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Old 12-10-2008, 10:00 PM   #1
Selador
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Invisibility

I will keep the question simple, but please answer as fully and honestly as you dare:

What would you do if you had a magic ring that made you invisible?
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:27 PM   #2
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Ring

Selador,
I'm not sure this thread belongs in "The Books" forum, but here goes.
I would welcome the opportunity to read and study without interruption (assuming my books and laptop were likewise invisible). I'd also do a lot of listening though I would put on the ring before I went out, rather than suddenly disappearing in company.
How long could I go before someone noticed I had it, I wonder?
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply, Vaire. I really do want to tie this back to something specific in the books, actually, but I want to wait until there are some responses before I do that. Otherwise it will ruin the experiment.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:22 AM   #4
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I know what I ought to do with a ring of invisiblity - destroy it, even if it costs me heavily.

But, however much I like to pretend, I'm not a Hobbit. I'm human, and therefore open to temptation; I would use the ring.

At first, I would use it out of simple curiosity, to find out how well it worked, and then to play tricks on family and friends. The next temptation would be to help friends in trouble (Bilbo and the dwarves) and to circumvent annoying restrictions on my life (Harry Potter). How long would it be before I was eavesdropping on on my friends (Lucy in The Voyage of The Dawn Treader) or spying on those neighbours I distrust?

The temptation to use the ring for personal gain, for money, influence, power or status, would quickly overwhelm me. Even without the malign influence of Sauron, the ring would, as Gandalf feared, turn me into a Dark Lord and, in the end, destroy me.

If you ever come across a Ring of Power, run.

.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:27 AM   #5
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I'd use it for myself, I don't deny that, but mostly probably for common good Robin Hood-like. Steal from those who don't deserve and give to those who do.
If it's so hard for people to learn to help each other, then I might just use the Ring to make help come, whether they want it or not.
I mean, every time I hear about that stupid My Super Sweet 16 party with rich spoiled hirls throwing away money here and there ignorant of all around them then I feel it's time for payback.

And to stay frank, I would probably try to eliminate some of the world's leaders like Iran's ayatollah or some terrorist heads. One douchebag at a time.

Ok, enough dreaming around. And yes, I also believe the thread does not belong in "Books", rather in "Newcomers".

EDIT: or I would give it to someone wiser than me or at least seek some guidance in that matter.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:21 AM   #6
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I'll use it in school, to look at my records, and some others. Muwahahaha. I can be very evil, so maybe it's not a very good idea to let me have something like that.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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I would rob banks and cheat on exams.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:43 AM   #8
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
As an opinion thread, this does belong in the Novices and Newcomers forum, and I'm moving it there. Additional serious discussion later on can take place there as well - it's always nice to have good topics on N&N!
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:41 AM   #9
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If one considers the attributes of a ring of invisibility, it becomes clear that there are really no good uses for one (as is evident by all the would-be criminals posting on this subject).

I would most likely reject the offer, as it would only lead to evil eventually.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:54 AM   #10
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This question raises that hoary old problem in Tolkien's Legendarium, how after many years he struggled to removed all references to what he felt were the cheap thrills of magic. He attempted to make any and all special effects the result of a highly developed, elevated elven art.

So, how does a "magic ring" make one invisible? How does"art" enable a body to cross over to the other side? (And why is that other side so dark?) Is this a form of mind/body imagery that the beauty of the ring inspires? Or is there some alchemical "stuff" in the metallurgy which causes the cells of the body to disperse beyond their usual density?

And as for the question, I frankly don't think the question is at all hypothetical. After all, this internets stuff makes us all invisible, although we each see each other's thoughts. I think we Downers have already put on the "magic ring". It's called the Internet. And many people think that is e-vil.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:42 PM   #11
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It can't be just me whose invisible deeds would be censored here.

Mithalwen, I'm looking at you.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:50 PM   #12
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Aye I would get up to all sorts of ill-deeds It would probably be best for me to turn into a wraith in the end.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:58 PM   #13
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No good could come of it. I think that what we are really talking about is complete anonymity - i.e. being able to do stuff without anyone knowing. Isn't that the best way to sort out the truly virtuous from the vile, to observe what he/she does when no one is looking?

