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The Belief of Men

Maedhros

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Okay, I agree with this. "Belief" in this sense means an approximation, not actually taken to be the truth. My only hesitancy was that you equated this with "faith", a word often used in quite another sense: belief that a thing is the single and absolute truth.
Aiwendil, I have stated that this was a "belief" that men had. It does not have to be true for it to be a belief.
As you know already, this "belief" would contradict with the conception of the Ainulindalë, that Men already had their gifts before the creation of the world.
Yet, in all beliefs, there is a "flicker" of truth, and in this case I believe that there was a "diminishment" of the life span of men; I'm not saying that they were immortal, but just that their lifespan was greater.
 

Grond

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In my reading of the tale, it was apparent that Andreth's belief of the "corruption of Man by Morgoth" was based on "faith." And here is my 'P' key analogy.
Pressing the 'P' key will normally produce the 'P' character on the screen. My belief that God will see the 'P', as well as anything else I type, is based on faith. Faith assigns a certainty to something that is unproveable.
The beliefs forwarded by Andreth have no certainty in history as too many generations have passed for a certain conclusion to be reached. That doesn't mean that there was not a historical basis for those beliefs; and, over time, the causes of those beliefs have proliferated because of a need on Man's part to justify his deficiency. (His deficiency being that Man sees himself as something "less than Quendi because of his mortality".) Death is deemed a gift only by those who don't have to face it. :)

And that last little statement gives me a new sig too. :)
 

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By Maedhros
Aiwendil, I have stated that this was a "belief" that men had. It does not have to be true for it to be a belief. As you know already, this "belief" would contradict with the conception of the Ainulindalë, that Men already had their gifts before the creation of the world.
Although you address Aiwendil here I have to give my opinion on this statement because I also am inclined to believe that Finrod's conclusion was correct. I also agree with his reasoning.
Finrod did not believe that men were ever immortal in the way that elves are. He thinks that they are mistaken about that point, and came up with that idea out of fear of death.
Men would still have always had the gift of death, by Finrod's reasoning, as I see it. That being if: death = leaving Arda, and not: death = seperation of fea from hroa.
If this definiton of death is correct, then the idea that men were changed does not seem to contradict what the Ainulindale says of the gift of death.


Grond, what part do you think Melkor played in those beliefs? Did he play a part in those events of Adenel's tale or did he just cause a false belief that the events of that tale happend at all?
 

Grond

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Nom, I can't answer your question. In the world of Middle-earth we are dealing with conundrums on the grandest scale.

First, do we assume that the Silmarillion is a factual document and that the Valar physically exist in real time on the real world of Middle-earth? If we accept the Valar and Eru are real, both were horrendously negligent in not revealing themselves to Man. If Melkor really existed within the realm of Arda and actually revealed himself to Man in all his grandeur and glory, what was man to do? Absent proof that there is an absolute good, what was Man to do but worship whatever absolute and proveable diety that presented itself. How can Man have fallen if he wasn't given an alternative? Andreth is actually claiming that Man was being punished, not for failing to worship Eru but for worshiping Melkor. And how could they be faulted with worshiping Melkor when they were offerred no other alternatives?

Your question, Nom, only leads to further questions.
 

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Originally posted by Grond
And how could they be faulted with worshiping Melkor when they were offerred no other alternatives?
Well do you think this voice they heard in the beginning was Eru's? One might say that to have listened and obeyed that voice was an alternative. Though, it seems to be that by nature they were only doomed not to listen to it.
I would also say the same about Feanor's rebellion. He had the alternative to stay in Aman and trust to the Valar but he couldn't do it because Melkor had caused distust in him.
Originally posted by Grond
Your question, Nom, only leads to further questions.
Most questions can and many will :D
I was just interested in hearing other people's ideas about this. :)
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Nóm
Well do you think this voice they heard in the beginning was Eru's? One might say that to have listened and obeyed that voice was an alternative. Though, it seems to be that by nature they were only doomed not to listen to it.
I would also say the same about Feanor's rebellion. He had the alternative to stay in Aman and trust to the Valar but he couldn't do it because Melkor had caused distust in him.

