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  1. #126
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    It appears to depend what 'school' of philosophy one follows, as some Eastern views vary from Western ones, with obvious implications to the subject. Some of the Eastern religions apply sentience far beyond the human species, therefore again we are dealing with interpretation, not necessarily absolute facts *sighs*

  2. #127
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    Oh, and ty Isilmacil for your contribution. Vaild points in my opinion, albeit I still do not believe Sauron was after 'power' as such, or at least not the kind of 'yay, now I am all mighty' type of power. I personally could even imagine him retiring from ruling, had he achieved his 'better world' and if he would have judged someone else able to now just keep things stable, but of course I could be wrong. Elsewise though I agree, if he would not have aimed for a reroll or a speeding up towards that, I too doubt he would have been available for redemption anymore.


    @ Curandhras
    Very much thank you for that paragraph about Sauron almost being like a robot. I can see that and add that to my own thought processes. It eases my problems with the character a bit, viewing him from that angle ^^

  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    It doesn't matter if good or evil meant anything to him as concepts. By the way, if they didn't, legally he was insane. Not caring about doing the right thing is a definition of evil.
    Legally by the laws of Western Europe and the US (and propbably other regions too). Which is irellevant in ME.

    I do agree though, clearly Sauron is far from sane as we would define it. Not caring about doing the "right" thing isn't evil though. What if someone/thing is completely neutral? If every situation is resolved based on some cold mathematical treatment. Are they evil or just coldly logical? Plus, Sauron thought he was doing the right thing. Right as in correct, not "morally right" which is a construct that humans have invented. Your computer doesn't know what's morally right, it just knows what the best thing to do is. Sauron thought what he was doing was the best thing to do, which to him was probably closely equivalent to "morally right" anyway. I'd imagine the thought of limiting your actions because of vague concepts like "what other people think is mean" seemed ridiculous to him. If something is best accomplished by method X, then use method X. It's very cold, yes, but is it evil?



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Hating creation and acting on that hate is not the same as doing things for the sake of evil. To be doing things for the sake of evil, he would have to hate creation out of the knowledge that hating creation is 'wrong.'
    Hating creation out of the knowledge of it being "wrong" in whose eyes? If he thought it was right to hate creation, could he only be doing evil if he loved it? "right" and "wrong" are hugely subjective things. To actively despise and want rid of everything for no other reason than your own bitterness and envy, and further to actually act on those feelings by destroying and corrupting everything in your reach is about as evil as you can get. He did evil and his intent was evil, he was doing evil for the sake of being evil. Not in the modern day "for the sake of it" way of speaking, however. Simply the evil acts he was doing were based on evil desires and aims.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Sauron declared himself the best qualified to govern Middle Earth and went to extreme lengths to do so. That is pretty self serving. Deciding that the fact that you don't see order equates to there not being order and then setting about rearranging society radically (above and beyond simply conquering it conventionally) is self serving. It shows a complete lack of empathy for those he considers 'disordered.'
    It's not self serving if you believe you're bettering everything else. It shows a complete lack of empathy, yes, but he isn't installing himself in any better position than he's in. He's not gaining wealth, fame or more personal power. Putting himself in command of ME is simply a part of the plan. He needs to be in charge so he can re order and restructure. He believed he was right, certainly. I don't think huge self belief and self confidence is self serving though. Self serving implies doing things purely to benefit yourself. Very few things Sauron did benefited himself, really. He could have positioned himself as a mighty lord of all the eastern lands. He could have left the west completely alone if all he wanted to do was be a God-King. If his aim was to be as worshipped and respected as possible, he went about it terribly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    To borrow an old saying, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Having good intentions does not make one good. Every dictator I mentioned thought they were doing 'good,' that they were doing the 'right' thing. Napoleon thought that France offered much to the world. Stalin thought that the country had to be brought into order for the common good. Even Hitler really believed 'his' people to be the 'master race,' and worthy not only of more land, but in need of protection from 'inferior' races. Those are all 'good' intentions. Except that the rest of of the world would adopt much of French culture without and despite the war, and despite the fact that many countries have proven that the common good can be served through much less drastic methods, and the Aryan people were not 'superior' in any demonstrable way, and especially not under the kind of threat their leaders believed themselves to be under.
    Is Napoleon evil, really? He's just an Emperor and general as far as I know. Stalin and Hitler are better candidates, certainly, but did either really have the best intentions of their "races" at heart? Besides, Napoleon wanted to win wars and rule more land. Stalin was power mad, paranoid and wanted the entire country under his boot. He wasn't at all cut out to run a country. He got there by ambition and underhandedness and once he was there realised he'd have to rule through fear since he was terrible at doing it properly. Hence his purges and general terrible police-state. Hitler was both of those things, with a splash of genocidal maniac in there too. The "good" intentions of any of those three rulers were largely PR, I think. Of the three I think only Hitler was so deluded as to think he was actually doing the right thing, or "gods work", to quote the man himself. Once again, even Sauron never set out to systematically exterminate entire swaths of race. I think the majority of these real life "it's for the greater good!" arguments are largely to keep the public happy. Napoleon thought France was the best country, naturally, and so decided that he'd become a famed and mighty Emperor by taking over as much as Europe as possible..(in the name of France..). I doubt if you asked him personally if he was doing it to "spread the superior French culture for the betterment of all those who have thus far lived without" he'd say yes. "Fame and power" (and a few deep mental problems too for Stalin and Hitler) would probably be their honest answers.

    The difference between those men and Sauron is that Sauron is a literary character. He doesn't have to sugar coat or appease because he doesn't have to deal with any consequences that aren't written in by the author. If he'd actually just wanted power, or actually just hated creation, then Tolkien's commentary could and would state this. There is no reason for Tolkien or Sauron to "lie" about his intentions like there is with real world leaders. No Orcs will rebel and leave Sauron's banner if Tolkien later states he isn't actually working towards a new world order and actually just wants to rule Gondor.
    We have it on good authority that Sauron genuinely 100% believed that the world was broken and he could fix it. If that was a nation somewhere that was genuinely in a bad way (as we would see it) and one man rose up, took control in a bloody and violent revolution and then lead the country forward in accordance to his vision for a better country (that also coincided with our view of a better country) he'd be a hero. The situation Sauron finds himself in is that no one else (including me) agrees with his view of better. Or if they do they don't think it's worth all the bloodshed that Sauron caused.

    Comparisons with real world scenarios don't help this discussion I don't think. They're far too complicated and have far too many variables. Sauron is far more cut and dried. We know what his intentions were and we know what he did. I still believe that his good intentions redeem him from being "pure evil". He thought he was helping, even if he thought no one else knew they needed help.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    The level of awareness matters, though. A human can and does make complex cognitive decisions and can deliberately shape not just their own life, but those of others. An animal has much more limited cognitive ability and for the most part simply exists to survive, doing so by relatively basic rules and with a very limited learning capacity compared to a human. Some species do better than others in that regard, but that and precisely where the line should be is a debate for another board.
    I think we largely agree on animal rights and welfare in RL. It's an unusual tangent anyway although I agree that cruelty is cruelty regardless of the target.

    With regards to the blurred lines in ME, as in RL, like you say, things are afforded respect based on their level of awareness and cognitive ability, which is fair enough really. I agree there's nothing to say that Maiar are in any way more aware or intelligent than Elves, Men etc. They are certainly "higher beings" though in the general sense, in the same way that the Elves consider themselves to be higher than Men. I doubt it really factored into Sauron's thinking though. The farming comparison wasn't entirely serious.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Again sentience changes the rules. So does necessity. "Farming" sentient beings simply because you don't like how they are in nature is wrong on both levels, regardless of how you feel about animal rights.
    Once again the entire farming thing in my last post was a bit of a discussion with myself more than anything. I do think Sauron probably saw himself as some sort of shepherd of the ignorant though.

    There are an awful lot of softer, emotional concepts being tagged onto Sauron here. Like how he feels about "right and wrong" and things like this. He probably didn't care either way. A logical being, as he was, probably thought in 0s and 1s, not our modern moral spectrum.

    So, cold, hollow, lacking empathy, carried out a great many evil deeds. But still, I think, all in the belief that someone needed to do what he was doing. I'm still not trying to argue that he wasn't bad, though.

  4. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starina View Post
    Oh, and ty Isilmacil for your contribution. Vaild points in my opinion, albeit I still do not believe Sauron was after 'power' as such, or at least not the kind of 'yay, now I am all mighty' type of power. I personally could even imagine him retiring from ruling, had he achieved his 'better world' and if he would have judged someone else able to now just keep things stable, but of course I could be wrong. Elsewise though I agree, if he would not have aimed for a reroll or a speeding up towards that, I too doubt he would have been available for redemption anymore.
    I agree with this. I think he was as powerful as he needed to be. He needed to rule to carry out his plans, rather than wanting to rule because he liked it. He even despised people calling him by, or knowing, his name, so he wasn't on an ego trip in that sense.

    I doubt he'd ever "retire" though, I can't see him trusting anyone else enough to not "ruin it" all again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Starina View Post
    @ Curandhras
    Very much thank you for that paragraph about Sauron almost being like a robot. I can see that and add that to my own thought processes. It eases my problems with the character a bit, viewing him from that angle ^^
    I've been trying to think how to put into words how I was envisioning Sauron the whole time. It was a toss up between a robot or a Vulkan. I decided I liked Spock too much to burden him with Sauron's baggage so I went with computer. Glad you enjoyed it .

  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Legally by the laws of Western Europe and the US (and propbably other regions too). Which is irellevant in ME.

    I do agree though, clearly Sauron is far from sane as we would define it.
    Whether Sauron would be considered legally insane or not was a bit of an aside. Obviously laws vary with country.

    Not caring about doing the "right" thing isn't evil though. What if someone/thing is completely neutral? If every situation is resolved based on some cold mathematical treatment. Are they evil or just coldly logical? Plus, Sauron thought he was doing the right thing. Right as in correct, not "morally right" which is a construct that humans have invented. Your computer doesn't know what's morally right, it just knows what the best thing to do is. Sauron thought what he was doing was the best thing to do, which to him was probably closely equivalent to "morally right" anyway. I'd imagine the thought of limiting your actions because of vague concepts like "what other people think is mean" seemed ridiculous to him. If something is best accomplished by method X, then use method X. It's very cold, yes, but is it evil?
    That would only be non-evil if there was no conscious process in following that code. For any being capable of higher order cognitive thought, not thinking things through or following a code blindly is still a cognitive choice. You don't get to absolve yourself by saying 'the Bible says' or 'the Koran says' or the teachings of Buddha say' or even 'my daddy said' or 'but this is my code.' You don't get to absolve yourself of choice.

    Hating creation out of the knowledge of it being "wrong" in whose eyes? If he thought it was right to hate creation, could he only be doing evil if he loved it? "right" and "wrong" are hugely subjective things. To actively despise and want rid of everything for no other reason than your own bitterness and envy, and further to actually act on those feelings by destroying and corrupting everything in your reach is about as evil as you can get. He did evil and his intent was evil, he was doing evil for the sake of being evil. Not in the modern day "for the sake of it" way of speaking, however. Simply the evil acts he was doing were based on evil desires and aims.
    This is where our main stumbling block is. I believe there is an absolute 'right' and 'wrong', a 'best path' and a worst, with many paths in between. The criteria any given person uses to choose the path they are on is subjective, but that doesn't remove the existence of a path that benefits the most people (or on a wider scale, benefits creation most) and one that benefits the least.

    Not knowing the best path does not absolve one of searching for it, nor of making choices which provide the least mutual benefits (or cause more harm).

    It is the duty of each and every person to consider the full effects of the path they are on, and to treat others with respect, as being 'others' worthy of existence. Note that this is not the same as causing no harm.

    To me, declaring good and evil subjective with there being no objective definitions that we should be striving for is a cop out. It absolves any responsibility.

    It's not self serving if you believe you're bettering everything else. It shows a complete lack of empathy, yes, but he isn't installing himself in any better position than he's in. He's not gaining wealth, fame or more personal power. Putting himself in command of ME is simply a part of the plan. He needs to be in charge so he can re order and restructure. He believed he was right, certainly. I don't think huge self belief and self confidence is self serving though. Self serving implies doing things purely to benefit yourself. Very few things Sauron did benefited himself, really. He could have positioned himself as a mighty lord of all the eastern lands. He could have left the west completely alone if all he wanted to do was be a God-King. If his aim was to be as worshipped and respected as possible, he went about it terribly.
    How is it not self serving? Who does it serve other than oneself? And in this case, how is conquering the world, enslaving and twisting races in doing so not 'installing him in any better position?' It is gaining more wealth... the land has value. The people have value. Everything he is conquering has value. How is it not increasing his power? Power not used is powerless.

    Rationalizing his increases in wealth and power does not change the fact that his primary goals were to gain them.

    Is Napoleon evil, really? He's just an Emperor and general as far as I know. Stalin and Hitler are better candidates, certainly, but did either really have the best intentions of their "races" at heart? Besides, Napoleon wanted to win wars and rule more land. Stalin was power mad, paranoid and wanted the entire country under his boot. He wasn't at all cut out to run a country. He got there by ambition and underhandedness and once he was there realised he'd have to rule through fear since he was terrible at doing it properly. Hence his purges and general terrible police-state. Hitler was both of those things, with a splash of genocidal maniac in there too. The "good" intentions of any of those three rulers were largely PR, I think. Of the three I think only Hitler was so deluded as to think he was actually doing the right thing, or "gods work", to quote the man himself. Once again, even Sauron never set out to systematically exterminate entire swaths of race. I think the majority of these real life "it's for the greater good!" arguments are largely to keep the public happy. Napoleon thought France was the best country, naturally, and so decided that he'd become a famed and mighty Emperor by taking over as much as Europe as possible..(in the name of France..). I doubt if you asked him personally if he was doing it to "spread the superior French culture for the betterment of all those who have thus far lived without" he'd say yes. "Fame and power" (and a few deep mental problems too for Stalin and Hitler) would probably be their honest answers.
    I included Napoleon because he is a conqueror whom I consider not to have been evil. France of his day really did have a lot to offer. As for his motives, consider. France was recently out of a revolution. Most (actually I think all) of the rest of Europe was still monarchies. Other countries would have their respective revolutions in the years and decades to follow. France had come out of theirs relatively well and really did have a lot to offer. Personal power was likely a motive, but so was simply spreading French rule.

    And if you had read my other posts, I did state that Stalin and Hitler did have the good of their peoples in mind. That does not absolve them of their methods, which were a LOT more excessive than those of Napoleon.

    The difference between those men and Sauron is that Sauron is a literary character. He doesn't have to sugar coat or appease because he doesn't have to deal with any consequences that aren't written in by the author. If he'd actually just wanted power, or actually just hated creation, then Tolkien's commentary could and would state this. There is no reason for Tolkien or Sauron to "lie" about his intentions like there is with real world leaders. No Orcs will rebel and leave Sauron's banner if Tolkien later states he isn't actually working towards a new world order and actually just wants to rule Gondor.
    We have it on good authority that Sauron genuinely 100% believed that the world was broken and he could fix it. If that was a nation somewhere that was genuinely in a bad way (as we would see it) and one man rose up, took control in a bloody and violent revolution and then lead the country forward in accordance to his vision for a better country (that also coincided with our view of a better country) he'd be a hero. The situation Sauron finds himself in is that no one else (including me) agrees with his view of better. Or if they do they don't think it's worth all the bloodshed that Sauron caused.
    LOTR wasn't Sauron's story, though. Nor even was the Akalabeth. Tolkien didn't need to go into deep details regarding Sauron or his motives as they were not needed. The nature of the One Ring was very clear throughout LOTR, and considering it had a lot of Sauron's power and essence worked into it, arguably does give insights into his character.

    Comparisons with real world scenarios don't help this discussion I don't think. They're far too complicated and have far too many variables. Sauron is far more cut and dried. We know what his intentions were and we know what he did. I still believe that his good intentions redeem him from being "pure evil". He thought he was helping, even if he thought no one else knew they needed help.
    Thinking you are helping is not enough. Willful ignorance is not an excuse. Taking away free will and twisting people both physically and mentally is not 'helping.' Based on that theory, Hitler was good, since he thought he was helping his people.

