Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, December 19, 2003  

Really bad commentary

This reviewer of ROTK says this:

The Return of the King begins with a portrayal of addiction, appropriately enough. The opening scene is a flashback to the day when Gollum came upon the One Ring.

At any rate, Gollum appears a perfectly healthy hobbit when his fishing partner discovers the Ring at the bottom of a river. Gollum demands the Ring for himself and murders to get it. Then we watch the little golden band destroy him as he descends into the pathetic creature we first met last year in The Two Towers. Before our eyes, he becomes a wastrel who shivers and shakes like a junkie. The Ring is his drug

To give him his due he does add:

If the theme of Tolkien's book must be stated in two words, it might be: Power corrupts. Before power can corrupt, however, it must addict, and that's exactly what we watch it do to this deformed companion of Frodo and Sam.

This is both shallow and nonsensical. See my review below (scroll down).

Gollum sees something, a ring, which he has no idea what it is or does, but he instantly wants it to the point of killing for it. Folks, that is not heroin he's after. Nor is power addictive in any sense that crack, alcohol, tobacco, or coffee is.

Power doesn't just make us feel good or alter our consciousness It corrupts. An alcoholic can still refuse a bribe, maintain some integrity, but a junkie for power, a Bill or Hillary Clinton, for example, are corrupted in every fiber of their being. Nor is it an addiction.

You don't get to be powerful everyday in the same way. Power is the ability to order others to do your will, and to punish those that don't.

That is a variable thing. After an initial sense of joy at having acquired power, it is not satisfying particularly. You become paranoid that you might lose it, and your victims might gain ascendancy to revenge themselves on you.

Power is not an addiction, but an abject fear - its loss. There may appear to be similarities, but power is about will. Addiction is about loss of will.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 5:14 AM |