Bereitschaftsarchiv

Zur Front

30. April 2016

Der Spiegel (1975)

Bezeichnete man den Spiegel als Fußnote zu Solaris, hätte man nichts Ungeheuerliches geäußert, letztlich legt Tarkowski nur seine persönliche Auseinandersetzung mit dem Dasein nach.

Ich muß schon sagen, daß ich ziemliches Glück hatte, auch noch den Spiegel nach Solaris und Stalker aus der baltischen Tarkowski-Reihe zu ergattern, es war, soweit ich es überblicken kann, das letzte Exemplar, welches in Estland zum Verkauf stand.

Im Gegensatz zu Solaris gab es diesmal keine Schwierigkeiten mit den Untertiteln, nur an einer Stelle mußte ich eine inhaltliche Änderung vornehmen, weil sich mir der Sinn des Geschriebenen nicht erschloß. Es handelt sich um den Anpfiff um die 30. Minute. Der Sinn ist, wie mir meine Frau versicherte, daß sich der Vater, wenn er nicht zurückkäme, im letzten Augenblick vor dem verderblichen Einfluß seiner Frau gerettet hätte.

Schon lustig, daß ich ausgerechnet die Stelle meiner Frau wiederholt zur Übersetzung vorspielen mußte, aber letztlich ist Lisas Auffassung der Lage tatsächlich Idiotie, wenngleich im Prinzipium ihrer Kritik, nämlich das Banale gegen das Hochgeistige in Anschlag zu bringen, durchaus Wahrheit steckt, denn was ist es, was Vater und Mutter versucht haben?

Das, wem sich der Sohn verpflichtet fühlt, ohne damit glücklich zu werden?

Enkel Ignat liest es vor, ungewollt, Rousseaus Dictum zum Nutzen von Wissenschaft und Kunst für das Seelenwohl: Sie sind ihm abträglich. Oder, um nicht in andersgeartete Gefilde abzuschweifen: Es zahlt sich nicht aus, seinen Alltag zu etwas besonderem zu machen, denn die Gewohnheit macht ihn zum Maß aller Dinge, und wer sich an das Besondere gewöhnt hat, kann nur noch unglücklich werden.

Lebenskunst zeigt sich nicht in monumentaler Breite, sondern in der Gemäßheit der Einrichtungen für ihren Zweck, das Feierliche feierlich, das Alltägliche erträglich. Es ist interessant zu beobachten, wie Tarkowski seinen Weg zur zentralen Einsicht von Stalker gefunden hat, daß das Höchste der menschlichen Existenz für die höchste Not aufgespart ist.

Auch die hat ihre banale Seite: Don't fix it, if it isn't broken, aber in unserer verwirrten Zeit ist der Weg zum Verständnis der Seele und damit zu ihrem Frieden eine große Anstrengung.

Nun, vielleicht verdient dieser Punkt noch ein paar Worte: Fluch und Segen der Sentimentalität, ihre natürlichen Grenzen und Aufgabe. Es ist schon so, die Dickfelligsten begehen die wenigsten Dummheiten. Aber was beziehen die Dickfelligsten in ihre Überlegungen ein?

Es ist das Los der Sentimentalen ihre Fühler auszustrecken und auf der Strecke zu bleiben, welche sie über sich hinaus in die Welt geworfen haben. Die Lebensklugheit gebietet, diese Strecke ins Religiöse auszurichten, in die Tiefe der Zeit und nicht die Weite des Raums, wie Tarkowski wohl erkannte.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

27. April 2016

Prinzessin Mononoke

Prinzessin Mononoke ist Hayao Miyazakis ernsthaftester Film und gerade deswegen ein wenig anstößig. Er beschreibt die westliche Kultur, das heißt das real existierende Christentum, als Empörung über die Freiheit des Stärkeren, den Schwächeren zu mißhandeln, als Auflehnung der menschlichen Erfindungskraft gegen die Grenzen, welche dem Leben gesetzt sind.

Natürlich ist diese Analyse weitestgehend korrekt, nichts anderes habe ich selbst über das Zeitalter der Werke und seine Tendenz, den Menschen als Störenfried aufzufassen, welchen es bestmöglich zu neutralisieren gilt, geschrieben, aber in Miyazakis Psychologisierung steckt nebenbei eine knüppeldicke Beleidigung, nämlich der Vorwurf, die Christen hätten sich aus einer emotionalen Aufwallungen heraus gegen den Gott des Lebens und des Todes gewandt - und dieser Gott ist selbstverständlich der eine Gott, welches zu verstehen, sie zu dumm wären.

Aber so ist es natürlich nicht: Christentum ist nicht Mord an Gott aus Unverständnis der Voraussetzungen und Aufgabe des Lebens, nämlich aus der empfangenen Freiheit etwas passendes zu formen, was nur im Rahmen möglichen Mißbrauchs und göttlicher Gerechtigkeit denkbar ist, sondern lediglich die Betonung der Göttlichkeit des Schönen als Leitstern der Werke.

Das Zeitalter der Werke begann nicht mit Jesus Christus, Jesus Christus gab ihm lediglich eine verbindliche Form - seinen Segen, sozusagen. Es liegt nicht in der Macht des Menschen, das Zeitalter selbst zu wählen, in welchem er lebt, sondern nur, sich an es anzupassen. Miyazaki stellt es aber so dar, als ob Menschen willkürlich ins Zeitalter der Werke eingetreten wären und nicht aus Überdruß am Zeitalter der Wacht, dessen Alterserscheinungen in seinem Film fehlen, weshalb Eboshi eben leicht hysterisch erscheint.

Wahrscheinlich liegt aber gerade in dieser Verfälschung der Erfolg des Films in Japan begründet, denn mit einer unzurechnungsfähigen westlichen Eboshi auf der einen Seite und einer ungezügelten wilden Natur auf der anderen, fällt es Ashitaka, dem Mann aus dem Osten, zu, den versöhnenden Ausgleich zu finden.

Miyazakis Blick dabei ist durchweg sehr speziell, was beispielsweise Feuerwaffen angeht, konzentriert er sich auf die beiden Elemente des Gewaltausgleichs und der Verantwortungsübernahme für ihren Gebrauch, mit anderen Worten auf den Schutz der Schwachen vor den Starken durch sie einerseits und die mangelnde nötige persönliche Reife der Schwachen für ihre Handhabung andererseits, womit er den europäischen Imperialismus zu einer Art Erziehungsproblem erklärt - und nicht nur ihn.

Völlig unbeachtet bleibt dabei das Machtgefälle zwischen jenen, welche Feuerwaffen besitzen, und jenen, welche sie nicht besitzen, und der damit einhergehende Machtzuwachs der Rüstungsindustrie und dessen Folgen für die Gesellschaft als ganze. Hinter dem Gedanken, daß alle Feuerwaffen haben, treten die naheliegenden weiteren Fragen nach Kaliber, Reichweite, Schußfrequenz, Sprengkraft, Panzerung, intelligenter Steuerung und so weiter in den Hintergrund, wohingegen sie in der Realität derart im Vordergrund stehen, daß der geringste technologische Vorsprung Macht zu millionenfachem Mißbrauch des Schwächeren gibt - was die Japaner wohl auch genau wissen.

Miyazaki tut also so, als ob wir Herr unserer Handlungen wären, als ob es unsere mangelnde Reife wäre, welche uns zu Mördern unserer Mitmenschen macht, und nicht die Sachlogik des Wettrüstens, daß wir folglich nur etwas lernen müßten - nämlich fremden und eigenen Verlust gerecht zu wiegen. Das Problem dabei ist nur, daß solches Wiegen ein Gegenüber voraussetzt, welches ebenso wiegt, und daß es also nur auf der Grundlage irgendwelcher Garantien statthaben kann.