    I think we largely agree on animal rights and welfare in RL. It's an unusual tangent anyway although I agree that cruelty is cruelty regardless of the target.

    With regards to the blurred lines in ME, as in RL, like you say, things are afforded respect based on their level of awareness and cognitive ability, which is fair enough really. I agree there's nothing to say that Maiar are in any way more aware or intelligent than Elves, Men etc. They are certainly "higher beings" though in the general sense, in the same way that the Elves consider themselves to be higher than Men. I doubt it really factored into Sauron's thinking though. The farming comparison wasn't entirely serious.
    The Maiar (and Elves) are granted some level of higher rights, in that they are allowed to pass over the sea to the west, whereas other races only get there by direct invitation under special circumstances. Other than that, though, Eru's edicts were pretty clearly the opposite of what you seem to be suggesting. The mortal races are to be left alone and are deemed quite capable of fending for themselves. That is quite a strong indicator that they are sufficiently 'aware' to stand on their own without need of outside 'help,' IMO.

    Once again the entire farming thing in my last post was a bit of a discussion with myself more than anything. I do think Sauron probably saw himself as some sort of shepherd of the ignorant though.
    But he had been told outright by a higher power than himself that they didn't need shepherding, and that any attempt to do so would harm them rather than help them.

    There are an awful lot of softer, emotional concepts being tagged onto Sauron here. Like how he feels about "right and wrong" and things like this. He probably didn't care either way. A logical being, as he was, probably thought in 0s and 1s, not our modern moral spectrum.

    So, cold, hollow, lacking empathy, carried out a great many evil deeds. But still, I think, all in the belief that someone needed to do what he was doing. I'm still not trying to argue that he wasn't bad, though.
    Again, not caring is a standard definition of evil, unless you are arguing that he was non-sentient and had no choice in his thoughts or ideas.

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    But he had been told outright by a higher power than himself that they didn't need shepherding, and that any attempt to do so would harm them rather than help them.
    A power that he could have ended judging as 'in error', and once judged in such manners, one might not consider as 'higher' anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Again, not caring is a standard definition of evil, unless you are arguing that he was non-sentient and had no choice in his thoughts or ideas.
    I really feel caution should be applied when using the word 'sentient'.

    Quotes of Wikipedia:
    Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences. Eighteenth century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think ("reason") from the ability to feel ("sentience"). In modern western philosophy, sentience is the ability to have sensations or experiences (described by some thinkers as "qualia"). For Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care. The concept is central to the philosophy of animal rights, because sentience is necessary for the ability to suffer, which entails certain rights
    In the philosophy of animal rights, sentience implies the ability to experience pleasure and pain. Animal-rights advocates typically argue that any sentient being is entitled at a minimum to the right not to be subjected to unnecessary suffering, though they may differ on what other rights (e.g., the right to life) may be entailed by simple sentience. The sentiocentrism describes the theory that sentient individuals are the central of moral concern.

    The 18th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham compiled Enlightenment beliefs in Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (second edition, 1823, chapter 17, footnote), and he included his own reasoning in a comparison between slavery and sadism toward animals:

    'The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor [see Louis XIV's Code Noir]... What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?'
    And obviously, there is more.

    But aside from this, we could complicate matters even further, for if we say Melkor and Sauron were creations of Eru, and if we on top of this argue that 'choice' is heavily if not entirely influenced by the base make-up/traits of an individual, then Melkor and Sauron both may never really had a choice. An individual, whether we take it as a product of nature and/or nurter, finds it motivations either due to its 'genetic' make-up, and/or due to influences during its up-bringing and continuing existence (or can there be anything else involved?) If for example someone lacks activity in regions of the brain responsible for emotions, they might due to this will find themselves unable to feel with others. Is this a choice? No, it is a clear physical inability and could only be 'corrected' via surgical interferance (which currently as far as I am aware, medicine is not able to do yet). If your legs are paralized, you can not walk. It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of your legs not functioning.
    If you have found yourself on the end of betrayal repeatedly in your existence, you will more than likely become very cautious, if not even paranoid. Even someone who has not been betrayed will just look at the experiences of others and (if he or she is what we class as 'sane') rather not hand 1 million $s to a stranger on the street, to hold on to it for a few hours while going to the dentist. Do they in theory have the 'choice' to do so? Yes, but choice in practice, or 'acting' in a real life scenary, is majorly pre-influenced, and as such could be argued a rethoric illusion.
    If we'd take a real good psycologist, and would be able to give them our whole existence to analyse, I am pretty certain they'd be able to predict our actions almost 100%. There are behaviour patterns to draw from (to maybe conclude some base traits due to genetics) and influences/experiences which would enable them to tell you exactly why you think what you think, and do what you do. Viewed like this 'true choice' becomes very debatable, and indeed, is very much debated.

    Now taking all this, Melkor and Sauron possibly were created in ways that never allowed them to 'care' for the races of middle earth in the way Gandalf for example seems to do. Radagst on the other hand may was created to care for the 'animal' species on Arda and its plants (and btw.. Saruman is described as regarding Radagst a fool, probably for that, but Saruman also turned to what has been described 'evil'...)

    Choice/free will in its own right is a subject of debate, it is not clear cut, and if we should lean to that choice in truth is an illusion, that than opens the can of worms whether an individual which has no choice but to act as he or she does, due to forms of pre-determination, can be classed 'evil' at all. Melkor was created by Eru in a way which one could argue did set him up for exactly the path he took, and the same could be argued for Sauron, and if so, would Eru than actually be the true evil one?
    I'd say to the latter that we very possibly just can not understand the mind of a God (so one exists). If Eru would not be a fictional invention, but a defecto part of the creation of the universe (and Arda maybe another planet or some earth history wiped from our memory in all its traces but the mind of one man, namely Tolkien), then I'd sigh heavily and say I have no idea why Eru created Melkor in that way, whether it was a 'mistake' or planned, whether all that has happened and is still happening involves reasons simply beyond my knowledge and maybe even ability to comprehend.

    But anyway, this all just underlines again the troubles we can run into when defining 'evil', for if we define it as a matter of 'choice', then we are ignoring the fact that 'choice' is still very much up for debate as well, and we are basing our definition on not yet overall agreed solid grounds. We can at best, in my view, say we 'believe' it to be this or that way, that 'our opinion' leans to one thing over another, but we can not claim absolutes, or at least I feel we should not, and as such I will not claim that I know what is correct, as there is enough debate to keep doubt and ponderings going, for me at least, and I am not alone with this, whether within the scientific nor philosophical community.
    Do I however have 'tendencies' and 'likes/dislikes'? Yes I do, and I will for myself come to judgements about 'evil' in actions, but when it comes to judging an individual as 'evil' for their actions, I find myself troubled by many dilemmas...


    @ Curandhras
    lol, yes, Vulkan sprang to my mind too when I read the way you explained Sauron's core make-up, but then I decided to rather not add that to my ponderings as well *chuckles*
    Last edited by Starina; Aug 28 2012 at 08:26 AM.

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    I think we're getting hung up on things like absolute morality and absolute right and wrong. Sauron was certainly in the wrong. What he became and what he did were clearly wrong and evil acts. I wasn't, nor do I think anyone else was, trying to argue against this.

    My arguments have all been levied against the idea that he is total and pure evil, which I think he is not.

    From the point of view of the historians and Hobbits that the books are apparently written and translated, clearly Sauron is evil. He is their enemy and immensely powerful and in their eyes cruel and unyielding. It's completely fair that he is cast in the evil light that he is in the LotR/Sil./Hobbit.

    The aim of this thread, I think (correct me if I'm wrong Star) was to take a step back from the view presented in the books and look at the overall, neutral picture and Saurons motivations and goal. In this holistic view clearly Sauron still has many more negative traits than positive, he is, from a common moral standpoint, in the wrong. I disagree with the notion, however, that Sauron's primary goals were to destroy, humiliate, corrupt, eradicate or any other variation on that. I also disagree that acquisition of land, money or fame mattered to him. He despised knowledge of his name even amongst his generals, let alone the "history books". I think trivialities like perceived "power" or wealth meant little to him. He wasn't jealous or envious like Melkor, he didn't covet what other beings had. He had wrath and vengefulness certainly, particularly for Ar Pharazon's lot since they "betrayed" him. Isildur doomed an entire legion to remain forever tortured and never find peace though, that's pretty mean.

    Sauron was acting to his own deluded ideas of a better world. Once again this doesn't redeem him. It was a good intention though. I think this alone rules out that he is completely evil. Tolkien states many times that Sauron is not so, and that his intentions were good. We can't really argue with that, since Tolkien created the character and gave Sauron those details. Arguing over those points is futile I think, since canonically Sauron exists only as Tolkien states.

    The discussion has moved on from that, I think, to a more general classification of evil and whether or not Sauron was that. Certainly he was "evil" in the common sense, though not "pure" or "entirely" evil.

    Torweld, you've said that motives and plans are not important when judging people's actions. I agree to an extent, however if there was a man holding a gun to a loved one, in all likelihood about to fire, would you shoot that man to save your loved one? I certainly would. Taking a life is wrong though, there are no two ways about that. I know this example is far removed from Sauron's motives vs actions, but surely it shows that you cannot completely discount motive when judging actions.

    The laws and religious "sins" of our world are completely irrelevant to the case in Middle earth. To judge Sauron or anyone else by those is wrong. They should be judged by the morals, ethics and laws innate to Middle earth (vaguely related to mediaeval western Europe). Those cultures were much more lax with regards to violence and killing although they held the same basic beliefs with regards to needless killing and the mistreating of innocents that would still brand Sauron as the villain. He clearly was the villain. The villain surrounded by satellite villains.

    Still and all, with regards to the OP and the discussion on his motives, I still believe that he aimed to, and thought he was, improving Arda as a whole. Tolkien has said this and I've never read anything by him, either in letters or the texts, to contradict this.

    Whether or not you discount these motives in the discussion over Sauron's level of "evilness" is completely personal and isn't something that anyone is going to change anyone's mind over via the internet.

    With regards to Sauron/Melkor's freedom of choice or free will, I think certainly they were both fated to be "evil". Melkor was always so, and thus anyone who joined him joined him also in this fate. The overall "music" theme seems to suggest that such major events as one of the mightiest Maiar falling to darkness and becoming the most powerful enemy of the free world was "pre determined" in some loose way. I think I read somewhere once that the "free will" the Elves are afforded largely means they have complete freedom of choice in any and all situations. Or at least as free as you or I, how free you think that actually is is another discussion, one which I've sat through hours of tedium with my physics professors trying to decide if anything governed by predictable and understandable laws can ever be fre...etc etc etc. Either way while they have this "free will" over every given instant in their lives, certain events will always happen for them. There are certain times, places and evens which are set, and whatever choices they make leading to that point will still lead them there, one way or another. This is in contrast with Man, who are as free in their choices as Elves, but freer still in that there are no set events for them, they are in that essence completely free.

    It seems then that Maiar would be more akin to Elves, perhaps even more strongly bound to whatever fates they're given. However I think there's a strong dose of "you make your own fate" to the whole thing. Mairon was drawn to Melkor because of his "efficiency". He let himself be corrupted though and ultimately chose to join Melkor. Perhaps he was fated to be offered a chance to repent, but he chose freely not to. The subject of free will is confusing enough in real life for me (where I don't really believe in any form of pre-determinism or "fate" other than rather loose scientific unavoidabilities). When genuine "fate" is added in a fictional setting it becomes even more tricky although I think Tolkien helps us out here by constructing his "religion" so delicately and carefully. There is no brash, obvious fate and determinism, it's all rather more subtle and gentle than that which places a lot more emphasis and responsibility on the individual characters.

    If it was all part of Eru's plan for Morgoth and Sauron to be the "dark lords" of their own respective ages, then so be it, they were still the dark lords. Melkor and Sauron were still villains whether by their own "choice" or not. It wouldn't matter to Aragorn, Eowyn, Gloin or anyone else whether or not Sauron was only following a script, he was still their enemy and had to be stopped.

    If it was all part of the grand plan, if Ea's grand plan works in that sort of way, then within the world you almost have to completely ignore the existence of that plan, since presumably no one knew it existed or that they were all following scripts they didn't ever read. I assume everyone would think their were making free choices, even if they were not, so bad is still bad, good is still good, at least that's how it seems to me.

    After all that though, I still can't see Sauron as "pure evil".

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    Fate and free will to me are not necessarily the same thing and I was not referring to pre-determination as in every event being pre-determined by some 'higher force'. Free will to me is more a dilemma, as I outlined if we take nature and nurter into consideration and all that.
    lol though to the fact you spent hours debating this with your physics professor, as one of my sons studies physics and he made me proof read one of the essays he had to formulate on the subject of free will *grins* after which him and I ended in an hourly debate too, haha

    But yes, I put my thoughts forward to investigate the character of Sauron on a wider spectrum than just the view points of the free people of Middle Earth, and it has been for most parts an interesting debate for sure.

    To me the actions of Melkor and Sauron are obviously 'evil', as I think I have made pretty clear I object to subjecting any being to pain for the sake of selfish gain, and in this I would even include Sauron, as he wished his world view enforced regardless of the victims this created in the process, but I would not white wash the free people either, as they at times did apply methods too which I condemn, so in essence to me a lot of 'evil' happened all around, in action, but as for the individuals involved, I can not reach for the same term for all the reasons I have kept typing down through out this thread.

    In closing, thank you definitely to all who took the time to try and press their thoughts into letters, and I hope the discussion has given food to ponderings, as I feel learning never ends; the hunt for more understanding, in an effort to track down some 'truth', if such exists.

  9. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starina View Post
    A power that he could have ended judging as 'in error', and once judged in such manners, one might not consider as 'higher' anymore.
    But there in lies the catch. If he declares a higher power wrong, then he has to accept that his being a higher power than the free peoples does not make him right. If he declares the higher power not to be a higher power, despite all evidence otherwise, then on what basis can he claim to be a higher power than the free peoples, other than by his own ego? And if he doesn't declare the higher power to be wrong and accepts that there are other, higher order beings, he is knowingly doing wrong.

    Rejecting ideas you don't want to believe is much different from being right.

    I really feel caution should be applied when using the word 'sentient'.

    Quotes of Wikipedia:

    And obviously, there is more.

    But aside from this, we could complicate matters even further, for if we say Melkor and Sauron were creations of Eru, and if we on top of this argue that 'choice' is heavily if not entirely influenced by the base make-up/traits of an individual, then Melkor and Sauron both may never really had a choice. An individual, whether we take it as a product of nature and/or nurter, finds it motivations either due to its 'genetic' make-up, and/or due to influences during its up-bringing and continuing existence (or can there be anything else involved?) If for example someone lacks activity in regions of the brain responsible for emotions, they might due to this will find themselves unable to feel with others. Is this a choice? No, it is a clear physical inability and could only be 'corrected' via surgical interferance (which currently as far as I am aware, medicine is not able to do yet). If your legs are paralized, you can not walk. It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of your legs not functioning.
    If you have found yourself on the end of betrayal repeatedly in your existence, you will more than likely become very cautious, if not even paranoid. Even someone who has not been betrayed will just look at the experiences of others and (if he or she is what we class as 'sane') rather not hand 1 million $s to a stranger on the street, to hold on to it for a few hours while going to the dentist. Do they in theory have the 'choice' to do so? Yes, but choice in practice, or 'acting' in a real life scenary, is majorly pre-influenced, and as such could be argued a rethoric illusion.
    If we'd take a real good psycologist, and would be able to give them our whole existence to analyse, I am pretty certain they'd be able to predict our actions almost 100%. There are behaviour patterns to draw from (to maybe conclude some base traits due to genetics) and influences/experiences which would enable them to tell you exactly why you think what you think, and do what you do. Viewed like this 'true choice' becomes very debatable, and indeed, is very much debated.

