Then the Ainur marvelled to see how the world was globed amid the void and yet separated from it; and they rejoiced to see light, and found it was both white and golden, and the laughed for the pleasure if colors, and for the great roaring of the ocean they were filled with longing. Their hearts were glad because of air and the winds, and the matters whereof the Earth was made – iron and stone and silver and gold and many substances: but of all these water was held the fairest and most goodly and most greatly praised. Indeed there liveth still in water a deeper echo of the Music of the Ainur than in any substance else that is in the world, and at this latest day many of the Sons of Men will hearken unsatedly to the voice of the Sea and long for they know not what. – History of Middle Earth I, pp 56 – The Music of the Ainur
This passage is very similar to the version in the Ainulindalë (Silmarillion, ch1), and has always stuck out for me. Why the water? Because it is seamlessly fluid, and so most like the ultimate reality of all things? Or because the sound itself is so intricate and full of clean noise (in the sound design context). After all, the sound of water might be considered close infinite vibrations sounding on infinite particle impacts at infinite angles, whereas the sound of a sharp metal pin hitting a flat metal plate is closer to a single vibration from a single impact.
I wonder what this means for Ulmo, Lord of Waters? Does Jung have a water, and an Ulmo?
This morning I was visited by a memory of watching the movie Jeremiah Johnson as a kid. Something that stuck with me was how there was snow in the desert. Until then, I imagined the desert as a hot place with snakes, spiders, and sand dunes. Finding out that there is snow even in “the desert” hinted at the fact that there was more to the story. I was compelled to look deeper.
…which somehow reminds me of the beauty and spirit of ‘merica. “The greatest country on earth.” Hmmm. While I am not a fan of a building the collective ego, there are strains of truth to that label as there are in the soul of every person that loves their heritage. It seems like the feeling of those real, pure, and truth-full values are just what the world needs.But stagnation is always a danger. I might rephrase that proclamation to “Loving your heritage is one of the greatest things on earth.” The kingdom of heaven within, yada yada yada. After all, a political state is just a blink in history’s eye, while love for one’s heritage endures well beyond the person’s death.
- Forging one’s own destiny. Work hard, be honest, and you will succeed. ADD: Owning the responsibility of your own experience. Loss (an fear) of community. FAULTS: Egocentricity; The belief that “we’ve made it”. Inability to rely on (and trust in) others.
- The vastness of the West. Expanse of the unknown. Charging into darkness. Opportunity. The wild west and ADD: It’s easy to get comfortable. Snow in the desert (of the west); Watching Jeremiah Johnson. Alaska is the new west FAULTS: Loss of the past. Less than 3 generations of cultural memory.
- The “United States”. Connection, Unity, Harmony. ADD: Islam also means ‘Peace’.
- Simplicity. Country. “Folks” ADD: Less is more. Stick to the core.
- Demanding Proof. “Show me the money”. ADD: FAULTS: Stuck in the concrete. Loss of the irrational.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExAM8D7cfbII find it entertaining and heart-warming that the topic of American soul always brings me back to Hunter S. Thompson’s search for the American Dream in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While his search was tragic and sometimes nauseating, he was looking hard for the truth.And boy, I’ll buy that for a dollar in a styrofoam cup….
I seem to gravitate toward finding the most significant character in Arda, and there are quite a few. Is it Beren and Luthien, as they represent the last trace of light in the darkest time of Middle Earth? Or Feanor, as the greatest of all the Children of Illuvatar? Or Turin because of his Christ-like suffering and right of meeting Melkor in battle in The End at Dagor Dagorath?
Who knows, but at the moment, I am placing my attention on Eärendil. He was the original character that Tolkien began with in The Cottage of Lost Play (History of Middle Earth 1), and represents all bloodlines (Men, Elves, Maiar) that sits at the nexus of the old and new worlds at the end of the First Age.
It will be fun to uncover the symbolism of Eärendil and look for traces of this character in other myths.