Archive for October, 2016

Perceptions of Good vs Evil

Posted in Pagan, Religions, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2016 by Drogo

While i LOVE new age metaphors, like “light vs dark” type stuff, i feel i must speak out to distinguish my own beliefs with ‘witch hunt’ type attitudes that come off as ‘holier than thou’. In reality, differences of personality are not black and white for the most part. Good and evil are much more relative to individual perspectives than light and dark; and most things we want to lump in there are usually in a grey zone; good for one, bad for another. For example milk, some people are against it, others love it, i dont think either way it is good or evil. Even killing, killing a human is wrong, killing a harmful virus is good; both are killing another life form, and are not contained within our human conceptions of ‘right and wrong’, except our brains tell us we should be able to label them as such as though we have the ego of Universal Truth. The secret is that Truth, is fractured through our individual perspectives, which will constantly find our own temporary truths, which may last for a life time, or beyond, on the level of that singular consciousness. Universal Truth, if there is such a thing, must be the combination of all, and certainly would transcend human comprehension just as all the holy texts indicate. Even religions that claim THE LIGHT, always have a DARK SIDE, because that is Universal Balance (TRUTH).

A Universal Omnipotent Being would allow both god and goddess, good and evil, light and dark, and night and day; death and life, just as happens in reality. Even healing, which seems a very positive thing, can involve sacrificing life energy; like killing a plant to extract its life energy, burning fossil fuels to heat and power the house until there renewable energy systems are implemented, or spending money that could have been used to save or ‘better’ the lives of others. It is true that we cannot help others, without first helping our-selves to be healthy enough to help others; even just enabling yourself to help others has selfish aspects to it, just as helping others benefits you.

We can choose things that make us feel we are on the path of LIFE, to prolong and better our own lives, because we think that DEATH is bad; and yet death will always come, and things will always die to allow others to live. The truth of reality is yin-yang Tao (The Way of the Universe).

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JRR Tolkien Essays

Posted in Book Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by Drogo

Reports on Tolkien

St. John’s at Prospect Hall – Catholic High School 1990-94

Taken from old reports by Walton Stowell, Robert Trainor, & Chris Chromey

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Middle-Earth: Our History? – based on Rob Trainor’s highschool paper 1993

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontien, South Africa; on January 3, 1892. His father worked there as a banker, although both of his parents were from England. When John was only 4 years old, his father died. His mother Mabel then took young John and his younger brother, back to her native home in Birmingham, England. John was raised there and attended the King Edward School.

In 1904 when John was 12, his mother passed away. From then on he and his brother were raised by a Roman Catholic priest. Tolkien went from King Edward’s school, to Exeter College at Oxford. Before he got his degree, World War I broke out. In 1915 at the age of 23, John Tolkien entered the army, with the Lancashire Fusiliers regiment. The next year he married Miss Edith Bratt, who later became the mother of his children. Tolkien served with the Fusiliers from 1915 until 1918. At the end of WW1, he returned home and went back to college. John got his Masters Degree in 1919.

John studied many languages and knew a number of languages including Latin, German, Gothic, French, Greek, and Middle English. He developed his own hybrid languages, which would be the basis for his novels. John worked for a short time on the famous Oxford English Dictionary. He also became a ‘reader’ professor in English at Leeds University from 1924-25. His first publication was A Middle-English Vocabulary. Then he and E.V. Gordon published a critical text on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, analyzing the infamous old 14th-Century anonymous poem; John later translated it into modern English verse.

In 1925 John Tolkien left Leeds, and went to Pembroke College at Oxford; where he remained for the next 20 years, as Rawlison and Bosforth ‘Professor of Anglo-Saxon’. John’s imaginary languages led to him forming lands and stories around them. He sorted out places where his languages would be spoken, and what their attitudes might be culturally. John became an Oxford ‘fellow’ and ‘don’. He published Chaucer as a Philologist in 1934. Next came Beowulf: Monster and Critics. Tolkien himself had become a respected philologist. Philology is the study of written words, their origins, and meanings.

He wrote stories for his children, as ‘letters from’ Father Christmas. While grading college papers, John Tolkien began day-dreaming and sketching notes about a ‘hobbit’. In 1937, when Tolkien was 45 he was urged by his colleagues and children to publish his book called The Hobbit. It took him 12 more years to write the Lord of the Rings. It took John his life-time to write the Silmarillion, which was post-humously finished for him by his son, Christopher Tolkien.