    Now taking all this, Melkor and Sauron possibly were created in ways that never allowed them to 'care' for the races of middle earth in the way Gandalf for example seems to do. Radagst on the other hand may was created to care for the 'animal' species on Arda and its plants (and btw.. Saruman is described as regarding Radagst a fool, probably for that, but Saruman also turned to what has been described 'evil'...)
    Many sociopaths still understand the difference between good and evil on an intellectual level, even if the don't agree with the concepts. As for whether such broken, 'evil' people are worthy of vengeance, keep in mind that Gandalf (who is portrayed as the wisest Maiar and generally a voice of wisdom) kept advocating pitying such people rather than hating them. Gandalf didn't hate Sauron, or Melkor, or Saruman, or anyone really. He opposed them, but without malice, despite condering them evil.

    It was an ongoing theme, really.

    Choice/free will in its own right is a subject of debate, it is not clear cut, and if we should lean to that choice in truth is an illusion, that than opens the can of worms whether an individual which has no choice but to act as he or she does, due to forms of pre-determination, can be classed 'evil' at all. Melkor was created by Eru in a way which one could argue did set him up for exactly the path he took, and the same could be argued for Sauron, and if so, would Eru than actually be the true evil one?
    I'd say to the latter that we very possibly just can not understand the mind of a God (so one exists). If Eru would not be a fictional invention, but a defecto part of the creation of the universe (and Arda maybe another planet or some earth history wiped from our memory in all its traces but the mind of one man, namely Tolkien), then I'd sigh heavily and say I have no idea why Eru created Melkor in that way, whether it was a 'mistake' or planned, whether all that has happened and is still happening involves reasons simply beyond my knowledge and maybe even ability to comprehend.
    If there is no free will, then none of this discussion matters. We are only having it because we are predisposed to have it. We continue on under either the existence of free will or the illusion of it, regardless of which of those two possibilities is the truth, and we do so for the reason that if there is free will we have to avoid the trap of convincing ourselves we have none. It belief in free will that makes us care about our choices. Without that belief, our decisions become arbitrary.

    But anyway, this all just underlines again the troubles we can run into when defining 'evil', for if we define it as a matter of 'choice', then we are ignoring the fact that 'choice' is still very much up for debate as well, and we are basing our definition on not yet overall agreed solid grounds. We can at best, in my view, say we 'believe' it to be this or that way, that 'our opinion' leans to one thing over another, but we can not claim absolutes, or at least I feel we should not, and as such I will not claim that I know what is correct, as there is enough debate to keep doubt and ponderings going, for me at least, and I am not alone with this, whether within the scientific nor philosophical community.
    Do I however have 'tendencies' and 'likes/dislikes'? Yes I do, and I will for myself come to judgements about 'evil' in actions, but when it comes to judging an individual as 'evil' for their actions, I find myself troubled by many dilemmas...
    Again, if we discount choice, then we are just copping out, absolving ourselves of all our actions since we don't really decide them. That is a broken mindset.

    We should be troubled when judging others. We should never do so lightly, should always check and recheck conclusions and should always keep our eyes open to new evidence. It takes more work to be a good person, to do the right thing, and not just in being cautious of our judgement of others. We also have to be constantly reexamining our own values and never simply assuming that they are perfect, or that because we are good, that all our decisions will be 'good.

    This is why evil is often considered the easy road.

  10. #135
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    But aside from this, we could complicate matters even further, for if we say Melkor and Sauron were creations of Eru, and if we on top of this argue that 'choice' is heavily if not entirely influenced by the base make-up/traits of an individual, then Melkor and Sauron both may never really had a choice. An individual, whether we take it as a product of nature and/or nurter, finds it motivations either due to its 'genetic' make-up, and/or due to influences during its up-bringing and continuing existence (or can there be anything else involved?) If for example someone lacks activity in regions of the brain responsible for emotions, they might due to this will find themselves unable to feel with others. Is this a choice? No, it is a clear physical inability and could only be 'corrected' via surgical interferance (which currently as far as I am aware, medicine is not able to do yet). If your legs are paralized, you can not walk. It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of your legs not functioning.
    If you have found yourself on the end of betrayal repeatedly in your existence, you will more than likely become very cautious, if not even paranoid. Even someone who has not been betrayed will just look at the experiences of others and (if he or she is what we class as 'sane') rather not hand 1 million $s to a stranger on the street, to hold on to it for a few hours while going to the dentist. Do they in theory have the 'choice' to do so? Yes, but choice in practice, or 'acting' in a real life scenary, is majorly pre-influenced, and as such could be argued a rethoric illusion.
    If we'd take a real good psycologist, and would be able to give them our whole existence to analyse, I am pretty certain they'd be able to predict our actions almost 100%. There are behaviour patterns to draw from (to maybe conclude some base traits due to genetics) and influences/experiences which would enable them to tell you exactly why you think what you think, and do what you do. Viewed like this 'true choice' becomes very debatable, and indeed, is very much debated.

    Now taking all this, Melkor and Sauron possibly were created in ways that never allowed them to 'care' for the races of middle earth in the way Gandalf for example seems to do. Radagst on the other hand may was created to care for the 'animal' species on Arda and its plants (and btw.. Saruman is described as regarding Radagst a fool, probably for that, but Saruman also turned to what has been described 'evil'...)

    Choice/free will in its own right is a subject of debate, it is not clear cut, and if we should lean to that choice in truth is an illusion, that than opens the can of worms whether an individual which has no choice but to act as he or she does, due to forms of pre-determination, can be classed 'evil' at all. Melkor was created by Eru in a way which one could argue did set him up for exactly the path he took, and the same could be argued for Sauron, and if so, would Eru than actually be the true evil one?
    I'd say to the latter that we very possibly just can not understand the mind of a God (so one exists). If Eru would not be a fictional invention, but a defecto part of the creation of the universe (and Arda maybe another planet or some earth history wiped from our memory in all its traces but the mind of one man, namely Tolkien), then I'd sigh heavily and say I have no idea why Eru created Melkor in that way, whether it was a 'mistake' or planned, whether all that has happened and is still happening involves reasons simply beyond my knowledge and maybe even ability to comprehend.

    But anyway, this all just underlines again the troubles we can run into when defining 'evil', for if we define it as a matter of 'choice', then we are ignoring the fact that 'choice' is still very much up for debate as well, and we are basing our definition on not yet overall agreed solid grounds. We can at best, in my view, say we 'believe' it to be this or that way, that 'our opinion' leans to one thing over another, but we can not claim absolutes, or at least I feel we should not, and as such I will not claim that I know what is correct, as there is enough debate to keep doubt and ponderings going, for me at least, and I am not alone with this, whether within the scientific nor philosophical community.
    Do I however have 'tendencies' and 'likes/dislikes'? Yes I do, and I will for myself come to judgements about 'evil' in actions, but when it comes to judging an individual as 'evil' for their actions, I find myself troubled by many dilemmas...
    Now this is just wrong. Eru gave the Flame Imperishable (aka "free will") to many of his creatures -- none more so than the Ainur, of whom both Morgoth and Sauron were individuals. They were not "pre-destined" to do evil; they made the wrong choices. No one forced them to do what they did.

    A spirit is not bound by any physical force (unless it specifically imposes that limitation upon itself -- of its own free will -- as Sauron did with the Ring). It is completely free to do whatever is within its power to do. Eru didn't predestine Sauron and Morgoth to do evil -- he gave them the ability to do either good or evil because he wanted a universe of beings that would love and honour him freely, not machines that would only move if he pushed the buttons, for that would not be a universe worth creating. And because they were spirits, their capacity to do either good or evil was far greater than that of and elf, human, or dwarf.
    Last edited by myfreezr2; Aug 28 2012 at 01:33 PM.

  11. #136
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    Thumbs up

    OMG... amazing how this all started and ended with different points. Here is mine (replying to the first post):

    (sorry about my spelling, it is not my native language)

    First of all you may be interested in that russian writer who wrote LOTR from Sauron perspective.

    Then, to the point that Melkor was a dissonant &&&&&&& and Sauron was in fact a purist who wanted to play Eru's melody accordin to the plan: it sounds fair. But trying to find logic into a tale is what it is wrong here. There is no logic, it is not a fact, it is a story.

    The interesting parts are in the story itself, for example: Eru as an absolute power created everything, he is everything or the creator of... then he created his disciples BUT he didn't showed them what the plan was... that is one of the first problems. Why? then Melkor was indeed aware of all his thoughts and he was not pleased so that means that Eru is not perfect and he is a questionable being bringing to the table the free will and imperfection issues. Perfection is a rare concept. From that "imperfect" start either choices and Sauron's are just subject to the relativity of everything since there is no base canvas for right or wrong. Eru's plan may be wrong or right depending on the point of view. Tolkien seems to describe Eru's plan / music as harmony but as you questioned ... what if that plan was caotic and Melkor was in fact trying to do something else.

    I also must disagree with some beliefs posted above about predetermination. There is nopredetermination even in our reality. There is however a predisposition. It is not the same. And if we try to understand a tale using philosophy (again, I don't think it is possible) but we can try, I will say this: the Universe has some rules, but there is no purpose. Purpose is something that we define but nothing is written, at least according to our own understanding. It is in fact a philosophical matter.

    All in all... over amazing post.
    Ramiros 66 (HNT) + Romiriel 85 (MNS)
    Educate yourself in the matters of reality for they have no precise line between good and evil.

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    But there in lies the catch. If he declares a higher power wrong, then he has to accept that his being a higher power than the free peoples does not make him right. If he declares the higher power not to be a higher power, despite all evidence otherwise, then on what basis can he claim to be a higher power than the free peoples, other than by his own ego? And if he doesn't declare the higher power to be wrong and accepts that there are other, higher order beings, he is knowingly doing wrong.

    Rejecting ideas you don't want to believe is much different from being right.
    "higher power" is relative. He thought he was right, I doubt he was looking for logical proof of that. Whether or not he believed himself to be above the races or below Eru in terms of comsological "rank" doesn't matter. He thought he was right and everyone else, or at least anyone else with the will or ability to make a difference was wrong, regardless of power. Rejecting other ideas and thinking you are right is pretty much how every being capable of higher thought works. You look at the world, form an opinion and then until convinced otherwise you hold that opinion. This entire thread has proved that people hold their own opinions and think that they're right. No one has stated that Sauron's idea of the "better world" was actually right. He believed he was right, exactly how we all believe we're right in this thread. Perhaps we're more inclined to listen to others and concede points than Sauron was, but then if we were that powerful and apparently wise, we might not be. To maintain that you're right even after thousands of years' worth of wars against you takes a certain level of... 'self confidence'.. certainly. Egotistical certainly describes Sauron, but it describes a lot of leaders who achieve and then hold onto their positions really.

    Even so, he wasn't even opposing Eru knowingly, did he not think Eru had completely abandoned his creation and left it to it's own devices? I've never read anything to suggest that he ever declared Eru wrong about anything, ever.

    He found the races lacking in their methods, but that is only a part of Eru's creation. Does that mean that any human who finds fault with anything in the world is directly opposing whatever god you or they believe in? I hope not, or we're delving into some weird and wonderful viewpoints.



    Quote Originally Posted by myfreezr2 View Post
    Now this is just wrong. Eru gave the Flame Imperishable (aka "free will") to many of his creatures -- none more so than the Ainur, of whom both Morgoth and Sauron were individuals. They were not "pre-destined" to do evil; they made the wrong choices. No one forced them to do what they did.
    The Flame Imperishable and "free will" are two different things. The Flame Imperishable is Eru's creative essence that allows things to create and be created. After Eru made Arda the Flame was sent to dwell in the heart of the world, other Ainur had access to it and so were able to create within the world.

    Melkor specifically did not have access to the Flame, he was never given it. This is why he was unable to create and so was forced only to corrupt and destroy. His jealousy and bitterness towards those who could create is what caused him to go on his rampage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Starina View Post
    Fate and free will to me are not necessarily the same thing and I was not referring to pre-determination as in every event being pre-determined by some 'higher force'. Free will to me is more a dilemma, as I outlined if we take nature and nurter into consideration and all that.
    I agree with this. I was just trying to outline in my post the difference between the two in Middle earth as I understand and have been lead to understand by various other people more versed in Tolkien's writings than I am. Free will as a concept is something that everything in Middle earth has, at least in the way that we have it (or don't have it... Or something). Fate on the other hand is something only Men (possibly Hobbits too actually) are free of. The "Gift" of Men, comprising their 'ability' to leave the world (or die..) and also this complete freedom is what sets them apart from the other races in their place in the music. Or at least that how I understand it.

    So in the context of this discussion it would mean that Sauron probably did have a fate, or one or two fates sang for him in the beginning, but every choice he made along the way was his own free choice to make. So in my view, at least, the extent to which he had, or didn't have, free will doesn't really absolve him of any responsibility.

    Just to be pedantic, when I'm talking about fate I mean the actual, concrete fate we know most "races" in Middle earth were subject to. I don't mean the "fate" or destiny or any of the other concepts that may or may not actually exist in real life.

  13. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    "higher power" is relative.
    Of course it is. Something cannot be higher or lower other than in comparison with something else. What is your point?

    He thought he was right, I doubt he was looking for logical proof of that. Whether or not he believed himself to be above the races or below Eru in terms of comsological "rank" doesn't matter. He thought he was right and everyone else, or at least anyone else with the will or ability to make a difference was wrong, regardless of power. Rejecting other ideas and thinking you are right is pretty much how every being capable of higher thought works.
    No it isn't. In fact, that is the easiest way to end up wrong. Assuming others are incompetent or rejecting their ideas off hand is about as selfish as it gets.

    You look at the world, form an opinion and then until convinced otherwise you hold that opinion. This entire thread has proved that people hold their own opinions and think that they're right. No one has stated that Sauron's idea of the "better world" was actually right. He believed he was right, exactly how we all believe we're right in this thread. Perhaps we're more inclined to listen to others and concede points than Sauron was, but then if we were that powerful and apparently wise, we might not be. To maintain that you're right even after thousands of years' worth of wars against you takes a certain level of... 'self confidence'.. certainly. Egotistical certainly describes Sauron, but it describes a lot of leaders who achieve and then hold onto their positions really.
    Yes, people hold opinions, sometimes strongly. Surrendering your beliefs without thought is just as bad as holding on to them without thought. The fact that many people hold beliefs that have no logical basis has nothing to do with Sauron. You seem to be saying that if Sauron is evil, then others are too. But others are too.

    And it isn't just that Sauron didn't question his beliefs. It was the nature of the beliefs he was refusing to question.

    Even so, he wasn't even opposing Eru knowingly, did he not think Eru had completely abandoned his creation and left it to it's own devices? I've never read anything to suggest that he ever declared Eru wrong about anything, ever.

    He found the races lacking in their methods, but that is only a part of Eru's creation. Does that mean that any human who finds fault with anything in the world is directly opposing whatever god you or they believe in? I hope not, or we're delving into some weird and wonderful viewpoints.
    Arguably yes. If someone finds fault in an aspect of creation itself, such as the fact there are evil people in the world rather than finding fault with those people or the evil they do, then yes, they are finding fault in the creator.

    If you look on a painting and dislike it, how are you not critiquing the painter for having painted it? If you take the painting and paint over it, or moreso, repaint certain sections more to your liking, how is that not that much harsher a criticism?

    The Flame Imperishable and "free will" are two different things. The Flame Imperishable is Eru's creative essence that allows things to create and be created. After Eru made Arda the Flame was sent to dwell in the heart of the world, other Ainur had access to it and so were able to create within the world.
    If an automated factory produces widgets, how can it say that the factory is anything more than the tool of its architects? You are arguing that the paint brush does the painting, and the painter has no hand, yet the paint brush has no will of its own .
    Either Eru's creations have free will, in which case they are the ones creating, or they have none, in which case Eru is the one creating and they are merely his brushes.

