Origin of Melkor's Evil

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Jason Fisher

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Jan 29, 2002, 9:51:07 AM1/29/02
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Hi everyone!

Just a thought or two on the origins of Melkor's evil. Melkor was originally
the most powerful of the Ainur and, arguably, the most like Illúvatar
himself, so doesn't it seem like, at least originally, his only crime was to
aspire, more than his brethren, to be as like to Illúvatar as possible? To
create things and beings of his own making, outside Illúvatar, to express
his own self-perceived individuality. Hence he suffered from hubris and from
the same God complex as someone like Dr. Frankenstein or Faustus, but how is
this truly evil? He turned to more obvious evil in Arda, of course, seeking
to mar everything good that the other Valar had made, but yet Illúvatar says
that these attempts to mar the good works of the Valar will themselves turn,
in despite of Melkor, to things more ultimately wonderful than Melkor
himself could have imagined. And hence, again, isn't this not actually evil
in the long run? In the immediate, I would agree that Melkor's *motives*
were selfish and what we might call evil, but here's another question, then.
Since Melkor, like all the Ainur came directly from Illúvatar and no other
source, doesn't the fact that evil could emerge from Melkor imply that evil
(or the possible expression of it) resides somewhere in Illúvatar as well?
Doesn't this all make Melkor more tragic than evil? One has a hard time
reconciling the idea of free will with the metaphor of the unfolding of the
Music of the Ainur, springing from and only from Illúvatar himself. And
without free will, how can there be culpability? Since all the Ainur are
just the direct offspring of the thought of Illúvatar, aren't they all
merely parts of him and not independent? Hence, the works that Melkor does,
like those of his brethren, are also the works of Illúvatar?

What do y'all think?


Stan Brown

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Jan 29, 2002, 12:15:46 PM1/29/02
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Jason Fisher <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:

>Just a thought or two on the origins of Melkor's evil. Melkor was originally
>the most powerful of the Ainur and, arguably, the most like Illúvatar
>himself, so doesn't it seem like, at least originally, his only crime was to
>aspire, more than his brethren, to be as like to Illúvatar as possible? To
>create things and beings of his own making, outside Illúvatar, to express
>his own self-perceived individuality.

It's an interesting idea, but I can't agree. Compare the case of
Aulë, who also created apart from Eru Ilúvatar. Yet Aulë was not a
rebel, and Melkor was.

The difference is that Aulë wanted his creation to redound to the
greater glory of Eru Ilúvatar, whereas Melkor wanted his to redound
to the greater glory of Melkor. Aulë wanted pupils; Melkor wanted
slaves.

Ultimately Aulë wanted to serve Eru Ilúvatar, and under him Manwë,
but Melkor wanted to replace him.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://oakroadsystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
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Boris Badenov

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Jan 29, 2002, 12:31:53 PM1/29/02
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The Ainulindale is Tolkien's creation myth, and Iluvatar and Melkor are analogs of God and
Satan. To the degree they are, Christian theology might be of use in understanding them.
You note above that Melkor suffers from the sin of hubris - pride, and quite simply, God
resists the proud (Jas 1:27) C. S. Lewis has said that pride is the complete anti-God
state. Pride is a meta sin in that, in that state, all other sin becomes possible.
Whatever exalts itself against the purposes of God is evil by definition, and that is as
true in Tolkien's world as it is in ours.

How could Iluvatar be good if Melkor is evil? Again, the analogy is to Christian
theology, and the debate follows long standing lines regarding the problem of evil in us.
My answers are simple, perhaps so simple, you may find them wanting, but nevertheless:
free will cannot exist apart from the possibility of evil. We can make choices, and one
of the defining characteristics of having choices is the capacity to make the wrong one.
Iluvatar created Melkor and his capacity to choose but did not choose for him. Melkor
chose. Iluvatar created the opportunity to choose, but not the choice made. That is the
essence of free choice, it seems to me. Blaming the Creator for the choice of the
creation is an attempt to wiggle free from the responsibility and consequences of having
made the choice. That, too, is a true in Tolkien's world as it is in ours.

Jason Fisher

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Jan 29, 2002, 1:44:49 PM1/29/02
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> It's an interesting idea, but I can't agree. Compare the case of
> Aulë, who also created apart from Eru Ilúvatar. Yet Aulë was not a
> rebel, and Melkor was.
>
> The difference is that Aulë wanted his creation to redound to the
> greater glory of Eru Ilúvatar, whereas Melkor wanted his to redound
> to the greater glory of Melkor. Aulë wanted pupils; Melkor wanted
> slaves.

