Archive for the Deep Thoughts Category

Hero Worship And Ideals

Posted in Deep Thoughts on July 14, 2007 by legolasandfrodo

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“We are not that different from each other

We just want somebody to discover

Who we really are when we drop our guard…”

                        – “We,” by Joy Williams

Who is your hero?  Maybe it’s Orlando Bloom and you have his picture taped onto your closet.  Maybe it’s Nicole Nordeman.  Maybe her website is your homepage and you listen to her music most of the time.  Maybe there is someone else you adore.

So what is hero worship?  The Oxford dictionary (my constant companion) says that it is “excessive devotion to an admired person.”  I think that hero worship is when we see something we like in somebody (this could be nobility, bravery, or even good looks) and then we to try to emulate them in both that area and other areas of their life.  It also entails the excessive respect and devotion that we give these people.

One thing I find interesting to note is that we usually don’t know our heroes personally.  We don’t know anything about them except what we have read here and there.  If we have ever seen them face-to-face it was probably very briefly.  We don’t know what kind of person they REALLY are and if we lived with them we probably would not look at them as our heroes. These people look like superstars to us but I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a superstar.  Superstars are a product of the imagination, created by the spotlight.  Those people we adore may have good things about them, but they are just ordinary people like us when they are alone.  They cry themselves to sleep when their world seems to be falling into pieces or they may sing to the rain when they have no other way to vent their joy.  They have their own worries and beliefs, their own heartaches and fears.  Maybe we need to stop looking at them as superstars and start thinking about them as people who need not our worship but our prayers.

So, does this mean that it’s wrong to have a hero?  I don’t think so!  Even Paul the apostle told us to be like him.  It is good to try to develop in us good qualities that we see in heroic people.  I think we just need to be sure that we have the right kind of hero.  The person we choose to be “our hero” should be someone we can truly know about so that we will not be deceived.  They need to be someone admirable and worthy of imitation.  As Karen Andreola says in Beautiful Girlhood, “No one can rise higher than his or her ideals.  The ideal that one has in mind is the limit of perfection to that person.  It is impossible to attain higher things than we strive for; and few even reach their ideals.  So it is imperative that people set before themselves good and pure ideals, that they set their mark high.  It is better to aim at the impossible than to be content with the inferior.”  The person we choose as “our hero” is really our ideal.

Often the heroes are confused with the superstars.  (I have another post about this subject.)  One such example of this would be the Legolas vs. Orlando Bloom problem.  People who watch “The Lord Of The Rings” often become extremely attracted to the character Legolas.  He is courageous, handsome, humble, skilled, and wise.  He is not entirely perfect but he is certainly very close to it and when he makes a mistake, he apologizes immediately.  He is, in short, what many consider to be a true “hero.”  People like this kind of character and want to emulate him.  They also want to show their admiration for him.  Of course, there is no such person as “Legolas” so they often end up becoming Orlando Bloom fans instead, automatically supposing Orlando Bloom and Legolas to somehow be “one person,” due to the fact that Orlando Bloom acted the character Legolas in the movie.  When we get down to these facts, of course, we realize that Orlando Bloom is NOT Legolas and that he does not necessarily have all (or any) of Legolas’ character traits.  We can see Legolas on the screen and, therefore, we know that he possesses these qualities.  However, we don’t know so much about Orlando Bloom so we don’t know if he is really someone we want to emulate.  (I am not trying to say that there is anything wrong with Orlando Bloom.  My point here is that we don’t know him well enough to decide if we want him to be our hero.)

So, to summarize this post, I think we must be very careful in choosing a hero because heroes are ideals and no one can ever become greater than his or her ideal.

-Frodo

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Knowledge vs Wisdom

Posted in Deep Thoughts on July 10, 2007 by legolasandfrodo

In this modern world, people often confuse “knowledge” with “wisdom.” This is incorrect. Knowledge and wisdom are two very different things. Here are Webster’s definitions for each:

 Knowledge is the “acquaintance with facts as from investigation”.

Wisdom is the “knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with    

just judgment as to action.”

             I have been thinking about this as I learn new things each day in school.  I don’t want to be proud of my knowledge, but wise.  Alfred Lord Tennyson is my favorite poet.  He wrote a long poem that I really like. It is called “In Memoriam.” He wrote it on the death of one of his dear friends. He mourns his friend but at the same time he talks about life and death and the things that we face in life. The poem has 131 verses and is extremely difficult and long but it gives you a lot to think about. This is a verse that I particularly like. I noticed that Tennyson refers to Knowledge as but a little child that wishes to display what he has learned. Wisdom, he speaks of as “heavenly, of the soul.”

 

                                                            CXXVIII

                        Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail

                                    Against her beauty? May she mix

                                    With men and prosper! Who shall fix

                        Her pillars? Let her work prevail.

           

                        But on her forehead sits a fire:

                                    She sets her forward countenance

                                    And leaps into the future chance,

                        Submitting all things to desire.

 

                        Half-grown as yet, a child and vain-

                                    She cannot fight the fear of death

                                    What is She, cut off from love and faith,

                        But some wild Pallas from the brain

 

                        Of Demons? Fiery hot to burst

                                    All barriers in her onward race

                                    For power. Let her know her place;

                        She is the second, not the first.

 

                        A higher hand must make her mild,

                                    If all be not in vain; and guide

                                    Her footsteps, moving side by side

                        With Wisdom, like the younger child:

 

                        For She is earthly of the mind,

                                    But Wisdom heavenly of soul

                                    O, friend, who camest to thy goal

                        So early leaving me behind,

 

                        I wish the great world grew like thee,

                                    Who grewest not alone in power

                                    And knowledge, but by year and hour

                        In reverence and in charity.