    Melkor specifically did not have access to the Flame, he was never given it. This is why he was unable to create and so was forced only to corrupt and destroy. His jealousy and bitterness towards those who could create is what caused him to go on his rampage.
    I always had an issue with that aspect. Corrupting or changing is still creating. Even destruction creates a vacuum.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Of course it is. Something cannot be higher or lower other than in comparison with something else. What is your point?
    In terms of how you view yourself. You could see yourself as higher than someone else, where as others may disagree. Similarly others could see someone as higher, whereas the person themselves disagrees. We see Sauron as a higher being than the races, yet lower than the Valar and Eru. He might disagree. He might think innate "rank" is irrelevant and judgement should be passed only on decisions or accomplishments, who knows?


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    No it isn't. In fact, that is the easiest way to end up wrong. Assuming others are incompetent or rejecting their ideas off hand is about as selfish as it gets.
    Ironic really given that that is exactly what you have just done with that statement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Yes, people hold opinions, sometimes strongly. Surrendering your beliefs without thought is just as bad as holding on to them without thought. The fact that many people hold beliefs that have no logical basis has nothing to do with Sauron. You seem to be saying that if Sauron is evil, then others are too. But others are too.

    And it isn't just that Sauron didn't question his beliefs. It was the nature of the beliefs he was refusing to question.
    You seem to be painting every day, common characteristics of almost every able minded being under the sun as evil or somehow wrong. If you're saying Sauron holding his own beliefs and refusing to question them is an evil trait, then a good 90% of the population have that evil streak. I'd hardly call stubbornness evil.

    The nature of the beliefs is still a good one. He believed he was doing what was right. He refused to question that. The actions that followed from those beliefs are the problem.

    You're right in saying beliefs with no logical basis have nothing to do with Sauron, his ideas were formed almost entirely based on logic and reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Arguably yes. If someone finds fault in an aspect of creation itself, such as the fact there are evil people in the world rather than finding fault with those people or the evil they do, then yes, they are finding fault in the creator.

    If you look on a painting and dislike it, how are you not critiquing the painter for having painted it? If you take the painting and paint over it, or moreso, repaint certain sections more to your liking, how is that not that much harsher a criticism?
    Bearing in mind that we've suggested in this thread that everyone in ME has free will? If a painter paints a painting, but then a part of that painting fades or is somehow tarnished by someone other than the creator, finding fault with that is not blaming the creator. Unless you decide that Eru/God/whoever is directly responsible for every single thing that happens ever, in which case there's little point even discussing anything since me and you are just Gods left hand arguing with Gods right hand. Seems futile to me.

    If you try and then fix that painting, believing you're doing it for the best and helping everyone, like this for example, but end up ruining it, are you evil? Sauron saw a flaw that had developed on creation and sought to rectify it.

    Also, everyone is entitled to an opinion on things such as art. If I paint a picture I will finish when I am satisfied that it looks how I wanted it to. Almost by definition I will finish painting when I like the picture. If someone else doesn't like it, I wouldn't take that as criticism or be offended. If they say "the colours are wrong" or "you've put X in the wrong place", that is their opinion. I obviously would think that I chose the right colours and arranged the scene correctly, since I'd be creating something from my own mind, much like Eru. If I was painting something real, a still life or perhaps an interpretation of Feanor or Fingolfin, people could justifiably say things like "that looks nothing like the Eiffel Tower" or "his arms are out of proportion". These would be objective criticisms though, things either look correct or not. Once again it would be difficult to take offence if you realise you have painted a man's legs a good 6 inches too long for his body, for example. This second, objective, case is irrelevant though, since Eru based his creation on nothing other than his own idea. People can freely disagree with that and say "that's not how I would have done it". Well, fair enough, when you create your own universe you can do it differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    If an automated factory produces widgets, how can it say that the factory is anything more than the tool of its architects? You are arguing that the paint brush does the painting, and the painter has no hand, yet the paint brush has no will of its own .
    Either Eru's creations have free will, in which case they are the ones creating, or they have none, in which case Eru is the one creating and they are merely his brushes.
    The Flame Imperishable is an abstract element of Eru's ability to create new things, to bring ideas into reality. It is in no way related to free will. In the part of my post you quoted I was simply stating that. I've not argued anything like what you're saying there. Eru creates life, the life has free will. There is nothing complex about that is there?

    You're misunderstanding "create" in this context I think. It isn't the mundane ability to "make" or build something. Forging a sword or creating a work of art are not "creating" in this sense. The Flame refers to the ability to envision something completely new, like the race of Elves, the Dwarves, an ocean, trees etc. and bring that into existence. Something which has never existed before in any form. Eru and the Ainur didn't get a tree and make a table, they had a void and created existence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    I always had an issue with that aspect. Corrupting or changing is still creating. Even destruction creates a vacuum.
    Once again the distinction lies between altering or changing what already exists and creating something brand new. Melkor could shape things, re build and re form them but he could not make any of his ideas directly into reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    In terms of how you view yourself. You could see yourself as higher than someone else, where as others may disagree. Similarly others could see someone as higher, whereas the person themselves disagrees. We see Sauron as a higher being than the races, yet lower than the Valar and Eru. He might disagree. He might think innate "rank" is irrelevant and judgement should be passed only on decisions or accomplishments, who knows?
    But then he cannot dismiss the free peoples as 'lesser races' or as 'lower order beings.' Either they are fellow sentients and therefore their free will has value, or they are 'lesser beings' who are not his equal. Or he is a sociopath who simply does not see others as sentient, which is generally considered to be 'evil.'

    If they are sufficiently lesser to not be worthy of respect, then he has to acknowledge those above him are above him and that he is a lesser being to them. Otherwise, he is hypocritical and just rationalizing his actions.

    Ironic really given that that is exactly what you have just done with that statement.
    That assumes that I disagree with you because I consider you a lesser person, or that I am dismissing your ideas off hand. I am, however, doing neither. You are a fellow human being with just as much right to freedom and free will as I, including the right to argue against me.

    And I am disagreeing with for what I perceive as being specific flaws in your arguments, hence my discussing your arguments and presenting counterpoints. As such I don't see the irony.

    You seem to be painting every day, common characteristics of almost every able minded being under the sun as evil or somehow wrong. If you're saying Sauron holding his own beliefs and refusing to question them is an evil trait, then a good 90% of the population have that evil streak. I'd hardly call stubbornness evil.
    With due respect, you seem to be taking a very superficial interpretation of what I have been saying. You also seem to be painting the majority with a very harsh brush. I don't believe that the faith of the majority is that absolute. If it was, the churches and temples and other places of worship in the world would be doing a lot better than they are. It is true that there are fanatics in the world, but thankfully they are not the majority.

    Also I would like to repeat that questioning beliefs does not equate to rejecting them. It may in some cases, but in most it is refinement, enlightenment. Again, it

    The nature of the beliefs is still a good one. He believed he was doing what was right. He refused to question that. The actions that followed from those beliefs are the problem.

    You're right in saying beliefs with no logical basis have nothing to do with Sauron, his ideas were formed almost entirely based on logic and reasoning.
    There is nothing wrong with faith in and of itself, but you seem to be taking the position that faith is inherently good regardless of the beliefs.

    And that logical conclusions are inherently good, or at least non-evil, regardless of the premises on which they are based. It is true that the logic itself is neutral, but it is the premises on which the logic is based that is flawed and evil. In this case, the assumption that there is disorder, and that no individual has any use or meaningful existence outside of as a tool of Sauron.

    Bearing in mind that we've suggested in this thread that everyone in ME has free will? If a painter paints a painting, but then a part of that painting fades or is somehow tarnished by someone other than the creator, finding fault with that is not blaming the creator. Unless you decide that Eru/God/whoever is directly responsible for every single thing that happens ever, in which case there's little point even discussing anything since me and you are just Gods left hand arguing with Gods right hand. Seems futile to me.
    The relationship between creators and their sentient creations is worthy of an entire separate thread, possibly even its own separate book. Sauron showed no attempt to restore the painting. At best, he showed a willingness to mar it further. That may have been to try to shame its creator into repainting it, but personally I doubt that was the reason. Eru did show a willingness to intervene in the past to prevent exactly that kind of thing, but left the painting marred as a reminder (or possibly even as part of his plan).

    If you try and then fix that painting, believing you're doing it for the best and helping everyone, like this for example, but end up ruining it, are you evil? Sauron saw a flaw that had developed on creation and sought to rectify it.
    Sauron had his out, his chance to use that excuse. He signed up with Melkor to try to improve the world, blew it, and then his attempt at restitution consisted of creating the rings and betraying the free peoples. Again, your own personal sense of aesthetics is not an excuse to enslave and reshape the world.

    Also, everyone is entitled to an opinion on things such as art. If I paint a picture I will finish when I am satisfied that it looks how I wanted it to. Almost by definition I will finish painting when I like the picture. If someone else doesn't like it, I wouldn't take that as criticism or be offended. If they say "the colours are wrong" or "you've put X in the wrong place", that is their opinion. I obviously would think that I chose the right colours and arranged the scene correctly, since I'd be creating something from my own mind, much like Eru. If I was painting something real, a still life or perhaps an interpretation of Feanor or Fingolfin, people could justifiably say things like "that looks nothing like the Eiffel Tower" or "his arms are out of proportion". These would be objective criticisms though, things either look correct or not. Once again it would be difficult to take offence if you realise you have painted a man's legs a good 6 inches too long for his body, for example. This second, objective, case is irrelevant though, since Eru based his creation on nothing other than his own idea. People can freely disagree with that and say "that's not how I would have done it". Well, fair enough, when you create your own universe you can do it differently.
    Go into the Louve and try to improve the Mona Lisa. I dare you. You are not talking about merely disliking art. You are talking about disliking art and 'correcting' it to your standards, regardless of whose art it is and who is harmed in the course of your 'corrections.'

    You seem to be dismissing the concept that *anything* is wrong, or evil. Can you give any examples of acts or philosophies that you do consider evil?

    The Flame Imperishable is an abstract element of Eru's ability to create new things, to bring ideas into reality. It is in no way related to free will. In the part of my post you quoted I was simply stating that. I've not argued anything like what you're saying there. Eru creates life, the life has free will. There is nothing complex about that is there?

    You're misunderstanding "create" in this context I think. It isn't the mundane ability to "make" or build something. Forging a sword or creating a work of art are not "creating" in this sense. The Flame refers to the ability to envision something completely new, like the race of Elves, the Dwarves, an ocean, trees etc. and bring that into existence. Something which has never existed before in any form. Eru and the Ainur didn't get a tree and make a table, they had a void and created existence.
    To me, you are failing to understand what free will really is. It is that ability to come up with new ideas, ideas that are *yours*, that inspire *your* decisions. How can you have free will without the ability to imagine anything new? You would always decide identically....

    Once again the distinction lies between altering or changing what already exists and creating something brand new. Melkor could shape things, re build and re form them but he could not make any of his ideas directly into reality.
    But virtually all creation involves the destruction or changing of what came before. This is even true of ideas. His discord did not exist until he introduced it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    But then he cannot dismiss the free peoples as 'lesser races' or as 'lower order beings.' Either they are fellow sentients and therefore their free will has value, or they are 'lesser beings' who are not his equal. Or he is a sociopath who simply does not see others as sentient, which is generally considered to be 'evil.'

    If they are sufficiently lesser to not be worthy of respect, then he has to acknowledge those above him are above him and that he is a lesser being to them. Otherwise, he is hypocritical and just rationalizing his actions.
    He clearly sees them as sentient, why would he not? They are lesser on the cosmological scale of Middle earth but who is to say whether or not Sauron gives any value to that scale? He simply thinks that they are wrong and he is right. There is nothing hypocritical about it at all. I'm unsure what you're trying to say here (I don't mean that in a provocative fashion, I'm just genuinely unsure). As far as I've read, Sauron sees wasteful "friction" and wasted potential all around him. He belives that he has the ability to move others to be more efficient and "cooperative", even if that means them falling under his rule. There's nothing hypocritical about that, nor is it related to his thoughts about the sentience of other people as far as I can see.

    Others disagree with him, yes, but his ignoring of them does not mean he is a hypocrite. He was blindly convinced that he was in the right and a sort of "saviour" figure. He afforded a great many beings respect, although it manifested as fear of them usually. He moved his entire army to strike against Gondor in a rash attack simply because Aragorn taunted him through the Palintir. He clearly respected the power and influence Aragorn had otherwise he wouldn't have reacted.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    That assumes that I disagree with you because I consider you a lesser person, or that I am dismissing your ideas off hand. I am, however, doing neither. You are a fellow human being with just as much right to freedom and free will as I, including the right to argue against me.
    I said:

    Rejecting other ideas and thinking you are right is pretty much how every being capable of higher thought works.
    To which you replied:

    No it isn't. In fact, that is the easiest way to end up wrong. Assuming others are incompetent or rejecting their ideas off hand is about as selfish as it gets.
    There was nothing about relative levels of being or sentience. I simply said that people hold their own views and will discount other people's in favour of their own until they're given sufficient proof that their view is wrong. You then said my view on this was wrong and instead gave your view which I assume you believe to be right (I'm not saying it isn't, nor that my view is right).


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And I am disagreeing with for what I perceive as being specific flaws in your arguments, hence my discussing your arguments and presenting counterpoints. As such I don't see the irony.
    Which is pretty much how every being capable of higher thought works.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    With due respect, you seem to be taking a very superficial interpretation of what I have been saying. You also seem to be painting the majority with a very harsh brush. I don't believe that the faith of the majority is that absolute. If it was, the churches and temples and other places of worship in the world would be doing a lot better than they are. It is true that there are fanatics in the world, but thankfully they are not the majority.
    Once again I don't really know where this has come from. You were saying

    But there in lies the catch. If he declares a higher power wrong, then he has to accept that his being a higher power than the free peoples does not make him right. If he declares the higher power not to be a higher power, despite all evidence otherwise, then on what basis can he claim to be a higher power than the free peoples, other than by his own ego? And if he doesn't declare the higher power to be wrong and accepts that there are other, higher order beings, he is knowingly doing wrong.

    Rejecting ideas you don't want to believe is much different from being right.
    To me, what you're saying there is that Sauron is wrong for holding the views he did. I was saying that the traits that you were stacking up on Sauron on his "evil" side are characteristics that you find in pretty much all intelligent people. I'd wager that 90% of times a human opens their mouth or types something out, they think they're right. If someone challenges that, a large percentage of the time the original person will still think they're right, and argue the case for it. Sauron thought he was right, no one convinced him otherwise. Once again, his position within the cosmology does not affect his view of "correct" or "incorrect".


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Also I would like to repeat that questioning beliefs does not equate to rejecting them. It may in some cases, but in most it is refinement, enlightenment. Again, it
    If person A holds view X, and person B holds view Y on something very important to them and they have a discussion about it, person A will think that view X is right. Person B will think that view Y is right. This doesn't have to mean that person A thinks that view Y is wrong, but they will most likely think it is less right than view X. In this sense they reject view Y, they don't take it on as their own or give it equal weight as their own. There are many, many times where this is the case. There are equally many where it is not, I agree, although these times tend to involve things of less importance or depth to the people concerned. For example, if you believe in God, it is very unlikely that someone will change your mind over that. If you believe strongly in science it is unlikely that anyone will change that view. If you think that cloud looks a bit like Bart Simpson, its is highly possible someone will change your mind on that. If you think that the majority of creation is wasting too much time on trivialities that do nothing to advance technology, understanding or achievements, it is once again unlikely that people will change this view.

    Sauron held a view that the world was full of wasted energy for lack of a better word. He held this view very strongly and it was something very personal to him. He never encountered a situation or person that caused him to change this view. He was a Maia of Aule, he held great respect for "science", engineering, improving. Don't forget that Aule himself sought to impose his own will over Arda in a way specifically outlawed by Eru. Aule created the Dwarves since he deeply desired his own "children" to teach and develop. This (in response to a much earlier post of yours) is an example of a motive that is much more self serving and self indulgent than Sauron's.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    There is nothing wrong with faith in and of itself, but you seem to be taking the position that faith is inherently good regardless of the beliefs.
    Quite the opposite, I'm saying that Sauron's motives were good ones, and they are the motives he had faith in.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And that logical conclusions are inherently good, or at least non-evil, regardless of the premises on which they are based. It is true that the logic itself is neutral, but it is the premises on which the logic is based that is flawed and evil. In this case, the assumption that there is disorder, and that no individual has any use or meaningful existence outside of as a tool of Sauron.
    Logical conclusions, as you say, are entirely neutral. There was disorder. Not only is a fair chunk of the Silmarilion devoted to this, it's also unavoidable given the fact that Tolkien intended his "fantasy" to be largely as "realistic" as mediaeval Europe. People do not always work towards the optimal end. People will argue over what colour curtains go best in the living room, rather than doing anything productive.

