Wind to our sails!

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:16 am

Re. "Converting religion into imagination"

An example from my personal experience: I've got a colleague from Scotland. He's very much OK, but he's also quite a fanatic atheist of the Dawkins variety. He goes off into rants about religion now and then and I just ignore him, because I'm worries that, if I would go against it, it would merely turn into a WW1-style trench battle of opinions. And, as I said, I like the guy and don't want to risk weighing down our work relationship by that.
Though I'm not sure that I can restrain myself forever from challenging his opinions. We'll see ...

Anyhow: some weeks ago he told us he had seen that movie about Noah. I expected a scathing review but he was very positive about it, and concluded with something like "aye... if only religion could put itself to tell stories like this or like The Lord of the Rings, that'd be great!"

Of course, I knew it before but it dawned on me again: he just dislikes religion so much because he sees it as a kind of pseudo-science, making preposterous claims and resulting in much bloodshed (eg. the Islam fundies).
And honestly, religion thinks exactly the same about itself. I did one of those Alpha-courses last year to freshen up my Catholic background. It was interesting, but at times also frustrating - for instance, when I found that the church is as rejecting as ever towards homosexuality and all that. Despite the pope we've got now (who I think kicks ass in a political sense at least).
But above all, it was very clear that the Church considers the bible to contain the Factual Truth.
Disappointing, but hardly surprising.

And I can't blame anyone for not wanting to accept that what was suggested by Jung to Idzobar. Everyone reacts as he would:
I am terrified by this thought. It is murderous. Do you even mean to declare me unreal, now that you have lamed me so pitifully?
Because imagination == unreal in almost everyone's eyes. It is rationality's main weapon of self-defence. I can feel it being used to invalidate imaginal experience within myself (as I said above). It's a tough bummer, but it needs to be addressed.
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:20 am

Lúthien wrote:[...] And of course also the message that we must change the godhead into Fantasy in order for it to heal and be restored - which is exactly what Tolkien did.
That's a very interesting observation to me, mostly because I never would have thought of it in that fashion. See, I read the Legendarium essentially as 'history' -- much like accounts of The Great Fire of London (the Diary of Samuel Pepys being a personal account of such that I enjoyed a lot in my younger days) but infinitely more interesting! Not that I'm "out of it" and was/am unaware that JRRT transcribed it directly from thoughts in his mind vs eyewitness accounts, but (as we later learned from The Notion Club Papers, et al) those thoughts in his mind had a strong link to what I call the "shamanic undercurrent".

So do a number of other stories that appear now and then, the most recent of which that wasn't just a "one hit wonder" was probably Battlestar Galactica, but it is difficult to convince anyone of that -- not that I really trouble to even make the attempt any longer.

{P.S. Saw your other post come in just as I posted this one.}

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:30 am

Meneldur Olvarion wrote:
Lúthien wrote:[...] And of course also the message that we must change the godhead into Fantasy in order for it to heal and be restored - which is exactly what Tolkien did.
That's a very interesting observation to me, mostly because I never would have thought of it in that fashion. See, I read the Legendarium essentially as 'history' (...)
Yes, I am aware of that ... but I think that there is no contradiction here.
Maybe I should express it differently. I don't think that Tolkien intentionally set out to express imaginal truth in a fantasy story. He merely reported and elaborated on stories that came as 'given things' from Faerie; and as long as you are looking at it with imaginal eyes, you are indeed reporting history.

But as soon as you switch back to our everyday life, there's no way that you can present it like that; especially not if you're an Oxford don, Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and a renowned philologist. So, it then becomes a fairy-story - well, this transformation of meaning (I think that's called hermeneutics?) is of course what On Fairy-stories is all about.

He was sensitive (and sensible) enough to realise that what he was writing wasn't a mere figment, dream or falsehood but that it represented something infinitely more serious and meaningful. The huge problem we have here is that the modern cultural mindset cannot deal with it ... there are no proper words for it and no conceptual framework.