Wenn diese hingegen nicht vorhanden sind, kann der Mensch in dem Bemühen, etwas passendes aus seiner Macht zu formen, Mißbrauch, wie in anderen Belangen auch, nicht vermeiden, nur in diesem Falle eben in weit größerem Maßstab. Die Antwort des Christentums darauf ist die Offenbarung, daß, wenn die Machtkonzentration ins Unerträgliche gesteigert sein wird, das gegenwärtige Zeitalter endet, und daß wir, so lange dies noch nicht geschehen ist, den Mißbrauch nach Kräften aufzuhalten haben, aber daß er da ist und nicht etwa durch unser Christen-Sein aus der Welt geschafft.

Vielleicht ist es für die Japaner leichter zu ertragen, wenn sie in Europäern Menschen sehen, welche beschlossen haben, alles Häßliche aus ihrem Leben zu verbannen, und daß sie dabei ihren Kopf verloren hätten. Aber so ist es nicht. Vielmehr haben sich die Europäer von der Grundlage aller kulturübergreifenden Verständigung abgewandt - und nicht nur sie. Aber wer hört das schon gerne. Die Folgen sind bitterer und die Aussicht düsterer*.

Indes, wie Ponyo ja zeigt, ist Miyazaki dem Leben ergeben und fürchtet sich nicht vor ihm. Prinzessin Mononoke ist oberlehrerhafter, die Buddhisten kriegen übrigens auch ihr Fett weg, aber dazu möchte ich mich nicht äußern, doch im Gegensatz zum ähnlich gelagerten Nausika im Tal der Winde geht es in Prinzessin Mononoke wenigstens um ein beleuchtenswertes Thema.

* Wenn man Prinzessin Mononoke gewogen ist, kann man natürlich einwenden, daß der Waldgeist für die Bedingtheit des eigenen Lebens durch das Göttliche steht, und damit insbesondere auch für den nötigen Respekt vor dem Göttlichen in allen Lebenslagen, aber das ist sehr weit hergeholt. Miyazaki stellt es eben nicht so dar, daß Eboshi lustvoll Perlen zermalmt, sondern daß sie auf ihre Weise sehr ehrfürchtig ist - nur eben innerhalb eines irren, eingeschränkten Blicks. Nunja, das Bild mit den Perlen findet sich in einem anderen Miyazakifilm... wenn man sich Chihiros Eltern in die Eisenstadt denkt und Ohngesicht, dann erhält man schon ein wahrheitsgemäßeres Bild. Im wandelnden Schloß geht es übrigens auch um die Gefahren, welche der Tugend im Westen begegnen, insgesamt ist Miyazaki also weit verständiger als es den Anschein hat, wenn man nur Prinzessin Mononoke betrachtet, aber vielleicht hat Miyazaki ja auch stückweise dazugelernt.

Labels: , , , ,

25. April 2016

Zu Ursprung und Schicksal der einfachen Form der Erzählung in der Spätmoderne

Ich schrieb bereits von der hohen und der einfachen Form der Erzählung, siehe Life in plastic, it's fantastic!, und dem Grund des Zurückweichens der hohen Form in den letzten Jahrzehnten, aber nicht vom Aufkommen der einfachen Form in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts.

Die Vehikel der einfachen Form sind Comics, Pulp und der amerikanische Film, welcher im Gegensatz zum europäischen Film niemals die hohe Form wählt, ausgenommen einzig einige Highschool-Szenen in Teenager-Filmen, etwa die Unterrichtsstunden in Ferris macht blau, und einige Drill-Szenen in Kriegsfilmen, etwa in Full Metal Jacket.

Abgesehen davon geben amerikanische Filme prinzipiell keine Einblicke in die real existierende amerikanische Lebenswirklichkeit, sondern legen ihrer Handlung stets eine künstlich konzipierte Welt zu Grunde.

Und diese Mode breitet sich aus, schon vor längerer Zeit nach England und seit Luc Besson auch nach Frankreich, wobei auch Jean-Pierre Jeunet nicht ganz frei von einigen künstlichen Elementen ist, im ganzen aber noch die hohe Form verteidigt.

Was den jüngeren deutschen Film angeht, so scheint er, so weit ich das beurteilen kann, nur deshalb nicht gänzlich der einfachen Form zu fröhnen, weil es den jüngeren deutschen Schauspielern an Abstraktionsvermögen mangelt, so daß ihre Lebenswirklichkeit stets mit in den Film hineinkriecht - Bully, freilich, muß ich hier ausnehmen, denn er läßt sich ganz bewußt nie auf die einfache Form ein.

Deshalb ist der jüngere deutsche Film in der Regel so unsagbar peinlich, weder hält er am Altbewährten fest, Milieuablichtung und Kammerspiel, noch besitzt er die nötige geistige Reife aller vor und hinter der Kamera Beteiligten, um eine Kunstwelt trocken zu konzipieren und darzustellen.

Aber nach diesen abschweifenden Bemerkungen, welche indes hinsichtlich der geschichtlichen Erfassung des Phänomens nicht gänzlich unwichtig sind, zurück zum eigentlichen Thema dieses Beitrags. Heute breitet sich die einfache Form aus einem Verlangen nach Regression heraus aus und trägt selbst zur Verflachung und Infantilisierung der Menschheit bei, wiewohl natürlich in ganz unterschiedlichem Maße, und wenig kann man in dieser Hinsicht den Filmen vorwerfen, welche ich zu meinen Lieblingsfilmen zähle, und man muß auch zugeben, daß ein Film wie Meet the Fockers, wiewohl in einer Kunstwelt angesiedelt, sich doch kaum mehr wesentlich von einem Kammerspiel unterscheidet, so daß also auch hier und da die einfache Form aufwärts strebt, aber der Aufstieg der einfachen Form in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts ist weder dem Verlangen nach Regression, noch sinistren Erwägungen zur Wirkung der einfachen Form auf die Menschheit geschuldet, sondern etwas ganz anderem.

Die Begeisterung für Kunstwelten entspringt, wie es auch zu erwarten ist, dem amerikanischen Pioniergeist. Die diesbezügliche Entwicklung ist also hochgradig ausufernd verlaufen, anstatt den gesellschaftlichen Fortschritt vorzubereiten, ist die Phantasie so weit vorausgelaufen, daß dem Aufbruch der Jugend unmittelbar die Wehmut des Alters gefolgt ist, denn unter ihrem üppigen Gewand hat sich die Gesellschaft in eine andere Richtung bewegt.

Auch eine Lehre für künftige Kunstschaffende, wiewohl der Geist freilich auch weiterhin das Gedeihliche wirkt - nur eben nicht auf einer Bahn, welche dem heutigen Kunstschaffen folgte, sondern allenfalls auf einer, auf welche es durch die realen Gegebenheiten schließlich gezwungen wird.

Dies dürfte im Übrigen für viele Menschen das Maß ihrer Zuversicht sein: Wie sehr das Leben der Fiktion, welche ja ihren Wünschen angepaßt ist, entspricht - was wahrscheinlich auch den Grund für die jüngste Senkung des Niveaus im komödiantischen Bereich darstellt, vorexerziert in Filmen wie Super Bad und Step Brothers, wobei letzterer freilich rein technisch gesehen ausgezeichnet ist und auch künstlerisch wertvoll, wenn man ihn als Tragödie auffäßt, was er immerhin zuläßt.

Aber diese Verkehrung von Ursache und Wirkung funktioniert nicht auf Dauer, nach einer gewissen Zeit wendet sich das Publikum von Filmen, welche nicht an seine Wünsche angepaßt sind, sondern lediglich das Ziel verfolgen, Zuversicht durch Übereinstimmung der Kunstwelt mit der realen zu erzeugen, ab. Das ist eine Besonderheit der einfachen Form der Erzählung: Da sie auf künstlichen Konzepten beruht, wird sie nicht nach ihrer Wahrheit beurteilt, wie die hohe Form der Erzählung, sondern einzig nach ihrem Gefallen, und in dem Trilemma, entweder nicht zu gefallen (Super Bad), Unzufriedenheit mit der Welt wachzurufen (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) oder gesellschaftlich destruktive Phantasien zu nähren (Kick-Ass), ist das Ende der einfachen Form beschlossen, weshalb der amerikanische Film gegenwärtig auch derart abebbt.

