JRR Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings during WWII, withholding publication until 1954-55, while he likely sharpened and edited the 2nd best selling novel in history. As with all great works of literature, they are a blend of divine inspiration and good old hard work and study on the part of the author. No doubt, Tolkein’s research was first hand, engaged in the war that surrounded him. His creative spirit found expression of the unutterable things in his soul. But what did Tolkein wish for his readers to learn? Was his novel simply for entertainment? Of all the truths Tolkein tried to communicate to his readers, one stands out as the most subtle, yet most critical—not the military power of the “forces of evil, but their power of propaganda. There is much we can learn from reading children’s books, so Let’s take a look at what Tolkien had to say about overcoming the plots and schemes of those who would enslave us.
Before diving in, it is useful to glance back a couple thousand years to the big debate raging in Athenian society over the art of rhetoric. This particular art, which has become synonymous with “bullshit” certainly deserves its despised legacy. Indeed the same criticisms were made back then. The art of persuasion was known as “Sophism” and its practitioners were called “sophists.” That art involved persuading with, 1) half-truths, 2) fallacious arguments, 3) a heavy reliance on eloquence, and 4) the manipulation of emotions. The art of sophism was best described in a pejorative quote of Protagoras by Aristotle—“to make the weak argument appear stronger.” many original writings of these sophists like Protagoras were banned and burned as the philosophers of Athens resisted sophistic teachings. But they failed. Neo-sophists have rediscovered these tactics in every culture and generation since.
Tolkien’s sophist character was Saruman, pitted in a struggle with Gandalph—his character who battled for truth. The chapter in question is titled “The Voice of Saruman.” The location of the chapter is noteworthy—Tolkien placed it exactly half way through the trilogy. At this point, the good guys have just won a difficult and costly battle and are confronting Saruman.
We open with the hobbit Merry viewing the destruction of Saruman’s fortress and feeling some pity:
“Still we feel less ill-disposed towards Saruman than we did.”
”'Do you indeed?” said Gandalf. “Well, I do not. I have now a last task to do before I go: I must pay Saruman a farewell visit. Dangerous, and probably useless; but it must be done. Those of you who wish may come with me -- but beware! And do not jest! This is not the time for it.”
“I will come,” said Gimli. “I wish to see him and learn if he really looks like you.”
“And how will you learn that, Master Dwarf?” said Gandalf. “Saruman could look like me in your eyes, if it suited his purpose with you. And are you yet wise enough to detect all his counterfeits?” …
“What's the danger?” asked Pippin. “Will he shoot at us, and pour fire out of the windows; or can he put a spell on us from a distance?'”
“The last is most likely, if you ride to his door with a light heart,'” said Gandalf. …”And Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice!”…
Gandalf stood before the door of Orthanc and beat on it with his staff. It rang with a hollow sound. 'Saruman, Saruman!' he cried in a loud commanding voice. 'Saruman come forth!'…
They waited. Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spake to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler's trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it…
'Like, and yet unlike,' muttered Gimli.
So in this character, Tolkein warns us that it is NOT Saruman's ability to conjure an army or cast spells that is to be feared, but his ability to distort truth and persuade.
Here is the real danger: “desire awoke in them by swift agreement to be wise themselves.” People wish to be associated with others who are wise; they quickly agree with apparent wisdom and defend it vigorously.
And who is it that carries that torch in our struggle today with the forces of evil. Who has the low melodious, delightful, wise and reasonable voices? Who enchants the nation and wins the minds and hearts of the population? The mainstream media? But you knew that already. We could talk about Obama, but we’ll save that for another discussion.
These people are models and actors, first—journalists second--if at all. They are always beautiful with clear, lovely voices, practiced in eloquence, exuding credibility, owing to their beauty. We humans connect beauty with truth and falsehood with ugliness. As the poet Keats wrote,
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
Their acting skills enable them to read scripts, written by others, as if it comes from the heart—from truth! They look at the camera—eye to eye with you the viewer, unblinking with all the credibility and reputation of the Western news tradition at their backs. They tell you the news and you feel informed after your daily hour of local and national news. This situation is even more dangerous than ever, with extreme beauty delivering the messages produced by subtle and shrewd wordsmiths.