What both Jung (towards Idzobar and elsewhere) and Tolkien did was to present their imaginal reporting (the fairy-gold) as fantasy in order to circumvent that core problem of the modern cultural mindset. Sure, people cannot accept it for what it is because their mind cannot grasp the concept, but this does not mean that people are altogether wholly insensitive to imaginal truths when they are confronted with it. This doesn't work for everybody: some individuals identify so strongly with that dominion of the ratio / exclusion of imaginal truth that they almost instinctively reject any fantasy. I think this accounts for the unreasonable dislike that some people feel for the genre as a whole: it attacks their world view 1.
But many others do sense the depth of Tolkien's work, even if they have absolutely no idea why. Hence, I believe, the countless attempts of scholars to analyse it: they try to understand what it is that moves them. It's useless, of course, because they're all looking at the stones 3 of the tower but never at the tower itself, and even much less try to climb it.

Meneldur Olvarion wrote:-- much like accounts of The Great Fire of London (the Diary of Samuel Pepys being a personal account of such that I enjoyed a lot in my younger days) but infinitely more interesting! Not that I'm "out of it" and was/am unaware that JRRT transcribed it directly from thoughts in his mind vs eyewitness accounts, but (as we later learned from The Notion Club Papers, et al) those thoughts in his mind had a strong link to what I call the "shamanic undercurrent".
I think we're saying the same thing: it is all about true stories and the problems associated with trying to work around the cultural censor that allows only factual truths. What is brought back from the imaginal IS true. More true even than the factual true is.
Meneldur Olvarion wrote:So do a number of other stories that appear now and then, the most recent of which that wasn't just a "one hit wonder" was probably Battlestar Galactica, but it is difficult to convince anyone of that -- not that I really trouble to even make the attempt any longer.
I think you will find people among the 'generic gnosics' who will accept that. In fact, I have heard several different authors being discussed in Miguel's shows that are considered to have gnostic significance. The most well-known are SF author Philip K. Dick and, of course, the Matrix (though I never fancied that much myself). I'd have to look, but it could very well be that Battlestar Galactica is also considered one. From what I know of the show, I tend to agree with you.
I have been fascinated with the show as well, especially the first two seasons - though part of that was also because at the time I had a bit of a crush on Starbuck a.k.a. Mrs. Kara Thrace :blush2:

I'm just personally more attracted to Tolkien's legendarium, but that does not matter in the end.


1) apart from the Game of Thrones, of course, because it is profusely advertised to be grounded in factual history 2. Silly enough, this takes the threat out of GoT, so that even the most inveterate fantasy-haters can embrace the series and cozily freak out over its horrors.
Strange people, those humans .... :hmm:

2) which it isn't. But apparently, that does not matter: the mere suggestion is enough.

3) ... peeking at them with microscopes, under UV light and polarised light; grinding them to dust and chemically analysing them; comparing them to other stones found elsewhere in order to figure out where they came from, who made them and why, etcetera ... what a waste of time.
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:51 am

Re. gnosis & Battlestar Galactica:


This video talks about Esotericism in Battlestar Galactica:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PHtRY4CYVI

This Aeon Byte show interviews the same author:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8Z8H609BXY

In Tait McKenzie's blog called Salvation Beyond the Stars he discusses Battlestar Galactica

And this Aeon Byte show (#274) is about Gnostic Themes in Star Trek with Errol Icsel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNcwtSD_b_c
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:23 am

Re: BSG gnosis links -- thanks!

