The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings

We humans need beauty as well as morality in our lives. And the reason is that we are made in God’s image, and God is the most creative of artists. Tolkien calls us subcreators and notes that “we make still by the law in which we’re made” (“On Fairy-Stories, p. 74).

The Principle of “First and Second Things” applies to the relation between beauty and efficiency (a “Third Thing”) as well as beauty and moral goodness (a “First Thing”). Just as you lose beauty if you sacrifice morality for it, so you lose efficiency if you sacrifice beauty for it—as Tom Shippey sagely points out, commenting on “The Scourging of the Shire”:

“This country wants waking up and setting to rights,'” says the leader of the Hobbiton ruffians, as though he had some goal beyond mere hatred and contempt for the Shire, and… it seems to be more industrialization, efficiency, economy of effort, all things often and still wished on the population of Britain. The trouble with that (as developments after the publication of The Lord of the Rings have tended to confirm), was that the products of efficiency-drives were often not only soulless but also inefficient. Why do Sharkey’s men knock down perfectly satisfactory old houses and put up in their place damp, ugly, baldy-build, standardized ones? No one ever explains, but the overall picture was one all too familiar to post-war Britons… The Sarumans of the world rule by deluding their followers with images of a technological Paradise… But what one often gets (as has become only more obvious since Tolkien’s time) are the blasted landscapes of Eastern Europe, strip-mined and polluted, and even radioactive.”


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Ten Old Norse Proverbs: Wisdom from the Hávamál

Just like today, people in the Middle Ages were fond of giving advice. These works ranged from Mirror for Princes, which was aimed at royalty, to more popular pieces such as the Maxims of King Aldfrith of Northumbria. Even the Norse culture had their own version of an advice book, which purportedly came from the God Odin.

The Hávamál (Sayings of the High One) is part of the Poetic Edda, a collection of Old Norse poems that survive in a 13th century manuscript. The various verses found in the Hávamál were collected from different sources, and some date back to the 10th century. They are presented as being words of wisdom by Odin, who according to Norse mythology was the Allfather of the gods and ruler of Asgard.

In its 164 stanzas, you can find advice being given about proper ways to show hospitality, being generous, how to be wise, how to deal with women, and ethics. The final sections talk about runes and charms. Here are ten proverbs from the Hávamál:

  1. About his intelligence no man should be boastful, rather cautious of mind; when a wise and silent man comes to a homestead blame seldom befalls the wary; for no more dependable friend can a man every get than a store of common sense. 
  2. The cowardly man thinks he’ll live for ever, if he keeps away from fighting; but old age won’t grant him a truce even if spears spare him. 
  3. The unwise man is awake all night, and ponders everything over; when morning comes he is weary in mind, and all is a burden as ever. 
  4. A guest must depart again on his way, nor stay in the same place ever; if he bide too long on another’s bench the loved one soon becomes loathed. 
  5. Praise day at even, a wife when dead, a weapon when tried, a maid when married, ice when ’tis crossed, and ale when ’tis drunk. 
  6. Never reproach another for his love: it happens often enough that beauty ensnares with desire the wise while the foolish remain unmoved. 
  7. Affection is mutual when men can open all their heart to each other: he whose words are always fair is untrue and not to be trusted. 
  8. Let none put faith in the first sown fruit nor yet in his son too soon; whim rules the child, and weather the field, each is open to chance. 
  9. If aware that another is wicked, say so: make no truce or treaty with foes. 
  10. All the doorways, before one enters, should be looked around, should be spied out; it can’t be known for certain where enemies are sitting in the hall ahead.

Original article: Ten Old Norse Proverbs: Wisdom from the Hávamál

The Schizophrenic Deep State Is A Symptom, Not The Disease

deep state

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.

If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:

  1. The overt politicization of the central state’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.
  2. The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted–the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.

The nation’s elites are not just divided–they’re exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown: disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.

I’ve been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare. The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It’s impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity, a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire’s core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available, i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets, and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing, as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.

As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there’s no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp–currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the “Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us” narrative–and a much less public, less organized “rogue Progressive” camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation’s moral/political center.

What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.

The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.

Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord.

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.

From Zerohedge: The Schizophrenic Deep State is a Symptom Not the Disease

The more people try to reject the ethical and moral teachings of the New Testament, the more they prove them.

It is like a bad joke at this point: the scratchy laugh track of the Dead.

What’s it like?

Decades ago, I knew a man who jeered the Ten Commandments, deriding them as old fables and totalitarian injunctions against having fun. Yes, he thought the Ten Commandments were buzz-kills.

We drifted apart and years later I learned he had tried to kill himself repeatedly, but all unsuccessfully. In an awkward and strained meeting with him and some of his so-called friends, he let it slip he still hated God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, etc. — the usual suspects in his broken world.