The MSM is parroting a script, consistently, nationwide, for us today, leading the citizens their direction. Conan O’Brien’s production team has documented no fewer than 15 different instances of this shameful situation. Go ahead, do a youtube search for “Conan” and “newscasters agree.” And keep a waste bucket handy.
Just watch 30 seconds of this clip and you'll get the joke--except it is no joke. Too bad Conan and his crew don't quite get it. What we have feared is indeed pervading our news today-. Nearly all western news is owned by the same six corporations. I suspect those six corporations are owned by the same group of shareholders, who have a common agenda. They clearly have an efficient network to write and distribute homogenized and controlled news stories across the globe.
This global network implements what Kurt Lewin refers to as “gatekeeping.” Of all the events that happen, and all the stories that are written, the “gatekeepers” determine what you will see, hear and read. Additionally, the mass media theory known as “agenda setting” (McCombs & Shaw ) is in full force as well. Between keeping certain stories out of the news, and highlighting others with headline space and continued coverage, the news media effectively places ideas they want in the public mind and keeps us ignorant about others. McCombs & Shaw tend to downplay the danger, saying, “they don’t tell you want to think, they tell you what to think about.” But thinking people see this as a subtle form of mind control .
But they go further these days. Newscasters dutifully report the falsified statistics from the BLS or CBO about the state of the economy and they invent arbitrary “reasons” that stocks or metals go up and down. They shut out manipulation stories, or simply report them once and move on.
Our bastion of truth—the western news media—has become the purveyors of deception. They tell fantasy stories about world economies and political struggle. They keep the minds of the nations’ citizens distracted, amused and turned away from what is really happening. They do not investigate anymore. The real journalists have vanished to be replaced by public relations specialists & spin doctors who package carefully constructed messages with their meticulously planned goals and objectives.
Until the news media is discredited (or the economic world collapses) there will be no winning of the war, no persuading of most of our relatives. Our task then is to first discredit the mainstream news (thanks Conan) and find credible news sources to replace them—sources that provide the needed truth without crossing the whacko line. (sorry KWN, I think you are out)
As individuals we must stop being entertained by the Mainstream news. Shut them off. See through the lies and walk away like the heroes of Tolkein’s story. Not all news outlets are as biased as others. Promote what real news outlets we can find to family and friends. Use facebook to post teasers and links to significant stories. Invite people to TFMR. Become an advocate for truth, helping relatives, friends and neighbors become aware of what is really going on in this world, that the US and Europe stand at the brink of war with Russia, that Russia is beginning to undermine the Almighty Dollar, that China and India stand behind Russia.
I miss DPH’s daily news postings. And I appreciate all others who find and point out stories on this blog. If I only had one stop on the internet each day, this would be it, and I would stay informed.
I have noted a number of readers here who have given up trying to warn people or persuade them to stack. We first have to break the powerful spell of the media, persuading people that the economy is recovering, and the dollar can never fail. We have increasing help from unbiased sources to help us do that. Once the spell is broken, when the truth is seen, people will take the next step and ask what can be done.
We cannot appear to be conspiracy theorists to our friends & relatives. They are biased against that already (thanks CIA? /sarc). But we can use credible news stories to startle people and incite their curiosity. Simply tell the truth, and maintain our own credibility with sensible lives.
- People need to understand what a world reserve currency is, and how the petrodollar system benefits America.
- People need to see that Russia, China, & India and others are hoarding gold.
- People need to be aware of the IMF plans for a world reserve currency.
We can stay on solid ground as we try to educate people about what is approaching. No need for gloom and doom. The plain facts will suggest that people get out of debt and invest in real goods.
Some here have called Turd a Wizard.
Perhaps he is our Gandalph, telling the truth and guiding us through perilous times, and helping some of us earn a bit of fiat on the way.
Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke. ... “Saruman, your staff is broken.” There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf's feet.