Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Temptations of the Age

It just struck me just now (as I was tempted to worry about money) that the moral of the Hobbit is that the desire to accrue and maintain wealth is corrupting to the soul, just as the moral of The Lord of the Rings is that the desire to acquire and maintain power over others is corrupting to the soul. This is true even if this desire has a good end in view, such as one's welfare and the welfare of one's family, or the desire to "redistribute"and "empower" those who have been the victims of present or historical oppression. Indeed, such desire always presents itself as a good thing, especially to those who have been, perceived they have been, or are afraid of being either poor or oppressed. Thus these two stories are very important for understanding our times and our political divides, characterized by greed and the desire for power.

Further, each presents itself as a way of avoiding our inevitable death, the chief temptation for mortal creatures. Yet, by corrupting and killing the soul, they destroy our enjoyment of this life, another important theme in Tolkien's works.

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