Labels: , , , , , ,

23. April 2016

Der Mondmonat

Die erste Woche eines Mondmonats heiße Fähle, die zweite Fülle, die dritte Helle und die letzte Schwinde.

Zwischen den Wochen stehen die vier Rechte: Fahlrecht, Füllrecht, Hellrecht und Schwindrecht.

Die Liste der Mondmonatstage ergibt sich damit wie folgt
  1. Fahlrecht
  2. Fahlhaupt
  3. Fahlzung
  4. Fahlgaum
  5. Fahlaug
  6. Fahlwad
  7. Fahlhand
  8. Füllrecht
  9. Füllhand
  10. Füllwad
  11. Füllaug
  12. Füllgaum
  13. Füllzung
  14. Füllhaupt
  15. Hellrecht
  16. Hellhaupt
  17. Hellzung
  18. Hellgaum
  19. Hellaug
  20. Hellwad
  21. Hellhand
  22. Schwindrecht
  23. Schwindhand
  24. Schwindwad
  25. Schwindaug
  26. Schwindgaum
  27. Schwindzung
  28. Schwindhaupt
mit den Wochentagen: Recht, Hand, Wad, Aug, Gaum, Zung und Haupt, deren Reihenfolge sich aber alternierend umkehrt, der nächste Haupt, beispielsweise, ist also entweder schon übermorgen (für Füllhaupt oder Schwindhaupt) oder aber erst in 12 Tagen (für Fahlhaupt oder Hellhaupt). Einzig die Abstände zwischen den Rechten sind stets 7 Tage, sofern sich nicht ein Mondmonatstag aufgrund der astrologischen Ungenauigkeit verdoppelt.

Labels: , , , , ,

22. April 2016

Grundlage allen Waltens

Grundlage allen Waltens ist Muße, Selbstentrückung aus den Sorgen des Alltags, Öffnung für das keiner Not Geschuldete.

Und was ist Walten?

Der Akt der Verhandlung des eigenen Seins, wohingegen das, wessen wir bedürfen, sowohl das Unverhandelbare als auch das Unverantwortete ist.

Schenken ist Walten und jeder Kompromiß, Opfern ist Walten, Formgebung und -annahme.

Wer seine Angst, die Mahnung seiner unzureichenden Vorbereitung auf die Unwägbarkeiten des Lebens, nicht zur Seite schieben kann, indem er sein Leben in Gottes Hände legt, kennt weder Schuld, noch Güte, kein Recht, keine Zufriedenheit und auch keine Dankbarkeit. Er verwandelt sich in ein Tier.

Und freilich gibt es erschwerende und erleichternde Umstände. Der Mensch ist gemacht, um zu nießen und zu meistern und seine Meisterschaft wieder zu nießen. Darüber findet er zu Muße, und über sie zum Walten.

Religion ist Ermahnung zu dem, aber Ermahnung ohne Förderung erschöpft sich schließlich, und wenig tut die Kirche derweil zur Förderung dessen, sie beschränkt sich darauf, dem Aderlaß zuzusehen.

Aber auch wenn es die Schwemme an dem Anderen zu erfordern scheint, das Gesetz wird nicht gebrochen, kein Tier kann Mensch sein, sondern nur durch Erhörung wieder werden.

Labels: , , , ,

17. April 2016

Solaris (1972)

Ein flüchtiger Blick auf mein Haus genügt wohl, um den Verdacht zu nähren, daß mir dieser Film etwas bedeuten könnte.

Vorgestern habe ich mir endlich die baltische Ausgabe gekauft, und seitdem habe ich die meiste Zeit darauf verwendet, englische Untertitel anzupassen.

Das Ergebnis ist passabel - einstweilen. Ich schrieb bereits vor längerer Zeit (auf der I.M.D.B.) eine Kritik zu Solaris, in welcher ich mir Snauts Standpunkt zu eigen machte, zu offensichtlich sind die Mängel in Kelvins und Sartorius' Denken.

Aber so einfach ist es nicht, der Film verweist auf eine tiefere Inkongruenz menschlicher Existenz, denn die Selbstbeschränkung, die Einrichtung im menschlichen Kreis genügt auch nicht. Das Unbekannte muß angegangen werden, auch wenn sich seine Gesetze prinzipiell nicht wissen lassen und seine Ausformungen prinzipiell nicht kennen, womit es sich auch erübrigt, sie alle zu lieben.

Die baltische Version ist heller als die Criterion-Version, der Bildausschnitt etwas schmaler, das Bild wirkt analoger, die Farben sind weniger stark nachbearbeitet, einige Sequenzen sind länger, das Tempo etwas höher, der Gesamteindruck ist weit gegenwärtiger und weniger traumhaft.

Es gibt viele Stellen im Film, an welchen einen Gefühlsausbrüche überkommen, Dinge betreffend, welche sich um die Haltlosigkeit der Liebe drehen, die Ungewißheit ihrer Wirkung, ein Vater, dessen Sohn sich nicht für seine Anliegen interessiert, und ihn einsam in einem tiefen Schacht zurückläßt, eine Frau, derem Mann ihre Liebe nichts mehr bedeutet, verstoßen in weiter Öde.

In solchen Fällen hilft nur Besinnung und befohlene Zuversicht - wohl dem, der die Naturgemäßheit dessen in allen seinen Fasern spürt.

Daneben gibt es noch Haris Geschichte der Selbstabstoßung, ihr Streben danach, mehr Hari zu sein, als Kris es wünscht, und an seiner Unerfüllbarkeit zu scheitern - die Würde aller Schöpfung, einmalig zu sein, unersetzbar, nicht in Begriffe auflösbar, alleine schon deshalb Mittel zu einem Zweck, Figur in einem Spiel, und dazu wird auch Hari Nr. 2, ungeachtet ihrer Herkunft.

Tarkowski besitzt ein außergewöhnliches Gespür dafür, Dinge, welche leicht der Lächerlichkeit anheimfallen könnten, frappierend darzustellen, bis hin zu Kunstkristallen an Schnüren, welche an einem Kronleuchter schwingen, wiewohl er an der Stelle die Grenze seiner Kunstfertigkeit erreicht. Aber das Gras im Wasser, Kris im Unkraut, das Interieur der Raumstation, in all dem zeigt sich ein einzigartiges Beobachtungsvermögen.

Post Scriptum vom 18.4.2016.  Ich habe es geschafft, die Untertitel anzupassen. Die Untertitel von Rotten für die Criterion-Ausgabe passen, wenn von allen Zeiten bis einschließlich I don't like innovation. 3,5 Sekunden abgezogen werden und dann zu allen Zeiten beginnend mit der Einblendung für den zweiten Teil 4 Sekunden dazu addiert werden. Anschließend müssen die Untertitel um 18 Sekunden vorgezogen und mit 23,975 fps abgespielt werden.

Die Klangeffekte spielen übrigens sicherlich auch eine Rolle bei der Wirkung des Films, ich finde sie ausgezeichnet, ebenso wie die Einbettung von Bachs Musik.

Labels: , , , ,

12. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 62

To some extent this chapter is the logical conclusion to the previous two, that is that the overstretched have such a strong desire to unstretch that they can't bear the lower limit set to it by the responsibilities that freedom entails, but there are other things shimmering through.