Isn't that a good reason to create or 'discover' a god and/or internalized law that is always watching, even when no one else is? Keeps the id in place, it does.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:45 PM   #14
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First, my apologies for placing this in the wrong forum. But wow! What great responses!

I have to admit it, a Ring of Invisibility would definitely be on my Christmas List. I would use it, too. My hat off to those of you who could truly walk away from it. But for me - well, let's just say that I imagine that I wouldn't have any worries about money anymore. A bit of a moral dilemma, true, but along the lines of what The Might has written, I think it would be easy for me to justify just how underserving some of the wealthy are. I would be carefully selective in my victims, I think, but I would have few qualms about playing Robin Hood. The ring would make it a lot easier. And I would be generous. I'm quite sure of that. Truth is, besides a few creature comforts, I don't really want for much. But Robin does have to eat.

And if the train is already going across country anyway - or if the airplane is already flying off to venice - who am I really hurting by slipping into the empty seat, right?

And it would be nice to smite all my enemies. Well, maybe not smite, but at least embarrass the really jerky ones who totally deserve it.

And, eh ... well, maybe that's as much as I dare admit. For now. I'm censoring myself, Eomer.

I greatly appreciate all the responses. Thanks! Terrific post, Selmo! And Bęthberry, I am overwhelmed thinking about the details of the operation of the magic. It is fascinating to consider. And I love your observation that we are all wearing the Ring right now. So true.

What really got me thinking of this was that I was trying to get into Sméagol's head. How evil was he to begin with? How much did the Ring warp him? Should we pity him or condemn him? And when I put myself in his shoes, I suddenly realized that - if I'm honest - I have to admit that I would use the ring in many of the same ways he did - or in wicked ways of my own, justifying them with my own rationalizations. I'm not proud of that, but I didn't think I would be the only one, and it made me wonder if perhaps Gollum is too harshly demonized for motivations that are more common than many suspect.

Last edited by Selador; 12-11-2008 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:18 AM   #15
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Note that if I appear overly grumpy, it's not personal, but more likely due to the morning paper being late due to snow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selador View Post
But for me - well, let's just say that I imagine that I wouldn't have any worries about money anymore. A bit of a moral dilemma, true, but along the lines of what The Might has written, I think it would be easy for me to justify just how underserving some of the wealthy are. I would be carefully selective in my victims, I think, but I would have few qualms about playing Robin Hood.
How quickly it would take a hold of you. You already have started to justify theft. Note that I don't buy into the idea that taking from those that have and giving it to those without is a virtue. The rich learn nothing, the thief is still stealing and contributing nothing, and the poor need more than just a handout.

Plus whose to say who is deserving, and who is deserving of your redistribution services? Bet that there's some on the streets of Calcutta that would find you undeserving in your present state.

Quote:
The ring would make it a lot easier. And I would be generous. I'm quite sure of that. Truth is, besides a few creature comforts, I don't really want for much. But Robin does have to eat.
So, is it really about helping the poor, or just a good excuse to take what isn't the fruit of one's labor and to give some of that away in order to appease one's conscious, which surely is starting to have doubts. And by being 'generous,' isn't that just the desire to hear the applause of the crowd...pride perhaps?

Quote:
And if the train is already going across country anyway - or if the airplane is already flying off to venice - who am I really hurting by slipping into the empty seat, right?
Just the people owning the businesses who expend the extra fuel to move the vehicle plus the added (though unaccounted for) weight. Nothing's free, and isn't this attitude one you despise seemingly in the sweet 16ers?

Quote:
And it would be nice to smite all my enemies. Well, maybe not smite, but at least embarrass the really jerky ones who totally deserve it.
Some of my 'enemies' I've learned are some of the saddest people on earth. I would like to pity them, but part of me is still human.

Quote:
What really got me thinking of this was that I was trying to get into Sméagol's head. How evil was he to begin with?
Wasn't Smeagol a murderer before he got hold of the Ring?

Quote:
How much did the Ring warp him? Should we pity him or condemn him?
If it were just the Ring, as you say below, I think we'd all fall and Smeagol would just be first among many. But he did murder first, and purportedly he ate babies after the Ring left him, so I'm having a real hard time pitying him.

