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10279RE: [mythsoc] free Ring inside

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  • David S. Bratman
    Oct 23, 2003
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      Lizzie -

      This is not a question of "artistic vision," it's a question of
      philosophical interpretation. And it's most emphatically not whether it
      "works for me," it's whether it's a philosophical misinterpretation of Tolkien.

      Who's to say what's a misinterpretation of Tolkien? That's for people who
      know Tolkien's work to figure out. The person wearing the Ring has offered
      an interpretation; I've given mine. If you want to offer a
      counter-argument, offer one, but don't tsk and say that nobody can call
      something else invalid. That's a fundamental moral relativism, which
      Tolkien and Lewis stood against all their lives. Eomer asked, "How shall a
      man judge what to do in such times?" and Aragorn replied, "As he ever has
      judged. Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one
      thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to
      discern them, as much as in the Golden Wood as in his own house."

      And I have done my part to discern here - I will not say "good" and "evil",
      nor even "right" and "wrong", but just "a reasonable interpretation of
      Tolkien" and "a misinterpretation of Tolkien."

      But I am a modern relativist too. As far as I'm concerned, we are free to
      misinterpret Tolkien all we want. Any of us would hardly be the first.
      (I'm a big fan of "Bored of the Rings" myself.) Just be aware when we're
      doing it.

      At 02:24 PM 10/22/2003 , Lizzie wrote:
      >Oh David, honestly. So it doesn't work for you. Who's to say that another
      >person's artistic vision isn't valid? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
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