Most questions can and many will :D
I was just interested in hearing other people's ideas about this. :)
How was Man to know where the first voice ended and where the second voice began? Orome, representing the Valar, appeared before the Quendi, gained their trust and befriended them. Eventually, he led them to Aman. Man deserved some of the same treatment but didn't get it. :)
 

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Originally posted by Grond
How was Man to know where the first voice ended and where the second voice began? Orome, representing the Valar, appeared before the Quendi, gained their trust and befriended them. Eventually, he led them to Aman. Man deserved some of the same treatment but didn't get it. :)
Likewise, how was Feanor to know that the Valar could be trusted? It seemed to him that they could not be. :D
I don't know what men deserved, but what they got, as I see it, was up to Eru and I guess he had his reasons.
Also, keep in mind that some elves were lost to Melkor before Orome arrived, and that some elves feared him (because Melkor) and fled before they could be offered saviour.
 

Maedhros

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If this definiton of death is correct, then the idea that men were changed does not seem to contradict what the Ainulindale says of the gift of death.
From the Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth:
Now the Eldar learned that, according to the lore of the Edain, Men believed that their hröar were not by right nature short-lived, but had been made so by the malice of Melkor. It was not clear to the Eldar whether Men meant: by the general marring of Arda (which they themselves held to be the cause of the waning of their own hröar); or by some special malice against Men as Men that was achieved in the dark ages before the Edain and the Eldar met in Beleriand; or by both. But to the Eldar it seemed that, if the mortality of Men had come by special malice, the nature of Men had been grievously changed from the first design of Eru; and this was a matter of wonder and dread to them, for, if it were indeed so, then the power of Melkor must be (or have been in the beginning) far greater than even the Eldar had understood; whereas the original nature of Men must have been strange indeed and unlike that of any others of the dwellers in Arda.
Yes it is. It was what men believed, not what the Eldar did.
 

Confusticated

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Originally posted by Maedhros
From the Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth:
[QUOTE REMOVED]
Yes it is. It was what men believed, not what the Eldar did.
I am not sure that I take your point Maedhros.
I am guessing that your point is that what the Eldar believed has nothing to do with your question in this thread. If so, I agree.
Though the last several posts by me delt with different, but related questions.
If I have missed the point of your last post, then please let me know what the point is.
If it is that my idea about how the changing of men does not contradict the Ainulindale please explain.
 

Maedhros

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The idea of the thread was to see the [color=9900FF]Belief of Men[/color] in the Athrabeth. The exiled Ñoldor had dealings with the Valar, so their knowledge was definitely more accurate. Unfortunately, Men had no such sources of knowledge.
Some of the Edain (I don't know if all), believed that Melkor had changed their nature to make them mortal. Of course Finrod, being an exiled Ñoldor knew otherwise, but it doesn't change the fact that men belived otherwise.
If what Men believed proved to be true, then it would be against the Ainulindalë.
Regardless of the fact that it wasn't true, it was their belief nonetheless.
 

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[EDITTED]

Now if you read back to my post on 11/13 you will see that I had some doubt as to if I should start a new thread or continue in this one which had been static for some time.
I'll ask Grond or someone to divide this thread.
The new thread should start with my post on 11/13 and I think both threads should contain Aiwendil's reply since he/she responded both to my new questions and to a post that was here before the new questions. I think everything thereafter can go to the new thead.
 
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Grond

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As far as I'm concerned this thread is moving along quite nicely and I am trying to address all issues that have been brought. Request for a new thread is denied. :)
Originally posted by Nóm
Likewise, how was Feanor to know that the Valar could be trusted? It seemed to him that they could not be. :D
I don't know what men deserved, but what they got, as I see it, was up to Eru and I guess he had his reasons.
Also, keep in mind that some elves were lost to Melkor before Orome arrived, and that some elves feared him (because Melkor) and fled before they could be offered saviour.
Nom, you're attempting to compare apples and oranges on multiple levels.

First, Feanor's impatience and pride is what made him act the way he did. And his fate in no way enters into this earlier "Curse" we are speaking of here.

Secondly, some Elves were lost before the Valar found them; but, the Valar did find the Quendi and offer them the protection of Valinor. The choice was then theirs to make. Man was never offerred such a choice.

