent Meteorological Study of Middle-earth - yet after speaking to him about it, we discovered that he had two major flaws in his study that would have affected localized weather patterns, or generalized weather patterns should the Valar have intervened; as they did in a few events).

Currently, all I have at my disposal who have a science background of some sort (whether hard or soft) is a Medical Doctor who specializes in Genetic Pathologies (helpful for how Morgoth could have managed to affect or corrupt existing species to create the "monsters), a collection of Zoologists, Ornithologists, and Biologists at a couple of Zoos in the USA to help with habitat and population distributions (which includes humans), a Physicist, who only has a couple of days every few months to work on problems dealing with some very esoteric aspects the nature of matter and energy in Middle-earth, and...

Myself, who has formal training in Art History & Comparative Religions and Myths (having studied with Joseph Campbell in the 1980s - this covers Theology, Myth, Sociology, Anthropology, and Religious History), as well as more recent training in the Cognitive Sciences, and Computational & Systems Biology (both interdisciplinary fields, which cover from Linguistics, to Computer Science, Biology, and Neuroscience - The latter of these fields is called "Cybernetics"). I do not yet have a graduate degree in these, as I had to drop out my senior year at UCLA due to old injuries I have causing severe health problems that could still cost me my legs. Otherwise... I would not have the time to devote to this study, and would instead be up to my elbows in epithelial cells and intestinal linings (I was studying how to create synthetic intestines, and gut-tissue).

The goal we are looking for is a Unified Theory to explain Middle-earth, and the associated specific disciplines that would explain its structure. We have a working theory, explained in another post.

As I said in the post no one seems to want to pay any attention to. A LOT of people tend to either not understand what this means, and thus they either simply reject it, or they miss the relevance of certain issues.

MB

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Old 07-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #54
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And I am aware of what Cuckoos are.

My little-sister is an Ornithologist. We do not call Cuckoos outright parasites, because they are not preying directly upon a host-animal. But the behavior of the Cuckoo is parasitic in nature. It is stealing resources from a system that are not the results of its efforts.

The technical term is a "Brood-Parasite:"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_parasite

And, no, my point isn't that Orcs subsist solely by plunder, but that plundering is a vital aspect of their character, as is simple mindless destruction (whether they make use of that which they destroy or not).

Nor are they entirely mutually dependent, as is a Cuckoo (The Cuckoo needs the prey population, in the same way that a leech or mosquito needs prey populations. Without them, they cannot reproduce). The Orcs can reproduce without humans, as indeed this is their goal (to wipe them out, and/or enslave them).

But both prior to achieving the goal of Enslaving humanity (or wiping them out), they exist in a relationship as that of predator-prey (We saw that in other human cultures that preyed upon other humans: Pirates, Slave-traders, and Nomadic Warbands).

And whether they are stealing from the humans, elves, and hobbits, or simply destroying infrastructure, that theft needs to be replaced, or accounted for by the prey of the Orcs.

This means that there is a minimum sized population of Humans, Elves, and/or Hobbits that would be required to:

1) Remain alive, and sustainable (even if dwindling, there are relationships that predict the rate of decline, or the rate of growth, or simple equilibrium of the population).

2) Support a given population of Orcs.

These are two different functions.

In the first case, it has to do with an Orc population causing damage to a Human, Elf, and/or Hobbit society, and the letter's ability to recover from it.

And in the second case, it has to do with a Human, Elf, and/or Hobbit population being large enough to support a given Orc population.

This is a Feedback System (and there remain other "nodes" in the system; both those for which I have not yet accounted, and those for which I have accounted - such as the availability of Wild Game, which would affect both Human, Elf, and Hobbit populations, AND the Orc populations).

It is a little difficult to illustrate a Feedback System in text, as they look a little like a computer flow-chart or Neural Network Diagram, but with numbers in the lines connecting nodes to indicate the strength of the relationship, and how it impacts another node.

So, as a sort of simplified Feedback System.

Men <3/1–1/2> Orcs

This would be a simplified feedback system indicating that it takes three Men to support one Orc in two given populations (one of Men, one of Orcs), and that two Orc tends to result in the death of One Man in the process. The first numbers in each set describing the first relationship, and the second number in each set represents the second relationship. You could break this down into two one-way relationships:

3 Men –> 1 Orc
1 Man <– 2 Orcs

But just the basic generalized knowledge we currently have about similar relationships between groups shows that the Human (or Elf, and/or Hobbit) population in Middle-earth would need to be larger than is indicated.

There are suggestions that Tolkien was aware of this in a few of the Letters he wrote concerning the creation of the Map for the LotR not having anywhere near the needed settlements and other details that would have existed, and that it ONLY contained the details relevant to the action within the Book, and a general overall geography.

If I were not in a hospital at the moment, I could reference the letters, as I marked them up for other research I am doing on Physiognomy in Middle-earth, yet much of the information seems applicable here as well.

MB

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Old 07-16-2016, 09:02 PM   #55
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Thank you Marhwini, but I specifically referred to "brood parasitism" by name in my previous post. Therefore it should be clear that I know what it is. [And the very article you link uses the specific terms "parasite" and "host", as do all the more technical articles I have read, so I'm not sure what the quibble is over.]

Moving on.

Isn't this all pure conjecture and assumption on your part? You have no actual data, right?
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:50 PM   #56
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Just as a Start:

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/gl...predation.html

The Lotka-Volterra Equations detail a rather detailed relationship between types of predation, of both predator and prey-populations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka–Volterra_equations


And aside from the Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations, there is the issue of Mutualism between a predator and prey population when modeling the population sizes and relationships:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual...tical_modeling

In the latter example, this is where the two populations share one or more traits, or functions in the environment.

All of these are dependent upon a Carrying Capacity of the Environment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity

...and the Lotka-Volterra Equations show the interrelationships of these Carrying Capacities.

Also important is the "Impact of Human Activity on the Environment" described by Dr. Paul Erlich's I = PAT equations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_%3D_PAT

In terms of Middle-earth, this is a very important term, as that of Humanity and Elves (or Hobbits) needs to be greater than that of Orcs, lest you wind up with a world where the Orcs quickly destroy the Carrying Capacity of the entire "planet" (or habitable regions of the world with which we are concerned).


I = PAT

is:

Impact = Population * Affluence * Technology

In Middle-earth, this impact is nearly non-existent save for in the regions of:

• The Shire.
•*Dale/Erebor
•*Mordor
•*Gondor
•*Rohan
•*And likely in Harad and Rhûn as well, since we are told these areas are fairly highly populated.

But given that 'A' and 'T' are so low, the Impact isn't very great, and thus the effect upon Carrying Capacity isn't hugely affected (which is not to say that it is not affected at all - over time the Impact can be cumulative).

I=PAT, though, can really only be significantly considered once you have an idea of GDP of an area.