Ernst Jünger describes very well in In Stahlgewittern the alienation of a veteran of World War I after returning home, consisting of anger at and repelledness by the ignorance of those, who haven't shared his experiences, the former grounded in the fact that it is they who claim the right to define policy, an anger that even Jesse Ventura shares, and the latter grounded in the fact that they refuse to be instructed by him concerning the facts that he had to experience - and only instruction would do, no debating, no human interest story, cold hard instruction on the pitfalls and dangers that exist outside the ordered circumstances of peace. But they want to hear nothing of it. They want to sweep it under the rug. And give their ears to fairy-tales.

Tolkien takes the view that it is better so - a view that might very well be wrong. For, how does Tolkien imagine that people will ever take up the responsibilities that accompany freedom, if they will buy any fairy-tale, as long as it let's them imagine that they walk within the order of peace?

Well, the answer is obviously that Tolkien thinks that this is the natural role of the elite, to care about these things and tell fairy-tales, which translate the truth for the ears of the common people.
It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.
That ice is thin though. And it is the downfall of nationalism that it has transfered the fairy-tale telling authority from the Church to the aristocracy, for the aristocracy's and the people's interests are not the same.

So, in a time without an operating church, how sane is Tolkien's view... In Middle-earth Aragorn is charged with all of this - for everyone within his realm. Now, even Christ had disciples... I don't counsel to sever the bond between the people and the Church through the local selection of bishops united in one faith, for that is a far superior thing to the follies of new and ancient. Of course, in my view gradual schisms make sense, the refining of convictions without violating the basic ones.

But enough of that. Frodo and Bilbo also have to go for another reason, namely so as to close the book on The Ring. When Sam, Merry and Pippin go back, the world is now verily theirs. The spiritual struggle with the forces of co-ercion is over and the bridges to the era of shaping, for an era it is, however short, are removed. A new day has begun and its laws are set.

This is quite general, for the older things get, the more co-ercive they get as well, no matter what they are (not withstanding man's desire to return to, whence he came), and so every struggle for renewal can be cast in these terms.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 61

The fall of civilisation according to John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
  1. Greed that needs to protect itself.
  2. Suppliers of odd-jobbers, who feed it in order to make it dependent on them.
  3. Would be nannies and snitches.
Or a handbook on how to keep control over your informal colonies.

Well, in the end it's a matter of strength and resolve, and luckily the Hobbits under Frodo's, Sam's, Merry's and Pippin's guidance have enough of it, but the rebellion couldn't have come any sooner than Lotho started taking without paying and only because Hobbits know how to count.

Yes, if only all people could be as resolute as the Tooks much harm would be avoided. But there are too many, who think that it will do them some good, if they stand back and observe how far and whither a wrong thing will go. They stand back and think that they can back-stab any time they want. But it's difficult for them to organise, they need a lot of whispering until they're convinced that the necessary level of general discontent has been reached and it is quite possible to keep them from it.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 60

As I said, the last chapter was about the desire to unstretch and the purpose of this chapter is to set a lower limit to that desire, for it foreshadows that there's still something to be done in the Shire and it's not Gandalf, who is going to do it, since his job was to bring freedom and freedom means responsibility and now that he's brought it, Gandalf is preparing himself for a less heroic and more philosophical existence and goes to chat with Tom Bombadil.

Labels: , ,

11. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 59

Saruman's descent into meanness is almost too much, what hopes did he have? To use the rings for good? To make Middle-earth into one big Lórien? But even then he'd only to suffer a degradation, besides the fact that such a plan wouldn't be wise, for it doesn't suit humans.

Little doubt leave his words to Merry, why he's after the Shire, he's in earnest comparing his dominion of Orcs, which was never more than a tool, to Lothlórien and the Shire, feeling that his royal rights have been violated - and that is madness indeed. It is, as if his own voice had him convinced himself.

I wonder whether Legolas thought more of the Glittering Caves than Gimli of the prospect to pass Fangorn, or whether he was only more polite - or perhaps not even that - but only more skilled with words, for his words might well mean: Boring shite!

Overall the chapter is characterised though by the desire to unstretch, to forget all efforts and roll up into a little shivering ball, as is well captured in old Bilbo, for it is wise indeed to retreat from life and test, whether the works that one did in earlier years are fit to carry oneself, as they are supposed to, and never would this be observed, nor in fact considered, if man wouldn't know the desire to become helpless again.

Great indeed is the harm done by the monsters.

As for the partings, in them the light of the greater things flickers a last time. All sacrifice moves me to tears these days... still few tears flow.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 58

There are a two points beside the main one, the contrast between Faramir's and Aragorn's love story, that should be noted.

First the instinct of the people of Minas Tirith, who feel the change of their fate, and second Aragorn's insistance on being crowned by Gandalf.

The latter is of course a statement about the relation between King and Church, that it doesn't befit a king to be king by his own grace, but that he has to be the champion of those, who are the shepherds of their flock - or their stewards, as Gandalf put it.

Aragorn has thus shrunk a little and isn't any longer the one, who's been anointed by the plight of the people, but one of his servants further down the line, if it can be said like this, since Tolkien's theology is strictly conservative and knows neither authority nor need to begin anything new, but I'd consider it a mistake to see more than a style-choice in Olórin's angelic nature, for Tolkien certainly knew that our world requires something else in order to honour the teachings of the prophets over the course of the centuries, and that what it requires requires itself a new beginning once upon a time. (If this was different, there would not have been any new beginning in the last 60 000 years. Of course, one might say that the truth hasn't changed in all that time, but the relevance of its different parts has and every age has to pursue its own science, the science of our time being the search for equilibria achieved by manipulation, a science by now old and overly powerful, which is of course why we have the Ring problem today.)

The mentioned instinct, on the other hand, is a testament to freedom, for the slave has all the direction that he needs from his master. One might even say that freedom is nothing more than to have the chance to act upon the callings of one's heart and that it's thus necessarily opaque and at the same time mysteriously knowing.

And that is a good point to depart from towards the main point, for Faramir's love story speaks of stations and needs, whereas Aragorn's love story speaks of conditions and vows.

Not much sympathy deserved the latter, if haggling for individual freedom was at the heart of it, as it may of course appear, since both sides look upon the issue as a contract to be entered, if certain conditions are being met, like with the Ents and the Ent-wives.

If it was so, Faramir and Éowyn appeared more virtuous, for egoistic as their motives may be, at least they dare to seek their luck together.

That Aragorn and Arwen do not, but neither are they like Ents. There's something else there and it's not the shame not to be good enough for each other, something else...

Arwen must come to Aragorn in the way that she does, because they couldn't live any other way. Life has closed itself to them, they have hearts not meant for the present state of affairs and Aragorn must renew the time*, before their love can blossom.

In the end there are only scoundrels outside the gates of the New Jerusalem.

Here Aragorn grows again and becomes Christ.

*As opposed to the film Groundhog Day, where it's not the time's fault, but Bill Murray's.

Labels: , ,

10. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 57

The two major points here are firstly that after Sauron vanished, so does carnage, and secondly that the gained peace is laden with memories of old that have come to life again.

Clausewitz writes in his treatise on war that the victor releases the defeated into his own again after the war is won, and he justifies it by saying that people have a tendency for peace and that it's unlikely that they'll give their ear to those, who wish to have their revenge as soon as possible.

Recent history knows many counter-examples to this, and ancient history as well.

Clausewitz follows a code of honour there which was peculiar to Christian Europe and ended during Clausewitz' lifetime, ironically, but Napoléon's defeat gave Clausewitz false hope that it did not.

Tolkien quite clearly follows the same code of honour, an imperative that was somehow laid on him, who was born much later, but that was the nature of the 19th century, that the decrees of modernity were for a while forgotten.

And so there are only a few proud men, who still have to be fought at Cirith Mordor, while the rest are willing enough to forget about Sauron's war.

But then again... What does Sauron stand for? Not in particular for the ability to systematically poison the minds of men? Which was, for some 1000 years, roughly from 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D., suspended. So Tolkien is perhaps not as backwards as one may think but thinks ahead.

