Sunday, January 27, 2013

Frodo and the Machine

From Fr. Angelo:
Frodo’s “failure” was actually the consequence of the risk he took out of love and sacrifice, and while his ring madness at the Cracks of Doom was the manifestation of lust for power and the will to dominate, it was though the One Ring itself subjugated and dominated Frodo.  Frodo became a machine “in the hands” of the Ring animated by the foul and soulless spirit of Sauron.  This is the malice of the machine taken to its extreme.  In this, The Lord of the Rings is not unlike the more contemporary machine myths where the machines turn on their creators and take over the world.  It is the peril of transhumanism and the false conviction that one can control other persons like machines without being sucked into such a diabolical mechanism....

These are two aspects of the diabolical.  On the one hand full diabolical possession is more or less an extraordinary occurrence, not permitted by God as an ordinary flow of life.  The usual way in which the demon directs its malice toward us is through temptation, the cajoling of our will to choose evil.  For this Satan is the great organizer, manipulator and dominator.  Those, who through their own consent become his puppets, he uses as instruments (machines) of his will.  But his ultimate purpose is destruction.  God does not allow Satan to turn us into nothing, but hell is a perpetual termination, a ongoing destruction that will last forever. It is a fire that does not consume, but neither will it ever be extinguished.

Tolkien’s machine myth tells us a great deal about what it takes to get back to the Shire and enjoy the hoped for victory.  Above all, it will mean that some will have to be martyrs for the cause, so that the many may have life. But it also means that while justice requires law and organization, the preservation of the Shire can never be about control.  In the working out of divine providence, salvation is not about coercion and control but about surrender and giving up the control.  This is the folly of the God that is wiser than the wisdom of men (cf. 1 Cor 1:25). (Read entire article.)

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