This can be estimated in Middle-earth based upon Medieval Data about what was required for a typical person to live, and then estimating the populations of the regions based upon the population models created by the Lotka-Volterra models

Do you need anything else?

If you have your own Foundational Postulates and Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates, please feel free to elaborate.



MB
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:57 PM   #57
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And, as a point about some of the assumptions of the Lotka-Volterra Models.

It is possible to including Initial Conditions for different assumptions.

Such as that the Prey Population does not have an exponential Population Growth, and instead has some other function that covers population growth.

These starting conditions affect the total population sizes of both the Prey and Predators.

In the Competitive and Mutual models, we can also show relationships where both populations prey upon each other (many Aquatic populations are like this, as are human populations, to which the models also apply).

Edit: Parasitic relationships can be different than Predator-Prey, depending upon the type of Parasite. For instance Mosquitos can have populations that are hundreds of billions the size of their host populations.

And it may be the case that we need to build an entirely new model for the relationship between Orcs and Humans than the existing Predator-Prey model.

But the existing Mutualistic or Competitive Models seem to be flexible enough to deal with the relationship we see between Orc and Human in Middle-earth, where the two Populations are Mutually dependent upon a single set of resources, Yet compete for those resources, while Humanity largely falls Prey to Orcs (a relationship that does not exist in reverse - Humans, Hobbits, nor Elves in Middle-earth will capture Orcs to use either as forced labor, or as a source of food itself).

This is an area where we have yet only looked at a very generalized relationship, as it is a long way down our list of priorities in getting an Operationalized Middle-earth functioning as a Model.

MB

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Old 07-18-2016, 05:29 AM   #58
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Not sure why I bother but here we go

Marwhini,

While I remain sympathetic of your quest for a unified theory to explain Arda and Middle Earth I hope you realize that the result can only be another work of fiction, unlike say the mathematics of Pythagoras, or the physics of Newton or Einstein's special theory of relativity.

Much like you, many of us here enjoy speculation in how Middle Earth 'worked'. The first and foremost Tolkien scholar and son, Christopher, shared this interest and thanks to his work we have a lot of intriguing material apart from his father's published work. It's fascinating to look at the "white spots" of the maps and imagine what you might find there.

In our real world scholars and scientists, kings and commoners used to do they same. They knew there had to be "something" out there beyond their knowledge, they wanted to learn and understand, but in lack of solid data they used their imagination to fill the unknown. Often they populated the imaginary lands with strange legendary beasts, like unicorns, pygmees, satyrs, dragons etc of course overseen by the mighty Gods. But slowly and surely the white spots of this world have been charted and now we know much more about its nature and natural laws, enough to disprove most of the historical misconceptions.

But unlike the real world we live in Middle Earth is fictional. The white spots on the maps of Middle Earth are unknown, but unlike in the real world there is really nothing there to be found.

Except in the mind and imagination of the reader. A fun pass-time I think, and one that JRRT embraced fully, but please don't forget that your "unified theory of Arda" can never have any relevance in relation to JRRT's actual creation. It is not natural science, only a product of your own imagination and if that is to be of any interest to other readers I suggest that you approach it in a more humble and, well, reasonable manner.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:48 PM   #59
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If you have your own Foundational Postulates and Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates, please feel free to elaborate.
*Blinks*

*Blinks again*

Ummm....

And now for something completely different:

Excerpt from Monty Python's Two Towers --

Chapter II: The Rally of Rohan

By now they had made their way into the realm of Rohan, the verdant, rolling land of revisionist Anglo-Saxon horsemen who would have defeated William the Bastard and his nasty Normans at Hastings if, by Tolkien's Francophobic approximation, King Harold and his housecarls had had a standing cavalry; thus, the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy would have remained in England to subjugate, overtax and generally make miserable the lives of the peasantry, rather than have foreigners do the same more efficiently. In any case, the Three Hunters crested a hill and below them lay a green valley where they espied the first sign of trouble. Hundreds of protesters were milling about carrying placards and signs (most of which had X and O symbols, or spatters of paint mimicking writing, as very few folks were literate at the time). The mob was listening to the exhortations of a rather unkempt demagogue trying to rally the masses with his shrill oratory. Stealthily, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli scrambled down the goat paths that scarred the hillside, and then mingled with the crowd in order to hear what the fuss was all about.

"A spectre is haunting Dunland," the shaggy speaker shouted through a megaphone of sheepskin, "the spectre of Rohirrism!"

"Wha's a spectre?" One old gaffer asked a shrewish hag standing next to him.

" 'Ow should I know?" The shrew replied. "Just quit yer yammerin' an' wave yer sign! I've 'eard they'll be 'andin' out prizes for the most enthusiastic demonstra'ors."

"All the old powers, that of Gondor and Rohan, have entered into an unholy alliance to quench the bright flame of Liberty lit for the Dunlendish people," the orator bellowed with contempt. "Where is the party that would oppose these reactionary adversaries?"

"Yes! Yes! The party!" several oblivious protesters cried. "Where is the party?"

"To this end, the Executive Administrators of the Council of Propaganda and Pasturage, duly endowed with plenipotentiary powers by the General Secretary for Bureacratic Affairs, were sanctioned to form the first Revolutionary Constitutional Congress of DUFF, the Dunland United Freedom Fighters. And by the gracious invitation of Saruman, both of them gathered at Orthanc and completed a Manifesto!"

"Wha's a manifesto?" the geezer wheezed. "Is tha' an Eye-talian dish? Sort 'o' like Manicotti, but wi' pesto?

"I should 'ope so," the hag replied, "I'm starvin'!"

"The history of society has been one of class struggle!"

"Ye got 'at roight, guv'nor," a shepherd shouted. "I aint ne'er made it past first grade, wha' wi' conjugatin' verbs 'n' danglin' me par'iciple at recess!"

"Freeman and slave, lord and serf, in other words, oppressor and oppressed, have continually opposed one another in a nearly uninterrupted fight that each time has ended badly for we, the mute masses. There has been no revolutionary reconstitution of society at large for us - on the contrary, it usually resulted in the utter victory of them what has, as opposed to them what has not. Now Dunland sits alone in chains of degradation; but, at the turn of fortune's wheel, we can become the oppressors and the hated Forgoil of Rohan the oppressed! We can become that which we hate!"

"This is, like, so-o-o-o boring!" a teenage girl whined.

"Like, we should have so gone to the mall," her BFF chimed in.

"I wish they'd serve the manifesto," the gaffer grumbled. "Me tummy's rumblin'."

"To that end, we shall join with Saruman the White, our sorcerous friend and benefactor, who has offered us his wizardly assistance in ridding Dunland of the hated horsemasters. Join us now! Join us in this righteous rebellion! We may be casting off one master for another even more tyrannical despot; but he has such a pleasant, fatherly way of making our gullibility seem noble - almost intelligent. Besides, we shall get a brief glimmer of freedom before our hopes are ruthlessly crushed, which is all we peasants could possibly expect at this juncture in history, given the inadequate means of mass communication only made possible by the printing press, which will not be available, technologically speaking, until the time of Herr Gutenberg. But enough of anachronistic platitudes, what say you, people of Dunland? Shall we fight for freedom, however short-lived?"