Re: GoT supposedly based upon historical events: Wow, I didn't even know that was the gimmick, so I Googled and found a number of sites, like this one [link]. I guess I hadn't heard of it because when I take a dim view of something, it really is a dim view:
Dave Woosley's Liminal head-space wrote:R.P.: I thought you said they's sposed ta be food in heya.. An why is it so damn dark? {Bump} What da hell is dis - straw!? Tygers kaint eat no straw, yo!
me: Hey, it's not my fault, they said it was supposed to have "meaty stories".
R.P.: Stories bein' tol' by meatheads be more like it.
me: Yeah...
After reading that site, it looks like jumbling up historical accounts and giving them some CGI glitter and flash makes for great storytelling. It does puzzle me why this attracts the great population of dimwitteds, but it no longer surprises me in the least. I guess if you are a producer of these things, the key to a hit show is to aim for the lowest common denominator instead of the highest. Or to put it another way: write for quality, and then almost exactly invert that (although I doubt most of them are quite that dedicated).

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:57 am

Meneldur Olvarion wrote:After reading that site, it looks like jumbling up historical accounts and giving them some CGI glitter and flash makes for great storytelling. It does puzzle me why this attracts the great population of dimwitteds, but it no longer surprises me in the least. I guess if you are a producer of these things, the key to a hit show is to aim for the lowest common denominator instead of the highest. Or to put it another way: write for quality, and then almost exactly invert that (although I doubt most of them are quite that dedicated).
I researched it a bit because I wrote an article in the Dutch Tolkien Society magazine Lembas about the show - which I was afraid could have been a bit thorny because it so happens that the editor of Lembas also happens to be the one who translated Mr. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" (the books the series is based on) in Dutch. But she took it as a sport, which I appreciated, because my review was, well, not exactly glowing.
It wasn't even a real review because I have never seen a minute of the series nor read a single page of the book. Therefore, the article is announced as an attempt to reverse-engineer the work from the noise it makes on the internet. And indeed, I think the chance that the series and the books are altogether completely different than the image that practically screams at you from all the fallout is about as small as the proverbial monkey writing Marcel Proust's "Au recherche du temps perdu" on a typewriter purely by chance.

That's why I read quite a number of Youtube comments and the like, and I have seen that argument used over and over again that it is good because it's (supposedly) based on facts. One comment on YouTube went something like this: "That violence is in there because those things also happened for REAL! Didn't you know? Are you blind or what? You better educate yourself then! Or would you want to censor that out and want us to live in a LIE, huh? Is that what you want? Well, we don't like censors and LIARS in here! So be gone with you!"

Also, the author, mr. Martin, says: "I wanted to show that the evil resides within ourselves instead of in Orcs or Dark Lords".
As I also said last week somewhere on Facebook, you can then still wonder why one would need six seasons stuffed with the most hideous violence to drive that simple message home.

But, well. That article I wrote was in Dutch, but the gist is something like this: that I noticed a few things about the series such as the above-mentioned rationalisation for liking it because it should be based on historical facts.
Another striking thing was the way in which people talk about the series. For instance, I noticed this with some of my colleagues: they typically talked about it in a sort of awe, telling that yes, it was very VERY good, and yes, it was indeed also very unpleasantly violent. It was as if they somehow subjugated themselves to those unpleasantries as an atonement of some sort.
I found it VERY weird, there was something odd going on there, which reminded me of those self-flagellating monks in Monty Python's Holy Grail movie ("Pie Iesu Christu" ... *smack* ... "dona eis requim" ... *smack*) . I don't think that any of them could have pinpointed it if asked, nor explain it.

You could then ask yourself what the attraction of exposing oneself to unpleasant things is in general. It comes in many shapes and sizes and intensities, from those Social Drama movies set in the suburbs of Manchester, via those obligatory "dark and gritty" arthouse flicks (with punk soundtrack) about junks and prostitutes that the progressive public has been indulging in since the 1980's (at least here in Europe), all the way to slasher movies or what have you.

It would be handy to have a word for this, so I coined misagathos - dislike of happiness (or someone who-), in analogy of JRRT's misomythos (hater of myth, from Mythopoeia).
Then, I tried to draw up an extensive list of all thinkable motives for misagathos, and, as in Cinderella, try and figure out which shoe fits Game of Thrones best. This is, IMO at least, a motive I labeled "the Factguiser" exactly because the observed tendency to point to the supposed historical factuality when asked "why all the violence"?