 

You may have to read it twice to really understand what it means (I did) but when you do, it makes sense to you and the whole idea all fits together like a puzzle. Let us not live to acquire knowledge, but wisdom, and we shall find both.

 

 

Frodo

reposted

Mythology

Posted in Deep Thoughts, History, Stories on June 26, 2007 by legolasandfrodo

Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology

Recently I have been reading about Norse mythology and the parallels between the gods of the Vikings and the gods of the Greeks and Romans struck me as quite interesting.  The parallels between the Greek and Roman gods alone are quite well known, as the Romans adopted their religion from the Greeks, but the Vikings also have similar deities.  They are all very similar, so much so that I have been able to compare them individually, as follows.

Greek               Roman               Viking
Zeus                Jupiter                 Odin
Aphrodite        Venus                  Freya
Heracles         Hercules            Thor
Apollo              Apollo                  Frey/Bragi
Ares                 Mars                    Tyr
Hermes          Mercury               Thialfi
Dis                   Pluto                    Loki/Hela

I think that the Viking goddess Iduna could have been Artemis (Diana) or Minerva (Athene) but I am not sure.  I also noted other resemblances between these mythologies.  For example, in Greece, the Olympians fought constantly against the Titans.  There seems to be a similarity in Norse mythology.  The gods of Valhalla are also continuously waging war against the giants.

It seems that they all originated from the same source.  So what was that source?  Ancient documents from Herodotus, Plato and others show that the Greeks borrowed their gods from the Egyptians, and the Romans borrowed their gods from the Greeks.  Perhaps Egypt was the founder of these religions.  And where did Egyptian gods come from?  It is believed that, possibly, the Egyptian gods were all really different traits of one god, and the priests characterized each demi-god.  And who was the one main god?  It seems to have been the sun.  And who was the sun?  Well, you can read more about this here.

Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

-Legolas

Albert Einstein: Genius. But Was He a Hero?

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized on June 29, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

I recently finished reading a book about Einstein written by Stephanie S. McPherson called The Story of Albert Einstein.  It relates the story of his life and discusses, in brief, several of his theories.  Upon reading the book I received a fairly negative impression of his character.  He was rebellious in youth, considerably fickle and opposed authority not only in childhood, but also throughout his life.  I am going to give a short summary I have written of his life from information I have gained from McPherson’s and Cwiklik’s books on Einstein. I would like to explain his theories in a later post.

 

“Albert Einstein was born a Jew in Ulm, Germany, 1879.  His parents, Pauline and Hermann, put him in a Catholic school.  He excelled in science and math and could play the violin well, but failed miserably in all other subjects.  When his father’s business failed, his parents departed to Milan, Italy to begin a new factory.  Fifteen-year old Albert was left behind to study for his diploma, but suffering from boredom, he feigned illness so that he could go to Italy with his parents.  Right before his departure he was expelled from school for his rebellious behavior.  Albert fell in love with Italy and expressed his wish to denounce his German citizenship.  Permission was denied and Albert was sent to Zurich, Switzerland to study for engineering at the Polytechnic School.  While there, he denounced his German citizenship and became a man without a country.  He managed to stay in school this time but he earned a bad reputation for his behavior because he was, even at this early age, developing ideas about light and wanted to go far beyond the concepts his teachers discussed.  At the age of twenty-one he received his diploma but no professor was willing to work with him because of his ill reputation, so he found himself unemployed. 

 

While at the school he met a girl called Mileva Maric and fell in love with her.  When a friend suggested he get a job at the Swiss Patent Office in Berne, he disliked the idea but his relatives cut off his allowances and he found he had to support himself.  After being employed, he married Mileva Maric in 1903.  From then on he continued working with his theories and published his General Theory of Relativity and his Special Theory of Relativity.  Meanwhile, he generally ignored his wife until at last a gradual barrier began to develop between them.  Their first child, a girl, Lieserl, was born before their marriage and she disappeared soon after.  It is generally believed that they sent her to an orphanage!  Then Mileva gave birth to two boys, Hans Albert and Eduard. 

 

When Albert was offered an appointment in Berlin, he moved back to Germany.  While there, World War I broke out and Albert became a pacifist and created a statement against war.  Only six people signed, including himself.  His wife and children moved back to Switzerland, and Albert became attached to his cousin Elsa.  He divorced his wife and married Elsa several months later.  Elsa had been divorced once and had two grown daughters, Ilse and Margot, whom Albert adopted. 

 

As Albert saw the suffering and persecution of the Jews around him, he decided that the best way to demonstrate his support was to become a German citizen again, and he did.  And again, he worked at physics in his free time.  Later, at the outbreak of World War II, horrified at the German cruelty, he again renounced his German citizenship, took up an American one and settled in America and began teaching in Princeton University.  He felt that that was not enough; that only force would stop Germany and he renounced his views on pacifism.  Fearing Germany would develop an atomic bomb before the rest of the world, he wrote a letter to President Roosevelt urging him to quicken the development of the atomic bomb in America.  His third letter inspired the Manhattan Project.  Then he began working on his Unified Field Theory, but he died on April 18, 1955, before he finished it.

 

I read this definition of a genius last week and I think that it is a correct one:  ‘A genius is a person who has invested all his ability, fortune, thought and labor into one interest and therefore he excels in that one interest and men call him a genius.’  

 

“Geniuses” tend to excel in one thing, and since all other subjects are ignored except that one, they are usually undisciplined, unable to control emotions well and are entirely consumed by that one interest.  If that is the correct definition for a genius, Albert Einstein qualified for the title, but whether or not it is an honorable one is debatable.

 

McPherson wrote her book for children, and littered the facts with a good deal of her own opinion, which was very positive.  But the truth remained obvious.  Of course, I don’t mean by all this that Einstein's disposition was completely negative, but overall, he did not prove to have a strong character.

 

– Legolas