But since Melkor and Aulë both "were the offspring of his [Eru's] thought"
(Ainulindalë), doesn't this imply that if Melkor wanted to rebel, this
represents an aspect of Eru, and that if he wanted slaves, that, too, must
represent a desire of Eru (however small). That part of Eru represented by
Aulë would seem to be a related but less domineering and ambitious part.
Since Melkor came from Eru, how can anything a part of Melkor *not* be a
part of Eru? In fact, how can anything in all of Ëa *not* be a part of Eru?
I think there's ample evidence for this line of interpretation. (Hehe, isn't
this how radical fundamentalist splinter groups form?! :-)

Jason


Aris Katsaris

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Jan 29, 2002, 1:51:19 PM1/29/02
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"Boris Badenov" <bb...@frostbite.falls.state.mn.us> wrote in message
news:gvkd5u8ilps8k2o4k...@4ax.com...

>
> How could Iluvatar be good if Melkor is evil? Again, the analogy is to
Christian
> theology, and the debate follows long standing lines regarding the problem of
evil in us.
> My answers are simple, perhaps so simple, you may find them wanting, but
nevertheless:
> free will cannot exist apart from the possibility of evil.

Eh. This is the standard Christian explanation but Tolkien added another one
- namely that Melkor's evil leads to greater good in the long run. That Arda
Healed will be a thing which will be greater than Arda Unmarred. Melkor used
his free will to do evil, then Iluvatar used *his* free will (and the free will
of
others) to take that evil and turn it into even better good.

Or to put it in another way : Those who do not wish to be God's children, become
his tools.

> Blaming the Creator for the choice of the
> creation is an attempt to wiggle free from the responsibility and consequences
of having
> made the choice.

That's weak when taken by itself. You *can* blame someone for not stopping
evil when they can. A parent who knowingly allows one of his children to
seriously hurt (or even murder) another would be tried for parental
neglect/criminal negligence/something. Free will doesn't come to it, and
blaming the parent for allowing the crime doesn't mean we believe the child
involved was any less responsible. We blame the parent for not protecting
the innocent.

The only solution seems to be the one that Tolkien suggests: In the long run,
God knows it's better this way. It's Evil which is good to have existed, as
Manwe mentions.

Aris Katsaris


Jason Fisher

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Jan 29, 2002, 2:03:48 PM1/29/02
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> The Ainulindale is Tolkien's creation myth, and Iluvatar and Melkor are
analogs of God and
> Satan. To the degree they are, Christian theology might be of use in
understanding them.

Yet you do have to remember that they aren't intended to be completely
congruent. While I think that the Judeo-Christian mythos can shed some
interpretive light on Tolkien's mythos, I think it would be a mistake to
compare too heavily.

> You note above that Melkor suffers from the sin of hubris - pride, and
quite simply, God

> resists the proud (Jas 1:27) ...


> Whatever exalts itself against the purposes of God is evil by definition,
and that is as
> true in Tolkien's world as it is in ours.

Yet Eru's attitude toward Pride was different: "'And thou, Melkor, shalt see
that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor
can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall
prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he
himself hath not imagined.'" (Ainulindalë)

> How could Iluvatar be good if Melkor is evil?

I think the question is more the reverse: how can Melkor be evil (in the
truest, deepest sense) if Eru is purely good? In other words, perhaps that
his actions may be called "evil" is merely the judgment of Melkor's coeval
brethren, the Ainur, and in particular the Valar. Of course, the Eldar agree
with this assessment, but their opinion barely counts: their value system,
although inherited from Eru, is limited by their inferior powers of
comprehension of the ultimate purposes of Eru and even of the Ainur. In
other words, they might call Melkor's actions "evil", because they hinder
their own goals and purposes, but by the same token, we could call it "evil"
that a higher power allows a loved one to die. The determination of "evil"
is in the eye of the beholder and limited by context, don't you think? For
just as Melkor might mar Arda and be judged evil by the Valar for so doing,
yet Eru apparently holds that these actions still tend to *his* ultimate
purposes and to greater good.

No?


Zark

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Jan 29, 2002, 2:09:19 PM1/29/02
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"Boris Badenov" <bb...@frostbite.falls.state.mn.us> wrote in message
news:gvkd5u8ilps8k2o4k...@4ax.com...

'And thou Melkor, wilt discover all the **secret** thoughts of thy mind,
and wilt perceive that they are but a part of the whole and tributary to
its glory'

and

'And thou Melkor shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not
its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite'

Melkor was the best and the brightest and so God gave him the
toughest job in the Universe.

Case close IMO.