‘Middle-Earth’ is the setting for The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Tolkien describes Middle-Earth using familiar objects and concepts, that make it seem like it could have existed in the distant past of England. This is how Tolkien conceived many of the ideas, and to many fans there are many charming and philosophical allegories and parallels. According to Tolkien, Middle-Earth (Arda) is ultimately its’ own world set in a fictional past of Earth, and not just mere metaphor.

Tolkien wanted to create a fictional mythology for the English, as they didn’t really have one before (besides the Mabinogion, Book of Kells, Beowulf, and the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood). He certainly achieved his goal of creation. Middle-Earth should perhaps best be considered a fantasy time period, set in the distant pre-historic past of Europe. The anachronisms and races are very much fantasy, and the themes are mythical.

References where Tolkien compared the reality of modern Europe and the fiction of ancient Middle-Earth include: the landscape and habits of Hobbiton (like Welsh), Hobbiton’s position north-west, general geography, astronomy changes, language roots, and flora and fauna (including insects). “It is plain indeed, that in spite of later estrangement, Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than elves, or even than dwarves.” (LOTR I, 20) The land is similar to Europe, but much has changed by years of ‘wind and wave’. The significance of the comparison, is that it gives us familiarity with the setting. These descriptions also add believable gravitas; that the lands have been there for a long time, and slowly changed over time. Things like tobacco, clothing, and chimneys are clearly taken out of time and place and dropped in for amusement.

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JRR Tolkien – based on Chris Chromey’s research paper, English 11, 1992

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell; nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.” – 1st paragraph of The Hobbit

In 1938 the world was introduced to its first hobbit. Somehow we fell in love with this short round creature who lives in a hole with a life of comfort and a friendly manner. Throw in an adventure of dwarves, magic treasure, and evil monsters; and you come up with a tale so enchanting that its popularity breaks new ground in literature and pioneers the way of fantasy writing.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the brilliant inventor of the hobbit race (and Middle-Earth). The Hobbit, his first book concerning this magical world, started out as a story Tolkien told to his children in the form of letters he would give them every Christmas (via ‘Father Christmas’ mail), which contained a chapter of hobbit Bilbo Baggin’s adventures and illustrations. Later on in life Tolkien read the hobbit tales to his literary chums, in a jolly writing group called the Inklings. The Inklings were a group of scholars who met with C.S. Lewis in his Magdalen college apartments, and later in old local English taverns. They would talk, read excerpts, and drink with an air of romanticism. Tolkien enjoyed these meetings, perhaps like Bilbo gathering with friends in the Shire of Middle-Earth.

Tolkien’s academic credentials help to explain why he was able to create such wonderful literature. Tolkien studied mythology and languages, with a focus on Celtic and Germanic lore. Tolkien loved English legends, and wanted England to have more of its own mythological literature. He began creating his own languages also, and used characters (like dwarves, valkyries, and elves) from Teutonic folk-lore. Dwarves were like vikings with their Norse beards, weapons, and armor. Elves were like elegant thin human-sized medieval English style faeries. The tree-ents were like dryads, and the wild ‘wose’ men were like Gaels; both of Celtic origins.

His re-imaginings of old ideas became the basis for the modern ‘medieval-fantasy’ genre. Tolkien published the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings few books during his life-time, but he was not able to finish the Silmarillion which was his large bible of Middle-Earth mythology. Pieces of the Silmarillion were edited and published after JRR Tolkien died, by his son Christopher Tolkien. It shows his father’s genius for synthesizing imagination, literature, language, and mythology in extraordinary detail.

Although Tolkien did not use the term ‘fairy’ in his Middle-Earth books, he did create a “fairy world”, or to be more specific an old world of faeries, that humans had begun to colonize and spread into by more rapidly populating. Humans had shorter lives than the other races, so they clearly were procreating faster, and elves were leaving into the West (much as they did in Celtic myths and legends).

About JRR Tolkien’s youth, we know he had a playmate besides his brother when he lived in Africa; named Hillary. They would play fantasy adventures based on stories. When JRR was about 7 years old, he began to compose his own story about a dragon. He recalled a ‘philological fact’ that his mother was more interested in his grammar, than the story or the characters. She pointed out that he should not say “a green great dragon”, but rather “a great green dragon”. This incident ‘put him off’ from writing for many years, and he became ‘taken up’ with language.

