"Implicit" Morality

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Post by idoron » Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:39 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:Concerning "goodness" of orcs: Shagrat does not mean good without qulification. He only means good with respect to something else - they're good fighters, good orc soldiers, good at doing whatever it is that an orc does. Don't get this good confused with the good we are discussing. In this vague language of ours, we use good in many ways, both subjective, as related to some sort of use (a good murderer, a good orc), a false opinion (Gondor's war), or the Good itself (such as Manwë, Eru, That Which Is, etc.). Is this point ok?
They are used in different ways, yes, but I think that they should be considered as part of the debate. Here's why:the Orcs, Faramir, and many others use "good" refering to one who is skilled in the art of battle. I.e. something that they value for whatever reason. Similarly individuals on both sides of the war use adjectives describing things they don't like that are akin to "dirt" or "dirty." The orcs, for example refer to the emblem of Saruman as a dirty/flithy white hand. The fact that two groups so far removed who do not share cultural exchange (Orc and Gondor) use similar, even identical, linguistic structures in noting skill and value as well as loathing, is incredibly significant.

Orcs: Skilled warriors are good
Gondor: Skilled warriors are good.
and by extension, via the comment of Faramir,
Rohan: Skilled warriors are good

That means that all of their belief systems share value for a skilled warrior. To a cultural linguist or anthropologist this is quite significant. If we evaluated this from that perspective it would suggest a greater underlying value. Maybe something that in all cultures would be considered "good." That is certaily strong evidence for a universal value.
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Post by idoron » Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:48 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:Same goes for the "evil" of Morgoth's defeat in the battle - it wasn't Evil in the larger sense, but it was evil with respect to Morgoth's aims. It was bad news for Morgoth, in other words. This is a purely subjective evil, and it's not worth our time to dwell on the subjective, because it doesn't get us anywhere. Unless we wanted to delve into the relationship between the subjective and objective good. We could probably make a case for that, but it's still subjective and objective in how it's being spoken of.
Well, the only description we have of evil is subjective. Can you find an objective description of evil anywhere in the books? That quote is directly from the narrator, the only voice in the story that is outside of the events that take place. The only two characters who could offer an objective definition would be Eru and the narrator. Eru doesn't and that quote was from the narrator. Seems important to me.

yes it was "bad" from Morgoth's point of view. But that doesn't mean it <i>wasn't</i> bad from a larger perspective too. How?

1. It lulled the elves of Beleriand into unjustified placidity. They ceased being so watchful.
2. It convinced the elves of Beleriand that they would, in fact, be able to topple Morgoth themselves, a false belief that resulted in the physical deaths of more elves than <i>any</i> other belief or event since the creation of Arda and until the Last Battle.
3. It resulted in the deaths of thousands of sentient beings. Ok, they were orcs, but we never read anywhere that Orcs don't deserve pity or mercy or justice. Maybe they are altogether evil, but so is Gollum and according to many characters in the books, he deserves mercy and pity. No?

The text doesn't refer to the event on these terms, but they are worth considering. Maybe death and news of death, regardless of whom or to whom it is delivered, is evil in ME.
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Post by idoron » Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:02 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:So no creature was meant to rule absolutely over the rest of creation. Creatures were all meant to serve.
I think you had better elaborate on that. What do you mean by serve?
Sam Gamgee wrote:To not serve is to try to take the place of Eru. To serve oneself and somehow help others is impossible because of the nature of serving oneself. If you're trying to help others (specifically for the good), you're serving them to some degree, not just yourself.
I don't know about that. To me it seems that there is a scale:

Serving Oneself only----Doing Nothing---Totally Selfless

So I can "not serve" without trying to be God. What about actions that help me and others? What if I choose to "serve" for selfish reasons? Or if I choose because it is my only option? Frodo didn't take the ring from Bag End to Rivendell out of concern for the well being of all living things. But you would be hard pressed to say that he was trying to play God. Also, one could be Narcissistic and not be trying to play God, yes?
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Post by idoron » Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:03 pm

Must...keep...posting.