Zark


Russ

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Jan 29, 2002, 3:32:07 PM1/29/02
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In article <B4C58.6698$RK4.242...@newssvr11.news.prodigy.com>, "Jason
Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> writes:

>But since Melkor and Aulė both "were the offspring of his [Eru's] thought"
>(Ainulindalė), doesn't this imply that if Melkor wanted to rebel, this


>represents an aspect of Eru, and that if he wanted slaves, that, too, must
>represent a desire of Eru (however small). That part of Eru represented by

>Aulė would seem to be a related but less domineering and ambitious part.


>Since Melkor came from Eru, how can anything a part of Melkor *not* be a

>part of Eru? In fact, how can anything in all of Ėa *not* be a part of Eru?


>I think there's ample evidence for this line of interpretation. (Hehe, isn't
>this how radical fundamentalist splinter groups form?! :-)
>

Perhaps Eru's greatest creation is giving his creations 'free will' to oppose
Eru.

Russ

Jason Fisher

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Jan 29, 2002, 4:51:58 PM1/29/02
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> Perhaps Eru's greatest creation is giving his creations 'free will' to
oppose
> Eru.

That *would* be a great gift! I guess I'm just not entirely convinced that
the Ainur and the Children of Illúvatar do, in fact, have free will at all.
If the music was set out ahead of time, isn't the unfolding of events
predetermined? And, lest you argue that the Music of the Ainur itself
constituted an exercise of free will, I would remind you that the Ainur are
the direct offspring of Illúvatar's thought and were expounding upon *his*
themes and that he was in control of this at all times. Even the variations
in the music introduced by each Ainu can't help but be bounded and limited
by the capabilities endowed to each by Illúvatar. I think of it more like
each one is a single sliver of his mind, rather than an independent being. I
just don't ultimately see "free will" in the usual sense as a part of this
picture. Of course, others will probably disagree, and even my own
interpretation evolves over time. This is just how I'm thinking of it right
now ...

Two cents won't buy much these days ... :-)

Jason


Zark

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Jan 29, 2002, 6:03:38 PM1/29/02
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"Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in message
news:2QE58.1267$AC7.44...@newssvr30.news.prodigy.com...

Not even a cup of coffee chief! ;-)

FWIW I agree with much of the above - IMHO, Illuvatar *needed*
someone to play the 'bad guy role' and seeing how Melkor was his
brightest - he got him to do the job - unwittingly mind because evil
isn't easy to fake, probably even more difficult for the Ainur.

My bet was that when Melkor was banished to the void -
Illuvatar popped in and said something like 'Well done Melkor my
lad - your job is over now, come up here and sit with me whilst I
watch your oppo carry on where you left off'

;-)

Zark

> Jason
>
>


Aris Katsaris

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Jan 29, 2002, 6:16:53 PM1/29/02
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"Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in message
news:omC58.6705$i95.242...@newssvr11.news.prodigy.com...

>
> In
> other words, they might call Melkor's actions "evil", because they hinder
> their own goals and purposes, but by the same token, we could call it "evil"
> that a higher power allows a loved one to die. The determination of "evil"
> is in the eye of the beholder and limited by context, don't you think? For
> just as Melkor might mar Arda and be judged evil by the Valar for so doing,
> yet Eru apparently holds that these actions still tend to *his* ultimate
> purposes and to greater good.
>
> No?

Motivation is everything... Eru allows these actions for the greater good,
but Melkor did *not* do them for the greater good, he did them for his
self-love and his hatred for all life -- and indeed all Creation.

Thus his actions are evil - while Eru's believed to do everything for the
wellbeing of his Children.

Aris Katsaris

Zark

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Jan 29, 2002, 7:08:00 PM1/29/02
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"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote in message
news:a37aia$ltp$1...@usenet.otenet.gr...

>
> "Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in message
> news:omC58.6705$i95.242...@newssvr11.news.prodigy.com...
> >
> > In
> > other words, they might call Melkor's actions "evil", because they
hinder
> > their own goals and purposes, but by the same token, we could call it
"evil"
> > that a higher power allows a loved one to die. The determination of
"evil"
> > is in the eye of the beholder and limited by context, don't you think?
For
> > just as Melkor might mar Arda and be judged evil by the Valar for so
doing,
> > yet Eru apparently holds that these actions still tend to *his* ultimate
> > purposes and to greater good.
> >
> > No?
>
> Motivation is everything... Eru allows these actions for the greater good,
> but Melkor did *not* do them for the greater good, he did them for his
> self-love and his hatred for all life -- and indeed all Creation.

Hmmm - but I think it is safe to assume that Eru knows the difference
between good and evil.

He also knew that Melkor wasn't playing by the same rules as
everybody else when he stepped into Varda - he **could**
have stopped him.

Furthemore Eru clearly states that everything Melkor attempts is
predetermined by him in the first place.

Finally - his words seem to indicate that **whatever** Melkor
gets up to - things will turn out how he intended.