    Sauron's error was the idea that this is flat out wrong and that everything should run like a well oiled machine at all times. The bolded part I think is at odds with what is written about Sauron, certainly in earlier works. He believed there to be great potential among the races. He saw the things they could do if they wanted. His despair was that they didn't do it often enough, or not enough of them did it, or those that couldn't spent time doing things other than learning how to and so on. He sought to preserve the existence of his "subjects", at least in theory. He had his tools, the Nazgul, his puppet leaders etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    The relationship between creators and their sentient creations is worthy of an entire separate thread, possibly even its own separate book. Sauron showed no attempt to restore the painting. At best, he showed a willingness to mar it further. That may have been to try to shame its creator into repainting it, but personally I doubt that was the reason. Eru did show a willingness to intervene in the past to prevent exactly that kind of thing, but left the painting marred as a reminder (or possibly even as part of his plan).
    Surely you can see that in his own mind he thought he was repairing it? Do you think that woman in Spain set out to ruin the picture of Jesus the way she did? No, they believed they were helping.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Sauron had his out, his chance to use that excuse. He signed up with Melkor to try to improve the world, blew it, and then his attempt at restitution consisted of creating the rings and betraying the free peoples. Again, your own personal sense of aesthetics is not an excuse to enslave and reshape the world.
    He signed up with Melkor because he greatly respected the way he got stuff done with speed and ease. While serving under Melkor though he was limited to carrying out orders only. Melkor ensnared him and put him to work as a lieutenant and strategist. He probably thought he was on the right side to carry out his plan, but had to put up with following orders for a while. That and Melkor probably exuded such control and presence over him that he couldn't disobey even if he wanted to. Sauron's abilities were let loose on the forges of Angband though and he seems to be largely responsible for the greatness of them. He was good at getting stuff working, so long as the people working for him did exactly what he said.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Go into the Louve and try to improve the Mona Lisa. I dare you. You are not talking about merely disliking art. You are talking about disliking art and 'correcting' it to your standards, regardless of whose art it is and who is harmed in the course of your 'corrections.'
    The part of my post you've quoted regarding your above quote was about everyone's right to an opinion on anything anyone creates. Such as me not liking the way Alan Lee interprets some of Tolkien's writings. As I said in the bit you quoted, I completely understand that that is only my opinion. In his opinion he probably thinks his paintings look exactly like Middle earth, because that's what he saw in his head when he read the words.

    The part you quoted had nothing to do with applying corrections, it was an extension of the painting metaphor onto your point that anyone who disagrees with any facet of the world therefore disagrees with its creator and whether or not this is inherently bad. I was saying that everyone is free to have any opinion they want regarding anything. Just because someone paints something it doesn't give them a right to assume everyone will like it. Just because someone creates Ea and gives everything within it free will, it doesn't mean he has the right to assume that everyone will like it. Nor should they, or he, be offended when someone doesn't.

    There are no objective faults with the Mona Lisa currently, faults in terms of damage etc, so the repairing isn't needed. Over its history though it has been cleaned, touched up and recoloured quite a few times. These are repairs that people felt were needed. These were not criticisms against da Vinci, they were objective flaws that had developed over time. These are the type objective "flaws" that Sauron acted against and sought to repair, not flaws in the original creation itself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    You seem to be dismissing the concept that *anything* is wrong, or evil. Can you give any examples of acts or philosophies that you do consider evil?
    Genocide, murder, terrorism, &&&&, doing things to ruin someone's life, planning to ruin several generations' lives (irradiating the soil etc), torture out of mailce? There are countless acts and motives that are irredeemable and evil. Sauron's motives were not this though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    To me, you are failing to understand what free will really is. It is that ability to come up with new ideas, ideas that are *yours*, that inspire *your* decisions. How can you have free will without the ability to imagine anything new? You would always decide identically....
    But the Flame Imperishable (which is what this whole section of discussion was about) is the ability to spontaneously bring your ideas into existence. I have free will. I can imagine things in my mind that do not (to my knowledge) exist and never have done. That is not the Flame. If I could translate those ideas into actual, physical, real life things, that would be the intrinsic power of creation that Eru and certain Valar have. Free will is completely unrelated to the ability to will things into existence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    But virtually all creation involves the destruction or changing of what came before. This is even true of ideas. His discord did not exist until he introduced it.
    Except of course in the one specific case in which the Flame Imperishable is important, i.e. the creation of creation itself. The creation of the universe and everything within it. This is what Eru and the Valar were responsible for. Not changing the shape of some wood until it is an instrument. Working with things that already exist is not the same as brining new things into existence from the void.

    Melkor's discord was perhaps his only act of "creation", although while in the void before they entered the world no one had access to the Flame as it dwelt within Eru himself. He introduced evil into the music, although even in doing so the music was improved, according to Tolkien. He was never able to create once he had entered Arda though and the Flame was moved to "the heart of the world". He was denied access to the Flame while other Ainur were not. This is a fact of Tolkien's legendarium, Melkor was not able to create new things after his own desire, hence his mockeries of Elves and Ents and various other creations.
    Last edited by Curandhras; Aug 29 2012 at 02:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    He clearly sees them as sentient, why would he not? They are lesser on the cosmological scale of Middle earth but who is to say whether or not Sauron gives any value to that scale? He simply thinks that they are wrong and he is right. There is nothing hypocritical about it at all. I'm unsure what you're trying to say here (I don't mean that in a provocative fashion, I'm just genuinely unsure). As far as I've read, Sauron sees wasteful "friction" and wasted potential all around him. He belives that he has the ability to move others to be more efficient and "cooperative", even if that means them falling under his rule. There's nothing hypocritical about that, nor is it related to his thoughts about the sentience of other people as far as I can see.
    He created a set of rings to enslave, control, and twist. The men who became the ring-wraiths didn't volunteer to do so knowingly. Smeagol didn't volunteer to become Gollum. The One affected Bilbo's and Frodo's personalities negatively.

    He had to have known that convincing the Numenoreans to attack the Valar wouldn't end well for them.

    You seem to completely dismiss his blatant disregard for the people of Middle Earth as people.

    Others disagree with him, yes, but his ignoring of them does not mean he is a hypocrite. He was blindly convinced that he was in the right and a sort of "saviour" figure. He afforded a great many beings respect, although it manifested as fear of them usually. He moved his entire army to strike against Gondor in a rash attack simply because Aragorn taunted him through the Palintir. He clearly respected the power and influence Aragorn had otherwise he wouldn't have reacted.
    A rash attack against Gondor? Sauron had superior ground forces. The only reason that he lost on the ground is the ring was destroyed and him with it. He didn't respect Aragorn per se, he was afraid Aragorn might have the ring and thus be a threat.

    If the Rohirrim hadn't shown up to hit his troops in the rear, he would likely have captured Gondor.

    And if being blindly convinced you are right and some sort of 'savior' absolves him of evil, then you are saying there is no such thing as evil. You are absolving pretty much every heinous act ever committed by anyone.

    There was nothing about relative levels of being or sentience. I simply said that people hold their own views and will discount other people's in favour of their own until they're given sufficient proof that their view is wrong. You then said my view on this was wrong and instead gave your view which I assume you believe to be right (I'm not saying it isn't, nor that my view is right).
    If they are open to being proven wrong, they are not discounting other's views, nor are they blind in their views.

    Which is pretty much how every being capable of higher thought works.
    And yet in suggesting my disagreement with you is ironic, you suggested otherwise of me.

    Once again I don't really know where this has come from.
    Given a couple posts ago, you were saying that the majority disregard other's views in favor of their own, I am not surprised that you are having trouble following my arguments.

    To me, what you're saying there is that Sauron is wrong for holding the views he did. I was saying that the traits that you were stacking up on Sauron on his "evil" side are characteristics that you find in pretty much all intelligent people. I'd wager that 90% of times a human opens their mouth or types something out, they think they're right. If someone challenges that, a large percentage of the time the original person will still think they're right, and argue the case for it. Sauron thought he was right, no one convinced him otherwise. Once again, his position within the cosmology does not affect his view of "correct" or "incorrect".
    Sauron did more than 'think he was right' though. He declared his sense of cosmic aesthetics to be superior, and acted on that radically, to the detriment of others. Even sticking to the intellectual level, though, do you believe that bigotry and blind hatred are 'just fine?' Or that thinking of other sentient beings as just non-sentient lumps of modelling clay to re-arrange at your whim is 'just fine?' Again, you are absolving most serial killers, not to mention many other habitual criminals.

    His position within the cosmology is relevant if he is using it to justify his actions to any degree.

    If person A holds view X, and person B holds view Y on something very important to them and they have a discussion about it, person A will think that view X is right. Person B will think that view Y is right. This doesn't have to mean that person A thinks that view Y is wrong, but they will most likely think it is less right than view X. In this sense they reject view Y, they don't take it on as their own or give it equal weight as their own. There are many, many times where this is the case. There are equally many where it is not, I agree, although these times tend to involve things of less importance or depth to the people concerned. For example, if you believe in God, it is very unlikely that someone will change your mind over that. If you believe strongly in science it is unlikely that anyone will change that view. If you think that cloud looks a bit like Bart Simpson, its is highly possible someone will change your mind on that. If you think that the majority of creation is wasting too much time on trivialities that do nothing to advance technology, understanding or achievements, it is once again unlikely that people will change this view.

    Sauron held a view that the world was full of wasted energy for lack of a better word. He held this view very strongly and it was something very personal to him. He never encountered a situation or person that caused him to change this view. He was a Maia of Aule, he held great respect for "science", engineering, improving. Don't forget that Aule himself sought to impose his own will over Arda in a way specifically outlawed by Eru. Aule created the Dwarves since he deeply desired his own "children" to teach and develop. This (in response to a much earlier post of yours) is an example of a motive that is much more self serving and self indulgent than Sauron's.
    And yet after creating them, Aule pretty much left them alone. He 'imposed his will' in a much more subtle way, and in a way that was not a detriment to the other races. He sang in the choir despite having been asked not to, but at least he sang in tune and in harmony.

    Sauron, on the other hand, sought to force the choir to sing his music outright, to the extent of being willing to operate on them surgically to alter their voices, with no regard to how that would affect the choir or its members.

    Do you really not understand the difference in degree? And note, I am not defending Aule here. If you want to discuss Aule, start a separate thread.

    Quite the opposite, I'm saying that Sauron's motives were good ones, and they are the motives he had faith in.
    You are either reading into the text that which fits your thesis, or you really do have no respect for others... or you are not being serious. I am not sure how else to interpret that. You seem to disregard all evidence to the contrary.

    Logical conclusions, as you say, are entirely neutral. There was disorder. Not only is a fair chunk of the Silmarilion devoted to this, it's also unavoidable given the fact that Tolkien intended his "fantasy" to be largely as "realistic" as mediaeval Europe. People do not always work towards the optimal end. People will argue over what colour curtains go best in the living room, rather than doing anything productive.
    You really need to read better. I said the logical PROCESS is neutral. The conclusions are only as good as the premises on which the logic is based. If the premises are flawed or 'wrong' then the conclusions will be too.

    The problem with your logic is that you are assuming that it was disordered. That is not clear at all from the Silmarillion. There was strife, and war, but that doesn't automatically mean disorder. Change, even radical change is often a search for better order. If you force order in the manner of Sauron, then you get stagnation, order without meaning.

    Sauron's error was the idea that this is flat out wrong and that everything should run like a well oiled machine at all times. The bolded part I think is at odds with what is written about Sauron, certainly in earlier works. He believed there to be great potential among the races. He saw the things they could do if they wanted. His despair was that they didn't do it often enough, or not enough of them did it, or those that couldn't spent time doing things other than learning how to and so on. He sought to preserve the existence of his "subjects", at least in theory. He had his tools, the Nazgul, his puppet leaders etc.
    A well oiled machine doing what, exactly? That is my problem with Sauron, that he assumed a lack of order simply because he could not see the order and concluded that he couldn't trust the actual designer, that there had to be disorder unless he personally could see it.

    Surely you can see that in his own mind he thought he was repairing it? Do you think that woman in Spain set out to ruin the picture of Jesus the way she did? No, they believed they were helping.
    If someone thinks you are broken, and on that belief, kidnaps you and tortures you in an attempt to 'fix' you, ignoring all evidence that you were not broken in any way other than that person not liking the way you look, or the color of your skin, or even your lack of productivity, you would really consider them something other than evil?

    He signed up with Melkor because he greatly respected the way he got stuff done with speed and ease. While serving under Melkor though he was limited to carrying out orders only. Melkor ensnared him and put him to work as a lieutenant and strategist. He probably thought he was on the right side to carry out his plan, but had to put up with following orders for a while. That and Melkor probably exuded such control and presence over him that he couldn't disobey even if he wanted to. Sauron's abilities were let loose on the forges of Angband though and he seems to be largely responsible for the greatness of them. He was good at getting stuff working, so long as the people working for him did exactly what he said.
    Again, though, he didn't care why or what. How can you declare a machine inefficient without even understanding what it is designed to do? And how can you justify doing what he did (under Melkor and later in his own name) with his only justification being a desire for a more efficient engine for doing nothing at all?

    The part of my post you've quoted regarding your above quote was about everyone's right to an opinion on anything anyone creates. Such as me not liking the way Alan Lee interprets some of Tolkien's writings. As I said in the bit you quoted, I completely understand that that is only my opinion. In his opinion he probably thinks his paintings look exactly like Middle earth, because that's what he saw in his head when he read the words.

    The part you quoted had nothing to do with applying corrections, it was an extension of the painting metaphor onto your point that anyone who disagrees with any facet of the world therefore disagrees with its creator and whether or not this is inherently bad. I was saying that everyone is free to have any opinion they want regarding anything. Just because someone paints something it doesn't give them a right to assume everyone will like it. Just because someone creates Ea and gives everything within it free will, it doesn't mean he has the right to assume that everyone will like it. Nor should they, or he, be offended when someone doesn't.

    There are no objective faults with the Mona Lisa currently, faults in terms of damage etc, so the repairing isn't needed. Over its history though it has been cleaned, touched up and recoloured quite a few times. These are repairs that people felt were needed. These were not criticisms against da Vinci, they were objective flaws that had developed over time. These are the type objective "flaws" that Sauron acted against and sought to repair, not flaws in the original creation itself.
    That you see no faults in the Mona Lisa is irrelevant. The point is, Sauron did. And instead of doing careful restorative work, he worked to re-paint it as something he would like better. And he didn't just do so with the painting, but did his best to do the same with the subject of the painting, to declare the woman Mona Lisa herself flawed and in need of re-working into something else.

    Eru had not acknowledged any of the flaws you claim were there objectively. The other Valar accepted Eru in that, and if anything saw Sauron as an extension of any flaws (which by following Melkor he did have a hand in, after all) rather than independent of any. Given Sauron was the only one declaring the flaws as so abominable, how can you say with such certainty that his opinion was objective? Its like not only do you feel Sauron was right in disregarding other opinions, but that you have convinced yourself that Sauron must be right, therefore he is.

    Genocide, murder, terrorism, &&&&, doing things to ruin someone's life, planning to ruin several generations' lives (irradiating the soil etc), torture out of mailce? There are countless acts and motives that are irredeemable and evil. Sauron's motives were not this though.
    Why do they have to be out of malice, especially when talking about several generations? I take it that you have never heard the term 'willful disregard?' The Germans killed not just efficiently but also humanely in the death camps. The fanatic really believed Jews and others were non-people. Does that mean they weren't evil, in your opinion?