Quote:
And when I put myself in his shoes, I suddenly realized that - if I'm honest - I have to admit that I would use the ring in many of the same ways he did - or in wicked ways of my own, justifying them with my own rationalizations. I'm not proud of that, but I didn't think I would be the only one, and it made me wonder if perhaps Gollum is too harshly demonized for motivations that are more common than many suspect.
Agreed. There go I but for the help of Sam. And I appreciate your candor, and I hope that I've not come off as being harsh, as that's not my intent.

Though...we need a new metaphor when speaking of hobbit kind, as, well, they never wore shoes...
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:37 PM   #16
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How quickly it would take a hold of you.
Oh, heck yeah. I'm not afraid to admit it. I am wise enough to know that I should not use such a ring, but the urge to do good with it would be too strong for me to resist and would lead me down a crooked path. And the urge to do a little evil with it would not be completely irresistible to me. Like I say, I am not proud of it, but I know myself to be a less than perfect man.

Quote:
So, is it really about helping the poor, or just a good excuse to take what isn't the fruit of one's labor and to give some of that away in order to appease one's conscious
No, it would really be about helping the poor, but not some vague poor-at-large, nor all the poor. My hope is not so grand as that. Rather I would make a small effort to help those good folk I know who in my opinion suffer unjustly in this too often unjust world. Those who if they were paid according to their virtue would live like kings, but have little prospect of such reward this side of heaven.

And I would not simply be taking from the rich-at-large either. When I wrote that I would be selective of my victims, I meant that I would be very reluctant to steal from anyone, and would have to consider the matter and the individuals very closely. But if, for example, you have a chance to save 'Tiny Tim' by filching a bit of silver from 'Mr. Scrooge' (who you feel certain is unlikely ever to miss it at all), well then, what is the greater good? Should Tiny Tim be doomed so that I can keep my consience clean? I guess I should just leave it in the ghosts' hands, but what if they never come?

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Plus whose to say who is deserving, and who is deserving of your redistribution services? Bet that there's some on the streets of Calcutta that would find you undeserving in your present state.
I am certainly no better qualified than anyone else to decide who is deserving and who is not. No. And I am very aware of the fact that I might end up doing more harm than good. But then I have no other eyes and no other heart to judge with but my own, and everyone must do as they can and judge as they are able.

As for Sméagol, I am quite convinced that the Ring was behind the murder of his best friend, although I know that some don't believe it. And while I'm certain it is possible, I can't put too much store in the rumor of his killing babies, as it is only a rumor. It has always struck me as exaggeration. However, all of that is really beside the point. I've no agenda here. I am only wondering what others think. Considering Sméagol only prompted my question. I am not trying to mount any defense of him, and I am not telling anyone that they should pity him. I am only trying to get people to ponder the temptations of a Ring of Invisibility on a more personal level than they might have were they only to do so in the abstract, through the character of Sméagol.

And as for the airlines. Bah! I could lose a few pounds, sure, but I don't think they'll go bankrupt over me. I think I would enjoy the mischief and adventure of tramping more than the real financial benefit. But, hey, I never said I was a saint. Even Frodo nicked a few mushrooms in his day, eh?
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:44 PM   #17
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And I do appreciate your candor, Alatar. I'm not offended by your comments. Besides, it all hypothetical, and really, I might do much better than I have theorized were I to be truly tested. So, don't think too badly of me.
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:47 PM   #18
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I would do horrid, treacherous things if I had one.

This being said, I would walk away from it if it came to me. Truly. The temptation to wrong others would be too great. I don't think I could lower myself to the sort of sneakthievery that a ring like that would bring.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:09 PM   #19
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Oh, heck yeah. I'm not afraid to admit it. I am wise enough to know that I should not use such a ring, but the urge to do good with it would be too strong for me to resist and would lead me down a crooked path. And the urge to do a little evil with it would not be completely irresistible to me. Like I say, I am not proud of it, but I know myself to be a less than perfect man.
At least you're honest with yourself, which is healthy. Myself, I would quickly learn to call everything I did a virtue...as, well, I'm just sure that it would be.

Quote:
No, it would really be about helping the poor, but not some vague poor-at-large, nor all the poor. My hope is not so grand as that. Rather I would make a small effort to help those good folk I know who in my opinion suffer unjustly in this too often unjust world. Those who if they were paid according to their virtue would live like kings, but have little prospect of such reward this side of heaven.
Life's not fair, and making it so is impossible, but I applaud your sentiment.