Doesn't logic dictate that whether Melkor knew it or not,
he was doing **exactly** what Eru wanted him to do?

Zark

> Aris Katsaris

Zark

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Jan 29, 2002, 7:13:46 PM1/29/02
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"Zark" <gort...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:a37di3$165a4b$1...@ID-115225.news.dfncis.de...

Where the hell is Varda??? <mental note - attempting to type
past 12:00 will result in humiliating errors>

%-)

Zark - resident of Varda - SW of Arda and East of Pravda.


TradeSurplus

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Jan 29, 2002, 7:20:18 PM1/29/02
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"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote
> "Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote

> > In
> > other words, they might call Melkor's actions "evil", because they
hinder
> > their own goals and purposes, but by the same token, we could call it
"evil"
> > that a higher power allows a loved one to die. The determination of
"evil"
> > is in the eye of the beholder and limited by context, don't you think?
For
> > just as Melkor might mar Arda and be judged evil by the Valar for so
doing,
> > yet Eru apparently holds that these actions still tend to *his* ultimate
> > purposes and to greater good.
> >
> > No?
>
> Motivation is everything... Eru allows these actions for the greater good,
> but Melkor did *not* do them for the greater good, he did them for his
> self-love and his hatred for all life -- and indeed all Creation.
>
> Thus his actions are evil - while Eru's believed to do everything for the
> wellbeing of his Children.

I think that the basis of this argument rests on whether we believe that the
Ainur had free will. If Melkor did not have free will then everything he did
was planned by Eru and thus Melkor himself cannot be considered evil.

Sil says somewhere that Men, and only Men, are outside the constraints of
the music. This implies to me that free will is a special gift of Men. Most
probably this gift is unique to Men, else it wouldn't be very special.
Obviously this is far from conclusive but we could infer that Melkor (and
indeed all the Ainur) had no free will but were rather splinters of Eru's
mind (as Jason said). Without free will Melkor cannot be blamed for his
actions since even his motivations were created by Eru with a grand plan in
mind.

Trade.


Aris Katsaris

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Jan 29, 2002, 8:23:00 PM1/29/02
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"TradeSurplus" <trades...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:6%G58.11495$GD5.3035865127@newssvr10.news.prodigy.com...

>
> Sil says somewhere that Men, and only Men, are outside the constraints of
> the music. This implies to me that free will is a special gift of Men. Most
> probably this gift is unique to Men, else it wouldn't be very special.
> Obviously this is far from conclusive but we could infer that Melkor (and
> indeed all the Ainur) had no free will but were rather splinters of Eru's
> mind (as Jason said). Without free will Melkor cannot be blamed for his
> actions since even his motivations were created by Eru with a grand plan in
> mind.

Remember that the Ainur helped make the music. They can still be completely
constrained by it, and their free wills would be intact - if through free will
they
made it.

Aris Katsaris


Aris Katsaris

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Jan 29, 2002, 8:26:29 PM1/29/02
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"Zark" <gort...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:a37di3$165a4b$1...@ID-115225.news.dfncis.de...
>
> "Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote in message
> news:a37aia$ltp$1...@usenet.otenet.gr...
> >
> > Motivation is everything... Eru allows these actions for the greater good,
> > but Melkor did *not* do them for the greater good, he did them for his
> > self-love and his hatred for all life -- and indeed all Creation.
>
> Hmmm - but I think it is safe to assume that Eru knows the difference
> between good and evil.
>
> He also knew that Melkor wasn't playing by the same rules as
> everybody else when he stepped into Varda - he **could**
> have stopped him.
>
> Furthemore Eru clearly states that everything Melkor attempts is
> predetermined by him in the first place.
>
> Finally - his words seem to indicate that **whatever** Melkor
> gets up to - things will turn out how he intended.
>
> Doesn't logic dictate that whether Melkor knew it or not,
> he was doing **exactly** what Eru wanted him to do?

Yes, yes, yes and yes. But what's your point? Melkor, through his
evil, became Eru's tool for the creation of more good. That doesn't
mean that Melkor is good or that Eru is evil. It only means that
they have different motivations for their actions, be it the Marring
of the world by Melkor, or Eru so allowing Melkor to mar it.

Aris Katsaris


AC

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Jan 29, 2002, 10:48:10 PM1/29/02
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"Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in message
news:2QE58.1267$AC7.44...@newssvr30.news.prodigy.com...

> > Perhaps Eru's greatest creation is giving his creations 'free will' to
> oppose
> > Eru.
>
> That *would* be a great gift! I guess I'm just not entirely convinced that
> the Ainur and the Children of Illúvatar do, in fact, have free will at
all.
> If the music was set out ahead of time, isn't the unfolding of events
> predetermined?

