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 Post subject: All we have to decide....
PostPosted: October 30th, 2007, 6:02 pm 
Gondorian
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So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.


Gandalf’s oft-quoted words have made a big impact on my boys. And I have to say, I have been impress with their drama and placement. Tolkien has a way with words. But I have never given serious thought to what they really say until recently. I mean, the very idea is a paradigm shift to the way most people live their lives. Life is about who we are and not what happens to us? I know it is a big subject but I want to hear what you think.

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PostPosted: October 30th, 2007, 11:37 pm 
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I think this is definitely an important point Tolkien is making. Any person can be pushed into any sort of situation, any life, whether good or bad. But true character is revealed by how the person deals with the life and situations that are put in front of them. To be born and live a happy, secluded life, as Frodo did, and then have the responsibility of the one ring thrust upon him; I believe I am correct in saying that none of us would jump for that situation to fall into our hands. And whether or not you think Frodo failed in his mission, he still carried the ring all the way to Orodruin to cast it into the fire. The strain showed, but he did it. And I think that is an example of a good use of the time that is given to you. The same with Aragorn and many others. Aragorn was born of the line of the kings of Gondor. He did not want it, and he originally chose to brush off his heritage. In the end however, he chose to accept it, and this is a measure of his character. What we chose to do in our lives can be beneficial or not, but that choice, regardless of our situation, is what reveals our true character.

Did I make sense or just ramble? *sigh* It made sense in my head...

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PostPosted: October 31st, 2007, 3:23 pm 
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I'd say that yes, definitely the choices we make reveal our character, but also, I recall it being said somewhere that Frodo couldn't have made it to Mordor on his own, and that he was aided supernaturally. It wasn't said exactly like that, but as I recall it was from someone quoting something or at any rate someone who knew what they were talking about. :P

Anyway, I think that that's an example of the fact that there's nothing in life that we'll come across that we can't handle. Not necessarily handle by ourselves, though. Frodo had the help of Ilúvatar, and we have the help of God. But....since we're not supposed to get involved in religious discussion here...

I find it to be an interesting observation that the characters that draw us the most, who tend to be Faramir, Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam (well, frequently, at any rate), all have a high character. All are noble and self-sacrificial to some degree. I think that that shows that no matter how we live, we still somewhat yearn for that greater character. We are drawn to those who have it, we admire them, because they have what we don't, or what we want.

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Last edited by Aerandir on November 3rd, 2007, 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: All we have to decide....
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2007, 2:23 pm 
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All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.

I always understood it just the way it's written. We have a certain amount of time at our disposal here on earth. The general outlines and frames are there, but we have to put colours and flavours into the picture. Like in a colouring book. So it's about choices.


Sinbearer wrote:
Life is about who we are and not what happens to us?

The sentence isn't clear to me. I had to read it several times to understand it. To me it isn't two opposites but two connected factors. Because of who we are and the personality we own, we will deal with the things that happen to us, accordingly. But what happens to us also helps shape our personality, so there is a mutual connection.


Iritarimel Noramírë wrote:
Any person can be pushed into any sort of situation, any life, whether good or bad. But true character is revealed by how the person deals with the life and situations that are put in front of them.

I like your post. I've just had the same discussion with some friends about heritage and environment, what shapes a person, his genetical heritage or the social environment in which he grows up. We talked about death and how to deal with it and I said I didn't know how I would react if someone close to me passed away, actually I think I would be paralysed and wouldn't be able to move on. My friend whose mother died 5 years ago argued that it definitely made her stronger. It was tough for her for a year after she passed away but then she had to pull her self up and live on. She talks about old and young souls and she believes that the way we deal with the hard times in life is determined by our soul, whether it has lived many lives or few.
I'm undecided on this. Like in my reply to Sinbearer I think there is a connection to events that happen to us and our reactions. I think the majority of people could be Frodo and could have done what he did under the right circumstances, but I also think most of us could be e.g. Grima. It all depends on a mix of social background and personal choices.