    Melkor's discord was perhaps his only act of "creation", although while in the void before they entered the world no one had access to the Flame as it dwelt within Eru himself. He introduced evil into the music, although even in doing so the music was improved, according to Tolkien. He was never able to create once he had entered Arda though and the Flame was moved to "the heart of the world". He was denied access to the Flame while other Ainur were not. This is a fact of Tolkien's legendarium, Melkor was not able to create new things after his own desire, hence his mockeries of Elves and Ents and various other creations.
    I still say that said mockeries are still new things. The first Orc was a new thing. So was the first Troll. I think the better interpretation is that the flame allows creation of new sentient races, of new 'souls' for want of a better word.... much more specific than simple creation.

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    I think the frequently quoted passage by Tolkien himself, distinguishing Morgoth's nihilistic evil from Sauron's goal-oriented variety, is pretty much the end of the story here.

    The worst tyrants and dictators of the twentieth century, starting with Lenin, who together murdered tens of millions, more or less mirror Sauron (or vice versa). All of them were pursuing some kind of utopian vision of the world that existed in their own minds. All of them were convinced that they alone knew the perfect ordering of the world, and were determined to bring it into being, whatever the cost. Once the leader rejects any moral constraints on the pursuit of their goals, the utopia inevitably recedes into the far distant future, leaving only oppression, murder and tyranny. That, in my opinion, is the point at which evil becomes evil.

    The experience of the twentieth century shows emphatically that Utopianism is never far from gangsterism. - Paul Johnson, Modern Times
    Despite Tolkien's disclaimers that he did not intend the War of the Ring as an allegory for the Second World War, in fact his entire adult lifetime (i.e. the twentieth century, starting with the First World War) was the era of the despotic utopias, and its not surprising that Sauron's behavior in many ways reflects what was happening in the real world around Tolkien. Not direct allegory, but the attempt to order the world according to the will of a single leader who accepts no moral limitations in their pursuit of that goal.
    Last edited by LagunaD; Aug 29 2012 at 10:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    He created a set of rings to enslave, control, and twist. The men who became the ring-wraiths didn't volunteer to do so knowingly. Smeagol didn't volunteer to become Gollum. The One affected Bilbo's and Frodo's personalities negatively.

    He had to have known that convincing the Numenoreans to attack the Valar wouldn't end well for them.
    Though I agree with some of your remarks, I feel compelled to point out some flawed information on your part.
    Firstly, even Sauron was surprised by Eru's intervention and the subsequent destruction of Numenor (and his body with it). Tolkien's description of it seems to indicate Sauron assumed they would merely be killed and he could rule Numenor and the rest of ME, since he had already established himself as a God-priest to Melkor of sorts on Numenor, and nearly everyone did as he said.

    "For Sauron himself was filled with great fear at the wrath of the Valar, and the doom that Eru laid upon sea and land. It was greater far than aught he had looked for, hoping only for the death of the Numenóreans and the defeat of their proud king. And Sauron, sitting in his black seat in the midst of the Temple, had laughed when he heard the trumpets of Ar-Pharazôn sounding for battle; and again he had laughed when he heard the thunder of the storm; and a third time, even as he laughed at his own thought, thinking what he would do now in the world, being rid of the Edain for ever, he was taken in the midst of his mirth, and his seat and his temple fell into the abyss"



    Sauron did more than 'think he was right' though. He declared his sense of cosmic aesthetics to be superior, and acted on that radically, to the detriment of others.
    So does pretty much every government on earth. Does that make them evil? N...well actually...probably yes.



    The problem with your logic is that you are assuming that it was disordered. That is not clear at all from the Silmarillion.
    The disorder is the Marring of Arda and Melkor's rule thereafter. Tolkien only uses the exact word "disorder" once in the Sil though, but in his letters it becomes more clear that after Melkor's fall, the inhabitants of ME are still considered to be in chaos through warring and selfishness.



    There was strife, and war, but that doesn't automatically mean disorder. Change, even radical change is often a search for better order. If you force order in the manner of Sauron, then you get stagnation, order without meaning.
    Strife and war are considered disorder. You are thinking of what comes after war, but that stage has never even been reached properly. Sauron thought he could bring ME to that stage, by waging "a war to end all wars" (where have we heard that before) and at the end of it be in control of all remaining sentient beings.

    Also, can you explain your last sentence? How is Sauron's order an order without meaning? How would have any more or any less meaning than order from the Free Peoples or from the Valar?



    A well oiled machine doing what, exactly? That is my problem with Sauron, that he assumed a lack of order simply because he could not see the order and concluded that he couldn't trust the actual designer, that there had to be disorder unless he personally could see it.
    I think it is not the case that he could not see order, or at least Tolkien never said he didn't see order. Rather he saw far too much disorder to his liking. The world wasn't progressing due to constant wars and generally people distrusting each other too much to cooperate. They had been around for at least 6,500 Sun Years and so far their greatest cultural and technological feats included making steel weapons/armour to kill each other and building pretty marble-laced tombs to bury their dead. Not exactly the pinnacle of progress.



    Eru had not acknowledged any of the flaws you claim were there objectively.
    He did, actually. It is what Dagor Dagorath was introduced for; to destroy the imperfect world marred by Melkor and to re-make it, but perfectly this time.




    Why do they have to be out of malice, especially when talking about several generations? I take it that you have never heard the term 'willful disregard?' The Germans killed not just efficiently but also humanely in the death camps.
    I'd love for you to have had a chance to talk to my great-uncle before he died. He was forced to first watch his family die in these death camps because they were unfit for work. Then he was forced to search their bodies for anything valuable like gold teeth. After that he was "allowed" the choice to burn or bury them himself, whichever was least crowded.
    Oh how he would have loved to meet you so he could punch you in the face.
    Their deaths may have been quick, but they were anything but humane even when not forced to do slave labour beforehand.



    I still say that said mockeries are still new things. The first Orc was a new thing. So was the first Troll. I think the better interpretation is that the flame allows creation of new sentient races, of new 'souls' for want of a better word.... much more specific than simple creation.
    I disagree, but perhaps our definitions of new differ. You are thinking of new names and new shapes, whereas I think we are thinking of new matter. Melkor took what was already there and simply altered it. That's like having a piece of paper, tearing a few pieces off and splattering some mud on it. It's changed, but not new. You can give it a new name, but it isn't anything new. If you were to turn that piece of paper into a brick or a metal pipe or a cherry-cream cake, then I would be impressed and say that you have created something new. Eru was the only one who could truly create new things out of nothing. Everyone else just had to work with what was already there. Think atom manipulation, but with magic.
    Last edited by BirdofHermes; Aug 29 2012 at 09:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    He created a set of rings to enslave, control, and twist. The men who became the ring-wraiths didn't volunteer to do so knowingly. Smeagol didn't volunteer to become Gollum. The One affected Bilbo's and Frodo's personalities negatively.

    He had to have known that convincing the Numenoreans to attack the Valar wouldn't end well for them.

    You seem to completely dismiss his blatant disregard for the people of Middle Earth as people.
    You seem to be almost wilfully missing the point of my posts every time now. Repeatedly to you, and others, I have said that I am not arguing against the fact that he did evil things and was for all intents and purposes evil as far as the Free Peoples are concerned. This discussion was about whether or not he is "pure evil". Since Tolkien says explicitly that he is not, I find it hard to believe that this is still going on. Even so, you keep making points trying to brand Sauron's motives as wrong and so far I don't think any of them hold water.

    Of course the rings were designed to corrupt and enslave, who is arguing otherwise? None of the actions you've listed there in any way even suggest that Sauron believed the races of Middle earth not to be sentient.

    You seem to completely dismiss his blatant disregard for the people of Middle Earth as people.
    You seem to completely fabricate facets of my argument. He had very little regard for individual life if that specific life was not valuable to him. He wasn't a very nice person, we know this.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    A rash attack against Gondor? Sauron had superior ground forces. The only reason that he lost on the ground is the ring was destroyed and him with it. He didn't respect Aragorn per se, he was afraid Aragorn might have the ring and thus be a threat.

    If the Rohirrim hadn't shown up to hit his troops in the rear, he would likely have captured Gondor.
    So do you disagree that Aragorn's message to him made Sauron attack quicker, more forcefully and with less care than he planned to? Because if so you disagree with the books. To change your plan so much for any one person shows that you respect their ability to affect you. Sauron seeing someone as a threat is certainly as close as to a mark of respect as you're going to get. He respected Melkor and Aule greatly too, he respected those who were good at what he valued.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And if being blindly convinced you are right and some sort of 'savior' absolves him of evil, then you are saying there is no such thing as evil. You are absolving pretty much every heinous act ever committed by anyone.
    Once again I've repeatedly said that nothing absolves him of the evil acts he committed. There is a distinction between carrying out evil acts and actually being pure evil, like Melkor was. Evil can actually describe what Melkor is. I.e. in the same way I am a human or the Earth is a planet, Melkor is evil. It's his whole existence. Sauron is not pure evil in the same way that Melkor is, once again, Tolkien states this.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    If they are open to being proven wrong, they are not discounting other's views, nor are they blind in their views.
    Fair enough, perhaps reject was the wrong word. However I still maintain that if you hold a particular view and refuse to accept someone else's, regardless of whether or not you are open to changing your mind or not, you have essentially rejected that viewpoint. You can be perfectly willing to have your mind changed if appropriate arguments are laid against it. If people try to change your mind with arguments that you don't feel are good enough and so fail to do so, surely you are rejecting those arguments and that view point?



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And yet in suggesting my disagreement with you is ironic, you suggested otherwise of me.
    No, not at all. You did exactly what I said most intelligent people do. Given that I said people will disagree with other people's ideas and argue for their own ideas instead, to which you then replied disagreeing and arguing for your own idea instead, I think I suggest exactly not otherwise of you. I think I suggested most people do exactly what you went on to do by disagreeing with me, which I found ironic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Given a couple posts ago, you were saying that the majority disregard other's views in favor of their own, I am not surprised that you are having trouble following my arguments.
    So in this context, a discussion where me and you hold different views, you are denying that most people disregard other views in favour of their own? Are you actually not in favour of your own views here? Are you somehow actually in complete agreement with me and are only stating some other views to make up both sides of the argument? Because if not I'd say that what's going on here is exactly what I said a few posts ago.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Sauron did more than 'think he was right' though. He declared his sense of cosmic aesthetics to be superior, and acted on that radically, to the detriment of others. Even sticking to the intellectual level, though, do you believe that bigotry and blind hatred are 'just fine?' Or that thinking of other sentient beings as just non-sentient lumps of modelling clay to re-arrange at your whim is 'just fine?' Again, you are absolving most serial killers, not to mention many other habitual criminals.

    His position within the cosmology is relevant if he is using it to justify his actions to any degree.
    Have I once stated that any of Sauron's actions were "just fine"? Repeatedly I have stated that his intentions were good. That is because Tolkien wrote about his intentions, and Tolkien chose to make them good.

    The only time I've ever read of Sauron referring to the "religion" at all is when he coerced people into worshipping Melkor as the one true god. Hardly him attempting to justify his actions. Installing himself as "high priest" was using his status as Melkor's 2nd in command, not his status as a Maia.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And yet after creating them, Aule pretty much left them alone. He 'imposed his will' in a much more subtle way, and in a way that was not a detriment to the other races. He sang in the choir despite having been asked not to, but at least he sang in tune and in harmony.

    Sauron, on the other hand, sought to force the choir to sing his music outright, to the extent of being willing to operate on them surgically to alter their voices, with no regard to how that would affect the choir or its members.

    Do you really not understand the difference in degree? And note, I am not defending Aule here. If you want to discuss Aule, start a separate thread.
    Of course I understand the difference, but you were discussing the way in which Sauron apparently disagreed with Eru and holding that up as evil. I was simply pointing out that Sauron's "good" master Aule actually directly disobeyed Eru. He didn't pretty much leave them alone either. He taught them and directed them a great many times and it lead to a fair few confrontations with the other Valar when it turned out that Aule's Dwarves had been abusing the natural resources Eru and the other Valar created in their huge building projects.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    You are either reading into the text that which fits your thesis, or you really do have no respect for others... or you are not being serious. I am not sure how else to interpret that. You seem to disregard all evidence to the contrary.
    I'm not sure what to make of this. Are you joking?

    "[T]hough the only real good in, or rational motive for, all this ordering and planning and organization was the good of all inhabitants of Arda (even admitting Sauron's right to be their supreme lord)
    - Tolkien

    [H]is capability of corrupting other minds, and even engaging their service, was a residue from the fact that his original desire for 'order' had really envisaged the good estate (especially physical well-being) of his 'subjects'.
    - Also Tolkien

    I am reading into the text exactly what Tolkien intended to be read into the text. Sauron's motives were good.




    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    You really need to read better. I said the logical PROCESS is neutral. The conclusions are only as good as the premises on which the logic is based. If the premises are flawed or 'wrong' then the conclusions will be too.

    The problem with your logic is that you are assuming that it was disordered. That is not clear at all from the Silmarillion. There was strife, and war, but that doesn't automatically mean disorder. Change, even radical change is often a search for better order. If you force order in the manner of Sauron, then you get stagnation, order without meaning.
    Strife and war is almost the perfect definition of disorder. People working against eachother rather than together. Change is often the search for a better order, but Sauron was wrong to try and bring about radical change to instate a better order?

    Once again, here I am not arguing that Sauron was right to do what he did. I simply don't think your argument against him here makes sense. He was striving to change the world and rid it of all wasted time and energy.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    A well oiled machine doing what, exactly? That is my problem with Sauron, that he assumed a lack of order simply because he could not see the order and concluded that he couldn't trust the actual designer, that there had to be disorder unless he personally could see it.
    Realising it's potential. Converting wasted time and energy into time and energy well spent. Tolkien never really said what Sauron's final plan was. All we know is that "it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall ...) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction." We know his intent was to improve the world by doing away with the latter in favour of the former.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    If someone thinks you are broken, and on that belief, kidnaps you and tortures you in an attempt to 'fix' you, ignoring all evidence that you were not broken in any way other than that person not liking the way you look, or the color of your skin, or even your lack of productivity, you would really consider them something other than evil?
    No of course personally I would not. In the same way that everyone we hear in the books considers Sauron to be evil. This thread is not supposed to be about specific points of view though. It is supposed to be about the nature of Sauron's motives.

    And in all honesty if someone did that to me "evil" would be long down the list of things I would think of them. Huge mental issues comes up quite near the top, after a few things that this forum won't let me type. Of course we know that Sauron wasn't quite all there in his mind any more, too, he had Melkor to thank for that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Again, though, he didn't care why or what. How can you declare a machine inefficient without even understanding what it is designed to do? And how can you justify doing what he did (under Melkor and later in his own name) with his only justification being a desire for a more efficient engine for doing nothing at all?
    It isn't really a machine though, it's a collection of free willed beings. Sauron understood perfectly well what those beings could do and what they were doing. The whole well oiled machine analogy only really describes Sauron's love of efficiency. He desired more order in every part of existence, the output is whatever useful output any one part of that existence can do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    That you see no faults in the Mona Lisa is irrelevant. The point is, Sauron did. And instead of doing careful restorative work, he worked to re-paint it as something he would like better. And he didn't just do so with the painting, but did his best to do the same with the subject of the painting, to declare the woman Mona Lisa herself flawed and in need of re-working into something else.
    Well it isn't irrelevant is it? If the canvas was slashed down the middle I'd call that a flaw that needed fixing, wouldn't you? He tried to make better what he saw in front of him. That is what Sauron did, once again Tolkien tells us that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Eru had not acknowledged any of the flaws you claim were there objectively. The other Valar accepted Eru in that, and if anything saw Sauron as an extension of any flaws (which by following Melkor he did have a hand in, after all) rather than independent of any. Given Sauron was the only one declaring the flaws as so abominable, how can you say with such certainty that his opinion was objective? Its like not only do you feel Sauron was right in disregarding other opinions, but that you have convinced yourself that Sauron must be right, therefore he is.
    Not in the slightest. I have decided that Sauron thought he was right, therefore he thought he was right. I don't think he was right. I've said that repeatedly.

