Friday, January 19, 2007

Sauron: Dark Lord of Mordor or Motivated "Go-Getter"?

In the ambitious epic "The Lord of the Rings," Tolkien makes it clear that Sauron and his followers are the "bad" guys - "evil-doers" if you will - to be resisted and driven back into the foul depths of Mordor. But like many conflicts, the source of antipathy could simply be based on cultural misunderstanding - an unfortunate transverse of ethnology. This misconstruction challenges us to examine not only our methodology of social perception, but canvass ourselves as a people and those we judge.

Take the Ringwraiths for example. Sure they are trying to seize the one true ring and destroy any who oppose it's return, but at least they are motivated. They have a strategic plan, and are simply following through to meet their objectives. Who are we to curse them for being efficient? Organization and motivation are qualities hallowed by our business infrastructure, yet the Ring-Wraiths are portrayed as relentless monsters. They are shown as pale, skeleton-like creatures as if that's a bad thing. Are they not just Heroin-chic? The fitness/cosmetic/fashion industries spend millions each year parading fitness plans and fads, and now we are saying that the Ring-Wraiths are ugly because they found an effective diet?

Further, what's so abominable about being an Orc? Sure they seem ugly and foul with embarrassing sweating problems, but we undoubtedly seem just as ugly and foul to them. Are we not supposed to with-hold judgment based on ones' appearance? Does this rule suddenly stop for the Orcs? What does this say to our children - that tolerance is only valid when it's convenient?

In addition, can we really blame the Orcs for such Type-A personalities? Suraman himself said that the Orcs were once elves who were twisted into Orcs. These people were obviously traumatized. Perhaps it's not their fault for pillaging and constantly yelling, but their parents. Maybe if they had some proper counseling they wouldn't have these psychotic outbursts with no outlet or sympathetic ear. The next time you see an Orc attack with a battle-Ax, remember it's not their fault. Blame the psychologist who failed to see it coming as well as their parents for not offering enough nurturing support.

Furthermore, the concept of saving Middle-Earth for the "good" creatures needs serious reconsideration. What qualifies Hobbits, Dwarfs, Elves and Humans to inherit Middle-Earth? The races are ripe with deadly sins: Hobbits eat and drink all day long. Dwarfs greedily dig in their mines to the point of unleashing ancient fire-demons. Elves are arrogant and judgmental with enough pride and vanity to put Vulcans to shame. And Humans are capable of destruction beyond Saurons wildest dreams. What makes us think we are more deserving than the indigenous population of Mordor? And who's to say our landscaping plan is more efficient?

Finally, what is so bad about serving Sauron? Sure he's cruel, demanding, and unsanitary, but is that REALLY any different than some of the bosses you've had? Yes he is trying to take over the world and rule its inhabitants, but at least he has goals. And talk about dedication - anyone who waits 2 1/2 thousand years to get a ring is an enthusiastic person. Sauron is a strong, motivated, and effective leader who doesn't follow polls or what's "popular," but rather his own heart. How many politicians can we say that about? I say it's time to take an honest look at ourselves and those we would condemn. Perhaps it's not Sauron and his hordes of blood-thirsty Orcs we really hate, but ourselves.

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