I broke the responses up to deal with one topic each. Makes it less confusing, glaube ich.
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Tue Jan 20, 2004 5:54 pm

Ich glaube das nicht! Das macht mir sehr verrückt!! Aaah! Viel, viel quatsch! Ich sterbe! (ok, so i had to sneak in my two favorite german words. moving on....) The multiple posts things just totally throws me off, personally. I feel like our conversation is being divided into a million different directions instead of all taking one path. Know what I mean? Maybe it's just me.

War: Notice i steered clear of saying "War is EVIL in the unqualified sense". I said it wasn't "GOOD in the unqualified sense", meaning that it may be good for something, it may be in order to save one's nation, for example, but it is never a good in and of itself, and I think that Tolkien is crystal clear about this.
Do they separate war from Sauron? I think the question is, do they separate war from glory? Who cares if its a just war, and they are fighting an evil foe - they can still give war too much respect. I think as we see from the character of Boromir, the Gondorians do uphold the virtues of a good warrior more than the virtues of a good man. Not that that's necessarily an entirely evil thing, but it is a twisted view of life. There is no glory in war, rather only "killing and great slaughter", etc. (start playing Tales in the background for dramatic effect) There is glory in saving one's country, however, which is different than gaining honor for killing foes. Basically, the Gondorians do the right thing for twisted reasons. They could be worse though. Faramir is not a part of them, and I will hold to this fact extremely stubbornly.

OK, but Faramir say that they think war is good without saying that it actually is. One can be mistaken about what is good. Boromir is, when he thinks it would be good to use the Ring. (Not to pick on the poor guy - i do like him! he's just the first thing on my mind.) I think the orcs and the gonorians are different though. The soldiers of gondor really do think that winning glory in battle is good. The orcs know the "good" as the elves and the forces of light, and they loathe them. The conscience knows but rejects it and chooses something else to follow as advantageous to them. They know what is good, but they don't really believe it, so they choose to pursue something else that they believe is good. That much said, it's not like the soldiers of rohan and gondor should be excused - even if they don't really know that winning glory in battle is not The Good, they should know.

Evil's subjectiveness: The only description we have is subjective? Are you saying there are no other places where the books talk about evil? Directly, much less in context? In the big picture of the book, I think it is clear that evil is not subjective at all. Would you agree with me?
I doubt the elven narrator is looking that far ahead in the story. The messenger gives Morgoth news he doesn't like, and that's it. I don't think Tolkien is trying to say anything else by this comment.

Hm... the doing nothing thing is a good point. Frodo taking the Ring from Rivendell was not a sin, therefore, it doesn't apply to this discussion. If actions are made solely for the sake of self, then even if they help others, it's still a bad action. The end does not justify the means. You can't use the Ring to destroy Sauron. Frodo took the Ring from Rivendell in service. All I was really trying to say is that every sin (and don't try to tell me Tolkien has no concept of sin in his works, because he totally does) is putting oneself in the place of Creator, and saying "What you claim is good is not good enough for me; you're lying or deceiving, or you just don't understand. But I really know how the world you created works. I will decide for myself what is good and what is not good, and I will act upon that." and that role belongs to God alone. You don't really alter the Good, but you convince yourself that the not-good thing you are pursuing is the true good. You're wrong. That's basically what I was trying to say. So in the case of the completely self-serving narcissist, he is putting himself in the place of God because he says "God, you're not the best, and you don't know everything. In fact, you are wrong - I am the best. I love myself above everything else, including you."
Now, before you start to ask for some textual reference, I will admit that I don't have any at hand, other than the previously cited Aragorn quote, where he says to the Rohan soldier “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.” So I still hold to the belief that Tolkien's morality in Secondary Reality is identical to the morality in the Primary Reality. (with the exception of certain specifics imposed simply by the different setup of the world. For example, Tolkien would say that in the primary reality, the fullness of truth is revealed in the Catholic Church, and that you should go to Mass every Sunday. Obviously in Middle Earth, though Catholic echoes (and not solely Catholic, of course) are to be found, there is no church to go to every Sunday, and there is no pope to follow on matters regarding faith and morals. The setup is different.) ...So maybe that's the real issue. I don't know.
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Post by idoron » Thu Jan 22, 2004 4:08 pm