There was a prolonged, dumb silence punctuated by sneezing, rheumy wheezing, lip smacking and tubercular coughs. The speaker sighed in defeat. Despite his best efforts and his Ciceronian dialectical rhetoric, he felt he was losing the mob. And so, as with all demagogues past and present, he decided to plumb the depths and cater to the crowd's basest emotions. "Of course, there will be other benefits…" he said with a polished smile.

"Wha' benefits?" the old hag shouted.

"Yes, yes, what's in it for me?" A one-eyed, legless beggar cried as he shifted nervously on his stumps. "Please, I can't stand the suspense!"

"And when do we get our manifesto?" the grizzled geezer grumped. "Will it be at th' party you was mentionin' earlier?"

…"There will be rape and pillage."

And there was a great cheer that arose from the throng, and they immediately fell into beating each other with cudgels, staffs and canes.

"NO, NO, NO!" the orator shrieked through his megaphone. "I was referring to raping and pillaging the people of Rohan!"

"O-o-o-oh!" the bloodied crowd cried in unison and stopped their infighting, except for one stout shepherd who punched the shrewish hag again for good measure.

"Now, I want the folks to my left to start right in on the raping, and the ones on my right to go off and pillage."

"Well, why can't we just do both?" the shepherd shouted in dismay, his staff clinched tightly in his left hand and his other staff now gripped firmly in his right.

The speaker gave the suggestion some thought and then finally shrugged. "Sure, why not!"

The mob screamed in a blood-curdling frenzy and scattered off in all directions to practice their raping and pillaging skills, leaving the Three Hunters alone in the valley.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:53 PM   #60
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Marwhini,

While I remain sympathetic of your quest for a unified theory to explain Arda and Middle Earth I hope you realize that the result can only be another work of fiction, unlike say the mathematics of Pythagoras, or the physics of Newton or Einstein's special theory of relativity.
Of course it would be a fiction, because it is being used to describe things that cannot exist in this universe.

But that does not negate that this was a singular goal of Tolkien's, nor that such a thing is possible.

It would not be as "complete" as a completely Unified Theory (as we have no means to test it).

But Tolkien was pretty clear about Middle-earth having operational Sciences that could basically describe its workings, even if he could not.


In Letters #153 to Peter Hastings (draft), Tolkien says:

Quote:
I suppose that actually the chief difficulties I have involved myself in are scientific and biological.
Here he is referring specifically to how Elves are "Immortal," yet essentially the same biological Species as Humans (and thus capable of breeding with them to produce fertile offspring).

Quote:
– which worry me just as much as the theological and metaphysical (though you do not seem to mind them too much). Elves and Men are evidentially in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring –*even as a rare event : there are 2 cases only in my legends of such unions, and they are merged in the descendants of Eärendil. But since some have held that the rate of longevity is a biological characteristic, within the limits of variation, you could not have Elves in a sense 'immortal' –*not eternal, but not dying by 'old age' –*and Men metal, more or less as they now seem to be in the Primary World –*and yet sufficiently akin. I might answer that this 'biology' is only a theory, and that modern 'gerontology', or whatever they call it, finds 'aging' rather more mysterious, and less clearly inevitable in bodies of human structure. But I should actually answer: I do not care. This is a biological dictum of my imaginary world. It is only (as yet) an incomplete imagined world, a rudimentary 'secondary'; but if it pleased the Creator to give it (in a corrected form) Reality on any plane, then you would just have to enter it and begin studying its different biology, that is all.
As with most of the Sciences here in our world, what Tolkien called the "Primary World," we don't actually need to have direct access to something to derive from it scientific facts about it.

Generally, observed behavior is enough, given the breadth of our current physical knowledge, to begin to understand its physical structure and operation.

We need only the same things for Middle-earth, fictional or no, to get an idea of how it must operate, given what we know about it, and about physics (and thus chemistry and biology, etc....), whether it is "Fictional" or not.

If, in a book, we observe someone fall roughly 20 feet, and the book says that it took roughly half a second to fall, we can infer that gravity in the world described by that book is roughly the same as in ours.

If it is observed to be different, then we can calculate it with some precision based upon how it is described.

Quote:
Much like you, many of us here enjoy speculation in how Middle Earth 'worked'. The first and foremost Tolkien scholar and son, Christopher, shared this interest and thanks to his work we have a lot of intriguing material apart from his father's published work. It's fascinating to look at the "white spots" of the maps and imagine what you might find there.

In our real world scholars and scientists, kings and commoners used to do they same. They knew there had to be "something" out there beyond their knowledge, they wanted to learn and understand, but in lack of solid data they used their imagination to fill the unknown. Often they populated the imaginary lands with strange legendary beasts, like unicorns, pygmees, satyrs, dragons etc of course overseen by the mighty Gods. But slowly and surely the white spots of this world have been charted and now we know much more about its nature and natural laws, enough to disprove most of the historical misconceptions.

But unlike the real world we live in Middle Earth is fictional. The white spots on the maps of Middle Earth are unknown, but unlike in the real world there is really nothing there to be found.

Except in the mind and imagination of the reader. A fun pass-time I think, and one that JRRT embraced fully, but please don't forget that your "unified theory of Arda" can never have any relevance in relation to JRRT's actual creation. It is not natural science, only a product of your own imagination and if that is to be of any interest to other readers I suggest that you approach it in a more humble and, well, reasonable manner.
The "It's just fiction" deflection?

If that is the case, then any speculation regarding Middle-earth is just as misguided.

One of the blurbs in the Jacket cover of the first edition of The Lord of the Rings described it as "First Rate Science Fiction."

"Fantasy" is just a derivative of "Science Fiction." It is just proposing different laws of the Sciences.

And by the quote above, of Tolkien's... The world functions by the rules of the "Natural Sciences" as much as does ours, only with deviations from them, which are just as knowable (within the evidence we have) as they are in our world.

MB
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:59 PM   #61
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1420!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
Just as a Start:

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/gl...predation.html

The Lotka-Volterra Equations detail a rather detailed relationship between types of predation, of both predator and prey-populations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka–Volterra_equations


And aside from the Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations, there is the issue of Mutualism between a predator and prey population when modeling the population sizes and relationships:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual...tical_modeling

In the latter example, this is where the two populations share one or more traits, or functions in the environment.

All of these are dependent upon a Carrying Capacity of the Environment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity

...and the Lotka-Volterra Equations show the interrelationships of these Carrying Capacities.