Interestingly, he eventually admitted how much he hated his father. His father, too, was a joyless atheist who idolized evolution, exalted primates as the sole object of his unscientific adoration, cursed God’s name constantly, always spent his Sundays watching baseball games and getting drunk, hated his own father and mother (this person’s grandparent’s on his father’s side), ended up having several extramarital affairs, for which he embezzled money from his company to pay for two abortions and as hush money to keep his mistresses quiet, lied about the affairs to his family, his wife, his friends and even his son, all because he was envious of the “freedom” of single men.

Not feeling very sympathetic, I said, “So, let me get this straight: you despise God, hate the Bible, and detest the Ten Commandments. You have tried to kill yourself more than twice but failed, and after years of gut-wrenching psychoanalysis, have learned your hatred of your barren life is really your hatred of your father in disguise, a bitter projection. This is about your father, a man who broke every commandment almost in order:

  1. he worshiped evolution — that’s having another god instead of God Himself;
  2. he idolized monkeys — that’s your graven images;
  3. cursed God’s name — taking your Father’s name in vain;
  4. wasted his Sundays watching baseball games and getting drunk — not honoring the Sabbath;
  5. hated his own father and mother — not honoring his parents;
  6. had several affairs — adultery;
  7. embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars — stealing;
  8. to pay for abortions — multiple premeditated murders;
  9. lied about it for years — bearing false witness;
  10. all because he envied his single friends — and last but not least, coveting.

“So your father also hated the Commandments, broke everyone of them repeatedly, and raised you in the twisted moral wreckage of his selfishness and hatred.”

“And your judgment of your father boils down to one singular hot emotion: hatred.

“This is just a guess, but I suspect if your father had obeyed all those Commandments he spent so much time spitting on, he would have had a far better life. He would have enjoyed the love of his wife, the respect of his friends, and a deep friendship with you, his son. So what’s it all mean?

You prove your own argument false. You think just like the man you detest: you are in your father’s image, an image of rebellion and malice.

“And like you, your father attempted to kill himself, but being better at it than you, he succeeded.

“You hold in contempt a man who broke God’s law to satisfy his emptiness, anger, and lust. That tells me you know, deep down, God’s laws are true.

“So here’s your real choice. Don’t act surprise or feign outrage when I tell you what you already know. Repent, right now. Lay down all this noise. Come to your Father — He’s waiting. Let your mortal father teach you in death what he could not teach you in life: turn to God, love, and break the cycle of death. Your real Father loves you and is waiting to meet you. He’s waiting for you to meet yourself — the Real You — in Him.”

“And if I refuse?” he said, his eyes black with sleeplessness.

“You can’t refuse. You only have one choice here. Come to your Father,” I invited.

Then I placed a single .45 bullet on the table in front of him. He recognized it immediately. It was one of his.

He stared down at the bullet.

“Or go to your father.”

And I left.

He chose Life.

The Torque

There are people still trying to make dead ideas work: disproved political theory, bad military stances, unreliable social constructs, false unions, deceptive moral stratagems, etc.

They are spiritually dead.

No pulse. Not a blip.

How can you tell? Every solution they propose is an order of magnitude worse than the problem they are trying to solve.

They constantly make things worse.

They are creatures wholly enslaved to wild and unbalanced emotions. That is why their answers are excitable ones: screaming, accusations, retreating to “safe spaces” (whatever those are), hysteria, panic, slander, arson, vandalism, violence, theft, defiance, rebellion, distortion, deception, malice, murder and all the rest.

They lack reason, perspective, proportion, timing, decorum, analysis, scientific rigor, human intuition and sadly, honesty.

Of course they are going to chase after the flesh — they haven’t risen above it. They don’t know any better. They remain unregenerated. They are still enslaved by their impulses, their limited senses, faulty intuitions, savage lusts, wandering wills, or what their mother or grandmother did, or what their denomination approved, etc.

Everything they invent will be based on revenge, anarchy, selfishness, indulgence, falsehood, oppression, persecution or dominating other people.

See through your Father’s eyes and feel through His Son, and all the hysteria ends.

We are entering the choke. In fact, we are well into it.

All this has to happen.

For Death to die it first must be revealed in the sons and daughters of darkness.

For the total sum of all Sin to be unsewn forever it must first be searched out in those who are its slaves.

For Hell to be closed a census of its final entrants must first be taken.

We’re in the torque.

Hang on.

These are rough waters.

Now Trapped in the Material

We are now trapped in the material realm, thus for an age the test has shifted from obedience to deduction.

There is still enough divinity in us, though it be a muted fraction, to enable us to recognize its origin lies outside the material universe.

That part of you that doesn’t seem to belong in time, space, energy and matter — doesn’t.

That pebble in your shoe is your soul. You aren’t supposed to step on it, as if you could crush it. No, you are meant to stand on it to get a better view.

We all feel it. We all sense it, and have from our earliest moments on this Earth: we’re passing through.

Do you have the courage to peek through the window in your prison cell and see all that lies beyond the concrete and barbwire that surrounds you? It is amazing how many prisoners don’t even look outside any more: they have forgotten the glare of sunlight and the heat of the sun.

All the orphans who deny this do not pass the audition.

The children do.

Come to Light.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.