Sam - I haven't left this to die, just working on it some.
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Post by idoron » Fri Jan 23, 2004 10:01 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:War: Notice i steered clear of saying "War is EVIL in the unqualified sense". I said it wasn't "GOOD in the unqualified sense", meaning that it may be good for something, it may be in order to save one's nation, for example, but it is never a good in and of itself, and I think that Tolkien is crystal clear about this.
Ok. Every time I read Tolkien, the list of things that are crystal clear gets shorter. So, holding to your theory that Evil is the abscence of Good, if war isn't good, what is it? In your theory of strict duality (good and not-good), is has to be evil (not-good).
Sam Gamgee wrote:Do they separate war from Sauron? I think the question is, do they separate war from glory?
That's a very good question. I think it is one for another thread, but that is a very interesting question. I will ahve to look into that sometime.
Sam Gamgee wrote:Basically, the Gondorians do the right thing for twisted reasons. They could be worse though. Faramir is not a part of them, and I will hold to this fact extremely stubbornly.
But you've said several times, you think that in ME vice is misapplied virtue. So by this statement, are you saying that the Gondorain resistance is evil or bad? Even though they are fighting Sauron, their "motives" are wrong, therefore so are their deeds? So can their war to save Gondor be good if it is waged as virtue misapplied? Not according to your theory.
Sam Gamgee wrote:OK, but Faramir say that they think war is good without saying that it actually is. One can be mistaken about what is good.
So, again, if they are mistaken they are pursuing the not-good.
Sam Gamgee wrote:The orcs know the "good" as the elves and the forces of light, and they loathe them. The conscience knows but rejects it and chooses something else to follow as advantageous to them. They know what is good, but they don't really believe it, so they choose to pursue something else that they believe is good.
This is probably a subject for another thread, but I'm not sure the Orcs are capable of choosing. We see all the other "races" choosing good or evil in the books: elves, men, dwarves. But we never see evidence that Orcs have a choice. This is akin to my earlier question about the Ring and will get us sidetracked if we take it up here.
Sam Gamgee wrote:Evil's subjectiveness: The only description we have is subjective?
Ah, the way I phrased that was ambiguous. What I meant to say was that we do not have an objective definition of evil in the text. All the descirptions come from sources that are not totally reliable.
Sam Gamgee wrote:I doubt the elven narrator is looking that far ahead in the story. The messenger gives Morgoth news he doesn't like, and that's it. I don't think Tolkien is trying to say anything else by this comment.
Maybe. But JRRT did choose that specific word. Seems that there a different ways of using the word in ME lexicons.

I'm going to have to follow up on the rest later. Sorry.
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Sat Jan 24, 2004 1:26 am

Ok, I think I need to explain this from the beginning in detail because I'm not making myself clear. I'm going to really try here, but i may not be able to get the message across. It's not as complicated as it sounds. Good IS. As in Good Exists, Good is Real, Good is "That Which Is". Evil is the name we give for the lack of Goodness. It's not actually a seperate force. It's just the lack of "Which Is". So it's not like good and evil are opposites - short and tall are opposites.
Practical application: Well, if evil doesn't "exist", what can it do, or how can it be? Well, it can't "be". It is by definition a lack. BUT a lack can be critically bad. For instance, try to sail in a good boat (thing) vs. a boat (thing) with holes in the bottom (lack). There's a big difference there.
Thus no soul can be entirely evil, because aside from the fact that it was created by Illuvatar, who is Good, it wouldn't exist if there was no good. So even Morgoth has good. Maybe he has the minimum amount, but he has to have some good, even if he were lost beyond all hope of repentence.
When I say "twisted" or "corrupted", then, I mean that someone's soul is a boat, and it has holes in it. That's bad. There are traces of good, thouhh, for every virtue is basically a good twisted toward the wrong object. (A good action must be done at the right time for the right reason, in respect to the right object. If you mess up a few of these, it still has some of the form of its original virtuous character, even though now it is no longer an entirely virtuous act. We still call it a vice. We call something a lie if there is only one false part to it. But the rest of the statement of that lie can have greater degrees of truth to it.)

I hope that makes a little more sense. When I say that war isn't good, I mean that war may be necessary, but it's always an "evil" in the loose sense - it is bad that people have to die (on the enemies as well as your own), even if it is necessary to defend your nation. You can justly fight a war. Gondor's war is certainly just. But it is still a tragedy that war has to happen. Get what I mean?

