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7359Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien and technology

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    Jan 2, 2003
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      In a message dated 1/2/3 12:48:00 AM, David Porteous wrote:

      <<No, I must disagree here. OCE defines technology as "the study or use of

      the mechanical arts or applied sciences". The items you mention are neither

      mechanical or examples of any kind of science. This "supposed magic" is

      better described as just "magic".


      Vision over distance or of the past is something we can now do with

      technology, but the function of these items should not be described as

      technological.

      >>

      I can't agree. What the Elves do doesn't at all resemble traditional models
      of magic. FĂ«anor and the Noldor are consistently portrayed as craftsmen, not
      magicians; the Silmarils and the Rings of Power are "forged", clearly put
      together by some sort of physical process, even though it's not one we're
      familiar with. The passage Jan Galkowski just quoted from FotR (about the
      elven-cloaks) makes it clear that the Elves don't think of what they do as
      "magic", although it looks like "magic" to outsiders (viz. the old chestnut:
      "A sufficiently advanced technology is undistinguishable from magic"). It
      seems evident to me that Tolkien (not himself a scientist) envisioned his
      Elves as possessing a science that gave them a far more intimate knowledge of
      the workings of the universe than 20th-century human science has managed to
      achieve, and as having a technology that reflects this. He didn't bother to
      speculate in detail on the nature of this science and its technological
      applications (which would have turned his books into science fiction), since
      this was not where his primary interest lay.
      Alexei
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