Also important is the "Impact of Human Activity on the Environment" described by Dr. Paul Erlich's I = PAT equations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_%3D_PAT

In terms of Middle-earth, this is a very important term, as that of Humanity and Elves (or Hobbits) needs to be greater than that of Orcs, lest you wind up with a world where the Orcs quickly destroy the Carrying Capacity of the entire "planet" (or habitable regions of the world with which we are concerned).


I = PAT

is:

Impact = Population * Affluence * Technology

In Middle-earth, this impact is nearly non-existent save for in the regions of:

• The Shire.
•*Dale/Erebor
•*Mordor
•*Gondor
•*Rohan
•*And likely in Harad and Rhûn as well, since we are told these areas are fairly highly populated.

But given that 'A' and 'T' are so low, the Impact isn't very great, and thus the effect upon Carrying Capacity isn't hugely affected (which is not to say that it is not affected at all - over time the Impact can be cumulative).

I=PAT, though, can really only be significantly considered once you have an idea of GDP of an area.

This can be estimated in Middle-earth based upon Medieval Data about what was required for a typical person to live, and then estimating the populations of the regions based upon the population models created by the Lotka-Volterra models

Do you need anything else?

If you have your own Foundational Postulates and Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates, please feel free to elaborate.



MB
Thank you for elaborating, but as I said, Marhwini, I'm afraid all you've got there is assumption and conjecture. Equations tell you nothing if you have no numbers to plug into them in the first place.

And no of course I don't have any Foundational Postulates or Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates. C'mon, mate, you are taking yourself, and the subject, far too seriously.

X'd with Marhwini.
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Old 07-18-2016, 10:05 PM   #62
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Marhwini, speculation about Middle-earth is not misguided- it's what the site's for!

Confusing your speculations with fact is very misguided indeed.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:02 AM   #63
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Marhwini, speculation about Middle-earth is not misguided- it's what the site's for!

Confusing your speculations with fact is very misguided indeed.
Magic talking troll purses are evidence of sophisticated voice recognition security devices indicative of troll's highly advanced software developments in the late 3rd Age. It is believed that descendents of trolls eventually created the internet.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:17 PM   #64
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Thank you for elaborating, but as I said, Marhwini, I'm afraid all you've got there is assumption and conjecture. Equations tell you nothing if you have no numbers to plug into them in the first place.

And no of course I don't have any Foundational Postulates or Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates. C'mon, mate, you are taking yourself, and the subject, far too seriously.

X'd with Marhwini.

We have numbers to plug into them (We have Tolkien's estimates for a population of Hobbiton, Gondor, and Rohan; and we have even more precise numbers given in the sizes of the military forces for Gondor and Rohan, which have very specific ratios for an Army:Population for any given period of time - just as a start).

At the very least those are some pretty good estimates.

And we have other estimates we can derive from the size and distances of various settlements.

And there are reasons for "taking this too seriously" (as you put it) that have to do with modeling it as an operational virtual world.

That is more than just turning it into a game (which isn't our intention).

And to do that, you need to have an idea of how things work.

I am taking it no less seriously than did Prof. Tolkien.

MB
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:19 PM   #65
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Marhwini, speculation about Middle-earth is not misguided- it's what the site's for!

Confusing your speculations with fact is very misguided indeed.
I am not confusing them for fact.

I am simply pointing out that a means of deriving answers for Middle-earth that do not produce contradictions exists.

And that this seems to be what Tolkien was trying to achieve.

That he could not do so does not mean that it isn't possible.

MB
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:22 PM   #66
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Magic talking troll purses are evidence of sophisticated voice recognition security devices indicative of troll's highly advanced software developments in the late 3rd Age. It is believed that descendents of trolls eventually created the internet.
What was that about Trolls?

It's pretty easy to mock something that you don't understand (or are trying very hard to dismiss, and thus not understand).

Because if you did understand what I had proposed, you'd understand what Talking Purses for Trolls were in terms of The Hobbit (or at least the options available for what was going on with the Trolls).


MB
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:36 PM   #67
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*Blinks*

*Blinks again*

Ummm....

And now for something completely different:

Excerpt from Monty Python's Two Towers --

...
Haha lovely stuff Morth! I have missed this place.

As for Marwhini, just do what you wanna do I guess. *shrugs*
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:25 PM   #68
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It is believed that descendents of trolls eventually created the internet.
Trolls certainly seem to be the ones who use it the most...
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:48 PM   #69
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What was that about Trolls?

It's pretty easy to mock something that you don't understand (or are trying very hard to dismiss, and thus not understand).

Because if you did understand what I had proposed, you'd understand what Talking Purses for Trolls were in terms of The Hobbit (or at least the options available for what was going on with the Trolls).
MB
I am aware that a talking purse is a folkloric motif Tolkien inserted to add whimsy (complete with a lowbrow accent) to a scene. I am also aware it played no part cosmologically, ontologically or allegorically to any larger, integrated system of science Tolkien was allegedly contemplating in an effort to make his story 'whole'.

I also know that the statement:

"If you have your own Foundational Postulates and Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates, please feel free to elaborate."

is perhaps the single most pompously sententious sentence ever typed on any Middle-earth forum since the World Wide Web was first developed by descendants of Shelob and Bert the Troll's great-great-great grand nephew, Timmy.

This is the second time you've indicated that I "don't understand" the speculative palaver you're shoveling; on the contrary, I know conjecture when I see it, even when it is couched in rococo verbosity, and more so when these proclamations from the mount are offered in episodic sermons for we lesser mortals.
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:17 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
I am aware that a talking purse is a folkloric motif Tolkien inserted to add whimsy (complete with a lowbrow accent) to a scene. I am also aware it played no part cosmologically, ontologically or allegorically to any larger, integrated system of science Tolkien was allegedly contemplating in an effort to make his story 'whole'.

I also know that the statement:

"If you have your own Foundational Postulates and Coherent Metaphysical and Theological Systems upon which Middle-earth operates, please feel free to elaborate."

is perhaps the single most pompously sententious sentence ever typed on any Middle-earth forum since the World Wide Web was first developed by descendants of Shelob and Bert the Troll's great-great-great grand nephew, Timmy.

This is the second time you've indicated that I "don't understand" the speculative palaver you're shoveling; on the contrary, I know conjecture when I see it, even when it is couched in rococo verbosity, and more so when these proclamations from the mount are offered in episodic sermons for we lesser mortals.
And I'll say it a third time:

If you don't understand the point of what I have been talking about, then I don't suspect you ever well.

Nor do I suspect that you will understand a great deal of what Tolkien was trying to do in his later works, either.

Because what I am doing is a continuation of what he was doing: Looking for a Coherent Foundation for his world.

Brushing it off a "Fiction" is more than a little missing the point. There is a Logical Consistency that Tolkien was trying to obtain that was more than just Logical Validity, but was Logically Sound as well, within Middle-earth.

And that might very well be a pompous statement I made.

But it is a direct paraphrase of a Quote of Tolkien's, as to what he was trying to achieve from the years following the Completion of The Lord of the Rings until his death.