    Once again I don't claim there were any objective flaws in Middle earth. I said that perhaps Sauron did. You must try to distinguish between what I think and what I am saying Sauron thinks.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Why do they have to be out of malice, especially when talking about several generations? I take it that you have never heard the term 'willful disregard?' The Germans killed not just efficiently but also humanely in the death camps. The fanatic really believed Jews and others were non-people. Does that mean they weren't evil, in your opinion?
    The malice part was attached specifically to the torture. If you capture a criminal who is high up in some large terrorist plot that will likely destroy several major cities, I think most secret services/armies in the western World would torture that person to get information that would likely save the lives of millions and millions of innocent people. Would the person ordered to do the torturing be evil (assuming of course they take no inherrent pleasure from doing it, which is questionable at best given some of the stories you hear...). Would the person giving the order be evil? Would the government in charge of the man giving the order be evil?

    I'm not sure whether all the Nazis killing was humane, that's giving them quite a bit of undue credit I think. I'm not sure the thousands of people they experimented on would have agreed that they were being treated humanely. Nor would the people imprisoned in the death camps dying of disease and starvation... There were very few "fanatics" in the Nazis ranks. They did exist, of course, but the majority were orded to do it, usually on pain of death or the death of their families. There are loads of stories of Germans who would get blind drunk on vodka before they had to go and "execute" Jews or any other prisoners because they knew what they were doing was wrong and couldn't bare the thought of it. Of the ones that actually believed that Jews' lives weren't worth anything and that any human was not really human, certainly they are evil. Hitler was also evil in a way that Sauron was not. Sauron never held any beliefs like this. He never declared an entire race of people to be sub human. He never tried to wipe out an entire race for no reason other than "he didn't like them". The deep held beliefs that Sauron held were of the value of order and the way the world would be better if order was king. That is not an evil belief.

    Very few people in real life are inherently evil. There are some, I think, who have so few and insignificant redeeming qualities when faced with their clearly evil motives and desires that they are as close to "pure evil" as you can ever get in real life. Obviously when that restriction is not in place you can have a character who is defined as pure evil, like Melkor.

    As an aside, I have heard of "wilful disregard". For example wilfully disregarding things that Tolkien sates about his own work.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    I still say that said mockeries are still new things. The first Orc was a new thing. So was the first Troll. I think the better interpretation is that the flame allows creation of new sentient races, of new 'souls' for want of a better word.... much more specific than simple creation.
    Well then once again you disagree with Tolkien. Melkor can not "create" in the way that Eru and other Valar can.

    Of course the Flame is more specific than general making or building, I've been saying this all along while you have been arguing that any being who has free will is capable of creating in the way that Flame implies.

    As an aside, you are aware we are discussing a well defined fictional character here who exists within a well defined fictional world? We are told things about the character and this world and we must accept them as fact. Tolkien created everything about Sauron. If Tolkien wrote that Sauron had pink ears, then we must accept that Sauron had pink ears. If Tolkien later stated in one of his letters that Sauron was well known for wearing only Converse shoes, then this would be a fact of his character. If Tolkien tells us that Sauron had good intentions and was not pure evil like Melkor... Well.
    Last edited by Curandhras; Aug 29 2012 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    Though I agree with some of your remarks, I feel compelled to point out some flawed information on your part.
    Firstly, even Sauron was surprised by Eru's intervention and the subsequent destruction of Numenor (and his body with it). Tolkien's description of it seems to indicate Sauron assumed they would merely be killed and he could rule Numenor and the rest of ME, since he had already established himself as a God-priest to Melkor of sorts on Numenor, and nearly everyone did as he said.

    "For Sauron himself was filled with great fear at the wrath of the Valar, and the doom that Eru laid upon sea and land. It was greater far than aught he had looked for, hoping only for the death of the Numenóreans and the defeat of their proud king. And Sauron, sitting in his black seat in the midst of the Temple, had laughed when he heard the trumpets of Ar-Pharazôn sounding for battle; and again he had laughed when he heard the thunder of the storm; and a third time, even as he laughed at his own thought, thinking what he would do now in the world, being rid of the Edain for ever, he was taken in the midst of his mirth, and his seat and his temple fell into the abyss"
    Pardon, but what part of that suggests Sauron had any regard for the people of Middle Earth as people, as individuals?

    So does pretty much every government on earth. Does that make them evil? N...well actually...probably yes.
    So the cynics say. The truth is that most do listen to their people. They do so in varying degrees, and they don't always agree with the people and some governments hold the people in very low regard indeed. Some governments are indeed evil.

    But not doing everything they are asked to is not the same as disregarding the people. Many of the demands and desires of the people are conflicting, and managing a country is rarely anywhere near as easy as many seem to think it is.

    The disorder is the Marring of Arda and Melkor's rule thereafter. Tolkien only uses the exact word "disorder" once in the Sil though, but in his letters it becomes more clear that after Melkor's fall, the inhabitants of ME are still considered to be in chaos through warring and selfishness.
    The problem with the letters is that they aren't final. Regardless, the answer to selfishness is rarely to take away free will utterly. Even if they were killed, their spirits would be allowed to continue on, but what Sauron was doing through the rings bypassed that.

    Strife and war are considered disorder. You are thinking of what comes after war, but that stage has never even been reached properly. Sauron thought he could bring ME to that stage, by waging "a war to end all wars" (where have we heard that before) and at the end of it be in control of all remaining sentient beings.

    Also, can you explain your last sentence? How is Sauron's order an order without meaning? How would have any more or any less meaning than order from the Free Peoples or from the Valar?
    They are change. Violent change, but not always disorder. Sauron's answer was not just to take away the choice to war, but all choices. It is just a different flavor of nihilism.

    The order of the free peoples includes change and progress. The order of the Valar is irrelevant since after the war against Melkor, they were under something very close to a non-interference edict. Other than cleaning up the lose end that was Sauron, they went hands off.

    Sauron's order is akin to the heat death of the universe theory. Should the universe ever reach the point where all matter is at precisely the same energy level, no chemical reactions will be possible. It would arguably be pure order, but it would also be sterile and stagnant. Pure order is just as wrong as pure chaos.

    I think it is not the case that he could not see order, or at least Tolkien never said he didn't see order. Rather he saw far too much disorder to his liking. The world wasn't progressing due to constant wars and generally people distrusting each other too much to cooperate. They had been around for at least 6,500 Sun Years and so far their greatest cultural and technological feats included making steel weapons/armour to kill each other and building pretty marble-laced tombs to bury their dead. Not exactly the pinnacle of progress.
    He didn't acknowledge the order that remained despite the war and strife, nor the potential to grow beyond the more chaotic aspects of the world. The world was settling down. It was a work in progress, but Sauron could not see the progress, only the chaos.

    He did, actually. It is what Dagor Dagorath was introduced for; to destroy the imperfect world marred by Melkor and to re-make it, but perfectly this time.
    If all of creation was so flawed, why would Men sing along side the Ainur? The world itself might be reborn, but in harmony with its inhabitants rather than recreating them as well. And they would have been the final products of the prior world. It is like saying that a process is flawed because an observer is to impatient to wait until it is completed.

    I'd love for you to have had a chance to talk to my great-uncle before he died. He was forced to first watch his family die in these death camps because they were unfit for work. Then he was forced to search their bodies for anything valuable like gold teeth. After that he was "allowed" the choice to burn or bury them himself, whichever was least crowded.
    Oh how he would have loved to meet you so he could punch you in the face.
    Their deaths may have been quick, but they were anything but humane even when not forced to do slave labour beforehand.
    What the Germans did at the time was wrong on a great number of levels, and I was in no way excusing or condoning it. It is precisely because the world has seen such activity in RL that I refuse to condone or excuse Sauron. It is VERY easy to say that the Nazi party were a one-of that will never happen again. TOO easy.

    Evil needs to be called out for what it is, and we can never afford to be complacent and unaware. It is interesting that you seem quick to condemn all governments (even though most are not particularly evil), yet pardon Sauron.

    I disagree, but perhaps our definitions of new differ. You are thinking of new names and new shapes, whereas I think we are thinking of new matter. Melkor took what was already there and simply altered it. That's like having a piece of paper, tearing a few pieces off and splattering some mud on it. It's changed, but not new. You can give it a new name, but it isn't anything new. If you were to turn that piece of paper into a brick or a metal pipe or a cherry-cream cake, then I would be impressed and say that you have created something new. Eru was the only one who could truly create new things out of nothing. Everyone else just had to work with what was already there. Think atom manipulation, but with magic.
    I think it is more a matter of the ability to create life rather than to create matter. But as you say, our definitions differ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    The problem with the letters is that they aren't final. Regardless, the answer to selfishness is rarely to take away free will utterly. Even if they were killed, their spirits would be allowed to continue on, but what Sauron was doing through the rings bypassed that.



    They are change. Violent change, but not always disorder. Sauron's answer was not just to take away the choice to war, but all choices. It is just a different flavor of nihilism.
    Where do you get this from? He didn't intent to turn every being on Arda into a wraith. He wasn't going to bind all life to him in a ring system. I doubt there was enough metal lying around to forge a ring for every single being. Although if there was, you'd bet Sauron's forges would get it done in the quickest and least wasteful way.

    War communism under the Bolsheviks wasn't taking away free will entirely was it? Having a system of rules and quotas and laws intended to ensure everything functions in the smoothest most useful way does not at all take away the free will of anyone living under that rule, and more than any set of rules takes away your free will if you choose to abide by them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Sauron's order is akin to the heat death of the universe theory. Should the universe ever reach the point where all matter is at precisely the same energy level, no chemical reactions will be possible. It would arguably be pure order, but it would also be sterile and stagnant. Pure order is just as wrong as pure chaos.
    Wrong? With respect, how can a physical state be wrong? If we cool a crystal to ~absolute zero it is for all intents and purposes entirely ordered. It will be in a perfect lattice and there will be practically no movement of any particles within that lattice. Is that crystal wrong?

    Further, I don't see how Sauron's rule in any way equates to the heat death. If you go into Mordor and observe the Orcs, I'm pretty sure you could observably comprehend the passage of time. The same with the Easterlings under his rule. It isn't complete homogenisation, it's just more efficient. The Orcs themselves were hardly sticklers for rules were they? How many times do they fight amongst them selves? You'll notice though that in pretty much every case we see in the LotR, the infighting never compromises the actual goal. They fight for a bit, sure, but Merry and Pippin don't get eaten, the Mithril mail still ends up with Sauron, the war marches on.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    He didn't acknowledge the order that remained despite the war and strife, nor the potential to grow beyond the more chaotic aspects of the world. The world was settling down. It was a work in progress, but Sauron could not see the progress, only the chaos.
    He certainly did acknowledge the potential. This is exactly why he was so against wasteful pursuits that didn't help realise this potential.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    If all of creation was so flawed, why would Men sing along side the Ainur? The world itself might be reborn, but in harmony with its inhabitants rather than recreating them as well. And they would have been the final products of the prior world. It is like saying that a process is flawed because an observer is to impatient to wait until it is completed.
    All of creation is marred by Melkor. Dagor Dagorath simply gets rid of Melkor and all his evil and the world is remade as it would have been without him. This world would have no fighting, wars, jealousy or anything like that. Everyone would be perfectly good all the time. This world sounds a lot more akin to the "heat death" that you suggested than the world under Sauron would be.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Evil needs to be called out for what it is, and we can never afford to be complacent and unaware. It is interesting that you seem quick to condemn all governments (even though most are not particularly evil), yet pardon Sauron.
    None of us are pardoning Sauron. If you read the posts carefully you'll see that neither I, nor Hermes in his latest post ever pardoned Sauron. I have been arguing against the case that he is pure evil and that his motives were not good, and also against some unusual analogies and conclusions.

    Though I agree with some of your remarks, I feel compelled to point out some flawed information on your part.
    In fact, BirdofHermes actually began with that sentence.

    I realise this post wasn't directed at me, I've not responded to parts which I feel are more personal than the general discussion. I'm not trying to misquote you by leaving parts of your post out, is all.
    Last edited by Curandhras; Aug 30 2012 at 02:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    You seem to be almost wilfully missing the point of my posts every time now. Repeatedly to you, and others, I have said that I am not arguing against the fact that he did evil things and was for all intents and purposes evil as far as the Free Peoples are concerned. This discussion was about whether or not he is "pure evil".
    We have different definitions of evil, and I think we will have to simply respect that and move on.

    So do you disagree that Aragorn's message to him made Sauron attack quicker, more forcefully and with less care than he planned to? Because if so you disagree with the books. To change your plan so much for any one person shows that you respect their ability to affect you. Sauron seeing someone as a threat is certainly as close as to a mark of respect as you're going to get. He respected Melkor and Aule greatly too, he respected those who were good at what he valued.
    You misunderstand. I didn't say that Aragorn's message didn't make Sauron attack quicker or more forcefully or with less care than he planned to. What I was saying was that Sauron was being overcautious, so 'with less care than he planned' was actually more sound military strategy than you are treating it.

    Of course I understand the difference, but you were discussing the way in which Sauron apparently disagreed with Eru and holding that up as evil. I was simply pointing out that Sauron's "good" master Aule actually directly disobeyed Eru. He didn't pretty much leave them alone either. He taught them and directed them a great many times and it lead to a fair few confrontations with the other Valar when it turned out that Aule's Dwarves had been abusing the natural resources Eru and the other Valar created in their huge building projects.
    Teaching is not equatable to enslaving. It is true that Aule did tamper with Eru's plan as well, but that is Aule's story and if you wish to discuss it, please start a new thread.

    - Tolkien

    - Also Tolkien

    I am reading into the text exactly what Tolkien intended to be read into the text. Sauron's motives were good.
    Again, we have different definitions. I don't consider his motives to make him less evil or less than 'pure evil.'

    Strife and war is almost the perfect definition of disorder. People working against eachother rather than together. Change is often the search for a better order, but Sauron was wrong to try and bring about radical change to instate a better order?

    Once again, here I am not arguing that Sauron was right to do what he did. I simply don't think your argument against him here makes sense. He was striving to change the world and rid it of all wasted time and energy.
    You do not change a child into something else at its first tantrum. Natural growing pains are not disorder. They only appear as such to the impatient who cannot accept that the child is still finding their way.

    Realising it's potential. Converting wasted time and energy into time and energy well spent. Tolkien never really said what Sauron's final plan was. All we know is that "it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall ...) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction." We know his intent was to improve the world by doing away with the latter in favour of the former.
    Define 'well spent.' If you shortcut the process, you are denying potential, replacing it with your own guess at potential.

    It isn't really a machine though, it's a collection of free willed beings. Sauron understood perfectly well what those beings could do and what they were doing. The whole well oiled machine analogy only really describes Sauron's love of efficiency. He desired more order in every part of existence, the output is whatever useful output any one part of that existence can do.
    The well oiled machine analogy fits. The problem is that Sauron was second-guessing the machine's purpose, what it was actually designed to create. What he saw as chaos and strife were natural parts of the workings of the machine. They are parts the machine itself works to avoid, but slowly and methodically, it is correcting for them, and ending up with stronger results for doing so.

    Well it isn't irrelevant is it? If the canvas was slashed down the middle I'd call that a flaw that needed fixing, wouldn't you? He tried to make better what he saw in front of him. That is what Sauron did, once again Tolkien tells us that.
    The key words are 'make better,' which in this case, Sauron is trying to do without even understanding the purpose or product of the machine. If you try to build a gasoline based engine without 'chaos and strife' you will fail. The gasoline will not explode to drive the pistons. Of course if you use too much, you will also fail, but you do need some.

    Not in the slightest. I have decided that Sauron thought he was right, therefore he thought he was right. I don't think he was right. I've said that repeatedly.
    Which brings us back to the sticking point, namely that I consider Sauron to have had enough evidence to realize he was wrong, or at least to strongly enough consider that he might be wrong to stay his hand. And that fits in my definition of Evil.

