Saturday, July 02, 2016

WWI, Tolkien, One Ring, Brexit

JR Tolkien understood the "will to power" -- he endured the effects that it can have on the "small" in the trenches of WWI. (the Hobbits were symbolic of the British WWI soldier)
Beside the courage of ordinary men, the carnage of war seems also to have opened Tolkien’s eyes to a primal fact about the human condition: the will to power. This is the force animating Sauron, the sorcerer-warlord and great enemy of Middle-earth. “But the only measure that he knows is desire,” explains the wizard Gandalf, “desire for power.” Not even Frodo, the Ring-bearer and chief protagonist, escapes the temptation.
The Clinton's are the modern embodiment of Sauron -- they serve their desire alone. In some ways we can be thankful to have such clear embodiment's of evil before us.
In the human soul’s struggle against evil, there was a force of grace and goodness stronger than the will to power. Even in a forsaken land, at the threshold of Mordor, Samwise Gamgee apprehends this: “For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: There was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.”
The Bible and Tolkien are right, we ALWAYS battle the forces of evil who seek to soak the individual soul into an amorphous cabal of raw power bereft of the spiritual, the moral, and the lovely.
In “The Lord of the Rings,” we meet Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, Hobbits of the Shire, on a fateful mission to destroy the last Ring of Power and save Middle-earth from enslavement and destruction. The heroism of Tolkien’s characters depends on their capacity to resist evil and their tenacity in the face of defeat. It was this quality that Tolkien witnessed among his comrades on the Western Front.
The forces of "the mass", the removal of distinctions, the leveling of all thought, values and uniqueness into a gray goo of sameness with no divine beauty or excellence to be seen are always with us. Here on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, Britain has stuck a blow against those forces by voting for Brexit.

Will the US strike a similar blow with Trump? It remains to be seen, but we must realize that with Trump as with Brexit, the road is not a choice of "easy vs hard" or "wealth vs plenty" or "ease vs work", but rather a choice of "truth vs falseness", "good vs evil", "slavery vs freedom". Which does not mean that Trump  himself is "good",  but that ANY cause other than accelerated descent into "the amorphous mass" is "the good" -- ALL leadership is horribly flawed, Trump more than many, but compared to the Clinton's, even Sauron has his positive features. (he's more honest for one!)

The lure of "one ring to rule them all" is often a lure to what is "safer", that is approved by the "experts",  more "popular", and very likely **IS** easier, more predictable, less chaotic, etc.

The life of the sheep can be quite pleasant -- indeed, in Christianity it is the metaphor for how we follow our shepherd. The difference is that Jesus is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. The way he provides for his sheep is one of challenge, service and difficulty for a REASON ( showing his example to the world), but it is a way paved with GRACE and LOVE, and with eternal life at the end!

The life of "the mass" is one of addiction, moral depravity, falseness and rejection of even the existence of truth, meaninglessness and despair. But it is a prison that billions are prone to enter willingly for the false promise of "safety, predictability, "justice" and equality of outcome. There were many in the USSR that preferred a system where "nobody was successful". The fact tens of millions had to die and millions more had to rot in the Gulag was just "collateral damage".

The choices are as clear as they have ever been, but the temptations are at least as strong as they have  ever been as well. We need be willing to stand up to our jailers -- always a test of courage!

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