JRR Tolkien wrote an essay (similar to Frank Baum’s intro to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) called ‘On Fairy Stories’, to explaining the relationship between reality, fiction, and folk-lore. Tolkien’s essay also addressed Andrew Lang’s ‘fairy-tales’, and what constitutes stories about the land of ‘Faerie’ and what does not (in the mind of Tolkien). Here is an excerpt:

On Fairy-Stories

Probably every writer making a secondary world, a fantasy, every sub-creator, wishes in some measure to be a real maker; or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar qualities of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from reality, or are flowing into it. If he indeed achieves a quality that can fairly be described by the dictionary definition: “inner consistency of reality”, it is difficult to conceive how this can be, if the work does not in some way partake in reality. The peculiar quality of the ‘joy’ in successful fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a ‘consolation’ for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, ‘is it true?’. My answer to this question (that all children ask) was at first (quite rightly): “If you have built your little world well, yes: it is true in that world.” …

To summarize Tolkien’s point here, the art of literature acts as an enchantment upon our minds. A well constructed world of words that tells a story, invites us to believe that the lore is ‘real’. Every writer making a secondary ‘fantasy’ world, wants the reader to desire to believe it is real. This ‘believable’ quality is achieved by using real ‘primary world’ references or characters that can view the fiction through our perspective (and vice-versa). The joy of reading realistic fantasy, is not just escapism, but the thrill of believable travel to that world; by defining its’ own reality. If fiction is well created, it has its’ own consistent truth; which reflects our own reality, each version of every story a magic mirror. The world consistency can change, but it should be reflected on in some way, as in ‘Alice and Wonderland’ stories, the consistency is to be inconsistent with the ‘rules’; with self-exposed unpredictability, as commented on by characters or narration.

By providing linguistic and historic backgrounds, Tolkien gave us the essence of his characters. We can find out more about them, just as we look into non-fiction books for facts about our historical figures. Tolkien thrived on the fact that language is the basis to all communication, and therefore knowledge. Fantasy novels after Tolkien, often imitate his settings and plots, without the depth.

Tolkien’s work feels timeless, like by reading his words we can escape Time. Yet his words also remind us of the power of Time; as with the riddle from the Hobbit:

This thing all things devours;

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays kinds, ruins town,

And beats high mountain down.

Tolkien’s narration language seems ancient, and yet timeless because we can still understand it. One critic* accused his ‘boring’ writing of being a ‘syncretic antiquarian collage’. The critic goes on to say that Tolkien’s “ignorance of all he so conscientiously is trying to transmit” … “definitely leaves his writing lacking”. Clearly, the critic was wrong. To me this is a perfect example of how critics that go beyond factual summary, often show their own ignorance and childishness.

* Essays In Memorium; Catherine Stimpson; Salu & Ferrell (editors); Cornell University, 1979

Tolkien loved children, spent time with them, and made sure to be home at night to tuck in his own children. It was his love for children that drove him to write books for them, built upon college graduate level (adult) education and his child-like imagination (which apparently he never lost). He was not content with the children’s fairy tales he had, when he was a child. Tolkien wanted to give children books that he felt they deserved, that even their adult minds’ could grow into with maturity. The age orientation of his books seems to be progressive. The Hobbit is child-like, the Lord of the Rings is for teens, and the Silmarillion is for adults; but because Tolkien was a scholar, the books are really more advanced, always seeming to be one step ahead of the reader, transcending age at every turn.

END

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Git, Get, Bigot Duality Theory

Posted in Languages, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by Drogo

To ‘beget’ seems to have some relationship to the words git, get, and bigot.

– Drogo Empedocles

Git or ‘yit’ was old english for ‘you two’. The phrase ‘you two’ can be interpreted as ‘both of you’, almost like a doppelganger; there are two ‘you’s’, as in fact you are saying ‘you and the second you’. Old country folk kept using the term ‘gyit’, in ways that may have been insulting for any number of reasons (classist, racist, bigoted, etc); so it became known as an insult after generations of use.

Get or ‘acquire and have’. Got is the past tense of get aka ‘had’, so bigot may have meant ‘two have had’ (Bi-Got / Be-Got), almost inferring an inherent hypocrisy in reproduction (yin-yang, duality of male-female). To possess something or someone is similar to get something or someone. ‘Possess’ also has two meanings; to hold control, and to be inside another. Got of course is also related to ‘god’, as in Swiss ‘by-god’. This gets into the ‘i am god’ / ‘son of god’ historical-linguistic issue, which is long enough for another essay.

A git or a bigot is a person that makes another self, perhaps in the future, that is destined to disagree with them, or attempt to replace them at some point, for any reason. This meaning of words has complex psychological concepts involved in the cultural historic definition, therefore dictionaries have probably not been adequate to record or teach how we think of these words. There is a natural parallel with this duality concept of ‘two selves’ and Janus, or the god with 2 faces. Threshold guardians are mysterious keepers of secrets of life, of light and dark, of two perspectives. The fear is always that they will be Jeckyl and Hyde, the evil making the good suffer.