    The malice part was attached specifically to the torture. If you capture a criminal who is high up in some large terrorist plot that will likely destroy several major cities, I think most secret services/armies in the western World would torture that person to get information that would likely save the lives of millions and millions of innocent people. Would the person ordered to do the torturing be evil (assuming of course they take no inherrent pleasure from doing it, which is questionable at best given some of the stories you hear...). Would the person giving the order be evil? Would the government in charge of the man giving the order be evil?
    Most realize that torture is usually not very effective, and thus avoid it for utilitarian reasons. The rational favoring the use of torture is predicated on it being effective enough to warrant such treatment.

    He never tried to wipe out an entire race for no reason other than "he didn't like them". The deep held beliefs that Sauron held were of the value of order and the way the world would be better if order was king. That is not an evil belief.
    Hitler didn't simply 'not like them.' He considered them non-people, lesser people to his own, and moreover, a threat.. he considered them to blame for his country's economic problems. That in no way absolves him or makes him or his beliefs any less evil.

    As an aside, I have heard of "wilful disregard". For example wilfully disregarding things that Tolkien sates about his own work.
    Misapplying what he said to my arguments doesn't make you right in that, you know. Moreover, on concepts such as 'what is the definition of evil' I have no qualms about disagreeing with Tolkien.

    Well then once again you disagree with Tolkien. Melkor can not "create" in the way that Eru and other Valar can.
    And again, I was disagreeing with the suggestion that it is literal creation of matter or energy as the definition of create.

    Of course the Flame is more specific than general making or building, I've been saying this all along while you have been arguing that any being who has free will is capable of creating in the way that Flame implies.
    Any of the free peoples can create in that manner. Procreation is exactly creating new life.

    As an aside, you are aware we are discussing a well defined fictional character here who exists within a well defined fictional world? We are told things about the character and this world and we must accept them as fact. Tolkien created everything about Sauron. If Tolkien wrote that Sauron had pink ears, then we must accept that Sauron had pink ears. If Tolkien later stated in one of his letters that Sauron was well known for wearing only Converse shoes, then this would be a fact of his character. If Tolkien tells us that Sauron had good intentions and was not pure evil like Melkor... Well.
    Pardon, but all that means is that I am obligated to accept Tolkien's writing that Sauron had good intentions. I am not, however, obligated to accept that good intentions make someone less than 'pure evil.' In short, I am obligated to accept Tolkien's descriptions but not his RL world view. His definition of evil is not confined within his writings any more than yours is confined within his writings or anyone else's.

  24. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    We have different definitions of evil, and I think we will have to simply respect that and move on.
    I think rather we have different definitions of what constitutes "pure evil".


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    You misunderstand. I didn't say that Aragorn's message didn't make Sauron attack quicker or more forcefully or with less care than he planned to. What I was saying was that Sauron was being overcautious, so 'with less care than he planned' was actually more sound military strategy than you are treating it.
    But Sauron, master schemer and planner, quickly changed his mind when confronted with Aragorn. That shows reverence and respect for the affect that person can have on you or your plans. He might not like or value Aragorn or his abilities, but it clearly shows that he understands and accepts them. He acknowledges Aragorn's intellect, prowess and life in a way you seemed to be implying Sauron doesn't do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Again, we have different definitions. I don't consider his motives to make him less evil or less than 'pure evil.'
    I consider Sauron to be less than pure evil. I agree with Tolkien in saying that very few beings are. He said of LotR:

    ‘In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there is such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think that at any rate any 'rational being' is wholly evil.
    of Sauron:

    He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit.’
    Sauron was concieved, designed and written to be the villain, yes. He was never intended to be pure, or 'Absolute' evil. He quite simply isn't. Pure evil implies that every facet of that character, or at least the observable ones, are evil. Right from motive to action. Sauron is not this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    You do not change a child into something else at its first tantrum. Natural growing pains are not disorder. They only appear as such to the impatient who cannot accept that the child is still finding their way.
    Well some people do, they're mad for all the pills and psycologists to tell them why their 6 year old gets angry sometimes...

    That's irrelevant though, Sauron was trying to further scientific and technological abilities and advancement, not raise a child.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Define 'well spent.' If you shortcut the process, you are denying potential, replacing it with your own guess at potential.
    Once again, I am not Sauron, nor am I Tolkien. I can't define 'well spent' for Sauron, because I don't know what his definition of well spent was. I'd hazard a guess though that he held the Silmarils in high regard. The creation of language, letters, the great achievements of the shipwrights, the mountain halls of the Dwarves. This is the potential Sauron saw, I'd imagine. He also saw people killing shipwrights, burning the ships, warring between Dwarves and Elves over nothing more than a shiny rock in a necklace.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    The well oiled machine analogy fits. The problem is that Sauron was second-guessing the machine's purpose, what it was actually designed to create. What he saw as chaos and strife were natural parts of the workings of the machine. They are parts the machine itself works to avoid, but slowly and methodically, it is correcting for them, and ending up with stronger results for doing so.
    Once again this is applying an analogy to something we don't fully understand. Did Sauron really second guess the purpose of the free races? Did he not know exactly what they were capable of? I think he probably did, advancement and ability seemed to go backwards rather than forwards over the lifetime of Arda.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    The key words are 'make better,' which in this case, Sauron is trying to do without even understanding the purpose or product of the machine. If you try to build a gasoline based engine without 'chaos and strife' you will fail. The gasoline will not explode to drive the pistons. Of course if you use too much, you will also fail, but you do need some.
    This is the wrong definition of chaos, or rather usage of "chaos" instead of "disorder and wasteful friction". (Also I'd argue against the ignition of petroleum within a cylinder being chaotic. The process is fairly predictable. If you were sad enough you could map the heat waves and resulting movement and expansion of the gasses in there. It's not chaos if you can predict it.) The disorder Sauron was against would be the in the building of the engine, "if the end result is an engine, why are you standing around talking about football rather than building it?", for example.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Which brings us back to the sticking point, namely that I consider Sauron to have had enough evidence to realize he was wrong, or at least to strongly enough consider that he might be wrong to stay his hand. And that fits in my definition of Evil.
    If Sauron ever had any evidence to suggest that inefficiency was superior to efficiency and that things would not be better if everything was more efficient, which is questionable in its self, it clearly wasn't enough for him to decide that he was wrong.

    He saw that people opposed him in their droves, yes, but he also saw how easily some would completely forgo any morals or beliefs they had and join with him, in some cases directly, in others in the name of Melkor. He wasn't going to change his mind, he was too far gone for that. Further more, what's to say any of the Maiar/Valar were even capable of changing "world views" they held? Or at least at the behest of Men or Elves. Earendil got them involved, yes, but only to fight Melkor, they loved doing that anyway. Certainly the earthly Maia seem pretty set in their ways. Gandalf imposes his will and plan on pretty much everyone he meets. "Frodo, leave your home and head to Mordor, you'll probably die". "Theoden, I don't care if you don't want to risk the lives of your soldiers helping Gondor, do it anyway". "Denethor, shut up." "Aragorn, I think you'd best lead what's left of the Men of the West's armies right up to the black gate..Do it". He doesn't sway or change his mind either, does he?

    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Most realize that torture is usually not very effective, and thus avoid it for utilitarian reasons. The rational favoring the use of torture is predicated on it being effective enough to warrant such treatment.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantan...detention_camp

    (as an aside, misguided utilitarianism almost perfectly describes Sauron's behaviour)


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Hitler didn't simply 'not like them.' He considered them non-people, lesser people to his own, and moreover, a threat.. he considered them to blame for his country's economic problems. That in no way absolves him or makes him or his beliefs any less evil.
    No, of course not. Are you now saying I tried to absolve Hitler? Completely the opposite. I was using him as an example of someone whose beliefes, motives and actions are evil.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Misapplying what he said to my arguments doesn't make you right in that, you know. Moreover, on concepts such as 'what is the definition of evil' I have no qualms about disagreeing with Tolkien.
    Well, in that he specifically states that Sauron had good motives and was not pure evil, I think "misapplying" is perhaps a bit far. The definition of evil does not come into the fact that Tolkien created a character that did evil things but was not himself pure evil.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    And again, I was disagreeing with the suggestion that it is literal creation of matter or energy as the definition of create.
    But we were discussing the Flame Imperishable which encompasses creation of new energy and matter from nothingness. In that contexts it's clear that 'create' refers to the way 'create' is used in the relevant creation story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Any of the free peoples can create in that manner. Procreation is exactly creating new life.
    Really? Having a child is equivalent to creating a new race, or a new universe? Please, you're being facetious now. The way the Valar and Eru "create" when discussing the involvement of the Flame is quite clearly something that no free peoples can do. The closes anyone got was Feanor in the crafting of the Silmarils, but even they drew on the already existing Trees. Once again, do you disagree with Tolkien over matters concerning his own created cosmology? I doubt you'd disagree with Abraham or Jacob over the number of Arch Angels or how God made the Earth. If someone comes up with a story, creation or otherwise, and defines clear parameters within it, such as the ability of Eru to create, this ability personified or symbolised by a "Flame Imperishable", you can't really argue against those parameters within the framework of the story.



    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Pardon, but all that means is that I am obligated to accept Tolkien's writing that Sauron had good intentions.
    This is part one of what I have been arguing for, you were arguing for quite some time against this, were you not?


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    I am not, however, obligated to accept that good intentions make someone less than 'pure evil.' In short, I am obligated to accept Tolkien's descriptions but not his RL world view.
    His RL view is different to Middle earth, Middle earth is not real, however carefully Tolkien worked to ensure it was not "never-never land fantasy" it still is entirely a fictional construct. In Middle earth he created only one character who was pure evil. He excluded the possibility of any other pure evil characters within his works. Sauron is a character within his works. His RL view includes Satan as falling to become pure evil, or at least from what he has said/written about his own views this is all I can assume. He was a dedicated Catholic though, so that corroborates with this idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    His definition of evil is not confined within his writings any more than yours is confined within his writings or anyone else's.
    Evil or pure evil? We know Sauron did evil things, became the evil thing as far as the freeps were concerned. I think me, you, Tolkien and most other people would agree that a fair few of Sauron's actions were evil.

    Pure evil is different though, it is an absolute state. Black is black, white is white. Anything in between that is neither. You could have 0,0,1 RGB. That would be nearly pure black. It isn't black though. People could argue all day about how close to black it was, and how they couldn't see any difference looking at it. That doesn't overcome the factual statement that is is not black though.


    As a complete divergence, here is Tolkien talking about his world, and how the universe is a work of art, with all Ainur being part of the "creative staff". As we've said before, anyone is free to have their own opinoin on how to better a work of art:


    The theory, if one can dignify the modes of the story with such a term, is that he[Sauron] was a spirit, a minor one but still an 'angelic' spirit. According to the mythology of these things, that means that, though of course a creature, he belonged to the race of intelligent beings that were made before the physical world, and were permitted to assist in their measure in the making of it. Those who became most involved in this work of Art, as it was in the first instance, became so engrossed with it, that when the Creator made it real (that is, gave it the secondary reality, subordinate to his own, which we call primary reality, and so in that hierarchy on the same plane with themselves) they desired to enter into it, from the beginning of its 'realization'. They were allowed to do so, and the great among them became the equivalent of the 'gods' of traditional mythologies; but a condition was that they would remain 'in it' until the Story was finished. They were thus in the world, but not of a kind whose essential nature is to be physically incarnate. They were self-incarnated, if they wished; but their incarnate forms were more analogous to our clothes than to our bodies, except that they were more than are clothes the expression of their desires, moods, wills and functions. Some had attached themselves to such major artists and knew things chiefly indirectly through their knowledge of the minds of these masters. Sauron had been attached to the greatest, Melkor, who ultimately became the inevitable Rebel and self-worshipper of mythologies that begin with a transcendent unique Creator.
    Last edited by Curandhras; Aug 30 2012 at 04:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torweld View Post
    Pardon, but what part of that suggests Sauron had any regard for the people of Middle Earth as people, as individuals?
    I beg your pardon? Nothing ofc. I never even hinted at any such subject.



    So the cynics say. The truth is that most do listen to their people. They do so in varying degrees, and they don't always agree with the people and some governments hold the people in very low regard indeed. Some governments are indeed evil.
    Well yes, I agree. There are some governments who do seem to listen to people and act on it. However, China, Russia, US and a bunch of Middle-Eastern and Central-African governments do a great deal of immoral deeds to their own and other countries, perhaps enough so to be called evil.



    But not doing everything they are asked to is not the same as disregarding the people. Many of the demands and desires of the people are conflicting, and managing a country is rarely anywhere near as easy as many seem to think it is.
    I don't think "many" think running a country is easy. But yes, I agree that demands of people conflict.



    The problem with the letters is that they aren't final. Regardless, the answer to selfishness is rarely to take away free will utterly. Even if they were killed, their spirits would be allowed to continue on, but what Sauron was doing through the rings bypassed that.
    Like with your first quote, you are suddenly brining up issues which have nothing to do with what I wrote. I completely agree with this. I was simply correcting you on the matter of Tolkien mentioning disorder in Arda. Maybe you have me confused with a different debater?



    They are change. Violent change, but not always disorder. Sauron's answer was not just to take away the choice to war, but all choices. It is just a different flavor of nihilism.
    I guess we have a different definition of disorder.
    verb

    [with object] (usually as adjective disordered) disrupt the systematic functioning or neat arrangement of

    To me the situation during a war fits that bill. In the big picture that is; I understand an army itself can be quite well-ordened, but the functioning of all societies involved would indeed be disrupted.



    The order of the free peoples includes change and progress. The order of the Valar is irrelevant since after the war against Melkor, they were under something very close to a non-interference edict. Other than cleaning up the lose end that was Sauron, they went hands off.

    Sauron's order is akin to the heat death of the universe theory. Should the universe ever reach the point where all matter is at precisely the same energy level, no chemical reactions will be possible. It would arguably be pure order, but it would also be sterile and stagnant. Pure order is just as wrong as pure chaos.
    Where are you getting this information? I've never read it before, neither that the Free Peoples order includes change and progress nor that Sauron's order would fall stagnant.
    Seeing as how The Free Peoples were not progressing much and that pure order is virtually unobtainable even for Sauron, I would daresay you are fabricating these "facts".



    He didn't acknowledge the order that remained despite the war and strife, nor the potential to grow beyond the more chaotic aspects of the world. The world was settling down. It was a work in progress, but Sauron could not see the progress, only the chaos.
    I agree with that Sauron was too impatient to let it all settle down and that he acted rashly and detached, but I disagree that he didn't acknowledge the order that was already there. He must have, since he used it constantly himself. He crafted in the way of everyone else like he was taught by Aule. He used armies with complex systems of ranks and messengers, like others. He devised a well-ordered language with was extremely similar to both Valarin and Quenya. In everything he did, he used an order which was already present, so he must have acknowledged it. And again, Tolkien never said he didn't see the order present, he just saw too much chaos. He didn't say Sauron saw ONLY chaos.



    If all of creation was so flawed, why would Men sing along side the Ainur? The world itself might be reborn, but in harmony with its inhabitants rather than recreating them as well. And they would have been the final products of the prior world. It is like saying that a process is flawed because an observer is to impatient to wait until it is completed.
    Irrelevant to my quote. I was correcting you in saying Eru did not acknowledge any flaws in Arda. He did, hence Dagor Dagorath. But I didn't not say it was completely flawed and beyond any chance of salvation. Simply saying there were flaws and Eru knew them.



    What the Germans did at the time was wrong on a great number of levels, and I was in no way excusing or condoning it. It is precisely because the world has seen such activity in RL that I refuse to condone or excuse Sauron. It is VERY easy to say that the Nazi party were a one-of that will never happen again. TOO easy.

    Evil needs to be called out for what it is, and we can never afford to be complacent and unaware. It is interesting that you seem quick to condemn all governments (even though most are not particularly evil), yet pardon Sauron.
    I don't pardon Sauron. Again, I think you have me confused with someone else you are debating.



    I think it is more a matter of the ability to create life rather than to create matter. But as you say, our definitions differ.
    It is possible, but in truth I can't think of anyone besides Eru who was able to create matter. Not even Melkor could. No one else could create life certainly, I agree. But I think it went a step further than that, to not being able to create new matter entirely and it being solely something Eru could do.

 

 
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