Gondorian virtue: This is just an idea to throw out there, but Plato has three classes of men: those ruled by reason, those ruled by a desire for honor, and those ruled by their passions. The honor-loving men are placed above those that just seek to fulfill their desires, but they don't quite get it; so the reason-ruled man, the philosopher, is above them. Most of Gondor falls in Class 2, in my opinion.
What i'm trying to say is that it is good to resist Sauron - i think we agree here. Where it gets complicated is when we realize there are probably multiple motives. Honor, protecting one's family, a sense of duty, desire for peace, hate of orcs, longing for adventure... I don't know. I'm only speculating. And then there is a wide range of degrees for these motives. Maybe two people have all of the above motives, but the first mostly wants to save his wife and family, and the second mainly wants to get praised and promoted.
I'm not God (i'm sorry to burst everyone's bubble... I know it's going to be really hard for you to accept. :bunny:), so it is rather difficult to say which motives are strong enough to negate the bad ones...
But in any case, I realize how ugly an issue this is. Sad to think, isn't it, that the human race is so much worse than we even think it is? How often do we actually do a good deed with the fully right motives? Ouch. But I think it's true.

Orc point: granted. I really don't know what to think about them.

JRR T likes the word "evil". And "fell". They sound a lot cooler than "bad". He's got to work with the English language here. Come on, you've read a lot of Tolkien. Do you really think that he means "evil" in the strictest sense here? Or is he being poetic?
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Post by Theremin » Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:00 pm

I'm not God
Seriously?
I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?

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Post by idoron » Wed Jan 28, 2004 2:48 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:Practical application: Well, if evil doesn't "exist", what can it do, or how can it be? Well, it can't "be". It is by definition a lack. BUT a lack can be critically bad. For instance, try to sail in a good boat (thing) vs. a boat (thing) with holes in the bottom (lack). There's a big difference there.
Ok, fine. But if a boat doesn't "Not have holes" then it has to have holes.
So by this definition, anything that is not done for entirely altruistic reasons is by definition bad, right? I can't see any way around that conclusion based on the ideals you have set forth. I even the "noblest" action in Sil and LotR does not meet these standards. I guess you might argue that it true and the nature of ME being a fallen world.
Sam Gamgee wrote:JRR T likes the word "evil". And "fell". They sound a lot cooler than "bad". He's got to work with the English language here. Come on, you've read a lot of Tolkien. Do you really think that he means "evil" in the strictest sense here? Or is he being poetic?
Well, one of my points to this thread is that to an extent, it is unclear. But I would like to continue on the points I didn't get to before.
Sam Gamgee wrote:Frodo taking the Ring from Rivendell was not a sin, therefore, it doesn't apply to this discussion. If actions are made solely for the sake of self, then even if they help others, it's still a bad action. The end does not justify the means.
I thought about this for a while. In light of the statement you made above, it would have to be. He didn't take it for totally altruistic reasons (or arguably, even of his own will), therefore his boat has holes. There is nothing between holes and no holes. So it is "vice" or "sin." By your reasoning. That doesn't seem like an effective standard for judging actions in ME morality.
Sam Gamgee wrote:So I still hold to the belief that Tolkien's morality in Secondary Reality is identical to the morality in the Primary Reality...there is no church to go to every Sunday, and there is no pope to follow on matters regarding faith and morals. The setup is different
Well, ME "religion" is a lot more like "ancient" paganism than Catholocism (or Protestant Christianity, which seems to want to claim Tolkien lately). Think about it. The world is immediately ruled by "gods" who are flighty, make bad decisions, regularly "angered", disengaged, and rarely seen by the average inhabitant, and with the exception of one not omniscient. ME really looks like Greece to me.
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:33 pm