Which brings us to the second point. The festivities glorify the simple forms of the Middle Ages and Minas Tirith appears as a heritage from before them that hasn't yet grown old, or at least not that old, seperated from the present by a chasm of time.

Everything can become again as it was... well, I think that is true in some sense, actually even more than just in one sense, but I think that every age to come must distinguish itself from its previous incarnations, the truer ones lying further back in time, so that circumstances seperate, what character leaves together, and vice versa.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 56

The striking thing about the third chapter of the sixth book is just how much Frodo and Sam use Sauron's infrastructure, there's no strength left for hiding - and no water - and all the cross-country they're still able to manage is to cut from the road to Barad-Dûr to the road from Barad-Dûr, but when they reach the latter, it's if they found an address, a memory of the Ringwraith coming to Bagshot Row in the third chapter of the first book and of Bilbo's word that there is only but one road.

They're at the place, there actually is a place called the Cracks of Doom. It doesn't matter that they are in Mordor, it feels like a return to civilisation, like a big factory hall perhaps. The weariness disappears and Frodo, Sam and Gollum make their last moves under the dominating shadow of Sauron's power - a power from whose ward its master has turned, leaving it open, but still it dwells there and exerts its influence, like a big cat perhaps that has been left lying around at some place.

But by happenstance some harm comes to the cat and its master is inconsolable.

Frodo and Sam however have come to the end of their tale and live happily ever after, no matter under which circumstances nor for how long.

Labels: , ,

9. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 55

Not even Sauron can make a great state from a little city - of Orcs. What a mess it is, three Hobbits stumbling hither and thither and their pursuers kill each other off.

And on top of it, literally, the air-force is mounted by beings, who are virtually blind.

Yet it's not comical, but rather the workings of a greater machine over which one has no control, but which lets one pass through, as in a dream, for reasons unfathomable.

The dreamlike quality of all danger is characteristic for the Lord of the Rings. There's another view on danger, in retrospect, when one realises that something was a close call, leaving a shiver. Tolkien doesn't use that. Instead he relies on the feeling of paralysis that is characteristic for a nightmare. When you're awake, even when you're shocked, you force yourself into action, even though you might panick. But in a dream, you just freeze. And over all of Mordor there's this frozenness.

In everyday life the most important lessons are prudence and not to panick, in Middle-earth the foremost lesson is... not to dream?

It's an indirect lesson, if it is one. A lesson by rejection of the course one is put through. At some point one's life, the will to determine one's experiences, awakens. But how so? Do we not determine ourselves what we dream, at least most of the time? What then do we miss? Another kind of determination, naturally, in a dream we can direct, but not act, in waking it's the other way 'round, and both the direction beyond our control and the influence of our choices constitute what's real for us.

Yet in the Land of Shadow it appears that Sam and Frodo are writing the script, considering their passage through it.

What will man do, if he could control everything, write his own story? Despair of that power, for the world would not seem real? So he might give up The Ring?

Lacking imagination the masses can only be taught that by a sick illusion and they'd wake from it no better than Frodo from his dream in Mount Doom.

And those who count wouldn't even start that sort of dreaming, but seek The Ring ever more.

No, true wakening is the command of the hour, and in it lies not fear of unseen forces, but trust in them, for he wants to control beyond reason is driven by fear of the void and what it might contain, a dreamer, in a way, himself, for he shuts out that he's a part in a whole.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 54

A chapter for Sam Gamgee.
‘I wonder if they think of us at all,’ he said, ‘and what is happening to them all away there.’ He waved his hand vaguely in the air before him; but he was in fact now facing southwards, as he came back to Shelob’s tunnel, not west.
Important information that, and good of Tolkien to give.

How would this be done on film? Perhaps zooming out of the tunnel, with a little figure, a red arrow and a green one?

And after that perhaps a vivid depiction of Samwise the Strong,
Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit.
Well, after all the sadness of the last chapter a little humour can't be all wrong, but if this was actually shown, there would be tremendous difficulty to continue earnestly.

Tolkien went of course too far in terms of a cliff-hanger and now he has to deal with this ridiculous situation. Nevermind, Sam is simply extremely lucky and Orc forces are extremely well balanced. And so there's time and place for Sam and Frodo to begin anew in soft and somewhat weary memory of the Shire.

There's also a bit of disturbing information here, for Snaga says that the Watchers are the work of Dúnedain, yet they fear Elbereth, stop Hobbits and let Orcs pass - it must be a form of spirit hacking on Sauron's part.

Sam and Frodo's rebirth is however vitally important. They've reached their low, the height of doubts, they're not afraid anymore to deplete their strength and gladly spend what they have left for their purpose, being at peace with their fate.

Their pace is becoming slower, but their course the more certain, for the haste of youth is the haste of a scout, who is charting the territory, and only so do they become capable of a cause.

I have to add though that it seems to be the rule that youth cares naught for the causes of the elderly, yes, she doesn't even comprehend them. Mankind follows no other course than prosperity. But perhaps there is prosperity in some causes.

Labels: , ,

8. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 53

The overarching theme of this chapter is sadness, sadness about the fact that things seem to come to their end.

It is reflected in Aragorn's clemency towards the deserters, the stillness of the country, the northern wind.

By the selection of the items that are shown to him, Gandalf can immediately guess what's happened, i.e. Sting is missing. And after the hesitation following his demand to see Frodo, he can even hope that Sam was able to liberate him.

But then again, Sauron might also be a bit of a sadist.

The other interesting point is the ethnicity of the Mouth of Sauron, the existence of Black Númenóreans having been foreshadowed in the way that it has been. Immediately the idea of a long feud, of which we haven't been told, springs to mind - the demands of Sauron, by the way, being strangely similar to the demands of the Treaty of Versailles. Aragorn's claim to be the legitimate King seems at this point to be more contested than at any other. Sauron might have ideas beyond malice, he may have a design for an aristocracy of His rule, a plan to order the world.

But then again, the Dead have accepted Aragorn and the Corsairs have fled from him and the Mouth of Sauron too knows that his claim to the Kingship is valid and hides behind the power of his master.

Which is considerable, but based on the fear that he is able to project, which stands and falls with The Ring, the applicability of his tools to co-erce.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 52

The most interesting thing in this chapter is Legolas' remark, for sure, about the Dead.
Pale swords were drawn; but I know not whether their blades would still bite, for the Dead needed no longer any weapon but fear.
The easiest way to read this, and Legolas' further words suggest it, is that Aragorn is wielding the weapon of shame on his campaign in the south, the fear of becoming known as someone, who didn't come to his succour, and that that fear is victorious against the fear of Sauron, the fear of the vanity of all resistance.

That interpretation, though, requires to ignore the described action, for the Haradrim and the Corsairs are supposed to be afraid and not the rural reserve of Gondor.

I had suggested that the Dead are colonists from Númenor, based on their connexion with the Stone of Erech, and that their siding with Aragorn constitutes a transfer of seniority.

And if so, this would be troublesome for the Corsairs, who are colonists from Númenor themselves.

Then I focussed on the unifying effect of rejuvenation, here now the focus is on the aging effect of schism, for those, who see their allies desert them, because they found their youth again for one more cycle, immediately age. And thus they either join the rejuvenation or they stay as older spirits, matured, if this happened early in their life cycle, or as phantoms of their former strength, if it happened late, and that prospect lies now before the Corsairs, to become, what the Dead have been.

The situation would be somewhat similar, if Christ was to return and some Jews would accept him as the Messiah while others wouldn't. (I am aware of the fact that both Christ and Messiah mean The Anointed.)

As for the last debate, this is one of the few things the film summed up very well: Mordor is full of Orcs, they stand in the way, some valve must be opened to let them flow out.