Finally, Eru had his reasons for what? Abandoning Man? My whole point here is that the story of Andreth must have a bais in fact. Something happened in Man's early history that caused this mythology to be created and something happened to instill this belief to be remembered. Why are we to believe the Ainulindale as being unreproachable?

I am not one who looks upon the Ainulindale as sacrosanct, Middle-earth lore. Why? Because it was supposed to have been written by Elves and is seen through the eyes of Elves. Who is to say that they see with perfect clarity? There is no doubt that Andreth believes (as do the Wise-folk among her people) that Melkor ensnared and corrupted Man in their earliest beginnings. There is no doubt, given Melkor's nature, that he did exactly that. Melkor corrupted Man and influenced him to evil. Is it any real stretch that Man (having escaped Melkor's yoke) would blame Melkor for the single thing that they most dread (Death)??? I think not. Is it any real stretch that Man would assign blame to Eru, who they perceived had abandoned them? I think not.

What Andreth makes all the sense in the world, if you look at it through her eyes, the eyes of Mortal Men. :)
 

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Aiwendil, I have stated that this was a "belief" that men had. It does not have to be true for it to be a belief.
I know this is going back a bit in the thread, but the in the bit to which you were here responding, I was not talking at all about the Athrabeth, or about Tolkien. There had been some epistomological/philosophical questions about belief and truth; I don't think that these questions have any bearing on the matter of the Athrabeth. It is irrelevant whether the belief of Men was taken as absolute truth or whether it was simply thought to be the most likely situation.

Of course Finrod, being an exiled Ñoldor knew otherwise, but it doesn't change the fact that men belived otherwise.
If what Men believed proved to be true, then it would be against the Ainulindalë.
Regardless of the fact that it wasn't true, it was their belief nonetheless.
Exactly true. The belief of Men, as formulated by Andreth, is clearly in contradiction with the Ainulindale. The revision of this belief made by Finrod appears to agree with the Ainulindale.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Aiwendil
...Exactly true. The belief of Men, as formulated by Andreth, is clearly in contradiction with the Ainulindale. The revision of this belief made by Finrod appears to agree with the Ainulindale.
A question. Are we to assume absolutely that the account of the Ainulindale by the Eldar is truth and the beliefs of Andreth are not? I'm just wanting a clarification.

Because, in my book... who's to say that the Ainulindale isn't a made up book by the Elves to explain their immortality? *grins devlishly*
 

Aiwendil2

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A question. Are we to assume absolutely that the account of the Ainulindale by the Eldar is truth and the beliefs of Andreth are not? I'm just wanting a clarification.

Because, in my book... who's to say that the Ainulindale isn't a made up book by the Elves to explain their immortality? *grins devlishly*
Well . . . if we're interested in the truth of the matter, the Ainulindale is simply a text made up by J.R.R. Tolkien. Of course, what you're asking is: within the world created by Tolkien, could the Ainulindale be slightly fictitious, or at least biased? There's a danger in trying to pick apart different layers of reality and subreality, though. How do we define "the world created by Tolkien" (that is, the "true" story)? It obviously doesn't have any physical existence. The obvious answer, then, is that the world created by Tolkien is that defined by the various texts we have. In that case, the Ainulindale must be true, because that is what Tolkien wrote.

There is a problem with this view, though. Even setting aside the massive difficulty of the evolution of the mythology and the ambiguity of the "canon", we have certain contradictory bits. For instance, Andreth believes one thing and the Ainulindale insists upon another. The Lord of the Rings tells us that Gollum fell into Mount Doom with the Ring, but "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" says that Frodo cast it in. Perhaps most significant of all, Tolkien purports that the various documents are actual texts written by characters within the story, not by an omniscient narrator. Thus the Ainulindale is by Rumil, The Lord of the Rings is from the Red Book of Westmarch, etc. This almost necessitates thatthe accounts reflect the biases of their narrators. The only solution seems to be to invent an even more fictitious Arda - not one that physically exists (because it doesn't), and not one that is defined by any text (because the texts are biased and, to some extent, wrong). If you really want to increase the complexity of the multi-layered tradition, you can try to analyze the "Drowning of Anadune" myths from HoMe IX in this way, adding the fact that according to some notes in X, the whole Silmarillion is a Numenorean myth ignorant of certain astronomical truths (like the spherical nature of the earth).