There is also a website somewhere that debunks that supposed historical accuracy. It is, in short, bollocks.
The Middle Ages were admittedly more violent than these days, but nowhere near as intensely, commonly and frequently as is depicted in GoT. And that goes even stronger for rape, which the show cannot get enough of it seems - but the reality is that there was a very strong taboo on rape. It absolutely happened, but again, most definitely not with the appalling regularity as in that series.
Too bad I don't have the article here, otherwise I would have posted that site.

And lastly, I argue that the series is in fact not fantasy at all. If you look at the definitions given by Tolkien, GoT simply isn't fantasy. It lacks the most essential quality: it does not derive from a veritable experience in the land of Faerie. The author even boasts that it's not.

Therefore, GoT is nothing but a violent soap-opera with swords and dragons in it.
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:50 pm

Lúthien wrote:[...] Also, the author, mr. Martin, says: "I wanted to show that the evil resides within ourselves instead of in Orcs or Dark Lords".
As I also said last week somewhere on Facebook, you can then still wonder why one would need six seasons stuffed with the most hideous violence to drive that simple message home.
That George R. R. Martin dude is a trip: all you have to do is watch the latest news videos to see the latest ISIS atrocity -- there seem to be at least several a week now. Problem solved if that's what floats one's boat.
It would be handy to have a word for this, so I coined misagathos - dislike of happiness (or someone who-), in analogy of JRRT's misomythos (hater of myth, from Mythopoeia).
I like your new word! B-)
The Middle Ages were admittedly more violent than these days, [...]
Probably in most places. In America where everyone seems to think that the solution to violence is to live inside of a military arms locker, I'm not so sure. I'm waiting for tactical nukes to go on sale at Home Depot in compliance of Emperor Trump's soon to be passed "nuke your neighbor" law...
Therefore, GoT is nothing but a violent soap-opera with swords and dragons in it.
I hear that!

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:45 am

Lúthien wrote:[...] From what I know of the show, I tend to agree with you. I have been fascinated with the show as well, especially the first two seasons - though part of that was also because at the time I had a bit of a crush on Starbuck a.k.a. Mrs. Kara Thrace :blush2:
Not sure of you were aware of this, since you said you stopped watching after season 2, but she does a very Gandalf sort of thing: that is to say, she literally dies and returns -- causing a big problem in the fleet, need I add, who think it is all some kind of Cylon plot. But she is...what's the proper word...'enhanced' is the only word I can come up with. Definitely Kara, but also more. Leoben (Cylon model two) calls it "glowing with the light of God, an angel", which is probably accurate given that he's the shaman among the Cylons and can detect what the others can't.

There are also hints that her father may have been Cylon model 7, 'Daniel' which model 1, 'Cavil' exterminated for a very human reason: he was insanely jealous of his parents' love for his brother (Cavil was what we would call a sociopath -- his actions not only caused the war with the humans, but later the Cylon Civil War). The writers left her parentage deliberately ambiguous, but there are hints in the last season if you watch closely.

Just thought I would give you the info in case you were interested in picking it up again.

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:22 am

Meneldur Olvarion wrote:...
Just thought I would give you the info in case you were interested in picking it up again.
I might indeed. I did not stop watching it because I didn't like it, but because I only had the discs of seasons 1 & 2 at the time. And admittedly, I think I found the story in a bit of a cul-de-sac at the end of season 2, wasn't that when they were imprisoned on some planet?

