Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien… Again…

Yes, it’s time for another piece of wisdom from J.R.R. Tolkien the creator of the wonderful world of Middle Earth, or as most identify it as “The Lords of the rings”. Tolkien’s frame of reference for his writings are anchored in perhaps the most horrific time in human history. He fought in WWI, then there was the Spanish flu, then the great depression, then WWII. To have all that calamity and still be able to muster grand stories of triumph and hope are a testament to his sprit

To the wisdom…

“The treacherous are ever distrustful.” The Two Towers Gandalf

How does this apply to us now and what can we glean from this quote? First we have to acknowledge “The treacherous”. Treachery is a unique word as it is of course a negative connotation but its meaning, and why it’s so negative is the active pursuit of deception and betrayal. This of course can only be achieved once trust is given. Simply put you can’t be deceived by someone you don’t trust and that’s why it’s so sinister.

So what is he telling us here, its literal of course but it is so hard to enact because we want to believe the people we have given trust to deserved it and are worthy of it. If someone has committed treachery against you, you can’t trust them again.

Extreme? Perhaps but trust is a remarkable gift to give. It leaves you wide open to all sorts of potentially negative (and positive outcomes). For those in our lives who accept this trust and don’t betray it we usually have fantastic and robust relationships with them.

Sadly, we all have stories of someone we trusted that betrayed that trust, however minor. That is treachery and this is the lesson Tolkien is trying to instill. Giving your trust to someone else is a tremendous gift, perhaps the greatest one you can give. If someone betrays it, that gift should not be given to them again.

Trust is your most valuable personal asset.

Never trust again? No that’s not what he is saying here. If you are betrayed, you can never fully trust that person again. It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet why do we do it? How much forgiveness have you extended in your life? How many times has your trust been betrayed?

Be mindful of whom you give this gift to, many who are treacherous do so for selfish reasons and not intending to harm you at all. That’s what makes the treachery that much more painful, they never thought of you as highly as you thought of them, you never had their trust, but they had and used yours.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien … Again

Yes, it’s that time again! If you frequent this blog you know I drop quotes from Tolkien often. He is IMHO the master of fantasy prose with deep roots into mythology and the psychology of the human spirit. As a veteran of WWI to say his perspective on life was unique would be an understatement. We look at our world today and commiserate about how hard things are, divisive, negative. Imagine a moment living when Tolkien did….

Your late teens early 20’s you fight in a horrific world war; you then have a pandemic (the Spanish flu). Things are quiet for a while, the 20’s then you get to experience the Great depression, oh and to cap it off ANOTHER world war, twice as deadly as the first. Our lives are a cake walk in comparison in my view… So the wisdom?

“Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them. Good”
― 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien is telling you here that wherever you are, whatever path you are on its been preselected for you. This is his subtle tip of the hat to fate and how as humans many of us fight it (“though you do not see them.) in vein. Our religious friends call this a “Divine Plan” pagans like me, its fate. Tolkien survived perhaps the most calamitous period of human history (as illustrated above). When you go through events like that, I suppose at some point you have to give yourself over to fate. Horrors like that, no one would actively seek.

You are doing awesome dear reader, one day at a time.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien .. Again..

From time to time on this blog we visit a quote from one of my favorite authors Tolkien. For many of us he is the god father of modern fantasy writing (along with Jules Verne). Tolkien gave us a lot of pearls of wisdom from his works, let’s discuss the one below.

“For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, 

What does he mean here? Simply put, those of you who have obtained wisdom or have mentors in your life cannot always rely exclusively on their view. Even those of us with a vast amount of experience cannot possibly foresee all possible outcomes. Tolkien is giving us a very important reminder here that you cannot rely exclusively on the wisdom of others.

Sometimes in life things happen that we don’t anticipate no matter how well we prepared for it. Those are often the most unforgiving and brutal of circumstances and they punish your spirit and soul. The key here is acceptance. Acceptance of the notion that life/fate is out of your hands. Things happen and it’s not always how well you are prepared for what might occur but rather how well you recover from the things you didn’t see coming.

