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Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:11 am
by Mildir
TolkienGnostic wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:07 am
Also I kind of stumbled into Markus Davidson’s thesis on Tolkien spirituality which is why I’m here.
I can't find anything online... :hmm:
What's this thesis about ?
Lúthien wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:52 pm
It’s not something that is talked about a lot among Tolkien enthusiasts, and neither among spiritual seekers.
Times are changing. You might be surprised how many Facebook groups we now have in which people start from the assumption that Tolkien was "in states of higher awareness and consciousness" that could allow him to create his world. :)

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:15 pm
by Lúthien
TolkienGnostic wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:04 am
I understand the need for keeping some of the board not for the public. But I would be curious to learn about others experiences in communing with the Valar.
Great! I'll get back to you asap about that.
TolkienGnostic wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:04 am
When I was reading the Silmarillion the emanation of the Valar as the thoughts of Eru Ilúvatar and their demiurgic role in shaping and ordering existence reminded me of some of the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic teachings. The only difference is that Gnostic teachings tend to denigrate the physical while Tolkien states in Morgoths Ring that matter is fundamentally good.
That is an interesting observation!
The similarity of the Ainulindalë with especially the Manichean creation myth is also mentioned by Lance Owens, btw. I don't know enough about the Manicheans to be able to tell, though.
TolkienGnostic wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:04 am
Anyhow I was wondering if anyone observed the Three Prayers of Númenor. Also I was wondering if anyone here has meditated on the Cirth or Tengwar similar to the Norse runes?
About the Three Prayers of Númenor: I don't know - it might very well be, though. We had one member who was quite interested in Númenorean spirituality, so he might have found something.

About the Cirth / Tengwar: that's a definite yes. There should be quite a bit about that.

Anyhow, I'll get back to you!

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:30 pm
by Lúthien
Mildir wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:11 am
TolkienGnostic wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:07 am
Also I kind of stumbled into Markus Davidson’s thesis on Tolkien spirituality which is why I’m here.
I can't find anything online... :hmm:
That's because his surname is spelled Davidsen, not Davidson :D - he's from Denmark.

Here's his page on the Leiden University site
Mildir wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:11 am
What's this thesis about ?
About Tolkien-related spirituality. The thesis should be available on that page above.
I'm quite ambivalent about it, though.
While Markus has always been completely in earnest, I only realised afterwards to what degree he keeps regarding and trying to analyse the whole thing with a completely rational mindset. I don't blame him; after all, he's a scientist and he's expected to stick to the scientific methodology. He's also a really nice guy, I like him a lot.

But - it was sometimes a bit trying that Dave and myself could never get him to understand what the gist of the whole thing was. Therefore the whole project is at best a kind of a hollow shell - it describes what someone looking from the outside may see, but without any understanding of what he's looking at. It's best regarded as a kind of a sociological study, but reading it will teach you nothing about gnosis or Tolkien.

Lúthien wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:52 pm
It’s not something that is talked about a lot among Tolkien enthusiasts, and neither among spiritual seekers.
Mildir wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:11 am
Times are changing. You might be surprised how many Facebook groups we now have in which people start from the assumption that Tolkien was "in states of higher awareness and consciousness" that could allow him to create his world. :)
Well, show me! That would be most interesting. Forgive me if I am initially somewhat skeptical; we've seen so many people coming and going here of which you could say something like the above - but whether or not it has any substance is quite another story.

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:01 pm
by Mildir
Lúthien wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:30 pm
reading it will teach you nothing about gnosis or Tolkien.
Well, I'll give it a look all the same (when people mention Tolkien in the same breath as spirituality there is always something interesting).
Thank you for the information. :)
Lúthien wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:52 pm
Well, show me!
There is this organization: https://it-it.facebook.com/universalelvensociety/


There is this person who has a YT channel and a FB page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW_tW7 ... 7FrpxISVuQ
There are many like-minded people especially on FB (I'm not talking about otherkin).
I know that if you just look at them, many don't seem to be serious but... if you listen to what they talk about, it's mainly spirituality and attempts to see the profound meaning of J.R.R. Tolkien's works.
It may be a weak awakening of the interest for Tolkien spirituality, but it's much more there now, much more than in the past.

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:34 pm
by Lúthien
Well, that would be a good thing!
Thanks for the links, I will have a look.

Btw - maybe I was a bit too dour about Markus’ dissertation. It does a great job documenting the history of spirituality based on Tolkien’s mythos and putting it in a context.
But what it misses is that it doesn’t say anything about what happens at the core - about why we’re into this. But truth be told, that cannot be done even if he would have shared the experience.

