Saturday, June 27, 2009

Who was Sauron?

Sauron is a fascinating villain, all the more because he never makes an appearance in the main three books of "The Lord of the Rings." For those that are curious, I will reveal the following about this fell spirit, which derives from "The Simarillion."

Tolkien was a Catholic Christian, and the theology of "The Simarillion" bears much in common with classical Christian theology. If you have a familiarity with the legend of Satan, then you will better understand Sauron, whose name is by design similar.

In Tolkien's universe, there is an omnipotent, but not necessarily omniscient God by the name of Eru. There is also a Devil; there are two distinct and separate entities that filled that role at various times in the history of Middle Earth.

The first Devil, or Dark Lord, was Melkor, most powerful of the spirits created by Eru. When Melkor waged war upon Middle Earth, Sauron, a lesser spirit, served under him as a captain commanding legions of werewolves, vampires, orcs, and other fell monsters. Melkor was overthrown after many wars and imprisoned by the other great spirits or Vaya that served God (Eru). Sauron survived, however, and his power began to increase until he became the second and presumably last Dark Lord of Middle Earth.

The ultimate objective of a Dark Lord is to dominate all life upon Middle Earth in order to ruin Eru's creation. The motive for this remains unclear and appears to be based in irrational emotions rather than logic. A Dark Lord is possessed of an overwhelming desire to dominate and control all others. This is why one can draw a parallel between "The Lord of the Rings" and the fascists in certain governments like Iran, China, or Burma. Evil seeks to dominate and control at any costs.

If these fascists were rational and logical, they would understand that domination and control over others is not a proper end in itself. Instead, self-improvement, self-awareness, and cooperation and coexistence with others brings more benefits. This can be proven and has been proven to my satisfaction by thinkers such as Richard Dawkins. On a side note, South Park doesn't care much for Dawkins, by the way. He makes an appearance in a South Park episode, but only as a buffoon.

Happiness is not likely to come from a program of intimidation, aggression, cruelty, and brutality. Nor is scientific, literary, technological, or philosophical advancement likely to occur. Instead, evil begets more evil, and ignorance more ignorance. Creativity thrives in an environment of peace and freedom. If people are concerned over their safety and well-being, they are not likely to produce much of any worth, unless working in a factory producing widgets, and that certainly brings benefits in the short-term, but the future potential is quite limited.

This is why I believe that the leaders of Burma, Iran, and to a lesser extent China are shooting themselves in their respective feet. Their repressive policies are counter-productive. Instead of making their countries safer, their countries are rendered more vulnerable to every ill imaginable. When it is possible to openly acknowledge faults and shortcomings, a society can then take measures to address such problems. Where censorship is the law of the land, and freedom of speech is curtailed, then flaws persist in perpetuity, and any new flaws that arise also persist. In time, such a regime will sink under the weight of its own toxic environment. At any rate, why a fascist should want to live a nasty, brutish life fighting for the sake of pure evil, seems like madness.

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