' All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'
There is something reassuring in wanting to live our lives in a simple and traditional ways, close to nature, in harmony with the world around us. In a time of cars, computers, space exploration, 24 hours news, and modern warfare simple traditional values , a quiet life in the Shire, and the teaching of Professor Tolkien still matter, because without them there is no hope, and without hope we cannot live, we need hope to be who we are and believe that, despite the terrible things happening around us and to us, love and peace are all that matter in this world.
Without the knowledge we gain from old tradition and history we would not be able to complete our individual quests and we would eventually fail. Many people in this modern world has grown blind and deaf to traditions and teachings that seem lost in the constant and never ending noise - books have been replaced by the Internet where there is no limit, no control, no boundaries. Some will argue the net is allowing knowledge to be available at the touch of a button to billions of people , what worries me is the quality of this information and its effectiveness.
This is the modern world, I am part of it even though I often feel like I do not belong here - I am a simple hobbit , deep down all I wish for is to live what is left of my life in the way I find more comfortable...sitting by my fire, reading a 'real' book, painting a picture with a paintbrush and watercolours, writing a real letter with ink and paper. My primary school teacher spent weeks...months when I first started school teaching me how to use beautiful handwriting.
I feel that if I do not cling on to these 'traditions' I may struggle even more to survive in this strange modern world. Please do not get me wrong, there are many modern advances I enjoy and use , some are essential to human kind like medicine and science - when used for 'good' many of these things , including the Internet, are incredibly powerful tools - however sometime these 'modern' tools seem to take a life of their own, they 'change' and mutate and can become evil in the hand of people that are intent to create terror or do harm to others.
Like Tolkien I am a believer in the 'old values' , I still believe they can make a difference in this mad world, even when some of them are not really useful today, there are still many very positive aspects that can be taken from them, things we can learn and will make us understand why the older generations always seem to look back at when their world was a much better and happier place ' back in the days...' . Lately I find myself often looking back at a world I was born into and that does not exist any more and...I miss it . I am getting old!
Of course I am a Took and...well, all know how 'foolish' sometime Took folk can be...remember Pippin ? He was one silly Took, always doing things that were clearly not meant to be done like dropping a stone down a well in Moria and awakening the Balrog or touching the palathir when he was clearly told not to do so. I have not awaken a Balrog (yet) nor I have a palathir , but even I cannot resist the call of the modern world , hence finding myself using all the modern tools available today to communicate and share.
Modernity is wonderful if we remember our traditions, it is when we forget the latter than things tend to become strange and sometime even unpleasant. Television, computers, the Internet, 24 hours media, constant connection, inability to 'switch-off'...do you ever feel this is getting too much ? Maybe not, maybe you the reader, are younger than me and was born in this modern world, so for you it is just the way things are, but for me it can be scary and make me feel I an an alien from an other planet.
We cannot escape been 'modern' but we should not turn our backs to our 'traditions' , to all we knew and that went on before us. I would argue we can still be 'traditional. in this incredibly modern world. Everything is so fast, and getting faster, nothing seem to last long, technology, news, fame and success, they are here today and will be forgotten and replaced tomorrow. Oh my God, I think we may have forgot how to be Hobbits, or Men, Elves or Dwarves.
The One Ring in Tolkien's masterpiece represent modernism, and in the end Frodo 's actions will make the One Ring ( or modernism ) irrelevant. By entering Middle-earth we are somehow saved from the madness of the modern world and catapulted into a world of ancient traditions, history and values that Tolkien is trying to pass down to us in his own way. Some people will say Tolkien refuse to accept the modern world , his dislike for everything modern is well known,
Maybe it is so, or maybe we are just trying to 'read' too much into the work of one great man that was born in a world that is long gone. I can relate to him tremendously, and so can many others. Some know very little about him and yet love his books and his stories. In his epics, from The Silmarillion , to The Return of the King via The Hobbit, Tolkien tell us the story of how the world he created struggles and eventually become modern.
Once the One Ring is destroyed and Sauron defeated, the only things left to tell are the fate of our heroes. There will be no books about the 4th age of Men. Often I wonder how Tolkien would have reacted to the world as we know it today. It is not hard to guess he would probably find it strange and noisy, as I do sometime. In his work he left us a glimpse of one amazing fantasy world , not completely discarding modernism , just trying to teach us how valuable and priceless old values and traditions are in this mad world that sometime threatens and overwhelm us.
Now please excuse me , dinner is on the table and Hobbits are never late for meals. I really only wanted to write a few thoughts about how scary and strange is the modern world to me. I wish you all a wonderful Spring - the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, enjoy the beauty of your 'Shire' and I hope to see you all soon.