Tikal- The Mystic Metal Of Aule

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Re: Tikal- The Mystic Metal Of Aule

Post by LostBoy » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:04 pm

On the chemistry thing - the posters in the thread pointed out that the evaporated mercury would kill you, too. That was rather the whole point and why no one attempted it. So, I'm still pretty dumbstruck that even though Tolkien was unlikely to know about/write in the boiling point of mercury either, mercury was the one planetary metal absent from the alloy.

As a former devout Catholic, though, I'd like to shed some light on the second point. Catholicism puts a lot of stress on the difference between a temptation/inclination to sin ("concupiscence") and actually doing so, and to what extent you do something. Simply having doubts is no sin if you don't entertain them. Even voicing disagreements is probably just a venial sin (depends on context, etc.). Actively saying "the Church is wrong" and claiming you can still be a good Catholic without following everything the Magisterium says would be a mortal sin. Even many of the strictest Catholics don't necessarily agree with everything the Church says, and will complain about one issue or another to close friends, while reciting the party line should anyone else ask their opinion about it. I can largely relate to Tolkien's statement - even though he doesn't totally agree with the Church, he still has faith in its authority. This is because if the Church were mistaken about even the slightest point, it would undermine its infallible authority, so he'd have to go find a new philosophy altogether, and since none seems as convincing as Catholicism, he has no choice but to cling to his faith that the Church is actually correct in the end, even if he personally disagrees. This is extremely frustrating for obvious reasons, and his complaint is reminiscient of Peter's "Lord, to whom will we go?", likely on purpose.

The best analogy for a non-Catholic is that you're on a ship in a storm, the Captain is an idiot and might get everyone killed if you listen to him, but if you try to do anything about it, you're going to start a mutiny during a crisis and DEFINITELY get everyone killed, so even though there might be muttering amongst the crew, when push comes to shove they're going to follow the Captain's orders and not rebel. It's not a perfect analogy because the issue of infallibility doesn't come into play, but emotionally, it's a lot like that.

In his later writings, whatever his overall motivation for revising the earlier works, he changed a great deal of the more pagan elements to be more in line with Christian theology. I feel this is pretty self-evident, but if you want to debate that point I'll make a new thread, because it would require extensive quotation and discussion of specific examples and would derail this thread. In any case, assuming he did know about planetary metals (which we both agree is unlikely), the point is that I seriously doubt he would deliberately include occult elements...even though there are a LOT. More on that later ;)

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Re: Tikal- The Mystic Metal Of Aule

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:45 pm

Re: your explanation of Catholic culture and the Captain metaphor: fascinating! As a Cylon (person on the autism spectrum) one of whose primary interests is "why do neurotypicals behave as they do?", this explanation was quite useful to me. I suppose my difficulty in trying to understand such mindsets is the whole 'infallibility' idea. In my worldview, no one is infallible, even the Archons. The Valar (both Melkor and the others) exhibit multiple instances of 'failure' -- of differing kinds and degrees.

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Re: Tikal- The Mystic Metal Of Aule

Post by Calantirniel » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:31 am

I have found this thread interesting indeed. I would also keep in mind that in Tolkien's case, Catholicism saved his life. I imagine he felt somewhat of a duty to remain loyal in the eyes of the church for that, despite what he thought deep down. Not only that, when you are raised with a particular belief system, it colors everything in existence. So even recovering Catholics who are in a process of rejecting the doctrine will need to unwind the influence out of every aspect of their lives which could take years, and even then there are memories. It is quite difficult to unring a bell if you will.

As for alchemy, a precursor to chemistry, I have done more with plants than metals since it is easier to work with a force closer to our own makeup. Metals was advanced work but I do know about Mercury's quality here. Then we think of the legends and Hermes/Mercury was the only deity that was granted free travel anytime to any realm, which was the heavens with Jupiter, this world, the oceans with Neptune, and most importantly the underworld with Hades/Pluto. He was the messenger and a trickster. This is why these arts are called Hermetic as they have this magical transformation quality. As for copper, ruled by the most cooperative planet of Venus, we discover this metal is the easiest to combine with others, it plays well if you will. Lead being the heaviest and also poisonous really describes Saturn's quality. I am no metal worker but can see how the planetary energies were designated to each metal.
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