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 Post subject: Timothy Leary on Tolkien
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:11 am 
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I spotted this at John Rateliff's blog, and I thought it was worth posting. He came across a 1966 issue of a magazine called DIPLOMAT dedicated to Tolkien, and it included this interesting little blurb from counter-culture hero (and before that Harvard Psychiatry Professor) Timothy Leary:

Quote:
J. R. R. Tolkien is a psychedelic writer. He "turned on" not with LSD but by immersing himself in the study of ancient languages, transcending space and time, leaving the twentieth century, and seeing himself as a pre-Chaucerian scribe. He has returned from his trip and communicated his views in the great mythic work of our time. The Lord of the Rings is a great epic in the Homeric-Joycean vein.




Like all great mythic sagas, Tolkien's trilogy is written at many levels and has generated countless schools of interpretation, all of which seek the Message. To me, The Lord of the Rings is a morality play-magical statement of the good-evil situation. Evil is power. (Note I do not say "power is evil", a weaker game statement). Evil uses metal, fire, stone, machinery and atomic energy to control, to manipulate, to conquer good. Good for Tolkien is seed, wisdom, freedom, beauty, harmony of growing things. At a time when our planet is in danger of destruction at the hands of mechanical power, Tolkien's poetic and moral message is to cherish the wisdom and freedom which we find around us in the order and beauty of nature.

To many of us who have followed the "yoga" of LSD, Tolkien's trilogy is vital.


http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2016/01/ti ... lkien.html

I can dig that. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:24 pm 
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It's strange how quaint this seems after all these years.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:28 pm 
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:)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:22 pm 
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Nice read...quaint, indeed.

I especially liked his "Evil is power" statement. Got me thinking. What about evil without any power to do harm?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:31 pm 
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In that case, what would make it evil?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:52 pm 
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A person can have evil thoughts... and not actually be able to do anything about those thoughts.
Does lack of action change the nature of the thoughts?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:55 am 
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Maybe it is a matter of degree. Even if the individual having the evil thoughts takes no action against another individual, the evil thoughts still have a negative impact on the person having the evil thoughts. If you believe, as I do, that we are all connected, that negative impact impacts the whole.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:55 am 
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Every individual has power.

It doesn't have to be overwhelming power to be power.

There is the power to smile or not smile; the power to plant a seed or uproot it; the power of every cent of expenditure. Everything a person does or says has an effect.

Besides, I think Leary meant that Evil is a power wielded; the fact of its existence has an effect.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:48 pm 
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I guess my question is whether it's an encompassing definition. If Evil is power, is it possible to be evil sans power. Completely hypothetically.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:18 pm 
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Inanna wrote:
I guess my question is whether it's an encompassing definition. If Evil is power, is it possible to be evil sans power. Completely hypothetically.


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I tend to agree with that. As Impish said, someone who is "Evil" with no power probably still does little nasty things, like being an aggressive driver, or posting rude tweets. But if they don't do any of that, they are not evil. Just miserable.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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