Not everything. It is quite clearly stated that the Ainur did not see the
entirety of the history of Ea.

> And, lest you argue that the Music of the Ainur itself
> constituted an exercise of free will, I would remind you that the Ainur
are
> the direct offspring of Illúvatar's thought and were expounding upon *his*
> themes and that he was in control of this at all times. Even the
variations
> in the music introduced by each Ainu can't help but be bounded and limited
> by the capabilities endowed to each by Illúvatar.

Because someone has the capability to write Shakespearan sonnets or
visualize nth dimensional space does not immediately mean that they will do
so. That is the nature of free will. Ability and action are two different
things.

> I think of it more like
> each one is a single sliver of his mind, rather than an independent being.

I don't. The Ainur were indeed bound by the Music, but because they do not
know every moment of Ea's history, they are left to some degree to their own
devices. Certainly they could err, as when they did not wrest control of
Middle Earth from Melkor before the awakening of the Elves.

--
AaronC


john thrum

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Jan 29, 2002, 11:05:26 PM1/29/02
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Y'all have way too much time on your hands. It's simple really.
Whether you're an Ainur, or just a lowly burger-flipper in Possum
Waller, Mississippi, you can basically be one of two ways: An
arrogant, egotistical jerk who wants the world to revolve around him,
or a curious, inquisitive, creative, happy-go-lucky type who just
wants to help others, be a part of good works, learn things, and
generally have fun.

It's a no-brainer.

Melkor evinced the same response as an ill-behaved 3 year old who
didn't get his own way. He wanted to knock down everyone else's
blocks and spoil their fun.

john thrum

Zark

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Jan 30, 2002, 2:45:05 AM1/30/02
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"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote in message
news:a37i5b$ool$1...@usenet.otenet.gr...

My point is that Melkor was doing things for the greater good -
he just didn't know that he was Eru's stooge. ;-)

Zark

> Aris Katsaris
>
>


Aris Katsaris

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Jan 30, 2002, 6:46:48 AM1/30/02
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"Zark" <gort...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:a388b3$169ni8$1...@ID-115225.news.dfncis.de...

>
> "Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote in message
> news:a37i5b$ool$1...@usenet.otenet.gr...
> >
> > Yes, yes, yes and yes. But what's your point? Melkor, through his
> > evil, became Eru's tool for the creation of more good. That doesn't
> > mean that Melkor is good or that Eru is evil. It only means that
> > they have different motivations for their actions, be it the Marring
> > of the world by Melkor, or Eru so allowing Melkor to mar it.
>
> My point is that Melkor was doing things for the greater good -
> he just didn't know that he was Eru's stooge. ;-)

Well he wasn't doing them *for* the greater good. He was just
doing things which indeed will prove to be for the greater good.
A semantics thingy...

Aris Katsaris

Zark

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Jan 30, 2002, 8:12:13 AM1/30/02
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"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote in message
news:a38mge$b7m$1...@usenet.otenet.gr...

So we are in agreement that Melkor gets a bum rap?

;-)

Zark

> Aris Katsaris
>
>
>


TradeSurplus

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Jan 30, 2002, 2:03:54 PM1/30/02
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"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote ..
>
> "TradeSurplus" <trades...@hotmail.com> wrote

> >
> > Sil says somewhere that Men, and only Men, are outside the constraints
of
> > the music. This implies to me that free will is a special gift of Men.
Most
> > probably this gift is unique to Men, else it wouldn't be very special.
> > Obviously this is far from conclusive but we could infer that Melkor
(and
> > indeed all the Ainur) had no free will but were rather splinters of
Eru's
> > mind (as Jason said). Without free will Melkor cannot be blamed for his
> > actions since even his motivations were created by Eru with a grand plan
in
> > mind.
>
> Remember that the Ainur helped make the music. They can still be
completely
> constrained by it, and their free wills would be intact - if through free
will
> they
> made it.

This is true. If the Ainur had free will in the making of the music then
they are responsible for their own actions. However, there is no indication
that I can remember offhand that the Ainur did have free will, in making the
music or anything else. They sprang directly form the thought of Eru, a
statement which could be interpreted as saying that they were merely facets
of his own thoughts, with no free will.

I don't actually beleive in this hypothesis. I think that the Ainur did have
free will. I recognise, however, that this opinion of mine is not supported
by any direct evidence and that a position that holds that the Ainur had no
free will is just as tenable.

Trade.


Jason Fisher

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Jan 30, 2002, 5:17:40 PM1/30/02
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"AC" <nos...@spam.com> wrote:
> Not everything. It is quite clearly stated that the Ainur did not see the
> entirety of the history of Ea.

