April 05, 2011

"We must do without hope"

The theme lately here is the social realism of The Lord of the Rings. And despite all the strange beings in those books, there is a lot of it.

As I mentioned in the past, Tolkien admired aspects of Norse mythology, especially the belief that gods and good men would fight against the force of chaos even knowing they were destined to lose and with no belief in ultimate redemption. He called this willingness to act without hope a "theory of courage."

I think the evils of our own day might call for that kind of courage. The theme shows up more than once in the trilogy. At one point, after the apparent death of Gandalf, Aragorn tells the Fellowship,
"We must do without hope...at least we may yet be avenged. Let us gird ourselves and weep no more. Come! We have a long road, and much to do."
Sad but true.

Toward the end of The Return of the King, the hobbit Sam Gamgee, lost in the tunnels of the dark realm of Mordor after apparently losing his friend Frodo, has a similar moment:
But even as hope died in Sam, or seem to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam's plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.
There is a strength in resolve without and beyond hope. And we're probably going to need it.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, the disaster at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 miners. Here's a look back at some painful memories and unanticipated changes.

FOR THEIR NEXT STUNT, House Republicans want to kill Medicare. More here.

THE 1 PERCENT (NON) SOLUTION. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz looks at America's problem with extreme inequality.

FIGHTING BACK. Unions and allies rallied in all 50 states to support workers rights on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We had a pretty decent one in WV.

REALITY MINING? Here's a look at the new series "Coal."


1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

I can't see how a medicare/caid privatization would do anything but screw up the country.

On one hand since the GOP is stingy with anything that helps the working class, but liberal with anything that helps the rich possibly they would make the vouchers huge, so that the big insurance companies would donate part to their campaigns and it would be good for the working class.

However probably a more realistic scenario is the vouchers don't keep up with inflation and we see

Only the rich getting insurance.

More people staying in the workforce to keep their insurance which will mean we need even MORE jobs to keep the unemployment rate down.

More people coming to the ER without insurance which will drive up the price to those that have even further fueling health care inflation which is the root of the medicare/caid inflation problem in the first place.