As Imrahil says:
This is the greatest jest in all the history of Gondor.
Actually, there's an almost uncanny likeness here with the role of the state of Israel in the Revelation: Orc-bait - and as Aragorn says:
If this be jest, then it is too bitter for laughter.

Labels: , , , ,

7. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 51

This chapter is very symbolic. With Merry, Éowyn and Faramir lie three sick who represent the highest virtue of their respective people, as are faithfulness, valour and duty, again according to the division of the soul into lust (in a more original sense), heed and care as described in my remarks on Minas Tirith, and the King heals them, which is of course straight from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John.

Actually, there are serious religious implications here, arising from the fact that Tolkien doesn't distinguish between the perceptive nature of the three parts of the soul and the willful nature of the three parts of the soul, for Tolkien suggests that people, whose character is dominated by lust could be ruled by quaintness, based on experiences with people, whose perception is limited to the sphere of lust, but whose character is dominated by either heed or care, and if that was so, then Christianity would be universal - but it is not so.

Plato knew this, his description of the bad horse bears signs of sympathy for the crook that go beyond the cuteness of all things small and childlike, he tacitly respects lust as the force that gets things done, pretty much like free-market advocates in the United States.

However, what is a mitigation for some people, is a poison for others. It all depends on whom it is administered. Where there is no shame (or piety), skillfully causing dilemmas guarantees the greater balance, where there is shame (or piety), failing to give an example breeds confusion and depravity.

But back to Faramir, Éowyn and Merry. When Faramir awakes, he gladly picks up his new duty, when Éowyn awakes, she poses, after an unguarded exclamation of joy, hard to please and when Merry awakes he says - and this is the punchline the whole novel has been written for -
I am hungry. What is the time?
And then he gives a nice account on how enriching it is to be cared for by one's betters.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 50

It is clear that Denethor, while initially being broken by failing hope and assumed bitterness as to shield him, now falls to pride and fear of humiliation and against his own best counsel, choosing callosity, but had he had any real hope for Faramir, he would not have done so, meaning that he has still good reason to assume that the war will be lost, but not anymore good enough to convince himself that what he's doing is commanded by Gondor's honour.

His final choice is to flee - in a very cruel way. He doesn't complicate Gondor's affairs with it though, taking his own life in this way, and only his own life, is pretty much a private decision and the truth is that the world, that Denethor has created around himself, is a world, from which all living things would eventually flee - yet he chooses not to break it for it is his life and pride.

Pride and honour often go hand in hand, but they are not the same, for pride springs from one's own contribution to honour and in becoming accustomed to it, one might forget her.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 49

As before, the battle goes this way and that, but for once lack of discipline doesn't equate undoing, for fate itself is on Gondor's side.

The Witchking of Angmar symbolises the psychological element of war and it's thus only fitting that he'd be slain by a woman, for the psychological element targets civilians first and foremost.

Like in all battles Tolkien takes great care to let things come about in a believable way, the movements of the armies are almost choreographed, the Dead don't fight on the fields of Pelennor, but Aragorn brings many men from the south, so the summoning of the Dead can be interpreted as a symbolic version of the rallying of the coastal people.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 48

The last chapter dwelt on Denethor's tragedy and that tragedy was one of a world of planning, in which there is no room for emotions and in particular not for mercy.

In this chapter now the Rohirrim find mercy, the mercy of a world unexplored, but friendly to them, and are asked for mercy in return, namely to let that world and its inhabitants be in times to come.

Is it so wrong for man to assume that when he finds the world ready for his needs, that he's been shown mercy?

People have lived on this earth for a long time, and every act of making the world more inhabitable is an act of mercy, for slowly these acts change the face of the earth, owing to the time that trees need to grow. And what is that lets one consider the future and the lucky ones that will roam its widths? Is it not that one considers one's place and responsibility, the share of life that has taken on one's shape and strives to stay true to life itself, from whence it came and whither it will go?

And all this is done blindly, unknowingly, by cowing in a way, in instinctive accordance with the flow of all things. This is the matter that Gandalf strives to shape, but not replace.

Labels: , ,

6. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 47

Since Denethor is the central figure of the chapter some care must be taken in assessing him.

Let us perhaps begin by remembering that Denethor has a long curved nose, dark eyes, pale skin and looks old and lordlike, much like Aragorn, within reasonable limits, like the colour of the eyes or the hair or whatever more seemed inessential to Pippin, when he made the comparison.

So... who was Christopher Lee cast to play?

I'm not mentioning this in jest, for Christopher Lee's voice may give a hint of the grimness that Pippin has observed in Denethor.

His stab at the unthankfulness of Hobbits doesn't really fit his dignity. There are two possible explanations. He either said it jokingly to himself as a comment on the nature of things, or he really said it to Gandalf, echoing his steward speech, claiming likeness, both of which I could picture Christopher Lee doing splendidly.

Pippin in any case takes away grimness and his assessment is correct as the further course of events proves.

Denethor orders to hold the river and the wall, although he could achieve a higher foreign to own casulties ratio, if he ordered all his men behind the walls of Minas Tirith.

Soon after the order he learns of the north-eastern army through the Palantír in his possession.

The order was correct, for it cost him men, but the enemy two days time, and he's waiting for the Rohirrim to arrive.

However, the north-eastern army greatly reduces the apparent value of Denethors decision. Faramir wasn't sent into his death, but was struck by an arrow by ill chance, and he did achieve a lot, namely the success of the stalling maneuver.

Denethor is frank, when he admits Boromir's and Faramir's places had been exchanges, but he is true to his word, when he says that it is vain to bemoan the past and he doesn't take an irrational revenge on Faramir, but simply spends his sons.

All of his actions, up to the late timing of the sortie, follow the cold arithmetics of war. And as for The Ring, both he and Gandalf know that Gollum tries to feed Frodo to Shelob.

Denethor is far from the creepy steward of the film - of course.

But then he snaps, regretting his own grimness towards Faramir and despairing over the course of the battle, having no strength left after his battles of wills with Sauron, while using the Palantír.

Yet even as a broken man he's following his own words, seeking to die as a free man as he sees most befitting his situation.

To Pippin of course it's just madness, for Pippin knows nothing of the restraint that Denethor had laid upon himself for all those years, from which the pyre would release him in the only acceptable manner, he, whose house had failed Gondor, as he thinks. Had he had any strength left, he might have used the Palantír one last time to see that the Rohirrim circumvented the north-eastern army, but he had none. Instead he probably saw the Orcs as they carried Frodo away.

Alas, the tragedy of Denethor seems to be have been as comprehensible to the makers of the film as human speech is to orang-outans.

Labels: , ,

5. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 46

Éowyn und Merry find themselves in the same spot, or do they?

Merry has rather shallow reasons for wanting to join the Big Battle, he doesn't like the appearance of things, if he stayed behind, and he probably underestimates what's to come. He sees no hope in Éowyn's eyes, but what exactly is his own condition?

Some kind of indifference, is it not? A certain humility, accepting one's role in society even if it means that one will likely fail. Stoicism, I think, it's called. Merry thinks that he has no right to object being pushed into this fight, because it is just the thing to do in these times, and he feels little pain at the thought that it might be his end, because it just as well might be the end of his best friends.

Éowyn on the other hand fears that she's losing any chance of being recognized that she might have in her life.

It's slightly funny that she would project her own feelings into Meriadoc, but it's not inappropriate to take him with her, whatever one may think about Merry, his reasons for wanting to go are just as good as any other's, ultimately because nobody chooses war for his life's sake, although I'm quite sure that Éowyn would have treated Merry just like her uncle, if she'd been in any other state of mind.

But even though Éowyn is far more driven than Merry, her decision is for appearance's and not life's sake too - she's just panicking. I think, Tolkien is teaching us a lesson again: Beginnings might be stupid, outcomes might be good, the reason for which being that we'll never find out what our lives are about, if we calculate every step on our way.

