Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Ent by Any Other Name...

Tolkien's Ents are walking and talking tree creatures. They speak the western tongue easily enough but prefer to communicate in Entish. An Ent named Fangorn or Treebeard, if you prefer the western tongue, meets Merry and Pippin. This meeting gives an insight into the Entish mind and the focus of my article to day. According to Fangorn Entish is an extremely slow language to speak. A simple name in Entish is a complete sum of the story of that being's life. This a truly interesting concept. Tolkien never mentions whose perspective the Entish name is told from but for this article it is of little consequence.

From our early days as humans we are labeled. Given an appellation at birth to indicate memories of past loved ones or burdened with our parents expectations. Sometimes just simply tagged with some thing that sounds cool. Humanity does this, we label things. We designate flowers by genius, species and fillum in order to group the world into ordered, digestible bits. This process occurs all throughout are lives. Yet, we expect ourselves never to stereotype nor name call. This contradiction has oft confused me. How can science expect to study with out considering the individual?

The Ents continually tell the hobbits not to be so hasty. Really, they are saying not to judge all things as one thing. Thru this simple statement we are cautioned to take time and analyze the situation before rushing in. Judging an individual solely on a group's past behavior has lasting and irrevocable consequences. However, on the flip side of the argument Tolkien shows that inaction due to over analyzation can be just as bad. All this is communicated via the threat that Saruman and his new orcs pose.

The Orc has represented the basest nature of people in high fantasy. To my point, the Internet is full of orcs. Marauding tree chopping and burning, orcs. They turn there rage and hate on anything they see. Like the Ents I am loathe to label the group of orcs and judge them as one entity. Each Orc is unique, it's causes and base nature are damaging, offensive and mind boggling. I cannot fathom its reasoning or internal justification but I can condemn its acts.

My trouble here is that as society we have no ancient beings to come in and squash the orcs. No one in his right mind wants the governments of the world policing the Internet and handing out citations for inappropriate behavior. So what then is the solution? Should we be outspoken and draw lightning bolts down upon our heads? Begging each Orc to Sally forth and meet us in single combat where words and wits are used to make personal attacks until the battlefield is found barren? Do we cast bark skin and try to ignore those who would seek to drive us into hiding or shame us into silence? Do we rattle sabers in sheathes or speak softly and carry big ban buttons? Shielding ourselves from attacks and possibly much needed criticism? I don't have an answer fair reader. One blog author posts hate mail for all to see. Another only shares comments that agree with him. Others block comments all together. Still others by bars and leave the orcs to their devices. Individual choice must drive your own decisions. For me I suppose I say come orcs, Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!