Quote:
And I would not simply be taking from the rich-at-large either. When I wrote that I would be selective of my victims, I meant that I would be very reluctant to steal from anyone, and would have to consider the matter and the individuals very closely. But if, for example, you have a chance to save 'Tiny Tim' by filching a bit of silver from 'Mr. Scrooge' (who you feel certain is unlikely ever to miss it at all), well then, what is the greater good?
Ahh! Every time I hear those words I flinch - it's genetic - as that whole road of good intentions thing. Plus, I believe the worst of everyone, not because I'm a cynic, but because I'm an optimist.

Quote:
Should Tiny Tim be doomed so that I can keep my consience clean? I guess I should just leave it in the ghosts' hands, but what if they never come?
True, but there's that Law of Unintended Consequences, and there's that slippery slope thing that old curmudgeons like me like to mention as well. Today it's Tiny Tim, tomorrow it's
G. Richard Wagoner, Jr.

Quote:
I am certainly no better qualified than anyone else to decide who is deserving and who is not. No. And I am very aware of the fact that I might end up doing more harm than good. But then I have no other eyes and no other heart to judge with but my own, and everyone must do as they can and judge as they are able.
You'll never make it as a despot with that attitude.

Quote:
As for Sméagol, I am quite convinced that the Ring was behind the murder of his best friend, although I know that some don't believe it.
You can find out a lot about what people think about Gollum here.

Quote:
And while I'm certain it is possible, I can't put too much store in the rumor of his killing babies, as it is only a rumor. It has always struck me as exaggeration. However, all of that is really beside the point. I've no agenda here. I am only wondering what others think. Considering Sméagol only prompted my question. I am not trying to mount any defense of him, and I am not telling anyone that they should pity him. I am only trying to get people to ponder the temptations of a Ring of Invisibility on a more personal level than they might have were they only to do so in the abstract, through the character of Sméagol.
Excellent idea. Hope the discussion continues.

Quote:
And as for the airlines. Bah! I could lose a few pounds, sure, but I don't think they'll go bankrupt over me. I think I would enjoy the mischief and adventure of tramping more than the real financial benefit. But, hey, I never said I was a saint. Even Frodo nicked a few mushrooms in his day, eh?
I hear ya. I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a mischievous side, but when taking the high road to the ivory tower, I tend to forget that part of me - makes being condescending so much easier.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:15 AM   #20
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And as for the question, I frankly don't think the question is at all hypothetical. After all, this internets stuff makes us all invisible, although we each see each other's thoughts. I think we Downers have already put on the "magic ring". It's called the Internet. And many people think that is e-vil.
So you're not one of the 'tin-hat' brigade who think we are under surveillance all the time then?

As for answering the question honestly about what I'd do if I had The Ring, I can't. Not because it's criminal but it's definitely not family friendly enough for the Downs. All I can say is it would involve vast amounts of custard
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Old 12-14-2008, 12:12 PM   #21
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So you're not one of the 'tin-hat' brigade who think we are under surveillance all the time then?
No, not at all, as I don't live in a country like England which is under CCTV surveillance much of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lal
As for answering the question honestly about what I'd do if I had The Ring, I can't. Not because it's criminal but it's definitely not family friendly enough for the Downs. All I can say is it would involve vast amounts of custard
Now we know what it was that prompted your Legolas and custard experiments.
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:26 PM   #22
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Now we know what it was that prompted your Legolas and custard experiments.
Is it better if you're invisible?!?
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:33 PM   #23
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Is it better if you're invisible?!?
Well, better for Lalwende in the case of Legolas, but it would not be so for Glorfindel, as he can obviously see the 'unseen' (or obscene, as the case may be).
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:21 PM   #24
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Legolas? Who mentioned Legolas? I was thinking more along the lines of a midnight raid on the jam sponge pudding bakery.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Eomer of the Rohirrim View Post
It can't be just me whose invisible deeds would be censored here.

Mithalwen, I'm looking at you.
You might look but would you see? Otherwise I have absolutely no idea what you mean.
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Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
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