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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Just a Thank you today

Hey folks, not a formal post today taking a day or two off from articles/formal posts. I do want to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog, like my posts, your subscriptions. All that really means a lot to me, I am a small blogger and it does go a long way to keeping me motivated.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of me and the “A Gen X Point of View” blog.

Have a great weekend and take care.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Wisdom from the past: Winston Churchill

Nearly everyone who is reading this has either heard of or has studied Winston Churchill. To say he was (or Is) one of the most famous statesmen of the “World War” period wouldn’t be a stretch. He was in the middle of the most perilous time in modern history. The World Wars were the most devastating events in human history, oh and wedged in between those was this other event called the “great depression”. Needless to say if you lived through that period of world history you are probably wiser than most of us.

Churchill didn’t suffer fools, he did though accept the fact that even people he disagreed with had the right to be disagreeable. He valued free speech and basked in the fight and nuances of debate and semantics. The wisdom?

“Some peoples Idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, it’s an outrage.”

Boy is that true in 2021 isn’t it? Been on twitter lately? LOL. The point here is, most people that are telling you what they think often aren’t interested in hearing what you think if it’s not agreeing with their point of view. We are now to the point of intolerance where people are canceled for having “wrong think” or “wrong speak” and inconveniently we don’t have Trump around anymore to blame for it.

No its now (and always was) emboldened people who believe what they think is right and will go to extremes to make sure there is no dissent. Churchill faced this as well in his time, they were called Nazi’s and they burned books (think they would have liked Dr Zeus?) and committed horrific crimes.

Be wary of people who want to silence others, who deem something distasteful and are willing to remove access without consent. These are very dangerous people, in essence they want to control what you see, what you hear, and what you think. They are everywhere and, as Churchill warns, if you disagree it’s an outrage. Except now, the outrage has blossomed into something far more sinister.

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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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Dressing to feel good !

More advice from a 50-year-old (me) bye bye 2020.

This is more of a pep talk post. 30 years ago, I was unemployed, out of work, living on a friend’s couch, smoking drinking, partying with absolutely no direction at all. My family was broken, my siblings spread out all over the country, my father deceased, my mother a raging alcoholic. I had no hope, I had no support, I was hanging on by a thread.

Things got progressively worse for me, the 1980’s turned to the 1990’s and it looked like I was going to be homeless and broke. I caught a break, I hooked up with a girl friend who had her shit together. She got me a job at the company she was working at. The boss there told me, and I will never forget this. “You have an opportunity here to change your life, if you mess it up, it’s all your fault”. It wasn’t prophetic, it wasn’t an epic line from Shakespeare etc. It was though a chance, and I took it.

2020 the world was on fire, 2021 is near will the flames subside?

I stayed with the GF for a year, I banked as much money as I could. We didn’t last, she changed jobs and changed boyfriends. I held the job though, I had enough resources to afford a very cheap apt, food, I was living. I was able to reduce my drug intake and booze. I went to night school (the company helped me pay for it). I took a second job, selling men’s dress shoes. I hustled my ass off and did everything I could to generate income and better my position.

By the time I got out of that company I had an associate degree, I cleaned up A LOT, and I was dating my future wife. Fast forward to now, 30 years removed I have two college degrees, a very nice house, financial independence, a great family and a decent career. I have issues still, I struggle with anxiety, I have moments where I am not a fun person to be with.

I never thought I would arrive at this place in my life, I am happy, most of the time.

Where are you now? What do you see 5 years from now in your life? Is it bad? Is it really bad? It’s likely much worse than my situation. I caught a break, but I didn’t know it was coming. I got one shot and I made it work. Life isn’t fair, most of the time it sucks but along the way you’ll likely meet people that can help you, you just have to have your eyes open enough to see that the help is there to take. It’s okay to take help, it’s okay to need assistance.

You must hang in there, imagine for a moment 30 years from now. What will you be? Where will you be? If I can make it, you can make it. 2021 is upon us and it might be your worse year or it might be your best. Eyes wide open in 2021.

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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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Oscar Wilde

Wisdom from a 50 year old – Me

No this is not one of my “ancient wisdom” pieces all though I am sure there is someone out there who will quip something about my age….. The wisdom?

A person with experience should not be a victim of a person with an opinion

This isn’t specific to any one thing, meaning you may have a lot of experience dating. You may be an experienced gamer, you may have experienced abuse of some kind…. Whatever the condition is experience is paramount. Everyone has opinions, it doesn’t mean those opinions are wrong either.

Ideally in life when you can, if you can, seek out people with experience first, cultivate opinions second. Also, do not discount yourself when considering people with experience. You are after all an expert in yourself, or becoming one. You’re instincts are likely based on your experiences and that is the path to true wisdom.

Don’t let people with an opinion speak into your life and victimize you with attempts at shame or guilt. I post this because we are on the cusp of the holidays and for many of us that means interactions with extended family and friends who are all “experts” in something. These experts, and their opinions can sometimes have a dramatic negative impact on you and in your life.

You are here, you are present, you are coping, and you are surviving. You are putting together minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of life and you are moving forward. Opinions come and go, anyone can step into your life for a minute and give a dossier on what they see. Ignore them, seek people with experience, including the expert on you, you.

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Ben Franklin

Wisdom from the past – Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics…derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.” Benjamin Franklin

If you are actively trying to silence/cancel other people’s ability to speak freely you are a tyrant or the tool of a tyrant. You are without question one of the most dangerous people on the planet. You are willing to shut down others because you don’t like them, or don’t like what they have to say. I actually pity you, and when the day comes when YOU are the one silenced/canceled you will receive no quarter.

Even if you don’t like what you are hearing or reading the ability to say or write it is paramount. When we silence others, we create the conditions by which dissent festers and breeds revolt and violence. History is littered with examples of this, you shouldn’t have to be reminded.

Don’t become worse than those you dislike, you will not be able to live with yourself and no one will want to live with you.

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Henry Ford

Wisdom from the Past – Henry Ford

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
—Henry Ford

A quote from Henry Ford is likely going to be suspect for some, he is a complex individual. I think we can agree though that this person had a tremendous impact on the world and life as we know it now with his contributions to industrialism. So let’s examine this quote, it’s particularly relevant given the current state of the world.

We are entering what might be one of the most stressful seasons in modern western society. If you have anxiety the holiday season is already stressful enough. On top of that we have a pandemic to deal with, oh and a divisive presidential election. One of the worst years in modern history for people with mental health issues might have one hell of an ending.

EVERYTHING appears to be lining up to create the perfect storm of anxiety. It would be easy to hide away right now, hunker down and hope for the best. As Ford points out in the quote the plane takes off against the wind. You can of course delay life, no one would blame you, and again 2020 has been horrible. That said don’t give in to fear for fears sake.

You have to continue to move forward, you have to continue to heal yourself and continue to improve your mental health. One small step ahead every day is critical, even if you take two steps back the fact that you are trying to take off is the most important thing. What can you do today to help your mental health? No one knows you better than yourself, the runway is clear it’s time to try and take off even if the wind is against you.

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