Labels: , ,

4. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 45

At the center of this chapter are of course the oathbreakers, but before I consider them, I shall clarify something.

Éowyn's (in)famous words are to be spoken like this (full length, half length)
Neither have those others who go with thee. They go only because they would not be parted from thee – because they love thee.
at very high speed and not like in the film
because they love thee
adagio paced - no, it's presto furioso.

The final parting then finds her with the humbleness of a child.

But now on to the oathbreakers. Tolkien made a very peculiar choice here, for he could have simply let Aragorn rally all the people from Gondor's coast, who stayed to defend their land from the Corsairs, instead of coming to Minas Tirith' help, making use of the Palantír, striking where it counts.

Instead all this symbolism. The Stone of Erech, like a bigger Palantír, and the Dead as those only the King can rally.

It is of course possible that even Tolkien had pacing issues here and didn't want to include a real campaign in the south and everything that goes with it and thus substituted the Dead for the rural reserve. But if we take the story at face value, what does it tell?

Cursing people isn't benign, forcing them into servitude isn't either, so for the first time we see a likeness of methods between Gondor and Mordor. But these are probably not just any people. Númenor had colonies in the east and these colonists, like the majority in Númenor itself, started to worship Sauron. The Corsairs of Umbar seem to be of that sort, and the Dead as well. Why else would the Stone of Erech have been brought there?

It must be a reminder of some sort of what had happened in Númenor. Now, the Valar themselves stroke Númenor down for that and it would have to be considered an act of mercy not to include the colonists in the punishment - an act of mercy that the Dead betrayed.

The issue might be framed in terms of passage of seniority. The Dead hold on to an older regime than that of the Kings of Gondor, whose house has risen in rebellion as well, like all the institutions of a mortal race that is prone to decay. Winning over the Dead thus seals an ancient breach of authority and elevates Aragorn in seniority over Isildur himself and in particular over his local rival Denethor, the idea being that every new era must reshape the divisions of mankind.

Labels: , ,

3. April 2016

Literarische Formate

Bei der Durchsicht meiner Lieblingsfilme bin ich auf folgende Einteilung gestoßen.
  • Berichte
    • Dokumentationen
    • Reportagen
  • Darstellungen
    • Fantasien
    • Expositionen
  • Erzählungen
    • Märchen
    • Novellen
Ein Bericht ist die literarische Begleitung eines oder einer Gruppe von Menschen, welche entweder die Identifikation mit diesem oder diesen anregt, in welchem Fall es sich um eine Dokumentation handelt, oder es nicht tut, in welchem Fall es sich um eine Reportage handelt.

Ein Beispiel für eine Dokumentation ist Dostojewskis Verbrechen und Strafe, ein Beispiel einer Reportage Ondaatjes Englischer Patient.

Eine Darstellung ist die literarische Herausarbeitung eines bestimmten Gedankens, welcher entweder nur angeregt wird, in welchem Fall es sich um eine Fantasie handelt, oder aber bloßgelegt, in welchem Fall es sich um eine Exposition handelt.

Ein Beispiel für eine Fantasie ist Endes Unendliche Geschichte, ein Beispiel einer Exposition Antunes Handbuch der Inquisitoren.

Eine Erzählung ist die literarische Erzeugung einer Geschichte (daß Endes Unendliche Geschichte keine Geschichte ist, hat mich damals ziemlich enttäuscht), welche entweder auf Archetype zurückgreift, in welchem Fall es sich um ein Märchen handelt, oder es nicht tut, in welchem Fall es sich um eine Novelle handelt.

Ein Beispiel für ein Märchen ist Wagners Ring des Nibelungen, ein Beispiel einer Novelle Kipling's Dschungelbücher. Tolkien's Herr der Ringe ist mehr Novelle als Märchen, hat aber Anflüge eines Märchens.

Labels: , , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 44

Differences between men are the topic of the first chapter of the fifth book. Although it doesn't appear so, Tolkien picks up the ball from where he left it, namely at Sam's inability to master himself.

The contrast between Sam's immanence in the last chapter, his incapability to think beyond the course of his emotions, his boundness to his own growth, and Gandalf's steward speech in this chapter couldn't be starker.
But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?
Both he who says these words and he whom they address know their meaning, that there is no higher satisfaction than to see that one has upheld one's moral duty. Neither Sam knows this, nor the Rohirrim, nor Boromir, who was much like them.

The Rohirrim do as their sense of honour commands them, and if it was not for constant war to judge them, their vanity would transform their court into a pit of snakes. In Minas Tirith however everyone feels the dignity of the court and would feel soiled, if he was to put his own interests before its. Such is the difference in nature between the Dúnedain and the Rohirrim, pretty much Plato's distinction between the leader of the chariot and the good horse (of all things).

Sam, however, who stands below both of them, for he neither has an abstract understanding of honour nor of duty, but is blindly jerked around by his emotions, is of course not the bad horse, although his actions in the last two chapters were certainly bad ass (donkey, that is) enough, but is, like the bad horse in character, seperated from the other two in understanding of the nature of his being.

This is not the place to discuss this in detail, however, one implication is that only the Dúnedain are capable of being original Christians and that they had to rise the other peoples up to Christianity. There's a Roman-Catholic vibe there for sure. In reality most peoples contain of course different types and don't depend in this way on another people. But not only Catholics deny the ability of a natural people to follow in God's footsteps, Albert Pike, for example, does so as well, so perhaps Tolkien doesn't issue a particular statement, but speaks of the general necessity of the bearers of the holy flame to bring it to the ignoramuses.

If that was to mean that people need to be educated about the nature of their being, I would agree, for man is born without a grasp on himself. Alas, the institutions that we have today for the most part aim to destroy man's ideas about himself. Who holds still back and doesn't ease the coming? But, well, it's now through the night to a new day one way or another.

Speaking of which, I found the Beregond-Bergil episode rather heart warming, and if there only would have been more children in Minas Tirith, at least one segment of the population had believed in Gondor's victory. But it's probably precisely in order to enjoy the purity of this belief that the Dúnedain have too few of them, neither in Middle-earth, nor here, the new dawn has already come.

Labels: , ,

2. April 2016

Eine etymologische Gegenüberstellung

Wie mir während der Tolkienlektüre erstmals aufging, ist das englische Wort für Feigling recht artig gebildet:
  • to cow
  • a cow
  • a coward
auf Deutsch:
  • zu kuschen
  • eine Kuh
  • ein Kuscher.
Die Bildung ist in sofern interessant, als daß Angst bei ihr überhaupt keine Rolle spielt, sondern vielmehr, seine Nerven zu verlieren. Angst zu empfinden bedeutet, nicht vorbereitet zu sein, und wenig ratsam ist es dann, voranzuschreiten. Hier hingegen bricht der Wille ohne vernünftigen Grund, und das ist in der Tat eine kennzeichnende Eigenart der Kuh, daß sie ohne guten Grund vor ihren Treibern zurückschreckt, im Gegensatz allerdings zum Bullen.

Labels: , , , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 43

I can't help it, it really feels like Tolkien enjoys to portray the bad guys to be more up to what's going on than the good guys, after all there're no perceptions that'd need to sheltered there.

Yet Orcs are silly when it comes to torturing, as silly as a dog jumping for a sausage dangling above its head.

How to set a trap for a psychopath?

The ultimate trap for a coward is to suggest to him that he'd be safe, if he was only small enough, as Loge teaches Alberich in the other Ring. And the ultimate trap for a psychopath? Hand over control and torture some? Look at this nice toy we brought you and there is more where that came from.

Actually, that kind of explains why Saruman is still interested in the Shire, now that I come to think of it, perhaps he hopes to become the Al Capone of Middle-earth dealing in Hobbits. After all, he would not have been the only one, who ever thought that trading innocence against peace is a worthy deal, much like when Sam's innocence would have almost moved even Sméagol's heart.