Incidentally, talking about Gandalf: (gee, I'm getting WAY offtopic now ...) I read something the other day on tvtropes.com about how Gandalf saw "things even Sauron doesn't know about, gnawing at the roots of the world" after he had fallen down in Moria and roughed up the balrog. Supposedly they were quite unpleasant because he didn't want to talk about them any further - which I find a bit of a let-down because, hey, it's fine if you feel like that but please don't mention them at all then, because now it merely piques everyone's curiosity in a very annoying way :)

Do you have any idea what those things were?
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:31 am

back on topic:

While I had at first mailed the question to everyone as an open question, I soon realised that this might not work because while I was glad that Ellenar answered it so soon, his answer was not really useful to base a decision on. If I understood him right, he would be ok if we just shut the place down.
While I can understand and respect that position, it is not what I want to do. I still have the feeling this thing has only barely started; that there is so much more we can accomplish - not that it has run its course and can be retired.

Therefore I sent a more clear-cut version of the same question - meaning something someone can answer with a "yes" or "no" instead of an open answer, which takes more effort to formulate.

But now I realise that I did not give a deadline. I could still wait until the cows come home.
Do you think it would be good to send one more message proposing to move ahead with the default option re. privacy (which respects everyone's privacy and doesn't open anything up to a wider audience as it is now) - if they have not responded before that deadline date?
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:13 am

Lúthien wrote:
Meneldur Olvarion wrote:[...] I read something the other day on tvtropes.com about how Gandalf saw "things even Sauron doesn't know about, gnawing at the roots of the world" after he had fallen down in Moria and roughed up the balrog. Supposedly they were quite unpleasant because he didn't want to talk about them any further - which I find a bit of a let-down because, hey, it's fine if you feel like that but please don't mention them at all then, because now it merely piques everyone's curiosity in a very annoying way :)

Do you have any idea what those things were?
Ahh, the "Nameless things" (so called): http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Nameless_Things

I think the situation is more that Gandalf probably knew what they were and something about them, but wasn't that interested in divulging what he knew because, 1) humanoids seem to get obsessed about that sort of thing and 2) he likely considered them the way the Salvia-people do extraterrestrial intelligences: "It's not our job to be concerned with them".

Now, I'm sure George R.R. Martin would stamp his feet at that, but I'm pretty sure that Gandalf and the Salvia-people would be unmoved to "cough up more info, yo!!!". It's been my personal experience with spiritual entities as a shaman that their motivations are often unlike the standard issue human ones -- and I've only had a little contact compared to some indigenous shamans I've read about among various tribal people in the Amazon basin.

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:29 am

Lúthien wrote:[...] Do you think it would be good to send one more message proposing to move ahead with the default option re. privacy (which respects everyone's privacy and doesn't open anything up to a wider audience as it is now) - if they have not responded before that deadline date?
It's not a bad idea. I haven't had contact with Lisa for quite some time and have no real idea what is going on in her life aside from what little one can pick up from Facebook. I told you about Dineen's family situation and Annaka just replied to our email thread. So, I would say yes.

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:47 am

Almost forgot: regarding Dineen's contributions -- as I remember it, the only personal content she has on the board are some early meditation reports. The public stuff (like her white paper on Lembas) we intended to be public back in the day.

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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Lúthien » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:56 am

Thanks! I see, maybe they're creatures of the same order of Ungoliant: sort of a by-product of the Ainulindalë but essentially strange to Valar, Maiar, Eldar and Humans alike, one could say. Yes, that makes sense. Maybe that Friendly Frederic in the pond before the Gate of Moria is also one of them.

I'll send that reminder mail later today then. It would be a waste to not use the relatively quiet time I'm enjoying right now :)


<-- Hurray! My 1000'th post! :drinks:

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EDIT - thanks re. Dineen's contributions!
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Re: Wind to our sails!

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:37 am

Congrats on the 1000th post! You got ahead of me there. ;)

You know, personally, with regard to the "Nameless things", for whatever reason after I saw that classic Trek episode (which was actually before I encountered LOTR) I always imagined them as something rather like the Horta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_in_the_Dark

That no doubt says a lot more about Dave Woosley than it does JRRT, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

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