Venture too far down that path and soon there is no Arda any longer (at least none that we can know anything about), just a plethora of diverse and incorrect accounts of it. Of course, it seems like something of a cheat to simply ignore the whole problem. In my opinion, the best solution is to accept the bulk of the corpus as somehow "true" (whatever that may mean).
 

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Originally posted by Aiwendil2
Venture too far down that path and soon there is no Arda any longer (at least none that we can know anything about), just a plethora of diverse and incorrect accounts of it. Of course, it seems like something of a cheat to simply ignore the whole problem. In my opinion, the best solution is to accept the bulk of the corpus as somehow "true" (whatever that may mean).
This is similar to the part of the point I made about our own world earlier in the thread, and digging too deeply, and dwelling on the fact that things we trust in (such as the P key :D) are not truth.
Of course there is a major difference between our world and Ea. As far as I see that is only that we know our world in the physical way through our senses. We can study our world in a manner that we can not study Arda (as far as I know). Aiwendil, being into Quantum physics (Not that I really know what that is ;)) you may understand better than I do just how big this difference is, and the different ways that Ea is studied vs. our own universe, and what exactly that means. Though Ea is a part of our Universe if we ourselves are, as I see it.
The physical exists no matter ;) what we think of it or how we look at it, it makes sense to me that like Ea, as Aiwendil says "at least none that we can know anything about" would be true of our universe, if someone chose to be aware that things are not truth, and ends up questioning everything too much. Though tomorrow, (as far as I know) the scientific laws of today may be dispoven (or thought to be).
Though everything I just said is what I believe to date, I do not take it as fact. But because I believe those things, I understand the need to take much of Tolkien's writings as the truth of Ea.
 

Ancalagon

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I discussed this at some length with Maedhros yesterday evening, anyone who wishes to add to, or comment on our thoughts is more than welcome; Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth - An Impromptu Discussion.

Setting aside what is and is not 'canon' for a moment, I think it is essential that each of the parts of the jigsaw be considered equal in the authors mind. Although various parts may have been rewritten, rehashed or removed, the themes therein still reveal a great deal of the authors thoughts on the subject.
 

Walter

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It seems I missed an interesting excurse to quantum mechanics, a topic which interests me greatly, unfortunately my interest in it by far exceeds my knowledge...

However, I was thinking that the question whether something exists if we don't observe it, is not only a philosophical one. Whereas there is no doubt in classical physics it was IMO quantum physics which has cast a slight doubt on considering this as a hard physical fact (not in the macroscopical world which is mainly ruled by the laws of statistics). IIRC as a side-effect of Heisenberg's uncertainty-relation (which basically says that is impossible to estimate position and momentum of a single particle at the same time) we gather, that it is impossible to "watch" a particle without "influencing" it (by changing either its position or its momentum). And since we cannot be sure what a given particle "does" when we don't watch it, an - admittedly philosophical - derivation of this is, we cannot be sure either whether it exists at all or in which state.

And here an interesting parallel comes to mind: Does Tolkien's fairy-world exist if we don't look at it? And if so, what does it look like?

----

One of the questions I have come across every so often around here is "Which of Tolkien's books do we believe to contain the truth, or consider to represent the facts about Eä? And it often makes me smile, when I see how carefully Christopher Tolkien approaches this issue and how eager some people around here declare this or that "the truth" or "hard facts". I mean Tolkien has written all of so if some things he states do not corellate with others or are even in disagreement, it doesn't make me wonder. Tolkien was working on some of the stories for almost 60 years, it's only natural when this results in different versions which are not or partly not in agreement with each other.

The problem of making a such a decision only arises when we try to re-build Eä from the information Tolkien provided and if we need our Eä to 100% defined. From all I have read Tolkien himself was not as demanding and somehow accepted that he would not ever be able to finish "painting his tree", no matter - or eventually because of - how beautifully he had shaped the single leaves...
 

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