The Ainur may not have seen it, but Eru did. The fact that the Ainur didn't
know everything that would unfold doesn't mean the Eru didn't know, nor does
it prove that they had free will to act other than Eru intended.


Jason Fisher

unread,
Jan 30, 2002, 5:31:44 PM1/30/02
to
A good, healthy thread! Special thanks for the contributions of Zark, Aris,
and Trade. Admittedly, speculation on these kinds of questions can hardly
come to any definitive answer. But I do think there are useful insights to
be gleaned. I *do* think that Melkor was cast in a pretty thankless but
necessary role; I *don't* think that he, or any other of the Ainur, have
free will per se, though they may not *know* that every action they take is
part of a predetermined plan. I like the idea, suggested by Trade, that men
are the crux of this. Perhaps the whole thing was set in motion as a testing
ground for men. Sure, Melkor's actions seem evil, but maybe they serve only
to provide men with something to struggle against in order to prove
themselves a successful experiment in free will?

Very interesting indeed! I'll have to ask Eru about this the next time I see
him! ;)

Jason


Zark

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Jan 30, 2002, 5:48:13 PM1/30/02
to

"TradeSurplus" <trades...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:6%G58.11495$GD5.3035865127@newssvr10.news.prodigy.com...

On the other hand - Manwe did say that he felt that Men were fashioned in
the image of Melkor (or was it that Men reminded him of Melkor?) - either
way, this could be seen to totally invalidate my hypothesis. Fun though ;-)

Zark

> Trade.
>
>


Zark

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Jan 30, 2002, 5:54:05 PM1/30/02
to

"Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in message
news:kv_58.2061$BJ1.55...@newssvr30.news.prodigy.com...

Pass my regards on to Melkor if he's around ;-)

Zark

> Jason
>
>


Andy Cooke

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Jan 30, 2002, 6:12:53 PM1/30/02
to
Zark wrote:
>
> "Zark" <gort...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:a37di3$165a4b$1...@ID-115225.news.dfncis.de...
[snip]

> >
> > He also knew that Melkor wasn't playing by the same rules as
> > everybody else when he stepped into Varda - he **could**
> > have stopped him.
>
> Where the hell is Varda??? <mental note - attempting to type
> past 12:00 will result in humiliating errors>


Taniquetil, usually.
I agree, barging into his wife would have rung alarm bells for
Manwe (and he'd have got straight on the blower to Eru)

> %-)
>
> Zark - resident of Varda - SW of Arda and East of Pravda.

Does Manwe know? How big is Varda anyway

[:-) throughout, obviously.]

--
Andy Cooke

Aris Katsaris

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Jan 30, 2002, 7:13:29 PM1/30/02
to

"Zark" <gort...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:a39t8e$167vp2$1...@ID-115225.news.dfncis.de...

>
> On the other hand - Manwe did say that he felt that Men were fashioned in
> the image of Melkor (or was it that Men reminded him of Melkor?) - either
> way, this could be seen to totally invalidate my hypothesis. Fun though ;-)

Neither and neither. I think it's the Elves who said that Men resemble Melkor
more than any of the Valar.

Aris Katsaris


Jason Fisher

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Jan 31, 2002, 10:00:50 AM1/31/02
to
>> Very interesting indeed! I'll have to ask Eru about this the next time I
>> see him! ;)
>
> Pass my regards on to Melkor if he's around ;-)

Hehe, will do! ;~)


Raven

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Jan 31, 2002, 2:52:02 PM1/31/02
to
"Jason Fisher" <ja...@swbell.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:kv_58.2061$BJ1.55...@newssvr30.news.prodigy.com...

> I *do* think that Melkor was cast in a pretty thankless but
> necessary role;

Like Judas Iskariot? :-)

Rob.


baden

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Jan 31, 2002, 6:38:05 PM1/31/02
to

> 'And thou Melkor, wilt discover all the **secret** thoughts of thy mind,
> and wilt perceive that they are but a part of the whole and tributary to
> its glory'
>
> and
>
> 'And thou Melkor shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not
> its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite'
>
> Melkor was the best and the brightest and so God gave him the
> toughest job in the Universe.
>
> Case close IMO.
>
> Zark

Not according to Mandos. If we're going to quote how about:

"Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into
Ea, and evil yet be good to have been."
But Mandos said: "And yet remain evil. To me shall Feanor come soon."

All of this good from evil is based on the theology of the fortunate fall: that
because Adam sinned therefore Christ had to come into the world and die for us
- so (the thinking goes) isn't that actually better than if we'd all just laid
around eden stuffing ourselves with ambrosia? Well yes and no. It is more
glorious perhaps, but it is infinitely tougher on us who have to work and
struggle instead of just lying around eden stuffing ourselves with ambrosia. So
it is good that Christ had to come into the world but yet much evil still came
of the fall.

