The trailer for The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has aired during the Super Bowl. Embedded below is the trailer, in case you haven’t seen it, and are interested:
People had thoughts, which largely had to do with whether The Lord of the Rings (LotR) would become yet another victim of corporate entities milking franchises for money with little regard for the established material, while at the same time using it to virtue signal, and subsequently using intersectionality as a high horse in the event that the fans point out its shortcomings. Similar to what’s happened with the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Among the answers to the trailer is the following quote, attributed to J.R.R. Tolkien, and presented in different languages:
“Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made.”
While this is presented as a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, the quote actually came from TV Tropes’ page, Evil Is Sterile, where it is used to describe an apparent philosophy to the worldbuilding of LotR.
While the quote is misattributed, I find it thought-provoking, as it brings to mind the apparent adversarial relationship between creativity and the forces of evil.
It’s long been thought that the opposite of life is death. However, this is not the case. Death is what occurs at the terminal point of an individual organism’s life. In nature, organisms do not adapt to have perpetual, permanently self-sustained lives. Their lives are of a span that takes them to the point that they’d be most likely to procreate, then perform whatever actions are necessary to ensure the success of their progeny.
In reality, the opposite of life is destruction. It’s not just the opposite of life, it’s the opposite of creativity.
As life continues onwards, organisms develop in increasingly complex, creative ways that suggests a certain guidance that is not accidental. As one considers this, one can appreciate that the Christian religion teaches that God made humanity in His own image. Of all the terrestrial creatures that we’ve yet discovered, humans are the most creative.
Standing in opposition to creativity is the forces of wickedness, which tend to destruction. The forces of destruction have an adversarial relationship to anything creative in any form, and the closer that one’s mind is to the core of wickedness, the more absolute that one is in their determination to destroy.
I have no reservation in calling those who I take issue with by their virtues: they are evil. Those who are evil hate creativity, hate creation, hate freedom to create, hate planning, hate procreating, hate expression, and even hate all forms of art, literature, music, and any other form of expression that doesn’t fit their own narrow band of preferences. But if their tendency towards evil were to be taken to its natural conclusion, they’d eventually want to destroy those, too.
The forces of evil are seldom completely evil. Their thirst for destruction does clash with their own self-preservation. The fact is, evil is able to survive for a time, by simply imitating what’s been proven to be effective, as far as they can perceive its benefit to themselves.
Sam: Don’t orcs eat, and don’t they drink? Or do they just live on foul air and poison?Sam and Frodo, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Frodo: No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock; it cannot make: not real, new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined and twisted them, and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.
While all living things imitate to an extent, the forces of evil are disproportionately reliant on it, for their own lack of capacity to create, and inflexibility of mind to adapt.
“I don’t care that they stole my idea… I care that they don’t have any of their own.”Nikola Tesla
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have gotten the idea that I tend to favor the creative when it comes to disputes over sensibilities. I’m a Freedom-of-Expression kind of guy. A world where expression is not stifled is the kind of environment where humanity can be allowed to develop to it’s fullest.
Creativity does have its enemies, however. And they’re evident in what they do. It’s easy to think of examples off the top of my head, but I think they’ll be evident to most people if they were to take a moment to think of them in terms of what they accomplish.
A lot of people out there have their concerns about Rings of Power, which is coming to Amazon Prime Video. I agree that when intersectionality is ram-rodded into a creative work it jeopardizes the quality of the work.
But as I see it, there’s another problem: To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. There are people out there whose minds are so trained to see intersectionality poisoning their entertainment, that they’ll take even the slightest sign of intersectionality as a sign that a work is turning into a dumpster fire.
While intersectionality is problematic, not every apparent virtue-signal of diversity and inclusion is a deliberate move in the culture war.
Is it the case for Rings of Power? It’s kinda looking like it. But if Middle Earth ends up disappointing fans, there are other fantasies out there. Perhaps, if you feel inclined, you can express your own creativity, and share a fantasy of your own with the world.
“My apologies, Captain Slavin. I forgot not everyone is able to appreciate art as I do.”Grand Admiral Thrawn