To me these meanings were intuitive, and I remember feeling their greater implications as a child; when watching He-man and seeing his doppelganger Fakor, or in the Never Ending Story with the mirror of Atreu, or how confusing and mysterious creating, possessing, and being a creation of another was. Getting a thing, or begetting a child, makes another you, that is not yourself.

Faery Architecture

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Fictional Stories, Sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 10, 2016 by Drogo

Faery Architecture – from Harpers Faery Chronicles

Homes are often an important part of our life sagas. Also homes can tell stories through the architecture and art on the walls. Dwellings are places where stories are told and rigamaroles take place, which we interpret. Faery architecture uses organic shapes and natural materials, altered by magic.

Faery home shapes are traditionally round in various ways. Popular inspirations for circle plans with curved walls and domes include the Sun, the Moon, and tree trunks (cylinders). Ovals and ellipses are found also, like giant eggs.

Faery earth building materials are usually wood, stone, and mud. The mud is best applied as a mortar or stucco clay plaster. Wooden branches, sticks, rope, and décor are gathered from bushes, trees, vines, river reeds, meadow thatch, and wild flowers. Rock is often quarried or mined by dwarves or gnomes, and used to with or without wood or mud. Rock can hold wood, or be held by wood. These materials were used independently, or in any combination.

Faery style: ‘Round Rock, Round Mound, & Bound Bough’

Round – sun, moon, tree trunks, eggs

Wood – bushes, trees, reeds, vines, flowers

Stone – shale, lime-stone, and calcium-quartz

Soil – mud, clay, mound, berm, silt-gravel, sand

Faeries can build and live in more human types of buildings, and will still make their mark on them. Rectangular masonry, timber-frame, and half-timber structures may be modified to distinguish them physically as ‘fae’. One way is to add ‘eyes’.

Faery gypsies, pioneers, and scouts often craft make-shift structures that look like fallen branches or vine covered bushes. Moss is a very earthy plant, and lichen is an algae fungus; both of which are used along with ferns commonly on faerie mounds or berms.

Smaller faerie homes were often just hidden from sight; in trees, mounds, or under cliff rocks called mini-bluffs.

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Poe’s Source of the Raven?

Posted in Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Rhymes & Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 3, 2016 by Drogo

“Col. John A. Joyce,
Sturtevant House.”

New York, July 4th, 1878.
My Dear Colonel: As you requested I send a literal translation of ‘The Parrot,’ a poem written by my grandfather in 1809, for the Art Journal, Milan, Italy. He was an etcher and writer for the paper.
‘The Raven,’ by Poe, was taken almost bodily
from ‘The Parrot.’

Who is the plagiarist?

Your Friend,
Leo Penzoni.”

The Parrot

by Penzoni

I sit and pine so weary
in midnight sad and dreary.
Over long forgotten volumes
of historic love-lit lore;
And while winking, lonely blinking
I thought I heard while thinking
A rush of wings revolving above
my oaken door,
“What’s that,” said I, disturbing my
melancholy sore —
‘Tis my lost one, sweet “Belmore”

The frosts of wild December invoke
me to dismember
My tired and tortured body on this dreary,
dastard shore,
And I trust no waking morrow
Shall rise upon my sorrow.
With all its hideous horror that now
thrills my inmost core —
For my brilliant beaming beauty,
beatic, dear Belmore —
Lost, gone forevermore!

The rustling purple curtain waves
in and out uncertain.
As weird wizard voices croaking
sardonic laughter o’er and o’er;
And with startled heart still heating
my lips kept on repeating —
“Some spirit seeks an entrance through
“the window or the door,
“Some ghostlike, lonely stranger
knocking at my chamber door” —
“Simply this, and nothing more.”

Startled “by this ghostly vision, with
desperate decision
My soul exclaimed, “sweet madam,
pardon I implore.
Yet your face it shone so brightly
and your footfalls tripped so lightly.
And you came so slighly stealing to my
rustic, artist door —
‘Tis a wonder that I heard you; wide,
open flung the door —
Horror, blackness, nothing more!

Loud into the blackness calling with
heart beats slowly falling.
With haunted dreams of doubting no
Artist felt before;
But the vision quickly vanished and
all but silence banished.
And I only heard that heaven-lit, love-lit
word “Belmore” —
This I murmured when sweet echo
answered back the word — “Belmore” —
Barely this and nothing more!

Startled hack so lone and sadly, my
soul revolving madly.
Once again I heard a rapping more
impulsive than before;
“Come in,” I kept repeating, and from
the door retreating
To the window, that I might the
curious nooks explore.
While my troubled brain endeavored to
reveal the noise, explore —
“Gusts of wind and nothing more!”

