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Old 03-12-2003, 03:30 AM   #16
Illustrious Ulair
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
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davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.

I'm a bit uncertain about this, LMP, but I'm not sure that the Elves do continue in a spiritual form, after their physical forms have 'disipated'. You're into the whole Fea/Hroa issue (cf the Athrabeth). As I understand it, the Elves still retain a physical nature, but it fades to become all but intangible.
I would have said the Undying Lands are 'outside' the natural flow of time. Any unchanging state of being is against the nature of our space-time reality.
I cannot see this Elvish 'embalming' as amazingly beautiful, though. You can't 'embalm' living things. I think increasingly the natural world which they loved (or desired) 'got away' from them. They found they had less & less power to control it. The Three Rings were their last shot, & it brought only disaster, bringing both themselves & the whole of Arda to the brink of disaster. Would you really want to live in Galadriel's 'embalmed' world? Really? I don't mean would you like to visit it, spend time there, I mean live out your existence in that frozen, unchanging state? Even Galadriel herself realises, in rejecting the One Ring, which would have given her the power to 'embalm' the whole world, that such an approach to life is wrong.
Finally, & I can only refer you to the Athrabeth in 'Morgoth's Ring, the Elvish love of the natural world is inevitably different & deeper than our human capacity, because it's part of Eru's gift to men that our ultimate destiny lies outside Arda, whereas Elvish destiny is bound within the limits of Arda. They can never leave the circles of the world. Men can never stay within Arda, not forever. We have a sense of belonging 'elsewhere', in some other place or state, but the Elves don't. They cannot concieve an existence beyond Arda, We cannot concive an existence which doesn't include an 'extra-Ardan' dimension. As it says in the Silmarillion, only men are not bound by the Music of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else - ie, men have a destiny outwith Arda, all other races' destiny is bound within Arda.
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