Aerandir wrote:
I find it to be an interesting observation that the characters that draw us the most, who tend to be Faramir, Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam (well, frequently, at any rate), all have a high character. All are noble and self-sacrificial to some degree. I think that that shoes that no matter how we live, we still somewhat yearn for that greater character. We are drawn to those who have it, we admire them, because they have what we don't, or what we want.

I agree with this. There are some general values that are held high in all societies (at least Western cultures) such as being valiant, self-sacrificial, couragous etc. There is a general consensus about what is 'good' in the world and we recognize those archetypes when we see them. Artists draw on them - deliberately or sub-consciously, because they are universal.

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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2007, 2:09 pm 
Vala
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Wow. I actually wrote 'shoes' instead of 'shows'. No idea how that happened. :blink:

I think, Eä, that perhaps genetics really only makes us more likely to respond to a certain situation in the same way that our parent or grandparent or somebody would. I don't think that it makes any huge difference in the choice that we actually make.

But I like what Iritarimel said, as well. It's really true. Character is shown by actions, whether in day-to-day situations or in life-changing, momentous occasions.

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 Post subject: Who will you be?
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2007, 8:18 pm 
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Eä wrote:
...The sentence isn't clear to me. I had to read it several times to understand it. To me it isn't two opposites but two connected factors. Because of who we are and the personality we own, we will deal with the things that happen to us, accordingly. But what happens to us also helps shape our personality, so there is a mutual connection.


I really don’t think I disagree completely with you Ëa because there is a connection to some degree, especially in the formation of a young child’s character. And certainly the things that happen to us stimulate us to an unavoidable reaction. As adults, I just feel like our choices are much more important than what happens to us.

When I look at people with ideal circumstances in life crash and burn and then those like CS Lewis, whose life was one chain of tragedies, triumph—it makes me think that it doesn’t matter what happens to us but who we decide to be. And we all have that choice. In the final analysis, what makes the difference between Theoden and Denethor who both had terrible things happen to them? The same horrifying events ruin one life and redeem another.

We say, “I wish these events had never happened to me!” But what we decide to do with the time that is given us depends on who we have decided to be regardless of what has happened to us. Who we are determines what we do and I don’t believe how life treats us has a decided effect on us either way if we know that. Too many people look for the perfect spouse, job, house, circumstances, etc. to make them successful and happy when it is really about knowing who you are and acting on it.

So I guess the reason for posting this thread is that I feel like the things that happen to us in our lives are not nearly as important as deciding what kind of a man/woman we will be (who we are). It is that decision that makes all the difference in life.

Aerandir wrote:
...we still somewhat yearn for that greater character. We are drawn to those who have it, we admire them, because they have what we don't, or what we want.


Yeah, eternity seems to be set in our hearts. There is a seemingly unexplainable alienation between us and evil.

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PostPosted: November 12th, 2007, 11:11 am 
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It is common for people to 'play the victim'--as if the world is againsts them and it's not their fault. Some blame their bad behavior on circumstances, or some obscure event that happened in their past. Sometimes, this is justifiable if the person has a real physical or psychological problem--but the majority of people just want to complain and shift blame from themselves onto other things.

There are few people in the world who take responsibility for their choices and character--even less who work at it...and I think that's what Tolkien may have been hinting at in this quote. The rain falls on everybody. It is self-centered for me to think that I am the only one in harsh circumstances. No, I have a responsibility to my own decisions.


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PostPosted: November 12th, 2007, 3:17 pm 
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Everyone has just about killed this topic, but before it completely dies I think I'd like to add something as well.

Most events that take place in our lives and situations we find ourselves in are out of our control. They may be the work of some greater power or the result of a domino effect. Hard times come upon each of us whether we want them to or not. As human beings we believe we have control over what happens to us, and that is true to a certain extent. What Gandalf is saying here is that although we don't have control sometimes over the events in our lives, we should make the best of it and live life in a way that benefits ourselves and the other inhabitants of the world.