Tolkien's world had rules. Like ours. And they are not arbitrary rules. They abide by Sciences just like our world does.

He said so. MANY, MANY TIMES.

And just like I do not need to be ON an Exoplanet to begin studying its composition:

http://seagerexoplanets.mit.edu/research.htm

I don't need to be IN Middle-earth to discover most of these rules (if not all of them).

Nor does anyone else.

But the fact that I seem to be the only person (here, at least, as I have worked with at least three other people who worked at the same thing) interested in exploring what they might be is more than a little surprising to me.

That people seem to think that the events in Middle-earth (even if fictional) are simply an arbitrary arrangement is puzzling.


MB
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:32 PM   #71
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Haha lovely stuff Morth! I have missed this place.

As for Marwhini, just do what you wanna do I guess. *shrugs*
That is my plan.

I hadn't much hope that anyone would understand the issues I am trying to address to begin with.

It would be nice to have a bit more help in creating a detailed Foundation for the Operation of Middle-earth than the current Four of us (and I am currently the only one with much time to spend on it, while the fake bone in my leg grows into the real one).

And when I can regularly walk again, it will be back to studying Intestinal Villi and Oligosaccharides and Glycoproteins.

It is difficult to find people with a strong enough Science background to begin with, much less a deal of Interdisciplinary Study as well.

And while that isn't necessary to Enjoy Tolkien's work, it is important in figuring out how Middle-earth would function were it an actual place (what would necessarily be True if Middle-earth existed as described).

We have worked out the basic Philosophical/Theological/Metaphysical Structures that would be True if Middle-earth was an Instantiation of some sort (i.e. "It existed"). But getting the varying specifics is a tedious lot of work.

Fortunately, having the basic Foundation allows for much of the rest to simply fall out of the workings. It is exploring these for any more complex interactions or Contradictions that is the hard part (not being able to actually set up functional experiments is a bit of a draw-back).

Eventually Wolfram Research will have a World Modeling (other than Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha - which could be used if I wanted to spend 5 to 10 years hard-coding the physics) tool that will allow for simulating such experiments. But Stephan Wolfram has said they are about 5 years from having the basic structure set up, much less an API that would allow for the addition of other Physics to operate within the Simulations and Models as well.

MB

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Old 07-19-2016, 07:50 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
And while that isn't necessary to Enjoy Tolkien's work, it is important in figuring out how Middle-earth would function were it an actual place (what would necessarily be True if Middle-earth existed as described).
I'm all for theorizing about Middle-earth matters Tolkien took for granted, as long as those posited ideas are in line with what he say about his world.

At the end of the day though, Middle-earth is a fictional world very similar to our own. It's different enough though, with the open presence of the supernatural, that purely scientific analysis of it is, in my opinion, a lost cause. And dear Gandalf had that saying about not breaking a thing to find out what it is...
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:28 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
I'm all for theorizing about Middle-earth matters Tolkien took for granted, as long as those posited ideas are in line with what he say about his world.
That is kind of my point


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At the end of the day though, Middle-earth is a fictional world very similar to our own. It's different enough though, with the open presence of the supernatural, that purely scientific analysis of it is, in my opinion, a lost cause. And dear Gandalf had that saying about not breaking a thing to find out what it is...
Fictional or not, the "Supernatural" is explainable given the assumptions Tolkien makes about the world.

Nor does it make it a lost cause. That it is similar to our own world provides a starting point.

Thus the quote I provided earlier from Tolkien regarding Biology within Middle-earth.

Nor does it need to be "Broken" to find out what it is.

No more than one needs to "break" an Exoplanet to discover what the Atmosphere is composed of, nor to discover its mass, even though the Closest of the Exoplanets yet discovered is roughly a dozen Light Years away (Gliese 15Ab - Gl 15Ab: 11.7LY - and most are hundreds of LY from Earth).

I get the feeling people are actually afraid to ask these questions.

That the "Supernatural" exists within Middle-earth, as I have pointed out elsewhere, simply means that something other than Baryonic Matter exists within Middle-earth; that there exists some-thing... some "stuff" that is not composed of normal molecules that we find in our Universe, yet is just as capable of affecting normal "molecular matter" (Baryonic Matter) as is molecular matter.

Anyone familiar with René Descartes, Augustine, or with the Early Gnostic Christians will be able to provide an answer for what this "Stuff" might be (To say nothing of the Manichaeans, Bogomils, Cathars, etc.).

From that point, it just becomes a matter of looking at the different ways in which this stuff manifests, and interacts with regular matter.

And, we know that it is just as convertible to energy as is Matter (See the Fire Gandalf creates on the side the Redhorn Stair in the snow). We know from this same incident that this conversion to energy somehow is observable by others. And we know that it is not simply limited to this one instance.

That gives quite a few observations from which to derive possible mechanisms, given what we do know about physics, the Enthalpy/Gibbs Free Energy of wet Wood, etc. for just that one instance.

We also have things such as Glorfindel's appearance at the Bruinen, Gandalf's Lightning on Feathertop/Amon Sûl, The Balrog (and Gandalf's Battle with it - twice), The flaming "Mane" of the Balrog, The "Shadow" of the Balrog (and possible "wings"), a litany of things within Lórien, a litany of things concerning Saruman (or Sauron, for that matter), Gandalf rescuing Faramir (twice), the operation of the Palantíri, the disintegration of Saruman's body, The "Bodies" of the Nazgûl, . . . and I am certain others as well... And that is JUST from The Lord of the Rings.

If we look in the other works, we can find similar things with which there are known components.

And, as Tolkien said.... The "Sciences" exist within Middle-earth. You just need to account for what you would observe within it, and the study of it is no less "worthwhile" than it would be for our world, only the products/discoveries would apply only to Middle-earth.

Some of it might be "conjecture" in that we cannot formally test it.

But that is no different than much of our own universe (we cannot test Quantum Theory, either, yet we know without a doubt that the products of Quantum Mechanics produce predictable, reliable results that are more precise than many things we can test), much of which is "Conjecture."

But that doesn't stop the study or examination of it.

MB
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:17 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
And I'll say it a third time:

If you don't understand the point of what I have been talking about, then I don't suspect you ever well.

Nor do I suspect that you will understand a great deal of what Tolkien was trying to do in his later works, either.
You mistake a disinterest in listening to prolix peregrinations with an inability to comprehend said maundering.

You don't know me, or what I know, and you probably never will. Unlike you, I don't find it necessary to bolster my sagging self-esteem by making statements like "I was weaned on Joseph Campbell's teat." Just because you saw him in a bookstore signing autographs for The Power of Myth in the 80s holds no fascination for me. If I wish to indulge in dry monomyth wrangling and broken paradigms, I'll merely pick up my copy of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I simply find your repetitive desiccated theorizing tedious, and anti-Tolkien, relatively-speaking. I shall expound further below.