Open wide I flung the shutter when
a Parrot with a mutter
Flew into my lonely chamber as it
did in days of yore.
And it seemed to be quiescent, somber,
and evanescent.
As it sat in lonely grandeur above
my chamber door.
Perching on the bust, Minerva, above
my oaken door.
Perched and blinked and nothing more!

And this croaking bird is leering,
demonaic appearing.
With feathers ruffled ragged round the
countenance it wore;
Though thy beak he like a carrot, you
surely are a Parrot —
Croaking, grumbling, screeching Parrot
from some sandy tropic shore;
Tell me now thy devilish purpose
on this red, volcanic shore —
Cried the Parrot, “Nevermore!”

How I sat depressed, divining to see
some silver lining
Through clouds that hung around me on
this vile, detested shore.
And my soul with grief was haunted
while there I peered undaunted
To hear a bird with crest, and word
above my oaken door.
Bird or brute upon the marble bust
above my chamber door —
Utter name of “Nevermore”!

But the Parrot perching sadly on the
marble bust spoke madly
As if this dark, weird word was his
only stock in store;
And he merely croaked and muttered
While he preened and snapped and fluttered,
As I grumbled, growled and uttered —
“trusted friends have gonie before,”
“Soon, oh soon this bird will leave me,
“as sweet hopes have gone before” —
And this bird shrieked “Evermore”!

Shocked and stunned hy such replying,
can it be the bird is lying.
Or is it willfully determined to he a
babbling bore;
Yet, perhaps it knew a master whose
life was all disaster.
And sorrows followed faster than was
ever felt before,
‘Till the echoes of his sorrows, sad re-
frains forevermore —
Fearful echo — “Nevermore”!

Yet the Parrot still is screeching, to
my seared heart sadly preaching;
Defiantly I faced the bird and bust and
gloom, and door.
Till on the carpet figures, wrought
up into cold rigors,
I frantically demanded what the bird
meant by its roar.
This horrid, raving, somber, ruffled
bird of the days that are no more
Meant in screeching — “Nevermore”!

There I sat in mortal terror, de-
nounced by many an error.
With the Parrots flashing eyeballs
piercing to my inmost core.
And I mused there, deeply pining, weep-
ing, crushed reclining.
by the curtain’s silken lining and the
lamplight glinting o’er,
Beneath its mystic radiance shining
o’er and o’er —
Roared the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Then around me whirled a vision
from the land of the Elysian,
And the air within my chamber fairly
shimmered on the floor,
Wretched Devil! who hath sent thee
to a land where no nepenthe.
Or solace can be given for my lost
and, loved Belmore
Sure I never can forget her, ever
present, bright Belmore —
Growled the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Parrot, prophet, thing of sorrow, is there
yet for me a morrow
To linger any longer on this sin-
cursed, stormy shore;
Shall I never know a pleasure en-
clasp again a treasure
On this damned, detested, dastard and
this lurid, shocking shore;
Is there any peace or pleasure, oh, tell
me I implore —
Croaked the Parrot — “Nevermore”!

Croaker, Dastard, Word of Evil, Prophet,
Bird or Screeching Devil!
By the stars that shine above us
by the God that all adore.
Tell this soul, whose hope is riven,
if in some celestial heaven
It shall clasp an angel Beauty, who
is known as rare “Bellmore,”
And entwine his arms around
her, my ethereal “Belmore” —
Pipped the Parrot — “Nevermore”!.

Horrid bird! I shrieked emphatic,
and wildly, loud, lunatic,
I flung the pratting Parrot through
the night’s dark, shoreless shore.
While its gilded feathers fluttered, in
the darkness still and muttered —
“I’ll not leave thee, doubting Devil, but
“remain above thy door —
“Sink my beak into thy trembling
“heart, and torture more and more” —
Shrieked the Parrot — “Evermore”!

And the Parrot still is posing,
winking, blinking, dozing
On that marble bust, Minerva, Just
above my oaken door.
And his hellish eyes are beaming
Like a Devil who is dreaming.
While the sputtering, fluttering
lamplight paints his shadow on the floor.
And my soul-lit spirit writhing in
that shadow on the floor —
Dead and damned — “Forevermore”!

(Signed) Penzoni.

THE END.

*

Note: This source was ‘debunked’ as the artist and publication cannot be verified; and the ‘translation’ has rhyming words which would not have rhymed in Italian. It would have taken a talented poet to find words in English that rhyme as well as the original words in Italian, and also mean about the same…. which is not impossible, but certainly doubtful upon meditation.