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PostPosted: November 12th, 2007, 3:48 pm 
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I like your thoughts on it, both of you. And killing topics is fun, as long as it's insightful. :P

Your perspective on it, especially, vikingmaiden, is really good. It's different (and almost unrelated to) than what the rest of us inferred from it. Thanks for sharing that.

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 Post subject: Deciding who you want to be...and acting on it!
PostPosted: November 12th, 2007, 5:41 pm 
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vikingmaiden wrote:
...There are few people in the world who take responsibility for their choices and character--even less who work at it...and I think that's what Tolkien may have been hinting at in this quote. The rain falls on everybody. It is self-centered for me to think that I am the only one in harsh circumstances. No, I have a responsibility to my own decisions.


Larael wrote:
Most events that take place in our lives and situations we find ourselves in are out of our control...What Gandalf is saying here is that although we don't have control sometimes over the events in our lives, we should make the best of it and live life in a way that benefits ourselves and the other inhabitants of the world.


*stands to applaud!* I love what both of you said! And how clearly you stated it. Our choices have little to do with our circumstances. There is not one of us on this planet with a cognant mind that doesn't have a fair chance of ending our lives with the last words of Theoden on our lips.

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Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him. --James Allen


Quote:
It is not the situation that makes the man, but the man who makes the situation. -- Frederick W. Robertson


Hear! Hear! Let me be a man like that!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 16th, 2007, 3:41 pm 


Heh I have applied that quote to some many so many times...I guess that's one of the very reasons Gandalf is one of my favorite characters.
He gave us there encouragement, and basically told us that we can deal with any time that was give to us, told us that we are strong. I have made that quote my personal message on MSN so many times and you know what, I think I might do it again today, heh.
I have tried to tell my friends that when ever they tell me that they hate their lives and such...but many of them know who says it and fo they don't listen, makes me sad. I mean sure their words said by a fictional character, but hey, listen to them their meaning. I always tell them that behind the character there is a real man who thought of that, but I suppose thet don't care, kinda makes me sad but then that's when I apply the quote to myself.
But generally that is one of the important quotes in my life. Everytime something bad happens I think about that....the meaning of it in my mind pushes me forwards to see the end of my path.....I thank Master Tolkien for the words....
As I said before, I consider them words of encouragement, saying that I can do anythig.....and as he said it's for me to decide what times are give to me...the only thing I have to do is figure out a way to solve them.....those words mean a lot to me...and they will always mean a lot to me...

~Alane~


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PostPosted: November 19th, 2007, 1:20 am 
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I love that quote! I've loved it ever since I first heard it, it's so awesome! Very inspiring.

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PostPosted: January 13th, 2008, 6:38 am 
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i love that quote!fav.of fotr in fact

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 Post subject: What to do with the Ring....
PostPosted: February 9th, 2008, 3:01 am 
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I was reading in the ancient writings of the Psalms and I stumbled across the following:

As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow.
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
So we finish our years like a sigh.

Teach us to number our days,
so that we may grow in wisdom.

....to number our days. To realize the brevity of life. Just when we come to where we are starting to understand life, its over. And with a sigh we leave. Whether times are good or bad, such contemplation and understanding can certainly help us make wiser decisions about what to do with our time.

And even more specifically, what to do with the Ring in our lives.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2008, 10:05 pm 
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Do we really spend our entire lives finding meaning though? I know many people who have said to me that they know what they were put on this earth to do. I'm sure that cannot be said for all people, for many of us do spend much of our lives searching for a meaning that we may not find. What makes us more knowledgable in that way? How do we gain the knowledge of what to do with our Ring?


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PostPosted: February 29th, 2008, 7:46 pm 
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It is a very important point Tolkien is making with Gandalf's statement...I also think that no matter how hard we try to use the time we have wisely we all need help from time to time...

Frodo had the help pf the Fellowship to sustain him on his journey.....but when they were gone he only had Sam and had it not been for Sam I don't think Frodo would have survived...

So Sam chose wisely in helping his friend achieve his goal...

I think that all the key characters...on the side of good chose the time they had wisely...so it was a theme that ran throughout the trilogy for me anyway...one that I apply to my daily life...


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