As Tolkien also writes in “On Fairy-stories”:
“JRR Tolkien in ‘On Fairy-stories’” wrote:I will not attempt to define [faërie], nor to describe it directly. It cannot be done. Faërie cannot be caught in a net of words; for it is one of its qualities to be indescribable, though not imperceptible.
You can only talk about the whole matter with someone who already knows what you’re talking about, because that basic understanding has to come from your own experience. But a third party who doesn’t have that experience wouldn’t be much wiser afterwards.

So I can’t and won’t blame Markus for that. But having said that, it would have been interesting had he been more curious about that ;)

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:56 pm
by Lúthien
By the way - this is an interesting synchronicity - last week Miguel told me that he found an interesting podcast called Runesoup, in which Becca Tarnas was interviewed on the subject of Active Imagination - the Jungian term for Imaginal Journeying (or simply ‘meditations’) based on Tolkien’s mythos: https://runesoup.com/2018/09/talking-th ... ca-tarnas/

I’ve exchanged a few emails with her, and last time we spoke she was still preparing for her PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco (https://www.ciis.edu/).
In the meantime she did write and defend her thesis "The Back of Beyond: The Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien”.
There is a video on YouTube of her defense ceremony:




Well worth checking out!

So yes, I’ve also been getting the idea that it’s picking up steam.

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:55 pm
by Mildir
Despite their fictional basis, fiction-based religions are genuine religions because the activity and beliefs of which they consist refer to supernatural entities which are claimed to exist in the actual world. As such, fiction-based religions can be contrasted with fandom which, as a form of play, creates a fictional play world rather than making assertions about the actual world.
Some of the FB groups I chanced upon do both.
There are people who "feel" they are elves or fairies but admit that elves and fairies in their original (non-human) form can only exist in a different dimension, not in our reality.
I, for one, never wanted to attach much importance to the terms that Lada Haldeson used to identify and describe herself ("Elda", "One of the First Men"...), but I do recognize she is no more human than I am a bedside lamp.
And that makes me think that it's not easy to say that all Tolkien writes in his books is invented.
Does that make me a religious person... or a gnostic ? :hmm:
(The answer I'd love to give to Davidsen and Hoeller is: it just makes me myself! :D Categorizing people is not always the most perceptive thing to do, especially if they don't categorize themselves in the first place, which is what happens in the case of many Tolkien spirituality groups)
Lúthien wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:34 pm
You can only talk about the whole matter with someone who already knows what you’re talking about, because that basic understanding has to come from your own experience. But a third party who doesn’t have that experience wouldn’t be much wiser afterwards.
When I was just a child I kept repeating to my parents that this is the main characteristic of the objective truth.
Not sure whether to look at that little child as a baby-gnostic or a baby-religious man, in light of this... :D

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:01 am
by Lúthien
Hey, I just realised that the discussion was hijacking Tolkiengnosis welcome topic. Sorry, I didn’t notice that yesterday evening.

I moved those posts.

Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:54 am
by Mildir
Maybe "Not Specified Further" would be a more appropriate section for this discussion: I've mentioned a personal experience in one line of my last post (and only to relate it to Davidsen's theory), I don't think this makes the last seven posts "Mildir's gnosis". Davidsen's thesis is a subject of interest for everyone, in my opinion...

Re: Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:06 am
by Lúthien
Hi Mildir,

I’m not sure if you mean that there are other posts by you re. Markus’ thesis other than the ones in this topic? Of so can you please point me to them? Then I can add them to this topic (if you want).

Re: Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:20 am
by Lúthien
Mildir wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:54 am
(...) Davidsen's thesis is a subject of interest for everyone, in my opinion...
Well, I think it is rather of interest to sociologists or theologists, but certainly not to Gnostics - in the same way as that you won’t become a better author if you would take a course about the history of literary criticism.

If anything, it would teach you how to win the critic’s approval; but doing that would be a betrayal of your talent - and in the case of a Gnostic, it would the most un-gnostic thing ever :(

Re: Discussion re. Markus Davidsen’s thesis

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:13 am
by Mildir
Lúthien wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:06 am
Hi Mildir,

I’m not sure if you mean that there are other posts by you re. Markus’ thesis other than the ones in this topic?
No no, I only found a bit strange that you had moved these posts to "Mildir's gnosis" when there wasn't really any reference to me or my gnostic experience... :D
Thank you for moving them here (as I said, I think that here they can be read by more people, which would seem more right to me).