20 August, 2005

Lord of the Rings...fantasy...Christmas in August

This is in response to a friend's e-mail about Lord of the Rings, in which he stated that he'd be "home for Christmas" in August.

Though Tolkien's imaginary world is not real, it has been internalized by thousands, perhaps millions, of readers and has become a welcome escape from the daily world we see around us. Some, such as myself, have even come to argue that the world that we experience simply with the five earthly senses is not, in fact, the "real" world. It is not the "whole" world, that is to say, and many who are living and responding only to stimuli presented to those five senses are losing a large part of life's experiences.

Take J. M. Barrie, for example. Though some have called the man a creep and a psychological disaster, he had the ability to experience things that no one else, or a select few, could experience. Tolkien wrote with the same effect in mind. Perhaps these experiences are not "real," as some might want to classify them, but they can still teach us valuable lessons. I am not advocating lunacy with this statement; rather, I am showing that intelligent men also make up their own "play world."

Religion is another "world" that may fall into this category, since much of the supernatural world does not come into contact with the five earthly senses. This is why I classify the daily world as only part of the whole world. I believe that the supernatural realm should be just as much a part of the daily world as eating breakfast, assuming that one eats breakfast on a regular basis. I would also say, however, that the supernatural realm is much more important than the fantastic realm (using the word fantastic "hesitantly and desiring its interpretation strictly from the dictionary definition, along the lines of implausible, unbelievable, unlikely, extraordinary, and not to conjure imagery of a leaping leprechaun from some queer eye for the straight guy homemaker fashion show. I admit that prefacing "fantastic" with "whimsical" did not help my efforts;" also barring any reference to a household cleaning product). The supernatural realm has eternal consequences and provides eternal escape from hell, whereas the fantastic realm only has temporary consequences and provides temporary escape.

No comments: