Few would argue against the formative role played by the fictional writings of J.R.R. Tolkien in the genre of contemporary fantasy. The success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy among Western audiences sparked a conflagration of inspired fantasy authors ever after, writing their own modest tales for decades thence, spun around seemingly-alien or once-upon-a-time worlds peopled with elves, dwarves, dark lords, wraiths, goblins, trolls, wizards, on and on, the likes of which had little part in modern literature up until Tolkien’s intervention. A few such common staples to the genre today — orcs and hobbits/halflings, for instance — were entirely the original creation of Tolkien, whereas many other tropes, while not originating in his work, often resemble his iteration more than they do anything described in their source material of folk legend (elves as wise and immortal/long-lived humanoids, or dwarves as a similar racial — rather than spiritual — species of clever, diminutive, subterranean artificers).
One of the most interesting perspectives I garnered from an academic tome called Evil Incarnate by Dr. David Frankfurter was how one of the universal characteristics of state/civil societies is to redact and rigidly codify the “supernatural” or “magical” beliefs of its subjects. That in and of itself was an obvious phenomena to me long before I read said book — the interpretatio romana, for instance, is one of the most salient examples of such a practice, of the authorities of a conquering state appropriating the local gods of conquered/subjugated peoples and equating them to a Roman god that generally, at best, was a poor approximation, and at worst was complete error and obfuscation of the deity’s original functions. The purpose behind said-practice is primarily propaganderial, a power ploy — the gods of a particular, autonomous tribal people, and the sociopsychological and political identity and freedom of said distinct group that such gods guarantee or embody, are absorbed into or subsumed by the idols of another state. All the juicy bureaucracy built upon tithes and the shows of grovelling/worship that said idols demand in proving your submission which were formerly directed to the people’s own ruler/chieftain/holy men, if not being entirely absent (as in the case of more-egalitarian tribes or bands), are appended onto the cult and treasury of the imperial state, marking the end of a conquered people’s own independence of culture and destiny.Read More »
y the Weak, for the Weak.
Practically all modern or post-modern political philosophies — the “isms,” if you would — can be tagged with such an epithet. For the philosophy that vocally professes to concern itself with an exaltation of power and strength, fascism ironically doesn’t escape the pandering to and critical foundation upon the Weak, either. But first, to clarify: what is weakness? Who is “weak?” You of course will find various subjective definitions wherever you may turn; different cultures, sub-cultures, and philosophies have had their own standards for what qualifies as a vulnerability, a weakness, and who is Weak, by their very nature. We all have weaknesses, some the plain frailties of mortality, others a perceived physical inadequacy, others a moral failing in the eyes of society. And therein might we identify what weakness transcendently is, regardless of its diverse cultural incarnations and the mere condition of being mortal. A failing or an inadequacy, of which the inverse — adequacy — indicates something of necessity. That which is necessary, needful, to society and to the wider political sphere of “nature” — to the entirety of relations and interactions that defines one’s face, one’s honour. That which is born of decadence, moral and material — that which is not needful, and especially instead burdensome, and that which is not mindful of honour — that is transcendent weakness, with a greater decadence being a measure of greater decay and the diminishment of a society.
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