Tolkien has obviously adopted this theology and worked it into his own pattern.
And so I think you can say the same about Melkor's evil - that in the end it
does rebound to the glory of Eru - but for those who have to endure the evil of
Melkor it *is* evil. Feanor *is* corrupted, he *is* killed, he *is* shorn of
his full promise. Does something greater come of this? Yes, according to the
quote above Feanor's fall will become a glorious song - perhaps more glorious
than anything he could have achieved if he had not fallen, but it will not be
through him, but through others. Hence it is still evil.

So the question is did Eru plan all this before hand and use Melkor as his
patsy to hide his true blood thirsty nature (for that matter did God booby trap
eden so it was impossible for Adam not to fall). You could surmise that but I
think it goes against the spirit of the books. I certainly don't get the
impression that the author feels that Eru is actually pro-suffering and torture
just because in the end it will make him look really good.

I think if Melkor had not gone against Eru the result would have been equally
glorious, but in a different way. Everytime Melkor changes the song, Eru rises
and sings a more powerful theme incorporating Melkor's changes into his own
song - thus the end result is the same, and all Melkor's attempts to take over
just rebound to the glory of Eru. Yet his attempts to change the song are still
evil, his motivations are still those of a lust for power, his acts are not
desired by Eru, but rather used because it became necessary to do so. Eru must
either incorporate Melkor's theme or let all that was good be destroyed by
Melkor's lust.

Another thing to remember that this is myth - written supposedly by men who
have drawn it from elvish legends if I read the hints in the text rightly - and
therefore is subject to the same doubts about its validity as any historical
text. Something Tolkien would know and play upon (and something that many of
the intelligentsia miss when they criticise the varying tone of the LOTR - that
Tolkien wrote it as if it were being drawn from different source material hence
the changes in tone).

Anyway that's my longish take on it. Hopefully it makes sense.

cheers,

Baden


--
personal site:
http://www.members.optushome.com.au/bchant/

business site:
http://www.inwestdesign.com


Stan Brown

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Jan 31, 2002, 8:58:39 PM1/31/02
to
Jason Fisher <ja...@swbell.net> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:

>But since Melkor and Aulė both "were the offspring of his [Eru's] thought"
>(Ainulindalė), doesn't this imply that if Melkor wanted to rebel, this
>represents an aspect of Eru, and that if he wanted slaves, that, too, must
>represent a desire of Eru (however small).

No -- at least not in Tolkien's (and the Christian) world. Think
"free will."

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://oakroadsystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ: http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm

Jason Fisher

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Feb 1, 2002, 10:12:42 AM2/1/02
to
>Another thing to remember that this is myth - written supposedly by men who
>have drawn it from elvish legends if I read the hints in the text rightly -
and
>therefore is subject to the same doubts

And outright mistakes, even!

>about its validity as any historical
>text. Something Tolkien would know and play upon (and something that many
of
>the intelligentsia miss when they criticise the varying tone of the LOTR -
that
>Tolkien wrote it as if it were being drawn from different source material
hence
>the changes in tone).

This is a very good point to remember.


Zark

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Feb 1, 2002, 1:05:35 PM2/1/02
to

"baden" <bch...@optushome.com.au> wrote in message
news:3C59D559...@optushome.com.au...

>
>
> > 'And thou Melkor, wilt discover all the **secret** thoughts of thy mind,
> > and wilt perceive that they are but a part of the whole and tributary to
> > its glory'
> >
> > and
> >
> > 'And thou Melkor shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not
> > its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite'
> >
> > Melkor was the best and the brightest and so God gave him the
> > toughest job in the Universe.
> >
> > Case close IMO.
> >
> > Zark
>
> Not according to Mandos. If we're going to quote how about:
>
> "Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought
into
> Ea, and evil yet be good to have been."
> But Mandos said: "And yet remain evil. To me shall Feanor come soon."

Yes - but Mandos could be perceived as just a big a stooge
as Melkor, Mandos knows what Eru allows him to know.

The problem we have here is that once you start treading on ground such
as this - we begin to draw dangerous (as far as Usenet is concerned ;-) )
parallels with Christ/God/Religion etc.

Being a non practicing Catholic, or atheist if you like ;-) If you've heard
one 'Shaggy God story' you've heard 'em all and once you start asking
questions about 'The Creator' - invariably things fall apart **in my
opinion** (Double emphasis on the last three words!)