Only, of course, that Saruman's thought couldn't possibly be that in Tolkien's world, no matter how well it fits the wise (John and others) to think that way, no, at the most he gained influence beyond the design of Sauron's hierarchy, pretty much like Al Capone did beyond the design of U.S.-Law.

Sam's thoughts on suicide are interesting. He seems to equate his existence with its effects. I would state that there is more than that, yet Tolkien clothes this more in the clothes of the wraith-world, which are not particularly appealing. Weird stuff is happening, Elves talk through Frodo and Sam, yet the concept of God, from whom the Valar and everything below them spring, is beyond the reach of the races of Middle-earth, they live in an encorporated strife between light and dark inclinations and the light ones are, as far as Hobbits are concerned, worldly. Sam has nothing to hold him. He jerks from one convulsive conviction to another.

But what is Tolkien doing on the uppermost level? Is he not using these imaginery Hobbits as innocent tender to bargain for peace? But in the defence against whom does he spill their blood?

There is only one senseful answer to that: He's spilling their blood against presumptiveness, that is the presumption of never before reached human greatness that makes all considerations for basic things unfit occupation. He, who sets out on this path, should consider the fate he thus wreaks upon the poor Hobbits. And who is he? Isn't there a Hobbit lurking deep inside him as well?

Labels: , , ,

Frankreich und Deutschland betreffend

Ich sprach bereits von religiöser und nationaler Identität, aber der Vollständigkeit halber muß man heute daneben auch noch administrative Identitäten ins Auge fassen.

Die nationale Identität spielt für die gegenwärtige Betrachtung so gut wie keine Rolle, da sich Frankreichs und Deutschlands nationale Identitäten, also was es für einen Franzosen bedeutet, ein guter Franzose, und für einen Deutschen, ein guter Deutscher zu sein, sehr ähneln, so daß wir diese Dinge, die ethischen Stützen eines modernen Staates letztlich, hier nicht weiter zur Sprache bringen müssen.

Ausgehen tut die hiesige Betrachtung von zwei Punkten, einerseits der bisherigen Vagheit der von mir angegebenen religiösen Identitäten der Franzosen und der Deutschen, also der Achtung des Rechts, beziehungsweise der Arbeit am Reich Gottes, und zum anderen von der augenfälligen Gegensätzlichkeit der französischen und deutschen Bürokratie.

Die Achtung des Rechts der Franzosen ist kein Judentum, kein penibles Befolgen eines Vorschriftenkatalogs, sondern die Achtung der lebendigen Institutionen, durch welche das Rechte Form annimmt. Im Klartext also die Achtung der katholischen Kirche. Und da stellt sich natürlich die Frage, in wiefern sich die Arbeit am Reich Gottes aus Sicht der katholischen Kirche davon unterscheidet, denn darum geht es hier ja, also um die Identitäten, welche die katholische Kirche jeweils den Franzosen und den Deutschen gepredigt hat, was es aus ihrer Sicht bedeutet, ein guter Christ zu sein.

Nun, ohne dabei gewesen zu sein, kann ich doch aufgrund der noch sichtbaren Früchte ihrer Arbeit feststellen, daß die französischen und die deutschen Bischöfe zu recht unterschiedlichen Vorstellungen ihrer Verantwortung gelangt sind. Die französischen Bischöfe sahen ihre Rolle darin, die französische Gesellschaft nach der Maßgabe des Schönen zu gestalten, während die deutschen Bischöfe ihre Rolle darin sahen, einen Rahmen zu gestalten, in welchem die Deutschen das Schöne schon selber finden würden.

Ein guter Christ zu sein bedeutet für einen Franzosen also, den Weg der Entwicklung der Schönheit mitzugehen, und sich das bisher Erreichte zu eigen zu machen, wohingegen der Deutsche zu diesem Ziel lediglich die Fundamente der Ordnung zu wahren und auf ihnen aufbauend seiner Interpretation des Schönen Ausdruck zu verleihen zu suchen hat. Und dies ist ein großer substantieller Unterschied, welcher unter anderem das Zeremoniell des französischen Hofstaats und die deutsche Vielstaaterei vorangetrieben hat.

Bestimmend für die heutigen Verhältnisse ist hingegen folgendes. In der französischen Tradition der gemeinsamen Entwicklung des Schönen steckt ein Ansatz, welchen sich ein moderner Staat leicht zu Nutze machen kann, indem er seine Herrschaft mit dem französischen Stil vermählt, so daß die Furcht, die eigene religiöse Identität zu verraten, Linientreue erzeugt.

Und deshalb ist die französische Bürokratie so seicht, kaum mehr als eine Registratur, wohingegen die deutsche Bürokratie ein Bollwerk aus unzähligen Röhren ist, um die gesellschaftlichen Ströme nach ihren Vorstellungen umzuleiten, also deshalb, weil die religiöse Identität der Franzosen ein Klima des Bemühens um staatlich mitdefinierte Vorbildlichkeit erzeugt und die religiöse Identität der Deutschen das genaue Gegenteil, nämlich das Bestehen auf der eigenen gestalterischen Verantwortlichkeit.

Indes, wie ich selbst in Orléans mitansehen durfte, hat Jean-Pierre Jeunet durchaus Recht, wenn er eine willentliche Vergiftung des französischen Stils durch bauliche Häßlichkeiten beklagt. Aber das gehört natürlich zum selben Spiel wie alles andere auch, das Verleugnen der Gemeinschaft, wenn man rechts wählt, das Verleugnen des Opfers, wenn man links wählt, die Rühmung des friedensstiftenden Schreckens, des gemeinwohlfördernden Betrugs, der Richtungssicherheit der Lust - ein Christ soll im modernen Staat auch gar nicht zu Hause sein.

In Deutschland freilich steht die religiöse Identität dem modernen Staat so entgegen, daß er auch nicht für einen Moment vergessen kann, daß er es nicht ist, sehr zur Bestürzung der größten Idioten, welche unser Land in den letzten 145 Jahren hervorgebracht hat. Nun denn, bald hat die Welt ihre Lektion ja gelernt.

Labels: , , , , ,

1. April 2016

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 42

Tolkien uses this chapter to introduce a more primitive form of evil, a more beastly one, and that in turn he uses to clarify Gollum's position, as not only having joined the life of beasts, but also their kind of scattered cunning, based on specific points of departure, between which it is lost.

It is interesting in the light of this to look at Gollum's ideas of what he'll do, once he's wielding The Ring again, for he used it previously for little, and it doesn't appear likely that he'll be able to use for more, only because he now knows that it's Sauron's and that Sauron wants to have it back to rule Middle-earth with it.

It's like Gollum's human evilness tries to rise in vain over his beastly evilness, for in the end Gollum can't think of more than a full stomach either.

Labels: , ,

Re-reading the Lord of the Rings, Chapter 41

There's a passing dreaminess in this chapter, but something else stays despite the fact that the watchtowers on the heights are very worldly, namely the dissolution of the will, the sense that one's persona is a matter of arbitrariness.

It is first brought about by the confusion of the sense of beauty and it sinks in through weariness, until the bareness itself asks of that, which has entered it.

It's not evil as such, just alien, and there might have even grown some good out of it, if the place would have been a little calmer and not so settled.

Man doesn't like to be mocked, but neither is he one who could not stand questions, and eventually his nature will emerge from doubt like a ridge of granite from the morning mist under the rising sun.

Almost something great had happened and Sméagol had imposed his will upon his actions, seeking peace instead of never ending torture, for Sméagol only has known The Ring long enough to know that It has nothing to offer him. But if Sméagol would be one disposed for such greatness, The Ring would have found greater use of him already.

It is of course not necessary to be mocked first, in order to start asking questions, but then again the world mocks the perceptive mind incessantly.

Labels: , ,

Folgende Beiträge Zur Front Vorherige Beiträge