Granted. You misunderstood my holes argument. I'm not denying that there is a flaw in the boat - there most certainly is. I am admitting that we give it a name, "hole", to speak about it. I'm only trying to make the distinction that this flaw does not "exist", it has no "essence" of its own, in the strict technical sense - it is the lack of existence rather than an "opposite" entity that exists on its own. Does that make more sense? Basically, I was trying to say that you couldn't have a hole without a boat or some other physical substance. So no evil action has the power to entirely separate itself from virtue - the worst deeds are corruptions of virtue, because the greater the potential for good, the greater the potential for evil. Morgoth has more potential to be a bringer of evil than does... well, fatty bolger, for example, because he has higher virtues and gifts which he could warp to his fell purposes. (did i mention that I like that word too? ;)) By the same reasoning, Morgoth cannot be entirely evil himself, because evil can't exist by itself - he must ave some goodness in him by being created by Illuvatar...
Here's an analogy that really helps me - take a cup. That's your soul. Water is goodness that you hold. You have only so much potential, though. Sam would have a lot smaller of a cup than someone like Manwë, simply because he lacks the power and ability and all that. That doesn't mean Sam is more evil - both cups can be entirely full of water, the people are both perfect, but one can posess more water or goodness than the other in sheer volume. In reality, though, Sam is not perfect. (He's pretty darn close, but not quite. ;)) So maybe his cup isn't entirely filled with water - there's a little empty space in the top. Someone a little more flawed, like Boromir, may have his cup only half full of water. Or half empty, depending on the way you look at it. He probably had a bigger cup than Sam also. Melkor had the biggest cup of all Illuvatar's creatures - he most power, glory, beauty, you name it. But when he fell, the emptiness he "contained" or the goodness he lacked was greater than any creature created.

Does this clear my view up a little? Sorry, I know it's a lot to swallow. But it really does make sense, whether you agree or not.

Frodo: What selfish motive did he have? Oh, and by the way, there are different sized holes. Your cup can hold any level of water, from full to only a few drops. Except it can't be empty because by your nature you contain at least some goodness. You need some goodness to warp in order to be bad. (Are any of these alternate phrasings helping?)

Secondary Reality -
Don't get bogged down in the details. In the Greek myths, the gods are cranky, extremely flawed human beings who have absolutely no idea what justice is, and who really don't care. They serve only their passions, and they're basically like big bullies or tyrannical humans who have been given special powers (with a big weak spot for the scent of burnt offerings - that's really the only way to get them to like you). There's no unity among them, and they constantly whine and complain and hinder each other. The only thing that can possibly unite them is that Zeus has the final word, even though they can do the best to try to prevent it. (Hera knows that Aeneas is going to found Rome, but she still tries to make it as difficult as possible for him.) Also, the ideal of a Hero is, as C.S. Lewis would say, to be an utter Wolf: to be ferocious, bold, daring, courageous, arrogant, and unchallenged. Your pride is your master, and any who dares cross it is your mortal enemy. Might makes right.

In Middle Earth, the difference starts right away - Illuvatar is the God. He has ultimate power. The other "gods" cannot do anything without Illuvatar's giving them power - they are obviously far superior to him. They take part in the music to create a world, but they don't actually create it right away - they sing and Illuvatar actualizes their vision. Then they can go and create things in creation and whatever, but they clearly do not posess the creative power of Illuvatar.
Contrary to the gods in this story are not like children given high-power machine guns to harm each other with. These gods bicker, granted, but they don't fight serious, futile, and utterly silly wars against each other. They wage a serious war, in which the sides are clearly chosen. I could go on. But I think the most important point here is the idea of a Hero. Who is the best in these stories? The Wolf-like Fëanor, ferocious to all who oppose him, strong defender of his pride, and firm seeker of honor? Denethor, before his proud love of self brought about his madness? No. The true heroes are those such as Fingolfin, Beren, Aragorn, and Gandalf - those who are all courageous in the face of battle, but meek at the same time. They know when to defy to the death, but they also knew when to turn the other cheek and respond with true humility. Think of the Dunedain - laboring for centuries to protect the North, and yet they never once get thanked. They are content with that, because they don't seek glory or ego-boosting. They care only that they are able to at least protect some people from the growing darkness. Bilbo is a great exampple of this as well. From Mirkwood on, Bilbo basically does all the work. He risks his neck so many times and shows so much courage, and yet when they finally get to civilization, everyone praises Thorin. Bilbo is not seeking honor, though, so he doesn't press for it. Frodo as well, when he just destroyed the Ring and is considered the greatest hero of the West; he doesn't care that the Shire is not treating him with the dignity he earned.
Most importantly, Tolkien's heroes forgive. Forgivness of Gollum is the most prominent example, but also Morgoth, Saruman, Grima, and the surrendering human armies at Helm's Deep and the Pelennor Fields. You would never see this in a Greek story. While it is true that some of those forgiven went on to do harm to those that forgave them, that's not the point. We see in lotR the redemptive power of forgiveness - Frodo's mercy to Gollum, not his power of will saved him (as in the Tolkien Letter that Steve posted somewhere). After all, "Many that live deserve to die, and many that die deserved life. Can you give it to them?"
I'm not trying to say that humility and forgiveness cannot be found in other religions, but I would say that those are some defining factors for Christianity, and thus have been at the core of Tolkien's writing. This is not at all a Greek myth. It's a Christian myth.
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Post by idoron » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:32 am