Fact is - if you **could** answer these questions - it is likely that you
would have solved the entire riddle of religion (especially seeing as
Tolkien's 'fictional religion' is arguably just as valid as any 'real
religion' in
operation today) and why people flock to it. Of course **no one**
(alive that is) **can** explain why the Creator erm............creates
and erm..........does what he does!

Chances are that even if you did get the answer to 'The Religion
Question' - people would simply bugger off and join another
religion to which there was no hard evidence to back it up ;-)

Of course - this might not be a bad thing, after all - **do we
really want to know** what 'God' is up to and why he does
what he does???? ;-)

Zark

> cheers,
>
> Baden
>

Eric Root

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Feb 2, 2002, 10:55:44 AM2/2/02
to

Jason Fisher wrote:

If Melkor was cast in a thankless role, Tolkien cast him in that role, not
Eru, what sort of morality play would Tolkien's works be then? Where is the
wisdom in thinking that Eru _wanted_ him to be evil? No offense intended, but
I can't think that Tolkien meant to teach such a shallow non-lesson as that.
To my ears/eyes, the whole "Eru wanted there to be evil" sounds either like one
of those stoner "have you ever _really_ looked at your thumb" type musings, or,
on a darker note, an apologetic for evil. "yeah, Eru _wants_ there to be evil,
so when I torture you, I'm just doing my job, yeah, that's the ticket."

"Yeah, Melkor got a bum rap, all he was doing was trying to _help_ people. By
the way, I have this cool ring I'd like you to try on..."

Seriously, I think what is confusing people are Eru's various assertions that
things will turn out to his plan in the long run. I saw the whole "Music of
the Ainur" tale as indicating that, no matter how evil tries to mess up the
symphony, it can't take over; good will still convert the whole into overall
good. That isn't to say that the symphony wouldn't have been better if evil
had just wised up to start with, and I have trouble seeing any good in
interpretations that Eru _wanted_ those mess-ups. Someone else in this thread
quoted Mandos's "and yet be evil" speech, which I think is right on the mark.

With respect to free will, all the beings created by Eru had it, which isn't to
say that sometimes they weren't constrained by both their nature and their
nurture. Tolkien made this clear in the story where Eru caught Aule creating
the Dwarves. Eru made it clear that He had only provided Aule with a single
life of his own, and that Aule could not create true independent life himself.
Unless Eru himself put spirits into the Dwarves (which he of course did), they
would be doomed to be mere automatons.

-Eric Root


Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 3, 2002, 5:52:06 PM2/3/02
to
Jason Fisher wrote:

A very good and interesting thread indeed. I've been following this with
great interest.

This thread has touched upon several themes that are important not only
in understanding the works of Tolkien, but also in coming to terms with
real life.

The nature of Good and Evil has been discussed briefly. More emphasis
has been put on the nature of and apparent paradox of free will versus
predestination. The truly interesting stuff even touches on the relationships
between these various issues.

FWIW I don't think that a definite answer is possible in RL. The concepts
of Good and Evil as well as the understanding of free will and predestination
is relative - i.e. it has a cultural basis. This is not to say that there is
nothing
that is deemed universally Evil or universally Good, but the major part of any
ethical beliefs are subject to debate and disagreement.

In understanding the way Tolkien intended this to be in Arda, I think we
must turn to his own Christian belief - not only current Christian thinking,
but the Christian ethics in which Tolkien actually believed. Eru is portrayed
as the ultimate Good, and as Creator. Tolkien obviously wanted to link
his mythology to the real world and I am sure his intention was that Eru
was the one who would later be recognized as the the God of Isaac and
Abraham. For this reason, I believe we must ask for Tolkien's own
beliefs regarding the relationship between God and Satan, the free will of
men and Angels and the nature of omnipotence, omniscience and
predestination.

Here I have to stop, as I have unfortunately no idea as to how Tolkien
perceived these things.


--
Troels Forchhammer
Please reply to t.f...@mail.dk

"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death.
And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then
do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the
very wise cannot see all ends."
-- Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring


Jason Fisher

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Feb 6, 2002, 11:21:03 AM2/6/02
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.fk> wrote in message
news:3C5DBF16...@ThisIsFake.fk...

> This thread has touched upon several themes that are important not only
> in understanding the works of Tolkien, but also in coming to terms with
> real life.

I agree 100%. Perhaps the ambiguities here are intended to allow us each to
hold our own inner discourse on these "difficult" questions and to reflect
real life just enough, but not so closely as to make us nervous, that we can
safely ponder the depths of these issues and how they might affect our own
individual world view. Utlimately, as is pretty clear now, it isn't possible
to answer some questions. "The Ainur had free will!" vs. "No, they didn't!",
for example. They're left just vague enough to prompt the debate, through
which, if not answers, we can at least learn more about our own beliefs and
those of our peers.

Jason


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