One of the hardest things we have to deal with as humans and as humans with anxiety is picking ourselves up after a major calamity. Tolkien gives us a warning here, he is telling us that even the very wise cannot see all ends. Remember, live isn’t about how many hits you can take, it’s about how you get up and carry on after being knocked down.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien…. Again….

Yes it’s time for another piece with J.R.R. Tolkien. Even if you haven’t read the books you likely know who this author is. His impact on culture has been immense to say the least. His books sent me down a path of imagination that nearly 40 years later I am still on. To the wisdom…

“It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”
― J.R.R Tolkien

I suppose we need to determine what is a simple life? Today many people aspire to have more… In the sense that your motivations are often suspect internally. As an example I want 500 subscribers to my blog. Why? money? reach? affirmation? competition? For me its just a number I want to attain, I believe that its a worthy goal but have no real difinitive reason why other than Id like more people to read what I have to say.

A simple life to you might be something completely different from what I think it is. The point here I think is to reflect on what we have and appreciate it more rather than be constantly driven to obtain more, whatever the venue. Tolkien in context is using the hobbits as an example of his “simple life”.

They enjoy family, home, a good harvest, a warm meal, a soft bed. While the rest of the world is engaged in conquest, power, politics, war, turmoil. Bring this back to your life, what are the simple things you enjoy? Have you celebrated them lately? Meaning really appreciate where they come from, how you obtained it?

Me, I am really thankful for my pillow. I know that sounds silly doesnt it? Its a simple thing, that makes my life better, I am going to celebrate it by washing it today. Yes, sometimes a simple celebration of something that makes your life better is a good avenue for your energy rather than a focus on something you want to obtain.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien…Again..

“Wise men speak only of what they know”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

We’ve all heard some iteration of this in some form in our travels. My father used to say to me many years ago “When you are up to your nose in poop, done open your mouth”. Of course he was more colorful in his prose. He was a Korean War vet and didn’t have much use for B.S. I guess he had seen enough over there to understand the value of his time.

I digress though….

So have you been in a conversation with someone or a group of people and there is that one person who refers to “they” or uses the term “they say”? These are the types of people Tolkien is talking about here. As an example, if we were to talk about personal finance I could hold my own with just about anyone that’s my area of expertise.

If for example we were talking about Astrology I wouldn’t know the first thing other than some cursory info on the solar system, or a guess at how many stars are out there… you get the drift.

Be mindful in your life who is speaking to what subject. It is true the older you get the more experiences you have and you can speak wisely on many topics. Another example… I can tell you and speak to how to jump start a car. Not because I am an auto mechanic but because I’ve had to do it several times in my life.

Not every wise person comes in the guise of the highly educated. A master’s degree is not required in all subjects to have wisdom in said subject. That said be wary of those who boast, who preface remarks, who use citations that don’t make sense, who refer to things that, in your heart you know just don’t make sense.

Tolkien is telling you wise men (and women) speak only what they know. Who are you getting your information from? Is this person a walking encyclopedia? Chances are they are wise in nothing at all, other than how to create the illusion of wisdom.

Interested in more wisdom from Tolkien? Check out my post here

Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien …Again…

“It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.”
― J.R.R Tolkien

It’s true and you should practice it more often. How many of the things that cause you anxiety are “simple”? Food, water, shelter, clothing these are good things and should be celebrated and cherished.

Commuting to work, Instagram followers, WIFI Connections these are not simple things and things like this are likely contributing a great deal to your anxiety.

I don’t know you, I won’t profess to understand the circumstances of your situation. I will say though that celebrating the simple things in life should garner more of your attention. Tolkien is correct here, a simple life is worth celebrating, a complicated life is often wrought with dread, anxiety and sometimes heartache.

All the time? No, but if you suffer from anxiety, depression and stress perhaps taking a minute to identify what a simple life means to you is a good endeavor? It may very well be that the simple things, you over look, and that’s a shame they should be celebrated.

You are doing great, one day at a time…