Of holes, boats and cups of water:

Ok, so operating on the assumption that this model is an accurate conception of the nature of evil in ME. How does this help us judge an action? Are actions judged by the fullness or the soul? By the capacity for fullness? Can a nearly full soul act evily? (Textually, it is clear the answer to this question is yes) Do actions have their own capacity for fullness? Are actions judged on the basis of the act of the person?

Of Frodo:

If you can find textual description of Frodo's motives I would like to see it. The only thing I can find of it is the description at the Coucil of Elrond. Frodo considers the Quest of Orodruin a "long forseen doom" that he wanted to get out of. He doesn't want to go. He only accepts the burden "as if some other will was using his small voice." This indicates that he takes the ring under compulsion, not sacrifice. Not selflessly. Not out of service. Frodo didn't take the ring because he wanted to keep the rest of the world from its corruption.

Of Greece:

I didn't mean that in such a way that one could find the allegorical Agamemnon in LotR. But that the structure of the morality is at least as Greek as it is Catholic/Christian. Like you said, the mechanics are different (no pope, etc.).
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Sat Jan 31, 2004 5:08 pm

Actions are primarily judged by motives. A good person can do a bad thing by accident, but that doesn't mean that their soul is harmed by that. A bad person may do a really good thing accidentally, but that doesn't help their soul at all.
I suppose the disclaimer is if the person really honestly didn't know something was wrong, and there was no way they should have been able to deduce it was so, then they can be excused for doing an evil action. An evil action is not the same as evil intentions, because the action can be stripped of all motives and looked at objectively.

Frodo: I don't think this is really relevant at the moment. That gets into grace, free will, and divine intervention, which is just really messy.

You know, I really like this Hero kick. It's been there in my head the whole time, and I think this is probably one of the most important things we can look at to determine Middle Earth's morality. What is a hero? Someone who posesses Christian virtue, really. Not to say that all of the virtues portrayed are exclusively Christian, but these virtues can be seen in completion in the Christian ideals. So therefore, M-E's morality is basically Christianity's.
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Post by idoron » Sun Feb 01, 2004 10:06 am

Actions:
I agree that motive is an important part of the criteria. But what about consequences? And the nature of the act?

Killing a child because he or she may grow up to be a tyrant? Intentions are good. Conseqences are good. But I don't think JRRT would say that is in keeping with Christian or ME virture.

Frodo:
I think it is relevant. He undertakes this great action, but we dont read anything about motive. But he still get's a lot of good press for it. It that fair? If Frodo had bad motives (or no motives if he doesn't take it of his own will) then how can his action be good?

Hero:
So what is a hero in middle earth? I don't think JRRT ever defines it so we would just be saying "this is own definition of hero so X is and Y is not." For example: Gollum/Smeagol is the only creature in ME who could destry the Ring. No one, <b>no one</b> else could. Not Aragorn, not Galdalf the White, not Elrond Loremaster, not Frodo of the Nine Fingers, not the White Lady Galadriel, no one. Is he a hero? If you say a hero should be paragon of virtue, no. But I don't think I agree with that definition, though I wouldn't be prepared to say Gollum is a hero.
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Post by Bnielsen » Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:30 pm

I hare read these posts on the topic for a while, and have tried my best to understand them... lol

Smeagol destroyed the ring by accident... so what implications does that have for the ability of the ring to be willingly given up?

Were there other forces at work besides Saurons will that helped the ring be destroyed? Because it seems to me that an interesting parallel could be made between the ability to overcome temptation in our own lives, and the ability to give up the one ring. It can't be done without a power greater than ourselves.

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