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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
Because what I am doing is a continuation of what he was doing: Looking for a Coherent Foundation for his world.
You are not Tolkien, sir. You do not follow in his footsteps, nor do you continue his work. Because you lack his humanity, his conversational skills, and you are devoid of his humor. Dry toast needs a pat of butter. You, sir, need some butter.

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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
But the fact that I seem to be the only person (here, at least, as I have worked with at least three other people who worked at the same thing) interested in exploring what they might be is more than a little surprising to me.
That people seem to think that the events in Middle-earth (even if fictional) are simply an arbitrary arrangement is puzzling.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:22 PM   #75
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Marhwini, as I said what you are doing is fine if you treat it as a game or a curiosity or an academic exercise, understanding that there can never be a true, final answer in the absence of an underlying reality. Even if you do manage to come up with an internally consistant model, you can't test it against a reality that isn't there.

That's the difference between Middle-earth and an exoplanet.

Plus, a lot of your theorising is of the card-castle variety- a fantastical, elaborate and ingenious structure built on a foundation so flimsy it would topple at a breath of air. I know it doesn't look that way to you, but that's because, in my opinion, you're not sufficiently objective about your own ideas to either critique them properly yourself or allow others to do so.

Which brings me to this:

Quote:
It would be nice to have a bit more help in creating a detailed Foundation for the Operation of Middle-earth than the current Four of us (and I am currently the only one with much time to spend on it, while the fake bone in my leg grows into the real one).

And when I can regularly walk again, it will be back to studying Intestinal Villi and Oligosaccharides and Glycoproteins.

It is difficult to find people with a strong enough Science background to begin with, much less a deal of Interdisciplinary Study as well.
What's your intention in all this? *Are* you asking for our help or input? Are you actually interested in sharing ideas? Because honestly, you just seem to work from the basic assumption that you already possess Total Knowledge on All Subjects Whatever, and that the rest of us are Ignorant Peasants who should be Grateful that you Condescend to Enlighten us with your Vast Ineffable Wisdom. <--Yes, I'm mocking your posting style, but I'm doing it in order to help you see why you're getting increasingly negative responses. That's not what you want, right?

That said, please do understand that I bear you no ill-will, that I am very sorry to hear about your serious injury and that I wish you a speedy recovery.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:13 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Marhwini, as I said what you are doing is fine if you treat it as a game or a curiosity or an academic exercise, understanding that there can never be a true, final answer in the absence of an underlying reality. Even if you do manage to come up with an internally consistant model, you can't test it against a reality that isn't there.
Yes and no.

We have no ABSOLUTE Foundational Theory for the universe in which we inhabit now.

And much of the Theory upon which it rests is wholly untestable unless we find some way to get outside of it.

But this does not mean that we do not have a whole system of Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Sciences that support the ability to make consistent predictions about our reality, or to understand how almost everything within our universe works that is not either:

• Very Massive.
•*Very Fast (and thus very massive).
• or Very Small.

Once you get into these realms, the bottom (or top) races away from you.

But within the Mesosphere (the "Middle World"), you have the Life we see around us, and a System of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (and Genetics, Social Sciences, History, etc.) that grows directly out of these.

And out of the Reductionistic Sciences grow the Systems Sciences.

These, in our universe are based upon what is known as "Monistic Materialism."

There is a small clustering of other Philosophical designations that also include the basic Sciences we see in our world, and the predictions and observations that are accounted for by these Sciences.


But within Middle-earth.... Monistic Materialism isn't enough.

There is Something else.... Mainly because Tolkien was a Catholic, and like a good Catholic, he believes in God, Angels, Saints, Demons, The Devil (Tolkien was a Pre-Vatican II Catholic. The Devil wasn't some metaphorical or allegorical entity - How many people know that this is one of the reasons Tolkien hated Allegory so much? You have to go to CS Lewis to discover this, though), Souls, Heaven, and Hell (among other things). But Tolkien's beliefs are not a necessary component to creating a world in which property dualism is true. Anyone can create one.

Tolkien's beliefs are important because they are largely reflected in his creation of Middle-earth.

And... Some account for HOW a "Soul" WORKS needs to be accounted for. Because we see that the Fëa (what Tolkien called the "Souls" of things in Middle-earth) has a PHYSICAL EFFECT upon the world.

And when you have a physical effect upon the world, that means that whatever it is that Tolkien is calling "The Soul/Fëa" is affecting the molecules, or "Matter" that is in Middle-earth.

In fact, we can even calculate the bare minimal interaction of this effect.

Gandalf lights a bundle of wood on the side of Caradhras.

Lighting Wood on Fire takes Energy.

We can calculate EXACTLY how much energy if we know what kind of wood it is, and an approximate energy given just a list of possible wood types they might have had available in Alpine Foothills (Pine, Cedar, Spruce, Aspen, Larch, Birch, Yew, etc.).

Wood burning is a chemical reaction. It is the sugars in the wood (Cellulose, Sucrose, and Fructose, all of which are combinations of Glucose) oxidizing.

In fact, we have the formula:

C6H12O6 + 6(O2) → 6(CO2) + 6(H2O) + Heat + Light

Technically the formula for the Cellulose is:

2(C6H10O5)_n + 11(O2) → 6(CO2) + 10(H2O)

But the final results are fairly the same, and there is a LOT of math coming up



First Gandalf has to raise the temperature of the wood he is going to light from roughly 0ºC to 500ºC (the ignition temperature for cellulose). We can calculate that amount of energy with great specificity if we wanted to get down to actually looking at what it takes to light wet-frozen wood down to the conditions of how much water it has absorbed per cubic volume, how it was carried, etc.

But we can estimate the amount of energy to a very high degree of confidence just with some rough guesses.


The Energy to raise the Temperature of the Wood from 0ºC to 500ºC, is easily computed for 1kg of wood.

This is a simple equation: Q = cmΔT

Q is the Heat Added
c is the Specific Heat of the Substance (for the Sugars in the wood burning, it is 218.7 J/K•mol (joules per ºKelvin times moles))
m is the Mass of substance (guessing about 1kg would be needed to create enough energy to keep the entire thing burning)
ΔT is the change in temperate celsius.


So, for getting the temperature raised to 500ºC, which is needed to even complete the above Gibbs Free Energy calculation, you need to have:

Q = (218.7J/ºK•mol)(1kg)(500ºC - 0ºC)

Convert ºC to ºK, so that our Temperature will cancel in the equation (Simply add 273.15 to ºC to get ºK):

Q = (218.7J/ºK•mol)(1kg)(773.15ºK)

Now cancel the mass (convert 1kg of wood to mols of Glucose - To get the grams per mol of Glucose: C (12) * 6 + H (1) * 12 + O (16) * 6 = 174g/mol or 1mol/174g of Glucose, and Wood is roughly 80% Cellulose, so 800/174≈4.6mol)
and cancel like terms

This gives us:

Q = (218.7J)(4.6)(773.15)

Or.

