Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tolkien's Choice

There are many thoughts, both large and small, in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The largest of these is the warning against embracing evil in hopes of doing good. In other words, the end does not justify the means.

We see where it leads Saruman, or Boromir and his father. We see that many are tempted and some have the strength to turn their backs on the wrong kind of power. Not on power itself, mind you. Legitimate power, such as that of the returned king, is embraced.

Just what power is legitimate is harder to see in our world than in that of hobbits and wizards. But even there, it is not always easy. We see failings and redemptions among our heroes, and learn that the little choices of ordinary individuals also count. We must all turn from what is expedient for advancing our own agendas, if it is not also right.

And what is right? I suppose we must each work that out, though there is plenty enough advice! The thing is to actually think it through, not jump at the easy answer, the one that looks attractive at a glance but makes compromises of one sort or another with evil.

When we do, we have chosen the wrong side.

Stephen Brooke ©2017

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