Letter published in the November/December 2015 issue of Kindred Spirit entitled as above by the magazine:
Further to ‘The Hobbit’ article that I wrote in the July/Aug issue, a chance remark from a friend – ‘It’s just like today’ – made me wonder whether comparisons can be drawn between Tolkien’s book and what is happening in the world today?
Thorin was besieged in his mountain by the different peoples asking for their rightful share of The Treasure, in other words, the Earth’s riches. It could be said that Europe/The West has taken more than its fair share of the world’s wealth, and that this is why they are being besieged by many peoples who want a share of the peace and prosperity they see there. In fact, the greatest consumer of them all, the USA, is also under siege from Mexico for similar reasons.
When Smaug thinks the people of Lake Town are challenging his position and are after his treasure, he takes revenge by setting fire to their town and making them homeless. The Elves take pity on their plight and help to build homes on the shore in time for winter. This is beginning to sound familiar isn’t it? Other tyrants around the world have taken similar destructive action against their own people – in Zimbabwe, Libya, Egypt and now Syria.
But here’s the rub. Tyranny and greed are destroyed with the slaying of the Mighty Dragon: the army of Orcs that threatens the civilised world is utterly vanquished. Finally, the world’s wealth can be fairly distributed amongst everyone. Then, and only then, is peace restored.
The original article was somewhat longer:
The Hobbit article a chance remark from a friend: “Having read, it is a bit like the world is today” it dawned on me that what is unfolding in Europe at this moment has echoes in the culminating events in The Hobbit. Thorin and co are besieged by the rest of the world demanding their fair share of the Treasure, ie the world’s wealth. The West has taken an unfair proportion of the Earth’s riches, in raw materials such as cocoa, coffee, bananas, oil and precious stones etc. The producers of those countries have been plundered and laid waste by the dragon of greed. Through the internet the impoverished peoples have seen the peace and prosperity of the European countries and have decided that they want a share. The book offers a way out of this terrible situation through the fair distribution of the earth’s riches and, also, that the West can help these countries to start the process of rebuilding. When the town of Lakeland was utterly destroyed by the avenging dragon Smaug, and the people left homeless, the Elves helped them to build homes on the shore just in time for the winter.
Historians will be the first to say that events come round in cycles. Perhaps ‘The Hobbit’ is telling us that the present refugee and migrant crisis is one such example and that this has indeed happened before – for the same underlying reasons.
Continuing. Have just realised that that other great consumer, the greatest of them all, the USA, is also under siege from Mexico for the very same reasons – that they have taken more than their fair share of the world’s wealth. The great Amazon Rain Forest has been, and is being, despoiled to grow the soya bean, amongst other cash crops, for western consumption.
Syria and The Amazon are being ravaged by the flames of those who want to hold on to their power and riches at all cost, unwilling to share, just like Smaug who set fire to Lake Town in his determination to hold on to his cruel dominion and pile of treasure – which was of no practical use to him. Only with the slaying of greed (as in the smiting of the mighty Smaug) is there hope of a long lasting solution.
In the Battle of the Five Armies, the fifth army is of course the army of orcs, werewolves and bats that swept down from the North on the Free Peoples with no advance warning. That element is with us now in the form of ISIL, and all those other fundamentalist groups who are bent on nothing less than the destruction of civilisation – just like the Orc Army. We know this from the way the brainwashed ISIL followers have destroyed ancient ruins in Palmyra amongst other atrocities.
I subsequently added a final paragraph which I sent to the editor of KS but it was too late to be included:
‘In this present world, we cannot destroy evil, it will just take a new form. The only real solution is for each of us to acknowledge that we are all capable of good and evil. With that acceptance would come liberation. Then we would really be in a good position to change the world. As many know, society is but the outer expression of what we are within.’
I also played with yet another end paragraph:
Tyranny and greed will only disappear when humans fully accept themselves as they are. We need to accept the fact that we are all made up of light and dark. Everyone is capable of great good or great evil. In one of Robert Light’s talks something astonishing was revealed. When people try to be good and then slip up, the pendulum, unnaturally bent over to one side as the person tries so hard to be all good, will then arc all the way round to the other side showing you how powerful is that swing of negative energy. The middle way is the answer of course, as many know, to remain balanced, accept ourselves as we are – our weaknesses, our failures – not judging, or giving up. As has been said before, the world is but the outer expression of what we are within.