Q = 775.315kJ

That's a LOT of freaking energy that had to come from someplace to just raise the temperature of the wood, to say nothing of getting it lit.

For getting it Lit, that is essentially it's Heat of Enthalpy (Gibb's Free Energy):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbs_free_energy

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wo...eat-d_372.html

Burning wood is an Exothermic Reaction.

Yet it requires an "Activation Energy/Enthalpy" to begin the reaction.

For Sugar (Glucose - the stuff in wood that is reacting), that is -2805kJ/mol.

<<Edit>>: I forgot the link to the ΔH (Heat of Combustion) of Cellulose:

https://www.google.com/search?client...mbustion+sugar

<</edit>>

Continuing....

Since we are talking about LIGHTING the fire, that "-2805kJ/mol" is how much you have to dump into the wood to get it lit (Or, rather... It takes 2,805 kiloJoules/Mol just to get the reaction started).

We saw above that 1kg of wood is basically 4.6mols of Glucose.

So that is:

2805(4.6)kJoules

Or 12,903 kiloJoules.

So....

We now have Gandalf producing roughly 13,678kJ to light a fire.

That's a pretty significant amount of energy.

We can go even further with this to give that a mass-equivalent with Einstein's formulas...

Quote:
That's the difference between Middle-earth and an exoplanet.
That isn't much of a difference.

We know that Energy had to come from somewhere.

Even saying "Magic" does nothing to answer the question. All it does is NOT answer the question, but defiantly refuses to even address the question.


Quote:
Plus, a lot of your theorising is of the card-castle variety- a fantastical, elaborate and ingenious structure built on a foundation so flimsy it would topple at a breath of air. I know it doesn't look that way to you, but that's because, in my opinion, you're not sufficiently objective about your own ideas to either critique them properly yourself or allow others to do so.

Which brings me to this:
So be my guest to point out how Gandalf, or anyone, can light a fire without introducing some form of energy into the equation?

We know that Gandalf's energy he produces isn't from a source we would call "Material" (even though ultimately this is what it is. At this point it is just playing with definitions), but rather from someTHING ELSE. Tolkien calls it the "Fëa."

Gandalf somehow turns his Fëa into Physical Energy (and we see this in more additional instances than I could rattle off here without writing an actual book - not that I nearly haven't already).


Quote:
What's your intention in all this? *Are* you asking for our help or input? Are you actually interested in sharing ideas? Because honestly, you just seem to work from the basic assumption that you already possess Total Knowledge on All Subjects Whatever, and that the rest of us are Ignorant Peasants who should be Grateful that you Condescend to Enlighten us with your Vast Ineffable Wisdom. <--Yes, I'm mocking your posting style, but I'm doing it in order to help you see why you're getting increasingly negative responses. That's not what you want, right?
If you demonstrate an understanding of the concepts.... Then yeah... Help would be good.

And... the "Total Knowledge...."

Nope...

But one needn't have total knowledge of a subject to recognize a wrong answer.

You do not need to know Ordinary Differential Equations to know that the Answer to:

dx/dt = x - 1

ISN'T: "Horse"



In the Sciences, and most of Academia, that is called "Not even wrong."

A Wrong answer would be something like:

"5" or "x = 1"
(the actual answer is x(t) = c e^t + 1).

And if I come off a little weird here, it might be because many of the responses I am seeing are looking to me like someone has responded with "Horse" to many of the posts I have made.

That isn't saying that "Horse" isn't the right response to something that you are thinking that I said.... But it isn't really responding to the underlying foundation of the claims I have made.

It tends to make me wonder what people's definitions of "Metaphysics" are.

And, yes... I am socially Clumsy.... I tend to be used to working with Academics and people in the Sciences (or Social Sciences - less so).

I am trying to figure out what might be missing from this explanation to illuminate it a bit better..... But I seem to have had poor luck in that regard.

And Fiction or No, Tolkien worked to try to discover the rules by which his creation would work (again: p. x of Morgoth's Ring) so that the things that occurred in Middle-earth would:

1) Have a REASON that they worked (that is to say: HOW they functioned)
2) Did not contradict themselves or other aspects of his world.

That this is a Fictional World actually aids in accomplishing this, because we can postulate rules that don't exist in this world. But the trick is to make them consistent with what we DO KNOW EXISTS (either for Our Universe, or for Middle-earth, which uses the same Physical Template, over which additional assumptions have been Layered by Tolkien.... Of course, this isn't that hard - especially with Google, these days).

We don't need an experiment, because we can dictate outcomes that align with what we do know to be true, plus what NEEDS to be True (within Middle-earth) for some event, action, or item to exist, or operate/function.

Quote:
That said, please do understand that I bear you no ill-will, that I am very sorry to hear about your serious injury and that I wish you a speedy recovery.
Thank you, it is no fun to have 1-1/2 legs.

MB

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Old 07-20-2016, 02:17 PM   #77
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Sting Another Take on the Problems of a Unified Theory

Marhwini, I think there are couple things about your pursuit of a Unified Theory that are ruffling our collective feathers, and it seems to me worth it to pursue them:

1. Tolkien's work is art. There are things within his books that take place not because it fits within a specific physics or metaphysics, but because it is artistically appropriate. The sciences most appropriate for analysing The Lord of the Rings is and will remain aesthetics, form criticism, or philology.

Tolkien definitely aimed for verisimilitude--most writers do and especially those writers who say things like "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history – true or feigned– with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers." I certainly agree that thought was put into the "behind the scenes" mechanics of Middle-earth. Where I disagree is in thinking that these can be definitively revealed.

Perhaps the most apparent way of stating this part of the problem has already been made by Morthoron: how do you reconcile a Talking Purse in the Possession of Trolls to your Unified Theory?

2. And a major part of the reason for this is that Tolkien changed his mind about things! Middle-earth only exists or has a definitive form insofar as he gave it one. It's one thing for Tolkien to decide that a certain metaphysic must apply--if anything contradicted it, he was able to change it. But for the rest of us who can only study matter, what are we to do when there are competing traditions? Was Arda flat at one point? What is the nature of the stars that Varda made?

Tolkien had the freedom to reject concepts AND to completely modify texts to fit new theories. We see this especially with his linguistics (since, of course, this was the field he was most interested in), but we also see that he had a profound respect for anything that he'd already published: note how he dropped the whole "problem of -ros." And, of course, he'd forget he decided something now and again without specifically writing out that he'd done so, so you're looking at a dubious metric in using "whatever his latest opinion was."

Basically, you can't have a Unified Theory without first establishing which texts are permissible to admit as evidence, and you can't do that unless you first establish what is canon.

It may be somewhat ancient history now, but we on the Downs have fought many wars over Canonicity before (here is but one major example), and you first need to demonstrate there is a clear, unmistakable canon before you can start deriving anything approaching definitive conclusions.




To be perfectly clear, I *like* the idea of exploring some of the metaphysical or physical ramifications of Arda-as-Revealed, but it always has to be approached with the same sort of attitude as approaching a contrafactual question like "what if Melitot Brandybuck found the One Ring?": you can base it on evidence, make a clear and compelling case, but you cannot PROVE it.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:14 PM   #78
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While Tolkien's work might be "Art" it does not dismiss the statements made by Tolkien himself (see where I have quoted them above in the thread more times than I can now count) that there are Operational Rules (Sciences) within Middle-earth that are just as robust and rigorous as are our Sciences in this world.

As for how do you reconcile a Talking Pursue?

There are dozens of different ways to reconcile a talking purse.

Formost among them is that The Hobbit is a story that Bilbo crafted to tell other Hobbit Children, and that the event with the Trolls has been Bowdlerized to make it amusing to the Children, and not the terrifying experience it might have been.

There are other Mythological alternatives that can explain a Talking Pursue as well.

As I already pointed out, Having the world based upon Sciences does not preclude what we call "The Supernatural," as the whole attempt is to reconcile that and TO EXPLAIN IT. It means that we need to just look at what would need to be true within Middle-earth for the events, items, people, places, etc. to behave as we see them behave.

The rest of your post is based upon a misconception of what is being attempted, based upon the above point.

Not to mention not understanding that we have an Identical Problem with our own Universe, where conflicting theories and narratives tend to prevent this very thing.

As I said above, that Middle-earth is a fiction works to our advantage, not against us.

MB

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Old 07-20-2016, 07:16 PM   #79
Marwhini
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Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
Also...

SCIENCE DOES NOT 'PROVE' THINGS!

There is no 'Proving' in the Sciences.

Proof is for Mathematics and Formal Logic.

Not that this makes any difference.

In my post above I illustrated, complete with the math required, how we can derive very specific facts about things within Middle-earth.

MB
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:49 PM   #80
Morthoron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
As for how do you reconcile a Talking Pursue?

There are dozens of different ways to reconcile a talking pursue.

Formost among them is that The Hobbit is a story that Bilbo crafted to tell other Hobbit Children, and that the event with the Trolls has been Bowdlerized to make it amusing to the Children, and not the terrifying experience it might have been.
First, it's purse, p-u-r-s-e, not "pursue".

You could pound a square peg into a round hole and claim "The Hobbit is a story Bilbo crafted to tell other Hobbit Children"; however, there is nothing anywhere in Tolkien's notes to indicate it was Bowdlerized, and you would be back to mere speculation. We know Tolkien didn't care for the naming conventions of the three Trolls (and he names "William" in particular), but then he didn't care for the names of all the Dwarves in the story either (and Gandalf to boot), borrowed as they were from the Völuspá. But he did edit out any number of anachronisms from The Hobbit, yet he chose to keep the talking purse in and never mentioned it again as anachronistic or out of character or too whimsical.

But if, as you speculate, the story was Bowdlerized, and since we know that Bilbo lied about the Ring at one point, doesn't that call into account the veracity of the story as a whole? How many elements were changed to meet the mythical audience you created with your conjecture? Is there a list of things you believe could not occur to fit in your stilted theory? If that's the case, it cannot be considered "canon" in the truest sense, and we must toss aside The Hobbit as unfit for your divine plan.

And how do Trolls have an intrinsically magic item that is beyond their obvious ability to craft? Did they steal it from Ye Old Coach Purse and Majicks Shoppe? It is a unique item, unlike any other described in the Tolkien corpus. Does it work on solar power? D'oh! No, forget that idea. Thorin mentions "magical toys" his forefathers' created that were now out the Dwarves' ken to create. Yes, one is left with conjecture - it could be one of many manifestations (it may even have a soul ). The enigmatic. The unexplainable. The supernatural. These have a place in Tolkien's fantasy. Just like the "express train" that passed through Bywater one evening.

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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
There are other Mythological alternatives that can explain a Talking Pursue as well.
I have already described in a previous post the talking purse as a folkloric motif, which it is, and Tolkien would have recognized it as such (hence, it's inclusion). But Tolkien always leaves one guessing. He guessed quite often himself, and never came to a specific one-size-fits-all, end-all-be-all, all-in-all-we're-just-another-brick-in-the-wall conclusion about many things. Tom Bombadil, for instance, who he specifically named an "enigma". And since Tolkien is dead, you will never come to a conclusion about some things, which is fine and part of the allure of the tale. Take Trolls, for instance. Tolkien wrote in Letter 153:

Quote:
I am not sure about Trolls. I think they are mere 'counterfeit', and hence (though here I am of course only using elements of old barbarous mythmaking that had no 'aware' metaphysic) they return to mere stone images when not in the dark. But there are other sorts of Trolls beside these rather ridiculous, if brutal, Stone-trolls, for which other origins are suggested. Of course since my world is highly imperfect even on its own plane nor made wholly coherent...when you make a Troll speak you are giving them a power, which in our world (probably) connotes the possession of a 'soul'. But I do not agree (if you admit that fairy-story element) my Trolls show any sign of 'good', strictly and unsentimentally viewed.
Let's see: "I am not sure", "I think", "using elements of old barbarous mythmaking", "other origins are suggested", "my world is highly imperfect", "[not] wholly coherent", "probably", "if you admit that fairy-story element", etc. That's quite a bit of conjecture by the Professor about his own story. And you have the temerity to say you will continue his work? That, my dear, it what is called fan-fiction, and invariably it suffers when compared to the original.

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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
As I already pointed out, Having the world based upon Sciences does not preclude what we call "The Supernatural," as the whole attempt is to reconcile that and TO EXPLAIN IT. It means that we need to just look at what would need to be true within Middle-earth for the events, items, people, places, etc. to behave as we see them behave.
What legitimate science accepts the Supernatural or the enigmatic? Oh, I know, when you bend and warp science to make an artificial synthesis of a fiction novel. Rather like Joseph Campbell's tortured attempt to cram every story into his Hero's Journey one-size-fits-all mold. If Tolkien did not explain it while he was alive and writing, how can you then force it into your precepts without making crap up? Educated guesses are guesses with a thesaurus. Again, fan-fiction, no matter how high the temperature it takes to burn cellulose. One could just as easily say Gandalf possessed a Ring of Power, imbued with fire, which he set his pine cones ablaze with, and you wouldn't be wrong...or right, for that matter. Gandalf may also have used gunpowder, as in the cave against the Orcs (which would also explain the "devilry of Saruman" and the explosion at Helm's Deep).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
The rest of your post is based upon a misconception of what is being attempted, based upon the above point.

Not to mention not understanding that we have an Identical Problem with our own Universe, where conflicting theories and narratives tend to prevent this very thing.
Don't worry, Formy, he's insulted 5 or 6 different people on this forum in like manner already, reminding us of our ignorance. Whatever.
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Last edited by Morthoron; 07-20-2016 at 09:52 PM.
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